9th > September > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

Yahoo gets interested in apps service via ‘concept’ demo

Citrix seems to have hit the spot far more accurately than it had intended with its browser-based "Program Neighborhood" strategy, unveiled at the company's iForum show in Florida today. Citrix is planning to give user any time, anywhere access to multiuser applications via a browser, and ears on the Internet are starting to prick up. As far as deployment is concerned, all of Citrix's plans are supposed to be conceptual right now, but the recent demo seems to be turning into a deal. Citrix's Charlotte project is intended to allow users to access remote applications via a browser, and to have their own personal settings available to them from any machine. The product won't ship for a few months yet, but as part of the demo today Citrix showed a 'concept' screen of a MyYahoo page. The concept itself didn't have anything to do with Yahoo, but Yahoo was involved in approving it, and is apparently extremely interested. Charlotte could potentially allow Yahoo users to rent applications of their choice via a browser, and Citrix's idea of MyYahoo was therefore a mock-up of a typical Yahoo screen with the addition of application access. That didn't mean a deal with Yahoo, but when Citrix approached the company to get permission to use the screen, after a brief pause Yahoo said yes, go ahead, but come round to talk to us about it. That's not entirely surprising. Offering users applications as well as content resources is going to be a lifesaver for ISPs and portal sites, so an easy, maybe even off-the-peg, way to do this is going to be exceedingly attractive to them. So it wouldn't be entirely surprising if Yahoo struck an ASP deal with Citrix in the very near future. ®
John Lettice, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Dell buys storage firm

Dell threw itself into the storage market fray yesterday, by splashing out $300 million-plus on ConvergeNet Technologies. Dell will exchange around 6.9 million shares for all outstanding shares and options of the Californian storage networking company. The deal -- Dell’s first acquisition -- values ConvergeNet at $340 million, based on yesterday’s closing share price. The buyout of the privately-held company is expected to be completed within 60 days. Dell will record a one-time charge against post-tax earnings of between five and seven cents per share. ConvergeNet will give Dell SAN technology, enabling Dell’s PowerVault storage products and systems to work with any Intel-or RISC-based server running UNIX, Solaris, Windows NT, Windows 2000, NetWare or Linux operating systems. Michael Lambert, senior vice president of Dell's enterprise systems group, said: "Our customers want storage technology from Dell that connects with any open-standards server. "The technology we acquire with ConvergeNet will help make that happen. "ConvergeNet's technology fits our strategy to deliver storage area network solutions that speed access to and backup of enterprise data; simplify the configuration, allocation and management of storage systems; and help ensure that data is available all the time." Upon completion of the deal, Dick Watts, president and CEO of ConvergeNet, will become VP and general manager of Dell’s storage systems division, reporting to Lambert. ®
Linda Harrison, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

ilion rejects suitors

ilion Group today said that all takeover talks with prospective buyers had been terminated. It claimed none of the offers had adequately reflected the value of the company, in a statement to the stock exchange made this morning. On 15 April ilion announced it was in "very preliminary discussions" with a number of interested parties. On 14 July it rejected a bid of 114 pence per share from rival Landis, saying it seriously undervalued the company. ilion today said prospects for the second half of 1999 remained "encouraging", and the board believed ilion had an "exciting future as an independent business". Despite this brave prediction, ilion's share price dropped nine pence, or 7.4 per cent, to 112.5 pence in the first hour of this morning's trading. ® Related Stories ilion figures let down by UK -- again Euro listing to save ilion ilion says no thanks to Landis bid offer Brave faces all round at ilion Cisco fall-out sees ilion sue Ciscom
Linda Harrison, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Big Blue uses NatSemi Geode in NetStation

NatSemi has won a major contract with IBM, and is supplying its Geode system-on-a-chip to drive its latest family of Network Stations. The Geode GXlv plus supplementary chips, is to be used in Network Station Series 2200, said NatSemi. In other news, NatSemi struck a deal with two Taiwanese organisations to assist in the promotion and development of Wince devices. The technology agreement is between the Computer and Communications Research Labs of Industrial Technology Research Institute (what a mouthful) and Integrated Technology Express Inc, both in Taiwan. The deal will promote the Geode in WinCE devices. ®
Mike Magee, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel talks performance desktop talk

Intel Developer Forum The Intel Developers Forum ran a series of tracks on designing the next generation performance desktop system. Richard Malinowski, engineering director of the personal computer group at Intel, talked the talk about the i820 chipset and the sort of bottlenecks Intel hoped to address. He was also keen to promote AGP 4X. Malinowski claimed the next generation of AGP 4X graphics will deliver up to 1GB/sec transfer rate, twice the rate of AGP 2X, and has broad industry support from ATI, Matrox, Nvidia, S3 and 3DFX. IO bottlenecks, he said, included a PCI arbitration overhead. That protocol is asynchronous based, with no guaranteed quality of service. The 133MHz FSB gives a 33 per cent increase on the processor bus, a 100 per cent using AGP 4X, and accelerated hub architecture on IO will mean a 100 per cent performance boost. RDRAM gives up to 300 per cent improvement on the memory subsystem, Malinowski claimed. (At this point we must enter a caveat. We met several people at IDF who suggested to us that using the i820 with Rambus memory gave less performance than using the 82440BX chipset with SDRAM. We are currently investigating this.) Intel is working directly with 10 mobo vendors to enable RDRAM, he said. Fifty more are being trained to make Rambus work. Intel is pushing for a 2 x 2, that is two RIMM and two DIMM solution for transitioning to Rambus technology. Its DIMM riser enablement scheme has been cancelled. The second track in the next generation PC design series covered the FlexATX form factor. This motherboard design is used in Concept PCs. Intel says its mission with its low profile initiative is to offer NLX a lower cost alternative and produce low profile designs based on the ATX family in the first half of next year. To that end, it will produce ATX riser spec 1.0 by Comdex next, and display LP (low profile) PCI cards at the same show. The trend is an alignment in the industry around the ATX family of specifications, using both FlexATX and other Low Profile solutions. ®
Mike Magee, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Compaq still advertising Alpha NT…

Leaked Compaq Q&A, 25/8/99 from The Register: Compaq will end 32-bit Windows NT Alpha systems development with V4 SP6, late in 1999, and will not support either 32 or 64-bit Windows 2000 on Alpha systems Compaq double-page ad, in Computing, 9/9/99: Compaq's Alpha 64-bit servers have captivated the most eligible software companies in the world. Oracle developed its 64-bit version of 8i on the Tru64 Unix Alpha platform. Meanwhile Microsoft is testing their Windows 2000 on Alpha and it's expected to be the first 64-bit version they release. With partners like these, Compaq's Alpha 64-bit servers aren't just producing the next generation of software - they promise to be the future of computing. And it isn't too late for you to get involved with us. Oops... ®
Mike Magee, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Morse profits leap like a salmon

Morse Holdings today reported a 60 per cent leap in profit for the year ended 30 June 1999 in its maiden preliminary results. The Sun/HP systems integrator posted pre-tax profit of £18.9 million, compared with £11.8 million for the previous year. Sales jumped 31 per cent to £283.9 million, against last year's £216.1 million. Morse, which floated in March, said operating profit before goodwill amortisation and exceptionals was up 19 per cent to £24.4 million. Earnings per share before exceptional items rose 17.4 per cent to 13.5 pence. The Middlesex-based company noted strong performance by its core UK business and said trading in the current financial year was in line with its expectations. Combined UK and German sales of the Group's Sun reseller division -- Morse Computers -- generated 58 per cent of the group’s turnover. Morse Computers (UK) turned over £135.6 million, up on last year’s £106.9 million. Morse Computers (Germany) had £31.3 million sales, compared with 1998's £18 million. Set up in 1997, Morse Germany is currently turning over £35.3 million. Duncan McIntyre, Morse CEO, said: "In spite of the management time and energy which was required by the flotation, our core UK business has continued to grow well and the replication of our UK model in Europe is proving successful. "I am also delighted that the depth of our offer is increasing our continued expansion into services." Morse has made two acquisitions since floating -- in May it bought Hughes Rae, Ltd., an e-commerce consultancy, followed by the finalisation in June of its buyout of Partner System SA in France. Analyst Richard Holway said: "Morse's chosen [business] areas are about the most exciting around." Which is a most peculiar definition of exciting. Morse service revenues grew more than 75 per cent to £30 million. ®
Linda Harrison, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Commodore wannabe don't want to be Commodore no more

Iwin, the European IT company at the heart of a controversial scheme to relaunch the Commodore Business Machines (CBM) brand with a line of Amiga-compatible computers, has decided that actually... er... it's not interested in CBM after all. And research from Amiga-oriented Web site Amiga Extreme suggests Iwin may never have been as serious about CBM and the Amiga platform as it originally claimed. In what appears to be a reference to former Amiga president Jim Collas' abrupt departure from the Gateway subsidiary, Iwin said on its Web site: "After all the things happened to and with Amiga Inc... there is no longer need for the Commodore brand. Iwin has stopped negotiating with Tulip about it." The Register today contacted Tulip's UK operation (Tulip's CEO, Hans van Melden, is current visiting the UK) to seek further information regarding Iwin's negotiations -- did any talks actually take place, but the company's marketing manager, Richard Koetsier, though aware of the Iwin story, was unable to offer any clues. Tulip bought Commodore in September 1997, primarily to acquire its well-known consumer computer brandname for its own push into that marketplace. Tulip released a series of Wintel PCs under the Commodore label, but the line never really achieved the levels of success of the machines that made Commodore's name in the first place. Talks between Tulip and Iwin were set to take place on 27 August (according to Iwin), so clearly they were either unable to agree on a price or the talks never took place. Amiga Extreme's chapter in to the Iwin story emerges from its attempt to contact Iwin customers listed on the company's Web site. AE received the following response from one such customer, who turned out to be Iwin president Martin Steinbach's former employer (AE did not post his name or company details): "We do not use any product of [Iwin] nor are we affiliated with it in any way. Moreover, I do not recommend [engaging in] business with this company. "The CEO, Martin Steinbach, has been working for three months... as a programmer. "I know him very well and not from the best side." Since this email was posted, Iwin has removed the customer details page from its site. AE also downloaded a patch for Iwin's PowerSE product, but found the file contained in the Zip archive to be nothing more than a Photoshop Undo file. Our attempts to confirm this by checking Iwin's patch ourselves were continually thwarted by download errors. Iwin itself has maintained a degree of secrecy ever since news of its bid for CBM led to (understandable) speculation within the Amiga community about the company's bona fides. "We won't give any announcements regarding our products anymore -- before the final product release," said Steinbach. In the meantime, according to Iwin's Web site, the company will offer its Amiga-compatible machines -- which appear to run AmigaOS 3.5 under some form of emulation. If Iwin's previously published schedule is being stuck to, production of the machines will have begun this week, with initial shipments starting at the end of the month. As Steinbach himself admitted last month, Iwin's future will depend on it getting its machines to market. The company initally promised review kit to a German Amiga magazine, however it will have to do more than ship one box if it's to convince Amiga users that Iwin is trustworthy. That's not to say it isn't -- but the onus is definitely now on Iwin to prove its many claims. ® Related Stories Amiga president responds to Iwin Commodore wannabe to reveal full Amiga box specs Commodore wannabe claims Amiga 'fooled' community Amiga developer in talks to buy Commodore name
Tony Smith, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Feds to prosecute eBay hoax baby dealers

The people who advertised babies and vital organs for sale on eBay are be tracked down and prosecuted. Federal authorities in the US are already investigating the macabre auction of kidneys and babies, although as yet no one has been arrested. As well as investigating those people who placed the ads, the authorities are also chasing those people who made bids. "We have zero tolerance on this," said Michael van Swaaij, European VP of eBay, talking to The Register today. "Some people might think this is just a prank but we're taking it very seriously. That's why we've brought it to the attention of the authorities. "We need to find out who is responsible and prosecute them," he said. "It might seem funny to some people, but this is not funny at all." Although it's widely believed that the sales were just pranks, eBay and the federal authorities are worried some people -- sellers or bidders -- may have been serious. ®
Tim Richardson, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

DRAM price hike dead handy for Intel (and Rambus)

Life is full of little coincidences and sometimes companies, just like individuals, are subject to lucky strokes of fate. Take Chipzilla, for instance. Not so long ago, it looked like it had a big struggle on its hands to seed Rambus-designed RDRAM quickly into the market. One problem to overcome with cost-neurotic OEMs was the 30 per cent price premium command by Rambus over conventional DRAM. Now with rising SDRAM prices, that price premium might not look so hefty -- especially if Intel can persuade the Seven Dramurai™ backing Rambus, to resist the urge to mark up RDRAM accordingly. Intel. The Chipzilla born with a silver spoon in its gob. ® RegiStroid 1 We declared Chipzilla was an Open Source nickname some months back. Someone has now registered the domain... ®
Mike Magee, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Argos £3 TV fiasco provokes test-case lawsuit

A ground breaking case in Internet law is on the cards today, as an unhappy customer is to sue retail giant Argos over the erroneous £3 TV offer on its web site. The legal position of either party in the case is not entirely clear, as there are no precedents relating to sales online. The disgruntled customer who is bringing the case happens to be an employee of London based law firm Taylor Joynson Garrett. In a statement, the firm said: "Yesterday, Argos offered a Sony television for sale over its Web site for £3. One of the people who ordered a TV was a Taylor Joynson Garrett employee. Having placed the order using the on-line form over the Web site, the employee received an on-line confirmation of that order. We believe that our employee has a reasonable case that there is an enforceable contract between her and Argos for the sale of a Sony Nicam TV as described in the Web site for the price of £3." Regulators and enforcers The Advertising Standards Authority says it is watching the case with great interest. A spokesman for the organisation said: "This case is interesting because it will help determine where an advertisment ends and where a virtual shop front begins. It will define our area of jurisdiction more clearly." The key element in the case is whether or not Argos had a contract for sale with its customers. Ken Searle, the chief trading standards officer for the Milton Keynes area, said: "If we assume that it works in the same way as a high street transaction, then Argos is within its rights not to fulfill the orders. An offer to purchase must be accepted by the seller before there is a contract for sale. I would imagine that the same principle applies to the Internet. However, if any party received confirmation of the order, then that might constitute a contract, and Argos would be obliged to fulfill it." Rotten luck for Argos then, that it was a lawyer who did receive an email confirmation for his or her order. Terry Duddy, Argos' chief executive said his company did have some great offers, a TV for £3 was clearly not one of them. The company says it has apologised for the error to each customer, and explained that the orders cannot be accepted. A spokesman said: "We are advised by our lawyers that this is in accordance with our legal obligations and that it is normal practice where an error of this kind has been made." ® Related stories So who's going to make a £3 TV options market? Argos ups price of Sony TV to £3,299.99 Argos welshes on three quid TV Net 'offer' Tune into Cash Register and turn on to our daily Net Finance News
Lucy Sherriff, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

So who's going to make a £3 TV options market?

The Register has received several emails from readers quoting friends of friends who "bought" Sony TVs from Argos at £3. One buyer is thought to have placed an order for 1,700 TVs, another for several hundred. So how many orders were placed in toto? Will Argos have to make a provision for this in this year's accounts? Answers on an email, please. We reckon there are the makings of an options market here. Is anyone willing to buy TV orders at -- £5 each -- say. On the off-chance that Argos is actually forced to deliver TVs to customers. ® Related stories Argos £3 TV fiasco provokes test-case lawsuit Argos ups price of Sony TV to £3,299.99 Argos welshes on three quid TV Net 'offer'
Drew Cullen, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Acer Labs pumps Nvidia TNT2 into Aladdin chipset

A new product from chip maker Acer Labs Inc (ALi), is attracting mixed comments from industry watchers in the run up to the company's over-the-counter stock listing. "ALi definitely have the right product at the right moment," said Andrew Lin, an analyst at Jardine Fleming Taiwan. ALi's Aladdin TNT2 chipset combines the Taiwanese company's chipset technology with graphics expertise from Nvidia. The US company's TNT graphics chip is recognised as one of the most powerful low-cost 3D graphics chips. "This is definitely the direction to go," Lin concluded, "Their local competitors, SiS and VIA, are doing similar things. Arthur Hsieh, downstream electronics analyst at Taiwan Securities was less certain about the product. "Although they're announcing it now, it will still take some time to mass produce," he said, "but their competitors have products available now. Although Nvidia is pretty good in this field, how to integrate their technology into the core logic chipset is another barrier they have to overcome." Several local manufacturers of computer motherboards, such as Asustek Computer, Gigabyte Technology, Acer and ABit say they will use the Aladdin TNT2. Abit Computer, which makes between 200,000 and 300,000 motherboards per month, will use the chipset on a motherboard it is making for a foreign company, said public relations manager, Jeremy Smith. Such OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) products make up around 10 percent of Abit's monthly output, Smith said - but the company is trying to increase this figure to 30 per cent. Competing motherboard manufacturer, Epox would evaluate the chipset, said marketing manager Jeff Lin, but was waiting for ALi to demonstrate it, and provide technical data. Epox currently makes a motherboard with integrated graphics based around the Intel 810 chipset. Jardine Fleming's Andrew Lin believes ALi has picked a good time to move into an expanding market. "Right now their monthly production [of chipsets] is between 600,000 and 700,000 and they're looking to increase their market share in the fourth quarter." The market for products like the Aladdin TNT2 is growing very fast, he said. Data from Mercury Research suggests that more than 16 million PCs sold in the current financial year will use integrated graphics chips. Mercury predicts the figure will rise to 48 million next year. Lin said that ALi's product looked better than anything the competition currently had on offer. "Intel's 810 chipset is not doing very well." "It seems to me that the market's going to pick up and explode next year," Lin predicted, "they are also getting listed at the same time, so its definitely working out pretty well for them." Arthur Hsieh of Taiwan Securities, remains less optimistic about ALi's prospects in a very competitive market, describing it as a "pretty conservative" company. He said he believed that less than half of ALi's research staff were working on this project. "I don't think ALi is really serious about competing with the other chipset makers in this specific market segment." ALi was devoting more effort to DVD-related chips, he said. "They don't want to stay in the chipset market... because Intel still dominates it." However, Hsieh continued, "the DVD market is not so clear at this moment, while on the other hand they are still lagging behind the other chipset makers. They are not so good at either of these two markets." To ALi's advantage, he said, was the fact that they don't have plans to design CPUs or to build their own chip factory. In that sense, Hsieh said, ALi is a "safe play" for investors. ®
Simon Burns, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Speech-enabled web surfing --- now that is cool

IBM's latest speech recognition offering, ViaVoice Millennium, made its US debut today. The recognition accuracy has been improved making it easier to use for every day tasks, the company said. The products learn the speech patterns of a number of users, so that accuracy improves with use and is not limited to one staff of family member. The Web Millennium and Pro Millennium versions also provide speech-enabled web surfing. Users can speak directly into AOL, IE and Netscape browsers. The software is integrated with the MS Office platform, and works with Lotus 1-2-3. Users can also move between applications, send emails, create documents and schedule appointments all by voice. The program will prompt changes to the settings if accuracy can be improved, and it will read emails back to the sender to check for mistakes. Three versions are 0available: ViaVoice Standard, ViaVoice Web and ViaVoice Pro. Each targets a different user group, but work in much the same way. The products are available now in the US at RRPs of $59.95, $79.95 and $179 respectively. IBM will make ViaVoice Millennium available in Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish over the next few months. The UK English version is released next week. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Beeb applies for ‘unrepresentative’ trade body

David Atter, S&M director at beeb.com, has hit out at the British Internet Publishers Alliance (BIPA) calling it "partisan". In an interview with The Register Atter said that despite its name BIPA was not representative of the whole industry. Atter is all for trade groups, despite the tirade of criticism that the alliance has vented against the BBC, its commercial arm BBC Worldwide and beeb.com. "I would like to be a member of BIPA," he said Only last week BIPA attacked the launch of freebeeb.net as anti-competitive and an abuse of public money. "BIPA should be delighted for beeb.com that it is doing so well. People like our brand and we're good for the whole industry," he said. "A lot of people have come online because of us and we're helping to grow the Net in the UK. "What we need is a handful of top British sites that can compete with the likes of Amazon and MSN," he said A spokeswoman for BIPA said she would bring up Atter's request to join the alliance at the next BIPA meeting. Ironically, BIPA -- which is made up of a number of leading lights in the UK Web industry including Associated New Media, Electronic Telegraph, News International, ITN and Capital Radio -- doesn't have its own Web site. ®
Tim Richardson, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

US crypto export controls are bunk

The American intelligence establishment has suffered its share of embarrassments lately, from a North Korean missile sailing over Japan in spite of the CIA's repeated insistence that no such development was possible, to Chinese scientists nonchalantly walking off with the country's most jealously-guarded nuclear secrets, to the CIA's former director, John Deutch, losing his security clearance over childishly negligent computing habits. And now, it is all too clear, the mighty Alpha Geeks at the National Security Agency have been deluding themselves with a fantasy of control over US crypto exports. The recently publicised NSAkey in Windows propels all of Microsoft's -- and, by extension, most of America's -- crypto export controls into the realm of ironic comedy. This is because the second key can easily be replaced with one that will enable a third-party cryptographic service provider (CSP), whether approved by Microsoft or not, to load cryptographic applications under Windows. This fairly begs the issue of loosening America's tight crypto export controls, to which the DoJ and Clinton administration have clung hysterically for three years, as Congress wishes to do with the Security and Freedom through Encryption Act (SAFE), which will reach the House floor for a vote in the next few weeks. There is no longer any practical need for Congress to change the laws; overseas Windows users can now tweak their systems at will. Loosening the regulations will be mere window dressing. The revelation is rich with irony. If there were only one key, the Windows OS would balk whenever a CSP lacking an authorized Microsoft key attempted to function. But the fact that there are two keys makes for some illicit fun with overseas Windows distributions. This becomes all the more ironic, and all the more comical, if the second, or "NSA", key is in fact held by the National Security Agency, as some suspect. In that case, the NSA's own contribution to Windows, designed to inhibit cryptographic activity on exported systems, is the very flaw which will enable any overseas user to run a strong, "taboo" CSP under their Windows OS. Right now, all the bogeymen of NSA's darkest nightmares -- terrorists, hostile military organizations and kidnappers -- are undoubtedly re-working their Windows OS with substitute keys and 1024-bit CSPs, and doing so with evil relish, we are sure. Whether or not the NSA actually holds the second key, the fact remains that the organization reviews all American crypto schemes prior to release abroad, seeking to prevent exactly what the Microsoft dual-key scheme invites. We can't help recalling American comedian George Carlin's observation that the phrase "military intelligence", like the phrase "jumbo shrimp", is an oxymoron. ®
Thomas C Greene, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Oftel blames Net for phone changes

Three out of ten people would consider using video on demand, Net access via their TV and broadband Net services when they become available, according to the telecoms watchdog Oftel. It also claims one in ten residential consumers said they intended to get a mobile phone or get hooked up to the Net within the next six months. What's more, Net use in the residential market has more than doubled from seven per cent in 1997 to 18 per cent today -- a clear signal of the explosive growth in telecoms services in Britain. "There has already been a huge growth in telecom services and the survey shows there is no sign of it running out of steam," said David Edmonds, Director General of Oftel. "Consumers are also interested in new services that are just around the corner such as fast Internet access and video on demand. "[That's why] the changes that Oftel is introducing to the numbering system will create nine billion telephone numbers, enough to meet demand for the foreseeable future," he said. Oftel launches a £20 million TV ad campaign tomorrow to alert everyone that it's changing phone numbers in Britain -- again. Any notion that the timing of OFTEL's research is a cynical PR stunt that justifies this quango messing around with Britain's phone numbers (again, cos it fouled up last time) is without foundation. ® Tune into Cash Register and turn on to our daily Net Finance News
Tim Richardson, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Sign up for free colour printers here

Tektronix is handing out free colour printers with so many strings attached you could probably knit a scarf with them. The company has launched a website --live as of yesterday -- to handle applications at freecolorprinters.com But there really is no such thing as a free printer, since companies must agree to maintain a monthly printing volume and to buy ink from Tektronix. "The catch is we are asking people to buy their ink from us," said James Rise, director of FreeColorPrinters.com. He declined to specify the volume of ink customers would need to commit to buying to qualify for a printer. After signing up with Tektronix, customers will get a Phaser 840 colour printer, worth around $2,500, with free shipping, as much black ink as needed and three years of on-site service and support. Unhappy customers can return the printer for free. "One of our goals is to put them in touch with this technology," Rise said. "It is not to secure revenues from the ink. It is to introduce a lot of people to colour printing ... Once people try it (colour), they keep using it." Just like Dr. Pepper? ®
Lucy Sherriff, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Chipset vendors insist world is wafer flat

The arithmetic skills of the world's top chipset vendors were in doubt today. SiS has promised to mark its territory with a spray covering 35 per cent of the chipset market by 2002. Oh, Yeah? The Taiwanese vendor stated it would be shipping over 52 million chipsets by 2002, more than double this year's expected 21 million. To back up its claim, it plans to pour a steaming NT$40 billion into building a new 8in chip fab. Meanwhile, Via has set its sights on as much as half the chipset market by 2001. Oh, Yeah? So where does that leave Intel? With a measly 15 per cent, that's where. And that's only if ALi's market share fell to precisely zero. Which would represent a collapse of Walls of Jericho proportions for Chipzilla. And extinction for Acer-owned ALi. Chipzilla currently controls 73 per cent of the mainstream PC chipset market, according to Dataquest. That leaves only 27 per cent for the other three biggies –- VIA, SiS and Acer –- which stand in that order. "I think SiS is being a little optimistic," said Joe D'Elia, senior microprocessor analyst at Dataquest Europe. "Intel has the lion's share, and I don't think that will change." Intel refused to be drawn into a fist-fight over percentages, but a representative blurted: "They should be telling us how they are going to do it, that's what I'm interested in." Via is currently number two in the market, and D'Elia expects them to stay there. "And besides, there's no way that everyone can have 35 per cent," he added Indeed, for that would make 140 per cent. And no amount of benchmark fiddling can make that figure work.® Related stories Via, SiS aim for high chipset market share
Linda Harrison, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Waitrose donates free ISP revenues to charity

Posh supermarket chain Waitrose has joined Tesco and Iceland in the race to attract shoppers online. Launching its subscription-free ISP today the food division of John Lewis plc claimed that Waitrose.com marked "a radical departure from the recent mould of ISP packages". Part of that "radical departure" is to offer a "quality broadsheet format, in keeping with the Waitrose/John Lewis customer profile", the company said today. Which means it's happy to target its wealthy snobby shoppers and leave the rest to fend for themselves at some other Cheap-O-Save pile-'em-high-sell-'em-cheap supermarket. Waitrose also said it did not intend to charge its posh shoppers for tech support and pledged that any profit it makes from the interconnect charge will be donated to charity. Waitrose's marketing director, Mark Price, said: "Our customers would expect Waitrose to take a fresh approach to the Internet by offering authoritative content, excellent service and technical capability. "We do not charge our customers to look in our shop windows or enter our shops. Giving away the net revenue from our share of telephone call charges is what I hope customers would expect from the John Lewis Partnership." With a company the size of the John Lewis Partnership backing the scheme there's little incentive for Waitrose.com to make any money in the early phases of its development. However the site will be offering limited e-commerce opportunities including the home delivery of wines, gifts, flowers and organic fruit and vegetables. No doubt this range will increase once the e-commerce operation hits critical mass. Waitrose announced Internet Technology Group (ITG) is providing the technology for the service. Yesterday ITG announced it had agreed a £146 million cash and share offer for the company from Californian ISP Concentric Networks. ® Tune into Cash Register And turn on to our daily Net Finance News
Tim Richardson, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Time for another memory surcharge

Yet another PC builder is adding surcharges to prices in response to memory price hikes, as 64Mb DRAM today hit record levels. Time Computer Systems said price rises will start next week for its PC range. Time is copying moves by rivals such as Carrera, Mesh and Panrix, who slapped surcharges of around £60 on higher end PCs earlier this week. Time said demand was outstripping supply for DRAM memory, and warned: "This may be the first time many PC consumers notice the price of computers increasing." The announcement came as world 64Mb DRAM prices today reached their highest ever levels. According to Asiabiztech.com, these chips were today selling at $12.75 per unit. This compares to prices around the $5 mark in July. Joe D’Elia, senior microprocessor analyst at Dataquest, said: "We are now seeing the difference between a buyer’s and a seller’s market. "Everyone has kept stocks to an absolute minimum." He also pointed out the huge difference between contract pricing -- which stands at around $7 -- and spot pricing for 64Mb DRAM. To explain the sudden memory price rises, D’Elia added: "There is a lot of uncertainty in the market at the moment – surrounding technology such as Rambus. The manufacturers are capitalising on that." According to Time, 128Mb modules were priced today at $260. This is almost double 1 September’s price of $140.®
Linda Harrison, 09 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

How the whole Rambus thing looks

Rambus is not the technology it's hyped up to be, according to an American analyst. At last week's Intel Developer Forum, Burt McComas, of Inquest, expressed his doubts about Rambus performance figures to The Register. Now he has produced what he claims is one of the most definitive documents on Rambus, on this planet. Go here for his thoughts. McComas has taken time to take Rambus apart.®
Mike Magee, 09 Sep 1999