10th > February > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

Feds to widen Intel case

US reports said that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will expand its anti-trust case against chip giant Intel when proceedings open next month. The FTC will now claim that Intel put the muscle on Silicon Graphics and Micron, while the reports, at News Com say that the goliath has also harmed the market for motherboards and chipsets. That may not be the end of it. After AMD last week complained it was being hurt by price competition, the FTC may also look at how fair Intel's strategy is. Last Friday, lawyers acting on behalf of Intel tried to limit the action but a judge rejected that claim. The action starts on March the 9th, unless it is postponed again. ®
A staffer, 10 1999
The Register breaking news

A year ago: Caldera's ghostly lawsuit rattles chains

A long time ago there was something called DR-DOS that became Novell Dos and that then moved over to being owned by Caldera, the company run by former Novell boss Ray Noorda. Through its long history, particularly in the periods when Ray owned it, it was associated with attacks on Microsoft's business methods, both on the licensing and development fronts. When Ray got hold of DR-DOS for the second time in 1996 he launched a lawsuit against Microsoft, and although Caldera's initial claim was that Microsoft's licensing policies stopped DR-DOS competing with Microsoft's MS-DOS, and therefore was ancient history, a Utah district judge has now ruled that Caldera's argument can be extended to the Windows 95 period. Caldera now proposes to argue that by bundling MS-DOS and Windows 95 together, Microsoft was shutting out competing versions of Dos improperly. So the ancient history lawsuit now becomes peculiarly contemporary. Nowadays we've got licensing arguments over deals with OEMs and ISPs and bundling arguments over Windows 95 and IE. If Caldera can make a persuasive case (as Microsoft points out, so far it's only got a judge to agree to listen), then Microsoft's current regulatory difficulties might begin to look part of a systematic picture spreading back to Well, to the days when Microsoft developers allegedly used the catch-phrase "It [Dos 2.0] ain't done till Lotus won't run." ®
The Register breaking news

MS hits trouble with another video

MS on Trial US DoJ attorney David Boies has destabilised a second Microsoft demo video, after he pointed out another of those pesky little discrepancies. Boies left Microsoft's case bleeding heavily last week after demolishing Jim Allchin's demo video (see MS screws up video remake), and although this time around even Boies doesn't think the problems are "terribly critical", the latest problem certainly doesn't help... Given Microsoft's apparent difficulty in getting its people to make videos that just inform, rather than selling product, it now seems highly unlikely that MS is going to get a credible video into the court without sending the whole marketing crew off to a re-education camp. The latest video was presented by Internet Customer Unit VP Cameron Myhrvold, and was intended to show how much easier it was for a user to sign up to the Internet using a Windows 98 machine, rather than a Windows 3.1 one. The choice of platforms was eccentric, to say the least -- considering the amount of easy Internet sign-up real estate Microsoft has added to Windows since the days of 3.1 one would expect getting onto the Internet to be a breeze, comparatively. And of course quite a bit of this sign-up real estate is subject to what you might call certain contractual arrangements, so the Myhrvold demo could have provided grist to the DoJ's mill in other areas. Boies main query however was simply over the speed of the modems the two machines used. Signing up took five minutes on the Windows 98 machine, and 17 minutes on the older one. The 98 machine had a faster modem, but not significantly, claimed Myrhvold, saying that this only accounted for 22 seconds of the difference. So if you were thinking he was using 300 baud in the interests of retro authenticity forget it -- it was a 28.8 versus a 33.6. The major speed difference was accounted for by offline actions. Strange but true, Myhrvold appears to have been demonstrating that with windows 3.1 you had to load a bunch of Internet access stuff, TCP/IP and the like, onto the machine before you could surf the Web. QED, because later versions of Windows have all of this stuff preinstalled, Microsoft is good for consumers. ® Complete Register trial coverage
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MS dastardly plan deprived Netscape users of mouse

MS on Trial Microsoft contracts which required partners to produce some Web pages that showed "degradation in appearance" when visited by Netscape users didn't matter, because hardly anybody obeyed them anyway. That, at least, seemed to be the curious stance taken by company VP and witness William Poole yesterday. The DoJ had drawn attention to this aspect of Microsoft contracts on Monday, and questioning Poole on the subject yesterday Microsoft attorney Richard Pepperman tried to downplay the significance of the clause. Microsoft had been in dispute with Disney over the appearance of a Disney logo in NetScape's Netcaster channel bar. This particular spat, of course, was the one that induced a Disney exec to describe Microsoft as a "1000 pound gorilla." Pepperman suggested the problem was the presence on Mousketeer ears in the logo. "Is it fair to say this was a dispute between the King Kong of Content and the 1,000-pound gorilla over mouse ears?" he asked. Poole agreed. But Poole also said that Disney had been the only company that honoured the "degradation" aspect of the contracts, and that Microsoft had actually made no effort to enforce them. The degradation on the Disney site, apparently, was that Mickey Mouse danced across the screen for IE users, but declined to appear for Netscape. ® Complete Register trial coverage
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Intel serial number linked to US transaction plan

A US government programme which will be implemented in April of next year has been linked to the current furore over serial numbers in Intel's Pentium III. The US government's "Know your Customer" programme requires that all transactions identify the individuals or companies concerned. Because it is practically impossible to be sure of the identity of individuals using IP numbers and the like, that means that the serial number embedded in Intel's Pentium III and subsequent processors could be used as proof of identity by the programme. Two weeks ago, Intel was forced to change its stance on shipping Pentium III parts with the serial numbers switched on by default. That led to a call in the US to boycott Intel chips. (See Big Brother Inside) When Pat Gelsinger, a senior VP at Intel, announced the security plans at the Intel Developer Forum last year, he explained that using a serial number in a microprocessor would provide the level of authentication needed by companies transacting business over the Internet. (Intel Developer Forum coverage) According to Ken Catto, a reader who supplied this information, further details of the US law are to be found at these sites. 1, 2 and 3 ®
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Psion profit warning follows modem sales slump

Falling modem sales will hurt Psion PLC’s profit in 1999. Shares slumped 85p to 862.5p today on the news. The PDA maker blamed its profit warning on the decision of more notebook vendors to embed modems into their machines. "Psion Dacom's revenue for 1999 will be severely affected and have a significant impact on Psion's profit for 1999," the company says. So what happens if OEM revenues for Psion Dacom, Psion’s PC card division, and other PC card vendors melt away? Embeds can only make market conditions worse for Psion Dacom -- and other PC card vendors. Psion Dacom sales were the bright spot in the group’s patchy sales performance last year. Lifted by two enormous OEM contracts for IBM and Dell, PC card sales leaped 79 per cent to £25 million. Sales of PC Card modems boosted Psion’s first half profit by around five per cent. Psion’s PDA sales fell 11 per cent in the same period to £37 million. ®
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UK government praises work of Internet watchdog

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a self-regulating body set up in 1996 to address the problem of illegal material on the Internet, has been given a pat on the back by the UK government after a review of the organisation's activities. A joint initiative by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Home Office "commends the success of the IWF" for its work, especially in the fight against child pornography, which accounts for almost 90 per cent of the material assessed by the IWF. It also said the IWF has played a leading role in developing rating and filtering systems for Internet content that, although legal, may be regarded as harmful or offensive. Although the review is broadly supportive of the work done by the IWF it does make a number of recommendations to help the organisation keep pace with developments on the Net. Among them, it calls for the IWF to raise its profile and to sign up more Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to join its initiative. It also wants the IWF to step up its work on potentially illegal adult pornography and to start targeting other illicit activities such as financial scams, copyright infringement and racism. "The government is committed to taking effective action to tackle child pornography," said Home Office Minster Kate Hoey. "The report shows that the IWF has made an important contribution, responding to real and major public concerns about the abuse of the Internet, and I welcome its continued efforts, with the support of the police, service providers and the public, in removing this vile material," she said. A spokesperson for the IWF was unavailable for comment but a representative of the UK-based Internet Service Provider's Association (ISPA) said he was pleased with the findings in the report and that IWF would remain self-regulated. ®
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File caching faces chop from Eurocrats

The Internet could grind to a halt if draft legislation going before the European Parliament today is not amended. MEPs are considering the Draft Report on Copyright in the Information Society which, if passed unchanged, would outlaw the widespread practice of caching information. Although a cross-party group of MEPs has tabled an amendment which would exclude caching, the general secretary of the UK Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA), Nicholas Lansman, is unsure there is enough support for the change. "We have around 60 MEPs on our side at the moment and lobbying is continuing right up to the vote, but I just don't know how it will turn out," said Lansman. "If it does go through, though, it will be very serious for the Internet," he said. A vote is due to be taken around lunchtime today in Strasbourg. The creation of temporary files -- or caching -- is a common practice that helps speed up access for users, while reducing demands on limited Internet bandwidth. The proposed legislation would make caching an infringement of software developers' copyright. ISPA maintains that caching is not a threat to copyright holders but outlawing this practice would have serious consequences for the speed of Internet traffic and the development of electronic commerce in general. Even if the draft report is passed without this amendment the practicalities of policing caching would be almost impossible, said one technical expert. Every piece of Internet-related software on every single PC and server would have to be altered to take account of the changes, he said. A spokesperson for the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which has been lobbying in favour of copyright issue, was unavailable for comment. ® See also Eurocrats back tighter protection for digital copyright Anti-caching lobby wins round one of Euro vote Musicians demand EU protect copyright on the Net
The Register breaking news

Lynx wants Tetra – why?

Lynx Group PLC has been smoked out as the suitor for Tetra, the veteran accountancy software vendor. The ambitious computer services conglomerate says it is "in continuing discussions" with Tetra, concerning a possible all share offer for the company. Lynx already knows the Tetra well. In 1997, the company stumped up £10 million for Apex, the UK's biggest reseller for Tetra and SAP software. Richard Holway, the leading software industry analyst, said the two companies "seem an excellent fit". The Financial Times quotes unnamed analysts who say the deal would offer "considerable synergies between the two companies". But synergies for whom? Lynx's current business activities don't look particularly synergistic: they include relatively low margin computer training and distribution of Unix hardware and software, as well as line of business applications in the financial, commercial, automotive and communications sectors. A deal with Tetra would make more sense if Lynx reversed its business systems business into Tetra and injected some more capital into the company. That way, punters could get to reap the benefits of Tetra C3, through a pure play software company. Great things are predicted for C3, Tetra's new flagship client-server product. Tetra is also profitable, after declaring a small loss last time out. But money is tight, with restrictions placed on head count, and disappointing levels of investment in getting C3 out to market, according to resellers. Backed by strong paper, Lynx would have little trouble in digesting Tetra -- financially speaking. Tetra is relatively big compared with recent Lynx acquisitions, but it is still only a sixth of the size of Lynx, a £180 million t/o company. Tetra announced the takeover approach from an unnamed company on 1 February. The shares jumped 56p on the day to 243.5p. Shares were off one pence at 278.5p yesterday, valuing the company at £69.8 million when Lynx's name was revealed as its suitor. Lynx shares fell 6p on the day to 209p, giving it a market cap of £223 million. ®
The Register breaking news

Porno scaremongers in spin doctor shocker

Or, how to grab the public’s attention by use of sensationalist tactics The Register is delighted to see the UK government taking the Internet seriously at last. Indeed, its report into the work of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is to be commended. To publicise the report, the DTI sent out a press release - and why not. But the age old question facing anyone undertaking such a task is how to make their press release stand out from the crowd. The DTI decided to go straight for the jugular, it’s release came complete with the headline: "CHILD PORNOGRAPHY ON THE INTERNET" in big bold capital letters. The fact that underneath, in less pronounced type, it says: "Publication of review of the Internet Watch Foundation" is neither here nor there. And people call The Register tabloid…
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MS strangles puppy to save MacOffice

A Scottish Lemon Dog has seen off Microsoft's Rocky the Dog, in a trade mark dispute. Inner Workings, a Glasgow-based interactive games developer, found that Rocky, an assistant in Office 2000, bore a strange similarity to its Lemon Dog character. Coincidently, IW had shown its trademarked dog to Microsoft at a September 1996 trade show in Frankfurt. Lemon Dog is yellow with a blue bow tie. Rocky is also yellow, and has what appears to be a blue tag on a red collar. IW intends to use its dog as a free-roaming assistant for Windows, and thinks it could be confused with the younger Rocky, an office assistant for Microsoft's Office 2000 suite. Lesley Keen, IW's MD and a rising star in the Scottish software industry, was invited to a closed meeting with Tony Blair in Glasgow last week. She had written to Microsoft twice to ask them to stop using Rocky, to no avail. "We are not Microsoft bashing. Inner Workings has a close working relationship with Microsoft as a significant DirectX developer, but might is not right." IW then had a summons issued. Microsoft turned up with seven lawyers, and three executives: IW had just two lawyers. IW's case was that Rocky was likely to be confused since both characters were planned for use in Windows-based systems. Microsoft claimed that the characters are not similar, and made an extraordinary claim: Rocky had been "in continued use" prior to the granting of the Lemon Dog trademark, but was then known as "Rover", the predecessor of Rocky, in Microsoft Bob. [Bob is considered to be one of the few innovative Microsoft products, also featuring assistants, but it flopped in 1995 having sold only around 30,000 copies worldwide.] In its defence, Microsoft said that Rocky appeared in Office 98 for the Mac (with "over 25,000 licences" sold in the UK) and that if Rocky had to be removed, Mac Office would need to be withdrawn from the market for some three months. In addition, "more than 500,000 copies of Office 2000 beta" had been released, and "its removal from Office 2000 would delay release of that product by at least one week", with each week resulting in "revenue losses of tens of millions of dollars". The veiled threat was that if Microsoft won at a full hearing it would have incurred substantial losses. Normally this would have meant that IW would have to show substantial financial resources, in case it lost at a full hearing. Labyrinthine Scottish law came to the rescue, where a cross-undertaking is a factor, not a requirement. John MacKenzie of IW's lawyers Bird Semple, said that "in Scotland you were allowed to be poor and right". The second morning, a Microsoft lawyer interrupted the proceedings and offered an undertaking that required Microsoft to remove Rocky from packaging, advertising, marketing and promotional material, point-of-sale material, and from Microsoft's web site by yesterday. Microsoft said it was "very sensitive" to IW's concerns. The precise settlement terms are not being disclosed, but that is probably code for Microsoft having paid IW's expenses, and for silence on the matter. It appears probable that Microsoft avoided the risk of being ordered to withdraw Office 98 for the Mac by surrendering. It is also most likely that the lawyers in Edinburgh talked to Microsoft general counsel Bill Neukom overnight and were instructed not to lose the case, because it could damage the Washington trial. ®
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MS pushes prices down, not up, claims study

A report published last year by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) which said Microsoft's domination of the applications market had pushed software prices up got it completely wrong, the authors of a second study have claimed. Economists Stephen Margolis and Stan Liebowitz from North Carolina State University and the University of Texas, respectively, charted Microsoft pricing policy for their forthcoming book Winners, Losers and Microsoft: How Technology Markets Choose Products. The result: "Unbiased and careful studies discover that Microsoft lowers prices even when it achieves very large market shares, quite the opposite of the nonsense now being promulgated by the CFA and the Department of Justice," according to Liebowitz. As evidence, the authors cite the battle between Microsoft Word and WordPerfect. Between 1986 and 1992, US prices fell from $168 to $130. At that point WordPerfect's market share collapsed and it ceased to be a major competitor, prices subsequently fell even further, reaching just $46 by 1997. Margolis and Liebowitz claim that in ten software categories in which Microsoft competes, prices fell on average 65 per cent between 1988 and 1995. In five categories that Microsoft doesn't offer software, prices fell just 15 per cent. That may be true, but it has to be remembered that the fall in prices has come more by bundling applications together than because the prices of individual packages have been cut. Word may have effectively costed $46 in 1997, but you'd have had a job buying it as a standalone package at that price. The authors also point out that OS prices have fallen, with a DOS/Windows combo falling from $205 to $163 between April and December 1990. Last April, Windows 95 cost $185 and $98 for an upgrade pack; by the end of the year, Windows 98 was $169 and the upgrade $85. Still, the authors are keen not to be seen judging price cuts like these as a positive move on Microsoft's part -- they're simply saying that prices have come down, and it's wrong to claim otherwise, as the "poorly researched" CFA study claimed to show. Said Liebowitz: "[CFA researchers] base their conclusions on four referenced studies, one of which is a single paragraph in Business Week that discusses a study of industry-wide prices over a two-year period, surely too short a time span to draw any conclusions." ® Complete Register trial coverage
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Rise signs VML as North European rep

Chip company Rise has appointed VML to rep its x86 products in the UK and Northern Europe. VML's joint managing director, John Byrne, said his company was already in discussion with a number of OEMs to use the family of processors. The company is expected to announce its fab partner within the next few weeks, and already has its mp6 available in both 233MHz and 266MHz flavours. The 300MHz mp6 is sampling to companies at the moment. Meanwhile, information reached The Register from a different source that Rise will preview its mp6-2 at this year's CeBIT show in Hannover, Germany. And the same source told us that it will have a S-370 version available in the second half of this year, with clock speeds of up to 400MHz. ® Related Scoop Rise to announce Socket 370 breakthrough
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Intel invests in iBEAM

It seems that scarcely a day passes without Intel investing in yet another company. This time, the iBEAM Broadcasting Corporation is the victim of Intel's largesse. The company announced that Intel is one of the investors in a new round of financing amounting to $13 million. iBEAM has a satellite based network of distributed servers which distributes streaming video and audio across the world. It specialises in Webcast Distribution. It's probably about time for us to compile a list of the companies Intel has invested in over the last year. The last time we talked to the company, it had invested in over 60 countries in Europe. ® Intel is not an investor in The Register
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BSkyB and AOL to form partnership

Two global media giants have formed an alliance to cross-promote each other's services on TV and the Internet. In a package of measures announced today the satellite TV company BSkyB will be given a significant presence on AOL's service. In return, AOL UK will be promoted across Sky, including its Web site and consumer guides. BSkyB will supply content to AOL and become the "premier provider of news at aol.co.uk". "This deal brings together two of the most successful media companies in the world today," said BSkyB's CEO Mark Booth. "On Sky's part, the Internet will provide important opportunities for us over the coming years," he said. ®
The Register breaking news

ICL freezes Intel out of clever fridge market

Readers will recall how at last year's Intel Developer Forum, we were shown a clever freezer which managed an entire family's existence (see Intel thinks intelligent fridge will rule roost in 2005). But, it was carefully explained to The Register, this was simply a possible "future technology". However, now ICL has beaten Intel and actually launched an electronic fridge, linked to the Web so that you never need run out of eggs, cheese and beer. Adrian King, president of ICL's retail systems division, enthused wildly about the technology. "You notice you are running low on eggs. You swipe the carton past the barcode scanner, which makes a note on its personal shopping list. Then you send the list to a nominated supermarket." Hmmm. Long-toothed readers will recall that ICL a fair while back introduced a desk which had an embedded Sinclair computer in it. That bombed too. ®
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3Com greases Palm Computing Platform with wireless purchase

3Com is pumping up the Palm Computing Platform with the $17.5 million cash acquisition of Smartcode, a small French developer of wireless data technology. The deal confirms 3Com is veering into Symbian and Windows CE territory, with the Palm Computing Platform (PCP). With a wireless interface developer under its belt, PCP now has more functionality to tempt third party manufacturers in the emerging market for mobile information appliances. 3Com is not just buying Smartcode for its technology: the Montpelier based company already does real business with several telecoms and computer manufacturers including Alcatel, Motorola, Samsung Electronics and TDK Systems. Smartcode will now be renamed Palm Computing Platform Europe. According to research firm Dataquest, 3Com sits at the top of the handheld computing list. Dataquest said 3Com shipped 1.6 million handhelds worldwide last year, giving it a market share of 40.1 per cent. Sharp, Psion, Hewlett-Packard and Philips made up the rest of the top five global handheld market ranking. Forty-one per cent of handheld devices shipped in 1998 ran on the Palm operating system, 25 per cent were CE-based and 13 per cent ran Psion's Epoc32, the research said. ®
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Symbian to knock MS out of Siemens alliance?

A deal struck between Microsoft and Siemens a year ago seems in peril this week, with the news that the German company is talking to several software companies, including Sun and Symbian, over appliance operating software. According to German sources Siemens is talking to all three companies, and may be considering joining Motorola, Nokia and Ericsson as a shareholder in Symbian. Microsoft earlier this week announced an alliance with British Telecom, which now intends to trial Windows CE in the mobile phone arena, but the fact that Siemens is back in play suggests that Microsoft's CE alliances are vulnerable to predators. The original Microsoft-Siemens deal was struck early last year on a Bill Gates swing through Europe (see Gates' Euro charm offensive). Then, Siemens seemed MS' only solid win in Europe, and said it would use CE as its standard platform for Wireless, in-car systems, video phones, Internet appliances, TVs and cash registers. This little lot was supposed to be piloted in conjunction with Deutsche Telekom, but if this happened, presumably the pilot was not entirely successful. On the same trip, you'll note from our previous story, Gates failed to to achieve any kind of serious result from the then enigmatic Nokia. A few months later Nokia of course decided it wasn't going to play with CE, and threw-in with Psion and Symbian instead. Might history be about to repeat itself? ®
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Apexx commences channel development drive

US Internet hardware developer Apexx Technologies is firming up its channel as the first stage of a programme to expand the UK and European presence of its Linux-based Team Internet Net access solution. Last month Apexx signed up distributor Interquad to join CMS, and the company is close to signing a third, according to sources close to the company. At the same time, it has begun a reseller recruitment programme and will soon launch an authorised reseller scheme, said the company's UK representative, Tony Bassett of the International Business Channel (IBC). To promote Apexx and Team Internet, IBC is running a roadshow later this month, stopping at Newcastle Upon Tyne (23 February, Vermont Hotel), Warrington (24 February, Village Hotel), Birmingham (3 March, National Motor Cycle Museum) and London (4 March, Marriott Langley/Heathrow). Admission is free, and each event commences at 9am, finishing at 1pm. Team Internet is a Internet access device for small to medium-sized businesses. Apexx claims the Linux-based device can be plugged into straight an existing network to provide intranet services and Internet access via an ISP connected by a 56kbps modem, ISDN or Ethernet, and doesn't require the high level of administration and set-up of a Windows NT or Unix-based server. The system contains a rugged firewall to protect the local network, and can be set to monitor and control users' access to specific Net facilities and Web sites. The system is managed through a straightforward intranet Web page. ® To register for the roadshow, call 01344 752700 or email Tim Alder
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Viglen's off the page ban pays off

Viglen PC unit shipments eased "only" one cent for the six months to 31 December 1998, compared with the same period in 1997, despite a move away from off-the-page sales into higher margin networking. Like is not being compared with like -- the London computer builder's equivalent trading period in 1997 was only five months long. Nevertheless, Viglen's strategy to turn itself from a computer builder into a full-blown value-adding computer dealer is beginning to pay dividends. Viglen's off-the-page busines will represents less than ten per cent of the company’s turnover for the current financial year, chairman Alan Sugar revealed. "During the run-up to Christmas we continued with our policy of not focusing on low margin cash sales by not advertising off-the-page. This policy most certainly paid off. Sales in the first half were down on last year but were offset by substantial cost savings," he said, in a statement. "Viglen cash sales division will continue to offer PCs to second time knowledgeable buyers where price is not the criteria for purchase." Sales for the interim period were £47 million (1997: £40.2 million) and a pre-tax profit of £2.5m (1997: £1.8 million). The company recorded exceptional costs of £300,000 related to the takeover of the company last year by Amshold, Sugar's wholly-owned investment vehicle. Helpfully, Viglen breaks down its sales by market sector. Education sales were £17 million, up nine per cent on 1997. Viglen forecasts strong growth in this market, on the back of interest shown in the company's Classlink software package. This should translate into installations and sales in the summer months -- after Viglen's next year end. Corporate sales were £11 million, 7.6 per cent down on 1997. Sales in this sector were "slower than expected". However, the acquisition last year of Xenon (a networking reseller bought for peanuts from Datrontech) has helped "grow our solution sales into corporates which continue to grow in line with expectations". Public sector sales accounted for £8.7 million in the first half, 11 per cent up on the same period in 1997. Indications for February and March -- the key buying season for the UK public sector -- are "positive". Networking sales now account for 14 per cent of Viglen's group turnover, up from nine per cent at the end of the last financial year. It is unclear from Viglen's statement whether there is an element of double counting here, as the company sells networking into education and corporate sectors, through Xenon Networking Services. This division made a "small contribution" to group profits. ®
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Intel to introduce 700MHz mobile next year

Sources at an OEM said today that Intel will introduce a 700MHz mobile part early next year. The part will use a chipset based on the Camino chipset, the OEM said. And towards the end of this year, Intel will push out a whole family of Pentium III mobiles, the OEM confirmed. Meanwhile, Intel will continue to ramp up its mobile platform on the PII front by releasing fast processors in the middle of the year. ®
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Flat screen debuted by Samsung

Samsung Electronics today launched what it claims to be the world’s first flat-screen CRT monitor. The Korean manufacturer unveiled the SyncMaster IFT monitor, with a Dynaflat tube, in two models – 17" SM700IFT and 19" SM900IFT. According to Samsung, what makes them different is that they are not curved in the horizontal plane like traditional competitors’ flat screens. It said the Dynaflat tube is completely flat and therefore distortion free. It also claimed 86 per cent light transmission rate, compared to most manufacturers’ 53 per cent. The products were part of a launch of five large screen monitors. It also included two TFT additions – the SyncMaster 700TFT and SM800TFT 18.1" – and the SM9000SL 19" CRT monitor. Terry Hughes, group product manager, said Samsung had taken a sample of 52 UK graphic design agencies to assess problems in the market. He said today’s products had been introduced following the results: "The majority of those surveyed said they were currently using a 19" and above screen, but were working within the limits of their current monitor. That means putting up with distortion or brightness, or working in the centre of the screen." The research also revealed 96 per cent of those asked were using a Macintosh. 28 per cent said image quality was a more important aspect than price. ®
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ATI Rage 128 fastest 3D technology – Mercury Research

Mercury Research has released its latest PC graphics acceleration technology benchmark results. The data shows ATI's Rage 128 and nVidia's Riva TNT well ahead of the pack in the 3D world, but older technologies from Matrox and 3Dfx beating them at 2D acceleration. Using the Winbench 99 test suite running on a 450MHz Pentium II-based system, the Rage 128 was, with a score 743, the number one 3D performer, closely followed by the Riva TNT at 669. 3Dfx's Voodoo 2-based Banshee ranked third, with 431 points. S3's Savage3D scored 424 and Matrox's G200 rated 332. However, despite its relatively poor 3D performance, the G200 was the joint number one 2D acceleration technology, with a benchmark of 186 -- 3Dfx's Banshee also scored 186. At number three, the Riva TNT scored 177, closely followed by the Rage 127, with 175. The Savage3D and 3DLabs' Permedia II ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, with scores of 157 and 151. Mercury said all tests were conducted with the latest drivers as of 25 January, and represent the best possible performance under the Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) standard system set-up rather than the maximum possible performance that can be achieved by tweaking the system. "These results correctly reflect the performance of all hardware testing in this environment under the fairest testing conditions possible," the company said. ® Mercury's full results can be read here
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Anti-caching lobby wins round one of Euro vote

Lobbyists within the European Parliament are warning that the Internet could grind to a halt after they failed to get the Draft Report on Copyright in the Information Society amended in Strasbourg this afternoon. Seventies singing sensation turned MEP, Nana Mouskouri, was one of the people who helped spearhead the campaign in favour of copyright protection on the Internet. News of the two-thirds majority against the amendments -- which would have excluded caching from the report -- has come as a bitter disappointment to the European Internet Service Providers Association (EuroISPA) which campaigned vigorously in favour of the changes. If the draft report remains unchanged as it charts its passage through the European parliamentary process, the creation of temporary files -- or caching -- will be outlawed (see earlier story) and lead to a marked slowdown Net performance, EuroISPA warned. "If you outlaw the proxying of files then the Net will slow down," said a spokesman for EuroISPA. "Of course we recognise the value of potential copyright holders but we don't see how restricting caching will be of any benefit to them," he said. A spokesman at the Department of Trade and Industry tried to minimise the impact of today's news saying that the draft report still had to be presented to EU member states. While he couldn't make any promises, he said the UK government was likely to argue for a change. Lobbying on both sides of the argument has been intense all week, The Register has discovered. A leaflet from an anonymous source circulated last night warned that Net piracy could be caused by temporary files and urged MEPs not to vote for amendments which might create a legal loophole. The leaflet was believed to have influenced MEP’s voting decisions. ®
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C2000 brings components distributor Onboard

Computer 2000 today acquired the trade and business of PC components distributor Eurodis Onboard, causing around half of Onboard’s staff to face redundancy. The broadliner is paying £1.1 million for the assets of Onboard and has agreed to shell out an additional £300,000 for intellectual property rights, goodwill and contracts. Today’s announcement puts Computer 2000 in a stronger position when competing with other components distributors such as Datrontech, Microtronica and CHS subsidiary Karma. Onboard was a subsidiary of Eurodis Electron, but did not fit in with the company’s agenda for the future. Barry Davis, Eurodis group company secretary, confirmed around nine out of the 21 Onboard employees would be made redundant. The remainder would be found jobs within Eurodis Electron or Computer 2000. Davis said the job losses would be throughout all areas of the company. Graeme Watt, Computer 2000 MD, said: "We are not number one in this market, but we will work at gaining this position through organic growth and acquisition." He admitted that current market conditions were tough, but said Online’s business was primarily Intel-based – over 85 per cent – and that Computer 2000 had faith in this area. As part of the deal, Eurodis agreed not to compete for three years with the Onboard businesses that were being sold. It will continue in its core business of electronic component distribution, such as Intel CEG (Computer Enhancement Group) products in the UK through its Eurodis Bytech subsidiary, based in Basingstoke. Onboard’s pre-tax profit for the year ended 31 May 1998 was around £1 million. According to a statement issued by Eurodis, worsening trading conditions meant the company was only expected to break even this year. The cash from the deal will be used to reduce bank borrowings. ®