25th > January > 2000 Archive

The Register breaking news

Wall Street runs hot on interest-rate fears

The leading market indices fell sharply this afternoon on heavy trading as technology issues struggled to hold ground beside sagging blue chips. Despite an upbeat rhythm in early trading this morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped as low as 10,917.27 at mid-day before closing down 243.54 at 11,008.17. The NASDAQ composite closed down 139.32 to 4,096.08 after running as high as 4,303.15, while the heaviest volume ever recorded, or 1.96 billion shares, changed numerous, nervous hands. Lackluster corporate earnings have lately spawned irrational fears of an interest-rate hike to offset (largely imaginary) inflationary pressures. There seems nothing that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan can do to dissipate rumours that a hike is inevitable. Investors are determined to see every conceivable glitch as grounds for one, and remain unlikely to be satisfied until one is prescribed. The Fed is due to meet on 1 February, though last week Greenspan indicated, in his characteristically cryptic way, that no such decision has been reached. His appearance tomorrow before a Senate budget committee will, no doubt, captivate investors and analysts keen to divine some whiff of insight into his plan. And even if a rate-hike is in the cards, last year's record indicates that it's unlikely to impede consumer demand. The technology sector ended largely down today. Intel did rise 13/16 to 98 13/16, but pronounced slackness in Cisco, Oracle, Dell, Sun and other big-brand tech issues undercut that modest gain in the aggregate. Meanwhile, Yahoo fell a whopping 27 5/8 to 324 5/16, helping to offset Amazon.com's 8 1/14 rise to 70 1/8. It was a good day for Amazon, which also announced increasing its stake in Drugstore.com, thereby boosting it 5 1/2 to 35 on the news. Time Warner fell 3 1/2 to 87 5/8 on news of its intended merger with EMI. On the New York Stock Exchange, losers led 2,029 to 1,028 on a volume of 1.1 billion shares. On the NASDAQ Stock Market, losers led 2,399 to 1,802 on the record volume of 1.96 billion shares. Analysts are divided on whether this year's unusual market volatility indicates systemic weakness, or whether the market can sustain this sort of reciprocal momentum indefinitely with no long-term negative consequences. There are various grumblings that the technology sector is due for a correction, but no one to whom The Register talks regularly expects it to represent a long-term setback for the sector as a whole. So far as we can tell, investors with significant tech holdings would do well to ride out all but the most obviously hopeless tailspins. So damn the torpedoes; steady as she goes. ®
Thomas C Greene, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

World Online lands on Freeserve's doorstep

World Online is taking a leaf out of Freeserve's book with a free CD distribution strategy through an as yet unnamed High Street retailer. The company, which purports to be Europe's biggest ISP, is targeting punters in the 15-34 age bracket in the retail promotion. An advertising campaign featuring Christopher Reeves (aka Superman) is also planned. Dutch-based World Online is sprucing itself up for a £4bn flotation on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange this year. The company claims it already has one million British customers, following last week's takeover of the Telinco Network, which provides the infrastructure for The Sun's Bun.com. ®
The Register breaking news

lastminute.com embraces WAP

Lastminute.com plans to offer its flights over WAP phones. The Mecca for every self-respecting cheap traveller will let users search its database of flights from London. The service, developed by new media consultancy pres.co, is due to be launched this week at Cellnet’s WAP portal. It promises real-time prices, so punters will get access to the same information as they would from browsing the Website. Once users have the information they need they receive a phone number through which to book flights. "The new WAP technology is a logical extension and development of the lastminute.com brand," said Sep Riahi, VP of business development at the company. "As this technology becomes more widespread we will be seeing a huge growth in the amount of services available through this channel." Yesterday also saw BT launch its WAP services package.® Related stories Flotation ahoy for lastminute.com WAP demand to hit warp ten claim supporters
Linda Harrison, 25 Jan 2000
BT Openreach at work

BT under spotlight to hack standing charges

British Telecom came under pressure from the Commons yesterday to ditch standing charges on residential lines. Forty MPs were reported to have signed an early day motion demanding the phone operator scrap line rental, according to the Evening Standard.
Linda Harrison, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Fat Lady signs online

Things may not be over 'till the fat lady sings, but for one British Web company, the sound of a warbling aria could be could be just the beginning. High-brow online impresario, Online Classics, has secured a number of exclusive agreements to broadcast opera, musicals, ballet, classical concerts and "quality" theatre on the Net in a move that should appeal to the Web's culture vultures. It's also signed agreements with some of the best known names in opera - sopranos Montserrat Caballe, Jessye Norman and Julia Migenes and tenor Tito Beltran - to broadcast their performances on the Web. The company acknowledges that its culturally lofty ambitions will only be realised once a suitably gutsy broadband service is available in Britain. Nonetheless, when the curtain goes up tomorrow and the site is open to the galleries for the first time, Online Classics plans to have five hours of pre-recorded concerts, opera and dance available with a further 100 hours coming online within the next few weeks. ®
Tim Richardson, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Roller Coaster for sale today

A new theme park ride is auctioned off online tomorrow with the launch of e-commerce portal Leisurehub.com. Bidding starts at 1:00pm for the family "elephant" ride owned by the manufacturer I E Park and bids are expected to reach $50,000 (£31,250). The ride can be seen at the manufacturer's stand at the Amusement Trades Exhibition International at Earls Court. By the end of the day, Leisurehub hope to have sold at least one roller coaster and spare parts (although these are not included in the auction). The site allows companies to view news, source, compare and buy products in the theme park, fun fair, health-fitness and family entertainment industry. Leisurehub is backed by incubator company Brainspark. ®
The Register breaking news

William Hill sets up overseas gambling joint

William Hill will set up a website this week in Antigua, so that British punters can avoid paying nine per cent tax on winnings UK bookmaker Gamblers can even bet on the National Lottery ,which is currently illegal in the UK. Alongside Willhill.co.uk will be a telephone service run from Athlone, Ireland offering a three per cent discount on taxes. The company told the BBC: "We have taken this step because our case for reducing betting duty in the UK has as yet gone unanswered by the government. We cannot afford to stand by and see our business ebb away." Chancellor Gordon Brown said he may use the next Budget to close the loopholes in the law regarding offshore betting to protect its tax base. In the November Pre-budget report, the Chancellor emphasised that the government would reinforce an advertising ban on offshore bookmakers. ®
The Register breaking news

WStore starts price war with UK channel

Online reseller WStore is promising to pay customers double the price difference if they find goods cheaper at rival dealers. The Internet company has vowed to start a price war in the channel and match any lower offer on IT kit. "Our offer applies to all our UK competitors, whether they be online stores, High Street retailers, corporate resellers, mail order companies or catalogue specialists," said WStore MD Tony Price. "This is not a gimmicky, short-term promotion but a permanent offer which we believe will have a significant impact on our business and market share," he added. To qualify for the deal, which does not apply to memory and disk products, customers will have to open a business account with the company. For the refund, they will also have to produce written proof of a cheaper price within seven days of them buying their product. The offer excludes special reseller promotions. ® Related Story Net-only dealer sets out Euro-stall
Linda Harrison, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Transmeta talks to Taiwan

Several major Taiwanese manufacturers are in close discussions to use Transmeta technology in future machines, according to sources close to their plans. Acer and a number of other major notebook players are understood to want to use the technology to achieve their goals of proliferating PCs into the home in Far East Asia. CEO of Acer, Stan Shih, has made it clear over the past few years, that diminishing margins on the island's existing PC business means that it has to look at a new business model. In addition to that, a large proportion of Intel customers in Taiwan are unhappy with their treatment by the chip giant, and want an alternative source for processors. Although AMD would fit the bill perfectly, its mobile strategy on x.86 compatible processors is not yet in place. ®
Mike Magee, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Microsoft fudges Win2K speed trials

Microsoft has fudged the results of Windows 2000 Professional speed tests in an attempt to convince potential purchasers that the OS offers better performance than NT Workstation 4.0. In the press release announcing the shipment to manufacturing of Windows 2000 on 15 December, Microsoft said "new benchmark results illustrate the specific performance benefits that customers will receive with Windows 2000. These tests show that Windows 2000 Professional outperforms Windows 95, Windows 98 and the Windows NT Workstation 4.0 operating system running on a computer with a minimum 64MB of memory". This claim is not sustained by the data. The same press release also states that "Windows 2000 Professional is the fastest Windows client yet. Independent tests conducted by Ziff-Davis Labs and IT Week show that Windows 2000 Professional is... up to 24 per cent faster than Windows NT Workstation 4.0 in configurations with 64MB of memory or higher". Again, the "up to 24 percent faster" claim does not follow from the ZD report. Microsoft's introduction to the ZD Labs report, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional -- System Performance Comparison, states: "In tests running the most popular business applications, Windows 2000 is... significantly faster than Windows NT 4.0 on configurations with 32MB. It is comparable to the performance of Windows NT 4.0 on configurations with 64MB and 128MB of memory, according to the November report by ZD Labs." So already we have gone from "outperforms" to "up to 24 per cent faster" to "comparable". The ZD report tells another story that Microsoft did not see fit to mention: "On average, however, we found that Windows NT 4.0 provided slightly better performance than Windows 2000 when running with 64MB and 128 MB of RAM. Although the performance difference at 64MB was small, we found that the performance difference between the two operating systems grew when we added more memory. With 128MB of RAM, Windows 2000 was three per cent slower than Windows NT 4.0." The clear extrapolation, unfortunately not tested, is that with 256MB and more (a real world probability), NT4 would be significantly faster than Windows 2000. The executive summary of the ZD report indulges in some fudged averaging of its own to create a false impression about Windows 2000 performance. It so happens that, according to the tests, Windows 2000 performs better then NT4 with 32MB, but of course in the real world, nobody would use 32MB and, as ZD points out, "Microsoft recommends at least 64MB of memory". This slightly improved Windows 2000 performance with 32MB is just enough to tip the balance and make it seem faster "on average" -- but only just (a score of 16.2 to 16.4 in ZD's Business Winstone 99 test). As ZD points out, Microsoft requested tests with 32MB (because it no doubt knew about the performance anomaly), but carefully avoided suggesting 256MB, lest the average went in favour of NT4. This is not the end of the story, however. There is a further trick disclosed in the test system specifications and identified in the appendix to the ZD report: the NT4 tests used PIO (Programmed I/O) file transfer mode, while the Windows 95, 98 and Windows 2000 tests all used DMA (Direct Memory Access). The consequence is perfectly clear: the NT4 tests were crippled to make Windows 2000 performance seem better. PIO is performed by the CPU, and consumes cycles making performance slower. It is not suited for heavy-duty work, and is normally only used for lower-performance applications and single tasking. In DMA mode, of course, transfers take place without consuming processor cycles, just requiring an instruction to start the transfer and one to stop it. Credit is due to ZD for disclosing this information, even if it failed to point out the significance. But after all, he who pays the piper calls the tune -- and NT4 dances faster than Windows 2000. ®
Graham Lea, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Intel's FC-PGA plans far advanced

Chip giant Intel is ready to replace practically all of its Slot 1 processors with the new, FC-PGA form factor, it has emerged. The plans are well advanced, but under the surface of an existing Intel Web page which lists the product order codes for SECC2 (Slot 1). The Intel page, which can be found here, lists the currently available products. But the designer of the Web page has prepared the contents in such a way that he or she can easily substitute the FC-PGA flip socket 370 flip chips when they become available. That can be found by looking at the source code for the page, with eleven ready and waiting references to the same processors but in flip chip form factor. The up-and-coming references have been remmed out by the coder. On Sunday, Intel cut prices on a number of Slot 1 processors, in preparation for the move to a flip chip format. Major PC vendors have complained about shortages of the Slot 1 processors, and according to one, the move to FC-PGA is coming far sooner than they want. Many are approving Slot One to 370 convertors in a frantic attempt to keep ahead of the game. ®
Mike Magee, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Microsoft bullies IT news site into submission

Microsoft has used all its corporate muscle to strong-arm an US-based IT news Web site to change its name because of alleged trademark abuse. Lawyers representing Microsoft wrote to ActiveWindows in November asking the publication to remove a Windows' logo on the site and to change its name. "While we appreciate your enthusiasm and support for Microsoft's products, the use of 'WINDOWS' and the Windows Flag Logo conflicts with Microsoft's trademark rights," wrote the lawyers. "As a trademark owner, Microsoft must take reasonable efforts to police misuse of its marks. We ask that you change the title of your web site to remove both 'WINDOWS' and the Windows Flag Logo," they said. While ActiveWindows removed the logo, changing its name was a different matter. But after a second letter from Microsoft on Thursday last week it finally decided to change its name to ActiveNetwork. "We don't have the money to fight them," said Matthew Sabean of ActiveNetwork. "The cost [of pursuing the case] was prohibitive -- in the end, it all comes down to money. "We've been strong supporters of Microsoft in the past -- it's terrible to treat us like this," he said. A spokesman for Microsoft said yesterday that he wasn't aware of the case but would try and find out what he could. No further communication was received from Microsoft by press time. ActiveWindows has been up and running for two years building up a solid readership and amassing some 80,000 hits a day. ®
Tim Richardson, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Orange WAP phones in short supply

A shortage of supplies of the Orange flavour of the Nokia 7110 is hitting sales of the trendy WAP based product, it has emerged. One reader told The Register that he had rung Orange and been told that there were "none available" while at the end of last week another person at Orange told him that the company "took delivery of 2500 in December and they have all gone out". Orange confirmed that whilst there is a shortage of the WAP enabled phone they already have some in stock and they are expect delivery of more Nokia 7110 phones soon although supplies are not in high volume. Orange will continue using the Nokia phone and has no plans to change to a different model. Claims that Orange had withdrawn the Nokia 7110 and asking customers to return them were denied outright by the telecoms company. However it seems BT Cellnet might have a plentiful supply as they give away 100 free WAP phones on their Genie website between 1pm and 2pm this afternoon.. ®
The Register breaking news

Norwegian coppers nick DeCSS DVD geezers

Norwegian police raided the home of Jon Johansen last night and charged him and his father with breaking copyright laws. Johansen is understood to be the man who first posted on the Internet the source code for DeCSS -- code that allows the viewing of legally purchased DVD movies on operating systems that have yet to be supported with player software. Reports from two Norwegian news sites, Dagbladet and Nettavisen, claim that Johnasen's father was also included in the haul because his site was used to publish the program used to break the DVD encryption. Police also confiscated two computers and a mobile phone. Unfortunately that's all we have at the moment. The Register only speaks pidgin Norwegian -- so if anyone can shed any light on the stories from here or here, we'd be jolly grateful. Send your translations here. Plug of the day Drew Cullen writes: Copyleft, the legendary purveyor of geek chic (and maker of The Register's T-shirts), has added a DVD-CCA deCSS shirt to this season's collection. "Express your disapproval of the DVD CCA and support OpenDVD advocacy," Copyleft proclaims. "Just another way to spread the source code on your back. Find out information about it at OpenDVD.org." Four dollars from each T-shirt sale is donated to the EFF fighting fund. ®
Tim Richardson, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Apple defeats ColorSync patent violation suit

A US District Court Judge has thrown out a patent infringement case begun in February 1998 by Imatec against Apple. The case centred on Apple's ColorSync software, technology that matches the colour spaces of monitors, printers and scanners to ensure consistency of colour output throughout the document production process. Imatec alleged that ColorSync violated patents the company held on behalf of its owner, one Hanoch Shalit. Shalit's patents were filed in 1992, a year before ColorSync shipped. Imatec's patent speaks of images "formed on the video monitor screen and measured using a photometer" which are then "reproduced on hard copy and may be measured using a densitometer". The two values are "entered into a computer system and used to adjust, on a pixel-by-pixel basis, the electronic controls of the hard color reproduction system to compensate for any deviations from accurate reproduction". That implies a system predicated on the use of extra colour-sampling devices, operating in real-time, leading to a two-pass process in which the image is printed, tested, adjusted and then printed again, this time with the correct mix of colours. It's a moot point whether it covers such tasks in advance and building the appropriate adjustment into the system software, which is essentially what ColorSync is all about. It simply collates colour information for different devices and modifies image data as it moves from one supported device to another. Interestingly, ColorSync uses technology licensed from Heidelberg Prepress, then known as Linotype. So does Microsoft's less well-known Image Colour Management system, though this software is not cited in the Imatec suit. Apple always maintained that ColorSync was based on technology it had been using and developing since the mid-80s, and in any case Adobe had brought the first device-independent colour system to market in the late 80s with PostScript Level 2. That's probably why the judge ruled that not only did ColorSync not violate Imatec's patents, but that Imatec and Shalit have no right to the patents in any case. ®
Tony Smith, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Intel-branded Web PC will run Linux

Updated Our Norwegian may be bad, but let us assure you that it is fluent compared to our command of the Thai language. Hardware site Vision 4D has just posted some pictures of what appears, on the face of it, to be an Intel branded PC. The machine, which uses a FlexATX board, has the Intel logo prominently displayed on the bezel of the monitor. We now have discovered that the machine runs the Linux OS, is powered by a Celeron 400MHz with 64MB of RAM. It has a phone for netphone, DVD player, and will cost around $699. It is intended to be used for video conferencing,and has a handset on the top. Intel hasn't given it a name yet, but it won't be called a PC, according to sources close to the box. ® See also Norwegian coppers nick DeCSS DVD geezers Intel comes clean on PC Com site
Mike Magee, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

SGI misses break-even by $1 million

The accuracy of SGI's claim that it would be "just short of break-even" were put to the test yesterday when the troubled company posted its latest results, for the quarter ended 31 December 1999. In the event, the company lost $1 million for Q2 2000, rather better than the $25 million it lost for the same period last year and the $213 million, including exceptional charges, it kissed goodbye during Q1 2000. It was still some way from break-even, and coupled with an anticipated fall in revenue -- down 5.3 per cent from Q2 1999's $684.8 million to $648.2 million -- the news isn't quite as good as SGI presumably would have liked. It's certainly a positive sign that the company is cutting costs and CEO Bob Bishop's management team is bringing SGI closer to profitability, but the shrinking sales -- and pretty small sales they are too -- is not a good sign for the longer term health of the company. Bishop optimistically reckons that the drift of customers away from SGI is pretty much over and with the company's loss similarly stabilised, SGI can focus now on rebuilding its marketshare. ®
Tony Smith, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Pfeiffer opens online auction for business

Suited and booted London journalists today clamoured to get the first look at Eckhard Pfeiffer’s latest business launch. The former head of Compaq has put his name to a German-based online auction house that will sell everything from brand new PCs to second-hand cars in the UK. Goricardo.co.uk was unveiled this morning along to the dance remix song "Praise You", with the IT industry’s very own Fat Boy Slim describing its merits. "ricardo.de, already widely recognised as a major player not only within the online auction market, but also within the e-commerce area, is renowned for bringing new and innovative ideas as well as setting the pace for others to follow," said Pfeiffer. "We are confident that goricardo.co.uk, which is specifically focused on the UK market, will mirror this success." The company - which has so far only operated in Germany - claims to have one million page impressions per day, 400,000 members and 80 per cent brand recognition in Germany. It plans to expand into the Netherlands, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Asia and the US, and says it will take a local approach to market. "British people prefer to trade with other British people," said founder and chief marketing officer Stefan Wiskemann. "We want to be a European company, with a global view towards Asia and the US." According to Wiskemann, the site aims to grab trade from smaller retailers – it has already signed up more than 1,000 British companies - as well as individuals trying to flog the contents of their attic. The site will sell new PCs as well as second-hand mobile phones (cough) and CDs. As a launch gimmick, it will also be taking bidding for an island in the Pacific, and promises "diverse and interesting" items. To begin with, it will be free to sell products on the site. Once the company is established it will take a commission on successful sales. It also plans to introduce live auctions with an online commentator in April. Big Eck, whose frequent change of hair style caused his old firm of Compaq to be called The Great Satan of Haircuts, had a new haircut to match his conservative business suit, despite the fact that all the other trendy young employees of the company seemed not to follow his lead... ® See also Roller coaster for sale today Banks.com auction kicks off with £600K bid
Linda Harrison, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Siemens chip business best bit

Siemens has turned in some results for its fiscal Q1 (to 31 December) which look very good from a headline viewpoint ("nearly doubles earnings in first quarter") but they don't tell us anything about the financial health of Fujitsu Siemens, in which Siemens holds 50 per cent. The deconsolidation of cable units, Siemens Nixdorf retail and banking systems and the PC business resulted in lower product sales for Siemens, but saw earnings before tax and interest rise to 189 million euros from the previous 43 million euros. Siemens still has an information and communications networks segment that is busy with mobile telephone sales, which were 11 million last year and are expected to be 30 million this year. The small Siemens services business made a small pre-tax-and-interest profit of 10 million euros after a loss of 22 million euros in the previous quarter. Infineon remains the most profitable Siemens group, yielding 245 million euros for the quarter on revenue of 1.8 billion euros. The former semiconductors group will be the subject of a further report on Friday, with the probability that between 25 and 30 percent will be put on the market in March, although this has not yet been finally decided. So far as the Fujitsu Siemens business is concerned, 1.11 million business and consumer PCs were shipped in the first three months of the joint operation (ending 31 December). Sales were strong in France, Italy and the Netherlands, but in the UK, although there was "some growth" there were "unfavourable market conditions in the corporate segment". With only percentage increases in sales being disclosed, and some information from just one quarter of combined operations, it is too soon to see whether the joint company is making any real progress in its avowed ambition to be the number one computer company in Europe by 2001. New products are being lined up for announcement at Cebit (at the end of February this year), with the company hoping to get 250 million euros of sales there. ®
Graham Lea, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Buy now, die later with UK's first cyber undertaker

The nation’s first cyber undertaker opened its doors today. By logging on to www.funeralshop.co.uk, customers can arrange an entire funeral online, including the headstone, coffin and flowers. The service is being offered by United Norwest Co-op, a supermarket giant in the Midlands and North West. As well as selling "buy now die later" online pre-burial packages, currently on the market from other companies, users can also choose a funeral after the death of a loved one - from the comfort of their armchair. Products cater for all purses – from the Last Supper Casket priced at £2,500, which includes a tree being planted for a loved one, to the more cost-conscious £250 Irlam oak Coffin. Also on offer are "essentials for the day" – i.e. a black tie or his and hers black gloves. And the bereaved can buy pet burials -- with a wide variety of kennel and animal-shaped caskets to choose from. After placing their order online, customers are referred to the nearest funeral branch to complete the final details. Phil Lane, marketing manager at United Norwest Co-operatives, outlined further plans for the site. "Customers can’t actually write the headstone online yet, but we are developing it. Soon they will be able to choose the type and shape of headstone, as well as its inscription," he said. According to Lane, the company sold its first complete funeral within an hour of going live this morning. It currently offers funerals in the North Midlands and North West of England, but plans to expand its services to the rest of the country.®
Linda Harrison, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Big Blue blocks Sun in Java lather

Yesterday IBM beat Sun to market with Java for Linux, announcing separately-negotiated distribution deals with Caldera Systems, Red Hat and TurboLinux. A similar deal with SuSE is expected. The IBM JVM and developer kit should hit the stores in mid-February, although Caldera will be expecting to release its e-business server with Java support at LinuxWorld Expo in New York at the beginning of February. Red Hat is expected to include the Java goodies in its next enterprise edition in mid-February. TurboLinux will wait for the next release of its product. IBM may well find that being first-to-market gives it a first-mover advantage, although Sun is expected to release its Java 2 for Linux this quarter. IBM will get its WebSphere for Linux as well as VisualAge for Java distributed with the Caldera offering. At IBM's Partnerworld conference in San Diego yesterday, senior vice president Sam Palmisano said "We're tired of having sand kicked in our faces by former IBMers", a not-too-subtle reference, since on the screen behind him the Sun and EMS logos were gunned down by an animation of IBM's e-business logo. These jinks were understandable enough, but it does not alter the fact that in its software efforts, IBM has turned from being a fumbler (DOS and OS/2) to a follower (NT, Java, Linux). Sun president Ed Zander told analysts last week that "it amazes me to watch IBM and all those other companies chase Linux the way they did Windows NT five years ago." IBM's main announcement in San Diego was its WebSphere Commerce Suite (previously called Net Commerce) and WebSphere Commerce Studio. IBM hopes that with these products it has covered the business-to-business, the business-to-consumer, and the e-marketplace markets. IBM is clearly very sensitive about Sun at the moment, with chairman Lou Gerstner delivering a clear-enough videoed message to delegates: "Go out and kick some butt in the marketplace". An immediate objective is to take Unix share from Sun, perhaps with the help of the new RS/6000 model that was announced (44P Model 20, using copper technology), which was described as "the world's fastest four-way Web server". According to Dataquest, in the Unix market in 1999, Sun has a third of the market, with IBM being second in units shipped but third in value, behind HP. ®
Graham Lea, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Dell overtakes Compaq (in US)

For the first time, Dell outsold Compaq in the US during 1999, according to the latest data from market researchers Dataquest and IDC. Dataquest's numbers put Dell in first place, with a market share of 16 per cent, up from the 12.7 per cent it took in 1998.
Tony Smith, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Web airing for Nixon Watergate tape

A Canadian Web company is to publish tomorrow on the Internet secret Watergate tape recordings that helped end the political career of President Richard Nixon. Publishers IMARK Corp claims this is the first time the conversations that toppled a president have been made public. Part of the content includes the "Smoking Gun" conversation where Nixon and US businessman and presidential aide, H R Haldeman, discuss using the CIA to foil the FBI investigation into the Watergate affair. These tapes have been blocked from publication for 25 years. Earwiggers and nosy parkers interested in this corruptastic piece of modern history should go here. Unfortunately, when The Register tried to take a sneaky peak today the site was still under construction. You don't think Deep Throat got there first, do you? ®
Tim Richardson, 25 Jan 2000
The Register breaking news

Pentium III 800 makes debut in erratumnotbug chart

The Pentium III 800MHz .18 micron processor has made its first appearance on Intel's official erratum list. The latest January update to the Pentium III 60 page document, which can be found here, shows that the processor, which is still as difficult to find as a needle in a haystack, suffers not dissimilar problems to other Coppermine parts. Although "flaws", errata and bugs are common in new processors, it is rare that they escape factories these days, Intel claims. The bug in the 800MHz part is unlikely to be serious. An earlier problem in the Coppermine processor which temporarily caused Dell to stop shipping 733MHz based systems, was as a result of slippages in the quality checking. Intel said at the time it had tightened up these procedures. ® Intel erratum-not-bug problem-not-good-enough Oh no, it's FDIV time again Coppermine bug a marchitectural disaster Intel now Dell acknowledge Coppermine bug Intel moves to re-assure industry on bugs
Mike Magee, 25 Jan 2000