14th > September > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

Landis prepares to go hostile on ilion

Landis is marshalling its forces for a hostile takeover of rival networking distie ilion. In a statement to the Stock Exchange yesterday, the Dutch-owned company said it was "considering its position" considering a possible offer of ilion. Landis has a head-start: earlier this year founder Paul Kuiken snapped up more than 12 per cent of ilion's share capital, through his investment vehicle Finance IT, in an opportunistic buying spree. It doesn't take too much to work out which way FIT's vote will swing. ilion last week terminated takeover talks with unnamed parties, saying that offers did not adequately reflect the value of the company. In July, ilion snubbed a formal offer from Landis. "The price of 114 pence per share seriously undervalues the company and is, in the board's view, totally unacceptable. It pays no regard to the stronggrowth and strategic market position in Europe nor to the recovery potential of the UK," Ilion said at the time. ®
Drew Cullen, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Phone Phreaker faces prison

A teenage phone phreaker is set to go to jail after he admitted stealing £45,000 worth of phone calls. Paul Spibey, 18, dialled up the world, using a PC and "cyber-trickery known as blue-boxing", which spoofed the defrauded telcos by routing calls to Nicaragua, the London Metro reports. Spibey has yet to hear his fate at Southwark Crown Court. But the Leicestershire lad faces a "substantial risk" of imprisonment, Judge George Bathurst-Norman announced. ®
Drew Cullen, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Via's chip roadmap takes shape

The first indication of how Via will integrate its Cyrix and Centaur chip families has appeared on the Web. According to JC's news, Via has plans to now release its Gobi S370 part towards the end of this year, with NatSemi fabbing the part. He adds that six months later, production of its part, which will be renamed Joshua, will go to a Taiwanese foundry and be manufactured using a .18 micron process. And, the site says, Via will retain the Cyrix brand name but use Centaur cores. There is also some information there about the PR clock speeds the low-priced parts will adopt. Earlier this year, we reported that many Cyrix employees found themselves out on their neck after Via took over the firm. At the same time, Via decked the promising MIII (Mojave) project. ®
Team Register, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Camino review pops up on Web

A hardware site has posted what it claims is the first review of motherboards using the i820 Camino chipset. Got Apex also has more information on the Cape Cod and Vancouver mobos Intel will shortly release. The reviewer was restricted to testing boards using a Rambus 64MB RIMM. He wanted to buy a 128MB RIMM but was quoted the staggering price of $825 for the upgrade. Benchmarks conducted using the Vancouver (VC820) mobo against the Seattle BX chipset part, seemed to confirm earlier reports here that the older chipset beats the Camino chipset. The reviewer says he sees no reason for people to upgrade to Camino systems, given these benchmarks. At Quake, he says, the old BX motherboard beats the i820 "senseless". There is a huge demand for BX mobos which Intel is unable to supply, with supply restricted until the end of the year, as reported here last week. Some cynical souls have suggested this is mighty handy for Intel given the imminent launch of the i820 platform. ®
Team Register, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Compel declares record profits

Compel has turned in a sparkling set of results, with record full year sales, profits and EPS. The Welwyn Garden City-based corporate reseller saw turnover for the year to 30 June 30 1999 leap 40 per cent to £293.89 million (1998: £210 million), PBT up 41 per cent to £12.7 million (1998: £9.0 million) and earnings per share improved 66 per cent to 36.2p ( 21.8p). The results include an earnings-enhancing contribution from InfoProducts UK, the loss-making rival bought for peanuts in January. Net debt stood at £10.9 million at year end, including £1.7 million due for repayment within one year. Net gearing was 41 per cent. Cash flow improved 83 per cent to £15.5 million, equivalent to 5.3 per cent of turnover (1998: 4.0 per cent). ®
Drew Cullen, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

ATI slumps on Compaq loss

Another day, another stock market disaster for ATI, the graphics card market leader. Its share price slumped 8.55 per cent to $C16.55 and more than 5.4 million shares were traded yesterday on the Toronto Stock Exchange on news that it had lost a supply contract with Compaq. Could there be any connection with the supply win for Compaq Presarios announced yesterday by 3dfx? Maybe not -- the timing looks purely coincidental, according to sources, who say Nvidia replaced the ATI SKU. Market reaction may have been a tad overdone, for the Compaq ATI deal was worth only $1 million a quarter, according to one analyst. But the loss comes only weeks after ATI lost a big contract with Dell, worth an estimated $10 million a quarter. The winner still hasn't been announced -- but speculation at the time centred round Nvidia. But don't be surprised -- a reader tells us -- if it ain't good old Intel and it's good old i810 that walked away with that business. An interview with Michael Dell in Canada's Globe and Mail at the weekend also appears to have stirred up a hornet's nest for ATI, according to Reuters reports. ATI "had some problems in meeting our schedules...and we found other suppliers that could better meet (these) schedules," Dell told the newspaper. "We're actually a big customer of ATI and continue to be". It's inevitable that ATI is going to lose OEM supply contracts from time to time. But that didn't use to be the case. The company rose without trace to become the world's biggest supplier of graphic cards, on the back of its dominance in the OEM market. Now it has hot performance brand Nvidia snapping at its heels for OEM contracts, and further down the food chain the 3dfx/STB and Savage/Diamond combos are also putting in credible bids for this business. ® Related story Dead Dell deal costs ATI dearly
Drew Cullen, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Phoenix pledges to lift Amiga from ashes

Some of the best-known names in the Amiga community have banded together to wrest control of the platform's destiny away from its official sponsor, Amiga Inc. The Phoenix Platform Consortium (initials 'PPC', you'll note...) will "assume responsibility for aid and recommendation for reference platforms for the Amiga users who wish to upgrade their present Amigas, as we establish an open migration path to a new platform". Quite what form that "new platform" will take has yet to be decided beyond the PPC's desire to offer a system that's new yet retains the "spirit and feel" of the original Amiga. Contrary to the extravagant claims touted of late by other Amiga-based businesses, most notably Commodore wannabe Iwin, the PPC is taking things a little more cautiously. "Unlike other new entities we will not field questions from newsgroups, mailing lists, or in email, nor will we be erecting a marketing facade to false hopes," said the group's charter statement. "Results and honest direction are our mandate." "Phoenix signatories believe it is time to place our destiny back in the hands of folks who understand what the Amiga is all about," the statement adds. A tad arrogant? Possibly, but the PPC does include some of the key players in the Amiga world, including Carl Sassenrath (one of original Amiga development team, and co-founder of Rebol), Wolf Dietrich (head of upgrade supplier Phase 5), Bill McEwen (formerly of Amiga Inc, now at Amino), Dan Dodge (head of OS developer QNX) and Fleecy Moss (Amino). How the PPC proceeds will depend a great deal on Amiga Inc. itself and the plans of its parent, PC vendor Gateway. An announcement from Amiga on its ongoing strategy is expected later today, and if the rumours are to be believed Amiga president Tom Schmidt will formally ditch the company's current Linux-based 'multimedia convergence computer' (MCC) in favour of a more basic system, possibly Microsoft's X-Box games console. The Register is sceptical about that one. Even if Gateway signs up to Microsoft's proposed platform standard -- and that's by no means certain; Gateway has only ever been mooted as the kind of PC company that would back X-Box, never as a signed supporter -- that doesn't make the demise of Amiga in its present form a certainty. That said, some major revision of the company's goals is essential. Sony's plans for the PlayStation 2, announced yesterday, put the Japanese giant's games console/home computing system right up against Amiga's MCC. Given the strength of Sony's brand, the size of the PlayStation's existing userbase, the money Sony will spend to promote the PlayStation 2, and the developer support the next-generation console has already garnered, Amiga hasn't much of a hope, no matter how good its technology is. The threat of the PlayStation 2 and, to a lesser extent, Sega's recently released Dreamcast (like the PSX 2, a 128-bit console, but far less focused on the wider home entertainment arena that Sony's box is) could well drive Amiga back to its desktop PC roots. That certainly appears to be what existing Amiga users want, and so is likely to form the basis for the PPC's own platform development efforts. ® Related Stories Commodore wannabe don't want to be Commodore no more Amiga president bails Amiga to develop games consoles, digital music players
Tony Smith, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Johnny Foreigner Y2K laggards named and shamed

Brace yourself for a diplomatic incident or ten. The Government has named and shamed foreign countries who are falling behind with their Y2K preparations. Keep plenty of cash when in Egypt, don't fall ill in Malaysia or Japan. And what ever you do, cancel that package holiday in the Ukraine. Immediately. The Government has opened its Y2K Web site for business to coincide with the launch of a similar effort of America. That way, we can deflect some of the opprobrium from hurt countries onto the Great Satan itself. The information is on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's web site here So far, reports on fifty countries have been published, and a further 75 are expected to be added. The site gives the low down on all the major areas of infrastructure for each country. Core elements are Energy, Water, Health, Communications, Transport and Economic preparedness, but each country's report will have information on other relevant topics. If you are planning to travel over the New Year period, it would be as well to consult the pages, but don't expect a scale of warnings or a league table of preparedness, said Foreign Office minister John Battle. The point of publishing these reports is to provide "the best service to British Nationals overseas," he said. Other underachievers highlighted on the site included: Japan and Malaysia -- both are falling behind with preparing the health service, Egypt -- check your insurance and keep spare cash to hand. In Russia the airports are "sure to have some difficulties", but officials are "certain" that the country's nuclear industry will be ready in time -- 42 per cent of the systems involved are date critical. There is not yet any information on China. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

China warns West over Net interference

Investors looking to cash in on the Net revolution in China may have to think twice after Beijing warned it wouldn't tolerate foreign companies exploiting its online development. According to information industry minister Wu Jichuan, investment in the Internet by foreign companies is illegal under Chinese law. He described those companies which have already invested in China's fledgling Net industry as "irregularities". And, according to a report in the FT, he said China is more than happy to iron out these "irregularities" and stamp out any foreign intervention. Despite a number of investments -- most notably China.com, which is part funded by AOL, and the $50 million investment by Lycos and Singapore Telecommunications -- it may not be quite that simple for Beijing to act. Many of the services are located outside of China and fall outside its jurisdiction making it difficult for it to intervene. The number of Net users in China has more than doubled over the last year from 2.1 million to five million. ® For more money news tune into Cash Register and turn on to our daily Net Finance News
Tim Richardson, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Handspring unveils long-awaited Palm clone

Handspring, the handheld-computer company set up last year by Palm Computing founders Donna Dubinsky and Jeff Hawkins, yesterday unveiled its long-awaited entry into the consumer and business palmtop market. Dubbed the Visor, the Palm III-style machine will ship in four iMac-esque translucent coloured cased, plus jet black for more sober business types. It's cheaper than Palm's machines, but in other respects Visor is essentially a standard PalmOS-based machine with the familiar monochrome screen, stylus, buttons, and look and feel. What sets the device apart -- or rather, what Handspring hopes will differentiate it -- is Visor's expansion system, called Springboard, designed to turn Visor into the Swiss Army Knife of the palmtop world. The idea is that users will be able to customise their Visors for specific roles. This sounds to us a lot like a standard expansion port, and indeed Visor's initial range of Springboard modules are pretty obvious: RAM expansion packs, software ROMs and a back-up device connector. However, Handspring reckons Springboard will allow themselves and third-parties to add a wide range of features to the basic Visor. Handspring itself has an analog modem in the works, and claims there are pager and cellphone modules on the way. It's a canny idea -- if the modules come. Handspring has yet to release details of Springboard's spec., but presumably it's more akin to a PC Card slot than the Palm's memory upgrade ports so that the device can supply the wide range of power requirements these many different devices will have. The device's success will also depend on Handspring being able to reach a wider audience than the 'executive toy' business that has largely driven sales of the Palm and Windows CE devices. Handspring is definitely targetting the "mass market" -- the colour cases is testament to that -- but the company may need to push its prices down further. Right now (or rather from October, when the thing ships) buyers will pay $179 for a basic model, rising to $249 for a top-of-the-range Visor. Handspring will need to get the basic price down below $100 if it's to appeal to consumers -- as it wants to -- rather than gadget freaks. Consumer are generally used to $5 diaries, notebooks and biros -- persuading them that they should ditch them in favour of the best part of $200 palmtop isn't going to be an easy sell. Still, success may come through Springboard. Offer an MP3 decoder module and get the price that plus the Visor to, say, $199, and you have a device that could compete very nicely with the hordes of $250 digital music players set to hit the market next year... ® Related Story 3Com set to IPO Palm
Tony Smith, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Aureal retails into Creative territory

Since time began, Aureal has conducted guerilla skirmishes with sound market leader Creative Labs. The California-based firm has decided it's now time for some bare-knuckle fighting with its bitter rival. The company is striking deep into Creative's heartland with its first retail branded soundcard. And just in time for Christmas, too. Aureal has engaged a company called I/O Magic to fill retail shelves and handle merchandising in North America. And it is close to signing a similar deal in Europe. Creative Labs could not be reached for comment. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Yahoo, L&H sign translation deal

Software company Lernout & Hauspie said it had struck a deal with Yahoo to localise the Web firm's pages by delivering translations. Yahoo will use L&H translation software for countries including Korea, Japan, Francy, Italy, Germany and Spain. The deal will include not only machine translation but specific localisation for each of the languages, said the firm. Meanwhile L&H continued its acquisition spree by snapping up Korean firm Bumil for $25 million. Bumil specialises in interactive voice, call centre and other telco applications. ®
Mike Magee, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Have Bluetooth buddies pulled a flanker on Intel?

A clutch of companies led by Nokia and Ericsson is pitching a new broadband wireless standard for office and home networking, and for use in conjunction with 3G mobile phone networks. But in aiming to make HiperLAN 2 a ubiquitous global standard they may be clipping Bluetooth's wings. Among the prime movers behind the Bluetooth standard are of course, er, Nokia and Ericsson. Present at the unveiling of the HiperLAN 2 Global Forum in London this morning were representatives of Nokia, Ericsson, Dell, Bosch Telecom, Scandinavian telco Telia and Texas Instruments. UK forum chairman Vesa Wallden (Nokia) said that all companies were welcome to join the new group, but The Register suspects that the Vikings have pulled another stroke on Motorola, which wound up as Tail-End Charlie in the Symbian consortium, and have manoeuvred themselves into a comfortable leadership role in the nascent HiperLAN Forum. They may also have stitched-up fellow Bluetooth leader Intel, which has been busily working on networking aspects of Bluetooth. This may turn out to be somewhat redundant, as Wallden tells us "Bluetooth is for personal area coverage," while the Ericsson rep says more brutally: "Bluetooth is the replacement of cable." Chipzilla may not be entirely happy about this. Bluetooth is far narrower bandwidth than HiperLAN, which will be able to deliver up to 54Mbit/s, but is intended to be dirt cheap, and could to some extent be viable as a wireless networking standard. At the Intel Developer Forum a couple of weeks back Intel positioned Bluetooth networking as an in-room system, as a low traffic system for between rooms, and as a way to connect wirelessly to data access points. Intel sees HomeRF and 802.11 as providing higher bandwidth local connectivity, and cellular/W-CDMA (i.e. UMTS 3G, right now) as dealing with roaming access. HiperLAN at least partially kicks over this little apple-cart. Its proponents agree that Bluetooth will be used for data access port connectivity (so it's likely to be the local connector for HiperLAN networks), but the "personal area coverage" tag really positions it as a cable substitute, and a way to allow all of your different personal electronic devices to talk to one another. The piconet aspect of Bluetooth, where multiple Bluetooth devices form mini networks on the fly whenever they're in the range, takes it a little further out there, but if the HiperLAN proponents get their way, probably not much further. The way they see HiperLAN networks operating is intriguing, and gives you an idea of why they're keener on networking this way than via Bluetooth. It uses the 5GHz band, which is unlicensed like the 2.4GHz one, but which doesn't as yet have any competition in it, so there will be no squabbling between standards, as will happen at 2.4GHz between Bluetooth, HomeRF and 802.11. Unless of course the US FCC spots a bit of Euro-imperialism and mounts a counter-strike. Office set-ups will be pretty much like 802.11 wireless networking, but interoperability with 3G cellular will mean that HiperLAN users will be able to move seamlessly between local networks (range 30-200 metres) and 3G networks. So you'll get HiperLAN access systems set up in airports, hotels and other public places, and the wireless network operators will be able to charge separately for access. This has the dual effect of giving the operators another way to make money out of you, and helping boost the perceived speed of 3G when it first comes out. UMTS, the European flavour of 3G, is intended to handle 2Mbit/s, or 384kbit/s on the move, but actual throughput will depend on the amount of equipment in position and the number of users. But will HiperLAN fly? HiperLAN 1 (we wondered when you'd ask about that) didn't because of lack of support. In Europe GPRS (General Packet Radio System) will be working in conjunction with GSM soon, and will quite probably turn out to be perfectly adequate during the early stages of the UMTS rollout. The first HiperLAN products won't be out until 2002, which gives GPRS quite a start, and also leaves plenty of space for the oodles of other wireless networking standards to gain market momentum, particularly as HiperLAN will be business first. More ominously they profess not to have a clue about how much devices will cost, apart from being competitive with networking adapters. Bluetooth has its price falls rigorously roadmapped (although some folks don't believe the numbers). And then of course there's the ominous lack of networking heavy-hitters like Cisco, 3Com and, yes, Intel in the front rank of HiperLAN. Nokia and Ericsson may still be able to leverage their wireless partnerships to get HiperLAN deployed, but they could find they've over-reached themselves this time. ®
John Lettice, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

HP UK squeezes Sun in workstation market

Market research firm Dataquest issued figures today showing that Hewlett Packard is maintaining its shipment lead in the UK workstation market. According to Dataquest, in Q2, HP has a market share of 26 per cent, the second consecutive quarter it has reached this position. The workstations include Unix, NT and Linux boxes in the Visualize range. At the same time, HP continued to squeeze Sun by introducing an upgrade rebate scheme, with trade-ins of existing products to its own Visualize kit. ®
Mike Magee, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

E-envoy's home page has skeleton in closet

As of yesterday Britain has a full-time Internet ambassador -- Alex Allan -- whose chief claim to fame is that he's a senior civil servant -- currently British High Commissioner to Australia until starting his new post. Yawn. Just what the industry needs: another faceless official. Or maybe not. Allan it turns out is something of self-taught closet geek. Following a lengthy worldwide investigation, The Register has found the e-envoy's own Web site... a homage to the cult band the Grateful Dead. Well, nobody said trendiness was a requirement of the job. The site, a searchable database of Grateful Dead lyrics, helps ask important questions like: "Which Dead songs have references to the sun or the moon?" and "Which song does dressed myself in green come from?" Modesty allows the Web master a few words to describe himself as a "Deadhead" who has "had a succession of busy day jobs." He adds: "I am now British High Commissioner (Ambassador) to Australia, and took up my post in November 1997." We also learn that Blair's famous university rock group, Ugly Rumours, "was named Ugly Rumours after the cover of Mars Hotel" (presumably a Dead album) although the PM himself is not a fan. About as useful as a government e envoy to the e-commerce industry you might think. Except that at least it shows a man who can build a Web site with few CGI scripts chucked in beating your average executive hands down (although the grey design could do with a bit of sprucing up on the colour stakes -- unless of course that's the point). A civil servant who actually knows something about computers... Sir Humphrey, whatever will they think of next? ®
Dan Sabbagh, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

LinuxPPC releases Q3 upgrade

LinuxPPC has released the latest version of its same-name implementation of the open source operating system for PowerPC-based machines. LinuxPPC 1999 Q3 consolidates many of the numerous changes made to the PowerPC Linux kernel since LinuxPPC 1999 was released back in July. In addition to the modifications made to the Linux kernel in general, LinuxPPC 1999 Q3's version of it adds support for the ATI Rage 128 video card built into blue'n'white Power Mac G3s, and offers improved sound and video support for both the G3 and the iMac. The distribution also contains a special kernel for Apple's latest PowerBook G3. LinuxPPC didn't say whether its version of Linux will run on Apple's recently released Power Mac G4 -- as the machine has only just begun to ship, it's possibly too early to say what modifications will need to be made to the LinuxPPC kernel. However, upgrade card vendor PowerLogix separately said it will bundle LinuxPPC 1999 with its PowerPC 7400 (aka G4) upgrade cards, so the software should at least run on older Macs equipped with the new CPU. The Q3 update also features an x86 emulator from Bochs, and the latest versions of the Gnome GUI, the gnu C compiler (2.95.1-0a) and the glibc library (2.1.2-4a). The distribution ships on two CDs -- one for binaries, the other containing all the source code -- for $32. Existing LinuxPPC users can upgrade for $20. ®
Tony Smith, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Linux could pip other OSes to Merced post

It was no coincidence that Intel showed off Linux Apache running on Merced at its recent Developer Forum, although Microsoft managed to squeeze in with a demo which, unfortunately, ended up with an error message. Information we received just before IDF suggested that teams of engineers were working flat out to make Win64 run on Intel silicon, while Linux was performing as sweet as a nut. It was, let's be fair, quite an achievement for Intel to get an OS booting on two week old silicon at all, but it does suggest that Linux is more 64-bit ready than any of the other contenders in the race. Yesterday, senior IBM executives said that it was likely that in the "next couple of weeks" engineers could boot Monterey-AIX on Intel silicon at the chip giant's Dupont plant. HP, too, is talking about being able to do the same in a matter of weeks, although it would be reasonable to suppose that this company, which partnered Intel closely in IA-64 development, would be first past the post. Sun, with its Solaris operating system, may have already booted on Merced, according to the latest reports. At the spring Intel Developer Forum, we revealed that Linus Torvalds has been in discussions with Intel for quite some time, and this, plus support from some other important players, suggests that Linux is, indeed, ahead of the game. Insiders tell The Register that Linux is doing qell because HP engineers started to port the Linux kernel from day one. Again, debugging of Linux is said to be both fast and parallel, because of the large number of people involved. Linux 64 for Merced will run 32-bit binaries and this is expected to fill in the gaps for software applications which are not quite ready at launch. And when will launch be? Intel has now said it will be in the second half of next year. In between then and now, the other OSs, including Win64, will go through a series of changes, while the big application vendors, including Oracle, SAP and the rest, continue to revise and tweak their code. ®
Mike Magee, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel, UUnet team up in channel program

In a move intended to help sell its Express Routers and its Inbusiness Internet station, Intel announced a joint move with provider UUnet targeted at small and medium size firms. Under the deal, both companies will offer commission and sales incentives to resellers who manage to sell the combined services of the companies. Sales staff at resellers will receive up to $3,000 when they sell UUnet Internet services combined with the Intel products. Resellers will also be able to buy Intel products on an ad hoc basis from distributors, rather than holding stock. Intel was unable to say which territories other than the US the deal will apply to. ®
Mike Magee, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Pentium II dead as dodo as famine strikes Intel chip parts

Intel has told its distributors and dealers that there is limited availability on some of its range of server and desktop microprocessors. The parts affected are the 500MHz Pentium III, but the famine is at its worst on the soon-to-be killed Pentium II family. There are shortages on both the 400MHz SECC2 and the 400MHz SECC chips, as well as the 350MHz Pentium II, which we have reported earlier. Intel told its customers about the shortages at the end of last week. In reality, this is part of a cunning Intel marchitectural plan to pull the plug on the old lamps as it introduces faster and initially far more expensive new lamps. The Pentium II is just about dead. That can be gleaned from further information provided to Intel customers on products it is discontinuing. Those are the Pentium II/333, the 300, the 450 Xeons, the 400 Xeons, and a long list of defunct Celerons including the 333, the 300A, the 300 and the 266. Intel's move to the Pentium III is one of the fastest shifts the company has made in its brief history. ®
Mike Magee, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

AMD ships Athlon 700s in volume

An OEM close to AMD's plans has told The Register that it has started to receive supplies of the Athlon 700MHz microprocessor in volume. That means that AMD has exceeded its target in ramping up the processor frequency of the Athlon K7, and means machines are likely to be available in a matter of weeks. The German OEM, who declined to be named, said that he had already received sufficient stock of Athlon 700s to start building machines. Further volume stocks are on their way to him, he confirmed. Those reports are strengthened by specialist Web site AMD Zone which is reporting that adverts using the Athlon 700 are already in print. According to the site, the October issue of Computer Shopper is carrying an advert by a firm called Cybermax, which is selling a 700MHz Athlon system with a 21-inch monitor for just under $3,000. At launch, in summer, AMD vowed it would introduce ramped up Athlons throughout the whole of this year. Intel has adjusted its marketing plans to bring faster processors at a cheaper price since the Athlon first emerged from its non-disclosure agreement. ®
Mike Magee, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

0800 (weekend only), PC supplied – how much?

PC manufacturer Fujitsu has jumped into bed with BT to provide punters with an "everything you need" Internet package for just 90p a day. The offer includes a Fujitsu PC delivered and installed at the customer's home plus subscription to BT Internet and unlimited 0800 Internet access at weekends. The Fujitsu multimedia PC on offer is fitted with an Intel Celeron 400 MHz Processor, 64 MB SDRAM, 4.3 GB hard drive, 40x speed CD-ROM and comes with a 15-inch digital colour monitor. The cost of the BT Internet PC offer has been set at £25.99 (inc VAT) a month -- or £935.64 (inc VAT) over three years. Punters feeling flush and who are prepared to pay up front can have the same package for £751.50 (inc VAT). John Swingewood, director, BT Internet & Multimedia Services, said: "Our research shows that the main barriers for people wanting to get onto the Internet are choosing a PC, configuration, navigation and call charges. "This package addresses all of those concerns for less than 90 pence a day," he said. ® Tune into Cash Register and turn on to our daily Net Finance News
Tim Richardson, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

08004u back in public view

Flat-fee ISP 08004u appears to be back on its feet again after falling over less than 24 hours after the service opened its Web site for business. But it seems the problems that have plagued 08004u in the first four days of its life haven't all gone away. Although additional servers are being roped in to handle the demand the site is still prone to drop dead in its tracks and collapse in a heap on the ground every 30 minutes or so. "We're getting too many hits," admitted David Banks, MD of 08004u. We're getting around 37,000 hits a second which are causing the site to crash, he said . "I'm really embarrassed by it but there's nothing I could do," said Banks. Despite the teething troubles more than 2,500 people have requested details to subscribe to the service since it was launched last Thursday. Many of the people who have contacted The Register over the last couple of days displayed a genuine interest in a service that could halve the cost of their Net connection each month. However, many of them were dismayed that they couldn't even access the 08004u site to find out more information. 08004u is offering Net users round-the-clock 0800 access to the Net for £49.99 a month. Tune into Cash Register and turn on to our daily Net Finance News
Tim Richardson, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

JDE to announce new version of OneWorld

JD Edwards will announce next Tuesday the new version of its OneWorld product, for delivery in October. JDE's angle is to make it easier for non-technical staff to change the business processes and develop self-service applications. If it turns out that as a result, ERP is at least somewhat freed from the tyranny of having to employ grossly expensive consultants to tinker with a system any time a small change is needed, this will indeed be welcome. Doug Massingill, CEO of JD Edwards, discussed the resumption of market demand in the ERP sector at the IDC European IT Forum in Paris today, but found it difficult to be precise about the timing. Estimates vary from Q4 this year to Q4 next year. Once this happens, annual growth is expected to be at a more modest 20 to 30 per cent level. The company decided not to reduce staff after the setbacks in recent quarters that have resulted in losses of $39 million in the first three quarters, and the probability of a loss for the financial year. Revenue did increase in the first three quarters to $687 million, putting JDE in line to break the billion dollar barrier next year - providing the fickle market recovers. Massingill told The Register that overall expenditure - mostly people and R&D - was increasing, although discretionary expenditure was being held back as much as possible. He noted that JDE had been through the pain and suffering of re-engineering its product line and felt it was in a better position than SAP to respond to change, particularly as SAP had added Internet applications in front of R/3, rather than to architect them in. Oracle was a tough competitor for JDE, Massingill said, particularly in 1999 e-business, when it had proved to be strong and aggressive, gaining market share against SAP. JDE was selling directly to the middle market (which he defined as organisations or divisions with a revenue of $150 million to $2 billion. Below $10 million, JDE used resellers, and at the high end the company mostly worked with the big five bean counters. ®
Graham Lea, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Jet-setting keynoting CEOs are crap

Tales from IT executives about the perils of travel, missing aeroplanes and getting stuck in the traffic are just not interesting. The audience at the IDC European IT Forum in Paris this week gave low marks to speakers who bored the audience in this way, according to an unscientific poll conducted by The Register in the bar area hub. Richard Brown, Chairman and CEO of EDS, arrived exhausted, ill-prepared, and with a poor speech presumably written by some PR person, but he could hardly see it on the prompter anyway. His contribution added to the negative impression that EDS has created in Europe from its business activities. Karen Slatford, a Brit who heads up HP's worldwide sales, mixed a tale of travel woe and clothes she had been wearing for three days with a sales pitch and a video that didn't appear. Bernard Vergnes, Microsoft's European chairman, had difficulty working his laptop during his canned presentation. Other IT executives appeared to have learnt a little about how to use the Internet from their children or even grandchildren. The time has come for IT execs to do a better job of managing their time, and to ration themselves a little more. Some, especially if they started life as accountants, demonstrate their inadequate technical ability. It is also absurd that the execs often have two or three titles - typically CEO, President and Chairman - and do at best a modest job in each capacity. There's a need for more people at the top. ®
Graham Lea, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Auction Site Pulls Prostitute Listing

We enjoyed this headline culled from today's Newsbytes so much that that we ran it through The Register's very own BabelFish engine. And this is how it turned out. Sothebys has sex for the first time with leaning prostitute. Translators' notes: Auction site we assume this a noun, not an imperative. Pull is English, English slang for having sex with someone for the first time, as in did you see the beautiful bird he pulled. Listing means leaning dangerously. And if you're interested, the Auction site story revolves around a Thai tart selling her services on an Indian web site. ®
The Register breaking news

Good news, and bad for Scottish Natsemi fab

Chip company National Semiconductor said today it will hang onto its fab in Greenock, Scotland. That's due to a surge in demand for analogue parts, the company said. It had intended to sell the fab, which is located in a former shipbuilding area of Scotland. The bad news, however, is it will close its four inch wafer fab at Greenock, and transfer its production to another, unnamed six inch fab. The company did not say how many employees would be affected. ®
Mike Magee, 14 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel, PC giants announce network security plans

Intel is announcing what it claims is an end-to-end security network solution, in conjunction with IBM, Compaq, Microsoft and Entrust. The announcement, at Network+Interop in humid Atlanta, includes IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) products for PCs and servers, optimised for MS Win2000. Compaq and IBM will also include this technology in their products, with the aim of keeping corporate networks safe. The aim is to prevent access by individuals able to monitor Lan traffic. Intel claims that firewalls are not safe enough. Part of the protection will be chipsets from Intel which include the 82594ED network encryption processor. This will be built into adaptors and other devices during the course of this year. The device is intended to thwart crime within rather than without a corporate firewall. ®
Mike Magee, 14 Sep 1999