2nd > September > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

Intel move to PC-133 mere lip service

Intel Developer Forum A press conference at the forum has revealed that Intel's commitment to PC-133 is essentially a lack of commitment. (Earlier story: Intel in full cunning strategic retreat from PC-133) The upcoming i820 Camino chipset will not have PC-133 support, and Intel appears to be saying that it will introduce a special chipset sometime next year which will only support PC-100 and PC-133. That is despite the fact that i820 has SDRAM support for PC-100 and Taiwanese mobo makers have successfully made PC-133 run with chipsets, such as Via's, which compete with Intel. Intel is in litigation with Via over alleged violation of its patents. Peter MacWilliams, an Intel Fellow, said at a press conference earlier today that the company thought that there was no real performance boost from moving from PC-100 to PC-133. He claimed that people only wanted PC-133 SDRAM because bigger numbers appealed to them. "One of the biggest advantages is that people look at numbers and PC-133 is a bigger number than 100," he said. "We support PC-133 because our OEMs and DRAM vendors asked us to do it." Intel would not join the PC-133 Association started by Via. MacWilliams revealed that Intel was looking at DDR memory for the large server market. ®
The Register breaking news

Olivetti Computers Worldwide shuts down

Olivetti Computers Worldwide (OCW) has ceased trading, sources have told The Register. The company, with an office in High Wycombe, was the sales and marketing operation for Olivetti EuroComputers, the PC manufacturer. OCW was a separate company based in The Netherlands, which also had offices in France. Price Waterhouse Coopers is handling the company's affairs. Sources said that the whole of OCW had been shut down. Ian Oakley Smith, a Price Waterhouse Coopers director, said: "We’ve been instructed to assist in putting the company into liquidation." But Oakley Smith was unable to clarify if this included the entire European operation, or simply the UK office. He said they would know more next week when the final details came through. OCW has around 15 staff in the UK. ® See also: Olivetti MBO is confirmed Olivetti in crisis talks
The Register breaking news

Slivka latest MS exec to join exodus

Another one of Microsoft's execs, this time one of the brightest, is heading for the hills. Ben Slivka is moving over to the post of director of IT at Amazon, where his talents may be more appreciated. Slivka was one of The Register's favourite Microsofties. It was he who came up with the quote "grow the polluted Java," but he also produced what ought to have been - but in the end didn't turn out to be - a key Microsoft document roadmapping its entry to the Internet. Slivka's The Web is the next platform was thrown up in the DoJ's subpoenaed trial documents, and is contemporaneous with Bill Gates' more famous (and fairly screwy) Internet Tidal Wave. Slivka's paper includes an unexpected near-invention of the network computer, unpalatable (from the point of view of the Microsoft high command) support for a version of browser-based remote computing, and a lot of abuse about the screwed-up nature of Microsoft's 1995 Internet strategy. Microsoft canned a lot of the development he was complaining about when it executed its handbrake Internet turn, but it's not clear that Slivka got the credit for being right. His final job at MS was as a general manager of the Consumer and Commerce group, and his departure may be related to the imminent arrival of ex-SGI chief Rick Belluzzo. This is expected to be announced by Microsoft today. ®
The Register breaking news

Silver surfers ride the wave of e-commerce

E-entrepreneurs looking to cash in on online shopping should be targeting silver-haired surfers, according to a study by US research company Greenfield Online.
The Register breaking news

Deutsche Bank, Nokia offer WAP banking

Nokia has teamed up with Deutsche Bank to develop a mobile phone banking service, based on the new Wireless Application Protocol (WAP). WAP allows Internet access from mobile phone handsets. Deutsche Bank now plans to exploit this and will offer a dedicated channel to its customers for online banking. Deutsche Bank claims that this is the first service of its kind in Germany. Nokia will provide its WAP server and Nokia 7110 Media phones, along with consultancy services, and Deutsche Bank will manage the money. Nokia says that as yet there are no plans to offer similar services in the UK. ®
The Register breaking news

BBC free ISP blasted for stifling market development

The BBC's launch of its subscription-free ISP, Freebeeb.net, has been branded anti-competitive and an abuse of public money. Industry leaders have rallied together to criticise the BBC and the government has come under fire for not intervening to stop the operation. BIPA, an alliance of major British Internet publishers including Associated New Media, Electronic Telegraph, News International, ITN and Capital Radio, said that Freebeeb will lead to "unacceptable distortions in the private sector". With more than a hundred subscription-free ISPs in the UK, BIPA claims there is simply no need for the BBC to throw its weight behind yet another one. Ajay Chowdhury, MD of LineOne, which is also part of BIPA, lashed out saying that the service could smother the commercial development of the Net in the UK. "I welcome any service that allows more people to make use of the fantastic resources of the Internet but I have serious concerns that this commercial service will be cross-promoted by the BBC which is publicly funded," he said. "This service threatens to stifle the proper commercial development of an important UK market. "What safeguards are in place that will prevent Freebeeb.net from being promoted on the multitude of non commercial sites available from the BBC? How can we be sure that BBC internal bias will not put Freebeeb.net in advantageous positions that commercially run operations cannot match?" he said. No one from Freebeeb.net was available for comment at press time. ®
The Register breaking news

Sun poised to ship 64-bit Solaris for Merced

Sun will turn up the heat on Microsoft this autumn by shipping key developers an early access release of Solaris for Intel's IA-64 simulator. Although Intel has now demonstrated Merced silicon in action, for the near future much software development will still be carried out on the simulator. Sun is demonstrating 64-bit Intel Solaris at this week's Intel Developer Forum, and the company has already made it clear that it intends to use 64-bitness as a stick to beat Microsoft. The latter's Win64 for Merced was demonstrated earlier this week, but the company isn't planning a first beta until the first half of next year, giving rivals from Sun, SCO and the Linux developers a chance to run with the 64-bit ball earlier. And in light the recent confusion involving Compaq and NT for Alpha, it looks far more likely that Win64 will suffer the traditional Microsoft slippage rather than hitting the schedule. Tellingly, Microsoft is planning a hybrid 32/64-bit version of Windows 2000 to deal with early 64-bit platforms, plus a mechanism to allow Win2k to address more memory. If Microsoft was absolutely convinced it could ship Win64 for Merced's release, then these wouldn't be necessary, right? Sun meanwhile is polishing up an IA-64 ISV programme which will allow ISVs to develop IA-64 optimised applications using Solaris IA-32 and Sun IA-64 cross-compilation tools. It will also be possible for existing Solaris 64-bit UltraSparc applications to be recompiled for IA-64. Sun's ISVs will receive an IA-64 simulator system pre-configured by Intel, IA-64 Solaris, a tools suite, white papers and direct access to Sun's engineering development team. ®
The Register breaking news

Nokia launches mobile phone for the deaf

The Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) has joined forces with Nokia to bring a more portable text phone to the deaf. The partnership is working to adapt the Nokia 9110 Communicator to handle a Talk-Type service. A representative of the RNID said that the move was important, as people came to rely increasingly on mobile technology and that the response from the public was more than encouraging. "We have done no promotion, no advertising and yet we have over 400 people on a waiting list for a phone that will not hit the shelves until the end of the year," she said. "This is especially impressive when you consider that the phone will cost in the region of £400, which is out of many people's price range." Telephones for the deaf may initially sound like a bit of a non starter, but the technology is actually very simple. Between two text phones, users simply use a combination of plain language text and codes. For example SKSK means stop keying and is used to signal the end of a conversation. There is also a text to voice service, sponsored by BT which operates much like a real time paging service. At present, the Nokia 9000i communicator can use the text loop system, on the Orange network. However, even Nokia will concede that this early model is a bit on the bulky side, and is keen to bring the technology to the new model. More information about services provided by the RNID can be found here. ®
The Register breaking news

Big Blue backs out of networking via Cisco deal

IBM has announced a five-year deal with Cisco Systems that will let Big Blue bow out of the routing and switching marketplace. IBM will supply networking vendor Cisco with network technology, components and services in the deal which was yesterday valued at an estimated $2 billion. Cisco will buy IBM's network equipment business, which will let IBM phase out some of its older switch and router product lines. IBM will keep the network equipment which is used to link mainframe computers. IBM thinks that there is more profit to be made from supplying parts and services to old rivals such as Cisco than trying to compete by investing in its own networking kit business, it was stated. IBM said this was just the beginning – and it expected to sign more deals in the communications sector. Selby Wellman, senior VP of Cisco Interworks Business Division, said the supply deal would add whopping sales amounting to billions of extra dollars for both companies. The specifics involve Cisco buying around 200 patents for network equipment such as routers and switches from IBM's Networking Hardware Division. The move will increase sales of IBM custom computer chips used in Cisco networking kit. Sources estimated that the deal would also pull in $3 billion of revenue for IBM in extra service charges. IBM added that it would support all of its Cisco network installations. ®
The Register breaking news

IBM guns for Intel with comms chip strategy

IBM today announced the IBM Network Processor (INP), the programmable processor its hopes will propel it to the forefront of the communications device component market. The only snag: Intel did almost exactly the same thing yesterday. IBM's shift to comms chips follows hard on the heels of its decision to sell is comms hardware business to Cisco. So instead of selling routers, hubs and switches, it will sell the chips that power them. The INP's USP is that it replaces the ASICs typically used in comms devices, allowing manufacturers to update their products with a simple software upgrade rather than fabbing a whole new ASIC. IBM also said today it was partnering with Massachusetts-based comms processor specialist C-Port to develop a standard set of APIs for programmable networking devices, and to make their respective product offerings interoperable. The C-Port deal mirrors to some extent Intel's plan to buy NetBoost, a Californian company working in the same area. Intel didn't say how much it had paid for NetBoost, but sources close to the company told US newswires that the sum was in the region of $50 million. Intel also announced yesterday its Internet Exchange Architecture (IXA), the basis for a series of... programmable processors for network devices, themselves based on technology Chipzilla acquired when it bought Level One earlier this year. Intel's drive for dominance is spearheaded by a $200 million slush fund to be used to finance start-ups and existing companies keen to back support IXA. IBM's answer is its Communications Research and Development Centre (CRDC) -- a thinktank in which Big Blue boffins will attempt to come up with the technologies Intel hopes to gain access to buy funding start-ups. IBM didn't say so explicitly but the CRDC's role will be to develop and then give away technology reference designs that third-parties can then use with the chips they will be buying off IBM. That's certainly the approach being taken by IBM to persuade would-be Internet appliance, set-top box and 'thin server' vendors to base their products on IBM PowerPC technology. ® Related Story Big Blue backs out of networking via Cisco deal
The Register breaking news

UK e-commerce envoy coming RSN

The government is to appoint its much-touted but long overdue e-commerce envoy in less than a fortnight, The Register has learnt. The announcement will be made at the St John's Innovation Centre in Cambridge on Monday 13 September. The minister responsible for e-commerce, Patricia Hewitt, will be there and The Register understands that a "very senior" member of the Cabinet will also be in attendance too. What's not known is who exactly will be handed the task of acting as an envoy for the UK's wired community. Top civil servant Alex Allan has been widely touted as the man set to take up the new job even though it's reported that he would not be available to take up the post until the New Year. A spokeswoman for 10 Downing Street refused to confirm or deny the details surrounding the appointment. She did say though that invitations for the event (which may or may not be happening -- you decide which you think it is) will be sent out next. She also agreed that Cambridge might be a tad difficult to get too but said that there was lots of other things happening during the day (which may or may not be happening) concerning a host of technology companies. The government will also publish its report "e-commerce@its.best.uk" which was prepared by the Department of Trade and Industry's Performance and Innovation Unit. ®
The Register breaking news

Iridium CFO bails out

Iridium CFO Leo Mondale has quit the company barely five months after taking on that role and given tacit acknowledgement to the very real difficulties the company has had sorting out its survival. "I accepted the CFO position to support Iridium's efforts to bring about an out-of-court restructuring," said Mondale. "Since this is no longer possible, it is appropriate for me to step down and let the new management team, with reorganisation experience, take over." The "out-of-court restructuring" refers to the cellphone-by-satellite company's attempts to persuade both banks and backers to give it room to reorganise its way out of trouble. The approach clearly failed, in as much as Iridium is now only safe from its creditors through Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, taken out on 13 August. That said, Mondale's exit does show that Iridium's restructuring arguments may be winning the day. Mondale's successor is one David Gibson, a managing director at Alverez & Marshal, a New York-based operation the specialises in sorting out problem companies. Gibson's fellow MD, Joseph Bondi, was named Chief Restructuring Officer, by Iridium. Still, the fact Iridium needs outside help for its restructure suggests the current management team, led by CEO John Richardson (previously just interim CEO), is running out of ideas about how to turn the company round. ®
The Register breaking news

Jewish Web site values teen entrepreneur at millions

A London teenager has had the Web site he started for the Jewish community less than a year ago valued at up to £5 million. Benjamin Cohen started Jewishnet seven months ago to put the UK Jewish community in touch with Jewish businesses. The 17 year-old's site has since grabbed 2.2 million visitors. Cohen's site provides a directory of Jewish products and services. From a kosher restaurant in Fulham to a Jewish accountant in Finchley, simply key in the details and a list of options will be provided. There is also an on-line Rabbi who is kept busy with over a thousand enquiries per month. The "koshersex" section of the site can fix you up with a Jewish mate or penpal. It also plans to provide a free Internet service to compete with the likes of Freeserve. The secret of this very forward-thinking Web site, Cohen told today's Times newspaper, is the brand idea. "If [Jewish] people see Freeserve or Screaming.Net, and then they see a Jewish alternative, they will go with that," said Cohen, who is still a student at the Jewish Free School in London. The young entrepreneur added that this Jewish brand loyalty idea was previously an untapped market on the Internet. But when the stockbroking firm Durlacher, which backs Cohen's father's firm – Epoch Software - saw the site, it decided to snap it up straight away. The deal with Durlacher is currently being completed. Asian Online, which deals with the Asian community in Britain, is valued at around £5 million. Cohen said this was a good indicator of his site's future worth. ®
The Register breaking news

Microsoft says life's simple

Intel Developer Forum David Cole, general manager of Microsoft's consumer division, faced over 2,000 developers in Palm Springs today and attempted to guide them through the Windows labyrinth. His message was that as he liked things to be simple, everything Microsoft was doing was simple. But it isn't. Talking about Win2000, Cole showed a slide of the four different packages people can buy: Professional, Server, Advanced Server and DataCenter. He said: "We're on track to ship by the end of this year but we won't ship it until our partners say it's ready to go." He attempted to explain why Microsoft had different software bases for business and for consumers. "We do find diverging needs. For business you want to optimise for security, for consumers you want to focus on digital media, games and ultracompatibility." He said: "One size doesn't fit all today. Underlying this optimisation is a common API and there will be a common driver set." There will not be a great degree in common between Windows Millennium and Windows 2000 except for the user interface, Cole explained. "Consumers will get all of the best that we're doing in business. All the ease of use that's in the consumer product, we'll put in business. A common code base is very important for us." Windows 2000 and Win NT 4 is for businesses of all sizes, said Cole. Windows 98 and Millennium are for consumers. Microsoft will, however, allow people in business to buy consumer products and vice versa. He said a beta for Win64 would be available in the first half of next year. He said: "The number of error messages we put in front of people is a tragedy." We counted over 70 uses of the word simple in his 40 minute keynote. ®
The Register breaking news

Fear and loathing as TM card played for Red Hat Linux

Red Hat has caused a storm in the Linux community by demanding that the trademarked name Red Hat Linux only be used for boxed and unmodified software from Red Hat. So companies supplying the GPL version of Red Hat can no longer describe it as such, and it's not immediately clear what they should call it instead. The issue was first raised by Linux reseller Robb Sands, who received an email from Amazon on Tuesday instructing him to remove his Red Hat Linux products from Amazon Auctions by 5pm yesterday. Amazon, coming on as a normal company with a normal legal department, said: "We are taking this action due to violations of the Red Hat trademarked name and logo." The normal legal department tone makes matters much worse, seeing its Linux where all is supposed to be cuddly, and seeing that Red Hat is already poised on the brink of being damned as a bunch of unscrupulous buck-chasers: "Amazon.com highly values the copyrights and trademarks of all buyers and sellers on our Auction site. We also strive to protect our customers from receiving illegal, illegitimate, or misleading items. So, Amazon.com has been working very closely with the software industry to identify and remove unauthorized copyright and trademark infringing software on our Auction site. "In this case, Linux can be downloaded, recopied, and resold, however, the use of the trademarked name, 'Red Hat,' or it's 'shadowman' logo may not be used to promote or sell any other software. Please note for a Linux program to be labelled 'Red Hat,' it must come with the original box, manuals and registration and the software must remain unmodified. "If you choose to relist the items, please do not refer to Red Hat Linux in any way as that would be a violation of both our Community Rules and the U.S. Trademark Act." That is no doubt a fair summation of what Red Hat must have told Amazon, and other operations dealing in Red Hat sales. Sands says he's been unable to get a firm statement from Red Hat itself, as company legal counsel David Shumannfang is currently on vacation, but it looks like the poor guy has a nasty s rap waiting for him when he gets back. One of the problems is that there is an argument in favour of Red Hat protecting its trademark, but that by doing so the company is raising questions about its own nature, and the nature of Linux. On the one hand, you could say (as one Slashdot poster does) that if your software isn't Red Hat, then you shouldn't call it Red Hat, you should use your own brand name (See Slashdot discussion thread). But on the other, Red Hat is one of the major Linux distributions, and includes the work of many programmers who don't get any money from Red Hat. Red Hat is obviously trying to establish itself as a (more likely the) industry standard Linux brand, but in doing so it's taking Red Hat Linux out of GPL territory and arguably taking the first steps to taking it in a proprietary direction. Quite possibly this is an accident. It does make sense for Red Hat to make it clear to customers that it's a specific package they're buying, and not a version that may or may not have been modified - that's a progression that has to be made if Linux is to broaden its appeal into more standard/commercial markets. The approach being taken is nevertheless tactless, not helped by the way Amazon puts it (although it's not Amazon's fault, the company's just stating the facts), and cuts the feet out from under a lot of small Linux vendors. Red Hat is obviously going to regret this, and may well find itself having to climb down. The matter already counts as a substantial PR own-goal, and can only get worse if Red Hat persists. How's it going to enforce it? Follow up the first Linux IPO with the first intra-Linux lawsuit? By the way, nearly a year ago we told you this sort of stuff was going to happen, and we got shouted at quite a bit. (See old analysis piece) ®
The Register breaking news

Four way Merced: the pix

Intel Developer Forum Intel was exhibiting a two way and a four way system in its Showspace area. The four-way box is upgradeable to eight ways, and uses the AL460GX chipset, and supports up to 64Gb of memory. It also includes hotswap fans and HotPCI drives. (Memory type corrected -- we didn't mean 64GHz :|) We had exclusive pictures of the Merced cartridges in March. Go here to view them. Here are some pictures of this beastie. This shows the front of the four-way with the case removed, and the hot swap fans... This shot shows the 64-bit PCI slots in the machine. This last picture shows the outside of the four way case plus a bit of the workstation two way machine, which uses the BS460GX chipset... Would you run games on these monsters? ®
The Register breaking news

Y2K bug eats into South African economy

South Africa's lack of preparedness for the date change at the end of the year is starting to show. Cargill, the agricultural trading group, has said it will avoid trading in the country over the mid December to mid January period. The move has angered South African officials. The technology manager at the South African Reserve Bank commented in the Financial Times: "It's an insult to South Africa as a whole that we have been placed through some obscure method of assessment on a risk basis." He was referring to report from analysts Gartner Group that suggested that in a worst case scenario, up to 80 per cent of South Africa's transport systems and services could be disrupted. Mike Davies, the MD of Cargill, said that his company would be playing it safe. "We plan to avoid entering into or executing trades in any commodity in the period. Where we are a key supplier, we will build stock positions with our customers to provide them with sufficient material to operate until the end of January. We are trying to be sensible and conservative, but not alarmist." However, could this sort of action be too little too late? Or, too early. According to some industry experts, the real problems from the bug will not surface on the eve of the new century. The real test will be in the few weeks and months after the changeover, as corrupted data starts to make its presence felt. The National Year 2000 Decision Support Centre described Cargill's move as a 'bit of an over reaction'. ®
The Register breaking news

Cyber bullies told to goof off

Industrial giant Lilly Industries has been branded a cyber bully for allegedly interfering with Goofoff.com and its Web business. Rick Schwartz, owner of the domain Goofoff.com, is so outraged by the alleged bullying tactics he has decided to sue the company instead. The dispute hinges on the fact that Lilly has a stain remover called Goof Off and claims the domain should be theirs by rights. Schwartz says that his Goofoff site is a an entertainment and travel site and denies he is cybersquatting. "According to Websters [dictionary], a 'Goof off' is a noun that means a person that wastes time or avoids work; a shirker. As such 'Goofoff.com' is being used quite appropriately," said Schwartz. John C Elbin, VP and CFO at Lilly disagrees. "We own the Goof Off brand and will defend it vigorously," he told The Register this afternoon. Elbin wouldn't be drawn on the detail of the case insisting it was in the hands of lawyers. But that hasn't stopped Schwartz from waging a one-man verbal assault against the company. "These 'corporate bullies' intimidate small firms and individuals into relinquishing domains through the threat of litigation despite the fact that they have no legal rights to the domain," he said. "The only 'confusion' is in their minds -- just another example of a large company that decided they can force a small business to succumb to their demands," he said. ®
The Register breaking news

Hunt for biodegradable PCB begins

Mutterings within the green movement about recycling in IT are beginning to surface, and the hunt for a biodegradable circuit board is on. Tough new regulations from the EU have captured the attention of the electronics industry and forced investigations into environmentally friendly design and disposal. One promising lead is turning out to be materials who's properties change when immersed in a liquid. The FT uses the example of pasta breaking down after being cooked too long to illustrate the point. All properties of potential new materials must be investigated: strength, stiffness, stability and their dielectric strength. Researchers at TWI (The Welding Institute) have applied to patent a degradable material they have developed. They are looking for more industry interest and ideally, partners to go further with the product. Feeling green? Contact them at acelbro@twi.co.uk or call on 01223 891162. ®
The Register breaking news

Free calls announced by BT

BT has announced a string of "innovative" pricing changes for residential customers in the UK. From 1 October all residential customers will be able to make three hours of local weekend calls free each quarter -- a saving £1.80 a quarter. In return, BT has increased the cost of line rental by £1 a quarter which means consumers will save £3.20 a year just with this one initiative alone. But the best is yet to come. On 1 November BT will launch BT Together, an "entirely new all-in-one choice for residential customers". It will cost £11.99 a month including line rental and users will be able to get three hours of local weekend calls month -- or nine hours a quarter. BT has also cut the cost of some of its calls as part of this package. "This is a fantastic step forward," said Bill Cockburn, group MD of BT UK. "With these new easy to remember prices we will be giving even better value for money for millions of customers. "Under BT Together, customers will be able to surf the net for a full hour on weekday evenings or weekends, and still get change from 50p," he said. BT's decision to offer 80p worth of "free" calls every three months will no doubt be described as pitiful by industry watchers campaigning to drive down the cost of Internet access. ®
The Register breaking news

Dell's Bell admits company overclocks chips

Intel Developer Forum "If you find yourself in a hole stop digging". That was the advice Denis Healey, a British Labour politician offered to those faced with questions that put them on the spot. Jay Bell, a Dell Fellow, was enlisted by Intel yesterday to laud the praises of Rambus over PC-133. At one point, he said that Dell had experimented with chipsets from competitors to Chipsetzilla, just to see how Rambus and SDRAM functioned. Once in this hole, he should have graciously excused himself, and climbed out. No. Instead Jay continued digging. He said: "We've looked at oher chips and we've even done the unthinkable and overclocked chipsets." Did Jay climb out of the hole at this point? No, he was in too deep. He then admitted that Dell had looked at other microprocessors too. A hack asked which ones. At this point, Jay might have carried on digging, but was rescued by cool Intel spin apparatchik Dan Francisco, who threw him a line. Oops... ®
The Register breaking news

Compaq has copper Alphas working

Conversations in newsgroup COMP.ARCH have revealed that samples of Alphas using copper and SOI technology are already up and running. The reports come after yesterday's claim by Intel's John Miner that its IA-64 processors will outperform any Risc platform. According to a user on the thread, he is already achieving clock speeds of 833MHz using Tru64 Unix on a UP2000 motherboard. He said: "So what would you expect from a sped-up 0.18 um copper SOI part with much faster cache bandwidth than today (a 667 MHz EV-67 used in recent XP1000 SPEC results runs a 1/3 speed 222 MHz cache; what do you get when you increase the clock rat 2.2 times, and cache throughput 4.5 times - and double the cache size (and improve main mem bus speed?" API demoed a 1GHz Alpha at PC Expo in summer running at 1GHz at room temperature. Compaq has also recently received SOI .18 micron parts from IBM. ®
The Register breaking news

Alpha NT: More disappointed two per cent speak up

Further evidence that Compaq has left its corporate users in the lurch after it abandoned Alpha NT has emerged. Yesterday, we reported that a large Fortune 500 was girding its loins for a legal battle with Compaq after it was persuaded to shift its strategy from VMS to NT on Alpha. (Story: Compaq may be forced to back down on Alpha NT) Now we have received news of a European corporate user who also feels that Compaq has treated its user base appallingly. The user wrote: "We run a generic transaction processing system and some internet lotteries. We have been running our database and web servers under Windows NT and alpha for the past 4 years, and have a considerable investment in Alpha. "Just over a year ago I met with Digital in Switzerland where I was shown the roadmap to 64-bit NT and Alpa/NT. On the basis of the commitment to NT on Alpha I spent over Swiss Fr 200,000 on two 7300 machines which are fantastically fast and were cheaper than the 4100 (Unix version) because they have been crippled to only run NT. I was in discussions in the past month to buy another Alpha for our database. We currently have 4 x 4100 (about 100K for each machine +more for memory etc.) and 5 x 1000A (about 30K each). "It is not good enough to support sp6. Fact is, we have to keep up to the latest NT releases if we are going to continue down the NT track. So effectively I have some very expensive door stops. "Of course we are pissed off. Even if the promises were made by Digital employees I would have thought that Compaq has a moral if not legal obligation to stick to them. "What makes it worse is that the Alpha is a way for 64-bit NT to be available today on a functioning and fantastic chip, now it is being delayed for at least 1 year because of what looks like a political play. Effectively this is the death knell for NT as an enterprise system. We will be porting to Unix in the future. "By the way, my experience with the Alpha servers has been fantastic - they are more robust and faster (even running 32 bit NT) than anything else on the market." The Register is still awaiting a formal response to Compaq on these stories. ®
The Register breaking news

Rambus shares rocked by Intel shock

Intel's best efforts to prop up its Rambus connection have not left a sweet taste in the mouth of investors in the company. The company's share price lurched sharply down today after yesterday's news that Intel would apparently give succour to the PC-133 SDRAM standard. The share price fell by over $7 on Wall Street, and currently stands at just under $88. In recent weeks, the Rambus share had slightly rallied. But back in mid-August, Rambus officers off-loaded 50,000 shares. But our take on this is that the Rambus shareholders are wrong. The announcements Intel made yesterday don't change very much, and, as we reported, the chip giant has offered only crumbs to those OEMs and others who want PC-133. And Intel's share price? It rose and currently stands at around $84. ®
The Register breaking news

How Intel raced flat out to demo Merced

Intel Developer Forum The background to the introduction of Intel's Merced processor earlier this week has emerged. The Register beat the world's press with the news that Intel had booted silicon in the week before the Forum. According to the report between that first boot and Intel's Craig Barrett showing it, engineers worked flat out to show a stable demonstration at the Intel Developer Forum. So far, and in its early stages, it is as fast as AMD's Athlon using the SpecINT benchmark but shows far better performance in SpecFP. If the debug and testing stage goes to schedule, full production will start around this time in the year 2000. Merced will initially appear with 1Mb, 2Mb and 4Mb on die SRAM cache, but our sources suggest that when it is shrunk to .18 micron, which will happen at release time, Intel is likely to achieve 1GHz speeds. Your Register had a world scoop at the last Intel Developer Forum in February with pictures of the cartridge, which may be found here. ®