22nd > June > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

Does Intel broadband sat deal cut out NatSemi?

Was that rending noise the sound of Chipzilla eating NatSemi's lunch? Earlier this year Hughes, AOL and friends announced AOL TV, and NatSemi happily announced that it would be supplying the MediaGX chips for the set-top boxes. Now Intel and Hughes Networks have announced that Intel will be supplying the Pentium chips for the, er, AOL TV set-top boxes. From the announcement it isn't entirely clear that NatSemi's contract is now toast, but it obviously doesn't look good. Hughes and Intel propose to collaborate on the design of a range of set-top boxes based on Pentium MMX and other Intel technology, and Intel has licensed DirecPC technology from Hughes, and the pair add happily that the alliance "will take advantage of satellite's unique 'broadband anywhere' capabilities to provide new interactive services for consumers across the continental United States. Regrettably Yankocentric, as so often, and in this case wrong. Hughes satellite broadband is also available in Europe via a jv with those nice people at Olivetti, and in the Far East via (apparently, last time we looked) some bloke in Tokyo. The Hughes-Intel deal does look somewhat firmer than anything NatSemi produced at the time of the AOL TV announcement, but does that mean NatSemi's out of the game? The previous plan for hardware had NatSemi supplying the chips, Philips the manufacturing and NCI (now Liberate) the reference design. AOL has money in NCI/Liberate, so wouldn't want to stiff it too badly. Not before the IPO, anyway. But wheels within wheels. By a happy coincidence AOL has invested $1.5 billion in Hughes, so they're obviously still close buddies, and the possibility of a nightmare triumvirate looms. The more paranoid among you might also care to lob a couple of other matters into the picture. Intel is busy on system-on-chip designs based on Pentium technology, and is working on stealing some more of NatSemi's lunch with a WebPad-type design. AOL has "AOL Anywhere" plans, and is no doubt talking to both Intel and NatSemi about dinky devices you could use to wander round the house while surfing the Web. It's beginning to look like Intel will get the contract. ®
John Lettice, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

AOL scare gives FreeServe punters the jitters

Dixons Group shares were the FTSE 100's second worst performer yesterday on (wrong) news that AOL Europe was considering joining the free ISP brigade in the UK. The Daily Mail even says that AOL's entry into the UK free ISP market could cause a price war. Which is astonishing, considering FreeServe is,well, free. AOL would have to pay people to become subscribers to pull off that trick. Yesterday, Dixons shares fell 55p to £11.72. These shares are a way into FreeServe, the company's groundbreaking ISP, set for a £1.9 billion flotation later this year. There are all sorts of reasons to question the valuation placed upon FreeServe - a company with huge market share in the UK -- 31 per cent and 1.5 million subscribers -- but AOL Europe is not one of them. AOL has nine per cent of the UK home Internet subscription market, according to Fletcher Research - which would give it around 500,000 people paying a tenner a month. It has one million subscribers in Germany. This is a lot of money to give away. The company is a prisoner of its own past successes -- it will not torch these paying accounts. The odds on it setting up a non- AOL branded free ISP business successfully (ie: without hacking off its existing customers) is remote. This means relative decline in Europe -- because the company will not grow as fast as its free ISP rivals. The Free ISP pricing model is proving hugely attractive to consumers. That is why AOL is getting into political lobbying -- AOL wants unmetered telecoms in Europe --(unmetered by the way means flat fee, not free access) because that way it can justify its premium-priced subscription service.
Drew Cullen, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Judge muses on Microsoft's motivation

MS on Trial No doubt attempting to enliven proceedings during one of those notoriously dull court sessions with economists, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson yesterday suggested that Microsoft's intent in giving away Internet Explorer might be one of the points the case hinges on. This is not particularly good news for Microsoft, as the Department of Justice's exhibits file is stuffed with Microsoft emails which apparently suggest the intent was to destroy Netscape. "I can see for the court's purposes how intent might be relevant," he said. "A jury is called upon to do it all the time." Not having a jury to trouble him here, Judge Jackson is in a position to cut out the middle man. He made the observation during the questioning of Richard "No Database" Schmalensee, the Microsoft economist witness and sometime consultant whose role yesterday was to explain why giving Explorer away for free, and then building it into the OS, wasn't predatory really. Schmalensee had argued that Microsoft wasn't throwing away money by giving away the browser, as it could recoup its investment by selling advertising in Explorer, or by small price changes on Windows. The judge then made his point. If Microsoft had intended this when it made its move, that would be one thing, but if it had deliberately set out to trash Netscape, that would be quite another. But what about those price changes? Schmalensee said that increasing sales of Windows by 3 per cent, or putting up the price by $1.50 a copy, would net MS an extra $100 million. This of course took him perilously close to the subject of Microsoft as a monopoly again, because what opposition is there to stop either of these happening? ® Complete Register Trial coverage
John Lettice, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Gates money-pile now bigger than galaxy

Microsoft accounted for three of the top four slots in the latest Forbes list of the world's richest people, with only famous investor Warren Buffett separating the trio of Gates, Allen and Ballmer. Gates naturally heads the list, Microsoft's escalating share price having seen off a succession of former world's richest people over the years, and his estimated value of $90 billion is almost triple Buffett's paltry $36 billion. This just goes to show that although the rich aren't like you and I, his Billness doesn't real count as being like the rich any more. Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, comes next with $30 billion while Steve Ballmer, in early but obviously not early enough, clocks $19.5 billion. It takes a whole family, Roche Pharmaceuticals, to account for the next slot, and even then Michael Dell, who is occasionally cruelly categorised as a Microsoft billionaire round these parts, is coming on strong behind with $16.5 billion beer tokens. ®
John Lettice, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Will MS lawyer swing for trial defence catastrophe?

MS on Trial Microsoft will know who to blame for the inadequacy of its legal defence. Sullivan & Cromwell, its main trial law firm, has made some epic errors of judgement. It may be that orders as to how the case should be conducted came from Microsoft via head lawyer Bill Neukom, whom we tip for an early bath. In any event, it was a high risk strategy to call AOL svp David Colburn again as a hostile witness when it should have been clear that he knew very little of value to the defence. It seems probable that the pressure for this came from John Warden, and was an attempt to redeem his earlier inadequate cross-examination of Colburn. As a result, Microsoft did not discover that the AOL-Netscape merger was about to happen. Colburn's constant refrain was that "I'm not the technical guy" and "I'm only a deal guy". Warden foolishly tried to lambast Colburn for not pointing out in his deposition that embedding the Netscape browser had become relatively unimportant as a result of the pending deal, but of course Warden had not asked the right questions. Warden volunteered that MSN was "a tiny fraction" of AOL, something not entirely welcome to Microsoft as it tries yet again to launch its lead balloon. He was also concerned that "by gaining ownership of the Netscape client, AOL would gain a strong base to claim increasing amounts of the user's desktop time, especially in business and education markets." He was expressing the unbridled fear that Microsoft's dominance of user time might decline. Earlier in the trial, Microsoft had detected some concern on the part of Judge Jackson about the AOL-Netscape-Sun deal, so it conducted an intensive examination of the documentation of the merger in the search for anything that might help Microsoft's failing defence. No stone was left unturned in the search for dirt, but it didn't work. In the event, it became clear that there was nothing in the agreements to cause concern. What was unfair was that Microsoft had gained sight of highly sensitive documents about the merger. Warden' performance was flawed not just by the gross error of examining the wrong witness, but by many procedural errors. It was not good to refer to Colburn as the defendant, for example, but the slip was indicative of how Microsoft's lawyers have come to regard anybody opposing the bully. When Colburn had nothing to offer in response to a question, Warden editorialised by saying he wished to "draw the court's attention" to some propaganda point or other. Judge Jackson became increasingly frustrated at the inappropriateness of Colburn as a witness. In a second bench conference that he called, he let forth: Judge Jackson: Mr Warden, I confess, I'm not sure where you're going here. I think you had long since exhausted this witness's personal knowledge, and the examination that you are conducting right now is more of a dialogue than anything else, "Do you agree with this, do you agree with that?" My suggestion would be that if you got some more free-floating documents here as to which he has no personal knowledge but which otherwise has a provenance which would permit them to come into evidence, just offer them into evidence and let this guy go. Warden: I'm trying to show that the browser client part of the deal was an important part of the deal to Netscape and AOL. Judge Jackson: Well, he isn't going to agree to that, and he hasn't. Warden: I think he has. He says the browser is important to the portal because there is traffic there, and I'm coming back to the fact in a minute. Judge Jackson: He said he that a half a dozen times... I want to make sure that I know what your point is, what you're driving at... He says he's a deal maker, that he's an ops man, and that insofar as corporate strategy is concerned, he simply does what they tell him... I'm going to suggest that you exhaust his personal knowledge, put the free-floating documents in, and let's get him off the stand today... I'm rather surprised at the lack of personal knowledge he has about the things you're asking him, but he's demonstrated it. The best person to call you don't want to call [meaning Gates]. And I don't blame you. Warden: The government can call him. Judge Jackson: They don't want him, either. Mention of the glaringly obvious fact by the judge that Gates should have appeared in person to defend Microsoft was bad news for the monopolist. Nor did it help that Warden sought to enter into evidence a self-serving statement from Gates to his executives, dated 1 December 1998, and on which he could not be cross-examined. It was very strange that the memo should have found its way to AOL, by whom it was marked "highly confidential", and from whom it was "discovered" by Microsoft. To add mystery, there was a phone number handwritten on the document that Colburn did not recognise when asked by Warden. It was inconceivable that Microsoft did not know whose number it was. Colburn knew nothing about it. The most likely explanation was that it was deliberately leaked to AOL by Microsoft so that it could be offered in evidence. Boies objected to its use, and the judge sustained his request. Warden was given a basic lesson in examining witnesses and offering exhibits by the judge: "Without some testimony to give it some context, it doesn't prove anything to me... You have got to have a witness that can give it some context who have some knowledge about it, before it becomes probative evidence. Just a free-floating document doesn't prove anything to me." Warden ended up as the court fool, but there was no humour in his performance. He had groped his way forward, stumbling as he went. Microsoft's defence crumbled even further. ® Complete Register Trial coverage
Graham Lea, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Fishing trip nets MS Sun secrets, but no evidence

MS on Trial It was valuable for Microsoft to be able to have access to the legal documents about the AOL-Netscape-Sun deals, so that it could develop a strategy that would have the maximum effect against the intentions gleaned from the documents. It would be hard for AOL to change its plans significantly as a consequence of this, since to do so would result in a sub-optimal plan in most cases. It is a great pity that the law does not allow reciprocal discovery by AOL and Sun of Microsoft's sealed documents that reference them. Microsoft had hoped to find some major indications that AOL had some secret plan to use the Netscape browser, but there were no surprises. According to AOL svp David Cole, an analysis of the merits of swapping Communicator for IE was never done. It transpired that in September 1998, Netscape had delivered to AOL a beta version of a componentised browser (codenamed Raptor, and also Gecko, it appears), and that Netscape was confident that it could have a golden master by 1 December 1998. One area of concern to Microsoft was AOL's plans for embedded browsers in non-Wintel devices. Colburn said AOL's efforts were still at a very preliminary stage, but it appeared likely that he knew more than he volunteered in his response. Microsoft was very keen to find out if Sun was going to play any role in browser development. Colburn characterised Sun's role as being focussed on the enterprise side and that it would carry out "some of the heavy lifting and doing future versions of the browser". That should give Microsoft something to think about. ® Complete Register Trial coverage
Graham Lea, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

AOL boss muses, can we afford to dump MS?

MS on Trial The transcript of evidence from AOL SVP David Colburn, who was called by Microsoft as a hostile witness, shows the extent to which Microsoft was gobsmacked by the AOL-Netscape-Sun deal. It was evidently negotiated in conditions of considerable secrecy, with code words such as "Odyssey" for Netscape, "Apollo" for AOL, and "Zeus" for Sun. Microsoft's vulnerability, it became clear, was that it did not control the situation. AOL CEO Steve Case had certainly thought about the AOL-Microsoft relationship. An interesting email from him noted in September set out his thoughts on the deal: "One of the big open questions in my mind about the Netscape deal relates to use of their browser. Our relationship with Microsoft is strained and will get much, much worse no matter how we play it. We should do some scenario planning to understand what possible impacts might be of Netscape deal. I know the current thinking is we should continue with Internet Explorer to stay in Windows 98 and get those registrations. I realise a lot of registrations are at stake, but I wonder if we buy Netscape, and commit to migrate to their browser instead, what impact that will have on Microsoft contract. Specifically, if we push share to Netscape, can Microsoft really pull us out of Windows 98? (Legally, as well as would it be palatable given current antitrust attention.) "Maybe we can get comfortable with putting our support behind Netscape so they really have browser share momentum (suddenly, they would have more than two-thirds share again) because Microsoft will have trouble pulling us, or even if they do, given bundling/pipeline issues for Windows 98, it will take a long time (a year?) before there is meaningful degradation in our registrations, especially given our other OEM deals. Obviously a big, big issue to figure out! My main point is we shouldn't assume we need to or want to maintain IE as primary browser. Maybe that's the right answer, but maybe not. We should push down on all possibilities before deciding." Er, dunno Colburn had a simple reply when he was questioned about this: he didn't think he had see this before, and he wasn't an addressee. It was rather strange that the "deals guy", as Colburn characterised himself, was not copied this email. AOL president Bob Pittman replied to Case: "We're wrestling with it over and over for exactly these reasons, and we may be able to accomplish both goals, but I do think Microsoft is too strong to throw them out of the tent. They can hurt us if they think they have no other option. I think we need to stay in business with them, creating the need for them to need us, and then leave ourselves the flexibility to always accommodate them to a certain extent." John Warden, counsel for Microsoft, read part of a response from Barry Schuler, president of AOL operations: "The clearest way to counterbalance this negative drumbeat would be to announce -- right before going public with the acquisition, that Apollo has renewed its Internet Explorer agreement through August 2000." After more replies from Colburn that he had not seen documents that were produced, the DoJ's special trial counsel David Boies asked for a bench conference with Judge Jackson. He pointed out that Microsoft had had the opportunity to call Steve Case, who would have known about his emails, but declined to do so. Judge Jackson agreed, but said he would not foreclose the questioning. He then asked Warden if he'd like to call Case, implying that he would allow him as an additional rebuttal witness. Warden replied that he would like to wait until the end of Colburn's examination before deciding. Judge Jackson continued: "It does seem to me that it is not very illuminating, in view of the fact that he doesn't know what he is talking about here, or he doesn't know what he is talking about in the sense that he is being shown these that he has never seen before and is not knowledgeable about it." Immediately after this rebuke, more documents were put to Colburn, and it turned out that he had not seen these either because he went on vacation as soon as the deal was negotiated. The AOL board was briefed before the announcement of the merger that a communications objective was to "avoid any appearance of direct conflict with Microsoft". When he was questioned about the AOL board meeting, Colburn said he had no idea what was approved or whether it was changed. The AOL PC Microsoft had discovered from the AOL board documents that AOL had discussed with Sun the possibility of developing AOL PCs. Colburn said there had been two possibilities: a Windows machine, and a non-Wintel machine. However, the real desire had been to find ways of reducing the price of a machine, and that had now happened in the marketplace. Warden asked if Colburn was aware that Schuler and AOL svp Miles Gilburne had told Sun in the summer of 1998 that AOL intended to standardise on the Java platform as their only "AOL Anywhere" client architecture, thereby breaking the deadly embrace with Microsoft. Colburn had a simple reply: it wasn't happening. Colburn was shown an internal Sun document about this, and commented that it was hardly surprising that Sun talked about Microsoft in emotional terms, and that AOL had never made any such commitments to Sun. Warden brought up a remark in an AOL document about "the deadly beast from Redmond", to which Colburn responded "We have our moments too" and indeed they did, because the same document referred to "the partnership between Stalin and FDR [Roosevelt] against Hitler". It was all good fun. Colburn summarised the reasons for the deal at one point: "The highlight reasons we did the deal were the portal, the e-commerce solution play, the Netscape name and the Netscape people. Part of the portal and the interest in the portal is the way that it was tied to the client, and that was the way to get additional people to the portal, and once they were at the portal, have them stay there." Warden made no progress when he tried to admonish Colburn for not having told him of AOL's plans, but to no avail. It was Colburn's job to answer questions truthfully, which he did, and Warden's to ask the right questions, which he didn't. Warden quoted an email from an AOL PR person that Colburn again had not seen that said: "Microsoft may seek immediate discovery of the extent to which the Department of Justice knew of the deal and didn't disclose it in connection with testimony of company executives. "That is, the question whether the Department of Justice engaged in conspiracy with these companies against Microsoft." Warden went on to ask when AOL should say it had informed the DoJ of the acquisition. Boies objected on the ground that this did not arise from the document, so Warden's fishing trip was terminated. Warden dug away at browser market share information, claiming that Schuler thought it critical as to whether the deal went ahead. Colburn said AOL needed to know how many browsers were tied to portals, and how that was changing, so that there could be effective planning. All in all, Microsoft wasted its opportunity to provide any effective rebuttal evidence, and just dug a deeper hole. ® Complete Register Trial coverage
Graham Lea, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

PC gets left on shelf

We may buy it in a flurry of excitement to get on the Web or as an educational tool for our children, but it seems that once we get it home, we ignore our brand new PC and it sits gathering dust. The PC's new status as an ornament has been revealed by research from the States. Five years ago only 29 per cent of the US population had access to a PC at home, but nearly everyone who had one, used it. While ownership has nearly doubled to 54 per cent, usage has fallen to 53 percent. Access to the Internet is proving an insufficient inducement to those who do not use their PCs. Only two thirds of those who could be online actually are. Overuse seems to be behind the PC's slide from functional to decorative. Dr Roberta McConochie, research director at Arbitron NewMedia commented: "Apparently many consumers deal with PC's at work. By the time they get home, many of the technology-weary users prefer to wind down and spend time with their families than spend more time on a work like PC." ®
Lucy Sherriff, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

S3 buys Diamond Multimedia

S3 has turned predator with the $175 million share acquisition of Diamond Multimedia. Well, well, well. That will teach us to listen to our California chip friends, who swore blind that S3 was being stalked by its smaller rival 3dfx. (We still think this is, or rather was, true). With Diamond, S3 is now far too big for 3dfx to contemplate a hostile bid. This gives it a ready-made board supplier to play with, just like 3dfx (which bought STB last year). More importantly Diamond has a huge retail presence, to back up its OEM business. S3 hopes to retain other retail board customers -- the company has learnt from what we consider to be 3dfx's tactical error following the STB buy. Remember, 3dfx said it would junk other retail board makers, and then considered backtracking (because STB's retail channel was not strong enough in Europe). In the event, 3dfx is ploughing on by itself Through Diamond, S3 also becomes an all-round multimedia player -- Diamond makes the Rio Internet music player, modems and sound cards, as well as graphics boards. S3 has turned itself around nicely in recent months. It's got a new chip, the S4, that OEMs actually want to buy; it's got a sweet cross-patent deal with Intel; and it's got cash -- about $120 million, and $600 million worth of United Microelectronics stock. Even if it doesn't sell the stock in one go (bad for tax reasons as well as UMC share price), S3 has some hefty collateral at its disposal. S3 shareholders will hope the company will spend its UMC paper mountain wisely. The Diamond buy looks a useful first step. ®
Drew Cullen, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Phoenix readies plan to subvert MS OEM contracts

Through its OEM contracts Microsoft has a vice-like grip on the OS installation and first boot sequence of a PC. So much so that earlier this year MS OEM chief Joachim Kempin suggested that, if PC companies wanted to advertise their own wares on their PCs, they could do it via an embedded operating system that executed while the hardware itself was booting, and before the OS started to load. Well Joachim, apparently that wasn't such a dumb suggestion, because bios king Phoenix Technologies is doing it. The reason for Kempin's somewhat esoteric suggestion is relatively simple. Microsoft's OEM contracts dictate the initial look and feel of what the company terms the Windows Experience, and this includes the software that loads as the OS installs, what the desktop looks like, and what should be installed on the machine when it first boots after the OS has installed. The contracts specifically state there will be no advertising of products (apart from Microsoft ones, that is), and no non-MS software running once the install procedure has started. That gives Microsoft considerable control over all sorts of stuff, including the default browser (and therefore the one most users will stick with), and the range of ISPs that is presented to the user for Internet sign-up. Rake-offs for MS, no rake-offs for the PC companies (although we concede the ropes have been loosened a tad over the past few months). So over to Phoenix. Its bios software obviously loads before the MS contracts come into effect, and Phoenix has twigged (possibly after reading Register trial coverage) that this is valuable real estate. Future versions of Phoenix's bios will include facilities for companies to advertise their wares, and Phoenix is pitching at Internet outfits initially. According to today's Wall Street Journal, AOL, Yahoo, Cnet and Excite are interested already. But as also according to today's Wall Street Journal this would mean AOL could put its sign-up icon directly on the desktop of any PC (nope, clear breach of MS OEM contract, and difficult to figure out how a bios could do that anyway), this may not be true. How you actually get people signed up to an ISP from a bios is quite another matter. Will it just run as nagware with a 'phone this number' message? Or will there be a 'press F1 to squirt sign-up icon onto desktop' message? Or maybe you load something into memory - you can't do this under the MS contract in the initial boot sequence, but after that you could. Still, sounds like cowpats ahoy to us. ®
John Lettice, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

VA new investment telegraphs another Linux IPO?

Do we spot Linux IPO number two on the horizon? If so, VA Linux Systems seems to be aiming for bigger bucks than Red Hat; it's cannily pulling in more money in second round finance, the general idea under those circumstances usually being to increase the value of the company in order to go for a bigger jump at IPO stage. VA is raising $25 million from a prestigious crowd, including SGI, Intel and Sequoia (both back for a second invest), and a string of VC outfits you'd only get bored reading if we listed them all. Intel's continuing interest is understandable, while SGI's is a wee bit intriguing. SGI is of course switching to Intel, so needs to back some of the same horses Intel backs. VA itself is working on a 64-bit version of Linux for Merced, which is of interest to both companies. Once Merced and VA's Linux implementation are available, VA will no doubt look exceedingly bankable. So a bit of second round now with a view to an IPO a little later looks eminently sensible. ®
John Lettice, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Papers got wrong end of the stick, says AOL

AOL and CompuServe are not about to abolish their subscription-based services. Contrary to a rash of stories yesterday, AOL UK and its sidekick CompuServe have no intentions to give up precious revenue from their subscription-based services. A source close to AOL UK explained that the stories were misleading and that someone simply got the wrong end of the stick. Which is fine, except that AOL UK has been on a hiding to nothing ever since the subscription-based phenomenon took off. With unerring regularity, every time another subscription-free service is launched AOL gets asked when it will follow suit. Instead of flat denials, in recent times AOL has tended to rule nothing in -- or nothing out. The result is a pea soup of confusion that helped contribute to yesterday's screaming "AOL goes free" headlines. Of course, while people try to feel their way through the smog there is nothing stopping AOL from launching a new branded service -- or services -- to compete in the subscription-free marketplace. If AOL is "going free", then The Register reckons it would involve the launch of another service -- not an alteration to its existing ones. And if that's the case such a service may just provide Net access with a limited range of content. Net users who need the comfort blanket of AOL's extended content can always dip into their pockets and pay a little extra. After all, that's been AOL's argument for as long as anyone can remember. Either way, AOL is expected to make a decision within the next three or four weeks. ®
Tim Richardson, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Tosh pledges Y2K comfort zone

In a bid to smooth the path past the dreaded Y2K date change, Toshiba has promised platform stability for its Tecra notebooks and the Equium 7100 desktop system. Toshiba claims the decision to freeze any changes to the two machines in the run up to the millennium was prompted by the desire to address the concerns of corporate users. Toshiba said that it will keep all the factory installed components consistent until the end of January next year. Once a machine has been qualified for Y2K it will not need to be tested again nor will there be a need to re-qualify later system purchases. Toshiba rejected suggestions that the platform stability program would lead to large numbers of customers switching brands in search of the 'next big thing.' "We have designed the Tecra with upcoming CPU's in mind. Our customers will not need to defect to get hold of advances in technology," said Con Mallon, UK marketing manager at Toshiba. Research by the Gartner Group indicates that the Tecra will save $1,000 per year in corporate running costs against an average cost, stated by Gartner, of $12,000 per year. Of that, $530 is due to the platform stability plans. For the Equium range the saving due to platform stability was about $300 per year on estimated costs of $7,000. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel's Barrett concedes defeat on PC-133

The CEO of Intel has admitted it has a contingency plan if Direct Rambus memory fails to deliver on time. Craig Barrett, speaking in London at a Dow Jones conference, said that his company would be "foolish" if it didn't have a contingency plan. Said Barrett: "We're committed to support Rambus DRAM but ultimately these solutions have to be price and performance based." He said: "We'd be considered foolish if we didn't have a contigency plan." He admitted that Intel's investment in both Samsung and Micron was because of its commitment to Direct Rambus. But, he said, much depended on the memory companies able to execute on Rambus. ®
Mike Magee, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Long arm of the law reaches into cyberspace

Senior officers at the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) want to create a nationwide law enforcement agency to combat computer crime. John Abbott, the director general of NCIS, called for the creation of a cybercrime agency at the launch of a new report – Project Trawler -- detailing the threat posed by online criminal behaviour. The report -- which took three years to complete -- recognises the importance of the Internet but warns of the dangers of hacking, viruses, fraud and a raft of other criminal behaviour. In particular, NCIS believes that cybercrime is on the increase and that action needs to be taken now if the UK isn’t to be overrun by cybervillains. "I believe serious consideration should be given to the establishment of a national investigative computer crime unit to combat the growing numbers of computer crimes being carried out in the UK and to identify and target emerging threats," he said. In particular, Abbott called for current legislation to be revised to help police put cybercriminals behind bars. This includes giving police access to encryption keys -- something that has severe consequences for personal freedoms in the UK. Project Trawler should be available online tomorrow. (http://www.ncis.co.uk) ®
Tim Richardson, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel's Barrett confirms Internet Pad a goer

The Internet Pad, which Intel successfully demonstrated in Oregon last year, is a reference platform that PC OEMs are interested in, the CEO of Intel said today. Craig Barrett, CEO at Intel, said that by this time next year there will be "successful designs" based on its reference design. Said Barrett: "I would expect to see designs of that type out in the next year. "My favourite application is that when you wake up in the morning, you don't have to get out of bed to see the Intel stories written. "With the Internet Pad you can see all references to all Internet stories about Intel." Barrett also revealed he eats Cheerios for breakfast, which, we understand, is an American kind of breakfast. ®
Mike Magee, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel's Barrett says cellphone standards not important

Whether people are accessing their Web appliances in Canada, Japan, Korea, Europe or even the US is not imporant, the CEO of Intel said today. Responding to a question about whether wireless standards and wireless standard committees are or are not important, Intel CEO Craig Barrett, at a Dow Jones conference held in West London early today, said it can be done in silicon. Barrett said that while GSM was probably a major standard, future implementations in silicon "would sense" where your mobile was, and connect, thus delivering your email, et al. ®
Mike Magee, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel's Barrett fudges Merced, Coppermine

The man who runs Intel on a day-to-day basis has given the world the SP on chip delays. Craig Barrett, CEO of one of the biggest multinational corporations in the world, Intel, said today that when he heard Merced was delayed "nine months ago" he got very irritated. But, said Barrett, Merced was on target to deliver in 12 to 18 months time. He also waxed eloquent on the so-called Coppermine delay, saying that irritated him, as well. But he was not irritated at the Celeron's performance, said Barrett. He said that Celeron was making big inroads into the small business sector. ®
Mike Magee, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel's Barrett says video conferencing on PCs big Intel mistake

At a panel at a Dow Jones conference in West London today, Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel, claimed that his company had entered the PC videoconferencing market too early. That was Intel's biggest mistake, confessed Barrett. But Ray Lane, financial director of Oracle worldwide, appeared not willing to admit he or his company had ever made a mistake. The chief operating officer of Alcatel, however, said that his company's biggest mistake was to have spend millions of dollars researching video on demand, and pressed Lane to admit a similar mistake. Lane admitted nothing. David Potter, chairman of Psion, was also reluctant to admit any mistakes, leaving Craig Barrett looking cool against the rest of the CEOs. Andreas Barth, billed as attending, left Compaq last week. His chair was empty today, so demonstrating that if you're not there, you can't get yourself in trouble... Barth left Compaq last week. ®
Mike Magee, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Psion's Potter says Amazon may “flop”

In a remarkable statement today, the chairman of Psion, David Potter described AMAZON.COM as the Internet company most likely to flop. His opinion was hotly disputed by other CEOs at a Dow Jones conference held in London today. Potter said he thought the Internet company most likely to succeed was the site called IGLU.COM and he confirmed he had no personal or financial interest in the ski chalet booking firm, or not. But Potter said that Amazon was overvalued and had overextended itself. Other panellists, including Intel's Craig Barrett, agreed. But Ray Lane, chief operating officer at Oracle, demurred. He thought Amazon had a real future. The full report will follow tomorrow. ®
Mike Magee, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Oracle's Lane has 18 TVs in two houses

The guy tipped to be the next CEO of Compaq admitted today that he had a total of 18 TVs in two houses, but lacked a mapping system in his car. Tough former venture capitalist Ray Lane, made the startling admission at a CEO conference held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London earlier today. Further, Lane said in a panel Q&A that he only had five PCs in the two houses, didn't mind if he lost a PDA because he could always download the info from an Oracle server, and that his car lacked a mapping device. We found all of the foregoing quite interesting. Is Ray Lane, then, similar to the British guy from Yorkshire who made millions from the so-called Cat's Eyes that illuminate the road, and spent some of his money on 18 TVs in his house before Cable TV was invented? The latter millionaire was forced to watch BBC1, BBC2 and ITV on his 18 TVs... ®
Mike Magee, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Web hate sites target women and children

A report published tomorrow will reveal how hate groups are targeting women and children on the Web to spread bigotry and prejudice. In particular, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) claims that impressionable teenagers are being influenced by offensive material as the Web becomes a breeding ground for a disaffected minority. Much of it is being generated by white supremacists, claims ADL. "[Using the Web] is a way to bring people into the movement," said the report's author Jordan B Kessler in an interview with the New York Times. Poisoning the Web: Hatred Online also highlights how women are being influenced by extreme feminist groups. The problem of hate groups was just one of the issues highlighted in a report today by the National Criminal Intelligence Service, which also called for a UK-wide cybercrime fighting agency to be set up. The findings of Project Trawler appear to support the report due to be published by ADL. According to Project Trawler the number of hate Web sites has increased from 50 in 1995 to almost 1,500 today. Most of these sites are based in the US and focus on racism, neo-nazism and terrorism. Earlier this year a number of anti-abortionists were fined more than $100 million for publishing the names of doctors and users of termination clinics across the US. The court in Oregon found that the Nuremberg Files Web site contained extremist material likely to incite violence. ®
Tim Richardson, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel's Barrett to bash Blair, Brown, on bandwidth

The CEO of the biggest semiconductor outfit in the world said today he would tell UK Chancellor of the Exchequer and any other government minister he might meet that our country was not doing enough for end users and small businesses. Craig Barrett, CEO of Santa Clara based the Intel Corporation (ticker: INTC), told fify journalists that he would be attempting to persuade UK government ministers they could do better by the citizens. Earlier in the day, Barrent showed a slide which seemed to suggest that European companies were lagging behind Intel, itself, in bandwidth. The Intel slide had the following figures on it: UK, 1500Mbps, Holland 600Mpbs, Intel 256Mbps, Italy 65Mbps and Spain 45Mbps. Barrett said he was going to stress to Chancellor Brown the importance of education. He said: "I'm going to say bandwidth, bandwidth, bandwidth, bandwith" to Brown. He said: "I'm going to say education, education, education, education" to Brown. Sorry, we thought that was David Blunkett's job... ®
Mike Magee, 22 Jun 1999
The Register breaking news

Jamaican version of Da Regista found online

Check out this URL, chaps and chappesses. It's the rinky-dink version of the dialectiser all for Da Register Mon... Go here ya sucka ®
Team Register, 22 Jun 1999