19th > July > 1999 Archive

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Pentium Pro on death row

A year ago From The Register No. 87 -- a year ago Intel said today that it has formally decided to kill the Pentium Pro in favour of the Pentium II platform. It will honour existing orders and give its OEM customers six months to make new orders. The processor will finally disappear in 1999. It is suffering a cruel and unnatural type of punishment, and will linger on death row for a little while yet, as Intel makes sure that vendors existing SMP systems are supported. There is no chance of a successful appeal against death sentence. Although the processor's technology is at the heart of the PII family, Intel was forced to swap to Slot technology because the price of the SRAM, included in the same package as the processor, was prohibitive. Also, Intel experienced various manufacturing difficulties with the Pro. The latest was a condition which meant Pro's suffered from excessive humidity conditions, thus making Intel ship it with that dessicated stuff you get with optical equipment. But Intel is offering a "Socket Eight" Overdrive upgrade, allowing the Pentium II to be plugged into the existing socket on Pro machines, as previously revealed here. A representative from the company also confirmed that a range of price cuts on its existing chips will happen on Sunday, 25 July. Although he declined to give details of the cuts, the Celeron is likely to be slashed in price as Intel responds to competition from IDT, AMD and NatSemi-Cyrix. ®
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iMac Celeron lookalike could lead to sour Apples

A Japanese company has released a PC clone which has something of the look and feel of the iMac. Priced at ¥128,000, the E-one machine from Sotec uses Celeron technology and a case which, shall we say, looks a tad familiar. The machine comes with an 8.4Gb hard drive, a 433MHz Celeron and 64Mb of synchronous memory. At Computex in Taiwan, earlier this year, a number of case makers were showing boxes which, shall we say, looked a little bit like iMacs... Go here to make up your own mind. ®
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Compaq to push harder on platform Alpha

As part of its continuing push to make Alpha its high end server of choice, Compaq will today announce its cost reduced Turbolaser, known as the GS60E. At the same time, it will announce a fresh flavour of its DS20 Alpha platform called the DS20E. More significantly, Compaq will also make public its AlphaServer GS80 and its AlphaServer GS320. Terry Shannon, editor and analyst of Shannon knows Compaq, said he strongly believes that the GS80 and the GS320 will be eight-CPU bounded and full blown 32-CPU configurations of the company's Wildfire platform. The details will be announced in the USA later. ®
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Via confirms Apollo PC-133 has landed

Taiwanese chipset manufacturer Via has now confirmed it has released its Apollo Pro133 chipset. Over the weekend, we reported that motherboards using the chipset are already for sale in Japan. It had the design ready at this year's Computex show in Taipei, but was forced to hold fire because of negotiations between it and chip giant Intel. The chipset will deliver a 33 per cent increase in memory performance over PC 100 types, claimed Via. It will support Pentium processors with 133MHz front side buses (FSBs). Unfortunately, no such processors are yet available from Intel, which has announced a delay on the parts. Via said the Apollo Pro133 will also work with PC66 based PCs using Pentium IIs and Celerons, offering the advantage of 66/100 and 100/133 memory and CPU combinations. The chipset also integrates AGP 2x, ATA-66 and support for virtual channel SDRAM. It is shipping now and costs $29 when bought in large quantities, labelled with both NatSemi and Via logos. ®
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Intel confirms i740, i754 dead duckies…

Chip giant Intel has now confirmed that its i740 chipset will become a thing of the past in August. The information is on its website. Intel said it will stop supporting the i740 in August. And Intel has also confirmed that it has canned its high end i754 chipset. (See Intel has (late) designs on your graphics) Intel said it has dropped the i754 because the i752, targeting mainstream graphics, will "meet the targets" it originally set for the i754. The i740 was launched around 15 months ago and sparked a row when Intel slashed its price only a few months after releasing it. The news that the i740 will shortly move into the Intel gulag, means that the i810 is likely to disappear in the next three or four months. Intel says that's unlikely... It will be displaced by the 810e, still scheduled for September, according to sources. The 810e was, originally, dubbed the i815. ®
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NEC awards FIC $.5 billion notebook order

Following hard and fast on deals struck between Acer and IBM, Taiwanese firm First International Computer (FIC) has won a deal to supply NEC with notebook computers. According to the Taiwanese report, the deal is worth $NT15 billion ($464,396,000) and extends for one year. The deal will up FIC's turnover by around 30 per cent, with shipments starting at the end of October, according to the reports. Of course, all of these deals may be set to naught if Mainland China stops rattling its sabres and actually crosses the 60 miles between it and Taiwan. In the last four days, it has been making increasingly bellicose noises. ®
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AOL to launch free Net access in UK

AOL today finally coughed to planning a free Internet access service, to be called Netscape Online and launched in the middle of August. The service, which was to have been announced last month until scooped by German daily Der Spiegel will offer its own range of content through a Netcenter-style portal. AOL said the service will complement both AOL and CompuServe by targetting the "newly emerging 'value' market". Pure spin, of course, since all the evidence suggests that Freeserve, the free ISP whose launch prompted AOL's latest move, attracts all types of user, from the experienced surfer to the novice. It's interesting that the company chose Netscape as the brand. Clearly, AOL has needed to find something for its acquisition to do, apart from continue to build browsers, and at last we have it: it's just the brand name AOL wants. As the company says, Netscape Online will offer "pure, high performance Internet access backed by the power of the Netscape brand". Hang on a minute, though, how many "newly emerging" Internet users will really appreciate "the power" of the Netscape brand? Not too many, we suspect. Still, when AOL starts mailing out millions of Netscape Online CDs this summer, perhaps that won't matter too much. What will matter is to what extent the service will compete with Freeserve and/or cannibalise the existing AOL and CompuServe user base. In detailing Netscape Online, AOL Europe's president and CEO, Andreas Schmidt, said AOL will continue to provide premium content for mainstream users and the CompuSpend will soon be refocused (again) on professional and "emerging" market sectors. But with the widespread interest in free Net access from all kinds of user, it's hard not to imagine both services will continue to lose users to the free ISPs. True, Freeserve's churn rate seems rather high, but that appears to be a sign of users moving to other free ISPs rather than to the likes of AOL and CompuServe. Many will come over to Netscape Online, but there's no reason to suppose they'll stay there any longer than they stayed at Freeserve, though they'll undoubtedly see many, many plugs for AOL and CompuServe. With Internet access expanding at such a rate, that may not matter either. All three services "have the critical mass necessary to generate substantial advertising and commerce revenues", said Schmidt. So AOL presumably figures what it loses on subscriptions it will make back in advertising. Unless, of course, advertisers baulk at Netscape Online's churn. ®
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Palm to launch low-end Palm IIIe PDA

3Com subsidiary Palm Computing is to launch a cut-price (ish) version of its Palm PDA, according to reports in today's Wall Street Journal. The Palm IIIe will come in at the bottom on the Palm range, below the IIIx and V, and replacing the 16-month-old Palm III. The IIIe will feature the improved display of more recently launched models. However, the WSJ said, it will lack memory expansion capabilities and the ability to upgrade the OS. The IIIe should ship in the US for $229. It won't replace the III immediately -- Palm will apparently stop making that model in the "next six months or so", according to the paper. That suggests Palm has rather a lot of them kicking around unsold, so a major price cut may be on the cards too. ®
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Orange eyes up US expansion

Ambitious mobile phone operator Orange is planning an assault on the US market. The company, owned by Hutchison Whampoa, is said to be considering a number of options for such a move. These include establishing semi-formal arrangements with US operators which would give it access to an extended network without having to follow the giant-acquisition trail blazed by Vodafone earlier this year. According to today's Daily Telegraph, the move could happen in the next 18 months and a likely vehicle for such a deal would be Voicestream a US mobile outfit which is part owned by Hutchison Whampoa. Voicestream has recently concluded a merger with Omnipoint. ®
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Apple's PowerBooks incompatible with Apple's FireWire

Apple's latest generation of PowerBook G3 notebooks are not compatible with the company's own much-touted FireWire connectivity standard, according to a report on troubleshooting Web site Bug.Net. The notebook's manual claims that the computer will work with the latest version of Apple's FireWire software, 2.1. However, when Bug.Net tried to install the software, the installed replied that it was unable to do so. "This program cannot run on your computer," it apparently said. The new PowerBooks don't actually possess FireWire ports of their own, but Apple claims they will use add-on supplier Newer Technology's FireWire-To-Go PC Card. And, according to the report, Apple admitted that FireWire doesn't work on the new machine. ®
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What's happening at… ARM?

Shares UK company ARM (ticker ARMHY) is set to report its second quarter results this Wednesday and all indications are that those results will be exceptional. The company was forced to issue a statement on the 7 July last after rumours sped round the world that it was shortly to conclude an important deal with Texas Instruments. See Share Price Movements. The company's shares closed on Wall Street last Friday at $48 5/8, and has shown a consistent rise over the last four or five weeks. In mid-June, its shares stood at under $30. We anticipate that it will easily reach $55 over the next 10 days or so. ®
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The man who ate the Y2K bug

Millennium frenzy has spawned its very own would-be IT messiah, says the NHS. One patient believed he had swallowed the Millennium Bug, according to a report in today's Guardian. But the man was prepared to save the world by keeping this phantom menace in his body until the year 2000, even though he thought it could kill him. This is one example of the so called "end of the century psychosis" that nurses working near the Millennium Dome in Greenwich have been warned to expect. ®
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AMX to plug your hi-fi into the Net

Dallas-based AMX is set to launch an device that connects TVs and hi-fis to the Internet, used as a source of digital video and audio. The Panja Gateway 1000 -- if only AMX had called it the Gateway 2000 -- looks like a VCR and hooks up to the Net via a built-in DSL box or a cable modem, AMX said. The device hooks up to its own portal site which will display a list of avilable online content, formatted for the Panja remote control unit's touchscreen. Unlike other such devices, most notably WebTV, AMX's machine isn't primarily about surfing the Web without the need for a PC. Instead, it's more about providing an alternative content delivery medium. "Our goal is to get users to the point where it doesn't matter where content is coming from -- the Internet or a home jukebox of CDs and movies," said AMX's VP for consumer business, Tom Hite. It's a canny idea that gets AMX, which will ship the Panja in the autumn for around $2000, in ahead of the consumer electronics giants, all of whom are beginning to develop standard products like amps and CD players that connect to the Net directly, or via home networking technologies such as HomePNA and Sun's Jini. ®
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Compaq aims Prosignia direct at SMEs

Compaq starts shipping its Prosignia range aimed at small businesses today. Prosignia servers, desktops and notebooks will be sold through Compaq's indirect channel until the end of the third quarter, when users will also be able to buy direct. The server range includes the NeoServer, which can be used practically straight out of the box, according to Compaq. It is designed to be easy to use for small businesses with up to 25 users, and costs from £999 plus VAT. The Compaq Prosignia 720 and 740 start at £1365 plus VAT, and are more traditional servers with different chip and storage options that can be tailored to individual businesses. The Prosignia 300 desktop range starts at £625 plus VAT with Intel Celeron 433MHz, 64MB RAM, 6.4GB hard drive, 32x CD-ROM, Compaq Fast Ethernet 10/100 network card, 15in monitor and Word 2000. The entry-level notebook launched today has Intel Pentium II 333MHz, 64MB RAM, 14.1in TFT screen, 4GB hard drive, 24x CD-ROM, 56k V90 fax modem, Windows 98 and Office 2000 Small Business Edition. It costs £1355 plus VAT. David Petts, director of Compaq PC business Unit, said the company expected 40 per cent of sales to be direct, and 60 per cent to be through the channel. He stressed Compaq still needed its resellers, and was not kicking sand in their faces. "SMBs [small and medium sized businesses] need a partner to work with. We will provide an advantage for small businesses over other manufacturers who can't offer a channel," he said. Compaq has been forced to adopt an increasingly direct sales model to compete with direct king Dell. ®
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Bankers overconfident about millennium

If you tip up on the Bank Facts site, you'll see that they've got the whole thing under control. One conference, called Year 2000 and managing the Millennium weekend, is slated to take place on 30/9/9999…. ®
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Lucent exec wins HP CEO race

Hewlett-Packard today poached the president of Lucent's global service provider business, Carleton Fiorina as its new president and CEO. Fiorina beat HP insider Ann Livermore to the role recently vacated by chairman Lew Platt. Platt will retire from the chairman's post on 31 December. According to reports last month, Livermore was the hot favourite as Platt's successor, heading a shortlist of just three candidates, two of them from outside the company. ®
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Teens worth £3bn in online spending

Online shops are ignoring the potential of the teenage market, says new research. According to a report from KPMG, 80 per cent of 12 to 16 year olds want to buy stuff on the Net. While individual teens don't have much cash, as a group they are worth £3 billion a year, says the professional services firm. There are many hoops that retailers will have to jump through, if they want to get their hands on the cash. Of the group with the urge to splurge, only half of these have access to a computer at home. Under 18s cannot have credit cards -- which means all online buys must be okayed by parents anyway. The report suggests that debit cards could be encouraged by banks and businesses online. The phone bills and net access costs must also be picked up by sympathetic parents -- teenagers spend on average ten hours a month online. KPMG suggests that retailers may need to look at ways of cutting access charges. Companies must sign up with teen friendly search engines -- the most popular way of finding sites. Web addresses printed on products is another good way of getting teens to your site, says the report. Then there is the final challenge of making the site look good enough to keep the goldfish-like teens around long enough to buy something. With attentions spans so short that it's a case of five clicks and I'm off, sites must be made more navigable. But KPMG is convinced that the battle for the juvenile pound is worth fighting. It says teenagers will not only spend their own money, but will have a huge influence on their parents' spending habits, giving ecommerce an all round boost. ®
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MS to remove Sidewalk from Road Ahead

Sidewalk, Microsoft's local information service, is likely to going to be taken over by rival TicketMaster/CitySearch. The deal has been brewing for some months since it became clear to Microsoft that it was unlikely to see a return on its investment - put at $200 million plus - despite refocusing, relaunches, firing staff and cutting back expansion plans. And the performance of Sidewalk has had a negative effect on Microsoft's plans to create a so-called tracking stock that would, it hoped, soar away like Yahoo and Amazon. This has probably influenced Microsoft's plans to cut its losses, and keep a toe in the action by selling Sidewalk for a 9 per cent stake in TicketMaster-CitySearch. This would value the stake at $215 million, based on Friday's market value of around $2.5 billion. Microsoft would have the right to acquire a further 6 per cent of CitySearch. The editorial staff were to be thrown in by Microsoft, but it would appear that the technical and advertising staff were not wanted. The exact fate of Sidewalk is not at present clear: CitySearch has covered 33 US cities since its 1996 launch. Barry Diller, the CitySearch CEO, tried to buy into Lycos earlier this year. His site receives 4.7 million unique users a month, it is claimed. When announced in September 1996 and first rolled out in April 1997 there were great plans for Microsoft to control the message as well as the medium, and for MSN to keep its visitors bouncing from one Microsoft site to another. But that's not the way things happen on the Web, and Microsoft found itself facing heavy competition from local newspapers, nearly all of whom exhibited degrees of paranoia about having Microsoft as a competitor for local advertising. Even Microsoft did not expect quick profits (Chris Hearne who ran the Houston Sidewalk said in January 1997 that Microsoft expected no profits "for five to ten years"), but the rivers of red ink have finally proved too much. Apart from the major US newspaper groups, there was competition from Time-Warner with its City Web service, AOL with Digital City, Yahoo, CitySearch, Cox Enterprises, and others. Some of the non-Microsoft services, set up collaborations with local newspapers - for example, Digital City with the Seattle Times. From the beginning, CitySearch offered a wider range of local news and information. Gates tried in a speech in April 1997 to pitch Sidewalk as a weekly entertainment magazine that was non-competitive with local newspapers, but this was not believed. In January 1998, Sidewalk was relaunched and refocused in an attempt to slow the losses. The changes included buying in less information and having more directory information, in order to make the service a cross between Yellow Pages, consumer reports, and a local entertainment guide, as well as firing 36 full-time staff. There were plans to add new non-US cities beyond its Sydney joint venture but the plans were later cancelled. It was very clear that each site was losing several million dollars per site/year for revenue of around the $500,000 mark. Microsoft continued to bluster: "Sidewalk has exceeded initial ad sales projections and internal traffic projections". Matt Kursh, Sidewalk's business unit manager, said that Sidewalk would expand to 50 cities by the end on last year. If this were true, Microsoft would not today be selling the venture. New features were added in March 1998, with usage "exceeding internal projections". A survey of just 413 Sidewalk users was said by pollsters Research Connections to result in 93 per cent of consumers acting on the information they found. What a surprise. In a desperate move last May, Sidewalk transmogrified itself into a dating agency after a survey by Market Facts discovered that Thursday night was for many Americans the beginning of weekend frolics. The consequence was that the Thursday Channel featured "Do it with a friend", and if none was to hand, users could email each other with invitations. A further relaunch in October aimed to give users "a complete solution to making a decision". Evidently they did, and did not for the most part become avid users of Sidewalk. The plan was changed yet again to purchasing local databases, but President Steve Ballmer had evidently had enough. It is amusing to see how some of the financial analysts interpreted this latest example of Bob on the Sidewalk: the WSJ quoted Mary Meeker at Morgan Stanley as saying "It's good to see that Microsoft might be finally trying to monetise its Internet assets." In Microsoft parlance, it was no doubt just one of those non-bottom line impacting tactical recalibrations - or stop-losses as we mere mortals might say. ®
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Intel confirms price moves

As we reported yesterday, Intel is hammering AMD, using the Pentium III as its wedge. (Story: 600mhZ .25 micron thing out) The prices of the 550MHz Pentium III have dropped to $658, the 500MHz to $423 and the 450MHz to $230. And the 600MHz PIII part is cheaper than ever. According to an Intel source, the cuts are being made ahead of the 600MHz Pentium III .25 micron part, as already reported here. All prices are in 1,000s, to OEMs and other big factoring plants. ®
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NTL gains upper hand in C&W fight

It looks like NTL has the upper hand in the race to buy Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC). Backed by France Telecom, it has negotiated a period of exclusivity in its £8 billion bid for CWC. Telewest also tabled a bid late on Friday, also said to be worth around £8 billion, but the one-time favourite looks like it is being left behind as NTL's offer is scrutinised by the Cable & Wireless board. Last week, NTL bought itself a 10 per cent stake in NTL (which cost $1 billion) and has pledged to invest a further $4 billion in the cable company. No end date has been set for the exclusivity period. In a separate announcement, NTL has acquired broadband cable franchises in Milton Keynes and Westminster from BT, covering about 210,000 homes. The company expects to invest another £15 million to upgrade the networks for digital cable, interactive services and high speed internet access. Once the upgrade of the Westminster cable network is completed, NTL will lease the networks from BT for around £3.9 million a year. ®
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Serious Fraud Office probes PC Science

Exclusive The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating PC Science, the Yorkshire manufacturer that went into receivership earlier this month. The SFO said the case had been referred to them by North Yorkshire police on 9 June. The investigation, which is being handled in conjunction with North Yorkshire police, started on 13 July. The investigation will be seeking to determine if there have been any criminal undertakings in the running of the business or in its demise. A representative of the SFO would not say if the investigation was focused on the business itself or its directors. A separate investigation by the DTI is also understood to be underway, but the DTI was unable to comment. PC Science's receivers, KPMG, said the Boroughbridge-based system builder was still looking for a buyer, though she admitted the enquiry would make a sale more difficult. PC Science is believed to have gone into receivership owing around £8 million. Last week, it laid off 150 staff, leaving a core staff of 30. ®
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AT&T to integrate a2b digital music format into QuickTime

AT&T today nailed its colours to Apple's mast by committing itself to supporting its a2b digital music format within QuickTime 4. The company said it will offer a plug-in for Apple's extensible multimedia technology that would allow QuickTime Player for Windows and Mac to play back music tracks encoded into the a2b format. And about time. The a2b format has rather lost itself in the MP3 vs. the music industry debate and the subsequent formation of the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI). While the SDMI isn't going to choose a specific format -- it seems to want a copyright protection mechansim in which framework multiple formats can exist -- a2b needs to get out there and promote its technology against the likes of Liquid Audio and Microsoft's Windows Media Technologies (WMT). Hence the deal with Apple, which is essentially hitching a lift on someone else's wagon. Apple's strategy with QuickTime 4 is to build support for the format by making it easy for Web sites to use it. Hence its open source (ish) licensing programme. AT&T's move should bring it the benefits from that plan. a2b doesn't appear to be going open source itself, but by aligning itself with QuickTime (which, in part at least is open source) it hopes to gain acceptance with all the anti-Microsoft croud alongside QuickTime. ®
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Intel changes mind on PC-133

Intel will, within the next three hours, announce it is re-evaluating the PC-133 SDRAM standard for the chips it makes. The goliath has had back up plans for the whole year but has now kowtowed to pressure from its third party manufacturers. But this is far from a humiliation for the chip giant, said a source. She said that Intel had realised that the amount of support for PC-133 meant that there was a case for the SDRAM standard. Intel will continue to support Rambus and its efforts. All our readers have to is to search on the number 133 on this site to see the complete background. Over the last eight weeks or so, Intel has changed its case on the PC-133 standard. The whole of the mobo industry wanted it to support it from day uno. Many Intel customers, including HP, IBM and Compaq, have persuaded the goliath to change its mind. The mobo manufacturers are peripheral... ®
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Half of credit card problems are Web related

This week, the Investors Chronicle (IC) reports that problems are being reported with 50 per cent of Internet credit card transactions. Obviously interested, this Register reporter went digging for more details. A phone call or two later, it transpired that not only had the IC got the wrong end of the statistic - Visa actually found that 47 per cent of all problems being reported were Internet related, which is kinda different - but the financial reference mag was quoting data from a nine month old survey. Still, the figures are interesting. Although it only accounts for one per cent of all sales, the Internet is causing more than its fair share of problems for Visa customers. Of the 47 per cent of Internet related problems, 22 per cent were fraudulent transactions, the remaining 78 per cent could be anything from late delivery to the wrong goods turning up. But there is no way of distinguishing the cases of stolen credit cards from Internet security failures, so the figures don't really give a clear indication of the state of play for ecommerce – whether that’s today or nine months ago when the survey took place. The Investors Chronicle article left the impression that the Internet is somehow sparking a new type of credit card fraud, but it ain't necessarily so. Consumers are probably as safe sending confidential data across the net as they are using the phone to make a credit card booking. ®
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UK Court rules on ISP liability

Demon Internet has been ordered to remove derogatory remarks about a libelled UK scientist from a newsgroup bulletin board. This is the latest development in the on-going case between Laurence Godfrey and Demon, according to today’s Daily Telegraph. It has come to be seen as a landmark case in the UK. "This is the only case that we've got regarding the scope of ISPs' responsibilities," said Jonathon Little, a partner at London law firm Kemp & Co. Godfrey started his legal battle after Demon failed to remove forged messages related to him on soc.culture.thai in 1995. This March, Demon was subject to a ruling that ISPs could be held liable for any content posted on the Internet. Demon said it would appeal, claiming the ruling could cripple "freedom of expression and electronic trading." Then last month it dropped the intended appeal, saying it was waiting for new legislation to come into effect in the UK. The delayed ecommerce bill is being drafted at the moment - Demon has submitted its own comments on content liability. Demon is pressing for the inclusion of proposals from the draft EU directive on ecommerce, which protects intermediaries against liability. In Little's opinion, this new legislation will give some order to the as yet largely uncharted territory. "The Demon case was the first one to directly hit this issue. "Part of the danger is that people look at America and think that things will be the same in the UK," he said. Demon's liability for libel will be decided later this year. ®
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Flashpoint Marshalled by Avnet troops

UK distributor Flashpoint will be swallowed up in the Avnet acquisition of Marshall Industries. This will give components distributor Avnet an AMD franchise in the UK. Marshall owns part of Sonepar Electronique (SEI), which owns part of SEI Diploma. Flashpoint is part the Diploma group of companies. Slough-based Flashpoint was unable to give details of the deal as due diligence proceedings were in full swing. The deal, said to be worth around $830 million, is due to be completed within the next couple of weeks. ®
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How does the UK conceal its Y2K problems?

Opinion Last week, Don Cruickshank, appointed by PM Tony Blair to look after the Y2K problem after Oftel didn't want him, made some bold statements. According to Cruckshank, there were between six and eight "financial services" companies which were not year 2000 compliant. The UK national newspapers, we are told, repeatedly asked him which banks would have a problem. He refused to answer. Over the weekend, Cruickshank and his organisation said they did not want to name the guilty parties because, said a spokesperson, "there might be a run on the banks". There should be. Cruickshank's statement is, of course, typical Britspeak and quite frankly it is appalling. It could not happen anywhere than in Britain and there should be runs on the so-far unnamed banks... Which ones are they? If major UK banks are not year 2000 compliant, shouldn't the common people know? But in typical Britspeak, we, the people with mortgages and investments, are not allowed to know. Could this happen anywhere than in Britain? We doubt it. Cruickshank should be brought to book so we can withdraw our monies and put them somewhere else, for example in US, French and German banks... ®