3rd > June > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

Big cheese rolls at Big Q

Top Compaq executive John Rose is to leave the company. The latest move is a further sign that all is not well at the Houston company. Rose was closely linked to Eckhard Pfeiffer, CEO of Compaq until his career at the firm was abruptly brought to a standstill by chairman of the board Ben Rosen. Rosen and two others are running the firm as a triumvirate. In other ways, Compaq is reminiscent of the days of Rome. The triumvirate is looking for a new Nero to push rthe firm forward. ®
The Register breaking news

733Mhz mobos out and about

Computex There is plenty of third party motherboard support for Intel 733MHz processors running with a front side bus (FSB) of 133MHz at the Computex show. FIC, and a spate of other Taiwanese firms are demoing boards at the show. The FIC 1stMainboard KA-6110 supports Pentium III 450-733MHz processors with support for both 100 and 133MHz FSBs. The only question now remaining is whether Intel is ready to press the button on its Coppermine technology in a further attempt to frustrate AMD's best endeavours. ® See also Coppermine could finish AMD off for good Coppermine taped out and real copper on way Intel desktop chip prices
The Register breaking news

K7 mobile to arrive next year

Computex Sources very close to AMD, in fact in their suite in room 2407 in the Grand Hyatt, said today that the K7 will be produced for notebooks next year. The microprocessor will be produced when the K7 moves to .18 micron technology, said the source. Currently, AMD is positioning the chip as a solution for the workstation and server market. The fact AMD is moving the K7 to a mobile platform reveals how serious it is at taking on Intel at its own game. If AMD was demonstrating the K7 in their suite, it was behind closed doors. The same source confirmed that OEMs would be producing K6-III/500s in the very near future. ®
The Register breaking news

Intel MX chipsets make Taipei appearance

Computex Some Taiwanese manufacturers are showing notebooks using Intel 440MX chipsets. The mobile Celeron platform is codenamed Banister. Chicony is showing two models on its stand -- one, the MP993, supports clock speeds of up to 500MHz using a PPGA S370 socket and with a 14-inch LCD. It supports up to 256Mb of memory. The other machine supports PII 233/400MHz processors on MMC2. It comes with a 15-inch TFT screen and smart bays. ®
The Register breaking news

AOL-Sun plan for ‘no MS content’ PC

MS on Trial Microsoft might have drawn some blood with internal Sun documentation yesterday, but the judge seemed to be having none of it. An internal Sun email of July 1998 produced by Microsoft's defence talked of a plan for an AOL PC, using Netscape, Java and Intel chip but "no Microsoft content." The judge may have been right - he cut Microsoft's attorney off in mid-sentence saying the document was old, ambiguous and cryptic. He might also have added that Sun's Woody Mewborn, the author, was probably reporting what Sun wanted rather than what AOL had agreed. But on the other hand, AOL has struck an appliance/satellite deal with no Microsoft content quite recently, and Sun has put a lot of money into the AOL-Netscape deal. Sun and Netscape are meanwhile now virtually joined at the hip, with Sun describing them as the "Sun-Netscape alliance." AOL boss Steve Case however claimed in his recent deposition that browsers had nothing to do with the deal. We think maybe Microsoft has something of a warm pistol here. ® Complete Register trial coverage
The Register breaking news

Gates article contradicts MS lawyers – again

MS on Trial As heartlessly and repeatedly predicted here, Bill Gates' public pronouncements are being turned against Microsoft by the DoJ in the resumed antitrust trial. Among yesterday's little Gates-related problems were a Newsweek article that seemed to rubbish appliances as competition for PCs, while Gates' claims of the sophistication of Microsoft's accounts systems are also rearing their head. DoJ attorney David Boies commented that Gates was saying one thing while his lawyers were dsaying another. The first government witness of this phase, Franklin Fisher, told the court he didn't think Microsoft was threatened by new devices, and "neither does Bill Gates." Gates himself had said in Newsweek Gates said PCs would continue to succeed, working "in tandem with other cool devices," and that he was "betting Microsoft's future" on this. Microsoft attorney Michael Lacovara said: "Isn't this exactly what you'd expect Mr. Gates to say, given his company's business?" He didn't comment on whether or not he was right, however. And asked about Microsoft's famous accounts systems, described by Microsoft witness Richard Schmalensee as being kept on bits of paper, and as being tracked digitally in detail in Gates' book, Boies said: "I believe Gates, this time." ® Complete Register trial coverage
The Register breaking news

Acer-TSMC deal draws closer

Computex More details have emerged about the deal between Acer and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co(TSMC), revealed here yesterday. See Acer set to strike deal with TSMC. Morris Chang, chairman of TSMC, confirmed that both his company and Acer are in talks over an equity stake in the ailing chip division. TSMC may even take as much as 35 per cent share in Acer Semicon, according to sources close to both companies. The two sides are still thrashing out details of the deal. Stan Shih, CEO of Acer, turned his attention to the ailing semiconductor division after its balance sheet look like it was streaked with red blood. See our story from the end of last year: Acer attempting to sell semi division. ®
The Register breaking news

A-Trend marries 3dfx Voodoo3 to Slot One

Computex A-Trend Technology said today that it has introduced a Slot One motherboard which integrates the 3dfx Voodoo3 chip. The board supports the Pentium II and Pentium III platforms and processor speeds up to 550MHz, A-Trend said. The ATC6253M includes four PCI slots, and two ISA slots, and supports up to 512Mb of unbuffered synchronous DRAM (SDRAM) or 1024Mb of buffered SDRAM. The motherboard includes a hardware monitoring device which can detect CPU temperature and monitor system voltage or hardware device information. This is called the Golden-G and fits to the heatsink of the CPU. The motherboard itself is bright red, and, explained A-Trend, this indicates that it is aimed at the gaming market... ®
The Register breaking news

Rise shows S370 Tiger

Computex Sample versions of the Rise Socket 370 microprocessor were on display at the company's stand today. We've taken some snaps which we'll post when we get back to our ThinkPad later today. The processor, called the Tiger, has a 1.8 volt core, and will come supporting PC-100, PC-133 and PC-266 in the third quarter of this year, said David Lin, CEO of the startup. At the same time, Rise was also showing off its Mp6-PR366 processor and is Mp6-PR333 processor in two notebooks. The first, the Clero 982, uses the 100MHz mobile Aladdin V chipset, and comes with Rage LTPro and AGP2x. The mini-notebook, the Arrgo Infinite 8A15, uses the 430TX chipset and weighs a couple of pounds. Lin also showed off a desktop model using a Rise chip which he said did not need a fan. ®
The Register breaking news

IDT takes info appliance attitude

Computex IDT said today that the company was positioning its WinChip2 family as upgrade and information appliance engines. Steven Ellis, director of strategic marketing at IDT, said that chips, such as the Winchip2/200, compared favourably against products such as the Cyrix MediaGX. At the same time, he said IDT is positioning some of the products as relatively inexpensive upgrades for existing machines. The WinChip 3 family remains on track, Ellis said. (See IDT's Winchips not dead for details of its roadmap. IDT made a statement a few weeks ago that it is looking to find a partner to work with on its x.86 product line. ®
The Register breaking news

Where the heck's the FlexATX?

Computex A wall of 810 motherboards on Intel's stand at Computex was rivalled today only by a wall of silence on the FlexATX form factor. Earlier this year, senior VPs at Intel US, including Paul Otellini and Pat "Kicking" Gelsinger told The Register that sexy PC designs could appear as early as August. (Story: Intel FlexATX mobo to use 810 chipset). But while there were plenty of 810 machines hanging on Intel's walls, we couldn't spot a single FlexATX. But a comprehensive search not only in the main halls but also the nooks and crannies of Computex revealed nothing. Several motherboard manufacturers we talked to claimed that FlexATX was still very much in development. Typically, Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers show their wares in good time for the pre-Noel rush. So where are they hiding? And why the wall of silence? In another fruitless seach, we were unable to discover socketed Pentium IIIs. It is not like Taiwanese manufacturers to stay coy about important future developments like this. ®
The Register breaking news

K7 to get PC-133 support from VIA

Computex Chipset company VIA is about to announce PC-133 support for AMD's K7, according to a major Taiwanese DRAm manufacturer. Rajit Shah, VP of worldwide sales and marketing, made the announcement at a press conference in Taiwan this afternoon. No-one from VIA or AMD was able to confirm or deny the report at press time. But we'll find out when we track them down. ®
The Register breaking news

Mosel Vitelic announces PC-133 support

Computex Taiwanese memory company Mosel Vitelic announced today that it would provide support for the PC-133 standard with 64Mbit and 128Mbit synchronous DRAMs. And the company furnished facts and figures about PC-133 vs Direct Rambus market share which appear to conclusively show that it will be the dominant technology. According to Mohammad Iqbal, director of worldwide strategic marketing of memories, in 1999 Rambus is likely to have 1.6 per cent market share, with PC-133 scoring 7.7 per cent. That situation will shift dramatically in the year 2000, with PC-133 lording it with 22.1 per cent of the market, Rambus nine per cent, and DDR only three per cent. However, Iqbal said that Mosel Vitelic would support Direct Rambus if it became successful. The problems militating against the techology are threefold, Iqbal said. The first problem was the pricing structure, the second was technical and the third was that Direct Rambus was a new technology and therefore had no evolutionary history. One of the technical problems was something called "cache trashing", said Iqbal. Because clock speeds on Direct Rambus are so high, that meant that application data swamped cache. As a result, PC companies including HP, had asked Rambus to look at its technology again. Because of this problem, the first RIMMs to ship will run at 356MHz rather than the 800MHz that was promised. Iqbal said that PC customers, overwhelmingly, had voted with their feet and wanted to adopt the PC-133 standard. He was not willing to comment on Intel's position on PC-133. But, by now, you'd have thought Intel would have wanted to comment on its own position, particularly so if its customers, the PC companies, feel the way Iqbal described. ®
The Register breaking news

Intel outed on PC-133

Computex Unnamed sources rather close to Intel today revealed the truth about PC-133, Direct Rambus, VIA and the rest. According to our extremely reliable source, Intel does have a plan to use PC-133 but is currently involved in an argy-bargy with VIA over the terms of its licence. Intel does not want VIA to release the PC-133 chipset before it releases its own PC-133 chipset. It thinks VIA's licence precludes the Taiwanese company from so doing. VIA, unsurprisingly, takes a different view. This must be seen as a climbdown and a u-turn. We can't quite find a metaphor which adequately describes the humiliation this represents for the chip giant. ®
The Register breaking news

Proxim picks up $10m boost from Motorola

Motorola has invested $10 million in wireless networking vendor Proxim as the two begin development work on a series of wireless Web products. A range of products aimed at home users and small businesses will be developed, based on the Shared Wireless Access Protocol (SWAP) standard. The HomeRF SWAP consortium consists of many of the industry’s big names, such as Compaq, HP and Microsoft among others. The companies will demonstrate broadband gateways that enable simple-to-install, wireless home and SOHO networking for PC's and Internet appliances at the NCTA Cable Show from June 14-16 in Chicago. The $10 million investment in Proxim by Motorola comes with an undertaking from Motorola that it will purchase more shares in the future. ®
The Register breaking news

PlayMedia settles MP3 suits

PlayMedia yesterday settled its copyright infringement suit with Nullsoft, developer of the leading Windows-based MP3 player, WinAmp. Surprise, surprise, the announcement came a day after AOL said it was buying Nullsoft, so it's not hard to see where the motivation for the settlement comes from. The precise nature of the deal remains unclear, but it seems to centre on PlayMedia granting Nullsoft a license to use the former's AMP MP3 playback technology. That technology, alleged PlayMedia, had been pinched by Nullsoft and used to drive WinAmp. PlayMedia sued. More recently, Nullsoft swapped out its own Nitrane MP3 encoder, the one PlayMedia claimed used its code, for an industry-standard version from the Fraunhofer Institute. Can we see the hidden hand of AOL in this? Very likely. If AOL's music acquisition includes Spinner.com, which is likely to take up the bulk of the $400 million the online service is paying for both companies. It may well have factored in the $20 million that PlayMedia wanted -- more likely, it simply sicced its laywers on PlayMedia's legal eagles and a suitable 'how much to drop it?' deal was hammered out. Curiously, PlayMedia also said it had settled its parallel suit with MP3.com, which emerged last week. PlayMedia's complaint, which was based on MP3.com's offering of WinAmp for downloading despite PlayMedia's suit against Nullsoft, always appeared a little on the opportunist side, not least given MP3.com's recently announced $115 million IPO. Success against MP3.com was dependent on proving Nullsoft's guilt, and with that argument settled, there would have been little point in chasing the online music company. PlayMedia clearly realised the game was up and moved to come to a quick arrangement with MP3.com. Besides, with WinAmp and Spinner.com under AOL control, it makes sense for two key rivals to work together, and an end to the legal action would have to be the basis for their co-operation. ®
The Register breaking news

Shakedown coming in the UK Net market

Comment Shares in Dixons Group continued their downward trend yesterday, returning the company to the same level it was more than three months ago. Its share price opened in London at £11.04 but fell back to £10.94 with just an hour to go until the Stock Exchange closed for business. In April, it climbed to more that £15 a share. So how does this affect Dixons' plans to sell off part of its Net company? The honest answer is, no one really knows. But it does throw up an interesting alternative. Much of the attention so far has been about Freeserve flogging lots of shares to those people and institutions eager for a slice of Net investment pie. But what if someone came along with a large wad and wanted to buy the whole shooting match? A crazy idea -- surely. Well maybe, especially if Freeserve were to be valued at the £4 billion, as some people have discussed. But if it's nearer £100 million, it may not be such a bad buy. Freeserve has almost 1.5 million punters, has its own management team in place and its own brand, making it distinct from Dixons. Such a ready-made business would be ideal for anyone looking to enter the Net market. More likely, it would give a major boost to any of the existing service providers looking to take a massive lead in the UK. Realistically, there's only a handful of ISPs that could afford to buy Freeserve. But if someone did come along and buy Freeserve lock, stock and barrel it would certainly compete with BTInternet's decision to offer toll-free access to the Net as the top story of the year. ®
The Register breaking news

Adobe to axe 250 jobs

It's revenue up and staff count down at Adobe this week, as the graphics specialist announced plans to lay off nine per cent of its workforce -- 250 employees in all -- just after it said its upcoming second quarter results would sneak through a smidgeon higher than it had anticipated. The company said the bulk of the redundancies would come from its overseas subsidiaries, mostly from its Edinburgh-based European HQ, acquired some years back when it bought Aldus. Essentially, the company will shift its focus onto Web sales, pretty much of all of which can be fulfilled from the US and small, localised distribution centres. In addition to the trend of buyers increasingly choosing to buy direct via the Web, Adobe's decision was also based on the need to continue cutting costs which had grown high on the back of its earlier success. The company said it expects to take a $15 million hit to cover the lay-offs, but overall the action should lead to a $25 million saving. Some of the job cuts will also come from its printing technology R&D efforts which have become less cost-effective as PostScript licensing revenues have fallen thanks to ever-cheaper laser printers. Adobe's Q2 revenue should now hit $246 million, up from an anticipated $245 million, the company said. Final figures are due within the next couple of weeks. ®
The Register breaking news

Too much communication is bad for you

Another turgid report out today says UK office workers are inundated with 171 messages a day. It seems that if you don't get... 46 phone calls 27 emails 19 letters 15 pieces of internal mail 12 Postit notes 12 telephone messages written on scraps of paper 11 voice mails 11 faxes 9 mobile phone calls 5 pager messages 2 overnight courier packages 2 express postal letters ...then you're simply living in the dark ages. What's more, UK office workers are whinging that all this means they are so busy dealing with all these communications they can't get on with their jobs, according to the Daily Mail. Really, some people are so ungrateful. ®
The Register breaking news

Apple ponders own US retail chain

Speculation is mounting that Apple is planning to open a series of High Street stores across the US. The argument appears to centre on Gateway's claims that its stores generate about the same margins as online sales. That has suggested to Apple watchers that the company might well consider branching out in this direction. It's a tempting thought, but it's not hard to find reasons why interim Steve Jobs would not countenance such a move. The company's relationship with CompUSA has generally worked rather well, but its falling out with Best Buy over how to manage inventory of multi-colour iMacs should have pointed out to Apple that it needs to manage its biggest retail partners very carefully. Last weekend, Sears began offering the iMac through 800 stores across the US, so retail competition is beginning to bubble up nicely. Would Apple be willing to risk the sales these outlets are likely to generate by announcing a plan to go up against them? Well, so far the retail focus has been centred on the iMac. As a consumer machine, that makes a lot of sense. However, Apple still has to promote its professional Power Mac and PowerBook lines to a wider audience, and a retail chain devoted solely to those models and that market could be made to work without treading on Sears and CompUSA's toes. Apple's product strategy is clearly based on ensuring its kit stands out from the herd. The iMac does that in spades, and as a consumer-oriented machine has been given many opportunities to do so. The blue'n'white Power Mac G3 stands out too, but there are much fewer ways it can be seen to do so. Providing a showcase to do so would be a wise move. The snag here is making it work financially. Showcases look good but don't necessarily pull in the revenue, particularly if sales are intentionally restricted to avoid annoying the reseller channel. Restricting sales would guarantee that the Gateway example, if true, couldn't be matched. Given Apple's current keenness to compare itself with direct PC paragons -- Dell, known as the industry's best manager of inventory, is its favourite target for comparison on that criterion -- it might well leap at the chance to claim its own retail stores offer better margins the Gateway's. Some kind of partnership would seem the most likely solution to squaring the strong sales vs. channel pacification circle. That's largely how Apple is working to increase its High Street presence in the UK, by combining its old Apple-only AppleCentre programme with a more consumer-oriented focus. It's difficult to say how successful such ventures have been -- Apple UK doesn't like to give out sales figures, and the US parent doesn't break down overall numbers into sufficient detail to let you work it out for yourself. That said they do, along with strong iMac advertising, help raise the brands profile, and that boosts sales even if the stores themselves don't always benefit. And there's no reason to suppose a US AppleStore chain couldn't be made to work at the very least the same way. ®
The Register breaking news

Cyberstrike gets lift from AOL

AOL UK is using its considerable clout to promote Sunday's pan-European cyberstrike although it is stopping short of urging its members to take part in the militant action. The UK arm of the world's biggest service provider has also confirmed it has gained corporate membership of the Campaign for Unmetered Telecommunications -- a user-based group that lobbies for fairer telecomms charges. In an open letter to its members published last night under the heading "Say yes to free Internet phone calls" president and MD, David Phillips spoke of AOL's commitment to toll-free access to the Internet. He also publicly acknowledged AOL's relationship with CUT, which is co-ordinating the strike action in the UK. Phillips went on to suggest that AOL members write to politicians to lobby support for an overhaul of the telecomms pricing structure. "On Sunday, all telephone users in the 15 countries are being asked to unplug their phones for 24 hours and Internet users asked to disconnect their modems," wrote Phillips. "One of the main aims of the campaign is to see the introduction of flat-rate charges for local calls, meaning an end to clock watching and unexpected phone bills. "A Europe-wide telecommunications boycott is a high profile way of generating awareness," he said without directly asking people to take part. The Register has learnt that two representatives of AOL UK met CUT to hold talks about how the two organisations join forces in their could pursuit of toll-free Net access. One source close to the AOL/CUT relationship said the two groups weren't exactly jumping into bed together, but they were holding hands. ®
The Register breaking news

AOL UK urges Government to turn off Internet clock

Full text of open letter from David Phillips, president and managing director, AOL UK Turn OFF The Clock Imagine buying a season ticket for your local train service then having to pay the full fare on top of that for every train you caught? Or how about paying by the minute every time you watched TV - whatever the channel - on top of the license fee? The idea seems preposterous and yet as Internet users, that's what per minute billing of online telephone time really means. We believe this is wrong - wrong that Internet users continue paying artificially high call charges and wrong that the development of e-commerce is being held back in Europe. We're publicly calling for change - for the Government to do its part to help 'turn off the clock' for Internet users and make the promise of the Internet a reality for everyone. We're not alone it seems. This weekend (Sunday 6 June), Internet users in 15 European countries are being asked to take part in a European telecomms boycott to campaign for fairer telecommunications charges. Co-ordinated by the organisation telecom.eu.org, the UK campaign is led by the Campaign for Unmetered Telecommunications (CUT). An excellent, informative Web site gives you lots of great background. On Sunday, all telephone users in the 15 countries are being asked to unplug their phones for 24 hours and Internet users asked to disconnect their modems. One of the main aims of the campaign is to see the introduction of flat-rate charges for local calls, meaning an end to clock watching and unexpected phone bills. A Europe wide telecommunications boycott is a high profile way of generating awareness. But affirmative, educative action is the way to get results in the long term. We suggest that you show your support by lobbying your local MP and MEP, becoming a supporter of CUT or getting your company involved in the campaign. Despite the hype, free access is not the solution – free services are simply the result of the whole problem of high phone rates. In a report just out, the well respected independent analyst, Jupiter Communications states "Metered charges, not total cost, is the culprit. Low use appears to have more to do with the cost of metered calls than with the total cost of metered access." AOL's own experience supports this view - when we introduced flat rate pricing in the US, usage increased dramatically and significantly accelerated the widespread adoption of the Internet. We'll be using this online area to tell you what we're doing to help turn off the clock for all online users. We're already speaking to regulators and governments across the EU and we are working on a commercial solution as well. So now you know our views, what about yours? We've created this online survey to find out what you think about metered calls and Internet use. We'll be using the results of the survey in our lobbying efforts so please do take a minute to tell us what you think about the issues. Of course, we will keep you posted on the results so check back on this area at a later date. We look forward to your views! David Phillips President and Managing Director
The Register breaking news

NEC may 'sell, merge or close' Packard Bell

NEC is threatening to pull the plug on Packard Bell, after its US subsidiary posted worse than expected losses in April and May. In an interview with Bloomberg News, NEC president Kouji , said: "If things don't work out in the end, there's nothing to do but get out." Nishigaki admitted his company will "sell, merge or close" PB, unless there is a turnaround. PB losses balloned in April and May, following aggressive price cutting. The PC vendor now has 3000 staff, compared with 6000 at its peak. More employees are set for the chop, in a new round of blood letting. ®
The Register breaking news

Disney-sponsored mag votes Disney best Web site

Never let it be said cross-media partnerships aren't beneficial. Today we spotted a small, apparently unremarkable press release from Disney. Apparently, its premium subscription service, Disney Club Blast, part of its Disney.com site, has just been named best Web site by Family PC magazine. So far, so straightforward. Trouble is, the release neglects to mention Family PC, formed some years back to cash in on the burgeoning home PC market and kids-oriented computing is published by Ziff-Davis and... er... Disney. ®
The Register breaking news

ATI licenses MIPS CPU

Graphics card vendor ATI's plan to branch out beyond its traditional markets into the set-top box and Internet access device markets took a further step forward yesterday when the company said it has licensed MIPS' 64-bit CPU architecture. The deal is an unusual one in that ATI's acquisition of PC-on-a-chip developer Chromatic Research last November should surely have given the company the processor expertise it needs to move beyond the graphics market. ATI must think that the next stage in the Chromatic chip's development can be made to occur much more quickly if it buys in a more advanced processor design. Clearly ATI's ambition is expanding. The Chromatic acquisition was widely seen as ATI's attempt to shore up business against moves by Intel into the graphics chipset arena. As for MIPS, in addition to the up-front financial implications, the deal allows it to attach its name to one of the best-known OEM graphics companies. Getting its CPU placed at the heart of an ATI set-top box reference design will do the SGI spin-off no harm at all. ® See also Rage 128 drives up ATI Q2 figures
The Register breaking news

No free call trials, says LineOne MD

The MD of LineOne has denied that the British online service provider is actively engaged in trials for toll-free access to the Internet. Reacting to a story published yesterday, Ajay Chowdhury said he had no knowledge of any toll-free trials currently being held by LineOne. He did confirm that LineOne -- like many ISPs -- was examining this whole area of toll-free access but said that this was the limit of the Net company's activity. Yet The Register has discovered that there are scores of 0800 numbers currently giving people unregulated toll-free access to the Net and around 30 of them require the user to hold a LineOne account to gain free calls. "It's the first I've heard about it," he said quizzically. "They're nothing to do with us. Rather than clarifying the situation, Chowdhury's dismissal only adds to the mystery. And if it has nothing to do with LineOne, then who is responsible? With so many toll-free numbers out there -- and even more people using them to access the Net for free -- The Register would love to know what exactly is going on. ®
The Register breaking news

Cyberstrike could fail on Sunday

A leading member of a telecomms pressure group has said there is no way of telling whether next Sunday's Europe-wide Internet strike will be a success or not. Erol Ziya said that preparations for the 15-nation cyberstrike were well advanced and that the action had received "plenty of coverage" in the press. But he acknowledged that the Campaign for Unmetered Telecommunications (CUT) -- one of the organisations spearheading the action -- had no way of telling whether the cyberstrike would be a success or not. "We don't genuinely expect to damage BT's revenue on Sunday," said Ziya. "We'll judge our success on the number of column inches we get the next day." Net users in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are being mobilised to switch off their modems this Sunday and take part in the European Telecommunications Boycott. A spokesman for BT declined to comment. CUT's efforts received a boost when AOL UK publicly threw its weight behind the pressure group in a bid to force telcos to introduce toll-free access to the Internet. Of course, there is an upside. If thousands of Net users do pull the plug on Sunday, at least those scabs who break the picket should get decent access speeds to the Wibbly Wobbly Web. ®
The Register breaking news

Silicon jumps into bed with PR industry

And we thought we were PR-friendly. Clearly we have some lessons to learn from Silicon's Graham Hayday, author of this astonishing letter. Dear PR execs, Just a quick note to say a big 'thank you' for all your support over the last 12 months or so. Silicon.com will be a year old on July 6, and things are going rather well. We couldn't have done it without your assistance in sourcing top quality interview guests and digging out spokespeople for stories. As a token of our appreciation, a new monthly column will be appearing on the site, a column which aims to reveal the machinations of the PR industry. It should be of interest to end users too. And it should be funny (that's the plan anyway). If you missed the first instalment,published last Wednesday, it's not too late: just log on to www.silicon.com, scroll down to the 'comment' section and read the thoughts of our very own 'IT girl', Tiggy Familiar. She's real. Honest guv. Thanks again on behalf of the whole team, Graham Graham Hayday Editor, Silicon Report Direct line: 0171 761 8209 Fax: 0171 761 8008 e-mail: ghayday@nmtv.net web: http://www.silicon.com Silicon.com - the only place where IT makes sense
Ben Dover, 03 1999
The Register breaking news

Tell your friends – Imation product recall

Imation has admitted it still has some way to go before recalling all the iMac-ready versions of its LS120 SuperDisk which may have been affected by a faulty power cable. The storage vendor received a number of calls from customers reporting problems with faulty power supplies, with some complaining of over-heating and cracked casing. An Imation representative said the company was redoubling its efforts to track down anyone who had bought on eof the potentially faulty units. "We've heard from around 25 per cent of those people who may have an affected unit, now we’re writing those people to ask them to spread the word as much as they can," he said. The recall notice was originally issued back in February and the products affected have been on sale in the UK, Ireland, Hong Kong and Singapore. In the UK, the main resellers of the Imation SuperDisk are PC World and John Lewis Partnership, the company representative said. "We've been liaising with Trading Standards officers – they seem to think we’ve had a much higher response rate than average," the Imation representative said. Anyone with concerns over their SuperDisk should contact the Imation helpline on 0800 78 33 404. ®
The Register breaking news

Rise Tiger pix here – despite earthquake

The minor earthquake that caused the Imperial Intercontinental to wobble like a jelly ten minutes back has not prevented us filing the pix we promised. But after these, we're gonna go down to the bar and file the wailing Whitney Wall fotos later...with your permission...
The Register breaking news

NetBenefit IPO – will it float or sink

Investors will be watching tomorrow's flotation of NetBenefit with a great deal of interest as it should prove an acid test of the UK's appetite for Net stocks. While the love affair between Net stocks and the US is well documented, the UK's ardour is less apparent. The London-based Internet services company will be only the second UK Net company to go public when it joins the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in the morning. NetBenefit is hoping to raise £4.45 million when it places 3,352,900 ordinary shares each at 200p per share for sale tomorrow. The company wants the cash to help it grow both "organically and by acquisition." In particular it is looking to develop markets in the UK, US and France. NetBenefit's financial director, Alison Sparshatt, said: "It's very exciting at the moment. "There has been quite a lot of interest in the marketplace." NetBenefit supplies domain name registrations to both the consumer and corporate markets in the UK and also provides Web hosting, ecommerce and email services. ®
The Register breaking news

Wall of Intel Whitney mobos stand up

Computex As promised earlier, here is part of the wall of 810 Whitney third party motherboards Intel rolled out at the Computex show. ®
The Register breaking news

Quiet Period – Ellison mouths off again

You just can't keep a good man down. And you can't keep Larry Ellison quiet either. Big Lar said today that Oracle will boost spending on research, expand its sales force, but will also cut $1 billion in expenses over the next 18 months -- probably by axeing its consultancy operations. Oracle should be the "best partner" of the big five consultancy firms -- not a rival, he said. Oracle's upcoming earnings report will make it "the hottest company in town," Ellison boasted. But he declined to give details because the company is in a pre-reporting "quiet period". This is obviously a new meaning to the word "quiet" which The Register has yet to encounter. ®