27th > December > 1998 Archive

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A year ago: Intel takes buffalo stance on PC 100

The largest manufacturer of Pentium II processors in the world has said its conscience is clear about difficulties for DRAM suppliers and the PC 100 specification. Memory companies, distributors and assemblers have complained over the last few months that not all synchronous memory modules are the same, causing difficulties when configuring machines because the DRAM don't seem to work. But now Intel has written to The Register explaining its position on PC 100. The company said: "PC main memory bandwidth requirements keep increasing, driven by new PC platform applications and richer data types like 3D graphics and video and platform ingredients like faster processors, the Accelerated Graphics Port and faster serial buses." According to Lentil, Intel has written PC SDRAM specifications for 66 and 100 MHz SDRAM to "facilitate the development of SDRAM components and memory modules before the platforms are introduced". The letter continued: "The goal is to facilitate the development of memory components and modules that are compatible with the new memory controller requirements so they are readily available for early product samples and full volume production. "While many 66 MHz memory modules are compliant with the 66 MHz SDRAM spec, some modules aren't because the spec was introduced after these modules were developed. However, the majority of 100 MHz memory modules are compliant with the 'PC 100' spec because it was introduced prior to their development." ®
The Register breaking news

LG threatens to sue Arthur D Little in US

In South Korea, where it is already Monday, the press is reporting that large conglomerate LG is threatening to sue Wall Street consultancy Arthur D Little (ADL) for proposing rival Hyundai take a 70 per cent share in a new chip company. (Story: Hyundai, LG Semicon deal on) LG bitterly opposes the proposed merger and Semicon CEO Koo Bon-joon told the press in the peninsula today that ADL’s proposal smacked of one-sidedness and it will be opposed. But the South Korean government is prepared to squash LG’s opposition by recommending that creditor banks pull the rug if it still holds out against the decision. For the last six months, LG has fought a rearguard action to prevent the formation of a giant semiconductor company formed by its and Hyundai’s semiconductor divisions. Mr Koo claimed that ADL’s proposal was one-sided and would cause mental suffering to its employees. It is exploring taking legal action in the US, the reports continued. And we, at The Register thought we wouldn’t have to write about this any more (we didn’t think that, really). ®
The Register breaking news

Compaq to continue Big Cuts

Reports from the US said that Compaq, fresh from its additional redundancies and consolidations over the Christmas period, is now set to spin off its OEM group. That follows reports here that the Networking division is no more See also Compaq decks an extra 2,700 jobs. Terry Shannon’s latest edition of his fortnightly newsletter, Shannon knows DEC is speculating that the OEM group will become a separate umbrella outfit for a number of former Tandem and Digital products too. Currently, Compaq’s OEM group looks after embedded products, PCI and VME products, DECtalk and single board computers. The profitable unit has turnover of over $350 million a year and a staff of just over 300 people. But the newsletter suggests that the unit will shortly become home to VAX technology and Tandem’s ServerNet. Rather than sell the unit, Compaq’s plan appears to be to make the unit an independent subsidiary after other disparate elements of Tandem’s and Digital’s portfolios fall off the edge. Compaq is on Christmas holiday, and in any case calls made to the company or its PR agency about any of these issues are either not returned or are given the “no comment” treatment. The Register believes that CEO Eckhard “Haircut” Pfeiffer has timed these different moves in a bid to avoid publicity. Or perhaps we’re being overcynical. ® * Registeroid 222. An Eckhard in German folk legend is a bogeyman who goes around frightening babies. Click here for subscription details of Shannon knows DEC
The Register breaking news

Register Awards of 1998

As usual, judges from The Register met in a local hostelry just before Christmas to closely deliberate their choices for 1998. Spin Dottore of the Year UK PR company Text 100 wins this award for outstanding service to Microsoft. Text won this award against some tough PR competition, the judges said. In awarding Spin Dottore 1998, the judges said that the PR company had excelled itself by consistently not replying to telephone calls about its client, or, if it did so, leaving the answer for two weeks, whilst being well aware that The Register is a daily news service. Firefly came a close second on behalf of its client, the Compaq Corporation, but disgraced itself by actually attempting, and in some cases succeeding, to get personnel from the company to talk to staffers here. Loose Cannon of the Year This is a much sought after award by all PR companies. It is given to those individuals or companies which in the judges’ view were the most helpful, in terms of buying drinks as well as giving information, to journalists at The Register. The winner this year is Chaz Brookes Associates, which also receives a special rosette for services to Her Majesty’s Leader of the Opposition, William Hague. Man or Woman of the Year Last year, Compaq CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer won this prestigious award for services to the hairdressing industry. This year, we have no hesitation in naming Glynn Flower, who heads up the UK’s Year 2000 team, as the winner. Flower suggested that we should all get extra stocks of food in preparation for the 1 January 2000, in case every system in the country went pear-shaped. Great Satan of the Year The judges noted that some of the Great Satans had been particularly inactive in 1998. Cisco, for example, was not considered by the judges because it had not taken over enough companies. Intel was disqualified because it was too helpful in 1998. Dell came close to getting the award this year because of outstanding performance which unhinged its PC competitors. Hewlett Packard, the Great Satan of Printers, did not live up to its devilish performance in previous years. Without a doubt, it was Microsoft, the Great Stan of Software, which won the award. The judges took into consideration the FTC case, the introduction of Windows 98, and the re-naming of products to Win 2000 as the clinchers. Many congratulations! Up and Coming Great Satans The open source movement, with Linus Torvalds at its head, was the clear winner. Judges at The Register thought that the brazen way in which journalists wrote gratuitous stories about Linux into their headlines was a contributory factor. The use of a Great Auk as an emblem (the North Pole equivalent of a penguin, now dodoised), was also considered to be a particularly fine example of future success, while Torvalds joining chip company Transmeta was considered to be a master stroke. ®