24th > November > 1998 Archive

The Register breaking news

AOL takes shape as major threat to Microsoft

As Microsoft says, the proposed AOL-Netscape deal shows that the company’s enemies can band together to resist it, but although the deal may be welcome to Microsoft from a legal standpoint, the cold, hard figures show that otherwise it’s very bad news indeed. In the first half of this year Microsoft’s browser market share had continued its steady rise, up from 23 per cent in 1997 to 28 per cent. Netscape slid from 51 to 42 per cent, while AOL notched up 16 per cent. That 16 per cent is kind of important to Microsoft, because AOL uses a tailored version of Internet Explorer, so by the middle of this year you could say IE’s share had actually gone up to 54 per cent. Since then it’s gone up some more, although it remains the pattern that IE’s unaided climb is desperately slow. The launch of Windows 98 with a hard-wired browser will have helped as well (subject to legal matters covered elsewhere), but the likely imminent defection of AOL to the Netscape camp would swiftly reverse the league table. And it would also have far longer-term implications as the mooted strategic alliance of AOL and Sun came into force. Many things about Microsoft’s relationships with AOL and Netscape in and around 1995 remain opaque, but it is absolutely clear that Gates’ company saw AOL as vitally important then. In the run-up to the launch of Windows 95 there was a strong possibility that AOL (then the enemy) would persuade the DoJ to block the bundling of software for The Microsoft Network (MSN) in 95. MSN initially was the only online system with an icon on the 95 desktop. Giving AOL similar prominence was one of the prices Microsoft was prepared to bring the company on-side. AOL also extracted the tailored version of IE and some useful marketing funds. Maybe it did the Microsoft deal through fear, maybe for commercial reasons (AOL execs have said both), but at the time it most certainly feared Microsoft. AOL deluged the world with CDs and promotional literature, and the upshot was that although MSN was a failure, AOL wound up as the world’s biggest ISP. Which is where we come in now. In its field, AOL is actually in a pretty Microsoft-like position. It has seen off all the serious challengers and taken over CompuServe, and it’s spreading its wings in the portal area and in content. It has started to blur boundaries with TV, entertainment and multimedia to the extent where it’s at least a wannabe media/publishing operation as well as an ISP. In these areas it’s also a direct competitor to MSN, which Microsoft has been busily revamping, but AOL also has the advantage of owning quite a lot of the access routes as well. It has over 14 million subscribers now, and like Microsoft it will have to start looking at different classes of device and different kinds of access routes for future growth. The difference is that while Microsoft’s ability to leverage standards is based on its ownership of PC real estate, AOL, if it takes the Sun shilling along with picking up Netscape, has the potential to be able to leverage far more broadly. It could hitch a lift on Java and Netscape into interactive TV systems and low resource devices, and it could make its prospects in these areas look just as good as Sun’s. So if, in five years time, we’re reading subpoenaed Microsoft memos from 1998-99, don’t be surprised if AOL comes up a lot. ®
John Lettice, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

ARM-based VLSI range to slash cordless phone prices

A new ARM-based family of DECT baseband processors from VLSI promises to take digital cordless telephony further into the commodity market. After a slow start DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephony) systems have started to sell in volume in Europe in the past year, and increased availability of powerful, low-cost chips will accelerate this process. According to Evan Kirstel of DECT design house Cambridge Consultants, VLSI’s new Vega+ family "represents a real step forward for DECT. We’ve already announced an industry-leading sub-$25 DECT handset reference design, and VLSI’s Vega is already at the heart of the product. Vega+ will allow us to push costs down still further." Cambridge is one of a clutch of leading design operations based in the Cambridge area, and specialising in the production of reference designs for cordless and cellular handsets. These designs are then manufactured by large numbers of tier two and tier three companies, so apparently small operations like Cambridge can have a disproportionately large effect on chip sales. The new Vega+ is aimed at low-cost handset and residential base-station applications, and includes on-chip memory and DSP capabilities. It integrates numerous functions that previously required external components, and uses an ARM7TDMI processor. It’ll be available in Q2 99 at under $5 for quantities of a million or more.
John Lettice, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Netscape sued over price of proposed AOL merger

A Netscape shareholder has sued the company following official confirmation that it is indeed in meger talks with AOL. The proposed merger -- still dependent on the two companies reaching an agreement to do so -- values Netscape at nearly $4 billion, based on stock valued at $38.19 per share. However, Friday's closing price was $39.1875 per share, and shareholder Ernest Hack, who filed the suit yesterday, feels Netscape's merger stock value should match that figure. He wants the court to block any merger until a higher prices is agreed by Netscape and AOL. Netscape's directors have an obligation to their shareholders to get the best price for the company, said Hack's lawyers, and this action seeks to force them to follow that obligation. Following the appearance last week of hints that the two companies were in talks, both companies filed details of their discussions yesterday morning before Monday's trading began. ® See also AOL takes shape as major threat to Microsoft Microsoft lawyer claims AOL deal makes lawsuit dead parrot AOL and Sun plan to carve-up Netscape
Tony Smith, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Web league table identifies big four

Web ratings outfit Media Metrix rates AOL's Web sites achieving a narrow first over Yahoo in terms of unique visitors in October. The company's monthly survey measures the preferences of 62.5 million Web users and then categorises the major players among sites from there. With less than 200,000 unique visitors separating them, AOL and Yahoo's total across all their sites was virtually neck and neck at the 30 million mark. Microsoft, which has been assembling sites itself, wasn't far behind with just under 29 million, and Lycos, shaving the 28 million mark, makes it clear that we've got a big four here. Netscape, Geocities and Excite are all around the 18-20 million mark, with Disney, Infoseel, Time Warner and Alta Vista making up the rest of the top ten. The top tens of specific sites are somewhat different - aol.com is top for home, but for work the league runs yahoo.com, netscape.com, microsoft.com and then aol.com. ®
John Lettice, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

WAN vendors and carriers launch muiltservice standards body

Cisco, MCI WorldCom, Lucent, BT, Nortel, Ascend and other WAN equipment vendors and telcos have agreed to form a body to oversee the development of interoperability standards. The Multiservice Switching Forum (MSF) will utilise standards already developed by the likes of the ATM Forum, the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Frame Relay Forum and the ITU, and work out ways of bringing them together. The goal, said MSF spokesmen, is to allow service providers to build multiservice networks, combining ATM, frame relay and IP to handle voice, video and data traffic, without having to certify each element. They also claimed the standards would heighten competition between vendors and so push down prices. The MSF said its expects initial proposals for a multiservice network architecture and the Virtual Switch Interface protocol, designed to allow independent devices to control switches, should see fruit within nine months. Future specifications and standards could be defined within 12-18 months. ®
Team Register, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Apple offers dealer sales reps cash incentives to push iMac

After spurning Apple in the past, resellers are trying to jump on the iMac bandwagon after it emerged the Mac-maker is lining up 'spiff' incentives for dealers' sales reps. Apple is trying to expand its channel presence, with the reports suggesting the vendor is to offer US sales reps $30 per iMac sold in retail stores and $50 per PowerBook. A former Apple dealer, quoted on the MacInTouch Web site, said: "I delight in this news as all too often I have gone into CompUSA or recently Best Buy, and the sales staff have on occasion (right before my very eyes) tried to steer customers interested in Macs over to the Wintel side. I firmly believe this spiff programme will stimulate the heck out of Mac Sales." In the UK, Apple claimed demand for the iMac was so strong it could now pick and choose which British retailers stock the product. A spokesperson said it had been approached by many resellers, and had expanded the UK channel by ten Apple outlets since the iMac launch in September. However, he said there were no plans to introduce any equivalent spiff schemes over here. UK retail outlet Micro Anvika said it had sold around 300 iMacs since 5 September. Philip Barton, Micro Anvika's marketing manager, foresaw no threat from increased demand for Apple product by UK retailers. Indeed, he welcomed stores like Tesco selling the machines because it expanded the market for resellers. Barton confirmed sales had dropped from the initial mad scramble for the iMac, but said sales were still consistent at one or two iMacs per day. Introduced in the US in August, the iMac boosted Apple's share of the PC market to 11.7 per cent by last month, compared to 7.6 per cent the previous year. ®
Linda Harrison, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

QNX leads Citrix breakthrough into RTOS

QNX has become the first RTOS (real time operating system) manufacturer to support a Citrix ICA client. The client will be available for QNX 4 and QNX/Neutrino, the former in Q1 and the latter following the release of QNX/Neutrino 2.0. QNX Software Systems (QSSL) has produced RTOS software for the x86 for over 17 years, and more recently added MIPS and PowerPC. The company suggests that the addition of Citrix ICA means low-cost NCs or even wireless hand-helds could provide both mainframe access and the ability to use Win32 applications. "To understand what this means," says QSSL VP of strategic alliances, "imagine a diskless network terminal, or even a wireless portable device with just four megabytes of RAM, accessing full-blown enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft and SAP, as well as desktop applications like Word and Excel." ®
John Lettice, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Kawasaki to build second fab

Japananse industrial combine Kawasaki Steel is to expand its chip-making operations with the construction of a $100 million fab that it intends will commence production in 2001. The plant, to be built alongside the company's current fab will be dedicated to ASIC production for telecommunications and consumer electronics devices. Network-oriented ASICs will form the fab's mainstay -- Kawasaki expects demand for these products to increase dramatically during 1999 and 2000. It hopes this will counter the continuing decline of other semiconductor products, such as DRAM. The company has said it expects its current fiscal year, ending next March, to show a 15 per cent decline in semiconductor sales. ®
Tony Smith, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Dixons demands tax relief on computer products

Dixons has suggested the government relax taxes on computers. The call comes after the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) yesterday launched its investigation into PC pricing. John Clare, the Dixons Group's chief executive, said he welcomed the enquiry, but suggested the UK government might follow other countries and offer tax relief on computer prices. Clare added a sting in the tail, advising that any study should "also include an assessment of the role of microprocessor and other component suppliers, such as Intel". Singling out Intel as an example came as no surprise, since it was claims made by Intel CEO Craig Barratt that Dixons was making "ridiculous margins" on PCs and damaging computer sales in the UK that prompted the current concern over the retailers pricing policy. John Bridgeman, director-general of Fair Trading, started the investigation following the intervention of Peter Mandelson, trade and industry secretary. ® See also OFT set to investigate PC pricing Consumers' Association calls for investigation into Dixons
Linda Harrison, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Senior Japanese IT exec hits out at country’s greed

A senior executive at a major Japanese IT corporation has hit out at banks and companies funded by them for bringing the country to a "terrible" state. Yasuo Nishiguchi, executive vice president at Kyocera Corporation, said today: "As you know, the Japanese economy is in a terrible situation. We in Japan feel very badly about this and day to day business is badly affected by it." Nishiguchi said: "The manufacturers together with their funding banks created this situation in Japan. Five or ten years ago, Japanese banks loaned large amounts of money to companies which couldn't manage their businesses and at the time each bank made profits." Using the big loans, many Japanese companies got involved in real estate, developing golf courses in Japan and developing their businesses outside Japan, he claimed. "Everyone was just thinking only to create profit, not just the banks but the companies," he said. "At that time Japan was in the bubble but that bubble burst and now we are in a terrible situation." He said more Japanese banks were in danger of either folding, mering with other banks, or inviting investment from foreign banks. The reason for that, he said, was because "most banks have back loans and have to clear those back loans". He said that the banks will find this difficult to do because of their already weakened situation. "Most Japanese banks are withdrawing from the US markets," Nishiguchi said. The second step would be that banks were baled out by foreign companies, he said. ®
Mike Magee, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Major semiconductor R&D facility launched in Edinburgh

Edinburgh University is to host a focus for microelectronics and semiconductor start-ups within its science and engineering campus. The $10 million Scotland Microelectronics Centre (SMC) is a jointly-funded project between the university, Scottish Enterprise, and the Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprise Council. Scheduled to be fully operational by Q2 2000, the Centre will support up to 30 companies, providing them with labs, office facilities and clean rooms. Technical advice and support will come from the university's department of electronics and electrical engineering, which will be based within the Centre. The SMC will complement Scottish Enterprise's Project Alba, based in Livingston, Scotland, which is currently under development. Alba will focus on system-level chip design R&D. "The semiconductor industry plays an important role in the Scottish economy and support should be given to the R&D which underpins future growth," said Crawford Beveridge, Scottish Enterprise's chief executive. ®
Tony Smith, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Netscape deal founds Sun-backed ‘AOL Everywhere’ scheme

As expected, AOL and Netscape signed on the dotted in a $4.2 billion deal today, but the real news was the simultaneous announcement of a three-year AOL-Sun strategic alliance covering e-commerce and the development of "next generation Internet devices".
John Lettice, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Survey: rosy future for smartcards

Chip-card market growth will be strongest in the US and Japan, but Europe will continue as the leading region, according to a four-year forecast by Dataquest. Asia/Pacific will become the number two region for chip card revenue by 2002, with 30 per cent of sales. Analysts predict US revenue to grow from about $20 million in 1997 to $532 million in 2002, with Japan seeing an increase from $14 million to $390 million. Despite this growth, Europe is expected to hang on to the chief share of the market. But its worldwide chip card revenue will decline to 48 per cent by 2002, from last year's 77 per cent. The report said the worldwide chip card market reached $1.4 billion in 1997 on the back of strong European sales. It predicted this to increase to $6.8 billion over the next four years. Jonathan Cassel, the Dataquest analyst responsible for the study, said this explosive growth would be driven by the worldwide proliferation of chip-card technology. Semiconductor vendors should watch out for opportunities with microcontroller chips used in various types of smart cards. The chip card is the highest-volume electronics end product. Dataquest estimated that 962 million cards were sold last year, about 11 times the number of PCs produced. Chip cards can be used as money, debit and credit cards, or identification. ®
Linda Harrison, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Local papers group launches UK Net auction service

One of the UK's largest regional newspaper groups is to launch a nationwide online auction service in January allowing ordinary people to buy and sell small items over the Web. Newsquest Media Group, which publishes 173 local paid-for and free newspapers and boasts a weekly readership of almost ten million, maintains that this is not the beginning of the demise of traditional newspapers. Instead, the company's new-media director, Simon Gray, believes it is a huge opportunity and one which could generate a "huge revenue stream" for the company. However, in an interview in the Financial Times the company's executive chairman, Jim Brown, did admit that Newsquest's initial venture onto the Net was done originally to protect its business. "What we've found is another business," he said. Newsquest, which already has 18 regional news Web sites, is piloting the system in the northeast of England before rolling it out for the rest of the UK in January. The online auction will initially concentrate on small, collectible items that appeal to the demographics most associated with Net users. People will be able to buy and sell goods and as the auction service grows, more and more categories will be added to the list. In time, Gray hopes that other newspaper and magazine publishers will sign up to the service and he confirmed that he was also in discussion with companies wishing to use the auction to sell surplus stock. Using the same system as Auction Universe from the US, Newsquest is hoping that the recently reported success of online auctions in the US will be translated in the UK. The big question is whether the UK is ready for such a service. Elsewhere, film stars Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg and Walter Matthau have all agreed to take part in an event billed as the "world's funniest Internet auction". They've all agreed to donate their underpants for the online auction. While there may not be much of a rush to bid for Whoopi Goldberg's shreddies, there should be more than a little interest in Brooke Shield's briefs. Organisers have yet to confirm whether the celebrity knickers will be washed before they're dispatched to the winning bidders. ®
Tim Richardson, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

DoJ witness argues Microsoft prices too high

Microsoft's cross-examination of consultant economist Dr Frederick Warren-Boulton by attorney Michael Lacovara for Microsoft has proceeded tediously this week. Microsoft is attempting to show that it does not have monopoly power, and is threatened by competitors all the time. Lacovara tried to needle W-B about his consultancy work having been against Microsoft - he helped Novell in an earlier case was started by the Federal Trade Commission - but this led nowhere. W-B said he thought he was retained because he had some experience in the industry. W-B distinguished between two ways in which prices could be increased, and gave as his view that Microsoft has monopoly power as opposed to market power (where prices could only be increased by explicit or implicit coordination with competitors). W-B said that he believed that Microsoft's prices were above competitive levels by "a significant amount" and pointed to Microsoft's profit margins in its accounts as evidence. Microsoft did not like a chart produced by the DoJ, derived from IDC data, that showed that Microsoft's actual and projected share of the Intel PC operating systems market from 1991 to 2001 was between 92 and 95 per cent. Of course, "Intel-compatible" might have been a better caption for the data, but there is a great deal of imprecision in the questions and answers in court. At times it appeared that archaeologists were talking to botanists about nuclear physics. Moore's law "doubles every three years" W-B said, and Lacovara added: "And, in fact, Moore's law isn't true is it?" He continued: "Processing capacity [he presumably meant speed as capacity is something very different] may have doubled every two ears before, it now increases three- or four-fold in that same period?" W-B replied that he guessed Moore's law was speeding up. W-B gave as his opinion that market share data was one indicator of monopoly power. Lacovara tried to tempt him along the path of admitting that market share data was less significant in industries where rapid innovation occurs. W-B fell back, saying that sustainability is important, and that the market share chart showed sustainable monopoly power. W-B threw in the plan that Microsoft has been mulling over to lease the OS for a fixed period, after which the user would have to take another lease to carry on using the functionality. Lacovara quickly changed the subject, and tried to suggest that there had been some doubt as to whether Windows 95 would be a success, and quoted Steven McGeady's testimony, but the questioning got nowhere. When Lacovara brought up the issue of adding drivers to Microsoft operating systems. W-B was evidently unaware of the possibility that hardware vendors could often write these, but Microsoft is increasingly insisting that it writes these itself, so gaining further market power by not allowing other drivers to be distributed with Windows. Lacovara tried to make the case that Microsoft had always innovated, and amazingly cited MS-DOS as an example, explaining how Microsoft had "made sure that [MS-DOS] supported [hard drives]". Neither Lacovara or W-B was evidently aware that Microsoft was extremely reluctant to extend MS-DOS, and that these drivers were originally written by IBM, Compaq, and the like. W-B said that stopping innovation "is suicidal". Except that it wasn't, because Microsoft had locked OEMs in with per processor contracts. Equally ill-informed was Lacovara's implication that Microsoft had developed TCP/IP, but he persuaded W-B to agree that there was nothing wrong "in principle" in incorporating it in the operating system. There must have been people in Microsoft holding their breath that W-B didn't know much about how TCP/IP came into existence, or brought up the difference between software like TCP/IP and products like Stac's compression. Lacovara's cross-examination at times became very dull and directionless, and he failed to make the points he hoped - for example, a correlation between innovation and consumer benefit; easy entry into operating system development; and the ready availability of venture capital to write operating systems. Lacovara, conscious that Microsoft has yet to face Caldera in Salt Lake City in June, tried to put in some groundwork - that Caldera's Linux had a GUI that was a "clone of Windows". Again, W-B did not have the background to explain that Windows itself was a Mac "clone, and that the GUIs had a common ancestor. Lacovara wanted to make the point that it would be easy to switch to Linux, but again the point was not made that OEM preloading of Windows made it extremely unlikely that anyone but experienced users would make the switch - and even so, there were some costs in doing so. W-B said he might have heard of Red Hat, which was rather pathetic for an expert witness who claimed to have some knowledge of the industry. But W-B was not alone in his ignorance. Lacovara, after noting the software supplied with the Red Hat distribution of Linux, asked "You can program in all those languages in Linux - is that right? - for the Linux operating system." The "languages" Lacovara was talking about were applications like WordPerfect and Real Audio Player. W-B returned to firmer ground when he pointed out that financial markets evidently had a high opinion of Microsoft's future prospects in that Microsoft had a price earnings ration of more than 50 - twice the average. W-B therefore thought it unlikely that Linux would be a major challenger to Microsoft operating systems. He added: "If you really believe that [Linux] is going to severely constrain Microsoft's monopoly profits, run, don't walk, to your nearest broker and short Microsoft." ® Complete Register trial coverage
Graham Lea, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

AOL deal sparks pundits day in court

It was pundits day in and outside Judge Jackson's courtroom in Washington yesterday, following firmer news about the expected merger between AOL and Netscape. In the courtroom Michael Lacovara spent an hour quizzing Dr Frederick Warren-Boulton, a consultant economist for the DoJ, on what he thought of the AOL-Netscape move, but he didn't get the reply that he wanted. "To the extent that Netscape has been forced to the wall, that's an unfortunate outcome of what Microsoft has been doing." W-B said he was "not clear why this merger is going to fundamentally change AOL's calculus if it accepts a similar deal [to the one it has with Microsoft over IE] in January." At present, the Microsoft agreement limits AOL to distributing no more than 15 per cent of "non-Microsoft browsers". Outside the courtroom, David Boies, the DoJ special trial counsel, said that any deal was "not going to remove any obstacles that Microsoft has put in the path of competition". If AOL felt compelled to use IE after it owns Navigator, this would be "very powerful evidence." A currently favoured belief is that Judge Jackson won't now need to be so tough on Microsoft, since Netscape has been sold for a good price. But if the price is compared with what it would have been a year ago, it is clear that this is a specious argument. It is strange that commentators so far do not appear to have questioned how AOL would make a profit by acquiring part of Netscape. The only possibilities are for AOL to move to the professional market - where it admittedly has a toehold with the ailing CompuServe - and to get more involved in electronic commerce at the consumer level. It will not be easy for AOL to get a return on $4.2 billion of its paper. The other major consequence for Microsoft is that such a deal would make it more difficult to establish MSN. W-B said that Microsoft had a "fight them on the beaches strategy" towards Java. He noted that developers would use a Windows-only version of Java because of Windows market share, but what might be in the interest of an individual developer may not be good for them as a group. W-B estimated that Microsoft's share of the browser market would be 30 per cent (compared with 45 per cent at present) were it not for its near-exclusive contracts with Internet service providers. ® Complete Register trial coverage
Graham Lea, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

Kyocera pins hopes on Iridium, DDI

Kyocera is re-engineering itself to take advantage of the explosion in the telecoms market. The company is pinning many of its future hopes on its subsidiary DDI, which has cellular network technology it can export, and on its involvement with the Iridium satellite mobile network, financed largely by Motorola. Last week, Kyocera reported a 33 per cent drop in its profits for its interim six months period to 30 September but the company insists it can become a global telecomms player. Hideki Ishida, chief financial officer of the Kyocera Corporation, said: “The Asian economy is going through a very difficult situation and that reflects slightly on the numbers I’m quoting. Sales grew by 1.2 per cent compared to the first half of 1996. However our operating profit and net income showed a significant decrease.” Ishida said that Kyocera’s profitability indices were not acceptable given that the company was “going through a pretty heavy transition”. He said that the company forecast a reduction in its profit drop from 33 per cent in the first six months to 20.4 per cent for the whole year. The company had traditionally relied on its ceramic packaging business as its bread and butter. But the state of the semiconductor market, coupled with Intel’s move to plastic packaging had affected that division. Nevertheless, sources said that Kyocera had moved its production lines to plastic packaging and Intel was likely to start using large quantities of its products in the middle of the next year. Kyocera’s share of the domestic mobile comms market has fallen because of lack of demand at home. But the company had set aside cash for its subsidiary DDI, which has shares in several Iridium projects and also a cellular network that can be successfully exported, said Ishida. He claimed DDI was completely independent of NTT, the major Japanese telco. “DDI and subsequently Kyocera are destined to be global,” he said. He said: “We will stand behind DDI and we still mentally reserve cash for DDI.” Ishida said: “Last [financial] year, one of our most profitable businesses was telecomms but this year we’re changing from domestic business to Iridium [satellite mobile] business.” The company will launch its handsets in January next year. It is the only company, apart from Motorola, to be in a position to do so. He said that R&D Kyocera had invested in moving from voice to data will be rolled out globally. Although Ishida said Kyocera still believed ceramics would replace many substances over the next few decades, it would concentrate on pushing DDI, in conjunction with Kyocera. It will also strive to support incompatible networks abroad by introducing first a GSM, then other handsets for the local and for the US market. “In the case of Iridium we have a direct involvement and this is a very clear transition for us,” he said. “When we started out, we merely made insulating devices with ceramics. In the 1990s, the key will be telecoms or networks.” ®
Mike Magee, 24 Nov 1998
The Register breaking news

UK government to legislate for e-commerce

New legislation is to be introduced to promote electronic commerce in the UK, the government has pledged in the Queen's Speech today. But some of the steps to be taken to start modernising the law and improve competitiveness in the digital marketplace are set to provoke controversy. Plans to allow the police access to private electronic communications if they suspect criminal activity are certain to provoke the hostility of civil rights organisations. A white paper will be published next month. The Bill is expected to be debated in the spring. ®
Team Register, 24 Nov 1998