3rd > September > 1999 Archive

Intergraph quits PCs, says Intel brought it to its knees

The actions of Intel have forced Intergraph to exit the PC and generic server business, the company claimed today. That will mean 400 jobs will go at the firm as it announced a big corporate restructure. According to a statement, Intergraph "suffered irreparable harm" from Intel's alleged actions, which are currently the subject of litigation in American courts. Said CEO Jim Meadlock: "As painful as it is, there is no choice but to distance our remaining hardware businesses from the damage Intel has caused and is continuing to cause. This means distancing them from Intergraph so they can become profitable businesses and leaders in their markets. In the meanwhile, we remain committed to providing our customers with superior products and service." The restructuring means that Intergraph will concentrate on positioning itself as a technical solutions and systems integration company, providing core software and services. Intergraph will take a $20 million charge for its Q that ends on the 30 September next, which covers inventory and the 400 redundancies worldwide. ® Related Stories Has Intel been caught sabotaging Intergraph Intergraph claims Intel still strangling it FTC lets Intel off the hook
Mike Magee, 03 Sep 1999

MS e-village people head for Brighton

Microsoft is to construct the largest e-commerce village ever to be seen in Britain as part of its contribution to the Internet Business 2000 trade show in Brighton. Described as the "most authoritative and influential Internet show ever staged in the UK" IB2000 will have 8000sq ft dedicated to entirely to Net products and service when it opens in December. And the Microsoft Village will host 20 of MS' partners covering issues such as service provision, Web design and online payment. Unfortunately, the rather upbeat and thoroughly provincial press release chirpily announcing MS' involvement in IB2000 failed to mention whether Gates' mob would be demonstrating their security skills. Nothing fancy, you understand, just enough know-how so that 40 million people don't have their Web-based e-mail system shot to pieces by a couple of Nordic hackers. Luckily for MS, one of the topics for discussion at IB2000 will be security so if any of the MS team can tear themselves away from their "e-commerce village" and all their e-village people, they might like to pop along and learn a thing or two. Then again maybe not. For just as every chocolate-box village has a pub, church and roses growing through every orifice, so too must it have its idiot. Still, after the HotMail cock-up earlier this week, they'll have plenty of e-village idiots to choose from. ®
Tim Richardson, 03 Sep 1999

US anti-smut bill may go too far

A group of American lawyers representing several major Internet and e-commerce players has filed a brief of amici curiae with the Third Circuit (appellate) Court recommending rejection of the DoJ's appeal to reinstate a congressional act restricting online smut. The bill, called the Child Online Protection Act, was found unconstitutional by US District Judge Lowell Reed for the District of Philadelphia back in January. Reed passed an injunction on the act, and the Clinton administration and Reno DoJ promptly appealed his ruling. The COPA provides for six-month jail terms and fines of up to US $50,000 for publishers of "any communication for commercial purposes that includes any material that is harmful to minors, without restricting access to such material by minors." Thus the COPA would require some form of age verification, such as the use of a credit card, to access Web sites containing lawful material deemed "harmful to minors". While this might seem reasonable for online smut, it would be a cumbersome mechanism for preventing children from accessing other online content which the Feds might construe as "harmful" to them, and so encumber adults who whish to view it. The phrase "commercial purposes" is supposed to reassure us that only porno profiteers will be affected, but almost all Internet publishing is undertaken for "commercial purposes", even when users aren't charged for access. The amici maintain that "there is no practicable means by which the vast majority of those who provide content over the Internet -- whether profit-motivated or otherwise -- can screen out minors from accessing that content, [without] unduly burdening adults' access to their speech". The Clinton administration and Janet Reno's DoJ counter that the only real target of the COPA will be pornographers who make samples of their product freely available: these would be compelled to gather all the tasty bits behind some sort of barrier, most likely by verifying, though not charging, a user's credit card prior to taking the "free tour". But the COPA could potentially restrict adults' access to many other things deemed "harmful to minors": frank discussions of sex and grown-up affection; health information related to sexually-transmitted diseases; even such monumental works of human intellect as Plato's Symposium, with its profound observations of the nature of love, and its cheerful endorsement of pederasty. Affairs of state might also be involved. Whenever the governmental and the pornographic merge, as they did during President Clinton's impeachment hearings, the political interests of adult citizens could be held hostage to restrictions meant to keep curious sprouts from, say, coaching in advanced techniques of fellatio and the novel curing of cigars. Certainly the Christian right-wing in Congress were eager enough to post the lurid details of the President's Oval Office exploits online. It would be most ironic if, through Congress' own efforts, the Government Printing Office were required to sign up with Ibill or Adult Check. One issue the amici omitted is that of Web security: restricting adult speech to access by a credit card confines its availability to those adults who possess and are willing to use a card online. Even if the cardholder is not charged for access, the exponential growth of account information held by Webmasters required under this bill will lead to exponential growth in credit fraud, the current state of Web security being what it is. This is a point which the amici, many of whom hail from e-commercial quarters, would rather not emphasize, though it is a prudent objection to the COPA scheme. The Philadelphia appellate court is likely to rule against the DoJ in favour of its native son, Judge Reed, who found in his original decision that, "consumers on the Web do not like the invasion of privacy from entering personal information," and further that, "COPA would have a negative effect... because it will reduce anonymity to obtain speech... resulting in a loss of traffic to Web sites." If the appeal goes as expected, the DoJ's only recourse would be the US Supreme Court, which is very unlikely to hear the case. The Court made it quite clear, and in rather sarcastic language, where it stands on Internet speech when it struck down COPA's predecessor, the Communications Decency Act, in 1997. There the issue was reducing adult online discourse and dialogue to a level which would be appropriate for children, though the Court also noted that the proffering of a credit card hardly guarantees that a user is over the age of eighteen. It was a rudely rational decision on a bill saturated with cheap emotionalism regarding children, and a Puritanical compulsion to regulate the pleasure of others. But then, the Supreme Court has a tradition of rude rationalism, much to the chagrin of an often hysterical White House and Congress. ®
Thomas C Greene, 03 Sep 1999

TMing Linux – Red Hat CEO attacks ‘cheap knock-offs’

Red Hat CEO Bob Young has dumped a bucket of cold water on yesterday's claims that the company us doing a Microsoft by taking Red Hat Linux proprietary. According to Young, the spat was triggered by Amazon, rather than by any move on Red Hat's part. Last week, he says, Amazon contacted Red Hat saying that it had been getting complaints from customers who'd bought Linux through its action site under the impression it was Linux from Red Hat. "Thesee products turned out to be CD-ROMs that consisted of free FTP downloads of Red Hat Linux, produced by independent vendors." Amazon's email saying that that only Red Hat Linux from Red Hat could be described as such was therefore written after "we explained our trademark policies to Amazon staff." But as Young puts it, the intention was to ensure users weren't being misled, rather than to do a Microsoft on Red Hat Linux. That said, the matter remains something of a philosophical puzzle. Says Young: "We request that independent vendors call their product something other than Red Hat, and not use our trademarks or logos. They may describe their product as containing Red Hat Linux, but the product itself must have another name." The reputable vendors already do this, but the current problem has arisen "because of the large number of new, sometimes less than reputable suppliers who are using retail outlets... to trick customers into believing they were getting Official Red Hat Linux from Red Hat Inc. at a bargain price when in fact they were getting a cheap knock-off product." So although it's feasible for a vendor to supply something identical to Official Red Hat Linux, it's not possible to call it this, unless it's supplied by Red Hat. Tricky? Well, Red Hat's defence here is that its trademark covers a specific software package (products containing Red Hat Linux might also contain stuff Red Hat has no quality control over), and also contains support. That said, there's still scope for trouble in this area. As Young says, "in effect, we do not own any proprietary software, but we do own our trademarks." What this means is that Red Hat (or indeed any other open source outfit) cannot restrict the availability of the software per se, but can use branding to build market momentum, and will - has to - use its trademarks to stop other companies benefiting from that momentum. There's clearly a slippery slope in here and its steepness depends on how much you see this kind of commercial approach as being in contradiction with the open source philosophy. ®
John Lettice, 03 Sep 1999

Win2k – RC2 delayed, ship date next year looks likelier

Evidence of Windows 2000's release date slipping into next year has strengthened with the news that Release Candidate 2 of the software, previously due this week, won't be out until September 15. Sources close to Microsoft, too, are starting to talk about the possibility of Release to Manufacture (RTM) slipping into January, which supports our recent suggestions that actual ship date could be February/March. Nate Mook of Betanews says that the release of RC3 to OEMs and top beta testers has now slipped back to October 27, with RTM by the first day of Comdex, November 15, being aimed at. Hitting this would still take the retail release into late January, but Microsoft will only be able to make that date if RC3 turns out to be pretty good - two and half weeks isn't much of a window if late nasties show up. There's clearly good news and bad news about the Comdex target. So long as Microsoft makes it, the company can start shouting on day one, and run this through to a huge publicity campaign in January. But if it misses, people at Vegas will point and laugh, and His Billness will be most unhappy. ® Related stories: Gates hints Win2k will slip to next year Dell suggests Win2k slips
John Lettice, 03 Sep 1999

Y2K bug meets match in service sector

Bullish trading statements from top UK services houses Sema and CMG over the last two days saw both companies say they would breeze through the year 2000 with barely a financial blip. The news -- coupled with strong results from both firms -- raised optimism in the city that the impact of the millennium bug spending freeze would have a limited impact on the supplier market. Shares prices across the IT services sector rose, where a heavy sell-off leading to a series of sudden mergers was feared. Declaring Sema's half yearly results yesterday, chief executive Pierre Bonelli said: "We are confident we will not suffer any expected downturn due to Y2K uncertainties." CMG told the same story only the day before at its half year results. Chairman Cor Stutterheim, told a briefing: "We don't expect to be particularly affected. Impacts will be very slight if at all." The smaller CMG posted excellent results with turnover up 50 per cent to £290.5 million and gross profit up 51 per cent to £36.8 million. Sema's ongoing turnover was up a quarter to £668.5 million with profit up 35 per cent to £38.5 million. The figures left analysts much more optimistic -- about the larger suppliers at least. Ian Spence, senior analyst at WestLB Panmure, said: "Crisis what crisis?" but added: "It's proving much harder for smaller firms; the big boys are eating their lunch." George O'Connor, an analyst at Granville, added: "The fourth quarter will still be difficult. But it will be brief and not serious." ®
Dan Sabbagh, 03 Sep 1999

Tax dodge investigators hit Samsung

Samsung Group is being probed for tax evasion by the South Korean authorities as part of the government's plan to stamp down on dodgy financial practices in family-run businesses. The South Korean government is looking into the business practices of a number of the country's chaebols, or conglomerates. It seems that the heads of some of the chaebols are suspected of avoiding paying tax when transferring money to their children. These family concerns in Korea are thought to be lagging behind over reforms to their shady financial practices, and the government has stepped in, the Associated Press has reported. President KimDae-jung last month stated his intention to become the first South Korean leader to get the chaebols on the straight and narrow. He has started his plan via tax audits. The National Tax Service said yesterday it was investigating the dealings of Samsung Group chairman LeeKun-Hee to see if he legitimately bequeathed wealth to his son. This will be the first of many investigations into the conglomerates - which have often been in bed with the previous military-backed governments. It is estimated these organisations may control up to 70 subsidiaries in the country, involved in the car, semiconductor and clothes industries. LeeKun-Hee's son inherited riches of 6 billion won (just shy of £5.5 million) in cash in 1996, and paid 1.6 billion won in tax. The maximum tax rate for inheritance in South Korea is 45 per cent, but apparently this rate is rarely paid by chaebols. Samsung is the country's second largest conglomerate, after Hyundai. ® Related Story Samsung to spend its way to RAM market domination
Linda Harrison, 03 Sep 1999

Net uptake in schools fuels market growth

AnalysisLast week the government stated that the number of primary schools online had grown almost four-fold in the last year. This increase was due to the government pumping cash into the education sector through the National Grid for Learning (NGFL), said Schools Minister Jacqui Smith. The education market is huge for the IT industry -- estimated at between £0.5 and £0.75 billion per year -- and growing rapidly. The government is investing £2 billion in infrastructure and teacher training by 2002. Sixty two per cent of primary schools are now online, compared to last year's dismal 17 per cent. Ninety three per cent of secondary schools are connected to the Internet, up on last year's 83 per cent. Terry Ernest-Jones, IDC research manager, said: "The market is growing rapidly due to government investment, in particular with getting schools online." According to IDC, there has been a 15 per cent growth in PC shipments to the education market in the UK this year. This represents 415,000 units which are expected to be shipped by the end of this year, compared to 360,000 in 1998. And in July the government chose a dozen resellers from which it recommended schools their buy IT kit and training. Though this was good news for the chosen few, it will no doubt have an effect on those not selected. Ray Fleming, secondary schools business manager at RM (Research Machines), the largest supplier of IT kit to the education sector, expects getting on the list to lift sales at his company. RM depends on the education market for 99 per cent of sales. Fleming says the government needed to establish the accreditation to bring some order to the situation. "The IT education market is very diverse in the UK. There are 25,000 primary and 5000 secondary schools, with around 450 PC suppliers. "The government is trying to bring some standardisation into the market via a list of suppliers which have passed their tests," he said. RM controls around 20 per cent of IT shipments to the education market in this country, according to Fleming. This is followed by Apple with 11 per cent and Viglen with eight per cent. Elonex was another company selected for the government accreditation. Stephen Mitchell, Elonex education sector manager, was also optimistic the move would raise the amount of education business done by his company. Fifteen per cent of Elonex's £85 million business is currently from this sector. "The project's only just started, so it hasn't made a difference so far. But it will -- it's like a stamp of approval for a company's product," he said. One of the companies not selected by the government was Tiny Computers. According to Jim Buchanan, Tiny PR manager, the company was disappointed that it was not on the list. "We don't believe not being selected will damage business," said Buchanan. "We have many established contracts." But he said Tiny believed it was important to be included in the list and would try again in the next round. Viglen, with about 40 per cent of its £40 million turnover from education sales, also failed to make the grade. Ernest-Jones said the government list would have an effect on reseller sales -- but it would depend on each educational establishment. "A lot of smaller schools have strong relationships with local dealers, but larger institutions and universities will probably buy from recommended suppliers," he said. Other resellers pointed out that this market was very different to selling PCs to businesses or individuals. More added services were needed -– there are few staff with technical skills in the education sector -- and higher levels of security had to be in place. In addition, there are a large number of users for a small number of PCs - with the dangers of mountains of floppy disks spreading viruses, deliberate deletion of files and security on the Web. A final issue for resellers selling to this market is that, although the sector is growing -- and state schools getting IT puts pressure on the private sector to keep pace -- so is the level of competition to sell into that sector. IDC noted that education was increasingly buying direct. "The most successful resellers will be those who specialise," commented RM's Fleming. ®
Linda Harrison, 03 Sep 1999

Net-via-satellite tested with video transfer

IBM Japan has begun testing satellite-based Internet technology capable of sending elephantine amounts of data to PCs. According to a report in this morning's edition of Nihon Keizai Shimbun, film trailers and video graphics are being zipped here, there and everywhere to see if the service can cope with such large amounts of data. What's more, it's been reported that the quality of the service is as good as TV with none of the usual blips and interruptions associated with such technology. If it proves successful IBM Japan and its partners hope to start building a network capable of handling video-on-demand, the newspaper said. ®
Tim Richardson, 03 Sep 1999

Microsoft on Trial: October 98

Team Register, 03 Sep 1999

Microsoft on Trial: November 98

Back to the main Microsoft on Trial page Stories from... January 1999 December 1998 October 1998 28 November 1998 How does an MS-owned magazine cover the Microsoft trial? Carefully - but not carefully enough, judging by the numbers of reporters going through the revolving doors 27h November 1998 DoJ data reveals Intel and Microsoft's slices of PC cake The amount of money Microsoft and Intel get per PC has been increasing -- and even more so as a percentage of price Court documents reveal MS moves to lock-in OEMs, users Chase wanted 'proprietary hook' to keep MS sign-up in the boot sequence 26 November 1998 Court steps spin increases as Microsoft demands dismissal DoJ running scared, and expert is a know-nothing, apparently... DoJ 'expert' in trouble as expertise exposed Microsoft's attorney is exposing Warren-Boulton's sketchy knowledge of the industry 25 November 1998 DoJ fights bid to strike Apple evidence Argues against Microsoft claim that Tevanian evidence is hearsay 'Buy AMD or NatSemi,' Microsoft exec told Gates A superficially barking suggestion might have made sense if Microsoft thought the DoJ was on the run 24 November 1998 AOL deal sparks pundits day in court Will it or won't it? The jury's out - matter of fact, there's no jury anyway DoJ witness argues Microsoft prices too high But he and the Microsoft attorney seem to be running an 'I know less about software than you' match 23 November 1998 Microsoft lawyer claims AOL deal makes lawsuit dead parrot We think he means the DoJ should just stand back and let everybody compete unfairly with everybody else... Microsoft Java plan tempts fresh Sun legal action Does just switching it off, and letting the developers switch it back on, count as compliance? Will Gates take the stand? He may be talking himself into it... The trial this week: DoJ consultant in the frame With just two days work before Thanksgiving, it looks like W-B will be a busy boy in the box How Microsoft put spin on Japan 'innocent' verdict There's that consultant it doesn't mention being on the payroll, for starters 22 November 1998 Gates moans to press about DoJ deposition tactics What can we tell you? The man seems to have an interestingly weird perspective 20 November 1998 Gates' memory problems causing concern So we're publishing some more transcript as an aide memoire for him... Microsoft attacks 'ivory tower' expert Antitrust guy don't know about software, says software outfit that don't know about antitrust DoJ deploys antitrust expert to prove Microsoft misuse of monopoly Warren-Boulton looks like being a tough nut for Microsoft to crack Japan's FTC decides not to bust Microsoft These day, champagne corks pop whenever somebody doesn't sue... Judge damns Gates as 'unresponsive witness' And suggests Gates' own lawyers can't believe it either... Microsoft's plan to levy annual rental fee for Windows Top OEM VP lays out plan to secure old age with 'annuity' scheme 19 November 1998 DoJ learns tricks from Microsoft spinmeisters Monday night is Gates TV night for the foreseeable future, apparently... IBM's 'plot' to destabilise Microsoft exposed in email But as it didn't work, it's not much use as evidence IBM testimony sets scene for attempt to prove Microsoft monopoly Somewhat hampered by the O word, Soyring goes in to bat 18 November 1998 Testimony points to corporate hostility to integration of IE Faced with it, large numbers have been vaping the system and reinstalling Justice throws Microsoft OS/2-shaped lifebelt Did Microsoft cynically destroy OS/2 by, er, paying IBM to employ all those useless execs? Sun judge says 'unfair business practice' key to Microsoft injunction So the Sun case starts to converge on the antitrust one... Sun win knocks wheels off Microsoft Java plans A ruling forcing Microsoft to purify its Java may undermine Redmond's fragmentation strategy 17 November 1998 Gates video 'not a beautiful thing to watch,' says Microsoft brief Here we go again - the whole transcript of yesterday's very strange Gates testimony Court argues over validity of browser integration The DoJ may be moving up a blind alley in trying to separate browser and OS What if Gates loses? - A treacherous WSJ considers Even Microsoft's supporters are starting to think the unthinkable 16 November 1998 Gates: He's just a guy who can't say N... N... Court laughs as memory man fails to comprehend line of questioning, apparently... Microsoft claims DoJ hand-picked IE critics But one of the critics, Boeing, turns out to be a Microsoft showcase corporate customer 13 November 1998 Mud flies as Microsoft brief goes for Intel exec's throat Andy Grove? Mad Dog? May be a reference to an Intel CPU project, Cerberon... McGeady to Grove: goad Microsoft into provoking the DoJ One wonders why he thought Microsoft needed goading before it would do this... 12 November 1998 MS apps 'bloatware' -- official Beast of Redmond VP reveals all in court-released evidence Are Microsoft's trial attorneys delivering? The Register's brief encounter DoJ case 'effort to advance competitors' -- Gates The government is a stooge for a shadowy conspiracy, apparently 11 November 1998 'Gates unplugged' session sheds light on 1995 strategy Notes from Intel meeting record views on IBM, Apple, Compaq, life the universe and everything Microsoft said drop NSP or MMX gets it, says Intel exec McGeady holds his ground in face of heavy fire from cross-examination Torch the emails? Intel exec claims Gates considered it But it seems saintly old Bill resisted Satan's temptation 10 November 1998 Gates to Intel: stop competing with Microsoft "Microsoft was concerned that things would get out of its control," says exec Gates under the grill - the full transcript The Register publishes the full (well nearly) Monty, for all you trial junkies out there Lousy Intel software 2: Windows 98's full of the stuff At the 98 launch, Intel listed all its techie contributions -- as a purely precautionary measure, of course... Apple and Compaq were threatened, insists Tevanian Threat to Office was "strongest bargaining point" Gates memos show how Microsoft puts screws on Intel And they suggest that the OEMs will only jump when Microsoft tells them to 9 November 1998 Intel writes lousy software, says Gates Kindly Bill tells Intel it's wasting its money on crap programming -- leave it to me, he says Microsoft fixes QuickTime, but says it didn't break it But check the small print of the patch posting -- it confirms Tevanian's claims Intel to testify in Microsoft case today And this one will be verbal only, so pay attention at the back DoJ subpoenas Gates' former girlfriend over Vobis Justice is chasing claims that evidence was deliberately destroyed Valley reckons Microsoft case won't change The Beast But they do think it will be good for competition. Puzzling, no? 6 November 1998 'We're talking about knifing the baby' -- MS exec QuickTime infanticide proposal revealed in Apple, Microsoft meeting memo 5 November 1998 Knife the Mac? Redmond Don in shock infanticide allegation Microsoft trial descends into tacky film noir mode Tavanian 'Microsoft attempted to nuke QuickTime' line continues But hard evidence seems thin on the ground Who killed Apple's Rhapsody? Strange but true - Steve did, not Bill 4 November 1998 Government victimising Gates, says Microsoft Beating up Bill on video is cowardly -- they should face him in person, apparently... 3 November 1998 Gates squirms on screen as memory problems re-emerge Are those who don't remember past emails condemned to resend them? Microsoft challenge to testimony rebuffed Attempt to rule out hearsay fails for the second time Lawyers spin after Gates video And will the US elections keep Billy-Boy off the front pages? How the Microsoft machine crushed Apple -- Tevanian The Apple exec's testimony provides a case study of how the Microsoft 'standards' script operates EU considers its own case against Microsoft Europe seems to be considering opening a second front Top of the page
Team Register, 03 Sep 1999

Is BT tight-fisted or what?

Opinion"There's no such thing as a free lunch," BT spokespeople always say when asked about why the telco won't introduce flat-rate pricing plans for Net access as is the case in the US. The something-for-nothing culture regarding toll-free telephone calls that has existed in the US simply wouldn't be feasible in Britain, they say. You can't have little old grannies subsidising "free" Net access for a minority -- it's simply not on. Ah ha, that may be so but yesterday BT seemed to change its mind when it decided to bundle a minuscule amount of toll-free phone calls as part of its line rental. BT may not think there's such a thing as a free lunch, but it obviously believes that free snacks are all right. Granted, the 80p a quarter it effectively gave consumers yesterday when it handed out £1.80 worth of free calls every 90 days in return for £1 extra on top of the quarterly line rental would just about buy a Pot Noodle. You would certainly get change from the price of a packet of crisps and a choccy bar. And if you saved up your 80p each quarter it's feasible you could splash out on a modest lunch once a year for your £3.20. You wouldn't quite get a McDonalds' meal but you'd be almost there. So BT's spokespeople will have to come up with some other adage to fend off enquiries about BT's high cost of accessing the Net. Something like, "who says BT's tight, we give you all-you-can-eat for 80p", or something equally as trite. ® Don't forget... We hate BT -- and now we're going to sue
Tim Richardson, 03 Sep 1999

Microsoft on Trial: December 1998

Back to the main Microsoft on Trial page Stories from... January 1999 November 1998 October 1998 30 December 1998 Microsoft attacks Intuit exec's testimony But it hasn't actually been filed yet... 23 December 1998 DoJ says MS exec misled in his deposition Allchin's recall for further questioning is being sought 21 December 1998 OEMs toe Microsoft line PB, HP and Dell have their say in MS depositions Sun puts in the boot with Microsoft trial deposition Argues over integration SCO 'forced out of desktop market', deposition reveals Identified as OS competitor Caldera reveals OpenLinux OEM distribution problems Another Microsoft deposition corker Demob happy Court shows pointers to Microsoft Trial verdict Our Graham is surprised by Judge Jackson's AOL Netscape ruling Disney roughed up by 1,000 pound gorilla in browser negotiations Unable to link to Netscape Microsoft Trial: those depositions keep rolling in Evidence from Caldera, Disney, Sun, NCI and the usual OEMs 20 December 1998 Microsoft seeks extension for Java compliance Which means what Microsoft is shipping ain't necessarily compliant at all... 18 December 1998 Gates: How Lotus boss helped MS inside IBM Jeff 'Secret Squirrel' Papows seems to have been keen to help Bill stop the PC co switching to Netscape Microsoft denies breaking prof's software Changes in Web site were totally unrelated to failure, and it was broken all the time anyway... 17 December 1998 MS attorney retreated in face of impenetrable defence The problem seems to have been that the more he asked, the more mired he got IE uninstaller -- was it broken deliberately? DoJ expert Felten comes close to saying it was... 16 December 1998 Gates memo suggests secret deals with Lotus boss So what was it Jeff Papows didn't want people to know he was telling Bill? Gates TV: Killer apps and hit teams remembered, sort of Some good, and some very silly, stuff in the latest episode 15 December 1998 Expert's IE uninstall program 'breaks' after MS sees source A couple of code changes and the program stops working, then MS says the program doesn't work. Heard it before... MS retreats after judge slaps down attorney Abrupt termination of cross-examination suggests crisis in defence camp Gates video - Microsoft's 'hit team' to get IBM into line But Codefather III says it wasn't a big deal, really... 14 December 1998 DoJ expert shows how to split IE and Windows 98 And actually, it doesn't seem all that difficult, despite previous MS claims Lawyering for Dummies? Our Graham reckons the MS attorney qualified via a correspondence course Analysis: Selling the Web to Bill In 1995 Microsoft exec Ben Slivka seems to have set out to change company strategy - smart cookie 11 December 1998 IE -- app or OS? Microsoft case grinds to another weekend The latest might be a narrow victory for the DoJ, but it was largely adrenaline-free Is MS Java better than Sun version? Judge queries Gosling Judge Jackson might just be zeroing-in on an embarrassing Sun secret 10 December 1998 Expert and MS argue over definition of OS Ah, the old ones are the best ones... 9 December 1998 Courtroom shock: Internet Explorer bites! The DoJ's toothmarked expert takes to parable to explain componentisation Publicists spin as MS seeks AOL-Netscape papers And the kinder, gentler Gates answers three questions. Take it easy, Bill... 8 December 1998 S Carolina defection fails to shake States v MS One state withdrawing from the antitrust action doesn't look like starting a flood Microsoft 'compliant' Java tempts Sun to sue some more With the launch of an 'upgrade,' Microsoft says it complies with the injunction. Hmmm... Gates moans to press in PR spectacle (Not) The Microsoft boss' charm offensive is sinking on the reef of his own intransigence 7 December 1998 Java guru beats-off Microsoft attorney with ease Gosling's cross-examination seems to have been a whitewash for Microsoft 4 December 1998 Microsoft gets Caldera evidence excluded from trial Stephanie Reichel's MS v Caldera testimony ruled out, for now... Microsoft claims Sun-Netscape carve-up The pistol is smoking a little, but not as much as you might think DoJ expert -- how MS pricing, market share climbed The court transcripts show Warren-Boulton redeeming himself after a bad start 3 December 1998 Urinate on Java? Nope, Bill doesn't know what this means... The latest Gates video transcripts reveal a Zen-like state of hands-off management. Apparently... 2 December 1998 'Leaked' Gates email spins party line on AOL Is this a Microsoft plant, or should somebody shoot us old cynics now? DoJ expert flattened by Microsoft, largely Exit one of the US' foremost antitrust experts, pursued by bear... 1 December 1998 Microsoft tells press what to think about Java Bill only got worried because he believed Sun propaganda, apparently... Top of the page
Team Register, 03 Sep 1999

Microsoft on Trial: January 99

Back to the main Microsoft on Trial page Stories from... December 1998 November 1998 October 1998 29 January 1999 Office the 'perfect club' to use on Apple-MS Fear and loathing at the conference table, seven months into the 'alliance' MS ordered to hand over Win98 uninstall data And how come an MS attorney was claiming the data 'does not relate' to the testing? MS mounts Linux sales pitch in trial video Our old friend from Halloween loves it, apparently... 28 January 1999 Does MS internal email confirm Explorer can be removed? It certainly seems to contain a useful list of which files do what - can we all have it now please? Judge quizzes Maritz over browser separation Maritz decided not to separate them, but that suggests it was feasible 27 January 1999 Embrace and smother - how the MS strategy works Maritz nearly admits he said that, and we look at the mechanisms that underlie the approach 26 January 1999 Maritz confirms and denies MS threat over Mac Office There's a narrow denial concerning IE, and a broader confirmation on IP 25 January 1999 Intel's lousy software III -- MS says it has enough of its own Sunk in VXD hell, Microsoft felt it just couldn't deal with any more crap... The Intel and MS wrangle over MMX IP Not the right time to help Intel make x86 more proprietary - Maritz Judge tangles with MS witness over 'monopoly' Analogies become more and more bizarre, as Schmalensee finishes up How MS feared Intel would 'stomp' on AMD 3D instructions And how Bill might have traded AMD support for a Java-free Intel MS to see AOL-Netscape deal documents The works, including a tempting 'advertising services agreement' 24 January 1999 The emails the DoJ may use to ambush Maritz We can't read the text yet, but we've got the headers. And did you hear the one about the MS-Intel telecoms net? 23 January 1999 Intel could sue OEMs over Katmai and IA-64 -- MS exec And Maritz also appears to think MS could sue OEMs for bundling Linux on Intel machines 22 January 1999 Maritz deposition suffers mysterious leakage A news wire seems to have remarkably detailed expectation of what it's going to say Watch out -- here comes Windows $2000 Witness argues Windows would cost $2000 if Microsoft really ruled the world. Start worrying... Dodgy MS data undermines Schmalensee And the judge reminds him he's on oath. There's a worry... 21 January 1999 Schmalensee trips on DoJ banana skins Government lawyer lays his traps, and MS' witness walks right in HP exec to MS: we'd dump Windows if we could An everyday tale of love among the OEM contracts... Witness claims MS keeps sales data on handwritten bits of paper So it hasn't the foggiest notion how much money it makes from Windows. Hint: check the share price 20 January 1999 Microsoft witness claims Netscape browser share hardly fell at all Which means that a lot of earlier published Microsoft market share data must be rubbish... 19 January 1999 So who is this Schmalensee guy anyway? Graham probes the background to Microsofts economics expert DoJ quizzes MS 'expert' economist Is Schmalensee just trotting out the Microsoft script? 18 January 1999 MS is NOT price gouging on Windows - DoJ expert But he still suspects nefarious purposes... Gates TV -- the final instalment The world mourns as Bill's final clips hit the public domain... What is it Microsoft wants the court to keep secret? Read the transcripts surrounding the secret session, and you find some pointers... MS moves to strike some of new DoJ exhibits But it doesn't look likely to get them all 15 January 1999 MS expert used Gates-inspired dodgy survey figures Bill 'Enver Hoxha' Gates came up with the results, then they did the survey MS gets into trouble with another judge For some reason, he's been implying to the attorneys that their client is outrageously arrogant... 14 January 1999 Microsoft appeals Java injunction Claims judge made technical errors in granting it MS attorney caught plying witness with Linux numbers Judge tells them to cut it out - Chinese walls, we've heard of them... 'Make people use Explorer' - Gates email The latest email deluge shows Bill leveraging the OS again. Tsk... 13 January 1999 MS witness cites Linux advance in OEM channel But as it turns out, it's nothing you hadn't heard already... MS can control prices because it's 'the only game in town' - expert So OEMs can complain, but they have to buy anyway, whatever the price MS pricing strategy exposed - cheap when there's competition, but... Prices can go up as well as down, depending on competition... Judge reserves rights to unseal MS pricing data Perhaps he's considering exposure as one of the possible remedies? 12 January 1999 MS cites 960 per cent Linux growth rate in defence At that velocity, Linux will pass Windows RSN. Wonder if Schmalensee's figured that? MS didn't hurt nobody, and anyway it was scared - defence witness Richard Schmalensee's deposition is heroic in both scale and, surely, chutzpah Censors strike MS testimony Some blank has been blanking all the blanking numbers from the boffin's 328 blanking pages... Microsoft to roll out defence today With another motion for dismissal, Graham reckons... 11 January 1999 MS attorney lays siege to Fisher A long, boring session looked like investment for an appeal MS lashes-out at economist's testimony Judging by the response, Fisher may have touched a few nerves... Dell moves to keep MS OEM numbers under wraps The figures will be dealt with in closed court session today, and Dell wants to keep it closed 9 January 1999 Consumer report calls for minimum $10 billion fine for Microsoft According to the document, Microsoft has systematically overcharged and blocked the sale of cheaper PCs 8 January 1999 OEM sales report shows how MS squeezed Netscape out And Bill wanted everybody to laugh at "100 per cent pure Java" 7 January 1999 Gates tapes: latest transcript In the latest edition, Bill is queried about exclusionary deals with Intuit MS Attorney and Harris stage scrappy fight A messy business, but probably Harris on points Microsoft intimidatory tactics attract attention Witness Harris has a word or six with an old MS contact Judge queries Netscape-AOL deal again But seems to have changed his mind about it affecting the case 6 January 1999 Memory man Gates doesn't understand Intuit restrictions In what is possibly his farewell video, Bill is well up to the mark, as usual Gates fingered as running predatory strategy Final prosecution witness attempts to bring it all back home 5 January 1998 Intuit exec claims MS pressure killed Compaq deal Even a successful competitor's alliances are limited by Microsoft, it seems DoJ stirs pot over MS sabotage denial Microsoft's attempt to neuter Felten's testimony seems to be misfiring badly Why Microsoft wanted to buy Intuit And why it threatened the company with a $1 billion in development cash for Money MS moves to block Intuit testimony Which means we should look closely at the bits it wants ruled out 4 January 1999 Judge finds Windows 2000 may slip a millennium Courts ruling you probably can't make your ship dates? Surely the ultimate humiliation... Spin and counterspin in MS-Bristol suit Victory for both sides? Well, they both claim to be very pleased... Top of the page
Team Register, 03 Sep 1999

Koreans struggle with cheap PC bid

The Korean Ministry of Information and Communication has decided that income should not be a barrier to PC ownership, and has sent out a tender for bids to build a low cost PC. So far 46 companies have bid for the contract to bring IT to the Korean masses. Big name players, such as Samsung, TriGem and LG-IBM, are notable only by their absence. All three said that it was beyond them to supply machines that met the government's spec for the asking price of one million won -- about £530. However, a quick visit to the Trigem Web site will reveal that via the link to eMachines, you can buy a perfectly serviceable, if controversial, eOne machine, with 433MHz processor and 15in monitor for almost exactly £500 -– or about one million won. Companies that did put in bids typically offered systems with 400MHz processors and at least a 15in monitor, but there was some variation. Commaeul said that it could produce a Celeron 433MHz processor based PC with a 15in monitor for under one million won. The government was expected to announce the contract winners today, but the Korean embassy in London could not get hold of any information before going to press. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 03 Sep 1999

Deverill snapped up as VC builds services conglomerate

Venture capital group Cairnsford Holdings has taken another step toward achieving its goal of creating a £40 million IT services company within the next three years. Through its subsidiary Cairnsford Technology Group, it has bought hardware and services reseller Deverill for an undisclosed amount. Deverill was set up in 1979 and has an annual turnover in the region of £15 million. Among its customer list you will find PowerGen and Quaker Oats. It resells Compaq, Novell and Microsoft kit, among other. Another services company, with less to smile about than Deverill, is AIM-listed Computerland UK. Yesterday, the Nottingham-based reseller issued a warning that it continues to experience disappointing product sales. The company has put a series of cuts and cost control measures in force, which have resulted in a charge of around £100,000. ®
Sean Fleming, 03 Sep 1999

DRAM price hikes to propel Samsung profit past $2bn

Samsung today said that it expects rising DRAM prices to push its profits for the current fiscal year up to $2.5 billion. "The 64Mb DRAM price rose across $10 yesterday on the spot market and [that] would give a considerable boost to our profit for the coming period," a Samsung spokesman, James Chung, told the Reuters newsagency. Chung said the company expects its 1999 after-tax profit to be aorunf $2.3 billion, a near ninefold increase on last year's $266 million. "A $1 rise in the price usually raises our profit by about $300 million, said Chung. Samsung cited last July's power cut in Taiwan as the chief reason for the increase in DRAM prices -- it reduced the world DRAM supply by around two per cent at a time of much-increased demand. Samsung also believed moves to small fabrication processes have also limited supply. The higher prices are likely to continue for some time, said Chung -- in part due to ongoing demand for low-cost consumer PCs. Samsung controls 18.6 per cent of world DRAM market, and the company recently said it intends to spend nearly $3 billion to ensure its lead in the market continues. ® Related Stories Tax dodge investigators hit Samsung
Tony Smith, 03 Sep 1999

Apple G4 upgrade block confirmed

UpdatedApple has given tacit confirmation that its now-defunct Power Mac G3 line of desktop PCs have been nobbled to prevent owners from installing the new PowerPC 7400 (aka G4) processor. According to the MacInTouch Web site, Apple's Tech Exchange bulletin board was bombarded with complaints about the fix, introduced in the G3's most recent firmware update (see Apple crippled G3 Macs to bar PPC G4 upgrades). Apple subsequently pulled the discussion thread, but before it did so, an Apple employee wrote: "Notes to consider after reading this [thread] include the fact that there is no shipping or announced PowerPC G4 processor upgrade from Apple or, as far as we know, any other company and we're not aware of any documentation that indicates any Power Macintosh G3 computer was marketed as being upgradeable to a PowerPC G4 processor." In other words, G3 owners were wrong to assume their machine was upgradeable simply because previous models have been. Or, more bluntly, if you now want new Mac processor technology, you'll just have to buy a new Mac. Of course, Apple is well within its rights to design and sell computers that can't be easily upgraded, but it's pretty shoddy behaviour to develop a machine that can be upgraded only to nobble it at a later date -- and to do so without informing users installing the firmware update that this is the case. The existence of the anti-G4 fix, which prevents a G3 from booting up if the user has installed a PPC7400 upgrade processor daughtercard, has been confirmed by upgrade specialist XLR8, which said: "A special fix will be needed to run G4 with the 1.1 firmware in a Blue and White. Users get five [warning] tones... We have a fix in hand." "Currently, the most recent Apple ROM update issued for blue and white Power Mac G3s has rendered them incapable of using G4 upgrades," said upgrade supplier Newer Technologuy. However, Newer also suggested: "This could change as ROM updates are issued frequently." Upgrade vendors have also said that G3s with the 1.0 firmware are not limited in which CPU they can take. When news of the firmware fix broke in June, we asked Apple to comment, but a spokeswoman would only reiterate the company's refusal to discuss rumours. Perhaps the company would like to return to the issue, now it's something more than mere speculation and in light of the fact that the PowerPC 7400 has now been launched officially. Another Apple employee, Todd Hart, from tech support this time, yesterday revealed on the Tech Exchange bulletin board that division isn't aware of the full story. "Was this done intentionally?" Hart wrote in response to a user query. "From our perspective at the user level support, we don't know. We do have a request in to find out yes or no. Will there be a software update from Apple? We have a similar request in on this." Until then, he added, there's not much else he could say. In the meantime, irate G3 owners might like to follow one MacInTouch reader's suggestion and complain directly to Apple's Customer Relations department on 1 800 767 2775 or at PO Box 4040, Cupertino, CA 95014-4040, USA. ®
Tony Smith, 03 Sep 1999

OS-9 developer sues Apple over MacOS 9

UpdatedMicroware, developer of the OS-9 real-time operating system, this week went ahead with its planned trademark infringement suit against Apple. Des Moines, Iowa-based Microware's beef centres on Apple's decision to call the next major release of the Macintosh operating system, Mac OS 9. That, says Microware, is an illegal use of its OS-9 trademark. The suit is particularly ironic given that Apple is currently suing PC vendors eMachines and Future Power for illegally using its iMac design -- a design that was recently granted trademark status. And, as one Register reader pointed out, "it's also ironic in that when Jobs announced that the new server OS would be called OS X (or Carbon, for the tenth element) he state specifically that one of the reasons that they were skipping OS-9, was that it was trademarked by another company. How he (and the whole legal department) happened to 'forget' this is a mystery". OS-9 a Unix-derived operating system aimed at the embedded market and has been Microware's flagship product since the company was formed back in the mid to late 70s. It was originally released on the Motorola 6800 CPU family and, like the Mac OS, now operates on the PowerPC processor, among others. Microware's suit was filed with the US District Court for the Southern District of Iowa on Wednesday. ® Related Stories Analysis: Apple attacks iMac rip-offs Apple takes anti-eMachines suit to Japan
Tony Smith, 03 Sep 1999

Zoo site hacked to bits by animal crackers

The launch of a virtual zoo on the Net has been delayed because the animals keep eating the cables and fiddling with the Web cams. Howletts Zoo, just outside Canterbury, had planned to open the site earlier this week but had to scrap the launch after they uncovered the monkey business. The plan was that animal lovers all over the wired world could have dropped in on Howletts' virtual zoo and watched lions, wolves, chimpanzees and a menagerie (quite literally) of other beasts via Web cams installed in their enclosures. Although the lion's share (groan) of the work had been done, some of the animals got the better of their digitally friendly keepers and insisted upon ripping up the fibre optic cables in their pens. "The animals just won't play ball," said one slightly bemused PR bunny (what, not even the sea lions? - Ed). "And I've just heard a chimp's eaten another cable today," she said - just when zoo staff thought they'd got the problem licked. The horsing around (boom, boom) at Howletts brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "Web monkey" but animal lovers will be pleased to hear that the site should be up and running in a fortnight's time. ®
Tim Richardson, 03 Sep 1999

Man tries to sell vital organ on eBay

Net users after their pound of flesh from erratic eBay were disappointed to learn that the kidney for sale on the online auction house for the last week didn't belong to anyone in technical support. Instead, someone calling themselves "hchero" from Florida put the organ up sale. The bid went as high as $5.7 million before eBay intervened and pulled it from its site. The ad for the "fully functional kidney" read: "You can choose either kidney. Buyer pays all transplant and medical costs. Of course only one for sale, as I need the other one to live. Serious bids only." Another ad from a second kidney donor failed to draw any interest before it was pulled down. The ads have been described as macabre pranks by e-Bay. Selling body parts -- whether they're your own or not -- is illegal in the US and could land people in serious hot water if they get caught. The Register would give its right arm to be able to donate one of its organs... ®
Tim Richardson, 03 Sep 1999

Thursday virus set to touch down in December

Yet another virus has been unleashed on the IT community aimed at ravaging our systems in December. The imaginatively named "Thursday" virus is similar to the Chernobyl and 'Christmas' viruses in that it wrecks computer hard drives. It targets Word '97, but we can all sleep easy in our beds as experts have caught the bug early enough to stop any major spreading. Officially called W97M/Thus.A. virus, the new kid on the virus block has baffled experts – no one understands the significance of the December 13 date when it's meant to trigger, especially as it isn't even a Friday. According to anti-virus company Network Associates, the virus has been found in computer systems in 20 countries, including the UK, Poland, Germany, France and the US. ®
Linda Harrison, 03 Sep 1999

Apple stock hits eight-year all-time high

UpdatedShares in Apple yesterday hit their highest price point for eight years, peaking at $71.44 before sliding slightly to close at $70.56. An today, the rise continued, leaving the stock at the end of trading at $73.5, up $2.94, the highest price the shares have ever commanded. The last time Apple's stock closed above $70 -- it peaked at $72.75 -- was back in April 1991 when John Sculley was still in charge, the company was preparing to launch its System 7 OS, and development of the first PowerBooks was proceeding towards a launch in the autumn. Incidentally, the lowest point it reached was $13.00 in July 1997 when Apple was well into the red and CEO Gil Amelio was struggling to turn the company around -- and effectively getting fired for it. Yesterday's peak wasn't unexpected in broad terms -- though the figure itself was a surprise -- since Apple's stock regularly rises above the current average around the time of a public appearance by Steve Jobs. Locking back over the last nine months, you can see clear jumps after Jobs' January MacWorld Expo, May Worldwide Developers Conference and July MacWorld Expo keynotes. This week's Seybold speech and the accompanying introduction of the Power Mac G4 closely followed that pattern. Still, the current trend is upwards. Apart from the January peak, Apple's stock has stuck closely to an average of around $35 from last October to April 1999. At that point, thanks in part to the May peak, the stock's price began to rise and it has been rising consistently since then. How far this trend continues will depend primarily on timely good news from Apple: a successful iBook roll-out followed by the release of the higher-end Power Mac G4s and the anticipated unveiling of the next-generation iMac should all help here. Improvements in revenue and profitability for the current and next quarter will, too. ® Register Factoid Microsoft's $150 million investment in Apple was made when the Mac maker's stock price was around $20. That would have allowed Microsoft to buy some 7.5 million shares (in fact it received 150,000 special $1000 shares). That shareholding would today be worth nearly $530 million, more than double the profit Apple made last quarter...
Tony Smith, 03 Sep 1999

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