7th > January > 2000 Archive

The Register breaking news

Day by day: Intel shares drop $5, AMD gains $2

News that Gateway would second source AMD processors after the company laid into Intel (INTC) for an inability to supply enough CPUs saw Chimpzilla's (AMD) shares rise by $2, day on day, on Wall Street yesterday. While AMD's stock rose, Chipzilla's fell by nearly $5 compared to the day before. Rambus Ink (RMBS), meanwhile shot up by $9 to close at $891/16, compared to the previous days close of play $801/2. Intel's share price closed at $783/4, compared to $835/8 the day before. AMD's price closed at $32. Some financial analysts on Wall Street changed their assessment on AMD more positively because the underling is likely to be able to supply its 800MHz Athlon processor in quantity far faster than Intel will be able to supply its 800MHz Pentium III part. Dell does claim to be selling machines with 800MHz Pentium IIIs inside. This page is Dell's and HP also has a machine listed. But the jitters in Intel's share price are connected to quarterly results it will post next week. AMD's results come shortly afterwards. The rise in the Rambus share price can possibly be explained by a positive report by Nikkei relating to the number of parts it will ship this year. ® See also AMD's 800MHz Athlon hits Intel in the face Gateway to use AMD because of Intel chip famine 2000 is the year of the Rambus AMD share price soars, Intel's relaxes
Mike Magee, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Y2K bug lurking in Microsoft VB, Access

Some of the problems Web sites had ticking over successfully from 1999 to 2000 are likely to be caused by a Y2K bug in Visual Basic 3.0, as evidence emerges of Y2K problems with old versions of Microsoft Access 2.0. Although Microsoft has upgraded Visual Basic several times since version 3.0, the program was used for many years in large, medium and small businesses, as was Access. Laurence Rogerson, a consultant and director at Web firm Hubcom, said yesterday that he had encountered several Y2K related problems with version 3.0 of VB. He said: "If you open up the immediate window and type in ? Year("3/1/00"), it returns 1900". He said that testing he had performed on one application which was built with VB 3.0 and uses some old VBX support files, queried one database for names between October 1899 and January 1900. It then bombed out because none were returned, he said. Rogerson added that VB 3.0 was used in many corporate environments to develop applications. "It surprised me when I discovered the problem as I just assumed it would apply the current century to a two digit date but it seems that it doesn't," he said. "It works OK with a 4 digit year though, e.g.: ? Year("2/1/2000") => 2000 as does ? Year(Now())." He said: "I'm much more concerned with Microsoft Access 2.0 applications as this comes from the same time and suffers the same problem as well There are masses of those still around as the later versions just do not work with Windows 3." However, the situation may not be as black as it is painted. There are several references on the MSN site to problems with Access 2.0 for 16-bit Windows. The main reference can be found here, and according to a reader, Microsoft has fixes for the engines in both VB3 and Access. ® Our report on millennium tick-over problems
Mike Magee, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Papows resigns – Lotus drops the ‘pilot’

Lotus president Jeff Papows is resigning after spending most of last year in a somewhat discredited state. Last April the Wall Street Journal published a hilarious (if you weren't Jeff, that is) expose of his highly colourful and imaginative resume, and shortly afterwards was named in a sexual harassment action by a former Lotus employee. Papows claims to be moving on to new, unspecified challenges, but it's a tribute to the tact and tolerance of IBM's high command that he wasn't seeking those challenges nine months ago. The WSJ piece had pulled him up for claims he was an orphan, for serious embroidery of his academic record, and most spectacularly, for his elaborate tales of his gung ho career as a US marine pilot. The Marine Corps could recall a Lieutenant Jeffrey Papows, air traffic control operative, but no ace jet jockey Captain Papows. He's being replaced as Lotus president by Al Zollar, who's been heading up the IBM network computer software division. Zollar, 45, is claimed to be one of the highest-ranking black executives at IBM, and we're sure he's not making that up. ® See also: Lotus chief's combat record savaged by WSJ
John Lettice, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

TurboLinux outselling Windows in China

As Microsoft sniffily denies suggestions that the Chinese government is poised to ban Windows 2000, TurboLinux has opportunistically leapt into the fray by claiming it's been outselling Windows in China for the past four months. The good news: TurboLinux is basing its claims on what seems to be a pretty substantial data set. The bad news: as piracy in China is estimated as being up around the 90 per cent level, what you sell there doesn't necessarily make a dent on the actual installed base. TurboLinux's numbers come from what it claims to be the largest retail software chain in China, 256 outlet Federal Software Store. TurboLinux 4.0 at around $49 has been shifting more copies than the upgrade version of Windows 98 ($245 in China) and according to the company, the Win2k upgrade. Given that Win2k can't be available there yet, we're a little puzzled by this. But on reflection, it's got to be true - TurboLinux is obviously outshipping Millennium and Neptune as well. Although the piracy situation does make Chinese sales figures somewhat artificial, retail success will certainly be helpful to TurboLinux in the long run, as China cleans up its act on intellectual property. The company also claims to have been making strides in bundling, recently clinching three deals with Chinese hardware vendors, has been donating copies of Linux to schools, and is funding the GNU/Linux Research Center at Tsinghua University. ® See also: China bans Win2k, developing Red Flag Linux instead
John Lettice, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Corel to add remote Windows app support to Linux

Corel is to integrate GraphOn's Bridges software into its Linux distribution, giving Linux desktop clients the ability to run Windows applications remotely on NT servers running Bridges host software. The approach isn't new (it's functionally similar to Citrix's MetaFrame, and Citrix itself has a Linux client, so the uniqueness of the Corel offering is simply that the capability is being bundled as standard with the OS. This is intended to happen in Q2. Because you're going to be running the applications remotely, and indeed, because you're going to need an NT server on the network somewhere in order to do so, the Corel/Bridges agreement doesn't replace other systems for giving Linux users access to Windows applications. For example, it's perfectly possible, and likely, that clients running Bridges could also be running VMWare, or WINE, in order to be able to access Windows applications locally. And aside from competition from Citrix, GraphOn's Bridges will also be going up against SCO's Tarantella, which is coming up on the rails. Not that this stopped the Toronto stock exchange getting over-excited about the Corel announcement yesterday, and so the company's roller-coaster stock ride continues... ®
John Lettice, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

PC safe from digital TV onslaught

Digital television is not a threat to the PC and nor will it replace computers as the primary way most people access the Internet. According to a report published today, 13 million households are set to embrace digital TV in Britain by 2004. But such mass market acceptance of interactive technology won't signal the death knell of the PC. Instead, Fletcher Research's report Interactive TV: Models for growth argues that the growing number of techno-savvy Net users (18.5 million by 2004) will want to adopt digital TV to augment their PC use -- not replace it. Shobhit Kakkar, business analyst at Fletcher Research, said: "Importantly, this report shows that there is a place for interactive TV and PC Internet to co-exist. The growth in digital and interactive TV use will complement, not replace, PC Internet. "Both devices have very different uses, and while interactive TV services will overlap with some Web services, consumers will want both," he said. And it appears the differences between TV and PC use are enough to keep both media alive and kicking for years to come. TV is typically used for entertainment, passively viewed in a communal household location, and is rarely used in the workplace. "The Internet, on the other hand, is used both at home and work, is an active medium, and is generally used alone for surfing for information content," said Kakkar. ®
Tim Richardson, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Jolly Roger sails away from Landis

Roger Paul is to leave Landis by April after a two and a half year stint at the networking distributor. The European sales officer, and former Landis UK MD, today announced he was quitting the company. No replacement had yet been found, the company said. His next move was unknown, but a Landis representative said Paul had no plans to take up a position elsewhere in the industry. Paul originally joined Landis in October 1997 from rival distributor ilion to set up Landis' UK office. Earlier this year he took on his European role, but was back at Landis UK in September to oversee the Dutch company's acquisition of his former employer - ilion. Last month Mike Watkins, former ilion marketing director, was appointed Landis UK MD. Paul said his time at Landis had been "challenging, fun and extremely rewarding." "With the investment made over the last 12 months in systems and back office support, the addition of a local warehouse and the launch of www.landis.com in January, Landis is ready to make its next assault on the UK market." Paul Kuiken, chairman and CEO, said Paul's departure would be a loss to the company. He acknowledged that ilion had "suffered immeasurably" after Paul left. "However, he have discussed his wish to move on for some months and he has now successfully reorganised and integrated the UK business after the ilion acquisition," said Kuiken. ® See also: Landis gets ilion at last
Linda Harrison, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Intel-AMD speed war megahurts too much

Analysis x.86 companies AMD and Intel will play hop,skip and jump for the whole of this year, with the object of desire apparently to have the highest clock speed emblazoned on their, and their customers' products. But there is a danger that if you don't work for Intel and AMD, you're likely to be deluded not only by the "my chip is faster than yours" claims, column inches in the press, and the patriotic fervour of some folk who seem to think microprocessor companies are soccer teams. Most of the obfuscation has actually been caused by the microprocessor companies themselves, keen to persuade consumers that 800MHz is intrinsically a "better thing" than 750MHz. Some people docare...witness the plethora of overclocking sites on the WWW, and the lengths people will go to get that extra bit of speed out of their machines. The "gaming nutters" as one distributor who will remain unnamed in this piece, dubs them, will always go for the 800MHz and the 900MHz and the 1GHz chip when it arrives, as well as overclocking the hell out of them. But when Intel introduced its infamous Inside campaign back in 1991, many in the industry -- not least firms like Compaq -- felt that persuading the world they had to have a Chipzilla processor inside the box was, shall we say, somewhat unnecessary. Intel's very cunning plan, which is still running, was to help persuade to not only use its microprocessors, but in return give them a bit of marketing dosh for displaying the Chipzilla logo on the adverts and on the outside of the machines. Some, perhaps with justice, felt this was a little bit like a hidden Intel tax... Be that as it may, Intel's Inside campaign has been a great success and it catapaulted the firm into the public's perception, while the catchy little tune ding ding ding ding ding, is heard on the box perhaps a little too much. Compaq, and others, thought that advertising Intel inside the boxes detracted from their own branding, and wondered if people cared which microprocessor ran the PC they owned. Now that AMD seems at last to be narrowing the gap between itself and Intel, and there is an element of serious competition in the chip marketplace, perhaps there is even less reason for both to continue with the branding and the megahertz nonsense. AMD, however, has still some work to do to persuade the corporate marketplace that its family of chip products is just as good as Intel's. There's no doubt that while there may be technical differences between the chips which may be appreciated by the aficionado, the vast majority of consumers probably don't care that much. And that will probably benefit the Taiwanese entrant Via, which has snapped up IDT Centaur and Cyrix technology and which is forecasting sales of 15 million x.86 parts during the course of this year. If the chips are cheap, cheerful, and work, then most people won't notice the difference, just as long as their favourite software runs kind of OK on the platform. After all, it can't be that long before x.86 processors cost little more than a penny.... ®
Mike Magee, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Domain names get with .it

The easy availability of .it domains in Britain could lead to a stampede for expletive-style Web addresses when the service is launched next week. From 15 January, Virtual Internet.net will make available the Italian .it domain name following changes at the Italian Registry. This means that all VAT registered organisations in the European Union can acquire a .it domain and it's hoped that the service could be extended to private individuals in the future. Unfortunately, those interested in owning vernacular addresses such as fuck.it, damn.it and shag.it will be disappointed since these appear to have been nabbed already. It's believed getdownon.it, bigt.it, and canyoudig.it, on the other hand, are still available. Sh.it is not available since all .it domain names must have at least three characters. Ash.it, though, has been taken. According to the information on the site, Advanced Software and Hardware (ASH) is an IBM Business Partner. The site is currently under construction. Of course, one of Virtual Internet's selling points is that .it domains may be of particular interest to IT companies. Steve Miller, head of marketing at Virtual Internet, said: "This move is set to prove popular -- we have already been approached by a large number of IT companies who see .it as an ideal alternative to .com. "We are confident that consumers will be quick to follow suit." All the .it domain names -- which must be made up of between 3-64 characters -- will be registered on a first come first served basis. Prices start at £100 until the end of February, after which the fee increases to £200. ®
Tim Richardson, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Baker's dozen of chip makers hit by lawsuit

Thirteen Asian chip makers are facing legal action over alleged patent infringement by two New York chip designers. Plasma Physics and Solar Physics yesterday revealed they had filed the suit against some of the biggest Japanese and South Korean vendors regarding chip making and flat-panel technologies. Those targeted include Fujitsu, Hitachi, Matsushita Electric Industrial, Mitsubishi Electric, Advanced Display, NEC, Oki Electric Industry, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba. The patents involve the work of maverick inventor John Coleman, president of both Plasma and Solar, Reuters reported. Two of the patents in the legal action cover chip manufacture using plasma chemical vapour deposition. The third involves the structure of TFT LCDs, used in the booming flat screen industry. The plaintiffs aim to stop the chip manufacturers from making any product infringing on the patents, and are seeking cash damages which include interest, treble damages and legal fees. The suit, filed on 28 December at the Eastern District of New York in Uniondale, NY, has been assigned to Judge Arthur Spatt. The lawyers enlisted from firm Fish & Neave – Herbert Schwartz, Edward Mullowney and Patricia Martone – are famed for winning the biggest patent infringement award ever. In 1989, they ensured Eastman Kodak forked out $925 million for stepping on Polaroid's toes. The law firm was also involved in Intel's 1997 case, where it was sued by Digital Equipment for patent infringement over Digital's Alpha PC chips. ®
Linda Harrison, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

MS stops giving Californians $400 each for computers

Microsoft's $400 gift to Californian electronics buyers is no more - the company pulled the plugs on the deal last night. Earlier this week the San Jose Mercury revealed that the $400 rebate offered in exchange for signing up for MSN for three years was effectively a gift, but now it isn't, and MSN is going to have to rethink its promotional activities in California. On the Mercury revelation Microsoft spokesman Tom Pilla expressed confidence that the deal was so great users wouldn't cancel anyway. Due to a peculiarity of local law, if a buyer cancelled before the MSN commitment was up, they wouldn't have to give the money back, so the deal was you could just go to Best Buy, get the rebate, then cancel immediately. Today, however, Pilla is telling the Los Angeles Times: "Unfortunately, a few people are abusing a programme designed to help people access the Internet." A few, just a very few. The Times reports that "thousands of consumers across California thronged to Best Buy and other retailers to take advantage of the slip-up. At the Best Buy in West Los Angeles, the result was four-hour waits with hundreds of people in lines snaking through several aisles." Wonder what MSN's installed base graphs for California are going to look like this month? Microsoft says it will honour the deals with people who already signed up and wish to cancel, but the Times has been doing a little digging, and it seems possible that this story may be about to get more complicated. The argument that the return of the rebate is unenforceable in California is based on a section of the State Financial Code that says you can't make a consumer buy something as a condition of getting a loan. But the paper checked with Julie Stewart, assistant commissioner of the California Department of Corporations, and with state officials. "It is not a loan - it's a rebate programme," Stewart said, and the other official concur. Other service providers running rebate deals in California enforce the return of the money on cancellation, and it would appear MSN could do so as well. Except for one thing. You'll recall that a feature of the programme in California was that the sign-up form there was different from the sign-up in the rest of the US. In California MSN didn't require cancellers to give the money back, so even though the law seems to say it could, it can't. But it could restart the programme with a new form. Somebody in the MSN legal department, we reckon, must currently be a very unhappy bunny. ®
John Lettice, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

China not dumping Win2k for Linux after all, says official

Never let it be said that Bill Gates doesn't have pull in Beijing. This morning the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry issued a special announcement categorically denying that the Chinese government would be banning Windows 2000 and switching its systems to home-grown Red Flag Linux. This claim was made earlier this week (See story) in a report published by an official Chinese newspaper (actually, we're not sure there are many unofficial ones) quoting various unnamed Chinese officials. The denial counterblast, however, comes from some considerable heights; Zhang Qi, director of the Ministry's department of electronics and IT products, said in a statement that no such decision had been made, and that no such plans existed. So it was all a baseless rumour then? Well, according to the South China Morning Post the developers of Red Flag Linux are predicting their OS will shortly take 20 per cent of Microsoft's market in China, and they're still claiming that various government departments are keen to switch. The Register's take on the situation is approximately as follows. China does want to control its own technological destiny, and so will continue to develop indigenous software and hardware. Its rigid governmental systems mean that it can, whenever it thinks it appropriate, impose its own standards on users. It won't do this in circumstances which would result in the crippling of industry, but it will do so by degree. This of course doesn't just go for Microsoft software - it goes for every other piece of gear the Western IT companies are trying to sell into China. While this process is operating China will continue to use carrot and stick. Some of the signals in the various Chinese papers may be genuine evidence of dispute between different government agencies and departments, but others will be coded or not so coded messages that have the effect of increasing the generosity of Western exporters who keep thinking "world's biggest market" to themselves as they cut their margins. It's nice work if you can get it, but you can't - there's only room for one "world's biggest market." ®
John Lettice, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Threat of jaill not enough to deter piracy

It's an issue which IT managers are fully aware of, but despite the risk of going to prison, take little action over. Software piracy is intentionally or unintentionally a major part of a lot of UK organisations.
The Register breaking news

IT boosts Korean exports

South Korea expects its IT exports to reach almost $50 billion this year. The country's Ministry of Information and Communication said yesterday that total exports would rise 8.9 per cent on last year to $157 billion. IT exports were forecast to increase by 14 per cent to $44.5 billion. Imports for the sector were expected to climb 22 per cent on last year to $31 billion, creating a trade surplus of $13.5 billion, the Korea Herald reported. The export of code division multiply access (CDMA) handsets and wireless kit outstripped growth in the traditional PC market in 1999, the ministry said. CDMAs worth over $2 billion were exported last year, up 270 per cent on 1998, while wireless equipment saw a 118 per cent jump. PC equipment exports showed a 46 per cent increase over the previous year, with Korean vendors cashing in on the low-end PC market in the US. Chip exports rose by 11 per cent. ® Related stories: Korean IT sector has a bumper 1999
Linda Harrison, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

UK e-envoy flies in

Britain's long-awaited e-envoy will finally take his seat in Downing Street on Tuesday afternoon and start work immediately on wiring up Britain for the future, The Register can confirm.
Tim Richardson, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

China gets hands-on with the Net

China has signalled its intention to exert even greater control over Internet use by forcing companies to register their Web sites with the authorities. Firms that fail to comply with the new order -- which comes into effect at the end of the month -- will be fined. The new regulations do not apply to Web sites created by individual Net users. One official told Reuters: "This is for safety. In order to inspect the Internet, we must control it," he said. Elsewhere, it's been reported that President Clinton wants to use more than $2 billion of the federal budget to combat cyberterrorism. Flushed with success after combating the millennium bug, he now wants to improve overall computer security. The cash would be used in the fight against hackers and viruses, among other things. Details about the initiative are expected to be made public next week. ®
Tim Richardson, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Flashpoint to fall under Satan's spell on Monday

Flashpoint officially changes its name to Applied Computing Components (ACC) Avnet on Monday. This will complete the components distributor's August buyout by US company Avnet. It will also mean that the Slough-based company, which until last year espoused the joys of selling non-Intel product, will add the great Satan of chips to its portfolio for the first time. "We will have Intel on the line card, for tray and box products," confirmed Sukh Rayat, who will head up ACC Avnet's UK business. Rayat, Flashpoint MD, said the take-over of his business would also give Avnet opportunities to "expand into Europe", but was unable to elaborate further. His own job title was also undecided, he said. Avnet's UK office in Stevenage is due to merge with ACC Avnet's Slough office as part of the deal. "But nothing else has changed – it is business as usual," said Rayat. ® Related stories: Flashpoint Marshalled by Avnet troops Flashpoint's Rayat upgraded to MD
Linda Harrison, 07 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Apple consumed by consumers

Analysis What a keynote. The last time Macworld Expo attendees sat down to a two-hour-and-over Apple CEO spiel was back in 1997 when dear old Gil Amelio took the stand only to lose track of topic and time when his teleprompter unexpectedly quit with a Type 1 error -- much as Uncle Gil was to do mere months later. Throughout the proceedings, the audience shuffled uncomfortably, but this time attendees were on the edge of their seat as Steve Jobs, with a way more upbeat tone than his predecessor, enthusiastically unveiled Apple's Internet strategy and -- completely unexpected, this -- MacOS X, his cool troubled only when Quake III failed to expectedly quit during a demo of the upcoming OS. Jobs' neatly summed up his own keynote them with the phrase 'beyond the box'. As predicted here, now that Apple has its professional and consumer hardware product lines are in place, Jobs' strategy centres on widening the company into something more than a computer manufacturer. Last year, Jobs said he wanted Apple to be more like Sony. That translates to re-engineering consumers' perception of Apple as a brand first and a computing platform second, which in essence means promoting the name 'Apple' -- neatly done, you'll notice, through the Think Different campaign, which doesn't mention the Mac at all -- and pursuing new revenue streams. Which, of course, is where the company's Internet strategy comes in. Jobs' plan doesn't go as far as many observers -- including this one -- had expected. Instead of moving into the Internet Service Provider (ISP) market in its own right, Apple has simply signed up EarthLink as its exclusive access provider and has chosen instead to focus its Net efforts on shifting its own Web site into portal territory. With hindsight, it's almost certainly the right move. The $200 million Apple is pumping into EarthLink could easily have been spent setting up the necessary infrastructure to provide computer users with Internet access, either for free or for a subscription fee, and endow it with a brand to match that of the market leader, AOL. But the thing about being an ISP is that when it comes down to it, you're just the plumbing. And ISP simply hooks up a user to the Net -- and it's the Internet where the interesting stuff happens, not the pipeline between the two. More to the point, it neatly insulates Apple from changes within the ISP market. Should free Internet access become the norm, as it has in the UK and is beginning to emerge across Europe, that's going to make life tough for traditional ISPs. Content, not connectivity, is king, and by leaving all that tedious plumbing to EarthLink, Apple can focus its energies on building up the Mac online community no matter what methods its members use to dial in. The finer points of Apple's redesigned Web site, which integrates the online AppleStore, adds a stack of new consumer-oriented tools and colour-co-ordinates the whole thing with the current iMac line-up, check out our story Apple's Internet Strategy Emerges. For now, what matters is that Apple isn't just providing its customers with some cute facilities -- and tying some in to MacOS 9 to provide a better service and some much-needed exclusivity for Mac users, is a clever scheme -- but that it's building for itself the basis for a extended e-commerce platform. That doesn't just mean the AppleStore, but the collection of demographic data -- users have to register their membership -- to help the company target revenue-generating advertising. And it's not just quality but quantity that matter here too, which is where Apple hopes its plan to promote QuickTime will pay off. Every time someone plays back a QuickTime movie, they're also watching an ad for Apple. And QuickTime TV provides users with plenty of material to play back. Even if it doesn't lead to increase sales of Mac hardware -- though it can't do an harm -- it does help grow the number of surfers coming to Apple's Web site, and that's just what the Internet business model is based upon. You'll notice that there's very little here for Apple's professional customers -- all of Apple's new Web services are pitched almost exclusively at consumers. Again, this is the Sony model coming in to play, something that even extends to Apple's system software strategy, which has been changed yet again, this time to focus exclusively on MacOS X. The irony here is that MacOS X -- the 'X' neatly signifying not only the Roman numeral for ten, but the OS' Unix heritage -- is Apple's most pro-oriented system software yet. Originally developed for the company's most power-hungry and performance-minded customers, MacOS X is now, like everything else, being subtly shifted down into the consumer space. MacOS X's Aqua user interface drew both loud applause and stunned silence (not at the same time, of course) from the Macworld crowd, but apart from the OS' PDF-based 2D graphics engine, there's little here of use to professional Mac users, for all Jobs' claims to the contrary. Equally, Aqua is by no means the ground-breaking UI that Apple's spin-meisters say it is. Like the new-look Web site, it's just an iMac-styled standard GUI. That's not to say there aren't some very useful features built in -- tying dialog boxes to parent windows is a major step forward -- but Close, Minimise and Maximise buttons are old hat, even if they are coloured, translucent and 3D. The new Finder is no more than a file manager application. The Dock is just Windows 95's application launcher bar with better graphics -- and the Windows version is just a rip-off of a well-established Unix UI feature. And am I the only one who's going to get really annoyed, really quickly with windows squirting up and down as they move in and out of the Dock? Apple damn well better put in some off switches for these crowd-wowing but productivity diminishing features. And 'crowd-wowing' is the key phrase here -- or perhaps 'consumer-pleasing' would be better. Aqua is geared far more to consumers than long-time Mac users (though they'll find some benefits too), which is why MacOS 9, originally planned to be maintained as a low-end OS for old Mac and consumers, will now be replaced by MacOS X when it ships in the summer as a standalone product and is bundled with news Macs this time next year. There's nothing wrong with this plan, and it's certainly an improvement on Apple's original, buyer-confusing dual-OS (9 and X) strategy. MacOS X looks like it will provide power users with the robust OS they need, and consumers with the easy to use they require, which is fundamentally what the Mac system software has always been about. The problem is that if Aqua proves to be too cute, too consumer-friendly it could well ensure MacOS X will be perceived -- for all its Unix-derived power -- as a 'toy' OS, even more than the original Mac GUI was to the command line crowd. ® Related Stories Apple's Internet strategy takes shape Apple unveils MacOS X, readies 'classic' OS' retirement Apple's Jobs declared CEO for life Analysts bullish about Apple ahead of Expo announcements
Tony Smith, 07 Jan 2000