15th > December > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

Linuxcare expands globally through $32.5m investment

Linuxcare yesterday announced a major cash injection and a raft of acquisitions to drive its plan to become the number one pure-play services company operating in the enterprise Linux arena. On the funding front, Linuxcare has raised $32.5 million from a number of VCs and technology companies, including Dell (for which it currently provides Linux tech support for workstation users), Sun, Oracle and Motorola. The funding will be used to found international offices, to be called Global Centers of Expertise (GCE), each focusing on a specific aspect of Linuxcare's business, including application porting, device-driver development, custom Linux distributions and applications, Linux security audits, open source strategy consulting, network management, performance optimisation, parallel computing and clustering, and Web and email server offerings. To kick-start the GCE roll-out, Linuxcare has bought three Linux companies: Canadian services company Puffin Group, Seattle-based documentation specialist Cheek Consulting and Prosa, a developer of Linux device drivers, based in Padua, Italy. Curiously, details of Linuxcare's anticipated IPO were not made availble, which seems odd given the current interest in Linux companies' stock. ®
Tony Smith, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Brit charged with conspiring to kill via Web

Police yesterday charged a Portsmouth, England man with incitement to murder after he allegedly posted on the Web an offer of $25,000 for proof of the death of a Texas couple. Electronics engineer Paul Clark, 32, will appear before magistrates today, said Reuters. According to police, Clark used the Web to seek the death of Brandy and Rick Arnett of El Paso, Texas. He said he would pay up only when he had been sent photos confirming the couple's "termination". Clark's site contained pictures of the couple on their wedding day to help would-be assassins with their identification. It's not entirely clear why Clark took against the Arnetts. However, it appears that Clark became angry when he learned that Brandy Arnett was married. ®
Tony Smith, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Despite on/off rumour, MS settlement remains unlikely

MS on Trial A false settlement rumour sent Microsoft shares up yesterday to almost $101, but they closed at $98 11/16, having opened at just over $96. There appears to be no substance whatsoever to the rumour, with all the signs pointing to Wall Street enjoying a good lunch and thinking how a little rumour of settlement could act as a laxative for Microsoft shares, which have been stuck in a narrow range for months, while all the excitement is with Linux and the Internet. Sure enough, a few minutes after 1pm EST, the price broke the $97 barrier and whizzed up to nearly $101 before the DoJ decided around 3pm to say that "The rumour is unfounded", with a resultant $2 dive in the shares. Microsoft was playing it close to its chest, with Mark Murray saying that Microsoft did not comment on rumours or its stock price, and that "We are not going to comment on anything related to the ongoing mediation process. For mediation to be successful it has to proceed in a confidential manner." There have been three sessions of talks with Judge Posner in Chicago, with the sides now meeting him separately. From past form, a settlement is most unlikely, because to Gates this would be capitulation when it is not absolutely dictated by events. It is interesting to recall, in order to show the remoteness of a mediated outcome, just what happened in July 1994 when Microsoft signed the consent decree. Anne Bingaman, then the antitrust chief at the DoJ, gave up a planned holiday and went to Brussels with two other lawyers for secret trilateral negotiations between Microsoft, Europe's DGIV and the DoJ during the week commencing 4 July 1994. Meetings were held several times a day throughout the week to discuss the minutiae, but an impasse resulted on Friday, 8 July. Back in the US, discussions were held between the parties the following Monday morning. A resumption of talks was agreed, and the trilateral negotiations continued in Washington on Thursday, 14 July. Gates was in Toronto and said that he did not expect the threat of an antitrust suit from the US DoJ to materialise: "There's no antitrust action. The last five years, various groups in the US government have been looking at the software industry to see how competitive it is and certainly getting a lot of paper from us," Gates told the conference. Bingaman had strengthened her hand by getting a DoJ attorney to find a district court where there were few cases pending, where "the dockets were thin", as she put it, and having him standing by to file if Microsoft didn't capitulate. It transpired that Salt Lake City had been chosen as the venue, perhaps the biggest possible threat to Microsoft, since Utah is Novell's home state. Neukom was unsure whether the DoJ would actually launch a case, but Gates was calling the shots. Around 4am on Friday, 15 July 1994, another impasse was reached. Bingaman suggested calling Gates, but no progress was achieved with him, in a brief conversation. It seemed that the distance between the two sides was too great to be resolved. Around a dozen lawyers had been arguing over the terms of a settlement. The Washington Post reported that "sources" (described as "close to the company") noted that "Microsoft is a 'pragmatic company' and had settled in previous cases, even when they thought they were right". Microsoft was evidently preparing the ground to climb down. About midday, Bingaman called another trilateral meeting, and progress was made. Bingaman then said she wanted to talk to Gates again: "He's the ultimate decision maker". Both the DoJ and the European Commission (Claus Ehlermann represented DGIV) were resolute that they would both proceed against Microsoft unless a satisfactory agreement could be reached. There then followed an hour-and-a-half of negotiation by speaker-phone, with lawyers making quick notes as the discussions progressed, sometimes leaving the conference room to confer privately. Finally, Gates said: "I can live with this." A settlement now would only really be possible if there were an immediate and serious time-related sanction against Microsoft. Since there isn't, Microsoft is likely to take advantage of the substantial delay during an appeals procedure, with quite likely no interim injunction in place to hold it back from further monopolisation. Furthermore, there is no great PR advantage to Microsoft in settling, since it would be unable to get such feeble terms again. Lloyd Constantine, of Constantine & Partners in New York, points out that Judge Posner is likely telling each side about the weaknesses of their arguments, and how the appellate court in DC would react to the case. However, it may be the Supreme Court that considers any appeal, bypassing the Court of Appeals, as we have previously suggested. ® Complete Register Trial coverage
Graham Lea, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel dismisses ‘mobile Rambus dead’ claims

Intel has denied that it has canned Rambus support in notebook computers -- despite claims from industry sources, cited by Electronic Buyer's News, to the contrary. According to the sources, Chipzilla's Greendale project is now dead. Greendale's remit was to develop a chipset to allow mobile PCs to use Rambus Direct DRAM. Intel, on the other hand, says it still plans to get a mobile Rambus chip-set out sometime next year. Or maybe the year after... Hardly, a tight schedule. So given the problems Intel had with the Camino roll-out, maybe it's playing it very</> cautious this time. Whether that means the project is dead or postponed until such a time as it becomes clear that OEMs actually want a mobile Rambus chipset remains to be seen. Rambus is well suited to mobile applications, thanks to its power-saving features, but with market research projections currently suggesting DDR SDRAM will outsell Direct DRAM by a massive margin for the next couple of years at least, it's questionable how much OEMs will want mobile Rambus at all. ®
Tony Smith, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Consortium proposes Net acceleration standard

Web content delivery acceleration specialist Akamai and a consortium of fellow Internet companies have proposed a standard mechanism to bring Net services closer to the user. The scheme calls for the development of a standard called the Internet Content Adaptation Protocol (ICAP), to be submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force early next year. I
Tony Smith, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Motorola strokes Symbian after Palm stake purchase

Motorola has become the latest of the Symbian founder members to play footsie with the opposition, in this case with the purchase of a minority stake in Palm, and a commitment to license Palm's OS for use in future handheld and wireless products. But at the same time Motorola issued a statement reiterating its full commitment to Symbian, so whereas last week's Ericsson-Microsoft deal hit Psion's share price hard initially, this time around they actually rose. All of the founder members of Symbian bar Psion have now conducted some business with what you might call the enemy. Nokia is working with Palm with a view to putting the Palm UI on top of Symbian, Ericsson intends to ship Microsoft's microbrowser with some of its handsets and to co-develop systems allowing users to access MS Exchange and other BackOffice apps. Motorola itself only joined Symbian at the last minute, and has its own chip lines to consider - Palm runs on Motorola silicon, whereas Symbian runs on ARM. Motorola has however muffled the blow by promising Symbian-based products over the next couple of years, and intriguingly, has also confessed to having been in talks with Microsoft on the subject of wireless. From Symbian's point of view, none of this need be viewed as particularly threatening. In fact, so long as the company plays its cards right the various moves its shareholders are making are likely to help it get established, rather than to block it. The Nokia-Palm alliance, for example, is about making the operating systems work together (or you could even say it's a handy route for Palm onto a 32-bit ARM platform), rather than setting them against one another. The Ericsson-Microsoft deal meanwhile doesn't give Microsoft CE an obvious or automatic route into Ericsson, and by holding out the possibility of shipping Microsoft's browser on its own Symbian EPOC devices, Ericsson might well be seen as laying the ground for Microsoft-Symbian co-operation, as opposed to the all-out war predicted earlier. Motorola however remains a wild-card until such time as it actually puts some flesh on its Palm-Symbian-Microsoft plans. Motorola and Microsoft are already co-shareholders in Nextel, one of Redmond's less smart investment decisions of 1999, but that, and the associated Motorola iDEN technology Nextel uses, are just as likely to turn out to be things the pair would like to get away from rather than a blueprint for future co-operation. Still, there's a Microsoft BackOffice wireless strategy in there, and Motorola could well end up with some kind of Ericsson-style deal with Microsoft. ®
John Lettice, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Taiwanese OEMs lose out in Dell rejig

Dell is to make more of its own notebook PCs and cut back on the amount of outsourcing going to its Taiwanese partners. Moving away from the general trend in the industry, Dell said notebook contract orders would see just 20 per cent growth in 2000, down on the 50 per cent average over the past two years. Its two main Taiwan contractors -- Quanta Computer and Compal Electronics -- are expected to be hit hardest. Dell previously accounted for 40 per cent of the two companies' shipments. The direct PC vendor bought an estimated $2 billion of goods from Taiwan this year. Dell's decision goes against the trend being followed by most manufacturers, which are generally increasing their outsourcing and follows the opening of additional notebook production lines at its plant in Austin, Texas. Part of the company's strategy is to increase its own manufacturing. Self-production accounted for around ten per cent of this year's manufacture. This number is expected to reach 40 per cent in 2000. ® Related story Fujitsu to cut DRAM production
Linda Harrison, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Net funds directors charged by SFO

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has charged four people with fraud over fundraising for an Internet start-up. The SFO yesterday charged the four in connection with two companies, Free Dot Net, an ISP, and Discount Telecom. Two other people were also embroiled in the Discount Telecom charges. The move was the first time the SFO had taken action against directors of a cyber company. Free Dot Net had raised £4 million since its 1996 launch in share placings under the Enterprise Investment Scheme, a government tax break. Last year the company recorded a pre-tax loss of £215,000 on sales of £791,000. Three directors, Jon Brody, Brian Atkins and Peter Henry, along with another man, Marios Nicolaides, were charged with conspiracy to induce investments through "misleading, false or deceptive" statements in prospectuses. The SFO also charged the four, plus Gerard Kavanagh and Katherine Diggins, with "dishonestly diverting sums of money" from Discount Telecom. Discount Telecom was set up in 1997 to sell cheap long distance phone calls and raised £800,000 from public subscribers. The charges were the result of a 17-month investigation by the SFO and the Metropolitan Police following a tip-off by the Department of Trade and Industry. ®
Linda Harrison, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Rambus yields only at 50 per cent

What a nice chap John Tu, one of the co-founders of Kingston Technology is. He wasn't at our breakfast meeting with the company this morning, but a prepared statement on the Rambus fiasco was. In the statement, Tu says the following: "The new technology today is Rambus and the yield is only in the 50 per cent range. If current production lines are converted from today's technology to Rambus, and the yields on Rambus are not up to expectations, this is an overall reduction of current production. Overall volume is compromised during this transition period." Very interesting. And so how is the availability for Rambus RIMMs getting on? According to two executives at Kingston, realistically we cannot expect to see too many RIMMs on the market until the beginning of next year. Kingston also confirmed a story we wrote some days back confirming that unless you use the same type of RIMM in an 820 mobo, you may run into the sort of timing problems that made everyone decide to just use two RIMM sockets. And it now seems that suddenly everyone has got very realistic about what percentage of the entire memory market Rambus will get. According to Kingston, their estimate is 20 per cent by the end of next year, and the execs also quoted recent Dataquest estimates that next year the amount will be 16 to 20 per cent. Intel is very coy. It estimates that Rambus will have 50 per cent of the memory market "in 2001". This could, as one hack at the breakfast pointed out, be January the 1st 2001 or the 31st of December 2001. And did you know that Rambus has dropped the word Direct as in DRDRAM? We didn't. But it has. Of course, Intel will not use Rambus for its Merced-Itanium platform, as we revealed from the Developer Forum. Incidentally, Kingston also gave us a press release which said that it now supported the Intel OR840. That means that this mobo,which was launched on the 25th of October, is only now any use to man, woman or beast. That's nearly two months.... ®
Mike Magee, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

New challenger enters Bill Gates domain sale ring

Following swiftly on from the weekend's ludicrously over-hyped billgates.com 'sale' (see story) Register readers were quick to point out that prestige vanity sites seem to be ten a penny, and not always of the slightest concern to the owners of the name they're using. Writes one: "My three year old son, Earl, owns the domain www.bill-gates.co.uk. He hasn't decided what to do with it yet, but I'm sure he would be interested in a price war with the owners of billgates.co.uk. Yep, I've just spoken to him and he will take a mill and a half if it helps get the deal done. Canny lad, that one." Regrettably we fear Earl would be advised not to hold his breath on this one, but under the circs, perhaps it would be a kind gesture if His Billness, or even his representatives on earth at MS UK, could see their way to putting a small sum in Earl's building society account and shipping him a Nintendo. Mail us, Microserfs, and we'll pass on any offers. Meanwhile we've also been alerted to the existence of stevejobs.co.uk, which is registered under the relative anonymity of "Dan H," and which mysteriously points to microsoft.com. This isn't necessarily a Microsoft plot, we should point out - poor old MS can't help it if people point at them for satirical purposes. The moral of the tale is of course (and we're sorry to have to break this to you, Earl) that although the odd domain might turn out to be worth a packet, this is usually because somebody screwed-up on branding and registration (hello, Alta Vista, for example). The only point to having a domain called Bill Gates is if you are Bill Gates, so it's only ever going to be worth whatever Bill Gates thinks it's worth. As his Web site is at www.microsoft.com/billgates/ that suggests he doesn't think it's worth anything. And domains that are similar to big, established domains are of dubious value too - you can only profit from them by pretending to be the big domain, which is then going to sue you, right? ®
John Lettice, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Willamette, Foster 870 details leak

Sources have revealed some details about future Intel chip technologies Willamette and Foster. The former, which is IA-32 technology with large caches and clock speeds is slated to appear in the second half of next year with clock speeds greater than 1GHz. We are reliably informed that Willamette will have a 200MHz front side bus (FSB) and employ dual channels for Rambus technology. Foster, on the other hand, appears on the Intel roadmap as arriving in late 2000 or early 2001. Foster is also IA-32 architecture but aimed at the high end workstation and server market. Our sources say that Foster is likely to land towards the end of next year, will use the 870 (Colusa) chipset and support memory of up to two gigabytes. Intel will not comment on unannounced codewords. ®
Mike Magee, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Lebanon no longer red at Intel

Reports on a Middle East wire have reported that the Lebanese government has snapped to its senses over a ban on the importation of Intel processors into the country. According to Arabia Online, the Lebanese ministry of finance has overturned the ban on Intel products, which was imposed many years ago, because the company has a fabrication plant in Israel. Customs officers imposed a ban on three containers of Intel products at the end of last week, despite the fact that they had turned a blind eye to the regulations in the recent past. The stop was an isolated incident, according to the Lebanese government. Over 80 per cent of Lebanon PCs use Intel processors, according to reports. ®
Mike Magee, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Pace demos set-top box with 20 gig hard drive

Set-top boxes are supposed to be cheap, simple devices that allow you to watch TV and - at some point, Real Soon Now - interact, right? But Pace Micro Technology seems to be turning the concept around with the demonstration of a unit with a built-in 20 gigabyte hard drive. The point of integrating a hard drive into a set-top box, says Pace, is to allow network operators "to develop radical new services and ways of generating revenue." The device Pace is showing in Los Angeles this week at the Western Cable Show is a joint development with NDS, and is intended to support NDS' extended television (XTV) concept. This will use smart software to select and store programming, and allow a considerable amount of personalisation of services. On the slightly less vague front, the hard disk can be used to time-shift watching, so if the phone rings you can press pause on a live broadcast, at which point the data is spooled onto the hard disk, and then you carry on watching, but maybe 15 minutes behind the broadcast itself, when you press resume. The storage also allows instant replays, slow motion and - here's a couple of interesting ones - "targeted advertising, and downloading peak-time programming to free up bandwidth." Presumably that means you get your own personalised ads downloaded to your own set-top box hard disk, so they can be broadcast (Not) just for you. And if we understand the second bit right, stuff you want to watch at peak time can be downloaded to your hard disk in the middle of the night, and then you can think you're watching it live later. Or something. ®
John Lettice, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Sharky Extreme falls into Internet.com's clutches

Internet.com has bought Sharky Extreme, the US-based PC hardware review site with a gaming bent, for an undisclosed sum. Sharky Extreme increases Internet.com's traffic by ten million page impressions per month, taking the new owners aggregate total up to 90 million page impressions. It's unclear whether the numbers of pages served in November cited in the press release announcing the acquisition, refers to raw figures, or ABC-filtered figures. But Sharky informs us that the latter is the case. (To give you some idea of the difference, The Register serves around ten million pages per month, but strip out page request from the spiders, the proxies, the search engines and page impressions fall to under seven million.) Set up in 1998 by British journalist Alex 'Sharky' Ross, Sharky Extreme received a useful leg-up at the beginning in the form of an endorsement and promotion from Tom's Hardware Guide, the granddaddy hardware site of them all. That affiliation didn't appear to last so long, but in any case, Sharky Extreme quickly grew big enough to stand on its own two feet. A clutch of cult computing sites have found new owners in recent months. In October, Internet.com bought Linux Today and Linux Central -- price undisclosed In June, Andover.Net bought Slashdot for $12 million in mostly deferred cash and stock and in October, it bought Freshmeat. In August, Earthweb bought hardware site Sysopt.com and Windows resource site Code Guru for $12.4 million in cash and stock. ®
Drew Cullen, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Official: Win2k to RTM today – announcement 5pm GMT

Updated Windows 2000 has finally gone gold, and the High Command has scheduled a conference call hugging ceremony for 5pm GMT, 9am Pacific today. As reported here earlier, MS has been dropping heavy hints for the past 24 hours, but now it's certain-sure enough to book the phone lines. This means that Microsoft has met its most recent self-imposed deadline of releasing Win2k to manufacture before the end of the year. Not, one might hazard a guess, that the manufacturers will be absolutely busting to do much with the code this side of Yule. Some of them may have cases in the tech department who're sufficiently sad to want to download the final code now and start the final round of testing on the company's hardware, but as Microsoft's big commercial release is scheduled for 17th February there's no need for a great deal of urgency. The PC companies can probably expect to take six to eight weeks to shake the code down thoroughly, so they've still got leeway for this. And aside from the kudos of being able to ship a few prestige configurations early, their needs aren't particularly urgent, as they'll be expecting to ship lower volumes post-Christmas anyway. ®
John Lettice, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

More Big Q money goes to Taiwan

Compaq plans to increase its outsourcing from companies in Taiwan by 20 per cent in 2000. The PC vendor said it would buy $8.5 billion of product from the island, compared to last year's $7.1 billion, Taiwan's Commercial Times reported. Goods bought from local companies will include servers, peripherals and components. The move comes hot on the heels of Dell's announcement that it would be cutting back on its notebook manufacture outsourcing from Taiwan. ® Related stories: Compaq now a victim of anti-Dell move to Taiwan Compaq fears for $7 billion if Taiwan and China fight Compaq strikes $7 billion Taiwan supply deal
Linda Harrison, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

HP Powerpoint present a curse in disguise

One of HP's multitude of PR companies really dropped us in it yesterday. Over at Vulture Central, an incoming Powerpoint presentation about HP's SAN announcements clogged up our email to such an extent that the pipe was well furred for a full hour. OK, we thought, we'll kill that job and pick it up at home first thing this morning. Indeed, we did pick it up, but the attachment was so big that first of all we got the message saying our hard file (IBM Winchesterspeak) was chock-a-blocka, closely followed by another incoming missile telling us that the Win98 registry was in a state of psychotic shock and Bill would re-boot us, followed, a full minute later by a message saying that Windows could no longer load. That meant that we had 300 messages to read when we arrived at work, rather than just 150...which was the state of play when we left the office yesterday. Plus Vulture Numero Dva's teleworking machine is scuppered. So what'cha gonna do about it, PR firm? You know who you are.... ®
Adamson Rust, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Bluntmen hack SimCity to promote the wicked weed

Electronic Arts' SimCity 3000 Web site has been hacked. But for once the attempt to replace the site's front page wasn't some act of cyberterrorism -- though battling virtual brigands is one of the game's numerous challenges to would-be city planners -- but a call for the legalisation of marijuana.
Ganga Spice, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

AMD uses nut to crack sledgehammer

If you're a top chip architect or designer, AMD needs you, a bit like Lord Kitchener needed troops for the ill-fated first World War of this current century. The AMD site is looking for people to join the team to work on the next generation system which Jerry Sanders III used to call the K9 (canine, geddit? Ed) five years back. The job spec goes quite a lot like this: " AMD's x86 64-bit architecture and system bus of the future, Lightning Data Transport™ are planned to be implemented in AMD's eighth-generation microprocessor, code-named SledgeHammer. AMD plans to extend the x86 instruction set to include a 64-bit mode, delivering a simple yet powerful solution that enables all of the performance benefits associated with 64-bit computing, while maintaining compatability (sic) and a leading-edge performance roadmap for the existing installed base of x86 32-bit software applications and operating systems. No other 64-bit solution has full native x86 32- and 64-bit compatibility." We'd normally charge AMD a hefty fee for advertising job opportunities, but we'll let it off this time. And this time only, unless it fails to find top people of course. Intel had severe problems finding enough architects to help it out with its little Merced problem. Here is the URL. ®
Mike Magee, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

AMI2 offers up latest PCB reference

Advanced Memory International (AMI2) has started offering printed circuit board (PCB) reference designs for high-end PCs, workstations and servers. AMI2 is a non-profit group representing the DRAM industry and the move is an attempt to simplify DRAM design and speed its adoption. Uniform reference guides and documentation are being made available to manufacturers and system builders. The move is intended to make life easier for OEMs, saving them development time and cutting the risks involved with design. The PC2100 DDR DIMMs (Dual In-line Memory Modules) on offer are designed to give the best in overall performance and the highest bandwidth with the lowest latency of any DRAM module. The reference designs can be downloaded free from the AMI2 Web site, under the "gerber files" category. ®
Linda Harrison, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel will sample 800MHz Pentium IIIs next Monday

Chip giant Intel will provide samples of 800MHz Pentium IIIs to its OEMs at the beginning of next week and will also announce several flavours of other of its desktop processors. The 750MHz Pentium III parts which were intended for release in January next year, will also be announced, sources close to Intel's plans have confirmed. But although Intel is likely to make a very big splash about the fact that it has a 800MHz Coppermine part and also Coppermine 750MHz parts, the whole question of this announcement raises several important questions. Providing samples to its OEMs -- the major PC manufacturers -- is not the same as supplying the chip in volume. The experience of people attempting to buy a 733MHz Coppermine Pentium III since October 25 bears witness to that. PC vendors will take time to evaluate the processors before they can build the 800MHz chip into their machines. There is a school of thought which thinks that Intel only started to sample its 733MHz processors shortly after it "announced" the 7xx processors at its last Developer Forum, in Palm Springs, in September. The 750MHz parts, however, will start to appear rather sooner than the 800MHz. We can expect to see 800MHz chips in machines round about February or March, in line with Intel's revised roadmap. As we correctly predicted last month, these Pentium III 750MHz parts cannot use the 133MHz front side bus (FSB). They will use the 100MHz multiplier bus, because of the basic rules of clocking things up. There are two flavours of the 750MHz part however, one being Slot 1 and the other using the infamous flip chip packaging. The two stories referenced below give details of the changes that Intel was going to make in January, but has now brought forward. Once more it appears that Intel has decided to take the marchitecture rather than the architecture route, possibly panicked into such action by AMD's success with the 750MHz Athlon which is available in large volumes. When Chipzilla panics, its great big galumphing feet can go in any direction that chaos theory doesn't predict. ® See also Intel to intro 750MHz CuMine PIII on January 10 Intel will cut Coppermine prices earlier than expected
Mike Magee, 15 Dec 1999
The Register breaking news

Bleem to countersue Sony

PlayStation-on-a-PC software developer Bleem has been granted leave to countersue Sony Computer Entertainment, the division within the Japanese giant that sells the PlayStation. Bleem alleges Sony unlawfully acquired, maintained and extended its monopoly in the video game market through a combination of anti-competitive practices, including misuse of copyright, patents and other intellectual property. The company further believes Sony's actions against it, in particular an alleged attempt to get Bleem booted out of last May's E3 show, amount to conspiracy in restraint of trade, intentional interference with contractual relations, defamation, and unfair competition. It also claims Sony's own lawsuit was issued in bad faith -- that it was issued to damage Bleem rather than seek justice, in other words. That's a heck of a lot of claims, but given Sony's tactics of late, you can't really blame Bleem for going so far. Most recently, it subpoenaed ten of Bleem's largest retail customers, apparently without informing Bleem sufficiently far in advance. And it has been trying to get information from Bleem regarding all of its customers. Sony also tried last week to get Bleem's business data reclassified to allow it access to said. However, US District Court Judge Charles Legge denied the corporation's internal Legal and Business Affairs officers the right to do so. Legge also agreed to hear a motion from Bleem calling for the ten subpoenas to be quashed on the grounds Sony has no right to third parties' confidential information. Sony's beef with Bleem centres on its allegations that the company's eponymous software infringes its intellectual property and copyrights, and that it misappropriated trade secrets. Bleem denies the claims, arguing that its software contains no Sony code or IP, and that it was developed using established, legal reverse engineering principles. And the court has largely concurred with Bleem's arguments. Certainly Legge has refused to grant Sony two separate injunctions banning the sale of Bleem's software. Sony's suit is due to come to court next year. ®
Tony Smith, 15 Dec 1999