Intel cuts Celeron prices to prepare Coppermine way
Only one month after it changed prices on its low-end Celeron processors, Intel last night made further price cuts on the family. The prices, which are for its .25 micron Celeron product line, are for units in prices of 1000, and show that the 533MHz Celeron it introduced earlier on in the month, is now the highest priced part. But at $167, it also demonstrates that Intel will shortly supersede its .25 micron Celeron family with the newer, Coppermine processors, which use .18 micron technology. The $167 figure is the so-called "sweet spot" for Celerons Over the course of the last nine months, as Intel introduced faster versions of the low-end part, lower processor speeds have just shuffled quietly off its price list. The last price cuts Intel made on the Celerons was on the 12th of December, shown below in brackets. The new 533MHz Celeron is $167, the 500MHz chip is $143 ($128), the 466MHz unit is $94 ($89) and the 433MHz Celeron $73 ($69). The next price cuts we can expect to see from Intel are, according to our information, on the 23rd of January next and on its desktop Pentium III processor range. During Q1 of this year, Intel is widely expected to introduce its Coppermine Celeron III family. The 533MHz Celeron is likely to be one of the last of the products that uses the .25 micron core. AMD will also cut prices on its Athlon family on that date, as revealed here earlier. ®
Alpha NT could rise from the dead
Reports on an Internet mailing list have suggested that despite Compaq's decision to pull the plug on NT and Win64 for the Alpha chip last year, it could rise from its marchitectural ashes. The Big Q's up and coming Wildfire platform could be the first beneficiary of such a move. The editor of the Sysinternals mailing list, Mark Russinovich, has posted information in his latest newsletter that suggests Dave Cutler, poached by Microsoft from DEC to develop NT, was still working on the Alpha platform to develop Neptune, the successor to Win2k, at the end of last year. According to Russinovich, he met Cutler in November. He says in his newsletter: "In November the kernel team was already working hard on the successor to Win2k (known internally as NT 6, or Neptune). "Dave was working on touching-up the installation for the 64-bit version of Win2k....As of November the kernel team was still doing 64-bit work on Alphas because Intel had only recently begun to produce samples of Merced processors and there was only one on campus." Terry Shannon, ardent DEC and Compaq watcher, said that it is not beyond the realms of possibility that NT for the Alpha might rise, phoenix-like, from its ashes. After we passed on the information we had received to him, he said in the latest edition of his newsletter, Shannon knows Compaq: "Microsoft continues to rely on Alpha as a Win64 development platform, and it would not be beyond the realm of possibility for Microsoft and Compaq to revive the program if sufficient customer demand existed for a true enterprise-class Windows 2000 solution on Wildfire systems." ® * In other news from SKC, Shannon reports that Compaq has Itanium-Merced machines up and running in its labs and will be one of the first to ship such products later in the year. He also reports that Compaq is set to drastically prune its PC line. See also Is MS lobbying for more Merced Win64 help Compaq responds to Register Alpha NT stories
Transmeta, AMD to talk 64-bit turkey at chipfest
A chip conference held in California at the end of this month is expected to reveal details of Transmeta's long awaited Crusoe offering, the organisers have said. And the Platform Technology and Strategy Conference will also roll out execs from AMD who are expected to give further details of their plans for the 64-bit microprocessor currently codenamed "Sledgehammer". According to the organisers, the conference will also reveal details of the DDR (double data rate) memory standard, which Intel is expected to formally support for over the next week or so. AMD is also likely to announce how it will use DDR memory in its future products. Transmeta is expected to announce more details of both the processor, the platform it will use and benchmarking tests it has devised. Via, in collaboration with S3, is also expected to announce details of the products that will come from their joint venture. For more details of the conference, which starts on the 26th of January, go here. ®
Intel comes clean on PC COM direct site
Chip giant Intel has clarified its position on the PC COM direct sales site in Singapore. The company, this morning, admitted that the domain name was owned by Intel, as first revealed here at the end of last week, but was set up in collaboration with a group of Singapore resellers.
Palm dismisses WAP out of hand
The much hyped wireless application protocol (WAP) has been described as irrelevant and unsuitable to the PDA market, by the leading handheld device vendor. A senior executive of Palm Computing told The Register that WAP was all well and good, but as it had been developed for mobile phones, it was unlikely to find success in the PDA arena. Jean Baptiste Piacengino, Product Line Manager for GSM Products at Palm Computing said: "Demand for sure, but will it deliver on the promises? WAP was exclusively developed for phones and non-computer devices. Web clipping is far better designed for products like the Palm. We are not sure that WAP would work on PDAs." While Palm is still a member of the WAP forum, it has no plans to put WAP on a PDA. But this view not is not shared by everyone the phone camp. Colin Ellis, senior product manager for Ericsson said: "WAP devices are flexible enough for many different screen sizes. It will be application dependent." The larger screens and keyboards that populate PDAs lend themselves more readily to applications such as reading and writing emails. However, Ericsson does not believe that WAP will impact directly on the PDA market. Piacengino said: "AU Systems (the creators of the platform for PDAs) have a lot of experience with Ericsson and whilst doubling up on the platform it is down to the user experience more than the browser and the right connectivity services. It is not just a browser for the benefits of data access. People don't just care about technology they care about how quick they can access it." Future developments in the WAP market this year will see the development of secure transactions to boost ecommerce for mobile devices. Ellis said: "There has been a real growth in the ecommerce marketplace and e-shopping is accelerating. People will start using mobile devices not for grocery shopping but, for instance, if they are looking for a book say on Amazon.com. They could do that from a mobile." ®
Teen mag porn squat row blows up
The case of the hardcore porn site allegedly abusing the trademark of a popular teenage girl e-zine has taken a new twist after it was discovered that the offending site was sold to a Florida-based company a month ago.
Taiwan chip foundries merge
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has bought its second chip maker in as many weeks. The foundry has announced a share swap which will see it merge with rival Worldwide Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (WSMC). The deal, to be finalised on 30 June, will see one TSMC share exchanged for every two WSMC shares, and will be worth around NT$17 billion (US$550.5 million). The company will trade as TSMC. WSMC is currently Taiwan's third biggest semiconductor foundry, with an eight-inch fab using 0.25 micron and 0.18 micron process technologies. Production from a second eight-inch WSMC wafer fab is due to kick off in March. The move follows TMSC's merger with Acer's chip arm, Taiwan Semiconductor-Acer Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (TASMC), on 29 December. The two mergers are expected to swell TSMC's capacity to a throbbing 3.4 million eight-inch wafers in 2000, from its current 2.8 million. TSMC chairman Morris Chang was reported to have said his company's appetite for buyouts was unsated. "I cannot comment on individual cases, but we don't overlook any opportunities for mergers or alliances," he told Reuters. ® Related stories TSMC Acer to boost output by 40pc Acer Semi to merge with TSMC?
Belgian buy boosts Azlan training arm
Azlan has cemented a deal to buy a Belgian Microsoft training business for £1.86 million cash. The networking distributor will make an initial payment of £1 million for Flexcom, with the remainder paid over two years subject to performance of the company. Flexcom, which also distributes press publications for Microsoft and claims to be Belgium's biggest testing centre for Sylvan and Vue, will be merged into Azlan's existing training business. The division aims to be the country's biggest Microsoft technical training company, also offering courses in Cisco, Novell and Lotus. The deal gives Azlan's training arm 189 training rooms at 29 sites in 10 European countries. ® Related stories: Azlan takes Sylvan test Azlan recovers its roar Azlan plays ecommerce card
Web site offers students careers advice
ITM Communications has signed a deal with the NUS to gain exclusive access to three million students in the lucrative youth market. The company was formed two and a half years ago from mostly media professionals and produces a lifestyle magazine for graduates and undergraduates on CD-ROM and the Internet. It provides careers information and a database of 350 blue chip employers as well as promoting products from a client base. The idea behind the site is to provide students with a site they will return to for information. Ian Rose, CEO of ITM Communications, said: "We don't want to push careers down the throats of students. They can get company videos, application forms and even apply online. We're not a head hunter for businesses." ITM Communications will work with the NUS to sponsor staff in training and marketing and work on other initiatives worth millions of pounds. Rose continued: "I would like to say how pleased we are. It is an important contract to ourselves. The user base are students and the site will benefit both the NUS and students. We are not a business with 20 legs. It is our sole business to provide quality content to university students so we have to get it right." Andrew Pakes, President of the National Union, of Students was unavailable for comment, but said in a statement: "NUS has always looked to ensure that students are offered access to the best services available. We are confident that ITM have a clear commitment to providing students with superior advice and services. We are delighted to be working with them." ®
UK journo follows DotComGuy's example
A British TV company is attempting to mimic the efforts of DotComguy by getting someone to survive for a week just using the Internet to obtain food and clothing. Unfortunately, technical difficulties with the site's Web cam this morning meant that many viewers were unable to see how GMTV's resident Internet expert, Sally Eden, was surviving in the "e-cave". The e-cave, which is, in fact, just a house, is equipped with just the basics -- a bed, a bathroom and an Internet-ready PC. For everything else -- food, drink, clothes and entertainment -- she'll be relying on the Wibbly Wobbly Web. The experiment started today and her progress can be followed here. Eden will be getting advice from Mitch Maddox -- aka DotComGuy -- on how to make it through the week. DCG himself can be found here. "It's something everyone is interested in," said a spokeswoman for GMTV. "We wanted to see if we could do it [get someone to survive just by using the Net] in the UK," she said. It should be an interesting week. So far Eden has only been able to buy chocolates and flowers. ®
AOL to merge with Time Warner
America Online is expected to announce a merger with Time Warner today, a move wqhich will create a media colossus with turnover of $30 billion and a market cap of around $247bn (£153bn).
Popular online billing software hacked
A Russian computer enthusiast claims to have exploited a security flaw in ICVerify, the popular billing software for online credit-card transactions marketed by Cybercash, Inc. And in so doing he has culled a spectacular total of over 300,000 working accounts, the New York Times reports. The intruder allegedly obtained customer account details from CD Universe, an online music merchant, by exploiting a security weakness in the ICVerify software which the company uses. He then approached CD Universe with a proposal to destroy the stolen data in exchange for US $100,000. The company declined the offer, and the extortionist replied by distributing some 25,000 working account numbers on a Web site from Christmas day, though the site has recently been shut down. We will post further details of this rather intriguing and potentially embarrassing story as they become available. ®
Compel snaps up Web design company
Compel is forking out up to £10.5 million for Pangaea Ltd, a UK Web design and Internet services company. Guilford-based Pangaea is being kept as a stand-alone business within the Compel group, but was this morning renamed Compelreach. Pangaea's clients include Benetton F1, HSBC and Yellow pages. The company made a pre-tax profit of £572,000 for the year ended 30 September 1999, on sales of £1.3 million, and has net assets of £381,000. Initial consideration for the buyout is £2.5 million – consisting of £1.75 million cash and £750,000 million in Compel shares. The maximum spend will be £10.5 million, depending on Compelreach's performance, Compel said. In a trading update, Compel said its own financial performance was in line with expectations. "Early indications suggest that companies are passing through the year 2000 date change without serious incident," it stated. "This lends weight to Compel's strong belief that a marked upturn in expenditure levels will begin in the first half of 2000. "Compel remains very positive about its market." This came three months after the company issued a profit warning for its financial year ending June 2000, where it blamed Y2K for its woes. ® Related stories: Compel declares record profits Compel rings the changes with new division
Kids taught to use mobile phones
Use an ear-piece and put it in a bag, make shorter calls or use a landline. These are some of the lessons on how to use a mobile phone that children as young as five will be taught in the classroom. After the Christmas mobile phone boom, 300,000 of them will appear in the classroom prompting concerns about kiddie callers' health. Organisations claim that microwaves from mobiles could affect behaviour or even cause cancer or leukaemia. Edinburgh City Council is taking "precautionary" measures by asking schools to teach children the dangers of mobile phones and how to use them safely. While mobiles are banned in the classroom, "You would have to be burying your head in the sand if you weren't recognising young people have mobile phones in growing numbers," Edinburgh councillor Brian Fallon told The Times: Many parents have bought phones for their children as a safety measure. Leaflets are likely to be distributed to parents and information will be passed to head teachers and staff. ® See also: Follow this link for more mobile phone health scare stuff
Hacker penetrates Virgin
Virgin Net claims to have repelled advances from an eager suitor who attempted to hack into its network.
Unlawful 0800 use case goes before jury
A teenager who appeared before magistrates in Northamptonshire charged with a number of Net-related offences has opted to be tried at crown court. Christopher Buckley, 18, from Oundle, Northamptonshire, was released on bail by magistrates on Friday. The case was adjourned until 18 February. It's charged that Buckley used a BT freephone 0800 number to access the Net without authorisation or permission. He's also been charged with posting material on newsgroups that may have caused "an annoyance" and for using profanities. All three charges are being brought under Section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and Section 42 of the Telecommunications Act 1984. ® Related Stories: 0800 court case adjourned... Student charged with unlawful 0800 use
Queen invests in Web firm
HRH the Queen is hoping to make a quick buck from the dot.com frenzy by investing £100,000 in a UK web company. Her Majesty instructed the stockbroker to the Privy Purse to buy shares in the Millennium Mapping Company - the outfit putting together an online aerial photo of the UK. Her holding represents around five per cent of the Hampshire-based business, and makes her one of 41 major shareholders. These include former brewing magnate Sam Whitbread, and Tristram Cary and Joe Studholme – who founded the company last February, today's Sun newspaper reported. A Buckingham Palace representative refused to confirm whether the deal was a one-off, but it is believed to be the first time the Royals have dipped into their fortune for a business venture. The Queen decided to make the investment after the company made her its figurehead. Staunch monarchists that they are, the makers of the Millennium Map had decided to dedicate their site to the Queen. But today the company refused to comment on its regal shareholder. "It's great," grinned one representative. "But we can't comment on investors. If the Queen wants to say anything about it, that's her decision." Unfortunately, Her Majesty declined to give The Register an exclusive interview regarding her views on the Web. But investment analysts were reported to be applauding her nose for business. "The prices of Internet firms are soaring. I would expect this mapping firm to go public, and with Internet start-ups the sky's the limit," said one senior advisor with bankers HSBC. From tomorrow, The Register will be dedicating itself to The Sultan of Brunei. ® Related Stories: Hi-tech loses favour with HRH
TDK denies it will exit modem PC Card market
Reports that TDK is considering canning its range of PC modem cards this year are categorically untrue, the European MD said today. At the end of last week, an executive from a TDK competitor, who wished to remain unnamed, suggested that the firm was contemplating leaving that market. Keith Marsen, MD of TDK Systems Europe, vigorously denied these reports. But he did acknowledge that his company, in common with other firms which sell PC modem cards, is looking to expand the business in other directions. Some large businesses, he said, were still insisting that its employees use PC cards, and some switched off the internal modems that many notebooks now incorporate. TDK, in common with its competitors, us supplying so called "soft modem" solutions for the modem market, but would continue to develop and sell PC cards for the local area network (LAN), GSM and ISDN businesses. Marsden said that these three markets were still buoyant, and were not affected by the low margins and technical changes which had affected the PC Card modem market. Further, he said, TDK will introduce Bluetooth PC Cards during the course of this year, and this technology promised to be a lucrative and big-growing market. ®
Via claims to ship AMD Athlon chipset in volume
UpdatedTaiwanese chipset manufacturer and Intel microprocessor rival Via claimed today that it has started volume shipments of its Apollo KX-133 chipset to 20 of its motherboard customers. But PC manufacturers which use the Via chipset said today that the earliest they could expect to receive the KX-133 in mobos was likely to mid-February, contradicting the firm's claims. Via, which is currently snarled in litigation with Intel over alleged patent infringements, did not name the companies when it issued a statement first thing UK time this morning, but said it had opened a special KX-133 zone at its web site. The KX-133 chipset is an Athlon chipset which the company claims supports AGP 4x and PC-133, and allows builds of lean, mean motherboards. The chipset is being built by its fab partner, TSMC, the biggest semiconductor firm on the island of Taiwan. It uses a .35 micron three metal layer process and costs $34 when bought in large quantities, said Via. One PC manufacturer who declined to be named, suggested that there was not one motherboard vendor who actually has samples ready to ship, leading us to believe that Via is not immune from the type of problems that affect Intel and other semiconductor manufacturers. The homepage for Via can be found here. At press time this morning, the so-called "KX-133 Zone" was not up and running, but a representative said it would be there in an hour or so. ®
Micro$oft loses second appeal of class-action suit
The US Supreme Court has refused to entertain Microsoft's appeal of a US appellate court ruling on a class-action suit which makes temporary and contract workers eligible to buy discounted shares through the company's employee stock purchase scheme. Originally, a US district court had limited eligibility to a handful of workers, but the appellate court ruled that any temporary or contract employee who had worked at least twenty hours per week for at least five months in any year since 1987 should be eligible to participate in the company's shares purchase scheme, which offers a fifteen per cent discount. The appeals court left Microsoft with the burden of proof over which workers could be excluded from the class, with the result that many thousands are expected to qualify. In its request to be heard, Microsoft claimed to be swamped with claims from temporary and contract workers seeking compensation. The Court, apparently, was unmoved. The decision will undoubtedly expose to similar liability a large number of companies that hire temporary employees and independent contractors, a common practice in the US usually undertaken as a means of escaping such routine obligations as job security and fringe benefits. The Supreme Court rejected an earlier appeal from Microsoft regarding this same case in 1998. The nine Justices on Monday rejected Microsoft's latest request unanimously, and without comment. ®