10th > August > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

Sun's Corona to outlast this week's eclipse

More details have emerged about Sun's plans for its Corona device, now expected towards the end of September. According to Om Mallik at Forbes, the Corona, likely to cost around $500, comes in an 8 x 10 x 2 inch form factor, and will be branded in the familiar Sun Micro colours. The slim thing, as reported here last week, will come with a smart card slot, Fast Ethernet and other useful slots, for keyboards, for example. Chip boffins at Sun are attempting to integrate all functions on a single chip, Forbes claims. The report adds facts and figures about potential market penetration and prices. Very Thin Client (VTC) it is not, yet. However, Sun has made headway penetrating the corporate market and the unit will be offered to business customers at reasonably chipper prices... ® RegisTroid 1999 Overheard on a London bus yesterday: "I don't believe in that eclipse stuff, do you?". Sigh.
Mike Magee, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel shortage of PII/266 heralds victory for Celeron family

A year ago From The Register No. 90 -- a year ago. My how things change Intel has said that delays to the lower end members of its Pentium II family have arisen because of a deliberate shift to ramp up its Celeron, low end products. Sources close to Intel have now said that price changes slated for August 24th will now be delayed until 14 September. An Intel representative confirmed today that there was a shortage of PII/266 and PII/300 products but the reasons for the shortfall varied with the processors. He said that PII/266MHz parts used a .35 micron process which will not change, but that Intel was manufacturing a PII/300 using the .25 micron, although he would not be drawn on a date for when that processor will arrive. The 266MHz parts, he acknowledged, would eventually be phased out, with Intel ramping its family of Celeron processors to replace that processor. Next week, Intel will release high end Celeron processors using the Mendocino core. But Intel denied that there was any deliberate attempt to restrict supplies of the Pentium II/266MHz to give a boost to members of the Celeron family. "This is not a deliberate strategy," he said. "Celeron will ramp to replace demand for the lower end members of the Pentium II family. This is how we see the market moving." At the same time, Intel revealed that there is also a shortage of MMX parts, caused by problems with its packaging supplier. Although Intel has officially said that there will be no fresh wafer starts for the Pentium MMX processors, the representative said: "There's an issue with the packaging supplier. We have plenty of wafers in stock." Prices for PII/266s have risen on the spot market over the last week but the representative said that was due to demand in the market. Intel was maintaining the same OEM and distributor prices. Mark Davison, processor product manager at distributor Datrontech, confirmed there were serious delays at present. "Customers are screaming frantically for products. It's been going on for a couple of weeks now. We have a demand ten times bigger than our supply. It's hard to keep customers even moderately happy." He said the demand was probably caused by colleges and universities spending money on lower end processors in the build up to the start of their Autumn terms. But the introduction of future processors by Intel, he thought, would automatically solve the demand problem. ®
Mike Magee, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Lucent to grab INS for nearly $4bn

Lucent is to buy networking integrator International Network Services for $3.7 billion. According to the wires, INS is already in cahoots with the Great Satan of Routers, and if Lucent manages to pull it off, it will amount to a stinging slap in the face for Cisco. Lucent bought Ascend and Nexabit in June. ®
Mike Magee, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

TurboLinux scales high ground with cluster server

TurboLinux is aiming Linux at the enterprise with the announcement of a clustering system for Intel and Alpha platforms, together with an alliance that will allow Linux systems to manage multiple platforms, including NT and Solaris. TurboCluster Server is being shown at Linux World in San Jose this week, and will ship for Intel next month, and for Alpha in Q4. It allows servers running Solaris and NT to be clustered with Linux, and will help address the scalability issues with Linux that have become apparent over the past year. Linux development has tended to be focused on low-cost hardware, but in order to gain acceptance in large enterprises it needs to become effective on higher specification platforms, and to work in conjunction with other systems. Clustering, scalability and interoperability are issues for NT too (although the latter is more likely an issue for NT sites rather than for Microsoft), so Turbocluster Server can be seen as upping the ante in the battle with NT. TurboLinux could also be seen as getting the drop on Microsoft as regards management. MS execs accept that the company still has a long way to go when it comes to enterprise network management systems, and in this respect it's got a lot riding on Windows 2000. TurboLinux however has struck a deal with Enlighten Software Solutions to bundle EnlightenDSM administration and event management software with its entire product line, with immediate effect. EnlightenDSM allows single console management of a wide range of platforms, including Windows and various flavours of Unix. Single point management in a heterogeneous network environment is of course a holy grail that has so far been unachieved by Microsoft. ®
John Lettice, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

VNU pays $4m for CMP UK and France

So the deal is now done: VNU has bought CMP’s lossmaking French and UK businesses from United News & Media for the pathetic sum of $4 million. The divestiture of these businesses will "also result in considerable savings for CMP", according to United News & Media. It is shutting down Windows Magazine in the States, and integrating certain CMP back office functions with its Miller Freeman sub(this is a euphemism for clerical lay-offs), as part of its move to save $40 million annually from the profligate American publisher.
Drew Cullen, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Hollywood outfit to use Merced

In all the K7-Athlon hullabaloo yesterday, Chipzilla snuck out a press release, which named a firm which will be a test site for its IA-64 family of chips. The timing of the release, along with a release which shows huge price reductions on various networking products, is purely coincidental. Digital Domain which created special effects for films Titanic and the Fifth Element, will serve as a test site for Merced, said Intel. It will also adopt PIII and PIII/Xeon processors, Intel said. And the company will demonstrate its latest technology at Siggraph in LA, which starts today. Intel already claims Xerox, Daimler Chrysler, Pratt & Whitney, Lear and Xerox as some of its workstation customers. But, Terry Shannon, Alpha analyst and editor of Shannon knows Compaq said the spin off of Digital Domain Station X Studios, still relies heavily on the Alpha chip. He said: "In fact, Alpha was used for Titanic, What Dreams May Come, My Favorite Martian, The Hunley, etc. "The perpetrator of Titanic, et al, was one Grant Boucher, who formed Station X Studios right after Titanic came out. He much prefers Alpha to SGI boxes... said the Alpha farm was up almost 100 percent of the time whilst SGI was up 2/3 of the time. "The Alpha render farm consists of 150-odd Alpha clone workstations running Linux part of the time, and NT the rest of the time. Station X was a beta site for EV6 and the DS20. One might surmise they currently are testing much faster Alphas." Personally, we've never flown in a Lear jet but we have played Microsoft Fright Stimulator... ®
Mike Magee, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Pre-pay fraud hits BTCellnet

BTCellnet's pre-paid mobile phone package – Pay As You Go – is at the centre of a credit card fraud scam. A security loophole has meant that thieves have been able to use stolen credit cards to top up mobile phone accounts, BT admitted today. There have been over 300 cases of people being defrauded since April, according to today’s London Evening Standard. The technique is relatively simple, and BT has been blamed for leaving the problem unsolved for so long. Until today, thieves have been able to key any credit card number and its expiry date into their own Pay As Your Go handsets, and use the air time. Hundreds of thousands of pounds have disappeared from back accounts. Following a string of complaints, BTCellnet has looked into the system and identified the faults. The company said it had rectified the problems and hoped there would be no further fraud cases. A spokesman said measures had been introduced which now made it impossible to pre-pay for calls without using a registered credit card belonging to the owner of the handset. But victims were said to be furious that they had been left open to this abuse for so long. David Carroll, a recruitment consultant, was alerted to the problem after having £50 withdrawn on six separate occasions in one day from his Visa debit card. This cash was used for BTCellnet phone accounts. "The fact that this loophole has been left open for so long indicates that BT does not give a damn about the public. It's only £300 to them, not a lot of money, and they couldn't be bothered to put proper checks in place," he said. BTCellnet, which has one million subscribers, said the problem was now sorted out, and blamed computer hitches for the delay. "It has taken us until now to rectify the problem as it was a lengthy task to restructure the IT involved," said a BTCellnet representative. ® See also: BTCellnet to up prices to counter profiteering
Linda Harrison, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

FTC lets Intel off the hook

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) quietly let Intel depart its records last Friday after a 60-day public consultation period expired. But the decision means that Intel's affairs will still come under scrutiny, if necessary. The commissioners voted to approve the consent order 3:1, with Orson Swindle the sole dissenter in the …
Mike Magee, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Gulf War veteran gaoled for kiddie Web porn

A Gulf War veteran was gaoled yesterday for two-and-a-half years after being found guilty of possessing almost a quarter of a million images of child porn downloaded from the Net. Former Royal Navy communications engineer Andrew Mein, 43, of Leigh Park near Havant, was convicted at Portsmouth Crown Court in what police believe is the largest stash of its kind. Sentencing the paedophile, Judge Tom MacKean said he was satisfied that Mein did not accumulate the material to distribute. Unlike many sex offenders, Mein was not part of a paedophile ring but used the images for his own perverted pleasure. "We believe this to be the largest seizure of child images from the Internet in this country," PC Mick Brown, of Hampshire Police's vice squad, told the Portsmouth News. Mein claimed that his kiddie porn habit only started because he suffered a "character change" after fighting in the Gulf War. Mein has been placed on the sex offenders register for ten years and had all his computer equipment destroyed. Last month, a teacher and former Tory parliamentary candidate was jailed for child Net porn offences. Michael Powell, 51, was sentenced to three years by Cardiff Crown Court for downloading 16,600 pictures of children from the Web. ® See also: Paedophile Net convictions Geologist indicted for receiving child porn via Net Paedophile priest on trial in US Journalist guilty in kiddie porn case Child porn protection and civil liberties US judge blocks Web kiddie porn law Web sites liable under law of country where accessed Porn ruling raises UK law over Net freedom Anti porn campaigners and politics More cash needed to fight kiddie Web porn war Kiddie Web porn banned in Japan Kiddie porn stunt fails to hit Euro leaders British monarchy besieged by Net child porn stunt UK government thumbs up for anti-child porn watchdog United Nations targets child porn Mr Net Nanny awarded by online angels Children sometimes see adult porn on The Net too Updated: Excite pulls porn off kiddie-friendly search engine Net is 'rude' complain kids
Tim Richardson, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

MSN in low-cost access promo

Completion is hotting up in the US after discount e-tailer MyShoppingClub announced it is to give new club members access to MSN for nothing, according to a report by TechWeb Consumers joining the $59 a year discount shopping club will not have to pay a cent to get online using MSN -- a saving of $19.95 a month. On Friday US discount store Costco Online began offering MSN access to its members for just $11.99 a month. There was speculation that MSN could cut the cost of its service following a report last week in the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ claimed Microsoft bosses were looking into low-cost Net access for the US. "We intend to be aggressive with access," said Brad Chase, VP of Microsoft's new consumer and commerce group. Despite MSN's aggressive stance AOL has no plans to cut the cost of its service. A spokeswoman for AOL told The Register that AOL had no plans to follow suit and enter a price war with MSN. "AOL continues to be the dominant [Internet] service of mainstream consumers," said Trish Primrose of AOL Corp. People continue to opt for AOL even when we put up our price to $21.95, she said. ®
Tim Richardson, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Digital Music body announces anti-piracy technology

The music industry-led Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) yesterday announced its chosen copyright protection technology for phase one of its hardware specification. And the winner is (rips open gold envelope): Aris Technologies for its 1998 album, MusiCode. Aris' watermarking system will now be built into emerging SDMI-compliant devices, such as digital music players from Philips and Matsushita, and future versions of Diamond Multimedia's Rio. It will also ultimately be used to stamp official SDMI-compliant digital music files. During the SDMI's Phase I period, players will essentially play any music track downloaded to them, including those encoded in the MP3 format. However, when Phase II begins, and neither the SDMI nor the broader music industry has said when this will take place, players will need to be upgraded in order to play tracks using the Phase II watermark. Upgraded players will still play old MP3s, Phase I SDMI-compliant tracks and whatever other formats the manufacturer chooses to support, but pirated Phase I and Phase II tracks will be rejected. Of course, that's the plan, but fears remain that the music industry may well be tempted to use Phase II to render all pre-Phase II music formats obsolete -- the original idea behind the SDMI's two-stage implementation process. The concern here was that when the SDMI's specification becomes a standard part of all audio equipment, as it surely will, Phase II would, say, prevent a new CD player from playing pre-Phase II discs. In fact, this is probably unlikely to happen in any event, since by this point the consumer electronics and music industry will be pushing DVD Audio, and winning consumer support for that format will largely be contingent on ensuring backwards compatibility. Speaking of DVD Audio, it's interesting that the 4C Entity, a joint venture between Toshiba, IBM, Intel and Matsushita, yesterday said it too had selected Aris' watermarking technology as the basis for its own DVD Audio anti-piracy system. And what's this we see: Aris' president is one David Leibowitz who just so happens to be a former Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) executive VP and general counsel. The RIAA has, of course, been at the forefront of the anti-MP3 movement and the subsequent formation of the SDMI. Online conspiracy theorists are going to love this... ®
Tony Smith, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Via claims National to blame for Cyrix layoffs

A source close to Via said today that the company could not be blamed for layoffs at Cyrix in Richardson and Arlington last week. (See yesterday's story: Cyrix M3 "Athlon Killer" strangled at birth by Via) According to the source, the redundancies were imposed by NatSemi after weeks of negotiations between the companies. But the fact remains that Cyrix technology, in the shape of the M3 processor, is now as dead as a dead duck could be. Last week, Via signed a deal with IDT to acquire its Centaur WinChip x.86 technology for an undisclosed sum. Just a few days earlier, Via and NatSemi inked an agreement where the former would buy the latter's Cyrix division for only $167 million. But it now appears that Via is less interested in making x.86 processors than in securing its position as a chipset manufacturer. In effect, it now has two sets of x.86 patents which it can use to fight Intel over an alleged patent infringement. The Via source said: "It's difficult to place any real blame here. This was an asset buyout and National is making the layoffs. Without the buyout, Cyrix may very well not exist today." Earlier today, Via announced an AMD-only chipset for the Athlon K7 processor, which has shipped to customers including OEMs and the distribution channel. ®
Mike Magee, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

HK to become spam capital of the world

Hong Kong could be become the junk email capital of the world following a ruling last week not prosecute a spammer. A magistrate in the former British colony said Ng Ming-sum broke no law when he used the networks of two separate companies to distribute thousands of spam to advertise his own Web business. The problem, it seems, lies in the fact that many companies in Honk Kong have their own email servers. Many of these are old and "open" enabling spammers to use them to distribute junk email. Security experts warned that some companies might not even know that they have a potential problem on their hands. One of the companies, which brought the prosecution, alleged that Ming-sum had "abused their facilities" but the judge disagreed. Now some people in Honk Kong fear that it could become swamped by spammers taking advantage of their "open" servers and lax laws. One IT expert told the Asian bureau of internet.com that the magistrate "...did not have a clue what he was talking about." ®
Tim Richardson, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Caldera completes OpenLinux for Sparc port

Caldera Systems has made available for download its Sparc and UltraSparc port of OpenLinux 2.2, its latest distribution of the open source OS. The interesting thing here is that Sun itself appears to have contributed to Caldera's efforts to port OpenLinux over to its hardware -- "working together for several months to make their complementary technologies freely available to all in the Linux community", as the release smugly puts it. So does this signal a change of direction for Sun's support for Linux? So far, the company has focused on its Lxrun technology -- a way of getting Solaris to run Linux binaries, initially on the Intel version of Sun's Unix variety, but ultimately on the Sparc version too. Actually, it probably doesn't, since Sun has also been pushing UltraSparc at a handful of Linux hardware vendors with the idea of persuading them to getting the open source OS running on Sparc-based machines in order to tackle Intel/Windows NT in the low to mid-range server space. The work with Caldera suggests that plan may not have worked quite as effectively as Sun would have hoped. It clearly believed the Linux market hasn't yet matured to the point where users want to buy Linux boxes -- they're still at the stage where they install the OS on existing hardware, and Sun wants to ensure they can try it on its hardware rather than buy in a Wintel machine. ®
Tony Smith, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

IBM down and out down under

Big Blue is facing possible legal action by the New Zealand government following the collapse of a deal to supply new systems for the NZ police service. Big Blue announced it was walking away from the project, which has been on-going for six years and has run up a bill of NZ$132.1 million (£43 million) so far, according to today's Financial Times. That puts it over budget by NZ$35 million and is coming under an increasing barrage of flack from the NZ authorities. Some of the project's supporters have now turned on IBM accusing them of draining the police of resources that could have been used elsewhere. IBM is thought to be considering taking legal action against the Kiwi authorities. August is turning out to be a bad month for IBM and its relationships with national governments. Last week, it was reported that IBM is being investigated by the Inland Revenue in the UK for allegedly siphoning off funds to the US to avoid paying UK taxes. ®
Sean Fleming, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

IBM Microelectronics turns to Linux to promote PowerPC

If Motorola isn't going to offer PowerPC-based Linux 'thin' servers -- at least not for the time being -- then IBM, its partner in the development of PowerPC, sure as heck will. On Monday, Motorola Computer Group (MCG) used LinuxWorld to debut its SLX range of Linux-based 'thin' servers -- machines designed to provide small LANs with Internet access. However, MCG's boxes are based on Intel CPUs running Caldera's OpenLinux. So this week, IBM Microelectronics will demo a series of PowerPC-based Linux thin servers, including a reference design based on a copper-interconnected 450MHz PowerPC 750. Actually, the fact it's IBM's Microelectronics division doing the demo says it all: the company's presence at LinuxWorld is more about selling more processors than selling Linux boxes. IBM's server division seems more interested in promoting Linux on its Intel-based Netfinity machines, rather than on its PowerPC-based RS/6000 line, though it has been working to help PowerPC Linux distributor Yellow Dog to port its Champion Server bundle to the RS/6000. Microelectronics, on the other hand, said it had been working with LinuxPPC, inc. on the reference designs' OS, but that it would "eventually" be bringing Yellow Dog on board too. The company also said it would be tackling the embedded server market with a reference design based on Linux and its PowerPC 405 embedded CPU. That mirrors Motorola's own embedded server initiative using x86 processors running either OpenLinux or Lineo's Embeddix embedded version of the open source OS. ®
Tony Smith, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Man beaten to death for using mobile phone in pub

A German man was battered to death with a beer bottle on Saturday after his mobile phone rang repeatedly, annoying bystanders in a Hamburg beer garden. In what is thought to be Germany's first case of mobile phone rage, the victim ignored requests to switch off his phone. His phone played a melody when it rang, reports said. "It was really loud and was one of those terrible melodies too," one witness told police. His constant jabbering angered the other punters so much that they demanded he turn off the offending machine. The man refused. A fight ensued in which the man was struck repeatedly over the head with a beer bottle. He managed to run off and escape, but later collapsed and died outside the pub. The attacker later turned himself in to police, but has not yet been charged. ® See also First they come for you Computers Kill Brits Attack of the Killer Laptops emails damage your health Monitor health risk is rubbish Killer monitors - the facts IT equipment is bad for your health Then they cripple you.. and give you cancer, too Kids, cancer and mobile phones Mobile phones are a pain in the neck ...and links to five more brain maim stories Get off your sick bed, it's time to fight back Woman hacks into husband's PC - literally Half of users attack their PCs Users smash up PCs in outbreaks of networkrage But whatever you do, don't listen to Compaq -- it's on the computer's side, I'm telling you. Turn away before it's too late... Hate your PC? Tell Compaq all about it
Linda Harrison, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

BTCellnet to up prices to counter profiteering

BTCellnet may have to push up prices on its pre-paid phones to stop punters buying handsets in the UK and selling them abroad for a huge mark-up. The price of the operator's pre-paid packages may need to rise in order to protect the company from these entrepreneurs, the Financial Times reported today. The phones are priced at £39.99 in the UK in supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda. The same phones can be sold in Europe for around £120. BTCellnet is said to be losing cash hand-over-fist thanks to such activities. In the UK, companies such as BTCellnet subsidise the price of these phones to promote sales, with the aim of cashing in on call charges. BTCellnet pays manufacturers round £60 for the handsets, but sells them to supermarkets as prepaid packages for around £30. Supermarkets are then free to price according to demand. User then pay BTCellnet in advance for calls. BTCellnet makes no money when one of these phones is used through another network. BTCellnet may put prices up on prepaid packages to supermarkets in the UK by £20 to £25. ® See also: Pre-pay fraud hits BTCellnet
Linda Harrison, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

MS founder sails into sunset with Jerry Hall

Anyone who thought the world of IT, and software development in particular, was inhabited by personality-less geeks, needs to think again. Paul Allen, one of the co-founders of Microsoft, is said to be enjoying a spot of R'n'R on his yacht with none other than Jerry Hall. Today's London Evening Standard claims that friends of Allen have said: "Jerry has definitely been around Paul recently." Maybe the former Miss Texas can't get the rock 'n' roll life out of her system despite her split with Mick Jagger earlier this year -– as well as being one of the world's richest men, Allen plays in a rock band called The Threads. ®
Sean Fleming, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

SGI to spin off Cray, NT workstation biz, graphics expertise

SGI today unveiled a radical plan to pursue long-term growth and sustainable profitability centring on flogging off large chunks of the company. Not that that's how SGI puts it, but nevertheless that's clearly where the strategy will take it. Heading the list of divested divisions is the company Windows NT workstation line, closely followed by its Cray division. Getting rid of the latter had widely been predicted to be high on CEO Rick Belluzzo's list of priorities, but ditching the NT stuff was not anticipated, even though it shouldn't come as much of a surprise. SGI officials have been saying of late how the company's attempt to break into the Windows workstation market didn't go according to plan, partly through production problems and partly because most buyers of Windows workstations don't want groovy-looking kit aimed at creative types. And then there's SGI's new-found fascination with Linux. The company really doesn't have the resources to develop its technology on three OS platforms -- Linux, Irix (its own variety of Unix) and Windows NT -- so one has to go. Since ditching Irix would leave it without a solid OS for its high-end server line and since Linux is free, well, sorry, Microsoft, we don't love you anymore. The upshot is that SGI will form a joint venture with an unnamed hardware company to develop and distribute the NT line. If it can be made to work, great, SGI will make something on the deal -- if not, it can easily sell its share of the JV at a later date. The Cray business, meanwhile, will be effectively spun off until a buyer can be found -- SGI said it is already in talks with a number of possible partners to take over the operation of the business. SGI also plans to spin off its MediaBase media streaming technology and development team into a separate company. Actually, this sounds more like an opportunistic MBO in the face of closure -- the new company is being funded by venture capital, which SGI walks off with a minority stake. MediaBase has a long way to go to catch up with rival streaming players like Apple, Microsoft and, in particular, RealNetworks, SGI was probably glad to be rid of the division, and may well have been planning to shut it down completely. Next on Belluzzo's list of Things to Restructure comes SGI's relationship with 3D graphics company nVidia. Since the two firms sorted out their differences over alleged patent infringements, they have agreed to co-operate on the development of their respective technologies. In practice, that means SGI's graphics engineers will move over to nVidia -- neatly trimming its payroll; in fact, the company said it expects to eliminate 1000-1500 jobs through this and its other moves -- in return for SGI's agreement to build nVidia TNT chip-sets into "new desktop graphics systems". nVidia also gets to use all those lovely SGI graphics patents, which can't help but strengthen its hand as it battles the likes of 3dfx, S3 and ATI. For SGI, the move allows it to continue to promote its strengths in the computer graphics field, but without actually having to do any serious R&D -- that's nVidia's job, now. However, SGI will presumably retain control of OpenGL. The final part of the restructure centres on the vague statement that the company will create "a business unit targeted at emerging opportunities for broadband Internet systems". That perhaps ties in neatly with the aforementioned "desktop graphics systems", and suggests it's doing a Sun: expanding out of its high-end server business into wider, Net-based hardware sectors. Sun is doing it with a combination of Java and its upcoming multimedia-oriented MAJC platform; SGI, at this stage, appears to be looking to use nVidia-based Internet access boxes. ®
Tony Smith, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Lucent logo captures company in ‘single masterful brush stroke’

"What does our name mean? Lucent is a word meaning 'glowing with light'. Light, a primary source of energy, refers to our company's energetic and entrepreneurial spirit. Lucent also means 'marked by clarity', which speaks to the clear vision of our company's purpose and future. We have added 'Technologies' to our name in order …
Mike Magee, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Maxdata edges into UK notebook Top 20

Just six months after entering the notebook PC market, Maxdata has appeared in the UK Top 20 for notebook sales. In the UK, Maxdata is best known for its Belinea monitors, which hit the UK branded monitor top slot last month. Maxdata announced its move into the UK notebook market earlier this year at the Computer Trade Show trade show. The notebooks are called the Artist range and the models are Bristol Pro, the Harvard SL and the Eton Pro. ®
Team Register, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Layoffs hit Oracle UK

Oracle UK made 60 staff redundant last week as part of its promise to cut $1 billion from operating expenses. The software company shed the jobs from its consultancy team, where it had 1,400 staff. The move was part of Oracle's rejig to focus on the Internet and e-business, with jobs slashed in areas like client/server computing. Nick Barley, Oracle UK and Ireland VP of marketing, played down the redundancies. "It is the end of our financial year and we're looking at the structure of our business for the next financial year – we had already stated that we were looking to streamline business processes," said Barley in this week’s Microscope magazine. In June Oracle cut 325 jobs in the US - or one per cent of its workforce there - as part of its push towards increasing its business over the Internet. ®
Linda Harrison, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

MS judge – ‘how I avoided Vietnam’

Microsoft trial judge Thomas Penfield Jackson tempted fate yesterday by explaining how he had set out the trial schedule and ground rules in order to avoid getting into the "Vietnam morasses" of previous US antitrust trials. Previous antitrust actions against IBM, which got off, and AT&T, which was broken up, dragged on for years. But Register readers may recall the good judge, about a year ago, blithely announcing that he figured the trial could be dealt with in eight weeks. In fact, proceedings ran from October until the end of June, and depending on how he manages, Judge Jackson may not come up with a final verdict until next year. And then of course there's the appeal afterwards - if the DoJ and Microsoft don't cut a deal somewhere along the line, there's plenty of scope for the battle to crank on for a long time yet. The judge himself will however be out of it by then, so maybe he'll be able to count restricting its impact on his own life to around 18 months as a personal victory. His secrets? Restrict the number of witnesses, and set firm dates. To be fair he's been largely successful in this, as he's managed to keep the lid on delaying tactics, and although his keenness on cracking on has meant some areas haven't been covered adequately, this doesn't seem to have damaged either side's case disproportionately. ®MS
John Lettice, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

IO battle of giants to make tiny firm rich

You may remember the spat during this year over the direction Intel and Sun wanted to take next generation IO technology, called by them NGIO. On the other side of the argument are Compaq, HP and IBM, with their future IO technology called -- Future IO. Now it seems the lucky winner of the battle of these two behemoths will be little Wind River Systems. Both NGIO and Future IO are controlled by Wind River's embedded OS called IxWorks. And Wind River will collect $1.50 for every chip that the protagonists in this battle manufacture, which includes that OS. Wind River turned in a net profit of $26 million for its last financial year. Whew. Watch that share price go... ® Wintel Bus Wars Future server I/O co-operation talks collapse Intel, HP, IBM and Compaq to thrash out IO directions Bus wars loom as Intel and PC outfits form rival SIGs PCI-X Gang of Three challenges Intel with Future I/O Intel stirs up bus row
Mike Magee, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Online coffee morning raises cancer funds

Britain's biggest cancer charity is to hold the largest coffee morning ever by connecting people over the Net. Macmillan Cancer Relief hopes that the "world's biggest coffee morning with Nescafe" will help raise more than £2.5 million. Last year a million people took part in 20,000 individual events up and down the country raising in excess of £2 million for the charity. This year, the annual 1 October event will allow people to hold virtual coffee morning in chat rooms on a new portal (www.connectwomen.com) aimed specifically at women. ®
Tim Richardson, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Give the Internet a go for cancer relief

Cable & Wireless and Macmillan Cancer Relief have teamed up to create a new portal aimed specifically at women. Not only will Connectwomen.com help raise money for Britain's leading cancer charity, it's hoped it will also encourage more women to explore the Net. Under the campaign slogan Give the Internet a go for Macmillan Cancer Relief Cable & Wireless has pledged that it will donate £1 to the cancer charity for everyone who signs up for its subscription free Internet Lite ISP. The portal's ecommerce partners, which include Marks and Spencer, BOL, Interflora and bargainholidays.com, have also pledged to donate cash to the charity based on their online sales. "We need to give women a reason to go online," said Jenny Edwards, head of events at Macmillan speaking at today's launch. "And if ecommerce is going to be the killer application for the Net then it's important that women start getting online," she said. As part of the initiative -- which will also include a cover mounted CD-ROM with the October issue of New Woman magazine -- Macmillan will also be hosting the world's largest online coffee morning. ®
Tim Richardson, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

MPs blast UK gov over ecommerce plans

The government and its regulatory sidekick Oftel have been slammed by an influential group of MPs for failing to meets the needs of Britain's wired community. In a stinging report by the Trade and Industry Committee into ecommerce, MPs savaged Oftel for not doing more to cut the cost of dial-up Net access in the UK describing its efforts so far as "unduly cautious." It even called for Oftel to consider encouraging the introduction of "innovative tariff packages" including the adoption of unmetered local calls. The cross-party group of MPs also hammered government for delaying the appointment on an ecommerce envoy. It said that "the electronic government agenda is characterised by hyperbole, over-optimism and failure to learn from past mistakes." And it added that the government's ecommerce projects were "ill-thought out, lacking in detail and not co-ordinated with existing initiatives." ®
Tim Richardson, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Connect.women does more for C&W than for charity

It would be easy to deride today's launch of connectwomen.com as an attempt by the corporate sponsors and others to create a powerful new Net brand on the back of an incredibly worthy cause. So I won't. Such a cheap shot would even be below The Register's sometimes subterranean levels of decency and integrity. But I can't help wondering if Macmillan Cancer Relief could have done better financially out of its partnership with some of the leading lights in the corporate world. The fact is a new vibrant portal has been created that could become a magnet for a large, powerful and influential audience of women. Unlike so many others, it's mainstream, familiar and approachable and appeals directly to one of the Net's fastest growing groups -- women. In terms of virtual real estate, its value could rocket 80s style if connectwomen.com lives up to its high expectations. Question is, does Macmillan have an option to cash in on future growth? And what about Cable and Wireless' offer to donate £1 for every new sign-up to its Internet Lite package? Sure it could net Macmillan £100,000 -- or even £500,000 -- in additional and much needed revenue. But the value of each new Internet Lite user to Cable and Wireless could be 1,500 times more than its £1 donation, if you compare it to the recent valuation of Freeserve. That's not a bad return. It's a ground-levelling fact that there can be no one reading this who hasn't been touched by cancer in some way and at some time or other. Cable and Wireless and others should be lauded for helping Macmillan Cancer Relief raise cash and awareness. I just don't want this valuable and vitally important charity to miss out on the future -- that's all. ®
Tim Richardson, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Gateway walks away from Athlon

Gateway has done a U-turn over its plans to launch an Athlon-based PC. The world’s second largest direct selling PC vendor was tipped to build systems based on the Athlon, but two weeks ago mysteriously reversed its decision, according to Forbes. Gateway described the move as "a pure business decision", which Forbes said meant Intel had waved a big discount carrot under Gateway’s nose, which the vendor obligingly ran after. This soft dollar deal, and big discounts on 600 MHz Pentium II chips, are believed to have swung Gateway’s decision in what was thought to be a $20 million package. The Forbes article added that AMD pricing was already starting crack under the weight of Intel’s cuts. On 1 August, Intel priced its 600MHz PIII at $669. Athlon prices now stand at $249, $499 and $615, and Intel is expected to slash prices on its PIII 500 chip this month. Compaq and IBM have already officially lent their support to the AMD chip. In the UK, leading system builders such as Time, Mesh and Dabs are backing Athlon. Could there be any substance in the persistent rumours (which have surfaced online only in a couple of hardware sites)that 100 per cent Intel customer Dell could join the Athlon parade? But the universe will have to wait until 16 August to see which others will follow suit. ® Brides of Athlon AMD goes public on Athlon AMD manages to undercut Intel on K7 pricing Intel may snap up AMD AMD K7 strategy is a tightrope walk AMD uses Intel Inside top Fab Sandpit AMD+Dresden Sandpit II AMD to intro non-legacy push AMD's Sanders puts two fingers up to Intel AMD positions K7 Athlon for enterprise Via-AMD finalise chipset deal AMD+Dresden Sandpit I AMD succeeds in producing copper K6 Web Hardware Sites Anandtech Ace's Fullon3D AMD Zone Tom's Hardware CPU Review Sharky Extreme
Linda Harrison, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel: 133MHz FSB plot to thicken sooner than thought

Sources which in the course of their business have to be very close to Intel are reporting that 600MHz Pentium IIIs and 533MHz Pentium IIIs will arrive on August 23rd at prices of around $675 and $370 respectively. According to other sources close to these plans, Intel will release its Vancouver motherboard early September using the 820 chipset to replace the SE440BX-2 Seattle mobo. Intel will put jumpers on this mobo to allow machines to be configured to switch between RDRAM modules and PC-133 modules, the source said. The moves, if our sources are correct, will allow Intel another strike against AMD and its famous Athlon processor. We have already reported here that there will be unexpected price reductions come the 22nd of this month. No one from Intel was available to not comment on the reports at press time. ®
Mike Magee, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Geyserville slips a whole quarter in a day…

A faithful Intel watcher has pointed out to us that the company has just placed a URL on its site which seems to indicate Geyserville technology has slipped by a whole quarter of a year, in one day. This is the offending URL Yesterday, we reported that Geyserville was likely to arrive in Q1 of the year 2000, quoting a source so close to Intel that he or she might very well work for the chip giant. (Story: Geyserville delayed until post-Ma Shipton period) Our feeling about the whole affair is that Intel is re-jigging its entire roadmap in order to bowl a googly (UK cricket term) and knock off AMD's Athlon bails. Never mind What the Hell...is Geyserville. When the Hell...is Geyserville? ®
Mike Magee, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Mediasurface and its hugely ambitious IPO plans

Web content management provider Mediasurface is planning to float next year although preliminary market valuations of £400 million appear to be on the very high side. Last year the London-based company generated £260,000 in sales but has already notched up £3.5 million this year. According to the Sunday Times, predictions for next year are £10 million sales - giving a forward price-sales ratio of 40. The content management software market is highly fragmented -- market leader Texas-based Vignette has only got around 200 customers, worldwide. So you could argue that there is everything to play for on the consolidation front. This is what is happening on Ads management software for example, with the publishing community coalescing around the DART/NetGravity axis. But that consolidation is driven by media buyers who are comfortable with those products. And DART's pay as you go pricing is very attractive to smaller publishers like --The Register -- for example. But what would drive consolidation in the content management market? Most big Web publishers still produce their own products, tailored to their own needs. The Register's own database-driven content management system represents a six-figure investment... probably the same as it would cost to buy and implement MediaSurface's Oracle-based system? Is it much worse? We don't think so. ® Daily Net finance news from The Register
Drew Cullen, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

Mondus.com raises funds for SME ecommerce portal

Mondus.com an ecommerce start-up based in Oxford, has raised $12m from Eden Capital. Mondus.com acts as a bidding mechanism between small businesses and their suppliers. Type in a purchase request and within hours you can get competing bids from various suppliers. Through Mondus, suppliers can reduce the costs of finding new customers. This is a neat idea -- and one that The Register could envisage using (depending of course on how well Mondus.com executes its service). Our editorial assistant spends far too much time fending off sales calls from office equipment and stationery suppliers. And we don't spend enough money with these suppliers to make it worth our while ensuring that we get anything like best pricing. Mondus.com launches in the US on September 2 and in October in the UK and Germany. The founders Alexander Straub and Rouzbeh Pirouz sound like seriously brainy people, judging from the FT report. They are both former Oxford Rhodes Scholars (just like Bill Clinton) and they set up their company in March after winning a venture capital competition run by 3i, Their prize for beating 1,600 entrants was £1m worth of first-round funding. 3i has an 18 per cent stake, Eden holds 15 per cent, workers 20 per cent, and the co-founders 21 per cent apiece. Oh, there's a mystery shareholder who owns the remaining one per cent of the company. ® Daily Net finance news from The Register
Drew Cullen, 10 Aug 1999
The Register breaking news

AOL Europe reshuffles top table

AOL Europe -- a venture between America Online Inc and Bertelsmann AG -- has shuffled its senior management team in a bid to turn the service provider into a meaner, but not necessarily leaner, fighting machine. David Phillips, who has been the acting MD for AOL UK since March becomes senior VP, pan-European Business and Legal Affairs. Karen Thomson will take over the reins as the new MD for AOL UK. Both Phillips and Thomson, who have already moved desks, will report to the president and CEO of AOL Europe, Andreas Schmidt. Among a number of other senior appointments Frank Keeling, AOL UK's Business Development Director has been made senior VP, Portal Business for AOL Europe. Daily Net finance news from The Register
Tim Richardson, 10 Aug 1999