24th > February > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

Intel says new PIII socket on way for iMac look-alikes

Intel Developer Forum Senior Intel VP Paul Otellini today put flesh on the bones of its new motherboard design and said the Pentium III will have a new socket design shortly (see Intel Flex ATX motherboard to use 810 chipset). In an interview with The Register, Otellini said: "We will have small form factor Pentium III products and most will ship with some kind of socket design in time for when these machines ship. I won't commit to what kind of socket it will have." Otellini said the first machines using the new form factor will "certainly" be available by Christmas this year. He said Intel would have liked to have started shipping in August. Instead, machines are likely to arrive between September the first and November the first. The form factor machines are likely to be cheaper to manufacture than current PCs, but end users can expect to pay more for them. Because many of the designs use LCD screens, they will, however, "be more expensive than a beige box", he said. The introduction of the machines was not a kneejerk reaction to the success of the iMac, Otellini claimed. "Certainly the iMac was a wake up call to the [PC] industry," he said. ®
The Register breaking news

Intel's Otellini on… Alpha

Intel Developer Forum "There is still an area of the server market where we have a gap and Alpha occupies that. "If Alpha is the target then that is where we want to be. "[To stay in this business] it costs you a couple of million dollars a year and the cost of a fab. "This is a bloody expensive game to play." ®
The Register breaking news

Intel's Otellini on… Willamette

Intel Developer Forum "Willamette is on schedule. They're exactly on schedule. They haven't changed. "I think you're discounting how difficult it is to do 64-bit development in conjunction with multi 32-bit architectures. "If we didn't have to do 64-bit architectures, we'd have double digit extra resources to spend on it." ®
The Register breaking news

Intel's Otellini on… HP and Merced

Intel Developer Forum "The relationship with HP isn't the same as it was. The bulk of the collaboration was on the design of the architecture. "Beyond that, we're into implementation mode and HP is now like a classic customer. "HP is not helping us design Merced." ®
The Register breaking news

Merced only slightly undead

Intel Developer Forum Your favourite publication was privileged tonight to have held the package of Merced in its hands and not only talk to the architects but also to Steve Smith, who runs the whole show. Both Stephen Smith, VP and general manager of the Merced programme, and Hemar Dhulla, IA-64 programme manager, were keen to stress they almost had everything right. Smith said, showing The Register the packaging of Merced of which more later: "Everything is there apart from the silicon." The design, called the pin array cartridge (PAC), will include fast static RAM, made and designed by Intel, Smith confirmed. The package, which weighs about 6oz (170g), has an alloy metal on its base to dissipate the heat. It is the size of a standard American index card, he said. Smith claimed he had no knowledge of metallurgy but although the heat sink looked a little like the metal Aluminium, it was too heavy in our hands to convince us of that. It looked like steel and therefore must be some kind of super metallic thermal conductor. We have photographs but must have them converted into digital form before we can put them on our pages. Just down the road from the Forum is a rather clever looking firm that can do it. Thanks god ir is not Sunday in Palm Springs. Nevertheless, we are to blame in some senses because we forgot our battery heavy LG digital camera. This, we think, is good sense. Merced has clips on its sides, so allowing four to be hung from a motherboard, both below and above. The first rev, said Smith, will arrive in June as promised but Intel requires feedback from its OEMs. Smith was eloquent about the Linux platform and said that an announcement would come very soon. That could be as early as tomorrow. As it is early in the morning, we reserve the right to write our ten pages of notes up tomorrow. You will have to wait for that. Sorry. ®
The Register breaking news

Sun offers UltraSparc to Linux integrators

Sun is encouraging the development of Sparc-based Linux systems by offering UltraSparc system boards to what it terms "a select number of system integrators." The company's partners will be able to use the boards, according to Sun VP marketing Marge Breya, to "design high-performance UltraSparc platforms that run the Linux operating system". The systems will be based around Sun's Sparcengine Ultra AXi processor boards, which use UltraSparc-IIi processors. Sun is effectively offering the Linux route via these boards in order to cater for small and medium-sized ISPs, so Linux will to some extent be covering Solaris' rear by catering for the more price-conscious end of the market. The first system integrator to demonstrate a Sparcengine system using Linux is Singapore manufacturer Donovan Systems, which is aiming to push Sparc into education and government as an alternative to NT-based Pentium systems. ®.
The Register breaking news

MS subpoenas AOL-Netscape documents

MS on Trial Microsoft has issued subpoenas to Netscape, AOL and Sun requesting documents relating to the AOL takeover of Netscape. The company has already been given access to some documents covering the subject, but is now chasing additional information. The subpoenas were authorised last week, and Microsoft expects replies by the end of this week. When the AOL-Netscape deal was announced last year Microsoft hailed it -- somewhat optimistically -- as proving that it was not an invincible monopoly. The Department of Justice should therefore, said Microsoft, fold its tents and go home. AOL currently offers Internet Explorer as its preferred browser, and is contracted to continue to do this until 2001, but there is clear justification to Microsoft's view that once it owns Netscape it will be inevitable that AOL will switch back to Navigator, and boost Netscape's market share back up. But it's a little difficult to interpret that as meaning that Microsoft's activities didn't actually damage Netscape in the long run, and Microsoft still has to prove that it didn't try to damage Netscape. The effect of the deal on the browser wars however is less interesting than the construction of the deal itself, and Sun's role in it. With luck, the subpoenaed documents should provide useful material on this. The Sun alliance which was announced at the same time as the takeover includes significant financial advantages for AOL-Netscape, and could be viewed as subsidising the deal to some extent (see MS to see documents). It's not Sun that's on trial here, of course, but Microsoft ought to be able to make some mileage out of the cartel aspects of the deal, and back up its plaintive claims that it's done nothing wrong, and anyway, everybody does it. ® Complete Register trial coverage
The Register breaking news

The virtual knives are out among the UK ISPs

ISPs in the UK inhabit a cutthroat market. David Cronin, director of operations at Virgin Net appeared to really enjoy BT's apparent misfortune when the Daily Telegraph reported that ClickFree had a bug. "They [BT] have simply gone for a lightweight service," he said. Meow, pussycats. Still, Cronin probably took lessons from his boss, Richard Branson, who really sharpened his claws on AOL when Virgin Net announced last week it was to launch a subscription-free service. "I read this morning that Frank Keeling, marketing director of AOL, believes that people will always be willing to pay to look at interesting and relevant content. We are offering it free to the customer, along with free access. Other free Internet services do not offer anything like this quality of content," said Branson. Ouch. So it's nice to know that while it's everyone for themselves in the real world, the rest of the industry can bury their differences (or should that be a hatchets?) for at least a few hours when they get together for trade conferences. ISPCON, which opened in Hammersmith, London on Tuesday, is billed as the only convention dedicated to the ISP. After spending a few hours trawling round some of the stands and exhibitors, it's just as well. ®
The Register breaking news

MS exec caught fibbing about Netscape code

MS on Trial Did Microsoft threaten Netscape at the fateful meeting of 21 June 1995, and did it offer a carve-up of the browser market between the two companies? Microsoft witness Dan Rosen has this week been engaged in a mission to prove that it did neither, but from yesterday's court proceedings it seems it's the way you tell them. In his written testimony Rosen says there was no attempt to divide the market at the meeting, and that no threats were directed at Netscape. Jim Barksdale's claim to the contrary is "one of the falsehoods uttered by Netscape with regard to dealings between Netscape and Microsoft in June 1995." But under further pressure from DoJ attorney David Boies in court yesterday Rosen said that part of the purpose of the meeting had been to ensure the companies did not compete, and that: "We offered several inducements if they would adopt our platform technology." It would seem reasonable to suppose some linkage between these two matters, and it might also seem reasonable that the inducements would be perceived either as carrot- or stick-shaped, depending on your perspective. The accuracy of the notes taken at the meeting by Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen are disputed by Microsoft, but they say: "Threat that [Microsoft] will own the Win95 client market and that Netscape should stay away." That's a strange way to interpret offers of co-operation and sundry inducements, but Microsoft does tend to make such offers in a rather robust way. Rosen himself had been badly discredited earlier in the week , but yesterday's session got worse, when his own recollections of the meeting were seriously undermined. Boies asked him when he first had access to Netscape's browser for Windows 95, and he responded that it was in July 1995. Boies then showed him one of his own emails from May saying: "Can I borrow/copy the Netscape Win95 new client they gave us?" (We trust this was in accordance with any licensing agreements and NDAs.) At this point Rosen said he'd never received it anyway, and that it was a version that didn't work which had been obtained by a colleague at another Netscape meeting. Boies: "You don't remember that, do you sir? You're just making that up right now." Rosen said he did remember. Boies: "You're sure it was May and not April?" Rosen: "Yes." Then the trap sprang shut. Rosen had sent an email on 27 April saying: "Do you remember who took the Netscape Win95 browser they gave us during our last meeting? I'd like to get a copy." He then had to withdraw his claims, and concede he'd been at the meeting when the software was given out. It's not immediately obvious why Rosen's memory should be faulty at this juncture. If Netscape was showing Microsoft beta software as early as April 1995, then this is surely evidence that there was a possibility of mutual co-operation between the companies at this stage. Microsoft had been courted by Netscape to use Navigator in Windows 95, but had opted for a deal with Spyglass instead, but it's currently in Microsoft's interest to show that there was a relationship. On the other hand, if Microsoft had access to Netscape technology this early, but went with other technology and its own browser development programme, one might wonder what it was that the MS people were doing with the Navigator code. Microsoft certainly aimed to match Navigator's features, and was certainly engaged in a catch-up programme, so access to the code may have been exceedingly useful. Is that why July might have been a less dangerous date than April? ® Complete Register trial coverage
The Register breaking news

HP VeriFone takes lead on e-commerce via mobile phones

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has signed a deal with De La Rue and VeriFone aimed at increasing security in the mobile e-commerce market. Smart card manufacturer De La Rue and VeriFone, a division of HP that provides secure electronic payment packages, yesterday announced the VeriSmart GSM agreement with HP. The deal aims to raise customer confidence in doing business over the Internet using mobile phones. Based on Java Card 2.1, it uses De La Rue's SIMphonIC Toolkit and VeriFone's VeriSmart server with interfaces to Internet payment and payment processing software. The server communicates with mobile phones as well as performing checks with financial institutions. Electronic cash, electronic ticketing and buying over the Internet are some of the other functions also available. Paul Goode, De La Rue business development manager, said the smart cards would start shipping in the UK at the beginning of second quarter. Goode added: "As the Internet and mobile phones come together, we need to make sure that e-commerce transactions are secure." The deal will start with operators in Asia, and later in Europe. ®
The Register breaking news

Liquid Audio, Texas Instruments ready digital music spec

Texas Instruments and Liquid Audio yesterday announced they plan to leap on the digital music player bandwagon set rolling by Diamond Multimedia's Rio PMP300. However, rather than develop and market their own player, the pair are proposing to define a specification and hardware reference design which will then presumably be licensed to vendors keen to take a share of the downloadable music market. Liquid Audio claimed to be in discussion with a number of consumer electronics companies interested in licensing the specification, though it would not name names. Companies that do take up the Liquid Audio/Texas Instruments system will be able to begin development and distribution of their own products by the third quarter of the year. The system's key selling point is that it has copy protection software built in. The partners' sales pitch will undoubtedly stress the fact that other digital music players, including the Rio, lack such safeguards, and that's why they have incurred the wrath of the music industry. That said, the next release of the Rio will feature copyright protection, because it adds support for Liquid Audio's LiquidTracks format to its existing support for the MP3 format. It may also support the modified version of MP3 proposed by the Genuine Music Coalition (see MP3 companies to launch anti-piracy coalition), which digitally watermarks downloaded tracks. The next Rio is due later this year. The more licensees the joint venture gains the better will go Liquid Audio's attempt to persuade the music industry-led Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) to choose to LiquidTracks as the basis for its universal open yet copyright-protecting digital music format. However, potential licensees may choose to wait until the SDMI publishes its preferred specification. Until then, the big labels are unlikely to begin offering tracks from major artists to make digital music players a consumer, rather than a Net-nerd, purchase. The SDMI is expected to publish its draft proposals this summer, with the finalised specification due early autumn. ®
The Register breaking news

Can AOL turn the tide of free Net access by pushing for unmetered call charges?

Analysis AOL's public declaration last week that it was committed to the idea of unmetered call charges for Internet access must have taken many people by surprise. With such a high profile company adding its considerable bulk to this most Networthy cause, it will have, no doubt, cheered many advocates of a more liberal pricing structure for Internet access. But you don't have to be all that twisted or cynical to believe that AOL's sudden support of unmetered call charges has been done for any reason other than to protect its revenue source. Under extreme pressure in the UK from the tidal wave of subscription-free service providers, AOL is trying to play King Canute and stem the tide. But some people reckon they're going to get more than just their feet wet -- especially if the UK becomes a fully-fledged subscription-free zone. The fear is that if it happens in the UK the rest of Europe could topple. Such a scenario would be catastrophic for AOL. But what of the practicalities of introducing unmetered charges? It took Oftel, the UK's telecoms regulatory body, nearly two-and-a-half working days and a chat to their lawyers to come up with some kind of woolly response. The Register asked Oftel about the government -- could it drive through legislation to introduce the Holy Grail of Net? The wall of silence from the so-called experts was deafening. The truth of the matter is that no one knows how the wholesale introduction of unmetered call charges can be carried out unless there is an intense will and desire to do so. So does AOL have the will to succeed? When an AOL representative was asked how it could back unmetered call charges when it would, in effect, mean that pensioners’ phone bills would be used to subsidise Net users. "Give me ten minutes to think about it and I'll come back to you," she said. There's nothing like being prepared, and that really was nothing like being prepared. ®
The Register breaking news

Call Sciences unveils unified messaging for handsets

Call management company Call Sciences has shown off a product which allows users to hear emails via mobile phones. Demonstrated to the industry for the first time at GSM World Congress 99, Unified Call Management (UCM) allows a single number to store and access email, fax and voice messages. Emails can be heard on mobile phones via text-to-speech technology. The US software company also claims messages will track you down wherever you are, adding a new dimension to the phenomenon of email stalking. Due to be launched in the UK on 18 March, UCM is an extension of the US company's existing single-number software. UCM uses Oracle's Internet Messaging platform. Users can filter emails by sender, subject or priority and reply to messages via the PC using a single mailbox accessed via the Internet. The product is an add-on to Call Sciences' existing software Personal Assistant, a single number system that routes calls and faxes to find the user on several designated numbers. This means UCM will try the user according to the time, day or the number it found them at last. UCM has been running in the US for three weeks. In the UK it will sell through Martin Dawes, over the Internet and mobile service providers. John Angus, Call Sciences UK marketing director, said: "UCM is designed for people on the move. Business is often missed or delayed when messages don't get through. This system tries any designated number -- home, work or mobile, and will send emails, calls and faxes to the answered or designated number." The company was set up in 1994 and has its European headquarters in the UK in Slough, Berkshire. ®
The Register breaking news

HP finalises Linux, open source plans

Hewlett-Packard is planning to follow IBM's lead and next week announce major support for Linux across its product line. And the company intends to embrace the open source software movement, driven by a new Open Source Solutions Operation (OSSO) division, also due to be announced next week, porting its key applications to Linux and releasing the code as open source. In an interview with PC Week magazine in the US, HP exec Wayne Caccamo, who will head the OSSO, pre-empted the company's raft of announcements, to be made at the LinuxWorld conference. HP's view, he said, is that Linux will emerge as the platform of choice of online businesses and ISPs. Since HP is specifically targetting its server products at precisely those customers, increased Linux support makes sense. Indeed, HP said earlier this year that Linux will become one of its core OS offerings (see earlier story). Caccamo also said HP will support Linux on its PA-RISC servers. The task of bring Linux to PA-RISC has been outsourced to Linux consultancy and development organisation The Puffin Group, in a deal that's similar to the one IBM has struck with Red Hat (see IBM confirms Linux deal with Red Hat). "We see this a potentially an indication of how things [might] get done in the future," Caccamo said, though words such as 'potentially' and 'indication' don't exactly make for a definitive statement. HP is also working on a version of Linux for Intel's Merced processor, though it's not clear whether The Puffin Group will be involved in this project too. Back in January, the Wall Street Journal claimed HP was also planning to offer Linux on its IA-32-based servers, possibly with Red Hat. However, whether a Red Hat deal is still on the cards given HP's new ties with The Puffin Group and Red Hat's deal with IBM, remains to be seen. ®
The Register breaking news

Sunday Sport sister company to launch porno ISP service

A company allied to the Sport newspaper - the UK tabloid never known to shy away from publishing as much sex and nudity as possible - is to offer a Web service aimed at people looking for pornography. Not that it’s ever been hard to find porn on the Web, in fact for many people the issue here is how to keep away from it. The service will be offered by Solarnet, which is part of the Gold Star pornography group and run by David Sullivan. The service will take the Sport’s familiar in-yer-face approach to matters of the flesh and replicate it online. Mark Sawtell, a director of Solarnet is reported to have said that there is a massive demand for a porn-specific Web service. "90 per cent of traffic on the net is adult content. This is clearly what people want." Gold Star is also behind a number of top-shelf adult magazines, including Rustler and will be distributing 300,000 CDs with the service’s software. It also has interests in a dozen porn-related Web sites, two live video channels and the site for the Sport paper. The company hopes to broaden the service out and eventually over Web porn via the TV in peoples’ homes. Sawtell added: "There is a big market of people out there who are embarrassed to buy a magazine, but would welcome the chance to have material delivered discreetly to their TV." Interesting use of the word discreet, Mark. ®
The Register breaking news

Intel gives S3 chance to influence digital display standard

Intel's decision to patronise S3 seems to be paying unexpected dividends for the 3D graphics specialist. The original deal was a pretty straightforward technology sharing agreement. However, Intel yesterday said it was sponsoring S3's membership of the Digital Display Working Group (DDWG). The DDWG's remit is to define an interface specification for digital plat panel displays. Its membership currently includes Intel itself, Compaq, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, NEC, IBM and Silicon Image. Getting S3 on board will make it a darn sight easier for the company to get the LCD control component of its Savage4 chip-set accepted by the DDWG as part of the specification. That would prove a major boost for S3, which is hoping the Savage4 will lift it out of the doldrums the company found itself after being out-innovated by the likes of ATI. It would also be one in the eye for 3Dfx, which has great hopes for its LCDfx technology in the emerging digital display market. ®
The Register breaking news

Free Web service for Gateway UK customers

Gateway -- the bovine PC company -- has launched its own subscription-free Net access service in the UK. Available to anyone who buys a Gateway PC, consumers will have the option to have their systems configured to access the Internet through gateway.net free of charge. Global ISP UUNET will provide the infrastructure to run the Net service and Yahoo! will provide co-branded, personalised Web pages. Mike Swalwell, MD, Gateway UK & Ireland, said: "With this level of expertise, Gateway is entering the market with a product that is designed to give our clients the easiest and fastest way to get on and experience the Internet." Gateway.net offers V90 access, five email addresses and 15MB of Web space. Calls made to the technical support helpdesk will be charged at £1.00 a minute. ®
The Register breaking news

Calluna plummets on profit warning

Calluna's army of small investors are nursing big paper losses, following yesterday's sharp drop in the mini-disk drive maker's share price. "A wave of selling by well-informed punters on talk of imminent bad news saw them fall 4p to 23p," the Daily Mail reports. "Then surprise, surprise. Almost 30 minutes after the official close", Calluna warned that results for the year to 31 March were likely to be "substantially below expectations". Why? Because the company's forward order book sucks. The market had anticipated a £1 million loss for the full year. We'll have to see how much "substantially below" the revised results will be. The Daily Mail is right to be cynical about yesterday’s trading frenzy in Calluna shares -- "turnover was a lumpy 9.7 million", an astonishing figure for such a titchy company. Perhaps it's time for shareholders to get a little more cynical about this always jam tomorrow company. Back in December we noted that Calluna had hit its first ever profitable month. We also predicted the company would need to tap shareholder for more funds. At the time, Calluna denied that it would need another rights issue. That was either very brave or very stupid. Now, Calluna's directors will lose all credibility if the company has to go back cap in hand to shareholders. ®
The Register breaking news

Tri-band Motorola phone fit for a secret agent

In Cannes this year, the mobile phone industry discovered it had its very own Goldfinger, in the shape of Motorola. This had nothing to do with product launches -- though there were plenty of those. Motorola announced what it claimed was a world first in its tri-band GSM phone, the L7089, which operates on all three GSM frequencies: 900, 1800 and 1900MHz. This nifty device includes a SIM Application tool-kit, two way text messaging and 14.4Kbps data support. It can be used when travelling in Europe, Asia and the Americas on GSM networks. The L7089 is expected to launch in Europe, Middle East and Africa in the second quarter of 1999, part of a portfolio of digital world phones launched at the conference this week. Also included in the launch were the i2000 dual-mode wireless handset, which allows roaming in over 125 countries throughout Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Users can retain a single phone number and billing between continents. Motorola also launched the Satellite Series 9500 portable phone, pager and cellular cassettes designed to operate on the Iridium system. Meanwhile, from Cannes to Swindon... There was talk at the conference that Motorola's Swindon factory had been designated the set for the next James Bond film. The Groundwell manufacturing facility apparently has a space age appearance that captured the imagination of Eon Products, which is making the 007 extravaganza. Pierce Brosnan was said to be eyeing up the glitzy setting for the 19th Bond movie, The World is Not Enough, as those attending GSM World Congress 99 supped their Martinis. But even Brosnan won't prevent the Motorola factory from churning out its kit. Adrian Nemcek, Motorola senior vice-president vowed manufacturing would not be interrupted for the arrival of the megastar and fellow actress Sophie 'Schwing' Marceau. "Work will not stop for James Bond," said Nemcek. "You could say we will be stirred but not shaken by his presence." ®
The Register breaking news

UK government warns of dangers of hackers

House of Commons Leader Margaret Beckett took time out from spreading fear about the flesh-eating Millennium Bug to talk instead about the threat of hackers bringing the country to its knees. Addressing the Critical National Infrastructure Conference yesterday, she said that while the dangers from an electronic attack on key information systems was low at the moment, they would increase in time. The more the country relies on networks for critical information, the more susceptible it becomes to attack, she said. "I don't want to exaggerate the danger of a malicious attack on the infrastructure," she said, before reeling off a catalogue of potential apocalyptic disasters. "Network attacks respect no boundaries," she said. "In the USA... there have been plenty of occasions where intruders have gained access to quite a large number of systems. Not so much access to top secret, national defence computers -- but certainly some important ones such as those which control telecommunications networks." Thankfully, as the audience was about to dash for the doors and head for the hills, Mrs Beckett assured them that the UK had not suffered in the same way. "I said earlier that I did not want to exaggerate the risk, but I do want to assure you that it is being taken seriously," she added. Well, that's all right then, isn't it...? ®
The Register breaking news

Intel Pentium III vs. AMD K6-III – the benchmarks

Technology testing Web site Tom's Hardware Guide today published the first in-depth comparison of the Intel Pentium III and AMD's K6-III. The verdict: the K6-III rules the roost on business applications, but the Celeron is tops for games and floating-point intensive work. The Pentium III, for now, beats the Pentium II solely because of its faster clock speed. Both chips were reviewed in comparable systems and tested with a wide variety of benchmarks to compare their performance with business applications, games and high-end graphics software. Both processors were also compared for the performance boost they give under Windows 98 and the more CPU-intensive Windows NT. For business applications, tested using the Winstone99 business suite, the 450MHz K6-III came tops: it scored 24.3 over the 500MHz Pentium III's score of 24 -- the same score achieved by the Celeron 500/100. The 400MHz K6-III came in ahead of the 450MHz PII and 450MHz PIII, scoring 23.2 to both Intel CPUs' joint score of 22.9, an improvement of 1.3 per cent. Under Windows NT, the K6-III's relatively poor floating-point performance saw it well down on the PIII. The 500MHz PIII scored 34.9 on the Winstone99 business benchmark; the 450MHz PIII scored 33.1 and the 450MHz K6-III scored 32.2. With the Winstone99 high-end NT test, the 500MHz PIII scored 30.2, the 450MHz PIII 28.7 and the 450MHz PII 28.6. The 450MHz K6-III was well down, on 23.4. To compare gaming performance, Tom's Hardware Guide measured 3Dfx Voodoo3 3500 (see 3Dfx unveils Voodoo3 2000, 3000 and 3500) frame rates at 1024x768. The 500MHz PIII scored 46.4m, compared to the 450MHz K6-III's 40.2. Using 3D winbench99 to compare 3D Now! Against the PIII's Streaming SIMD Extensions (SSE), in a lighting and transform test, the 500MHz PIII scored 62.9, the 450MHz PIII 57.1, the 450MHz K6-III 43.1 and the 400MHz K6-III 39.4. Again, the Intel parts come out on top. "My verdict on the K6-III," said Tom's Hardware Guide chief, Tom Pabst, "buy it if office applications are most important to you. Get a Celeron if you care about 3D games or other floating point intensive software. "K6-III is now the fastest PC processor for business applications under Windows 98, but as soon as Intel releases the Pentium III 550, the crown will go back to Intel." As for the PIII: "The Pentium III is only faster than the Pentium II due to a higher clock speed. We will have to wait if there will be any software that can take a real advantage of SSE... For now, I cannot see why anybody has to rush into buying Pentium III processors. Celeron is still the best bang for the buck." ® The Register recommends you visit Tom's Hardware Guide's full set of benchmarks and complete analysis of the new processors and their predecessors.
The Register breaking news

Gates thanks Compaq witness for help over trial

MS on Trial David Boies for the DoJ slowly set up Compaq VP John Rose by asking when he had last met Gates, and how frequently he had been in Redmond-at the end of October 1998, for instance. Rose replied he did not believe he had been there then. Had he spoken to Gates or anyone at Microsoft about the present case, Boies asked. Only to Paul Maritz when he had invited him to testify on Microsoft's side, Rose replied. Rose then produced an email, dated 2 November 1998, in which Gates referred to a 30 October meeting between Compaq and Microsoft. Gates noted: "I thanked Rose for all of his trips to Seattle and his willingness to extract [sic] a lot of time for the lawsuit." Judge Jackson then asked Rose to confirm again that he had not discussed the matter anybody at Microsoft. Rose replied: "That is correct. Nor with any of Microsoft's counsel." Now why would Gates, whose manners are brutish at best, take the unusual step of singling out Rose for thanks in this way? Surely there had not been any improper collusion over the presentation of evidence. Either some mannered human is handling Gates' correspondence, or there is something very fishy going on here. Could it be that Gates was setting up Rose? ® Complete Register trial coverage
The Register breaking news

Compaq testimony points to murky secrets of MS relationship

MS on Trial John Rose, senior vp and general manager of enterprise computing at Compaq, spent an uncomfortable three days in the witness box at the Microsoft trial.
The Register breaking news

Compaq-MS murky secrets II – an analysis

MS on Trial Many secrets about how Compaq negotiates with major partners such as Microsoft and AOL have been exposed in the transcript of Compaq vp John Rose's evidence at the Microsoft trial, and in documents that have been released.
The Register breaking news

nVidia revenues, profits way up

3D acceleration specialist -- and pretender to the 3Dfx crown -- nVidia has reported revenues of $65.5 million for its latest fourth quarter, ended 31 January 1999. The company made a profit of $7.7 million in the same period. For the same quarter last year, the company made $1.4 million on revenues of $23.5 million. That means nVidia increased its Q4 turnover by 178 per cent between 1997 and 1998. For the year as a whole, Nvidia posted a profit of 4.1 million, compared to a loss of $3.6 million for 1997. Revenue for the year was $158.2 million, up 444 per cent on last year's $29.1. The figures will no doubt come as welcome news to punters who opted to buy into nVidia following its January IPO (see nVidia IPO a success). In any case, they show the company is clearly selling kit and selling it well, despite the perception that 3Dfx completely rules the 3D acceleration roost. Still, nVidia has some way to go to meet 3Dfx, financially if not technologically. 3Dfx's fourth quarter 1998 revenues totaled $60.7 million, up 273 per cent on the $22.2 million recorded for the same period last year. However, the increase in revenue did not translate into equally expanded profitability -- for Q4 98, 3Dfx made $2.09 million; the Q4 97 figure was a barely-lower $2.07 million, but both figures are well ahead of nVidia's equivalents. ®
The Register breaking news

Intel geezer talks in Geyserville

Intel Developer Forum Senior executives at the Intel Corporation talked about products which will arrive in Autumn using Pentium III technology which will dramatically increase power performance. According to the Intel source, the combination of 0.18 micron technology, Streaming SIMD extensions in the PIII and Geyserville technology will make mobile machines much better. Geyserville dynamically changes both the voltage and frequency of the silicon part. It is proprietary Intel technology which will be given free to vendors which use the microprocessors. Intel has no plans to license the technology to competitors including AMD, NatSemi and others. At the same time, the Intel source told The Register that its mobile Celerons will use the 440MX chipset. He revealed that Intel is actively lobbying international airlines and hotel chains to assist end users and executives to keep their machines running, wherever that is. Fully functional mobiles are likely to cost around $1200 by early next year. ®
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Eight-way Intel SMP systems to arrive in April

Intel Developer Forum Intel customers, including Compaq, will introduce eight-way SMP systems in April, the company confirmed today. John Miner, senior executive of the server group at Intel US, claimed that 3.5 million "real servers" shipped in 1998, worldwide. The growth rate for SMP systems, from two-way to eight-way, showed that CAGR for Intel was 38 per cent and only two per cent for non-Intel vendors. "The Internet is driving the growth rate," said Miner. "There is a whole new category of applications." And, Miner claimed, one of the big forces driving the SMP market are small to medium sized businesses. "The Internet is an equaliser," said Miner. "It gives small businesses the chance to significantly expand their reach." Profusion-Corollary executives were not at the Intel Developer Forum, said Miner, because they were too busy working on the technology. Miner said that large corporations now realised they did not have to use so-called legacy systems and the most enterprising were basing their businesses on x86-based servers. ®
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Electronics Boutique is Game predator

Electronics Boutique has confessed that it is the mystery suitor for Game, its closest rival in the UK high street entertainment software retail market. EB says discussions are "preliminary discussions" with Game, concerning a possible recommended offer. Earlier today Game, rushed out a statement to the London Stock Exchange, confirming that it has received an approach that could lead to an offer for the company. This followed unusual movement in the company's stock, with the price jumping 30.5p to 133p and 968,000 shares changing hands, in a hectic morning's trading. EB says discussions are "preliminary discussions" with Game, concerning a possible recommended offer. Last week chief exec Paul Lloyd-Roach denied industry reportsthat it had received a bid approach from Dixons Stores Group. ®
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Otellini on… Instant Dismissal

Intel Developer Forum "If a sales person said they wouldn't sell Intel chips because a company was buying AMD chips, they would be fired on the spot? I categorically deny it." Otellini was responding to a question from a British journalist who had received two separate calls from UK OEMs claiming they were put under that pressure. ®
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Intel, Transmeta, Linus Torvalds in cahoots

Intel Developer Forum A senior VP on the architecture front told The Register that Linus Torvalds, who now works for Transmeta, has worked for them in the past. But not only that. According to the source, Intel has already booted the Linux operating system on a gate level. "We're very far along with the Linux discussions. There are very few people, however, who are export enough to port it." Said Stephen Smith, architecture chief of the Merced programme: "We know Linus, we work with him and we've worked with him before. We have something to announce very shortly." The source told The Register that our story about Microsoft developers and Intel developers falling out was not completely true. But he did say there was much more than a grain of truth in it. ®
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Fifty per cent of original Corollary Profusion staff gone

Intel Developer Forum A source intimate with Intel's plans told The Register today that nearly half of the original developers of Profusion-Corollary have left the company. That is likely to concern major OEMs like Compaq, Dell and HP, which have plans to implement this technology soon. According to the reliable source, Compaq is now seriously considering whether it wishes to implement Intel's plans. This morning, John Minor, who heads up Intel's server division in the US, insisted that everything was on track for the introduction of eight way SMP technology. This situation reminds The Register of problems major vendors had making the Pentium Pro run eight way. Data General and ALR, subsequently taken over by Gateway, had solutions. But humidity problems with die in the same package as the Pentium Pro meant that large companies like Compaq were unable to roll out their plans on time. ®
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Intel explains investment plans

Intel Developer Forum Les Vadasz, who joined Intel before Andy Grove did, yesterday explained how the chip goliath made its investment decisions. Vadasz, who quipped: "You don't want to hear about how I got there before Grove", said Intel has a large pool of money and is investing in new media companies and security companies, as well as others. There are two reasons for the investments but the primary reason is to accelerate the development of new market segments, Vadasz said. "You can't alone move the world," said Vadasz. "We have recognised a long time ago this interdependence." He said, talking of companies Intel had invested in: "Today, there are over 200 companies, many are small but a number are public companies. Last year we invested $800 million." Companies Intel has invested in include Be, and Red Hat. The latter told us yesterday the new Linux kernel would not arrive until April at the earliest. But Intel is not interested in managing companies it invested in, said Vadasz, leaving that to venture capitalists. "I expect VC investment in the same companies," he said. "We insist it [the VC] will look after the management side." The percentage Intel takes is between five and 20 per cent, said Vadasz. "We try to be under the 20 per cent limit," he said. Twenty per cent of investment is in foreign, meaning non-US companies, said Vadasz. ®