3rd > April > 2000 Archive

The Register breaking news

Tom's Hardware gives Rambus fresh kicking

A fresh piece at Tom's Hardware Guide has taken a critical look at Morgan Stanley's report on the Rambus memory platform. Van Smith reviews a Morgan Stanley document which said the share price would - ought - to reach $500, and which we managed to see a week or two back. According to Van, the positive report (which incidentally saw the RMBS share price do one of its swoop and soar tricks that it's now notorious for), has more than its share of smoke and mirrors. AMD, he points out, will introduce a DDR (double data rate) system in summer, and points out that benchmarks that Tom's Hardware has published in the past indicate that RIMMs are not all they're touted to be. Van Smith also makes the claim in the piece that Rambus RIMMs will always be inherently more expensive than the opposing technology. Rambus 'fans' are not going to like this one at all. But please, don't send us any more Flames of the Week on this topic - surely there are other stories that irritate you? ® Related Stories Rambus faces antitrust allegations Morgan Stanley's vote for a $500 Rambus Link You can find the piece here, subtitled: 'Don't Always Trust the Hands that Feed You' (cough).
The Register breaking news

AMD, Intel, Moto to face Austin poachfest

The opening of an Intel R&D centre in downtown Austin has caused concerns about hi-tech firms poaching each other's engineers, with jobs at a premium in the area. At the beginning of last week, Real Estate News, reported that Intel will spend $100 million building a semi design plant which will hire up to 2000 people. But there is already concern about the shortage of skilled chip engineers in Austin, which already has facilities belonging to Intel rivals AMD and Motorola, as well as an IBM R&D centre. Two years ago, Motorola and Intel were involved in a bitter legal spat after the former accused the chip giant of hiring engineers at its former Somerset PowerPC plant, and wooing trade secrets away with them. Now, according to local newspaper, the Austin Business Journal, there are fresh concerns in the city following last week's announcement. The newspaper reports that there is a shortage of skilled staff in the neighbourhood, but also quotes Intel and Motorola representatives as saying that they are unconcerned about a possible poachfest. More than one Intel facility in Austin is planned, with the company saying that in addition to microprocessor design, it will also hire DSP engineers and staff to aid its StrongARM chip programme. Intel claims that it hopes to recruit nationwide, and also to strike agreements with the large University of Texas campus based in the city. ® Related Story Intel under fire for green belt development Link You can find the Austin Business Journal report here
The Register breaking news

Western Digital debuts 15.3 GB per-platter disk

If size is important to you, you probably want to look at Western Digital's latest offering, the Caviar Enhanced IDE 15.3 GB per-platter, 5400 RPM hard drive family, aimed at what the company refers to as "capacity-driven consumers". Although WD is occasionally accused of having a relaxed attitude to quality control, the aggressive pricing of the new disks looks set to attract the capacity-driven punter. Offered in capacities ranging from a rather miserly 7.5 GB to a stonking 45.0 GB, estimated retail pricing for the 45.0 GB unit is a tempting $299. Currently in qualification testing with PC manufacturers worldwide, the drives are scheduled for launch to the distribution and retail channels this month and feature a 9.5 ms access seek time, a 2 MB buffer and an Ultra ATA/66 interface. WD's Sound Logic acoustics technology, recently introduced on its 10.2 GB per platter, 7200 RPM desktop hard drive products, will also be available on the new range, making them quiet enough for both home and business environments, says the company. ®
The Register breaking news

Excite Invades Poland

Excite Europe has hired two top guns as part of its "aggressive European expansion plans". So does this now mean it is to invade Poland? In the world of Business Speak, to be aggressive may be regarded as a Good Thing. But for most of us, this indicates poor self-control, and rather unpleasant people, or countries. Here's what aggressive means: adj Making the first attack, or prone to do so; discourteously hostile or self-assertive, now often contrasted with assertiveness. (Chambers) And here's the definition of aggression , also culled from Chambers. n. A first act of hostility or injury; the use of armed force by a state against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another state; self assertiveness, either as a good characteristic of usu as a sign of emotional instability. ®
The Register breaking news

Palm founders' latest enterprise to IPO

Handspring, the Palm-based handheld vendor formed by Palm founders Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky, is to IPO like... well... Palm. According to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed on Friday, stock worth $300 million will be sold to the public. It should be noted that Friday's filing is really little more than a statement of intent, and the stock valuation simply a basis for the SEC's fee calculations, so quite how many share will be issued, when and at what price will not be known for some time. Still, such a move was always on the cards. Quite apart from Palm's move to go public, courtesy of former parent company 3Com, doing an IPO is really the only way a company's founder can become rich these days. We suspect, Dubinsky and Hawkins didn't do too badly out of Palm's sale first to US Robotics and then, via the modem company, to 3Com, and floating Handspring should add to their coffers. Lest that seem too meanspirited, it's worth remembering that the Handspring duo pretty much created the modern PDA market, pace Apple, and there's no reason why they shouldn't make a bob or two out of it. How much they will actually make remains to be seen. IPO watcher Jeff Hirschkorn, cited by CNET, reckons Handspring will have to get its e-commerce systems under control if investors are to become keen on the company. Possibly, but that may not matter too much now that Handspring's products are spreading out into the retail sector. And the order-taking glitches and shipping problems Handspring experienced towards the end of 1999 now seem to be behind it. Handspring is perhaps less likely to make as much of an impact as Palm did, simply because it's less well known. Again, the growing retail presence will help here, as will the formation of overseas subsidiaries - Handspring is in the process of setting up a European HQ right now. ®
The Register breaking news

Big Blue hypes up 0.13 micron capability

IBM plans on giving Chipzilla a run for its money in the Marchitecture department with the announcement of 0.13 micron process using copper interconnects coupled with silk insulation. Silk is a low-k dilectric produced by Dow Chemical in the US. "Every 50 years or 100 years in the world, something major comes along and changes the world forever. This is one of those very, very big things," said the excitable John Kelly, general manager of IBM Microelectronics. Chips built using the new process could perform up to 30 per cent faster than existing products and consume less power, making them suitable for applications such as mobile phones, but production chips won't be available until the middle of 2001. A design kit will be available in July. Analysts can't agree on the lead IBM has over rival chip makers, variously quoting three months to two years. One even reckons IBM will be second only to Intel in chip manufacture by 2005. Although IBM's new C11 process is proprietary, Dow's silk product is commercially available so Intel and co will also be able to use it in their 0.13 micron (and smaller) processes. IBM is producing sample chips using the new low-k process on a pilot production line in Fishkill, NY and plans to build both ASICs and future variants of the Power4 processor, used in the RS/6000 and AS/400 ranges, using C11. ®
The Register breaking news

More leaks: Intel readies Itanium Lion project

One of the first Itanium systems to arrive in quarter three of this year will be a four-way own-brand system codenamed Lion, The Register can reveal. The system, which appears on internal Intel roadmaps we saw last week, will use the firm's own chipset, which supports, like many of the other server boards it is introducing, double data rate (DDR) memory using ServerWorks (formerly Reliance) chipsets. And, rather like many of the server introductions for the IA-32 platform that Intel is making this year, it is likely that a chassis will also be offered to selected customers, making this a generic Itanium box, rather than those made by the firm's PC customers which we saw at the Intel Developer Forum in February. Intel also has an aggressive plan to introduce software support, not just for its IA-64 platform but for the new motherboards that we revealed last week. According to a solution competency centre roadmap we saw, between Q2 of this year and Q2 of 2001, Intel will implement a number of software ports for its entire server platform. These will cover messaging, e-commerce infrastructure, Web servers, databases, clustering technologies and other implementations. Messaging In Q2 2000, there will be support for Exchange for NT on Koa, and Exchange for Windows 2000 on Koa. Exchange for NT and Windows 2000 for the Glen Echo board will arrive in Q3, while Q4 will see Exchange for NT APAC. The Itanium Lion effort will start in Q1 and Q2 of 2001, with the porting of Exchange for Windows 64. E-Commerce SiteServer for NT on the Koa platform will arrive in Q2, while the Windows 2000 version will arrive in Q3/Q4. Again, this will be ported for Win64 on Lion in Q1/Q2 2001. Web Servers Apache for Linux on Koa arrives in Q2, while MS IIs for Windows 2000 and Apache on Glen Echo arrive in Q3. These will be replicated in Q2 of 2001. Databases In Q2, Koa will support MS SQL for NT, while in Q3 that will arrive for Koa, as well as Oracle 8i applications for Glen Echo. In Q4 2000, we will see OPS for Windows 2000 on the Saber-R (eight way) platform, as well as MSCS for Windows 2000 DC. MCCS for Windows 64 on Lion will arrive in Q1/Q2 2000. Clustering Technology In Q3, there will be support for MSCS for Windows 2000 on the Koa platform, and support for MS WLBS for Windows 2000 and the Glen Echo board. MSCS will arrive for Lion again Q1/Q2 of next year. Other Software Firewall for NT will be implemented on the Lancewood platform in Q2/Q3 this year, and Caching Proxy for Koa in Q4. As well as these implementations, Intel is telling its customers there will be a wide range of ease of use, tuning, sizing, and Web development packages available on its server board platforms. ® Related Stories Leak! Intel's server board strategy to 2002 Leak! Intel desktop plans slip out... and slip
The Register breaking news

AMI ships 840 mobo that works

American Megatrends Inc. says it has designed around Intel's 840 chipset problems. The MegaDual dual Slot 1 Pentium III mobo runs at either 100MHz or 133MHz frontside bus and is also claimed to support the 1GHz Coppermine chips which are fast gaining a reputation for going into a sulk in dual installations. "Our server motherboard provides all the capabilities of the Intel 840 chipset without experiencing any failures that may result when using a memory repeater hub (MRH) to run SDRAM equipped with error correction code (ECC) circuitry," said Michael Patellis, AMI's motherboard product manager. AMI claims that any 840-based board with fewer than eight layers is likely to experience MRH errors, but that the MegaDual's eight-layer design gets around this. The ATX board supports up to 4GB on-board ECC SDRAM system memory, has six PCI slots, 4x AGP, on-board dual channel Ultra 160M SCSI and 10/100 Ethernet. The mobo will be available 'soon' and pricing has yet to be announced. ®
The Register breaking news

Were Nato Kosovo documents leaked on the Web?

A Nato document leaked on the Net detailing the rules of engagement for soldiers serving in Kosovo is being examined by computer experts to verify its authenticity. Reports at the weekend claimed that the nine-page document somehow popped up at a London publishing company. Nato spokesman Jamie Shea is reported to be have said that if true, it would be "a matter of great concern to us". But a Nato spokesman told The Register this morning that even if the document proved to be genuine, it "doesn't leave us greatly concerned". "The information is not classified," he said. Although no one can be certain before all the checks are complete, it appears the document - genuine or not - is what all KFOR peacekeeping troops carry around with them in their top pockets, along with cigarettes, Hershey bars and ladies' nylons. Last week, it was reported that British security was compromised after two spooks were careless with their laptops. ® Related Stories Sneak thief steals state secrets in MI5 laptop Second spy loses laptop
The Register breaking news

Leak! Intel desktop plans slip out… and slip

Chip giant Intel is ready to release a spate of chipset products in Q2 and Q3 of this year, but sources within the firm have revealed that some of the introductions have already slipped on internal banana skins. Sources working for Intel Europe showed The Register its desktop product roadmap up until the end of this year, but there are already problems with some of Intel's offerings. In this quarter, Q2, Intel is set to release a number of products including Lockport, Easton, Wichita, Yampai and Baton Rouge. Lockport is the D820LP, scheduled for release in May, which supports Rambus RIMMs, is based on the 820 chipset, includes 4X AGP, comes on the ATX form factor and includes PCI audio and local area network support. Easton is based on the 815EEA chipset, again supports PGA 370 chips, includes AGP connectivity, PCI audio and networking, and again follows the ATX form factor. Wichita, the D815EWT, codenamed Wichita, is a legacy free system, again supporting PGA 370, includes AGP and comes in the flexATX form factor. Yampai the codename of the YA810E, scheduled to be released in the last quarter but which has slipped into this. It, as its name suggests, is based on the 810E chipset, includes the 810E gfx, LAN capability, audio, and comes with legacy IO, although it is available in the flexATX form factor. Baton Rouge (BA810E) has also slipped into this quarter. It is called "legacy reduced", includes 810E gfx, modem capabilities, support for PGA 370 and LAN capability. In the second half of this year there is a whole new spate of codenames to contend with. In Q3, Intel will introduce its Melbourne (D820EMB), based on the 820E chipset, supporting Rambus and PGA370, having an ATX form factor and 4X AGP connectivity. In the same quarter, will come the Stornaway board, the 820EST, which supports synchronous memory, is PGA370 compliant, comes in the microATX form factor, has 4X AGP connectivity, and uses the 820E-memory translator hub. The same sources reveal that a number of projects have dropped off Intel's roadmap. They include Holbrook, Portsmouth, and Great Smokey-2. Bimini has now completely disappeared from Intel's plans for 2000. Later, we will discuss three Timna (system on a chip) offerings which the chip giant is readying. ® Related Stories Leak! Intel's server board strategy to 2002 More leaks: Intel readies Itanium Lion project
The Register breaking news

New Windows Media Player plays it all – except DVDs

A little bit of Windows Millennium Edition is available for download from those nice folks at Microsoft. Windows Media Player 7 is billed as being capable of doing everything you could ever want, including copying CDs to a hard disk, cataloguing your music collection and watching videos. This is obviously a new meaning of the word 'everything' as WMP7 can't play DVDs. And testers will need nerves of steel, too. The download site carries the usual warnings about not running beta software on production machines, but also includes the rather more dramatic "Once this technical preview is installed, it will overwrite your existing Windows Media Player file. It may be impossible to reinstall without reformatting the hard disk of your computer." But not knowing the meaning of the word "fear" we tried it anyway and it's actually pretty good. A few annoyances such as a propensity to connect to the Web at every opportunity whether you want it to or not, and a seeming inability to automatically download track listings for CDs (like the current Media Player and RealPlayer do) will surely be put right before the thing's finished. Copying an audio CD to hard disk (in Windows Media Format) is commendably simple and fast, and the resulting quality is not bad at all considering that WMF file sizes are only half that of MP3. You can then copy the files to a portable WMF player, enabling you to annoy fellow commuters. There's a choice of skins to customise the appearance of the thing and a selection of animations that twitch beguilingly in time with the music. With the caveats that WMP7 only runs under Win98 and Win2K and possibly requires a little light reformatting of the hard disk, it's worth a look. ® Link Media Player 7 can be downloaded here
The Register breaking news

Battle rages over blame for MS talks failure

MS on Trial The collapse of the Microsoft mediation talks over the weekend has rapidly turned into a major whodunnit. Microsoft, splits in the government camp, even saboteurs from the states have all been blamed, and the stories are already being spun in several directions. Anonymous sources speaking to AP yesterday claimed that the talks failed because Microsoft was determined to push through its own proposal, and rejecting the government one. These sources also insist that the talks didn't collapse because of splits between the DoJ and the states, so they're clearly spinning from somewhere in the government camp. Meanwhile, on the record in several places we have Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal, insisting that the differences between the DoJ and the states were minimal compared to those between the government and Microsoft. So the spinning so far indicates that it was Microsoft intransigence that sank the talks. But how true is that? An interesting piece by Joel Brinkley in today's New York Times pitches it rather differently: "Over the weekend, an official allied with the states complained that the Justice Department had been trying to ram through an inadequate settlement proposal without bothering to involve them. But a lawyer who was close to the talks had a different point of view, saying the states were 'trying to snatch credit for sinking the talks' in part because 'they're tired of being in the back seat.'" Brinkley also notes that during the talks the DoJ and the states have never actually sat down together to try to work out a joint proposal for remedies. This means that, with the judge likely to deliver his verdict any time, they're going to have to do this in the very near future. Despite Blumenthal's attempts to smooth things over in public, it's simply impossible that the DoJ and the states could be entirely in agreement right now. During the talks the DoJ seems to have been willing to accept a conduct remedy, i.e. one where Microsoft agreed on limitations to its behaviour, while at least some of the states still push for a structural one, i.e., breakup or similar. It's worth bearing in mind that Judge Jackson's advisor Lawrence Lessig cast doubts on the viability of structural remedies in December, so Microsoft might reckon it's most unlikely that the judge himself will impose one. Some more pieces of the story of the talks failure are starting to fall into place. In his statement on Saturday, Judge Posner said that it had become clear on Friday that the two sides were too far apart. But he also said that a consent decree had gone through almost 20 drafts during the talks. Microsoft apparently produced a new draft of its proposals late on Friday, and these were deemed unacceptable by the DoJ and the states. But the states also made new proposals on Friday, and these may have raised the stakes further than Microsoft was willing to go. Brinkley's NYT piece quotes an unnamed official close to the talks as saying the DoJ's final settlement proposal could be "fairly criticised" for not being tough enough, but that it "was a tradeoff between quick and immediate relief versus comprehensiveness." This official puts forward a number of issues that caused the failure, but curiously these seem in the same categories as Microsoft's earlier proposals were said to be, i.e. they're all points Microsoft has moved on, which would mean the arguments were over the company not moving far enough. According to this source, there were differences over: whether Microsoft would offer a version of Windows with no browser, or one that was easily removable; whether Microsoft would publish APIs; whether it could continue exclusive deals with ISPs to promote Microsoft products; and whether Microsoft would be allowed to tie products to Windows via OEM contracts. None of these seem absolute sticking points, surely no greater than they were several days earlier when Judge Posner asked Kackson to postpone his verdict. But it's still not clear what was in the proposal from the states on Friday - perhaps that will become clearer as the states and DoJ put their heads together at last. ® Related Stories Judge attacks 'leaking and spinning' in MS talks MS guilty verdict looms as mediation talks collapse New York Times story Complete Register Trial coverage
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Amiga preps dual-OS plan, outlines hardware line-up

Amiga, inc. is turning itself into Be, if this weekend's revelations from the Amiga 2000 show, held in St. Louis, are anything to go by. During the show, the company said it had entered into partnerships with a series of companies, most notably Sun, Red Hat and Corel, put Java at the forefront of its software efforts and outlined its hardware plans. The key announcement on the hardware front was an upcoming developer-oriented machine, designed to get coders working with Amiga's software technology as quickly as possible. Based on a 500MHz AMD K6-II and 64MB of RAM, it's not exactly the most powerful box out there, but it should be cheap. Nvidia will provide the graphics engine, a GeForce 256, though the company itself now has much bigger fish to fry thanks to its X-Box partnership with Microsoft. Curiously, the developer machine - which bears a broad similarity to Be's original BeBox, at least in terms of target user - will run Red Hat Linux, though again this seems to be an interim measure to get Amiga's technology into the broader development community. That explains the deal with Red Hat. Amiga describes Red Hat as a strategic partner, but it's important perhaps not to read too much into that, since the phrase 'strategic partner' means little more than 'supplier', these days. Anyone who uses Java is a Sun strategic partner, and since Amiga's technology is based on that language, it can claim to be one too. The details at this point are a little vague, so it's not clear whether Amiga's technology is fully Java-based or whether, like Apple's Cocoa API (aka Yellow Box, aka OpenStep) it's simply programmed using Java. Either way, Sun likes it. Linux or Tao - it's your choice What it will do is clear: provide consumer devices with full multimedia and Internet functionality. That's essentially the plan laid down at Amiga last year when it was owned by Gateway, and was the basis for then CEO Tom Schmidt's 'software only' strategy. The core OS back then was Linux, not the more recently announced Tao kernel, but it's noteworthy that the initial use of Red Hat suggests that Linux support hasn't been abandoned. And Corel's support suggest it never will be. Corel likes Amiga's technology since it will provide its version of Linux with a consistent set of consumer-oriented features (the more server-oriented Red Hat is probably less bothered about this, though that might change, and having not bought Be, it might now be interested in acquiring Amiga) with which to compete with Windows. From the Corel connection, it's not hard to imagine a two-pronged Amiga strategy: on the one hand it can provide manufacturers with a robust embedded OS (Tao) with its own APIs sitting on top of it, but for those who have already committed themselves to the open source OS, well, they can use Amiga's APIs, too. Be's been here before That compares with Be's Internet appliance strategy, launched earlier this year, which has the BeOS' rich multimedia and Internet APIs sitting on top of the BeOS kernel, together called BeIA. is also open sourcing its front end, so there's a possible route to market via Linux here too. Amiga's current strategy closely follows Schmidt's, the big differences being the support for the existing Amiga community, through application support and retaining the hardware connection. The latter may prove a problem is it did for Be and, before it, NeXT. Will Amiga be able to sell enough to make money - or at least allow money made elsewhere (licensing its software technology, presumably) to subsidise what it looses on hardware? The company's focus on an embedded OS should help, since it reduces the hardware's horsepower requirements, but it's still going to be difficult to build a hardware business. Amiga hopes to have consumer machines out by the end of the year, though the schedule is broad and largely governed by the speed of other development efforts. The developer machine should ship much sooner, possibly as early as May. Either or both should keep the Amiga die-hards happy, and still allow Amiga, as a company, to move forward to tackle new markets instead of old ones. The snag is that it's up against Be - not to mention Microsoft's own 'embedded NT' efforts, which will power the X-Box and other dedicated devices, and other schemes to add multimedia features to embedded versions of Linux. Unlike many of these - and Be in particular - Amiga's plan takes in a number of possible core OS choices and processor choices, making it arguably the more flexible approach out there. Assuming, of course, it can deliver. ® Related Stories Be launches info appliance OS Gateway sells Amiga to ex-Amiga employee Amiga users demand open source AmigaOS Amiga CEO confirms software-only strategy
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Lastminute in bounced cheques debacle

Lastminute.com investors were said to be furious after the Web start-up sent out cheques that bounced. Investors who paid for more stocks than their 35 share allocation were entitled to a refund. While some cheques have been slow to arrive, other customers were refused payment when they tried to cash them. Some had cheques returned stamped with "payment countermanded by order of the drawer". A Lastminute.com representative remained coy about the cheque debacle, claiming he knew nothing about any bouncing. He told The Register that, in his personal opinion, "these stories are hoaxes". Funny that, because a red-faced Lastminute last week admitted the cock-up to the BBC. It told the Working Lunch programme: "There might be a few more cases like this but we would be horrified if there were many more. "We are very surprised at this event and can only say we will do everything we can to rectify the situation as soon as possible. There has been absolutely no block cancellation of cheques." ® Related stories Lastminute: what the papers say Lastminute jumps – but punters get next to no shares
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Optical IEEE 1394 does 100m in 400Mbps

Japanese researchers have succeeded in getting IEEE 1394 (aka FireWire) to operate over optical links at full speed - and over much greater distances than has been previously possible. So far, attempts to get 1394 operating over optical links have sacrificed the data throughput rates for cable length. After all, extending 1394 beyond its metal cable length limit of 4.5m is what moving to optical is all about. Last year, Sony and Sharp announced they were jointly developing an optical version of 1394 that supported cable lengths of up to 10m. The snag: the link's speed fell from the 1394 standard, 400Mbps, to just 100Mbps. However, researchers at the Electronic Industries Association of Japan (EIAJ) claim to have not only got the speed back up to 400Mbps, but can maintain that speed over cables up to 100m long. At that sort of length, it would be possible to network an entire house with optical FireWire cabling, allowing consumer electronics devices and computers to interoperate. The technology isn't yet ready for use outside the lab, but an EIAJ spokesman claimed it will be very inexpensive when it does come to market. ® Related Stories NEC unveils IEEE 1394 'Firewireless' home LAN Sony, Sharp create optical 1394 for portable devices Canon gets 1394 'FireWireless' up to 100Mbps
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UK Online slams Govt. trademark trampling

Geoffrey Fenton, MD of ISP UK Online, has called on the British Government to rename its new e-government strategy, UK Online, accusing Downing Street of hijacking its trademark. Last week wired PM, Tonee e-Blair, launched the new drive to speed up Government plans to offer services online bringing forward its deadline from 2008 to 2005. But while e-Blair and his e-cohorts congratulated themselves on a job well done, Fenton was hopping mad "deeply dissatisfied, angry, appalled, incredibly upset, outraged, concerned and disappointed" (see earlier story) with the Government's decision to brand the new e-commerce initiative UK Online. He accused the Government of steamrollering his company's trademark, having a similar domain and logo. "We are appalled that the government has used the name of our respected brand to launch their new e-government initiative," he said in a statement. A spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office said the Government was aware of the UK Online brand before it announced its new initiative and that the Government's e-envoy even wrote to Fenton "ahead of the plans". But according to Fenton, the letter was only sent two days before the Government made its announcement. So it seems that the Government was aware of the possible conflict but thought, "what the heck, we'll do it anyway". And they may be right. One city lawyer told The Register that since the services offered by UK Online and UK Online were fundamentally different, the ISP would have a tough case proving trademark infringement. Fenton would not be drawn on whether he would instigate legal action against the Government if it didn't comply with his wishes. ® Related Stories Government plays cybersquatter
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Compel gets Midas touch

Compel has agreed to buy Oracle reseller and e-commerce consultancy Midas Computer Software. Midas will be integrated into the company's Internet division, Compelsolve, and will be renamed CompelMidas. The UK reseller will pay £2.5 million for Midas, consisting of £1.45 million loan notes, £1 million in Compel shares and £50,000 cash. It will also take on £1.5 million of Midas debts. "The newly merged operation will focus on delivering Oracle based solutions for e-commerce and business to business requirements," according to Compel. It follows Compel's acquisition of consultancy business Pangaea, renamed Compelreach, in January. For the ten months ended 30 September 1999, Midas saw £13,800 pre-tax profit on sales of £4.7 million, with net assets of £93,000. In February, Compel recorded pre-tax profit of £3 million on sales of £135 million for the six months ended December 31 1999.® Related stories Compel blames Y2K sales slowdown Compel snaps up Web design company
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Informa turfs out porn surfers

Publishing group Informa is to join the ranks of companies sacking staff who look at unsavoury material on the Web. Chiefs at clean-living Informa will tonight sack and discipline a number of staff for surfing for porn on the Web while at work. "We expect dismissal letters to be issued this evening," confirmed Keith Brownlie, HR director at Informa. Brownlie was unable to confirm numbers, but said suggestions of five firings and 10 disciplines were "not wide of the mark". The unfortunate bunch, who are currently suspended, is believed to include at least one senior member of staff. "We're taking a harder view on management…This will not be tolerated, whether they are management or not," added Brownlie. "We are taking quite a lead here because we take it very seriously." The company, responsible for publishing respected shipping bible Lloyd's List, refused to reveal the exact nature of the filth which had been whizzing round its email system. Last week Zurich Financial Services revealed it had sacked seven staff from its Swindon office found with "disturbing material" on their computers. According to the Black Box Network Industry survey, around eight million hours are lost every year by staff surfing the Net when they should be working.® Related stories Zurich sacks seven for 'disturbing' emails Smutty emailers sacked at New York Times Student spams sex email by mistake Sex addicts rule online
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Here comes the judge – MS verdict due tonight

MS on Trial Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson is to issue his findings of law after the US markets close tonight, around 5pm Eastern time (21:00 GMT). Jackson had originally intended to deliver his verdict last Tuesday, but had agreed a delay while mediation talks continued. Following the collapse of the talks on Saturday, however, any delay became pointless. Microsoft's stock has been taking a hammering in the markets today, and news of the imminence of the verdict will probably hit it some more, as people sell while they've still got the chance. We at The Register are almost inclined to buy some - if we did that sort of thing, of course. All that's going to happen today is that the judge will say which laws he reckons the company has broken, and then the case will proceed to the remedies stage. Microsoft will of course appeal, and there will be plenty more scope for settlement talks; it'll likely be quite some time before something seriously bad happend to Microsoft, and at some point on the way to that, the stock is likely to be seriously undervalued. Buy Bill? There's no rush yet, but look out for the right opportunity. ® Complete Register Trial Coverage
The Register breaking news

The Register libeled by huge US telco

A serious point here. Under UK law, if someone publishes a damaging untruth about you, that is libel, and actionable. If someone says similar about you, that is slander. So hello, Bell Atlantic, and do you feel lucky? The Register's daily update service gets some damn weird stuff in its admin mailbox, but we especially liked one we got last Friday from something called msweep@bigyellow.com. "Subject: A message from reg@lettice.demon.co.uk contained spammed material."
The Register breaking news

MS guilty – a monopoly, and anti competitive

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson today issued the expected guilty verdict in the Microsoft antitrust case. He concluded that "Microsoft maintained its monopoly power by anticompetitive means and attempted to monopolise the Web browser market." Jackson also concludes that Microsoft violated the Sherman antitrust act "by unlawfully tying its Web browser to its operating system." But there's some small cheer for Redmond here - Jackson doesn't reckon that Microsoft's marketing deals with otrher companies (i.e., with ISPs and, maybe, OEMs, "constituted unlawful exclusive dealing." Jackson does accept that Microsoft's violation of the Sherman Act also makes it liable under the laws of the 19 plaintiff states, which is bad news as regards Redmond damage control. He concludes that Microsoft has monopoly power (which we knew he thought already), that there is no rival that could could challenge this monopoly in the near future, and that it maintained that monopoly by anticompetittive means. In the next phase, unless there's another, more successful attempt at an out of court deal, he's going to have to figure out what to do about it. ® Complete Register Trial coverage