18th > February > 2000 Archive

The Register breaking news

Malicious hacker seeks to manipulate share price

The phrase 'enterprise computing' got a new meaning yesterday as a malicious intruder uploaded a bogus press release to a Web site run by US biotech outfit Aastrom Biosciences in an apparent attempt at manipulating the company's share prices. The fraudulent press release announced a merger between Aastrom and Geron, another biotech firm. The Company alerted NASDAQ authorities to the violation and says it is investigating the matter further, though to what effect we cannot say. They don't exactly sound like experts in the field of Internet architecture and Web site security, we must observe. "We are appalled by this ruthless attempt to manipulate markets and potentially harm the shareholders of both companies," Aastrom President and CEO Douglas Armstrong huffed. "While we have no idea how this occurred, we are currently investigating the security of the Web site," he added. This illustrates neatly what the hacking underground has been sniggering over for years now, namely that in the mad rush to run up their Web sites, hundreds if not thousands of companies have become sitting ducks with "no idea" about a lot of things which routinely occur in cyber space. ®
Thomas C Greene, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Playboy pays $700k for Cinema.com

A self-confessed Leeds playboy claims to have beaten Hollywood's finest to secure the online film market. Steve Hill, chairman and MD of data access middleware company Easysoft, has paid $700,000 for the URL cinema.com. Hill says he outbid rivals Sony and Universal Studios to secure the domain name, which he plans to turn into the "definitive global portal to the world of cinema and film". "It will be the most content-rich movie Web site on the Internet, appealing to everyone interested in the movies from the casual cinema go-er to the avid film fan." No stranger to blowing his own trumpet, Hill's publicity machine says he is "36 years old, and single, and lives a playboy lifestyle in Walton, Wetherby". It continues: "He is very highly regarded in the computer software industry, where he has worked for over 15 years." Back at the Web site, customers are being promised "everything related to film, videos, books, merchandise and memorabilia", according to Hill. He also plans to use the site to show paid-for films viewed over the Internet at home. Cinema.com has a certain resonance in the UK, but how well it play abroad? Entertainment giant Disney owns Movies.com, a URL tailormade for the US market, we would have thought. ® Related Stories $3 million price tag for loans domain Bids roll in for domain hype auctions Banks.com auction kicks off with £600K bid Big bucks URL is the business(.com)
Linda Harrison, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Gates paves way for opening up Windows source

Bill Gates was reported in a Bloomberg news release last night as saying that "Microsoft Corp would be willing to open the source code for its Windows software to competitors if that was all it would take to settle the antitrust case filed by the Justice Department". Gates was also attributed as saying that "If we can have a settlement, we're going to do absolutely our best to achieve it". But minutes later, Microsoft spokesman Greg Shaw claimed: "He did not make any of the comments regarding source code that were attributed to him.'' Another Microsoft spokesman, Jim Cullinan, said "We've talked to Bill, and Bill said he never said that. That issue [presumably opening Windows source code] is not even related to this case." Bloomberg then issued a correction, saying it had been advised by Microsoft that its earlier report of Gates' comment should read: "Bill Gates agreed with the statement that Microsoft Corp would be willing to open the source code for its Windows software to competitors in order to settle the antitrust case..." Not much difference, you may well think. Matthew Winkler, Bloomberg News editor-in-chief, proclaimed: "We stand by our story. He was asked specifically [if Microsoft would be willing to open the Windows source code in order to settle the case] and the answer he gave was yes [if that's all it took]." It turns out that after the on-camera part of the interview for Bloomberg Television had finished, Gates' response to the critical question was not captured on video or audio tape. Although Gates was apparently smiling at the time, there was no elaboration about any unacceptable settlement conditions, which were implied in his response. It could therefore be reasonably assumed that he thought he was speaking off-the-record, so his response could be a reliable indicator of the state-of-play in the mediation. Gates was in San Francisco for the Windows 2000 launch and was interviewed by Dylan Ratigan, the Bloomberg TV anchor. On Wednesday the WSJ had reported that Microsoft would be willing to agree to greater disclosure of Windows, amongst other concessions, so the Bloomberg interview is really an elaboration of that, from the horse's mouth, as it were. But in earlier interviews, and in the taped part of the Bloomberg interview itself, he'd seemed to rule this out. Judge Posner may well be peeved at these disclosures, since he told both sides not to speak to the press about the content of the talks. Gates has said that he has been spending considerable time personally on trying to reach a settlement, and pressure is mounting prior to the last scheduled hearing before Judge Jackson next Tuesday about the proposed findings of law. It is probable that a sticking point is whether a behavioural remedy would be sufficient to stop Microsoft's anti-competitive activities, with the DoJ most likely pressing that only a structural break-up would provide relief for the industry, and Microsoft being adamantly opposed to break-up. ®
Graham Lea, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Trust me, I'm a Government-approved Web retailer

The Government yesterday unveiled a scheme to give online SMEs an 'e-hallmark'. The initiative is a joint venture between the Alliance of Electronic Business and the Consumers Association and endorsed by the government. It is also part of a new programme to accredit online codes of practice called TrustUK. The moves are part of the Government's efforts to instil confidence in consumer online buying from small and medium sized businesses. Those companies that qualify will get an e-hallmark to show they abide by a code of practice that meets standards approved by the Office of Fair Trading. Alex Allen, Britain's e-envoy, commented: "Groundbreaking schemes like TrustUK are vital in giving consumers assurances that it is safe to buy online." ® Related Stories UK e-envoy flies in Which? scheme has channel Dabs all over it Evesham signs up for safe online shopping scheme
Linda Harrison, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

0800 court case trundles on

A British teenager charged with a number of Net-related offences, including using an unauthorised 0800 number to gain toll-free access, is to appear before magistrates today in Corby, Northants. The brief court hearing will set a date for when Chris Buckley, 18, is due to appear before a Crown Court. Last month Buckley opted to be tried in a crown court (see Unlawful 0800 use case goes before jury). ®
Tim Richardson, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

MS thumps tub for Win2k rollout

Fashionwise, the big Win2k launch was a sports jacket event for the Microsoft stars, but there was an uneasy balance between formality and fun at the carefully scripted event in San Francisco. Some 5.000 people were present, which just happens to be the number of Microsoft staff involved in creating the $1 billion product (or possibly the $2 billion product - strange inflationary forces seem to be at work in MS presentations). The biggest launch party, however, was in Philadelphia, prompting a city councilman and a senator to introduce resolutions that the day be proclaimed "Windows 2000 day", for so it was. Gates was cited in a Microsoft press release as saying that "independent testing" by Ziff-Davis Labs showed that Windows 2000 had run for 90 "workdays" without a reboot, compared with just 2.1 days for Windows 95 and 5.2 days for Windows NT 4.0. But whatever the true facts, it is remarkable that Microsoft was prepared to admit officially just how bad earlier versions of Windows are. Nor would upgrading necessarily be easy, since in a CNBC interview, Gates agreed with Gartner, saying that "I think it's fair to say that one in four customers may have some issues as they move up...". The demos were intended to provide evidence of scalability, with one showing 35 Dell servers delivering 18,500 hits/second. There was another spoiler from Gartner, with analyst Alexa Bona noting in a Reuters interview that "There are probably less than ten people in the world who really understand [Microsoft's licence prices] - and that 's because they bury it deep in their terms and conditions and make it very difficult to understand." She also noted that the average cost of a client licence for large organisations was around $20 per user in the US, and £20 ($32.13) in the UK, and that users who might have previously just bought server licences for NetWare and Exchange would now have to buy client licences for Windows 2000 for £20 times the number of users on Exchange. Her parting shot was that "if you standardise on any dominant vendor you will find your negotiation leverage is very small." Nor is all well in Japan, where Win2k suffers from a Y2K-like problem: rather than display the current year as "2000", it gives "3999" in some circumstances, but Microsoft is refusing to recall copies and suggests people download a patch from its website and fix it themselves. Fujitsu is annoyed, especially as Microsoft had known about the bug since the beginning of the month. It is seeking "formal explanations" from Microsoft, since it was officially told on Thursday. The Japanese version will cost 16,800 yen ($153) when it is introduced today, with ten shops planning to have extended business hours, but with nothing like the fever of the Windows 95 launch. In Hong Kong, an upgrade will cost around HK$1,899 ($243), and the professional version HK$2,699 ($346). The US price is $149, and $599 for the server version. Probably the best prices for Windows 2000 are in Moscow, with 80 roubles ($2) being the norm. Of course, you don't get the clever edge-to-edge hologram, but nobody seems to care and there is wide-scale awareness that the copies are pirated. On the bug-count front, the 63,000 "defects" have been renamed "focus areas" by Windows supremo Jim Allchin, and many may just be performance issues or feature requests, he claimed. If so, it looks as though there's still much tuning to do, and many features that didn't make it. Amidst all the jollity of the launch, the rough stuff was being handled by Steve Ballmer. He is still incensed at Sun for "stirring the pot" with its European Commission Complaint, exacerbated by Scott McNealy's remark that Windows 2000 was too bulky and clunky to be of practical when the world needed "anywhere, anytime" computing. Ballmer announced at the launch that he will "go after" Sun with Windows 2000, and that Microsoft would have fun "taking market share". It was curious that the gregarious Ballmer confessed he had not spoken to McNealy for years, and would have a "hard time" chatting to him, and that "all they can do is lose". He continued: "They have no upside. They're on the downside of the shoe, baby." Sun responded that Microsoft technology doesn't cut it in the Internet world. ®
Graham Lea, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Every man is an island with the Net

The Net is turning people into loners who prefer a computer interface rather than the warmth of a smile from fellow human beings. It is responsible for dehumanising people, leading to social and dysfunctional problems among its users. It is also blamed for the breakdown of family groups. Looking on the bright side, Net users also report spending fewer hours caught in traffic, fewer hours in shopping malls and less time watching TV. It could even be bring an end to traffic congestion. These are just some of the conclusions published in a report by Stanford University. "The Internet could be the ultimate isolating technology that further reduces our participation in communities even more than television did before it," said Norman Nie, a professor at the University. "The more hours people use the Internet, the less time they spend with real human beings," he said. Other finding include:
Tim Richardson, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

DRAM spot prices fall through the floor

Spot DRAM prices in Korea are tumbling toward $5 per 64Mb unit, Asiabiztech reports. What it calls the "benchmark 8Mb x 8, PC-100 chip" is currently trading in the $5.80-6.15 per unit range. Falling prices throughout the first half of the year will mean that chip vendors are likely to cut back on production -- but not quite yet, according to industry watchers cited by AsiaBiztech. ® Related Stories DRAM suppliers confirm doom and gloom DRAM industry sits on massive overstocks
Drew Cullen, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

DDI to close Nippon Iridium

Japanese telco DDI yesterday said it will shut Iridium Nippon, the ailing satellite comms venture's Japanese operation, in which it's the majority shareholder. DDI president and chairman Yusai Okuyama said his company will also no longer fund Iridium itself -- even if its current management team are allowed by other investors to restructure. It's not clear whether DDI counts Teledesic boss Craig McCaw's attempt to take Iridium over as a restructure, but it seems likely. Analysts cited by the Nikkei newsservice certainly believe that esterday's announcement signals an end to DDI's involvement with Iridium. Okuyama said that the decision had been made because demand for Nippon Iridium's service, which launched just over a year ago, has been lower than expected. The company has 4300 subscribers; Iridium as a whole has around 50,000 users worldwide. Ironically, Iridum's attempt to stay afloat and safe from creditors which saw the company move into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last August, actually prompted DDI's decision. It said the move into Chapter 11 prevent Nippon Iridium from exploring futher business opportunities in the Japanese market. Iridium has yet to respond to DDI's announcement. ®
Tony Smith, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Ingram warns price increases are on the cards

Ingram chairman and CEO Jerre Stead yesterday warned that vendor squeezes would force through trade price increases. "In 1999, Ingram Micro and other distributors have experienced changes in vendor terms and conditions and incentive programs that have resulted in increasing the cost of goods we sell to our customers," he said. "As we enter 2000, we are implementing business changes to improve margins for our services by increasing our prices to include these higher costs as we also continue to tighten our business processes with our suppliers and our customers." Ingram Micro beat analysts expectations yesterday by recording $75 million pre-tax profit for the fourth quarter of 1999. The US distributor saw profits beat the previous year's final quarter by $2 million, in what was traditionally a poor quarter for many in the sector due to the Y2K slowdown in corporate spending. Sales rose 26 per cent to $7.8 billion -- including a 19 per cent hike in European revenue to $2.36 billion and 18 per cent growth in the US to $4.35 billion. Figures included a net gain of $125 million from the sale of 35 per cent of its Softbank shares. For the full year, Ingram saw pre-tax profit drop to $183 million after reorganisation costs of $13 million and a one-off gain of $4 million. This compared to $245 million for the previous year. Sales topped $28.1 billion, up 27 per cent on 1998. Based on current estimates for the first quarter of 2000, the company said it was expecting to turn in pre-tax profit from $88 million to $94 million, including $69 million from the sale of an extra 15 per cent of its original stake in Softbank. Shares closed at $15.50, below its initial offering price of $18 in 1996. ®
Linda Harrison, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

e-Minister gets her Bills mixed up

It appears the E-Commerce Bill won't be the first Act of the millennium, as announced by e-commerce minister Patricia Hewitt yesterday, because the first new Act of Parliament has already been signed. The Northern Ireland Act 2000 is, in fact, the UK Parliament's first Act of the millennium. And even if this wasn't the first, the privilege would not go to the E-Commerce Bill, but to the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000, which received Royal Assent on 17 January. Still, you can't blame the minister for a slip up over her bills. After all, it's not as though she was responsible for wiping more than £2 billion of the price of BT's shares, or anything like that. ® Related Stories E-commerce Bill to be UK's first Act of the Millennium BT shares tumble on false Brown Net cuts story
Tim Richardson, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

McCaw to buy Iridium assets in 11th Hour change of plan

Iridium yesterday paved the way for Teledesic boss Craig McCaw to take over the company, when an earlier financing deal between the troubled satellite comms venture and McCaw's Eagle River Investments was torn up and a new procedure put in its place. Now, Iridium will receive a $5 million cash injection to keep it operational until 6 March, a little over two weeks away, from Eagle River and Motorola. That investment has been approved by the US bankruptcy court which has the last word on all Iridium's financial thanks to the company's Chapter 11 status. Soon after an new operating company will be formed to control the running of Iridium. That company will almost certainly be chaired by McCaw. By early March, the company will file a motion with the court under which Eagle River will propose to buy up Iridium's assets and provide the debtor-in-possession financing that McCaw's company was to have given now and last week filed with the bankruptcy court to do. "We are pleased by this new development. This approach should result in a more expeditious transition to a new operating company, which will benefit our customers," said Iridium CEO John Richardson. Of course, McCaw's takeover isn't a certain move, since under US bankruptcy law, Iridium has to be open to offers from other companies to bid for its assets. However, it's hard to see any other bidder emerging. The timing of the new deal comes so close on the heels of Japanese telco DDI's decision to cease funding Iridium and shut down the Nippon Iridium, the joint venture between DDI, Iridium and handset vendor Kyocera, that it's hard to conclude that the two events aren't related. ® Related Story MSN's next big heave -- broadband access by satellite
Tony Smith, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

MSN's next big heave – broadband access from space

Microsoft's numerous attempts to build market share for the Microsoft Network have failed so far, but the company keeps coming, and the latest heave, broadband satellite access, could just turn into MSN into a 'must have' success. The new service will be available in the US initially, will only be available for MSN on Win9x operating systems, and will only be sold by Microsoft and by MSN retailers. But as MSN isn't a monopoly by a long chalk, that's OK, right? Microsoft is building the service via a $50 million investment in a 26 per cent stake in Israeli company Gilat Satellite Networks, and is promising two-way satellite communication in most of the US. Although details are scanty, it is claimed that users will get "always on" access at speeds "up to ten times faster than normal modem speeds". Microsoft spokesman Tom Pilla has confirmed that only complete packages will be offered, and that there are no plans to sell Internet access separately. But we'll see about this, and about the longevity of the Win9x-only restriction. At the moment it's perfectly possible just to use MSN as an ISP without putting any of the client software on your machine (which needn't be a Windows PC), so Microsoft would have to introduce new roadblocks if it were to make this impossible in the future. MSN also has plans for a CE-based MSN Web Companion, so there's another operating system for you. But an MSN-only access appliance bundled with an MSN-only broadband satellite network could nevertheless turn out to be the winning package Microsoft's Consumer Group is looking for. So long as it can ramp the service faster than rival systems. We note, en passant, that the Hughes-AOL DirecTV-AOL TV satellite offering is supposed to be happening "by early 2000." In support of its own satellite plans, Microsoft plans to purchase an unspecified number of VSAT (very small aperture terminal) satellite earth stations over four years, if some technology milestones are passed. These Skyblaster products, which have a 0.75 metre indoor/outdoor dish and provide a satellite return path, will come from the wholly-owned Gilat subsidiary Spacenet of Princeton, acquired in September 1998 from GE Americom, a GE subsidiary. Gilat says it is band-agnostic and will offer Ku-band initially and enhance the product for Ka band in due course. Shelly Revkin, president of Spacenet, claimed that Gilat had "the only two-way satellite product that offers broadband capability and optimisation for IP traffic". Microsoft consumer group svp Jon DeVaan will join the board of newly-formed company Gilat-to-Home, which will be headquartered in McLean, Virginia, with former Packard Bell executive Zur Feldman as CEO. In a frank comment as to why Gilat chose Microsoft as its partner, the company said "Microsoft is the ultimate partner for anyone in the technology field". As for why Microsoft chose Gilat, Gilat says that its mission "aligns well with Microsoft's over-arching MSN broadband strategy". With 40 million US households able to receive DSL service, and 42 million mainly overlapping households with cable access, there is still a significant number of potential subscribers living in areas where there is no present broadband access. The US has around 104 million households. A study has also suggested that if there were a prospect of a $10 saving per month, 38 per cent of existing broadband customers would consider switching to satellite, so it is quite likely that the market will have fierce competition. Gilat has not revealed pricing. The target is to get a million subscribers by 2002/2003, and approaching 3 million in 2005. ® Related Story Teledesic's McCaw to buy Iridium assets
Graham Lea, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Queen forced into online banking

The Queen will soon be one of the first Brits forced into banking online or over the phone. No longer will Buckingham Palace servants be able to pop into Coutts Bank to cash the royal cheque or bring back a few fifties from the hole in the wall. The high society outfit has announced it is withdrawing counter services at all its branches in favour of 24-hour banking. The NatWest subsidiary claimed there was no demand for over-the-counter transactions. Alternatively, it could just be too expensive to fulfil their clients' demands. Coutts has been gradually shutting down branches around the country. Its Eton branch, where cashiers wore the regulation tailcoats, was ditched last year following too many rich nippers cashing cheques for as little as £1 into "cornflakes accounts" opened for them by their parents, today's Times reported. Now the Etonians are reduced to queuing up to use the hole in the wall at the nearby HSBC cashpoint. The bank closed its Bristol branch at the same time. The head office in the Strand in London will remain and offer a full range of banking services, according to a Coutts representative. "We tend to go and see our clients at their home or place of work, or they can come and see us here," she said. Maybe Coutts will use this opportunity to call on some of its debtors. HRH the Queen Mother is reputed to have a £4 million overdraft with the bank. ® Related Stories Queen invests in Web firm Queen's bank Coutts to fire Bristol, IOM staff Queen's Web site runs on Linux
Linda Harrison, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Apple culls more Euro marketing teams

Apple has begun the second stage of its plan to centralise its European operations in Paris by moving German, Swiss and Austrian marketing teams to French capital, as predicted by The Register. The move follows last December's transfer of UK marketing and advertising operations to Paris and the loss of four jobs at the British HQ. Similar Job cuts will be made in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, according to an Apple source cited by MacWelt. The source also said Apple will end its participation in German Mac-oriented shows, which again mirrors a similar decision made in the UK last year. That involved Apple UK pulling out of Apple Expo 2000, then set to take place next April, causing much consternation among vendors and resellers. Apple Expo 2000 was finally put out its misery last December. Apple's plan here is incorporated into its Top 7 Countries Strategy, said MacWelt's source, which essentially reduces national European divisions -- Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands -- to little more than branch offices of the European HQ. ®
Tony Smith, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

MacOS' Sherlock surreptitiously sends email addresses

A security glitch that exposes users' email addresses has been found lurking within Apple's Sherlock Internet search technology. The discovery comes a month after it was detected that Apple's iTools online service transmits users' passwords without scrambling them first. The latest discovery was made by MacWelt magazine and Web site MacSherlock. In fact, it's not a glitch as such, rather it's a lack of thought on the part of Sherlock's programmers. Sherlock has an auto-update facility which checks for new versions of modules that allow it to search specific sites. The Register itself has just such a plug-in that can be downloaded here. Our plug-in is provided through a Web server, but if the update is transferred by FTP, Sherlock will log in anonymously, but provide the user's email address as the login password. In the past, it was considered courteous to provide your email address this way when downloading files anonymously. Nowadays, in these more privacy-conscious times, it's much less commonplace. In fact, many applications that support FTP, such as Netscape Navigator, allow users the choice as to whether their email address is transmitted this way. Last month's security glitch centred on the iTools browser plug-in, which communicates with the server using XML. Software developer Brad Pettit discovered that the plug-in transmits the user's password as plain text. "One could theoretically control the plug-in from any link that loads content into your Web browser. And you wouldn't even know it," he said. Pettit also found the iTools software capable of "gathering and sending all sorts of machine-specific data to Apple, such as hardware ethernet addresses. ®
Tony Smith, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Dot-Com firms are hacking each other – expert

All this talk of fifteen-year-old kids vandalising the Web is a smoke screen behind which dangerous, professional crackers are pleased to take cover, security expert Mark Rasch revealed during testimony before a Senate hearing on Internet security earlier this week. The lure of big, fast-money scores in virtual commerce is making it common for skilled hackers to attack competitors in search of free intellectual property, Rasch said before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee. The present era of "dot-com millionaires and IPO frenzies and the ease of starting your own business" on the Web is creating "a tremendous amount of competition to acquire intellectual property" by any means at hand, Rasch, a vice president with security outfit Global Integrity, explained. "We see sophisticated attacks against computer systems in order to steal intellectual property which can be used in competition with other companies," he added. Info tech companies may be willing to report a nuisance attack such as the recent DDoS campaign, where no company assets are compromised. But Rasch believes that serious, costly, compromising attacks are rarely reported to the authorities. This is because such companies, which own nothing of substance but are valued principally according to the information they possess, depend heavily on consumer confidence. A prosecution and trial, Rasch observes, would make public the security vulnerability that was exploited, hence the company's hopelessly inadequate security measures, he implied. An info tech company will typically lose between ten and one hundred times more money from shaken consumer confidence than the hack attack itself represents if they decide to prosecute the case, he estimated. Further impediments to accurate cyber-crime reporting come from "a fundamental distrust" of law enforcement among the info tech industry. One common fear is that a crucial piece of equipment, like a main server, say, might be impounded for evidence by over-zealous investigators, thereby shutting the company down. It's hardly a surprise, then, that Rasch cited an estimate claiming that fewer than one in ten serious intrusions are ever reported to the authorities. We can safely assume that the few which are reported tend to be those least likely to shake consumer confidence. This explains why the public has been misled into believing that graffiti attacks and other nuisance intrusions by teenagers account for most of the cyber-crime going on. In fact, because it is to a company's advantage to suffer in silence, the real malicious hacking, which would involve the compromising of crucial data and intellectual property by rival tech firms -- and which probably represents the lion's share of online criminal activity -- is kept as a closely-guarded, dirty little secret. ®
Thomas C Greene, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Cisco Euro-disties ratchet up service

RBR Networks, Datatec subsidiary and Europe's biggest Cisco distie, has launched a web site that will enable dealers to "find, quote for and order products more accurately and efficiently than ever before". The site is integrated with Cisco's Network Product Marketplace for resellers. Tech Data, which would like to be Europe's biggest Cisco distie, has established a dedicated Europe-wide division to sell the router giant's kit. Logistics, purchasing and headquarters functions are to be handled centrally from Munich, while sales will be handled locally. ®
Staff writer, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

CeBIT bans Tom's Hardware, Register

Online journalists will be banned from next week's CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany. According to the powers that be at the Messe, writing for the Internet is no proof of being a reporter. So if it ain't in print, it ain't worth the paper it's not written on. So far as British Web journalists are concerned, only those bearing a membership card from the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) will be allowed past the front barricades.
Linda Harrison, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Abbey National in Cahoots with Net banking

The Abbey National has joined a number of other British banks by announcing it is to set up an Internet arm. Called Cahoot, it certainly takes top prize for the most ridiculous name for a Net bank. No doubt officials at Egg are beside themselves with joy. Abbey plans to let Cahoot soak up some £200 million to get the operation off the ground and aims to attract 200,000 customers in its first year. Along with traditional banking services, it also plans to generate revenue by selling products such as videos, compact disks and computers through deals with other e-companies. Recently, the Halifax and Lloyds TSB have both announced their plans to go online. ®
Tim Richardson, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

64-bit Win2k beta for Q2 as Wintel reforms around Itanium

Another day, another beta - fresh from launching Windows 2000 yesterday, Microsoft said that it would deliver a beta of the 64-bit version in Q2 of this year, and reiterated that it expects to ship the finished version at the same time as Intel's Itanium goes out the door. Microsoft has of course provided abundant proof in the past that early expectations aren't necessarily borne out by reality, but the company maybe has a couple of things going for it this time around. It claims that the Windows 2000 code base is "64-bit ready," and of course it's been engaged in 64-bit development simultaneously with Win2k development. Add to this the likelihood that the first version of 64-bit Windows is likely to be a composite of 32-bit and 64-bit code, plus Windows supremo Jim Allchin's intention to get Microsoft's development schedules back under control, and maybe finished code for Itanium is just about do-able. But there's something else as well. Yesterday's commitment to a Q2 beta came as part of a joint Microsoft-Intel announcement, in which Microsoft announced the opening of a 64-bit Windows Developer's (sic, but we're sure they didn't mean there's only one developer) Lab in Redmond, supporting porting and tuning of applications. Microsoft and Intel also jointly announced delivery of an IA-64 SDK for 64-bit Windows. But spot the coincidence. Here we have Microsoft and Intel buddying up again on Windows for Itanium, while in the same week Intel mounted a public and somewhat histrionic assault on Sun, which it deemed to be backsliding on Solaris for Itanium. And, ahem, Microsoft president and CEO Steve Ballmer was training all his guns on the number one enemy, Sun, at yesterday's Win2k launch. We can see why defending the 64-bit Intel turf for Windows is important to Ballmer, and how much he must have enjoyed Paul Ottelini's assault on Sun, but it's not yet obvious what Intel gets. Obviously, it must be getting something. ® See also: Intel elaborates on Sun Solaris spat
John Lettice, 18 Feb 2000
The Register breaking news

Intel's ‘Kicking’ Pat Gelsinger changes sex at IDF

Poor old kicking Pat Gelsinger. Not only does he have to put up with the likes of The Register's very own Mike Magee at the Intel Developer Forum this week, but the uncreasingly awful ZDNet adds insult to injury by asserting that Pat is now of the female persuasion. Ace reporter Matthew Broersma writes today (only 72 hours late, but that's pretty good by ZZZZZZZZDNet's standards) about kicking Pat's speech at IDF last Tuesday where he revealed to an astonished audience that Intel recommended an extra 250MHz processing power was needed to run Windows 2000, so we'll all have to go out and buy a faster processor. Writes Broersma: "The combination would require "250 more megahertz", said Pat Gelsinger, vice president and general manager of Intel's Desktop Product Group, in a keynote speech Tuesday at the Intel Developer Forum in Palm Springs, California. She said the difference is due to data transfers around Intel's network, anti-virus software updates and checking, encryption and other network operations." Check out the full story at: http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/2000/6/ns-13460.html
Pete Sherriff, 18 Feb 2000