24th > May > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

Tosh profit plummets by 89 per cent

A year ago From The Register, a year ago Another Japanese giant has turned in poor financial results, with Toshiba announcing a drop of profits by 90 per cent. Last Friday, Fujitsu reported a similar decline in figures. Toshiba said that its net profit droped by nearly 90 per cent for its latest financial year to 7.34 billion yen on sales of 5.458 billion yen. The drop in profitability is similar to Fujitsu’s and Toshiba cited similar reasons. It said sales of chips, PCs and its consumer products fell but unlike Fujitsu, sales in the North American region were disappointing. Its North American division reported an operating loss for the financial year. Although senior Toshiba executives in Japan forecast a return to profitability in its coming financial year, the news, coupled with Fujitsu’s earlier results, are set to cause further blips in the PC market. According to reports, Toshiba America was hard hit by the increase in the sub-$1,000 market and will now take steps to address that sector. In the UK, Toshiba is best known for its range of notebook PCs, which hold dominant market position here, but its Equium desktop has so far made little progress in a tough market. ®
Mike Magee, 24 May 1999

Clothed K7 found on Web

Hardware site Firing Squad has posted what it claims is a preliminary set of benchmarks for the up-and-coming K7. The site said that it had access to a pre-production model and while it wasn't able to benchmark it to its usual standards, it saw and felt enough of it to give it a reasonable spin, it claimed. Pictures of the modestly clad K7 can be found here. We'll ask our contacts at AMD Euro later today. The cartridge K7 FiringSquad looked at was a 550MHz module, the site says. ®
Mike Magee, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Final MS trial depositions line up

MS on Trial There are more depositions to come before the trial resumes, although the DoJ has not yet posted the required formal three days notice of the dates and places. Judge Jackson's procedural Order allows witnesses to be deposed before they are examined in the witness box and cross-examined. However, witnesses can only be deposed a second or subsequent time if there is new information. Economists, who act essentially as historians rather than technologists, cannot be deposed a second time. Edward Felten, who was viciously attacked by Microsoft over his prototype IE disabling program, will face interrogation on Wednesday in Washington. On Thursday, former IBM strategist Garry Norris will testify in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is likely to be the most interesting of the new witnesses. Finally, Gordon Eubanks, formerly CEO of Symantec and a Microsoft sympathiser, will be deposed on Friday in San Jose. It is possible that David Colburn will be deposed again if Microsoft can convince the court that there are new facts - and Judge Jackson is likely to take a lenient view of such arguments so he cannot be found to be obstructive should there be an appeal. Because of the failure so far to post the notice about Felten's deposition three days in advance, it is possible that the deposition could not be taken if there were media or public objections, although Judge Jackson could amend his Order. It is unlikely that the DoJ would object, despite Microsoft being the party that should have provided the formal notice -- although it is of course possible that the DoJ failed to post it on its web site. So far as Microsoft is concerned, the lawyers are sharpening their claws. ® Complete Register trial coverage
Graham Lea, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Has Microsoft's defence run out of ideas?

MS on Trial "One of the things I committed to when I took on this job was to go back to court, to not take 60 cents on the dollar to settle for a consent decree." So said Joel Klein, the Department of Justice's antitrust chief, dropping a hint about his attitude to any attempt by Microsoft to try for a weak consent decree again. Klein was speaking at a conference on antitrust in high-tech industries. He also seems determined to maintain what he described as a "pragmatic position" with respect to antitrust enforcement, compared with over-utilisation in the 1960s and under-utilisation in the Reagan years. Klein's particular concern was to focus on market power: "how you get it, and how you keep it." This will be bad news for Microsoft. AOL CEO Steve Case was deposed on Friday for nearly three hours. John Warden for Microsoft made no more progress than he did when he failed to ask logical follow-up questions about AOL VP David Colburn's answers to his cross-examination questions. Had Warden been more astute then, he might have found out that some kind of deal between AOL and Netscape was pending. Case confirmed that AOL general counsel George Vrandenberg (also called a "lobbyist" by the WSJ) has told DoJ special trial counsel David Boies that AOL was having some delicate negotiations with Netscape, but no detail was disclosed. The purpose of the disclosure was to warn Boies that lines of questioning could arise where AOL would be unable to answer. Had this happened, there was a possibility that AOL could have been accused of running up its share price. In the event, Boies would have had to object, and speak to the judge privately about the reason. AOL, and the DoJ's concern, would be the probability that Microsoft might accidentally leak the information, even if the evidence were in camera, and by accident scupper the deal. Warden naively asked why AOL tried to keep the merger with Netscape a secret, which showed either an astonishing degree of legal ignorance, or a complete misjudgement of the calibre of the witness and how likely it was he would fall into such a simple trap. Warden had only two main lines of questioning. The first concerned Microsoft's attempt to show that Navigator was tough competition and that it was AOL's intention to use it to compete with IE. Case had already said in an interview with the Washington Post that this was not the case, and he didn't change his stance one jot during the deposition. Indeed, Warden made it worse for Microsoft because he allowed Case the opportunity to point out that AOL was relying on the continuation of Windows for its business plans, and had no intention of competing. "We did not buy Netscape because of the browser business," he said. "We bought Netscape in some ways despite the browser business." Case also said that although new devices will emerge (and Microsoft is raising this canard with its dwindling band of sympathisers), they will not be a major challenge to Windows. The wounded Warden then limped to his second line: AOL's interest in the high-speed Internet access infrastructure. Warden's ace question, quite incapable of being answered, even if Warden understood it, was: "How much of your market capitalisation depends on the idea that people are spending more of their computer time online?" Warden was doing a good job of winning the case for the DoJ. He also asked about whether high-speed Internet access would allow the use of non-Windows software. Case asked rhetorically: "Am I in the right room?" Warden failed to make any headway that showed that Microsoft faced increased competition in operating systems software. Boies had little to ask Case, and said most of it with body language during Warden's questions, spending a fair time examining the ceiling of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, and massaging his chin. Contrary to some reports, Microsoft does not have a new line of defence as a result of this deposition. If anything, it has shown that it has run out of ideas and is marking time until Judge Jackson finds for the government. It was the government that was hurt, rather than Microsoft, by there being no earlier merger disclosure, Boies maintained. Had it been brought up at the time, the DoJ could have shown that it did not have relevance. "I think it's a sideshow, an effort to detract from what the real issues are," Boies said, after the stumps had been drawn. ® Complete Register trial coverage
Graham Lea, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Unsealed Caldera documents expose MS' DR-DOS moves

MS on Trial The Caldera case is likely to be cited long after the details of what Microsoft did with its technosabotage efforts on DR-DOS are forgotten. In the Salt Lake City District Court, Magistrate Judge Ronald Boyce has confirmed that news organisations have a right under the First Amendment to the American Constitution ("Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press...") to see appropriate court documents. The San Jose Mercury, the Salt Lake City Tribune and Bloomberg had filed motions to ask that Microsoft's documents in the case be filed publicly. (After all, what could Microsoft have to hide, except its embarrassment?) In March, Caldera filed under seal a Motion in support of the news agencies' motions. Microsoft had managed to obtain a protective order to persuade the court that the documents in the case were highly confidential. In the Motion, Caldera's lawyers, Stephen Hill & Ryan Tibbitts of Snow, Christensen & Martineau, wrote: "In an Order dated 29 March 1999, Magistrate Judge Ronald Boyce said: 'Plaintiff Caldera, Inc. submitted a motion to file under seal its memorandum in support of the media entities to intervene and unseal the court file. The court having examined the document believes they are not legitimately confidential. The motion to file under seal is denied.' This Order reiterated an Order dated 12 February 1999 where the judge said: 'There have been a number of filings in this case that have been made by counsel, under seal, where there is no justification in law or fact for the matters being submitted as sealed.'" Caldera was jubilant. CEO Bryan Sparks told The Register: "We are pleased with the increased public access to documents in our case. We think this will be good for all concerned to know the details of our case, as we believe it effects many aspects of our industry." "Microsoft claims we take things out of context, yet fights so hard to keep context buried," added Lyle Ball, Director of Communications for Caldera. The strength of Caldera's case can be seen from some quotations in Caldera's Motion: "Our DOS gold mine is shrinking and our costs are soaring -- primarily due to low prices, IBM share and DR-DOS... I believe people underestimate the impact DR-DOS has had on us in terms of pricing." -- Bill Gates to Steve Ballmer, May 18, 1989. "This new contract [per processor license] guarantees MS-DOS on every processor manufactured and shipped by Budgetron, therefore excluding DRI." - Microsoft Canada OEM Sales Monthly Report, dated March 1991. "Hyundai Electronics INC. DRI is still alive. We are pushing them to sign the amendment on a processor-based license. This will block out DR once signed." - Joachim Kempin Status Report, October, 1990. "It looks like DRI is urging them [Vobis] to focus on DR-DOS ... ; Lieven [Vobis' president] is complaining about the per processor license - he does not want to pay $9 with every computer and thinks about shipping DR-DOS and MS-DOS." - Joachim Kempin (in charge of Microsoft OEM Sales) to Mike Hallman (Microsoft President). "I took the opportunity to negotiate with him [Lieven] in German, sign our offer as is... Second option - scratch the DOS clause [refuse Microsoft's demand that Vobis sign a per processor license for MS-DOS]; and pay $35 for Windows instead of $15... I have a bet with Jeff that they will sign as is. In my judgment they will hurt if they do not ship WIN and paying $35 for it is out of the question." -- Kempin to Butler, March 26, 1991. It is hardly surprising that MS has claimed that it expects to have to pay $1.6 billion to settle this case. If this potential liability assessment does not appear in Microsoft's 10Q for the SEC, it would risk a shareholder suit of great magnitude against the Directors. ® Complete Register trial coverage
Graham Lea, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Minnow eats whale – Olivetti beats DT Italian bid

Deutsche Telekom's bid to merge with Telecom Italia collapsed horribly over the weekend, leaving the German giant's strategy apparently in ruins. Olivetti, which had been mounting its own hostile bid for Telecom Italia, squeaked acceptances of 51.02 per cent at the eleventh hour, leaving DT to return to its tent. Which former ally France Telecom is now pissing into. The French and German companies have run a long-term alliance in Europe, and are also partners with US Sprint in the Global One venture. France Telecom was incandescent that DT had mounted the Italian job without even consulting it, and began suing for billions of Euros last week. The French view was that DT's move had effectively ended the alliance, and it's going to be difficult to pick up the bits of this one. Olivetti meanwhile has performed what it must hope is at least its penultimate conjuring trick (because making the deal work long term is going to have to be an even better one). Telecom Italia is far larger than Olivetti, which is going to pick up huge debts in order to finance the deal. Olivetti has been busily transforming itself into a telecoms company in the past few years, but will now sell its holdings in Infostrada, a fixed line challenger in Italy, and Omnitel, which competed with Telecom Italia on the mobile front. So Olivetti is effectively switching horses from upstart to establishment. The mayhem the company has created in European alliances is however one of the most significant aspects of the deal. The Deutsche Telekom-France Telecom axis had been the most redoubtable in Europe, while although Global One's performance has been less than stellar, the international version had been seen by many analysts as a blueprint for international telecoms alliances. So if the whole thing does fall apart in acrimony the alliance music can start again, with the outfits that didn't get the best partners last time coming back for another go. BT, AT&T and C&W will no doubt be open for deal-making, and someone new may well dance with France Telecom. But having blotted its copybook once already, Deutsche Telecom may have trouble finding new friends to grapple with behind the bike shed. ®
John Lettice, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Lies, damn lies, benchmarks and awards

Opinion Few would disagree that Microsoft deserves every marketing award ever invented - providing of course its business practices do not cause it to be disqualified. It is therefore surprising that Microsoft does not seem to receive the recognition of marketers, while other award givers fall over themselves to make awards to Microsoft for its products. Some of these are almost self-awarded. An example is the TRUSTe seal that Microsoft was awarded to "guarantee" that all Microsoft's web sites met TRUSTe's privacy standards. This is all very well, but how many web users realise that Microsoft and seven other portal companies set up TRUSTe in the first place? Then there's James Gray of Microsoft, who received the 1998 Turing Award from the ACM. This is a real honour, but although Gray acknowledged that it was for work done over 30 years with various colleagues, Microsoft was not so keen to admit that he had only been at Microsoft Research for the last 10 per cent or so of his career, after his corpus of research was largely completed. He's a Microsoft employee who gets away with using Adobe Acrobat .PDF document format. Some awards received must also be totally unexpected and unsought: an example in this category is the African American Institute Award in recognition of Microsoft's "commitment to the economic empowerment and development of Africa". Mutually beneficial Most awards are of course given by trade magazine publishers for mutual benefit: the award giver gets mentioned in advertisements, and sometimes in other editorial: "PC Universal Monthly awarded Microsoft its prestigious product of the year award for Microsoft Bob". Microsoft is also more likely to advertise in the magazine. The magazine publisher would claim that the awards are to serve the readers. For its part, Microsoft frequently uses them for marketing purposes, so "winning" is important. A particularly good example of this was seen in the Microsoft trial, where the defence made a great point of all the IE4 reviews that Microsoft 'won' against Netscape. There have also been cases where if Microsoft did not win one of the reviews it regarded as being important, it demanded a rerun - and there are documented accounts of pressure being exerted on the publisher behind the scenes to produce a revised, more favourable review. We even have the absurd situation of beta software being reviewed, and the bugs being ignored. The strange case of COM Other awards are more puzzling. Recently, Microsoft's COM/DCOM was awarded a 1999 Well-Connected award by CMP's Network Computing, in competition with Corba and EJB. We thought, as did many middleware professionals, that this was a mistake or a joke, but not so apparently. We wondered if the editors were following orders, but when we saw that RealPlayer was used to show the awards, and also noted that Caldera's OpenLinux 1.3 won in the network operating system category, we dismissed the idea. We saw that a letter in a recent issue of CMP's VAR Business said that "Microsoft has little or no chance against Linux. When academia starts discarding NT for Linux, the effect will propagate to students" so there seemed to be no sign of pressure being brought to bear from above - even though Microsoft does advertise in Network Computing. Nor does CMP's pending acquisition by United News seem to be connected. Our attention therefore turned to how the Microsoft products had been fingered. Editor-in-chief Fritz Nelson wrote that "the products chosen were tested over a networked enterprise firsthand by editors themselves". Furthermore, the winners had been chosen for "their mature capabilities for creating distributed applications built from components." We searched in vain for the methodology used, and the precise equipment specification (and of course what non-Wintel kit, if any, was included), but to no avail. Even the accompanying background article about middleware did not get round to discussing any reasons for the award. We did discover a couple of strange coincidences. The editor of Network Computing, Art Wittmann, was previously associate director of IT for the University of Wisconsin's College of Engineering. And which lab conducted DCOM tests that made DCOM "positively shine" a couple of years back: well, the University of Wisconsin. Nothing wrong with that, of course. We also found that last October, Wittmann wrote that "Ten of us from Network Computing recently spent a couple of days in Redmond getting the lowdown from Microsoft on everything from NT to COM". Microsoft elaborated on "the shortcomings of CORBA" but to give Wittmann credit, he was perceptive enough to realise that Microsoft's claim to be serious about porting COM to various versions of Unix was spurious, and said that after a few years Microsoft would cite poor sales and drop support. He was so right - except the support only lasted another four months until February, when James Utzschneider of Microsoft's application developer unit announced that Microsoft was dropping COM+ porting to Unix platforms, because "we'd need to see a market... we built the ports... promoted them heavily and we didn't see much interest." Microsoft decided to use XML as an intermediate data format to link applications across platforms. Wittmann also observed that in a previous Network Computing jolly in Redmond, a Microsoft product manager had described a heterogeneous environment as "one that contained NT4, NT3.5, Win95 and Win3.1". A clue? Coincidences aside, the explanation seems to be in a recent article by Richard Hoffman in Network Computing on distributed object models (the title is "Sneaking up on COBRA [sic]..."). It put the spike in CORBA largely because it was regarded as "highly complex". Hoffman says that CORBA is "too low-level for anyone but highly-specialised engineers to use", which is a value judgement that will be questioned by many practitioners. It is a real-world requirement of the enterprise that it be possible for data to be transferred between different platforms, and expecting this to be achievable by point-and-click is unrealistic. It is true that dealing with distributed objects is a job for professionals, and not for amateurs who never progressed beyond BASIC. Hoffman validly criticises CORBA cross-vendor compatibility issues that can cause concern, but such problems should be ironed out with a toughening of the testing arrangements that the OMG has set up with the Open Group. It's worth noting what the serious professionals with no vendor axe to grind have been saying about COM/DCOM and CORBA. The US Defense Information Systems Agency (no need to guess how critical their work might be) noted in a report prepared by the Mitre Corporation that DCOM "does not appear to be used extensively" and that although Software AG (encouraged by Microsoft) was porting DCOM to UNIX for the OS/390, the cost was "mind-boggling" at a cool $200,000. [This is reminiscent of when IBM over-priced CP/M-86 at $240 because it wanted MS-DOS to be successful, and to avoid legal problems arising form the fact that DOS was a rip off from CP/M.] The report concluded that DCOM should be considered to be "platform-specific middleware for Windows", and also notes that "DCOM interfaces tend to be larger, less intuitive, more manually intensive, and more error prone than the equivalent CORBA interfaces which in contrast are visually simpler and much more Java-like". As a consequence, Microsoft has had to develop an array of tools and components to compensate for this weakness, which means life's tougher for programmers. Another comparison study from distributed component specialist Quoin of Cambridge, Mass. concluded that "the COM specification is substantially incomplete with respect to the foundations of the architecture". Thomas Mowbray, author of the best-selling CORBA text, noted in an article in Object News the difficulties caused by Microsoft trying to eliminate its interface definition language in COM+, and that anyway the language has changed significantly with every release. As a result, the interfaces are demoted to language-specific source code that cannot support a multi-vendor environment, which is exactly what Microsoft intended of course. The CORBA Interface Definition Language IDL is, in Mowbray's view, "one of the most significant contributions in the history of computer science" and aids interoperation across a wide range of platforms. He also observed that DCOM cannot be used on the Internet - something that even Microsoft has had to admit. Mowbray came up with a stunning factoid: IDL and DCOM were both invented by the same person: Paul Leach. Hopeless patchwork Steve Cohen, an attendee at the last WinDev seminar nominally arranged by Boston University, but in practice stuffed with Microsoft evangelists, said afterwards that COM is "a hopeless patchwork quilt of an attempt to unify all manner of poorly designed pieces of the Microsoft monopoly under one technical banner. The COM evangelists freely made cracks about Visual Basic being the root of all evil, but they are acutely aware that VB is the dog that is pulling this sled. Everything must work with VB, which distorts all technologies that have to work with it." [Perhaps this is because Bill Gates never really progressed beyond programming in Basic.] Cohen considers that Microsoft is trying to retrofit technologies under the COM banner, and suggests this cannot be done satisfactorily. So the award given by Network Computing to Microsoft for its middleware does not stand up to serious scrutiny. If any award were justified, it should have been made in a different category - for connectivity in a proprietary world (e.g. all Microsoft). We do not really asperse the CMG staff involved, other than to observe that they are far from being alone in feeling the hot breath of Microsoft at every turn. It is easy to abandon objective analysis in the face of such pressure. Microsoft will use such "wins" (in the same way as the results of "surveys" that it has commissioned - or predestined -- as we now know from the trial evidence) to further its momentum marketing efforts for products that would have been better not seeing the light of day. Time for a challenge? The consequences of ill-considered COM/DCOM adoption are very serious for large organisations that have a mixed environment: it means the abandonment of open-connectivity possibilities in the future. With the prevalence of corporate mergers, it can never be known when it will subsequently prove important to be able to link to the non-Microsoft world. There were once some superior alternatives that have now withered away -- SOM, DSOM, and OpenDoc come to mind - but they were largely ignored by the then pro-Microsoft media, sidelined by IBM (probably because of its desire to get a deal with Microsoft for NT), and consequently little appreciated by users. The CORBA community, through the OMG, should be demanding its own re-run of a true mixed-environment test of COM, CORBA (and EJB, which should merge with CORBA), to be conducted independently, but with vendor tuning allowed. The methodology must be disclosed, and be seen to be fair, although it is unlikely that Microsoft would be a willing participant in a truly open contest. After all, Microsoft says it will not support a mixed-platform environment in the future. This award should not have been made in the face of such strong evidence that COM & Co are vendorware rather than middleware. ®
Graham Lea, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

North East of England to become leading networked region

The North of England is to become a leading light in the wired world, the government has decided. The shock announcement paves the way for transforming the north-east into one of the most networked regions on the planet. No mean feat -– in this part of the world, PCs walk the beat, buses take you to work and servers are found in shops. But then, Tony Blair always did like a challenge. The prime minister has enlisted the help of Stephen Byers, trade and industry secretary, for the task. The Ying to London's Yang will be the subject of the new Electronic Region scheme over the next three years. This will try to build a sustainable virtual economy in the north-east based on new technology. Over three years the government will pump £24 million into the region, which until today has stood patiently at the back of the nation’s technology queue. Microsoft and BT will be involved, the Financial Times reported. Northern Informatics has claimed responsibility for developing the programme. The scheme involves a network in excess of 50 "electronic village halls" to give people free IT access and support. It will also unite schools, colleges and universities in a "virtual education network." Following the government's announcement, rumours began circulating in the industry that Microsoft was rising to the challenge by releasing a version of Windows 98 aimed specifically at the north east. The Geordie Windows 98 -- or Windiz 98 as it is known -- is basically no different from the regular UK English version, but there are some key linguistic changes. The Register has put together a guide to Windurze 98 (nant-eee-airt). The Recycle Bin is renamed 'Aal ya shite' Dialup Networking is now 'Wor mates' Control Panel is known as 'Hoo te muck aboot wa the settans' The Hard Drive is now called 'Big disk' Other changes include: OK becomes 'Alreet' Help is now 'Ah cannit dee it' Programs will be renamed 'Stuff that dis stuff' Stop is now 'Divvent move' ®
Linda Harrison, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Five sacked by Rolls Royce for porno emails

Rolls Royce has sacked five people at its Bristol office for using its corporate network for sending "grossly offensive" hardcore porn. The employees were given their marching orders a fortnight ago although their dismissals were subject to an independent appeal. All five failed to have their dismissals overturned at separate tribunals. Earlier this month, The Register reported how 14 people had been suspended at the defence and aerospace division of Roll Royce for sending email that contained "inappropriate material". Nine others have returned to work and have received written or verbal warnings about their conduct. They have been told that any further abuse of the company's email system will result in immediate dismissal. Martin Nield, head of communications at Rolls Royce said: "I can confirm that five people have been dismissed following an investigation by Rolls Royce. The material sent using our email system was grossly offensive pornography. "None of it was child pornography," he said. ®
Tim Richardson, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Pete Sherriff exposed as whiskey-guggling libertine

Digital camera toting Tim Richardson managed to catch roving reporter Pete Sherriff as he paid a flying visit to our office last Friday. And his snap will answer many questions about the mystery reporter who has broken so many Intel stories and grievously harmed so many AMD stories over the last two months. Pictured here is Sherriff left, and in between him and his paramour Daisy, an offending article. Drink is not allowed in this office, and so Sherriff has been slung out on his ear. ®
Team Register, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Is Compaq stark-staring bonkers?

Radio ads use Geordie accents and refer to losing side Compaq UK has inaugurated a series of adverts on commercial UK TV spoken by someone in a Geordie accent who refers to Newcastle United player Alan Shearer. Newcastle lost the FA Cup last Saturday…®
The Register breaking news

Intel says Web Pad “just an idea”

Any idea that Intel might introduce a $500 so-called "Web Pad" later in the year are more than slightly exaggerated, a spokesman said today. That follows a report in AP of a Portland housewife who tested a slim device which allowed her and her family to move around the house accessing PCs and the like. The Intel representative said that the device was a "useability design" from Intel Architecture Labs, which is based in Portland. This division of Intel comes up with all sorts of more or less wacky ideas including a PC fridge and Miramar software. The representative said: "The Web Pad is not a product". ®
Mike Magee, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

US DRAM anti-dumping ruling expected soon

The US government is expected to issue a ruling in the next ten weeks that may well go against Taiwanese manufacturers of memory products. The complaint, originally issued by US memory manufacturer Micron, alleges that a number of Taiwanese memory companies unfairly hurt its business by selling parts at uncompetitive prices. If the US finds against Taiwanese firms, it is likely to impose swingeing tariffs against them. Taiwanese DRAM companies ship around 30 per cent of the chips they manufacture into the US market. But according to a report on the Taiwanese Computex trade fair site, the island's manufacturers may try to avoid such action by either shipping through third parties or striking deals with various unnamed Japanese partners. That is unlikely to satisfy Micron, if true. ®
Mike Magee, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Datatec takes IBM's Helm

Datatec has poached IBM's Rikke Helms to head its Logical arm. Helms will join the South African-based networking group as chief executive of the Slough division this summer. She will help develop Logical's e-business system. Helms joins from Big Blue where she helped steer IBM toward its emphasis on ecommerce as VP of ecommerce solution management. Helms has five years at IBM under her belt, also handling the Lotus and Tivoli mergers in 1998. She previously worked at Borland and handled its merger with fellow database company Aston Tate in 1991. Helms' experience will fit well with Datatec's plans, as the group has shown itself to be keen on pushing growth through acquisition in the UK. Born in Denmark, Helms speaks five languages and lives in Berkshire. She will take gardening leave before taking up her new position, a Datatec representative said. Datatec saw sales leap 383 per cent to $1 billion for the year ended 31 March, it announced last week. Operating profit jumped 453 per cent to $69 million. ®
Linda Harrison, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

IBM outlines channel e-commerce plans

Big Blue will later today outline a partner initiative aimed at its channel partners and divided into three tiers. PartNerWorld will have a ciommon tiered structure of three membership levels: advanced, premier and member across all models, brands and offerings. IBM will also provide a common set of terms and conditions (Ts&Cs) and the same technology infrastructure, which will include support and tools across financing, software, services and IBM hardware. According to Big Blue, its channel, so-called 'business partners', will be able to take part in e-business marketing campaigns. Big Blue is predicting that by 2002, customers will spend $600 billion on e-business technologies. ®
Mike Magee, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Nintendo pursues emulator sites

Nintendo has declared all emulators illegal and has begun shutting down Web sites that contain them, starting with www.snes9x.com, online home of Dutch developer Jerremy Koot, on Friday. The Great Satan of Italian Plumbers' actions now seem targeted more at the ISPs hosting sites devoted to emulation, rather than the developers themselves, since they have more to lose and are easier to target. Early anti-emulation action by Nintendo focused on the programmers responsible for the utilities, most notably its legal threat against the developers of the UltraHLE Windows-based N64 emulator, known only as 'RealityMan' and 'Epsilon'. Those threats were sufficient to persuade RealityMan, for one, to abandon UltraHLE, though tracking down his or her real persona would have proved difficult. In an email, Koot said he did not know exactly what Nintendo had said to his ISP beyond outlining the company's firmly held view that emulators promote piracy. Its point is that the only way of emulators can be used is through illegal copies of cartridge ROMs. It's often argued that cartridge owners have a legal right to make backup copies of cartridge games, and that they can then use these backups on a PC running an emulator. Nintendo's counter-claim is that "it is well established by judicial decisions in the US that this [backup right] does not apply to game data contained in ROM chips", though it cites no precedents. That's an advantage it has over Sony, whose action against emulator developers Bleem! and Connectix conveniently ignores the fact that they work with legal copies of PlayStation games. That's not something that can be said of N64, SNES or NES emulators, since all these units are cartridge-based. However, Nintendo will lose that advantage when it ships its upcoming next-generation console, codenamed Dolphin, which will be DVD-based. In many ways, it's a shame that Nintendo's actions fail to take into account the talent of the developers of emulation software, and that it assumes the only reason for writing an emulator is to play games without paying for them. Still, it is correct in its claim that all copies of Nintendo and third-party ROM cartridges infringe copyright and are therefore illegal. ® See also Bleem beats back second Sony strike Sony wins second victory against PlayStation emulator N64 emulator vanishes after lawsuit threat
Tony Smith, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Mail servers crash and burn at Freeserve

Freeserve customers -- all 1.5 million of them -- have had a frustrating two-and-a-half days after the mega ISP's mail server bombed big time this weekend. The mail server crashed on Friday evening and it took technicians all weekend to resuscitate the server and generate a pulse. Although technicians managed to revive it last night, it crashed again soon afterwards leaving many users without access to their email for up to 60 hours. Not only was the service down one disgruntled reader told The Register that a member of Freeserve's technical support staff was rude and dismissive of his problem. "When asked what they were going to do to 'compensate' their customers for this extended lack of service Freeserve Tech support replied, 'well what do you expect when you pay nothing!' "Well there's service for you," he said declaring that this attitude has made him decide to dump the ISP in favour of a more courteous provider. A spokeswoman for Freeserve said she was surprised that one of Freeserve's tech support team would have been quite so rude. "I'm concerned and very surprised," she said in disbelief. But she did admit that there had been a glitch over the weekend but it had now been fixed. "We've already cleared around 25 per cent of the backlog and the rest will be sorted by tomorrow morning," she said. This is the first time anything like this has happened, she said. ®
Tim Richardson, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

MP3 scourge's royalty raise rejected

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) last week failed to win higher royalty rates on digitally transmitted music for its members. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia threw out the RIAA's demand that the Library of Congress increase the standard royalty paid to recording companies for the use of music broadcast over a digital network from 6.5 per cent to 40 per cent. The case is analogous to the royalties paid to recording companies by radio stations. Recording companies have only been able to claim royalties on digital broadcasts since 1995. The RIAA claimed that the Library of Congress was not setting a "market rate". However, the court said the law gives the Library the right to set the royalty to whatever it considers reasonable, and that royalty need not be a market rate. ®
Tony Smith, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Abit Bios offers super FSB speeds

Our friends at the Hardware overclocking page have taken the trouble to download a beta BH6 Bios from Abit's FTP server. And according to benchmarks they have run, FSB (front side bus) selectors range from eight to 30. At the same time, according to the hardware site, the Bios includes a divider number which is likely to be a PCI bus divider. Kyle from OCP and his readers have therefore been pushing their Celerons boldly where Celerons have never been. The results are on the site. ®
Mike Magee, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Texas Instruments to score $1bn on Hyundai deal

Chip makers Texas Instruments (TI) and Hyundai yesterday signed a ten-year cross-licensing deal following TI's victory over the Korean company in a patent infringement case last March. TI claimed that Hyundai had wilfully infringed two wafer fab patents after an original agreement between the two companies had expired and they had not been able to negotiate a follow-up deal. The US court concurred with TI, and awarded the company $25 million in damages. Parallel cases in Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Japan were settled by the US ruling. TI said it will make up to $1 billion during the period of the deal, calculated from Hyundai's anticipated revenue from IC products and from its upcoming merger with LG Semicon. The US company also said it will receive a $86 million payment during its second quarter to cover royalties owed since the collapse of negations between TI and Hyundai. ®
Tony Smith, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Free Web access – not yet, says BT

BT has dismissed weekend press reports that it is looking to introduce "radical new ways of charging for Net access" as pure speculation. While the giant telco makes no secret of the fact that it is always looking into new ways of charging for its services, claims that it is to introduce toll-free Internet access are just sheer conjecture, it said. A report in the Sunday Telegraph said BT was in discussion with Oftel, but no one from the telecomms regulator was available for comment this morning. "It is a story out of nothing," said David Pincott, a spokesman for BT. "I have no idea how it happened. We are not running any trials for 0800 access," he said. But when asked whether he could deny outright that BT would not overhaul its pricing policy, Pincott said: "I am not ruling it in or out." One possible source of the story that BT is to introduce an unmetered pricing structure similar to that in the US, may have come about following a report published last week by The Register. It was revealed that details of an 0800 number, username and password had been published on a number of newsgroups leading many to speculate that BT was trialling toll-free Net access. But Pincott told The Register no such trials had taken place, quashing hopes that the telco was about to cut the cost of Net access in the UK. Instead, he said it was for BT employees and was being used as part of a V90 modem trial, although many readers have contacted the The Register to say that this explanation simply didn't hold water. ®
Tim Richardson, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Net sex sales shoot to $3bn by 2003

Survey Sex is proving so successful on the Net, even straight-laced research companies are taking note. On Friday Datamonitor claimed its survey of smut-hungry surfers suggested the $1 billion currently spent on adult content will triple in less than five years' time. The company said porno punters paid $970 million for impersonal services last year. That will swell to $3.12 billion in 2003. Datamonitor's figures also showed that while many users were turned off by the idea of paying for access to the Internet, adult material was guaranteed to stimulate their spending. However, lest the more prudish feel the Web is being swept by an ever-expanding tide of filth, the survey reckons that spending on interactive games will grow even faster than porn payments. That said, despite an average increase of 62 per cent per annum, reaching $680 million in 2003, spending on games will need pumping up if it's to match sex sales size for size. ®
Tony Smith, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel ready to roll with StrongARM Web pad 'idea'?

The 'just an idea' nature of Intel's WebPAD competitor (Earlier story) seems somewhat flexible. Our earlier spokesman no doubt failed to remember Intel Architecture Labs (IAL) director of marketing Ed Arrington promising to unveil a reference design for the very same "concept" later this month. Such a cunning plan would give Intel the opportunity to sell WebPAD-style designs to OEMs this summer, with a view to shipping next spring. Besides spring shipment being another thing the helpful Mr. Arrington has been saying, the schedule means Intel could use the reference design to undermine NatSemi's WebPAD, due later this year. Intel's concept is certainly advanced enough for it to have had 43 pieces of hardware available for the Portland trial we mentioned earlier, but it's also quite possible that Intel has a complete reference design ready to roll. A StrongARM reference design. One of Intel's StrongARM partners is by a happy coincidence a company that's already shown a prototype StrongARM-based WebPAD-like device. Anigma, Inc., a small motherboard design operation, unveiled the WebMan, at CES earlier this year, and since then has been strangely quiet. WebMan uses a high-speed wireless connection via an adapter to a base station or PC to link to the Internet via 56k, ISDN or DSL. It's CE-based, and uses a Spyglass browser. Anigma itself lists Intel as one of its customers, while Intel itself seems to be preannouncing Anigma's products for it. We quote from Intel's Web site: "The Anigma WebMan and WebSlate, both designed around the Intel StrongARM processor..." Both? Although Anigma has announced WebMan, so far it hasn't said a thing about anything called WebSlate. But it does sound like it might be a slimmed-down, cheaper version, right? Anigma doesn't manufacture, but offers its designs to the OEM market, hence the Intel connection. Intel, meanwhile, has been getting into the habit of making equity investments in small operations, some of whom produce reference designs (e.g. NCD's thin client reference design) which Intel can then evangelise. So an investment, a swift WebSlate reference design and product announcement, and much annoyance at NatSemi? Could happen... Other Intel moves and shakes might also have a bearing on the imminence of a reference design. The company put some money into wireless LAN outfit Proxim a while back, and a few weeks ago one of those interesting Intel initiatives, the Anywhere in the Home Initiative, seems to have quietly appeared. As Intel seems to have screwed-up posting the demo video we can't tell you much about it, but it's one of IAL's babies, and may or may not replace an earlier one, the Connected.Home Initiative. Also worth putting into the pot for a stir is the fact that the helpful Mr. Arrington is Intel's point man for the HomeAPI group. HomeAPI is of course concerned with wireless networking standards in the home. We haven't worked in a Bluetooth connection yet, but we're sure there has to be one... ® Related Stories: Cyrix shows WebPAD off Cyrix demos $300 Web tablet
John Lettice, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Compaq spins off PAIX

Compaq has started spinning off its acquired companies barely ten minutes in IT terms after it bought them. The latest to go is Palo Alto Internet Exchange (PAIX), which Compaq has sold to AboveNet for a cool $75 million, most of which is cash. AboveNet will provide "certain services" to its ex owner. ®
Mike Magee, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Compaq/IBM trash PC prices

Our friends over at the NECX, a firm which specialises in watching how computer and component prices fall, is reporting that Compaq is cutting prices by nearly eleven per cent on a number of its models. The models concerned are the Deskpro EP and EN models, And IBM has cut prices on its IntelliStation Z Pro systems by an average likely to be around six per cent, when they translate into Europe. In other news from NECX, notebook prices are set to rise, because of shortage of yields on LCD parts. This may well have been prompted by the news we broke last week that Hyundai intends to spin off its LCD division to Taiwan, coupled with a Philips-LG deal. This morning, national newspaper the Guardian was reporting that at its motor show, held towards the end of last week, there were only three significant players mentioned. The same is also true of LCD and memory components, as reported here earlier. ®
Mike Magee, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

CPU prices go into free fall on spot market

The spot market is the place where items are traded at more realistic prices than the semiconductor companies that make them would like. We're not saying that prices put out by semiconductor companies are unrealistic, just that sometimes they seem a tad high for the market which uses them (PC manufacturers) as a whole. The NECX market, based in New York, is reporting today that a number of parts from Intel are falling on the spot market. This time last week, practically every part was stable. The falling parts include the Pentium II/350, which it quotes at a price of $159, the PII/400 at $196, and the PII/400 secc2 at $193. The market notes that the 450MHz PII parts from Intel are also falling in price at around $250 or so, while even the formerly stable 500MHz parts are costing around $450. The new PIII/550 is also reported as falling in price, even though it's only been out for a couple of weeks. Celeron processors, apart from the 433A with SEPP packaging, are stable, with the plastic packaging (370-pin version) costing $127. The K6-2 333+ now costs $53, NECX reports, while the 350+ at $53 is also falling in price. AMD positions the K6-2 platform against Celerons, as we reported yesterday. ®
Mike Magee, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Roel Pieper flees Philips glare

Ex-Tandem executive Roel Pieper has fled from the light shining at Dutch company Philips, only a year and a half after fleeing from Eckhard Pfeiffer. According to reports on US wires, Pieper, a Dutchman, resigned today, because of irreconcilable differences he had with the management of Philips. As we reported here, in The Register No. 67, Cor Boonstra, CEO of Philips, welcomed Pieper into the light. The whole of No. 67 of The Register, dated February 15, 1998, is here. Then, Boonstra hired Pieper and also turned in a profit for the Dutch firm. We were supposed to meet him at Comdex/Fall the year before but an unfortunate "skiing accident" prevented the meet. Strike a light. ®
Mike Magee, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Wired, Lycos move to pacify shareholders

Lycos and Wired Ventures, the company launched on the back of Wired magazine before the latter's sale last year to Conde Nast, moved last week to head of shareholder discontent over the allocation of shares when the two businesses merge. Lycos' takeover of Wired has been largely hidden by the higher profile merger with USA Networks. That merger collapsed earlier this month, as The Register last November predicted it would. After the sale of the loss-making Wired, the parent company focused its efforts on its popular Wired News, Hotbot, WebMonkey and Suck.com Web site, and that popularity soon drew the attention of Lycos, keen to but more sites to win its user base war with arch-rival Yahoo! The original merger deal, filed last October, was centred on a stock-swap. However, it soon emerged that the complex acquisition plan would yield to some of Wired's largest backers a rather higher return on their investment than everyone else would get. Essentially, the deal involved a recapitalisation which reduced the value of the company's founding shares, and that in turn allowed more recent investors to expand their share of the company at the last minute. Many of Wired's founding shareholders weren't too keen on the deal, and threatened all sorts of legal action to ensure they got their fair share (see Lycos' Wired takeover under threat). That in turn threatened the USA Networks deal, since a successful Wired acquisition would have added Web properties USA Networks was itself keen to own. Indeed, the delay in getting the Lycos-Wired deal to move forward may well have played a part in the collapse of the USA Networks merger. The new arrangement, filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, will see greater emphasis placed on founding shareholders' stakes. That should please the investors -- according to inside sources cited by Red Herring magazine, that's why it was done -- but the real winners are Wired founders Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe, who both to make $95 million from the takeover -- almost a third of the $300 million Lycos is paying for it. ®
Tony Smith, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

NTL contract safe as Virgin Net set to dual source its network

Virgin Net has denied it is to dump cable company NTL and replace it with Cable & Wireless although it has confirmed that there have been problems with its technology partner. A spokeswoman for Virgin Net said that some Sunday newspapers had simply got the wrong end of the stick although she did say that NTL's contract was due for renewal at the end of the year. She also confirmed that Virgin Net -- which now has 250,000 users -- was looking at the possibility of dual sourcing and bringing another telco on board to underpin other parts of the service. Cable & Wireless is one of the companies Virgin Net has spoken to about dual sourcing, she said. According to Virgin Net, much has already been done with NTL to increase the bandwidth. US-based bandwidth is set to double in the coming months and the pipe to Europe will increase eight-fold in the next three weeks. A spokesman for NTL was unavailable for comment at press time. ®
Tim Richardson, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

All becomes Santa Clara as Texas Micro merges with Radisys

Texas Micro, the mysterious company which appeared to pre-empt Intel's release of eight other press releases, has announced it is to be bought by RadiSys for $115 million. Last week we reported that Intel seemed to have been blind-sided by Texas Micro, one of its eight partners in the Applied Computing Platform Provider programme. (Story: Intel in secret deal with nine mystery companies) But today, more details of what exactly is entailed was revealed on Business Wire, a PR service. According to the press release, Radisys has PCI DSP voice processing products, while Texas Micro is strong in PCI. The combination will make both companies strong in the arena, the release said. Interesting. Because later on today, the NGIO Forum will introduce a show in San Jose (to which we have not been invited), which will probably emphasise how important IO (input/output)is, or could be... ®
Mike Magee, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

CTX on verge of shutting up shop in France

Monitor company CTX is in the throes of closing down its European operation. The manufacturer said its French office was being "reorganised", but could not deny that it may need to close. Dave Stevenson, general manager at CTX Europe, told The Register: "Nothing has been finalised yet. Senior management in the UK and France are discussing the matter." "The French operation is currently reorganising, but the closure is not an impossibility," he admitted. The company has a UK office in Watford with around 40 staff. It is deciding whether to centralise business or stick with its branch offices in Europe. Regarding the Watford operation, Stevenson said: "It should be very safe, I should imagine. We are a very successful company in the UK." He added that the company had been forced to centralise its notebook operation in Holland after problems in this area. CTX is part of Taiwanese manufacturer Chuntex Electronics. Chuntex sold around two million monitors last year, below the expected 2.5 million. It made a pre-tax loss of NTD3.3 billion, down on the previous year's pre-tax profit of NTD551 million. 1998 sales rose to NTD16.7 billion, against NTD12 billion the year before. The company blamed the loss mainly on a notebook inventory backlog. ®
Linda Harrison, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Branson seeks to emulate success of Amazon

It's been a tense day at the UK headquarters of the world's most successful online booksellers. How were they going to break the news to their Amazonian bosses in the US that Virgin -- one of the brightest brands in business -- was about to become an online bookseller to rival the big A? "Branson battles to release Amazon's grip" screamed today's headline in The Guardian. "Richard Branson's Virgin Group has set up a global Internet bookselling operation intended to challenge the position of American-based Amazon.com as the literary colossus of ecommerce," wrote city editor Lisa Buckingham. "[The British store] will open in the Autumn with a larger range of books than that of Amazon. A spokesman for Virgin said it was intended to offer more than 500,000 titles," the report said. Snag is, the report was wrong. According to the Spin Virgins The Guardian has got its wires crossed -- or should that be knickers in twist? No matter. Virgin is not about to enter the book business. Branson has, however, just opened his online version of Virgin Megastore in the US and he does indeed want to be bigger than Amazon -- when it comes to selling CDs, that is. He regards Amazon so highly he uses it as a benchmark of ecommerce performance and excellence. When he says he wants to be bigger than Amazon, he wants music-selling Virginmega.com to be bigger than Amazon. The "500,000 titles" mentioned in The Guardian are music titles -- not books. Anyway, Amazon.co.uk holds more than 1.5 million book tiles and it's big brother even more than that, so there's no way Virgin could be bigger even if it was referring to books. Sources close to the UK entrepreneur say he regularly proclaims in speeches and briefings that he wants to be bigger than Amazon when talking about ecommerce. Hence the confusion. No one at Amazon or its PR company was available for comment. They were busy in a meeting and couldn't be disturbed. Apparently, they'd heard Branson was taking on Amazon and they were too busy to come to the phone... ®
Tim Richardson, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Energis sees earnings boost from Web

Making money out of the Internet might seem like the search for the Holy Grail to some, but not if you're a telco. Energis, floated off from National Grid earlier this year, has made a breath-taking leap toward being in the black thanks to the Web Pre-tax losses stood at £31.1 million -– around half of last year's figure. For the year ending 31 March, Energis saw turnover up at £285.5 million. Of that, Web-related sales stood at £77.4 million –- an increase of 194 per cent on last year. Sales from core telephony business stood at £73.6 million -– up 33.6 per cent. ®
Team Register, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Mobile phone tumour link is tenuous, says Motorola

Motorola has been accused of trying to hide side-effects of mobile phones from the public since last year. The phone giant wanted to cover up evidence that mobiles increased the risk of tumours, according to today's Daily Express newspaper. Professor Ross Adey claims he was commissioned by Motorola to carry out experiments on animals between 1993 and 1996. He told the newspaper how Motorola withdrew its funding of his study when the results showed mobiles affected the incidence of brain tumours in rats. "The animal experiments were conducted very strictly and in the case of digital phones we found an effect on the number of brain tumours in rats," he said. "It became clear that Motorola preferred we found nothing." Professor Adey, a former senior advisor to NASA, said the funding was suddenly withdrawn in November last year. He claimed he had not been paid for writing up the experiments in recent months. He said big companies were not interested in the true health risks. "All they [the industry] wants is research to support their claims," said Adey, who works at the University of California. Motorola UK communications and public affairs manager Mark Durrant denied the company had pulled funding from Adey's research because it did not like the findings. "Motorola would not try to influence research if it found mobiles damaged health," he told The Register. "Our interests are in making sure mobiles are not damaging to health. We are committed to scientific research." Durrant said no studies had proven that mobiles increased the risk of cancer. He described the link between the two as "tenuous", saying people should worry more about known health dangers like smoking. ®
Linda Harrison, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

MS UK head to demand ecommerce tax breaks

Microsoft is calling for the government to introduce tax breaks to help promote ecommerce in the UK. In a speech to the Internet World trade show in London tomorrow, David Svendsen, Microsoft's UK CEO is expected to tell delegates that he wants the government to reduce VAT rates on electronic transactions. He believes such a measure would be a real incentive for more people to use the Internet to buy goods and services. He's also expected to call for the government to introduce tax relief for anyone who wants to buy a home computer. Despite huge growth in the numbers of people using the Net in the UK, he is expected to say that there are still not enough people wired up to the Net. Much needs to be done to bring down the cost of accessing the Net and government has its part to play if it wants the UK to succeed in the wired world, he'll say. In Sweden, apparently, people can already get tax relief when they rent a PC and this has led to an increase in the number of people online. ®
Tim Richardson, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Smile, you're online

Draw the curtains, find your loose change and perfect that pout. Normally the domain of snogging couples, there is a plan afoot to transform the humble photo-booth into the next Web environ. Brits will be able to surf the Net or send email from the cabins by the end of this year. The brainchild of BT and Photo-Me International will eventually allow punters to access the Internet in around 4000 Photo-Me booths in the UK. Previously only used for photos, the booths will be redesigned with screens and keyboards. Users will be able to send email and access the Web. A facility will also be available for users to plug in digital cameras and print or email photographic images. The majority of booths will be in railway stations, airports, shopping centres and supermarkets. BT will provide the network linking the booths to the Web, and Photo-Me will be responsible for manufacture and maintenance. Serge Crasnianski, Photo-Me CEO, said the booths were mainly designed for email or e-business for people without a PC. It would also be used for sending photos to friends and family. Internet access will cost £1 per six minute block. Free technical support will be provided through phones inside every booth. London will get the first phones in December, with 1000 more in place by next spring. ®
Linda Harrison, 24 May 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel has three days to tape Merced out

As reported here on the 30 April, Merced engineers will now have to get their socks off if they want to make the due date of the 27 May. Although two chapters of the Merced manual have appeared -- and disappeared off the Intel FTP site in the last three days, it does not make the task any easier. Our friends at sandpile.org alerted us to the fact that the first two chapters were out -- so we got those ones. Here's the logo we photographed from a cup, lest you forget. Merced pix blown up out of all proportion The cartridge boys are ready, and the hype is ramping up, so the pressure is on the old boys to deliver by Jume, as revealed here earlier. Otherwise they might suffer a tremendous humiliation at the hands of the Russian engineers who originally designed EPIC and a 64-bit x.86 compatible architecture. Even though it might be .35 micron at first... Intel on target for Merced -- unofficial is the story that might break the back of the old boys... ®
Mike Magee, 24 May 1999