24th > April > 2000 Archive

The Register breaking news

Intel Itanium found in Old Aberdeen report

An Aberdeen Group report on Intel's IA-64 strategy is suggesting that future platforms will benefit from microprocessors such as the Itanium, the McKinley, the Madison and Deerfield when they begin to permeate big system boxes. We're from Aberdeen ourselves, so our eyes preternaturally light up when there's the possibility of combining details of the Scottish City with Intel's Itanium platform. Will we discover the Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen in Intel's chunky chip? Has granite a part to play in the strategy? How expensive is housing in the Silver City now that the oil industry has supplanted quarrying and fishing as major industries? Sadly, there isn't much about these topics and the report makes some conclusions that chime, not unsurprisingly, with Chipzilla's plans for IA-64. But, on the other hand, the Aberdeen report hedges its bets on adoption of the Intel technology, and how corporate customers will put all of their existing systems together into one whole. Topics covered include the puissance of 64-bit computing, how the Itanium will work with key software applications, when we can expect to see Itanium systems, and how they compare to other RISCy systems. Finally, there are suggestions as to how large corporations should start to migrate their systems to IA-64. But the talk is not all Intel talk. While the Aberdonians say that IA-64 will become a "volume leader" but that could be as long as seven years after its debut. Nevertheless, ISVs (independent software vendors) are likely to accept IA-64 as the de facto standard and will migrate 32-bit software to these platforms, say the Aberdonians. That conclusion, however, is rather undermined by one bullet point, in which the Aberdeen Group says that the best deployments will be for new applications specifically designed for the Itanium, with apps for other microprocessors being ported to IA-64 later. When will systems be available? Although the report is dated March 2000, there are some strange references to what was happening last June on page 10, suggesting that some parts of this document are not quite as fresh as they could be. Despite some anomalies, the PDF is full of details about IA-64 architecture, including stuff about its famous Rotating Registers, Predication and Speculation. The lengthy Aberdeen report, can be found in PDF form, cough, on this Intel site, which also has references to other IA-64 documents which are of interest, including how IA-64 will be a boon for Java, e-commerce, directory services, and security. Sadly, however, Intel's Philosopher's Stone, the Itanium, is unlikely to be able to do much to revive the Aberdeen fishing industry... There's a reasonable history of Aberdeen here, while you can find the Malt Whisky Trail here. ®
The Register breaking news

Micro$oft shares clobbered on breakup rumours

Rumours that a US government proposal due Friday will urge breaking Micro$oft into at least two divisions led analysts to downgrade their buy recommendations and took a hefty chunk out of M$ market cap in Monday morning trading on Wall Street. The Washington Post and USA Today have both reported in their Monday editions that a US Department of Justice plan backed by nineteen states would cleave the Windows OS division from the rest of Micro$oft. The remaining core company might then be subdivided into two, one handling applications software and the other Internet business, including browser software. Furthermore, the company's revenue growth recovery estimates have been trimmed from 20 percent to a more modest 15 percent, largely on news of less than stellar Q3 earnings. (In a companion story The Register explains why these expectations are extravagant.) "We expect the slide to continue this week following a disappointing earnings release and the company's first forecast guidance on estimates in memory," Merrill Lynch analyst Christopher Shilakes reported Monday morning. With that -- and it's not much when you look at the company's 52-week performance -- the influential Goldman Sachs lowered its buy recommendation, and frantic trading commenced with 42 million shares changing sweaty hands in early morning trading alone. Micro$oft has slid from a one-year high of nearly $120 per share to Thursday's closing price of $78.94 for a 42 percent loss, yielding a $240 billion reduction in market cap. While revenues are up rather nicely on the year, the company is now haemorrhaging money in the current Wall Street carnage, and this has got investors spooked. Shares dove $11.94 to $67 for an additional loss of 15 percent in early trading Monday, leaving the company ranked number three behind General Electric and Cisco Systems. The news, which is hardly news, inspired another irrational sell-off on the NASDAQ, which slid nearly 200 points by midday, though most dotcoms have been posting better than expected Q3 earnings. Their share recoveries remain hampered by superstitions surrounding the troubles in Redmond, which are inexplicably assumed to bode ill for the entire industry. We can see the tunnel-vision, zero-sum mentality on Wall Street most clearly when we consider that amid the overall NASDAQ pounding, only Micro$oft's most direct competitors appear to be gaining. Red Hat gained $3.13 or 12 percent; VA Linux $4.59 or 12 percent; and Caldera Systems 88 cents or eight percent. ®