3rd > July > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

Apple readies launch of own portal, ISP

Apple is preparing its own ISP service centred on its own Internet portal, according to reports on Apple-oriented Web site MacInTouch. Apple representatives told the site that the company is planning such a move, but would give no details on what the service will provide and how it will work. They did, however, suggest that the upcoming MacWorld Expo show in New York, to be held between 20 and 23 July, would be a likely venue for the official announcement of the service. That, said MacInTouch, ties in well with a reader, who claimed Apple was close to signing a deal with US-based customer management and billing software company Portal. Portal develops software to help ISPs manage their subscribers accounts, suggesting that Apple is preparing to move into that arena itself. Certainly such a move makes sense. Apple's own data suggest over 80 per cent of iMac buyers are choosing the machine specifically for its claimed ease of access to the Net. That's a lot of subscribers willing to pay $10 a month (or whatever) to surf the Web, and Apple may as well reap that reward as any other ISP. The plan also follows moves by the likes of Dell and Compaq, to name but two, to offer Net connection, primarily through DSL links, with certain systems. And with the big online services, most notably AOL, now looking at breaking into the hardware market (see AOL forges deal with eMachines), computer vendors are going to have to look at ways of making moves into the ISP business. Apple is at least no stranger to the online world -- its AppleLink service was a pioneer among online services, and its successor, eWorld, would probably have done rather better than it did had Apple not held back on Windows support. The arrival of cheap access to the Web at exactly the same time didn't help eWorld's chances much either. ®
The Register breaking news

Corel sued in WP patent clash

Corel has been sued by a little-known Californian software operation Advanced Software which claims the Canadian developer has infringed one of its word processing patents. The suit also names Reed Elsevier's CompareRite software as a fellow infringer. Advanced Software's beef shows just how silly US software patent law has become. It says it was granted a patent in 1989 which described how a word processor could display the original version of a document alongside a modified version in a split-screen configuration. Corel's WordPerfect and Reed Elsevier's CompareRite both do just that and by doing so without Advanced's permission, infringe Advanced's patent. For their crime, Advanced wants both companies to cough up unspecified damages, to pay for the company's legal fees and to cease offering that feature. What's daft about this? Well, for starters, there can't be a word processor user on the planet who hasn't at some point arranged windows containing different versions of a document on their monitors so that they can view both simultaneously. Since they're using their word processing software to do this, are they too infringing Advanced's patent? Worse, since this very reporter put a similar feature into a text editor written for a Computer Studies O-Level back in the early 80s, he is worried he may be sued next. Advanced lawyers should note, however, that the BASIC-implemented Dragon 32 Writer was never released commercially, never made it out of beta testing and this reporter can no longer find the TDK cassette it was saved on. Ahem. Meanwhile, Corel would only say that it had received the suit and that it's lawyers were reviewing the complaint. ®
The Register breaking news

Intel sued by supplier

A supplier of clean room equipment has taken out a writ against chip giant Intel. The company filed against Intel on the 24th of June last in North Carolina district court. The case is a breach of contract dispute, and Flanders, which has a Web site here, also named Conap in the action. Flanders is demanding $3,040,745.10 from the defendants. Summonses were issued on the 30th of June. ®