21st > September > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

AMD mobiles outsmoke Intel

The mobile chip race is turning into a two-horse race with AMD completing its re-invention from also-ran to strong contender. With its latest mobile CPUs, AMD is running ahead in the MHz race, outclocking Intel’s fastest equivalents. AMD is stepping out six new mobile CPUs, three apiece for the Mobile K6-III-P and K6-2-P lines. For the K6-111-P line, clock speeds come in at a useful 400MHz, 433MHz and 450MHz, compared with 400MHz for Intel’s fastest mobile Pentium -- the 400MHz Pentium II. It’s a tighter squeeze on the K6-2-P front, but AMD still shades the MHz race with its 433MHz, 450MHz and 475MHz contenders. Its top model edges ahead of Intel’s fastest mobile, the 466MHz Celery (which launched only last week). In OEM quantities of 1,000, the new K6 –111-Ps line up at $246, $283 and $320. The K6-2-Ps cost $159, $189 and $209. All the new AMD mobiles incorporate a 100MHz-frontside bus and 3DNow!. ®
Drew Cullen, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Motorola mulls over AMD Dresden stake

What do Motorola and AMD have in common? Neither can make chips quickly enough to satisfy demand. What’s the difference between Motorola and AMD? In essence it boils down to one thing – money. Motorola has heaps of the stuff, while AMD has very shallow pockets indeed. But now seems likely that Motorola is going to help out AMD, by taking a stake in its Dresden, Germany fab. By selling 50 per cent of Dresden, AMD could net up to $1 billion. AMD licenses Motorola's 0.18 micron process with copper connects, so it would be relatively easy for Motorola to take up production at the plant. Does this mean AMD Dresden will be pumping out G4s sometime next year? Motorola certainly needs some new production capacity and quick -- yesterday, Apple revealed its Q4 results would suffer because of Motorola’s inability to ramp up G4 CPU production. Dresden represents AMD’s leap into the manufacturing big-time league. It also represents a huge financial millstone, and this will continue to weigh heavily on the company in the near-term, certainly until volume Athlon production kicks off in February next year. The company has searched for a fab partner for months (which may be where those curious Siemens AMD takeover rumours sprang from last week). We’re rooting for its negotiations with Motorola to succeed. AMD needs the money, and The Register needs a strong, healthy underdog to tease (currently it’s too damn easy, and AMD get’s too damn cross). ® Closely related story AMD needs cash for the Dresden money pit
Drew Cullen, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Massive quake hits Taiwan

Taiwan has been rocked by the biggest earthquake to hit the island in more than century. More than 1,400 people have been killed, around 4,000 are injured many thousands of others are trapped in collapsed buildings. The quake is understood to have registered an initial reading of as much as 7.6 on the Richter scale -- putting it in the same league as the earthquake that devastated Turkey last month. Last nigh, the capital, Taipei, was understood to be in blackout, while in the central areas of Nantou and Taichung, close to the epicentre and 90 miles south west of Taipei, soldiers and rescue workers raced to dig survivors from the rubble. But there was some encouraging early news from TSMC, the giant Taiwanese chip foundry. The company's "buildings, HVAC systems, water distribution and power distribution systems successfully withstood the effects of [the] earthquake that shook the Hsin Chu Taiwan area early Tuesday morning," the company said. Many workers had made it into work, TSMC added. But its plants are operating only on stand-by power. Full restoration of power will be necessary, to assess the damage, it said. Taiwan is one of the world's great IT manufacturing centres -- and it is a hugely important source for PC components. The earthquake will disrupt production and this could lead to shortages and price rises in the PC industry's all-important run-up to Christmas. Don't forget that a black-out in Taiwan in July saw DRAM production fall two per cent worldwide that month, which in turn fuelled price rises in the memory market. And this is much, much worse. ® See also Korean stocks soar on Taiwan disaster Earthquake costs Taiwan semicon industry $300m
Sean Fleming, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Datrontech to shrink further in wake of poor results

Datrontech Group released "very disappointing" half-year results yesterday, but chief executive Mark Mulford denied he was about to resign his position. The distributor that further cuts were inevitable as it posted pre-tax losses, before exceptional items, of £700,000 for the six months ended 5 July 1999. Total losses on ordinary activities before tax were put at £3.4 million compared to last year's profit of £2.6 million. Sales slid to £113 million from £134 million. It also said it was shutting its Eastern European companies, with the expectation of PC Direct in Poland, following trading losses of £922,000 in the region. Datrontech said UK business had been mixed – Summit's trading was described as unsatisfactory, trading at a loss in the first few months of 1999. Staff cutbacks and a re-jig of the company cost around £1.7 million, which were included in the group's exceptional items. The group made a loss of £1.2 million when it sold PC recycling subsidiary RD Trading to Computacenter. But this included a write-back of goodwill of £2.6 million, the company said. Datrontech said it had decided on "a further reduction in the scale of the group's activities" but would not elaborate on the nature of this reduction. It added that its bankers agreed with the strategy and would continue their full support. There were a number of high level staff changes included in the announcements. The group's finance director, Philip Congdon, quit his post, but will stay on to hand over to his successor, David Holloway. And Mark Davison, who left Datrontech in January, has rejoined as general manager of Summit. Datrontech CEO Mark Mulford said there was still a long way to go with the company's reorganisation. "It's been a long, hard journey, with a bit longer to go yet. But we're on the right track," said Mulford. He added that he expected the process of restructuring the company to be finished next year. "Our core businesses – those in the UK – are still profitable. And we're not going to go out and buy any more companies, we'll make what we've got work," he said. He said he was pleased with the cash flow and performance of liquidity of the group. Responding to recent speculation that he was about to resign, Mulford said: "I'm not leaving. At least, not in any voluntary fashion, anyway." ®
Linda Harrison, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

MS unveils developer kits for Digital Dashboards

Microsoft is pushing development of products based on its Digital Dashboard Initiative with the launch of three tool kits, available for download free for licensed users. Digital Dashboard was announced as part of Bill Gates' latest knowledge workers without limits 'vision' back in May, but as subsequent events have shown, it has rather more substance than usual. None of the trickier stuff (e.g. speech) that Bill associated with the vision is yet available, nor do we expect much of it to be in the foreseeable future, but the significant point here is that Microsoft is going for implementations that are shippable now, and when the company does that, it's worth paying attention. There are three kits available, Digital Dashboard Starter Kit, Outlook 2000 Team Folder Wizard, and Team Productivity Update for BackOffice Server 4.5. Microsoft's intention here is, as it says, to jump-start Digital Dashboard development, and for outfits already using Microsoft BackOffice products the move should certainly have that effect. The kits for the 'business end' of the deal (i.e. Outlook) have enough in the way of samples and wizards to allow developers to put together convincing desktop information centres for their customers fairly quickly. Microsoft's announcement also makes the extent to which Outlook is viewed as a strategic product pretty clear. The company itself describes Office 2000 and BackOffice Server as core products, but Outlook/Dashboard's status as the client end of the whole collaboration strategy, which itself is posed to XML its way across the Web, is obvious. The next stage is to get those nice Dashboards onto other client platforms, and then start folding in remote app capabilities. ®
John Lettice, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Seagate boxes clever with new packaging

Seagate has developed new packaging technology for its hard drives that would make a cardboard-box blush with inadequacy. Seagate claims that the SeaShell 3D Defence System - which shields the drive from electrostatic discharge during installation - can also withstand 1000 Gs of shock. The whole system is designed to reduce the number of damaged drives that need returning. As well as the shock and ESD protection, the SeaShell, a thermoformed, shock-ribbed, translucent package, comes with a diagnostic toolbox allowing users to monitor performance after installation. Seagate estimates that damage from handling accounts for nearly half of all returns. Tests show that the SeaShell can reduce the shock from a 12-in drop by a factor of 10. The company claims to be the only one providing this kind of solution at the moment. Ralph McLaughlin, Seagate senior vice president in Storage products commented: "No other company in the industry is offering a solution like SeaShell, but due to the positive response our customers have provided, we expect other disc drive suppliers will adopt our solution or something similar." The new packaging will be further assistance to Seagate as it attempts to distance itself from the dead chicken nickname earned by its Medalist drives. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

S3 Savages Packard Bell-NEC PCs

S3 has won a deal to supply Packard Bell-NEC Europe with its Savage4 accelerator. S3's graphics accelerator will power Packard Bell's new range of consumer Spirit PCs, according to Business Wire. The US manufacturer's Spirit line of computers is due to start shipping this month and will use the Pentium III chip along with the Savage4. Pascal Cagni, Packard Bell-NEC Europe vice president, said Savage4 offered excellent 3D and digital video performance at a good price point. "We look forward to continuing our relationship with S3 and expect great things of their forthcoming Savage2000 accelerator," he said. Michael Buchanan, S3 director of desktop marketing, said the deal would increase S3's business in Europe. "We are extremely pleased to be engaged with Packard Bell-NEC worldwide and we expect this relationship to generate a significant share of S3's 1999 revenue," said Buchanan. Savage4 is already used by companies including Compaq, IBM, NEC and Micron Electronics. ®
Linda Harrison, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Freeserve shares drop below offer price

Despite being massively over-subscribed when it floated in July, Freeserve's shares fell yesterday below their offer price. From a starting point of 150p in July, Freeserve soared to the dizzy heights of 244p in early August, but at one point yesterday dropped to 135p. While some pundits are heralding this as the beginning of …
Sean Fleming, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Lotus dishes out redundancy notices

Lotus is scrapping three support centres in Staines, Paris and Munich, consolidating the operations into one site in Dublin Up to 170 jobs could go in the reorganisation, with 100 redundancies planned for Paris and Munich, while 70 customer support reps in Staines, are being offered relocation packages to Dublin. The rationalisation springs into action early next year.®
Team Register, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Dane-Elec goes for gold

Dane-Elec has become the first memory module vendor to net a place on Intel's new Gold certification programme. CMTL (Computer Memory Test Labs), the outfit responsible for testing companies for the scheme, said Dane-Elec had the dependability and size to qualify. The Gold programme is a step ahead of Intel's Advanced Memory Module Qualification Programme. It aims to ensure Intel customers always have qualified memory modules available, whatever Intel product they buy. To get a place on the programme, manufacturers must ship at least 250,000 Intel-qualified modules per month and build in-house, as well as being ISO 9000 compliant. John Deters, CMTL president, said: "There is only a handful of memory module vendors in the industry with the ability to qualify, and even less with the resources to participate in this program. Dane-Elec has both." ®
Linda Harrison, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Micron 1 decks Rambus, Micron 2 chins Taiwanese government

Micron Electronics, the US PC manufacturer, has spurned Rambus-ready chipset by Intel in favour of VIA Technologies, as well as hitting back at the Taiwanese government over dumping allegations. The vendor will use VIA's VT82C694X chipset in its next generation computer platform, saving between $200 and $300 on the price of systems, according to PC World News. Micron will still use Pentium III chips, but the chipset will come from Taiwanese VIA, thus Micron has decided against using the upcoming Intel i820 chipset with Rambus DRAM memory. Micron said the high cost of RDRAM did not yet equal its performance gains. Meanwhile its associate company Micron Technology (the memory maker) also hit back at allegations from Taiwan that it dumped DRAM product on the island and hurt its economy. The company denied any memory dumping, saying the saga was a case of tit-for-tat over Micron complaining about other vendors' dumping. It went on to accuse the Taiwanese government of sloppily following procedures. And added it would not take such action lying down. A remark which might strike some as unfortunate, given the devastation caused in Taiwan by yesterday's earthquake. "There is no basis for this antidumping case," said Steve Appleton, Micron chairman, CEO and president. "Micron is acknowledged to be the lowest cost DRAM producer in the world. Yet Micron is charged with a much higher margin than any other US producer. "This is clearly a case of retaliation against Micron for filing the US antidumping case against Taiwanese DRAM manufacturers." Appleton said the duties being levied by the Taiwanese government were based on speculation. "Furthermore, these actions are not in compliance with worldwide standards regarding antidumping procedures as outlined by the World Trade Organisation," he said. "We intend to contest this action both with the government of Taiwan and with the WTO." Taiwan has more DRAM manufacturers than in the rest of the world combined, according to Appleton, although it only contributes between five and 12 per cent of the world's DRAM. "No impartial proceeding would have found Micron to be dumping product in a market that has been so aggressive in adding capacity," he argued. According to Micron Technology, the vendor has yet to receive official notification of the dumping allegations, although Taiwanese officials have reportedly already been blabbing to the Taiwanese press. ®
Linda Harrison, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Apple issues shock profit warning

After pulling off one the all-time great comebacks, Apple has issued an unexpected profit warning. The problem is due - the company says - to a shortage of G4 processors from Motorola. The G4 is the super-chip that will power Apple's next generation of PowerMacs and iMacs. In fact the company is claiming to have taken 150,000 advanced orders for G4-based machine already. Motorola manufactures the chips for Apple and this delay in shipping the G4 will hurt the Mac makers sales. According to news wire reports, Motorola said the demand for the G4 Macs had taken everyone by surprise. It said it would up production of G4 chips in a short period of time, but didn't specify how short this period was likely to be. Some customers are inevitably going to be left waiting to take delivery of their G4 Macs but, again, no indication was given as to how lengthy such delays might be. ®
Sean Fleming, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Pentium III 600 overclocks as standard

Amidst the invective and praise heaped on my shoulders following last week's overclocking story, some interesting snippets emerged. Several readers claimed that Intel itself, while corporately standing on a chair screaming its lungs out at the very mention of overclocking, resorts to upping core voltages to achieve reliable performance of the current top-end desktop chip, the PIII 600. A quick trip to the Chipzilla website revealed that they were indeed speaking the truth. The latest SL3JT 600MHz P3 shares the same stepping, core stepping and tagRAM stepping as the original SL35E 500MHz chip introduced at the beginning of the year. The only difference is an increase in clock multiplier from 5X to 6X and core voltage from 2.0V to 2.05V. Such a voltage increase is common practice amongst overclockers striving to get maximum performance from a CPU and is needed to achieve reliable operation at higher than designed clock speeds. This would seem to indicate that the venerable Deschutes core is very close indeed -- if not already beyond -- its designed performance level. It is indeed lucky that Intel has Coppermine is lurking just around the corner... ®: Register factoid: The core voltage of Slot 1 processors is automatically selected by motherboards by means of five of the connections on the cartridge. When all five are connected to earth the voltage is switched to 2.05V. A handy chart provided on the Intel website shows the required combinations to increase core voltage to 3.5V -- please don't try this at home... Related stories Overclocking -- just say no Overclocking -- just say yes/no/maybe
Pete Sherriff, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Earthquake costs Taiwan semicon industry $300m

After a massive earthquake hit Taiwan, major electronics manufacturers in the Hsinchu science park were struggling to cope with a continuing power outage Tuesday evening, but said production facilities did not appear to have suffered serious damage. "It's a kind of nightmare for us," said Winbond Electronics assistant vice president, Hander Chang, "just like most companies here we are waiting for power." "We don’t know when power will be restored," Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) spokesman, Tzeng Jin Haw said. Without power, Mr. Tzeng said, it was difficult to assess damage or losses. Highly speculative local media reports estimated losses in the Hsinchu Science-Based Industrial Park at between US$150 and US$300 million. Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, Hsinchu’s largest income generator, is predicted to make roughly US$10 billion in revenues this year -- an average of US$27.4 million per day. Although TSMC has been in contact with Taipower officials in Hsinchu, Cheng explained, the state power monopoly had been unable say when it would resume service to the science park. An executive at one semiconductor manufacturer, speaking at around 8 pm, was harshly critical of Taipower's performance. "I just spoke to them, they were unable to give me a clear schedule [for power restoration]. Although this was an unpredictable event, they need to have a contingency plan; there are many earthquakes in Taiwan. They don’t have good staff or good planning...to help their customers." Winbond's Chang said he believed some companies in thepark were running on emergency battery power only, and could not do so indefinitely. Winbond is using generators to keep chip production equipment in a stable condition. Without backup power, unfinished chips would be ruined, and equipment could take considerable time to restart. In view of the problems in Hsinchu, a shortage of chips and other components was the biggest worry for Jeff Lin, marketing manager at Taipei-based motherboard maker, Epox, "I guess for one or two weeks, there’ll be no problem, but maybe in a month, there will be a shortage of components." The fledgling science park in Tainan was less seriously affected. "We’ve been very lucky," said Jeff Shi, Vice President for sales, marketing and procurement at LCD maker Chi Mei Optoelectronics. "Nothing seems to be seriously damaged," he continued, "other than a few pumps..., and we do not have a power outage either." Shi did not expect problems with component supply, because most of Chi Mei’s suppliers are based in Japan. ® See also Korean stocks soar on Taiwan disaster Massive quake hits Taiwan DRAM price hikes to propel Samsung profit past $2bn
Simon Burns, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Korean stocks soar on Taiwan disaster

Shares in Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest DRAM chipmaker, jumped 10 per cent today on the back of the Taiwan earthquake. Other Korean chipmakers and chemical companies which compete directly with Taiwanese counterparts, also gained on the news. "It's a terrible thing to say but what is a disaster for Taiwan is good for our chipmakers, our chemical firms and our stock market, a Korean broker told London paper The Standard. Sentimentality has little place in a stock market, but really... Only last week, Samsung revealed that it made $300 million in additional gross profits every time the DRAM price went up a dollar. DRAM prices could go up considerably higher, following the Taiwan earthquake. Although the island's chipmakers, which account for 12 per cent of the world's DRAM production escaped relatively unscathed, it will be days before production can switch back to anything like normal. First the power has to go back on and second, all the semiconductor equipment in the plants has to be re-aligned before it can be put back into use. ® Related stories Earthquake costs Taiwan semicon industry $300m Massive quake hits Taiwan DRAM price hikes to propel Samsung profit past $2bn
Drew Cullen, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Java-based car brings new meaning to the word automatic

Motorola, IBM, Embedded Planet and QNX have teamed up to develop MobileGT architecture, designed for in-car information systems. What this means is that we will shortly find ourselves in some very Star Trek-like situations. Soon you will be informed by your car on the way to the airport that the bad traffic you could have avoided when it told you about it doesn't matter, because your flight has been delayed )are you following this?). But it can suggest a nearby petrol station, since your tank is in the red. And that business contact whose number is in your Palm Pilot? That data was synchronised with your car's database, and the number can be dialled with a word. The system is based on an open, Java-centric architecture so that it is scalable, allowing manufacturers to customise applications to suit any market. It can address a wide range of applications, from on-board navigation systems, speech recognition systems, wireless technologies like Bluetooth and so on. Getting online while you drive may sound ridiculous, but no-one intends that users surf the Web while hurtling down the M4: the Internet can simply be used to send information to a user. "The business objective is to develop driver information systems for less than three per cent of the cost of the vehicle," said the suitably named Dan Dodge, chief technology officer at QNX. This is the critical price point that the quartet of companies believe will push this technology into the realm of the consumer. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Media Y2k frenzy may trash economy – Greenspan

Media exploitation of the Y2K rollover will determine its disruptive power upon the finely-tuned American economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told reporters last week. The Chairman reckons America's businesses and financial institutions are well enough prepared for the rollover, but "we have not yet reached the period of extra-heavy focus by the media," he observed, noting that it "is too compelling a story for audiences that thrive on countdowns to the unknown." The famously cryptic Greenspan spoke unequivocally on the need to debunk an inevitable onslaught of media pandering to Y2K paranoiacs: "As the tension heightens, and rumours inevitably mushroom, it is important [that] what is known and what is not known be clearly articulated by those of us in both public and private leadership positions in Y2K management," he declared. We haven't heard him talk this clearly in years. Greenspan likened corporate Y2K preparations to an insurance policy against uncertainty. The more uncertainty that develops, the more heavily businesses must draw against it. Thus, "accurate, credible, timely information on the general state of readiness will be essential...in the months ahead," he noted. A bit thick, perhaps, coming from a man who normally communicates in riddles, but true enough. Greenspan stayed neatly on message throughout his speech. One of his chief concerns is America's inventory pipeline, a delicate and immensely complex system in a country where 'just-in-time delivery' is a standard practice for cutting costs. American manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers generally carry no more than a few days' worth of inventory. Under that kind of pressure to perform and deliver, transportation, communications, and data storage infrastructures have got to operate flawlessly. If most companies believe themeslves to be prepared, few are showing equal confidence in their peers, and American inventories are expanding in anticipation of Y2K delivery problems. "The evidence of precautionary inventory hedging to date is mixed," Greenspan allowed, but he warned that holding "even a few extra days of inventories" could lead to a very large increase in stock orders, manufacturing production and imports. "Bottlenecks could develop, and market pressure could ensue," he concluded. Things look better in the financial sector. Borrowers and lenders are beginning to increase liquid assets and reduce their reliance on credit markets in Q4. "This is reflected in a noticable rise in deposit and commercial paper rates for funding that would be outstanding over the year's end," Greenspan said. "Many corporate treasurers have moved forward their debt offerings to avoid any chance of a dearth of credit availablity in the fourth quarter or of difficulties in funding short-term liabilities." But the "most important piece in the Y2K puzzle" will be consumer responses to Y2K terror, Greenspan reckons. To address the uncertainty, the Federal Reserve will increase the availability of currency towards year's end to cover excessive bank withdrawals. "I trust that such withdrawals will be modest, since, as I have said before, the safest thing for consumers to do with their money around year end is to leave it where it is," he chirped. "Those who cash out a significant part of their deposits only increase the risk that they will become victims of crime or fraud," he warned. And the risk that stock and bond markets will be ludicrously devalued by a sudden, hysterical sell-off, we can't help adding. ®
Thomas C Greene, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

Taiwan quake sees DRAM prices rise

Memory prices went up by more than five per cent last night as news of the Taiwan earthquake broke. The price hikes have been labelled by some as callous profiting in the wake of human suffering, while others point to market uncertainties as the cause of the increase. Initial feedback on the impact of yesterday's earthquake on the Taiwanese IT industry suggests that the sector will suffer little more than a minor set-back. Alan Stanley, general manager of memory distributor Dane-Elec, played down the damage done by the quake. "I don't think it will do a lot of harm in the final analysis; we're talking about a three or four day delay in the DRAM market. I've spoken to most of the manufacturers out there and they all seem to be OK." Concern among the UK channel today was centred around the way in which the market will react to a set of perceived problems. A representative of Carrera said it was too early to say what would happen, but confirmed that memory prices went up by about five per cent over night. He said he expected prices to go up further and for there to be memory shortages as a result of the earthquake, but largely because people have been panic buying and not because of any genuine problems in the supply chain. "People don't know what to do - do you hold off or do you buy? In the past, any natural disaster in the Far East has always put prices up," he said. He said a lot of the price activity was the result of scaremongering - which is what everyone seems to be afraid of. Dabs Direct confirmed that it had increased the prices of its memory modules this morning. The company's general manager, Dave Atherton, said it was playing the DRAM futures market and that this was common practice for most companies dealing in memory. Big name companies with operations in both the UK and Taiwan were generally unharmed. Systems builder Tiny has outlets in Taiwan, as well as in Hong Kong and in mainland China. Sources close to the company's affairs send the Tiny stores in Taiwan were thought to be undamaged. Acer issued a statement late this afternoon confirming that while some of its facilities on the island had been damaged, this damage was fairly minor and only took a few hours to remedy. And Intel's Taiwan office was open today, according to an Intel representative. Some concerns had been raised that the Taiwanese motherboard industry would be harder hit than the DRAM market. Luke Ireland, a director of Evesham Micros, said he had information to the contrary. He said that he had been told that most major roads and modern factories were unaffected by the earthquake and that a shipment he was expecting to be flown in from Taiwan was not subject to any delays. Like many others who spoke to The Register today, Ireland said the biggest potential threat to the industry would be the degree of uncertainty and doubt that had been caused by the earthquake. While the harm done to the IT industry may run into millions of dollars, it should not be forgotten that there were many human casualties in yesterday's earthquake. As this story went to press, the death toll had been confirmed at more than 1,700, with a further 4,000 injured. ® See also Korean stocks soar on Taiwan disaster DRAM price hikes to propel Samsung profit past $2bn
The Register breaking news

QXL scales down IPO expectations

Tim Jackson, the UK’s leading Net pundit and founder of QXL.com, has seen his putative paper fortune shrink from £127 million to as little as £32 million. Today, QXL, the UK’s biggest Net auction house, announced the price range for its IPO offering would be 180p to 205p per share, valuing the company at £212 million to £242 …
Drew Cullen, 21 Sep 1999
The Register breaking news

WinLinux Linux on Windows goes into public beta

Department of strange coincidences. On Friday Microsoft bought one Linux for Windows (See story),but on Tuesday another one pops up. JRCP's WinLinux 2000 was released for a public final beta today, and the final product is expected to ship in early November. Softway's Linux version of Interix didn't actually make it out of development before MS bought the company, so in addition to not knowing whether the deal was just done to kill it, we don't know if it was/would have been any use either. But there are several other Unix on Windows products available, and that means Linux on Windows can be implemented relatively easily, if there's a demand for it. Which also means that if Microsoft's sole purpose in this area is to buy them and kill them (as some observers are suggesting) it could get expensive. But not as expensive as stakes in cable companies. Will there be a demand? JRCP is pitching WinLinux 2000 as being attractive for both Windows and Linux users. We're not entirely sure it will play to the Linux camp, where it's the far groovier sounding VMWare that seems to be getting mindshare right now, but there might just be a possibility that products like this will overcome enough negatives to get Windows users to take the bridge into Linux. WinLinux is pitched as a full Linux distribution to be run on Windows installations. It installs under Windows as, effectively, an add-on, and shares disk space with Windows, using KDE and being bundled with Netscape Communicator and KOrganizer. JRCP reckons that by bridging Windows and Linux it will be stimulating the porting of apps, games and utilities to Linux. We reckon that might be a little bit hopeful, but it's worth a look. The beta is available here. ®
John Lettice, 21 Sep 1999