11th > May > 2000 Archive

Latest Caminogate cockup will cost Intel dearly

The problems that have beset Intel with its i820 (Camino) chipset became compounded evermore today as the firm confirmed it was recalling nearly a million motherboards with defective memory translator hub (MTH) parts. The Register exclusively revealed the latest problem one month ago, but this one is going to cost Chipzilla dear. Intel has put aside a sum believed to be in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars and is offering a "new lamps for old" replacement system which uses Rambus memory instead. The recall only affects the SDRAM flavour of Caminogate. The firm is also, apparently, offering to populate such boards with Rambus RIMMs, which is one way of fulfilling its contract with the memtech firm, we guess. The number of boards affected is believed to number just short of a million, and, as we have reported almost ad nauseam, Rambus RIMMs are very much more expensive than SDRAM chips. But there are other implications to the recall. The SDRAM version of the i820 chipset will be unavailable for an entire quarter while Chipzilla attempts to fix this latest gaff. Intel issued a press release earlier today saying it has "Found some boards using the MTH (memory translator hub) may be sensitive to system noise under extreme conditions, and this issue may manifest itself in intermittent system reboots or system hangs during operation. This noise sensitivity may result in data loss and/or corruption. Intel has placed the MTH component and an Intel motherboard that uses the part on shipment hold." The bug will be fixed by Q3, it added. Many Taiwanese mobo manufacturers now appear to have lost confidence completely in Camino. The cockup has implications for firms which have invested time and money in adopting the i820 and are moving to reassure their customers while also warning that this twist may spell the end of the i820 as a platform. One told its customers: "This situation will cause 820 product disappear from market for at least one quarter. Whether the market can accept this product again when Intel fixes it in Q3, nobody knows". The same source added that Intel is also having problems, due to production yields, in producing 2 DIMM + 2 RIMM (Rambus) motherboards, so this project has also gone on hold. It is not only third party mobo manufacturers who are affected. There will be a long list of people queuing up for recompense from Intel including big PC names, large and small system integrators, resellers and customers. The problem, Intel claims, applies to mobos shipped after November. "Systems shipped before that time are unaffected by this issue," it claimed. The problem can "potentially cause data corruption" because of system noise, and can cause system resets. Intel is offering replacement mobos to its customers from top to bottom, and in the strangest twist of all twists in Caminogate, is offering Rambus i820 boards, unaffected by problems with MTHs. Some sources are suggesting it may also offer RIMMs with the mobos in way of compensation. Intel is setting aside money for the costs associated with the replacement, and in its words, say that cost "may be material". The firm issued a similar statement to its channel. The latest setback in the Caminogate soap is only one element in the galloping chaos that is appearing to affect Intel on the muvvaboard front, across a whole range of products. The now humbled Chipzilla has posted a utility at this page so that the slightly less than one million muvvaboard users can find out if they're going to be the lucky recipients of Rambus RIMMs. Intel's share price (INTC) had dropped by over $8 at press time to $108.75. Rambus' share price has risen by over $2. As a reader points out, that could help it reach its $500 threshold, given that nearly a million systems are affected. Let's hope there are enough RIMMs out there... ®
Mike Magee, 11 May 2000

AMD's Thunderbird to directly challenge Willamette

Johan at Ace's Hardware has posted an illuminating piece about AMD's roadmap which clears up a fair bit of the confusion surrounding cache. Never let it be said that The Register is prejudiced against one particular technology over another. No, we apply equal prejudice to all. Take a look, then, at this lengthy piece at Hardware Central which contrasts and compares DDR (double data rate) memory and Rambus memory. Prefer to pretend you're doing well at a game rather than failing miserably? Go then to Cheatfinder, which sho'nuff will allow you to become Nero if you're playing Caesar III... Sharky Extreme has posted its updated weekly look at microprocessor prices. ®
Mike Magee, 11 May 2000

Pop stars glitz it up for music portal launch

A gaggle of pop stars and starlets graced today's London launch of a UK portal for the music industry. Music3w.com has links to artists' official Web sites, as well as information on gig dates, new releases etc. It aims to be a stopping-off place for fans who want to avoid trashy unofficial sites - often run by groupies who get their facts wrong. The site also offers chatrooms and bulletin boards, and sells CD, DVD, video and concert tickets. The UK venture has been set up by CEO Andrew Wilkinson, long-term former manager of ageing rockers The Rolling Stones. Also present at today's glittering launch were pop groovers Republica and TV personality and musician Jools Holland. "When the Internet first appeared in my house there was a lot of excitement – but not from me," said Holland, one of the artists signed up to music3w.com. His opinion switched when he discovered his own record was at number one in Amazon's music chart. "I've changed my mind and proved I have one," he said, proving that the pop industry isn't only inhabited of brain-dead boy bands. Other artists represented on the site so far include Bryan Adams, Chris de Burgh, Culture Club, The Pretenders, Genesis and UB40. ®
Linda Harrison, 11 May 2000

Teenage runaway returns after 900 Internet bill row

A British schoolgirl has been re-united with her parents after running away from home after a row with her parents over a 900 Internet bill. Karen Churcher from County Durham sat at her PC late into the night talking to "friends" she met in online chatrooms after getting Net access as a Christmas present. But the Web-addict's family were naive about the potential financial costs of using the Web, and ended up with a 873.70 bill last Thursday from British "it's good to talk" Telecom. The sixteen-year-old went on the run on Friday morning following a row with her parents over the bill. Prior to returning yesterday, the only contact with her family has been through an e-mail to her cousin which did not reveal her whereabouts. Police and the girl's parents feared she had been staying with someone she met through the Internet. "I just want Karen to know that she can come home and we can sort this out," said Mrs Churcher, a school dinner lady. "The phone bill was high but it is not going to come between us, we will live with it." According to Karen's parents, she seemed so addicted to the Internet that they took to hiding the plug from her under their pillow while they slept. "She has never bothered about boys in the past but I don't know who she may have met through the Internet. There is no way of knowing who she may have met through the Internet, you hear so many worrying tales," said Mrs Churcher, who was trawling the Net in the hope of finding clues to where her daughter may be. "I am an old-fashioned sort of person and I don't know anything about the Internet. But I have taken some quick lessons and I will be speaking to people in chatrooms in an attempt to get a message to Karen." ®
Linda Harrison, 11 May 2000

Compaq prevented from using Wildfire name

The Big Q introduces its Wildfire Alpha techology come Tuesday, with Mike Capellas, big Larry Ellison and a host of other luminaries not including the now-departed Enrico Pesatori on hand to tell the world and its dog about the wonders of clustering. It's just as well that Wildfire is finally being released, after awesome delays, because new developments would have meant Compaq might have got in a spot of bother with m'learned friends. Sources close to Compaq have informed us that Wildfire is actually a registered trademark of Wildfire Communications Inc. The boys and girls at The Big Q have heard from Wildfire Communications who are far from happy of the use of this codename to describe what will be known come Tuesday as the rather less exciting AlphaServer GS Series. Oops. ®
Mike Magee, 11 May 2000

Malicious JavaScript shuts down Hotmail

Micro$oft's engineering bias preferring features over security has turned on them again. The company was forced to take its Hotmail service off line for about four hours Wednesday to bung a security hole enabling a malicious spammer to intercept Hotmail authentication cookies and take over users' accounts. The exploit uses an HTML attachment containing malicious JavaScript. When the victim views the attached file, the script intercepts the cookies and forwards them to a hostile site. The cookies are used for authentication and give anyone who intercepts them complete access to the victim's account, an intrusion which could also yield access to POP account passwords stored on the Hotmail server. Hotmail blocks JavaScript in e-mail messages, but not in attachments. Hotmail has fixed the hole by redirecting victims who activate the attachment before the JavaScript has a chance to intercept the cookies. Further details on the exploit and an example of the attachment are available from Peacefire. ®
Thomas C Greene, 11 May 2000

Web startups will fail without trading portal help

E-commerce firms which invest 80 per cent of their startup costs in marketing and advertising without establishing alliances are doomed to failure, a senior executive at HP Europe has claimed. Karl Terko, business development manager at HP's e.solutions division, said that instead of firms going it alone and spending vast sums of advertising money in a bid to attract Web clickers, trading hubs, which he described as mega-portals, were necessary to pull disparate business models together. Terko said: "We try and play every kind of a portal game. If you set up a business with the aim of just selling online, you won't be successful." Instead, Terko said, it was important to establish what HP describes as trading hubs, which pulled together telcos, banks, large media houses, consumer-customer relationships, service providers, content providers, business-to-business sites and business-to-consumer sites. Other elements in the equation would include appliance manugacturers, hardware manufacturers, and software and service companies. Strangely enough, HP makes big boxes for ASP, has a software and services wing, and has already forged alliances with a number of large appliance players including Ericcson and Nokia. It has also signed up 130 firms in 20 countries to its Cyber Bazaar scheme, a sort of technology mart intended to marry apparently different solutions with each other. "Trading hubs are the next generation portals," Terko said. "You need to create an eco-system of partners so that everything works together." And, it appears, HP has been quietly beavering away since the e.solutions division was set up last Autumn, creating such networks of partners. Merko said that as part of its push, HP had set up an equity division, which had already put money into a fair number of firms, and had plans to invest even more. He said: "The mega-portals, such as Yahoo! will still be there but smaller portals will have to change their business models". ®
Mike Magee, 11 May 2000

Does built in spin makes MS trial polls useless?

We have a tendency to be harsh on pollsters, and usually with good reason. There have been several polls asking the American public what they think about the DoJ's breakup proposal for Microsoft, but the point isn't so much whether or not particular polls have been Microsoft-funded: it's their general uselessness. Frequently the questions are loaded, and the opinions produced could therefore validly follow from the questions. Take the recent Harris poll questions, for example. Had Microsoft "treated competitors fairly"? Randomly selected respondents could not possibly give a meaningful response to that if they had no experience of Apple or Linux - all they can do is defend what they imagine to be their "choice" of operating system. As for whether Microsoft was "monopolist", that's a legal question that requires a knowledge of what "monopolist" means in a legal sense. After all, being a monopolist is not a crime - it's leveraging the monopoly that is illegal. The real purpose of polls is very often to seek support for a political stance by the commissioner of the poll, and it's for this reason that the questions are too often really bent. An outfit called the Portrait of America commissioned Rasmussen Research to find out about what the court of public opinion thought about the US versus Microsoft case, after Judge Jackson's determination that Microsoft had acted illegally. But was it really objective to ask whether respondents agreed with Bill Gates' statement that "This ruling turns on its head the reality that consumers know - that [Microsoft] software has helped make PCs affordable to millions"? Register readers will not be surprised that 59 per cent agreed, and just 11 per cent disagreed. Now how many of these respondents knew that the only increased costs in real terms on PCs has been the cost of Windows? Microsoft's breakup was seen as bad by 59 per cent and good by 19 per cent. So far as the outcome is concerned, 36 per cent say it would be good for America if Microsoft won, with 27 per cent thinking it bad. It is cases like this that destroy what little merit there is in public polls. ®
Graham Lea, 11 May 2000

Don't break me down: MS asks judge to throw out plan

MS on TrialLate yesterday Microsoft filed its counter to the DoJ's breakup proposal. Naturally, Microsoft's version of the Proposed Final Judgement doesn't include a breakup, and as you'd expect it's a lot milder than the DoJ version. In a statement that made it pretty clear how it proposed to respond next week, the DoJ said: "Microsoft's proposal is ineffective and filled with loopholes. It would not have prevented Microsoft from engaging in many of the illegal acts found by the District Court, nor would it prevent the company from using its monopoly power in the future to engage in the same kind of illegal behavior to crush new innovations." But they would say that, wouldn't they? Microsoft's Proposed Final Judgement was a tricky document to write. The company still says it's innocent, but it still had to accept the findings of fact and law and propose alternative remedies that would be appropriate. So Microsoft accepts the DoJ's claims in the original Complaint of 18 May 1998, with the exception of the first claim, which is "unlawful exclusive dealing and other exclusionary agreements". Judge Jackson found that the DoJ had not proved this part of the case sufficiently, and that Netscape wasn't sufficiently prevented from distributing its browser - which seemed at variance with the evidence - but that's what the judge decided. The second claim admitted is unlawful tying; the third is monopolisation of the PC operating systems market; and the fourth attempted monopolisation of the Internet market. In the prayer for relief, the DoJ asks for costs, but there is no comment on this so far - although Microsoft says it is willing to pay the costs and fees of the Plaintiff States. Microsoft goes along with the claims by the States, with the exception of the third claim (leveraging the operating system monopoly) and the fifth claim (agreements in restraint of trade, which specifically refers to licensing conditions for the OEM screen and end-user boot restrictions). The States may well wish to challenge this. As was widely expected, Microsoft is willing to relax licence restrictions subject to its own set of conditions, such as icons not being allowed to overlap any Microsoft icon (this exception does tend to trigger unworthy thoughts about future dirty tricks). So far as access to technical information is concerned, Microsoft is against having to disclose any source code, and suggests that fees would have to be paid and Microsoft's intellectual property protected. Furthermore, ISVs that receive information must agree "not to write Platform Software, or applications for such Platforms, that competes with any Microsoft software...". The external monitoring conditions that Microsoft wants for compliance are mild to say the least: the DoJ Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust would have to give Microsoft "reasonable notice" of any monitoring. The softest suggestion is that Microsoft thinks it should only be subject to monitoring for four years instead of ten. Memorandum in Support of the Proposed Final Judgement In this accompanying Memorandum, Microsoft "respectfully disagrees with the Court's conclusion that Microsoft has violated the antitrust laws". The major argument is that the DoJ did not "find a clear causal connection between (i) the conduct adjudged unlawful in this case and (ii) Microsoft's current position as the leading supplier of Intel-compatible PC operating systems". This is repeated again and again, but in fact antitrust law does not require this, since it is implicitly assumed that monopolisation creates conditions that harms consumers, and Microsoft has admitted that it did monopolise. Nor does Microsoft like the DoJ's desire to restore competition to the market. And as for the remedy being reasonably related to the wrong, Microsoft just can't see why breakup should be warranted. Microsoft also says that the plaintiffs have no business interfering with Microsoft's "product design decisions." Microsoft also expresses the belief that "the conduct at the core of the government's case was legal at the time it occurred", which sounds a tad too much like wishful thinking, especially in view of the abundant evidence in Microsoft's emails. Nor will special pleading help, when Microsoft lays down its all for the nation: "Microsoft's significant contributions to consumer welfare and this Nation's economy" show, Microsoft claims, that "the remedy imposed here must be focussed and not punitive". The government's requested relief seeks to re-engineer the entire software industry and impose extremely burdensome restraints that are wholly unrelated to the case that was tried, Microsoft complains. Documents three and four are a Motion for Summary Rejection of the government's proposal, and a document in support of this. The general tenor is one of righteous anger that breakup had been proposed at all, and Microsoft throws all manner of arguments into the pot. The claimed crimes, says Microsoft, do not fit the proposed punishment. The Court is blamed for having "dramatically accelerated the trial of the action", and consolidating it with the hearing on a preliminary injunction - but Microsoft fails to point out that this was a different case. Microsoft also squeezes its Court of Appeals victories, and quotes a few Supreme Court decisions that it claims are relevant. Microsoft also thinks it unfair that the Complaint does not correlate with the desire "to rip apart the company that until recently had the largest market capitalisation in the world" - but why the market cap should matter remains unexplained. On crime and punishment, Microsoft observed that courts were not authorised in civil enforcement proceedings to punish antitrust defendants. Instead, "the remedy must be reasonably related to the wrong". So far as the punters are concerned, Microsoft says that: "The public has reaped substantial benefits from Microsoft's development of Windows and other software products." Microsoft is quite right to put the boot into Ernest von Simson's Declaration for the DoJ, noting it was "without any empirical support", and observing that "such musings hardly provide a legal justification for ripping Microsoft apart". But Microsoft's next point - that "no court has ever ordered significant structural relief in a contested case where the defendant obtained its position through growth rather than through acquiring its rivals" - invites a "so what" and some questioning of how Microsoft had grown - which was of course by buying-in products and people. Microsoft waffles on rather repetitively, offering its opinion that breakup would go beyond what is necessary. But there's no humility anywhere, and no effort to explain away the enormous profits that Microsoft has made in a short period of time by exploiting its monopoly. The claim that "The public has reaped substantial benefits from Microsoft's development of both Windows and Office" is too controversial to help Microsoft's case. It gets worse when Microsoft pleads that "cross-pollination between engineers working on different products such as Windows and Office has led to numerous innovations." This is just too close to the old undocumented calls and Chinese Walls scandals to be anything other than a two-edged sword. There are some not-very-enthusiastic jibes at how well-integrated IBM and Sun are, but there again, they haven't been found guilty of monopolisation. Of course it's all going to have "devastating effects on Microsoft's ability to develop innovative products". Position As to Future Proceedings on the Issue of Remedy The last filing sets out Microsoft's ideas as to how long it should be given to answer the DoJ's filing. In the worst case - if the court decides to consider breakup - it wants until 4 December to prepare for an evidentiary hearing. If breakup is rejected by the court, Microsoft said it could manage to be ready two months earlier, on 2 October. But if the court rejects both breakup and what Microsoft calls "disclosure relief", then 7 August would be appropriate, Microsoft suggests. Microsoft also claims to be concerned about its intellectual property being compulsorily disclosed. At times Microsoft is very transparent, and as has become very clear, there are two main reasons for seeking a delay: first, it's an attempt to rerun the case, since any outcome would be better than the present outcome; and second, it would give Microsoft more time to make a political case for having it dropped. There's a feeling that Microsoft has put forward a negotiating position, and might, for example, be prepared to accept that it should publish an OEM price list and dodgy discounting schemes like market development agreements. But it's too late to negotiate, and Microsoft's position is too far from any reasonably acceptable position. Next week, the DoJ has its chance to pick holes in Microsoft's filings. Meanwhile, Judge Jackson will have to decide if he agrees to give Microsoft more time for before the final hearing. ®
Graham Lea, 11 May 2000

IBM to OS/2 users: Achieve neutrality! Change OS!

IBM has effectively set the date for the end of regular support for all versions of the operating system, less than a month after promising a "consolidated" update to OS/2. IBM says there will be no more fixpacks for the client after 31 January next year, for the Server after 31 May 2001, and for WorkSpace On Demand after 31 January 2002. Support will be available in the form of what IBM calls "special-bid, fee-based Service Extension and Total Content Offering defect support for selected OS/2 products and components", in other words service will be auctioned to users with very deep pockets. The message is pretty clear: customers should deploy "new e-business technology applications concurrently with existing OS/2 applications until platform neutrality has been achieved, and then change the operating system." That's been the message for three years now, but IBM has never spelled it out so bluntly. "They can't wait to move users off," said a source close to IBM's Austin facility. "Continuing support in 30 languages is a pain in the ass." One of the attractions of outsourcing development of OS/2 - as IBM very nearly did with Stardock Systems, only to be vetoed by HQ, was the cost of international support. But doesn't this contradict what IBM was telling users just last month? Mostly. IBM has repeated its commitment to delivering a consolidated release in November, and to refreshing Navigator, TCP/IP and Java and device drivers. Given that OS/2 can't be installed on disks larger than 8Gb, on PCs with new BIOSes or ATA-66 drives without a clutch of fixes, that’s the bare minimum to keep it serviceable. And no, our Graham wasn't dreaming up the bit about these releases becoming a regular event. Last month IBM said that "over the next two years, the Convenience Packages will be provided annually... supported from its delivery date through 31 December of the following calendar year". But with the end of general support for subscribers to the Software Choice scheme, that’s an offer that will have very few takers. Related Link The IBM announcement
Annie Kermath, 11 May 2000

This is what is going on the mobile world this week

Okay, so you know all about the blooming things frying your brain. Well, it's only really dangerous if you're a kid, or so says an independent survey (there's another story on the site about this). This is just as well because the big mobile companies have forked out 22.5 billion between them for the UK's 3G mobile licences. However, first One2One and now BT have run crying to the courts saying it wasn't fair. "Don't be a bad loser," is hopefully what Judge No-nonsense will tell them both. We warned them all it would all end in tears. In the meantime, the German, French and Spanish(?) governments all plan to make a bleeding fortune by running the same auction system for their airwaves. The Reg's bets lie with Vodafone which looks set to make a killing across Europe - it's gonna cost though. Orange managed to nobble one of the UK licences but, of course, has to be sold soon by Vodafone this year because of its takeover of Mannesmann. Mutterings over who's going to buy it and for how much are still continuing. A story in The Times though explained that because of Mannesmann's share price leap, the company may have to sell Orange quick for cash to avoid paying a multi-billion pound capital gains tax bill. Everything is Europe-centred at the moment. Japanese mobile giant NTT Docomo has bought a 15 per cent stake in Dutch telecom KPN Mobile (merger talks with Spain's Telefonica were abandoned a few days before). And KPN plans to team up with the US' BellSouth to get hold of Orange. Which all makes a pretty kinda mobile circle. Sad thing is, while all this high-finance malarkey is going on, they're all forgetting to get down to the important things - like developing some less irritating phone rings. Is it too much to ask? ®
Kieren McCarthy, 11 May 2000

US PlayStation 2 supply won't meet demand says Sony

Sony has officially set 26 October for the simultaneous release of the PlayStation 2 in Europe and the US. The console company will ship one million machines to each territory for the launch, with three more million boxes being fed into the retail channels throughout 2001, according to UK trade paper CTW. Sony is banking on selling $500 million worth of US sales in the first week of the PlayStation 2's launch, which amounts to well over 1.6 million units, priced at $299 a whack. By the end of December, it expects to have notched up sales of $1.5 billion - or five million units. 'Scuse us, but since Sony is expected to pump four million machines into the US during that period, surely that means either its sales predictions are way out, or quite a few customers are going to have to go without kit until the new year. Certainly many Japanese customers - particularly those ordering PlayStation 2's via the Web or by mail order - were forced to wait a while after the console's debut for their goodies to turn up. If Sony's numbers are anything to go by, it's clearly expecting demand to outstrip its ability to churn out consoles. Sony also confirmed that the US and European PlayStation 2's will feature a modified console capable of hooking up to an expansion unit that will provide slots for an Ethernet card and a 20-30GB 3.5in hard drive. Add-on prices were not given, and while company said the US console would be priced at $299, it didn't reveal UK or European pricing. However, ₤299 seems a reasonable guess. The US and European PlayStation 2s will also ship with DVD software built-in, and not on a Memory Card as per the Japanese model. Faulty MCs prompted a major recall of Cards shortly after the Japanese debut, something Sony clearly wants to avoid this time round. ®
Tony Smith, 11 May 2000

Writs in space: Hughes lawsuit spanners broadband MSN

In what looks suspiciously like a blatant pre-emptive strike against Microsoft's forthcoming broadband satellite MSN service, Hughes Network Systems yesterday file suit against Gilat Satellite Networks and its sub Spacenet, claiming patent infringement. Gilat partnered with Microsoft in February in order to "provide the first consumer two-way satellite broadband offering" in the US, wide availability being promised by year end. And in one of those massive coincidences that make this job worthwhile, Hughes Network Systems announced it would be adding two-way broadband satellite services to its DirecPC offering in the US in early Q4. Hughes' satellite DirecPC system has been running since 1996, but its viability hasn't exactly been enhanced by the need for a decent land line return pipe to make it viable. The service already runs alongside Hughes' DirecTV system, and the new two-way system will allow both services to be received on the same antenna. As Hughes' services are already global, there wouldn't seem to be any technical problem to offering two-way outside the US, but as yet no plans for the rollout have been announced. Hughes of course is allied to arch MSN rival AOL, and the grudge match nature of the whole deal is more than a little enhanced by the company's intention to market the new service through "more than 26,000 retail and distribution outlets". The MSN equivalent is meanwhile intended to be offered direct by Microsoft, or through a string of MSN retail outlets across the United States. Got all that? Total war is clearly brewing. According to Hughes, Gilat and Spacenet are making "unlicensed use of Hughes Network Systems' patented adapter card and high-speed Internet access technology". The companies are alleged to be infringing one patent relating to a satellite receiver adapter card for use in a PC, and three relating to technology for delivering data via a high-speed link, such as a satellite, to personal computers. Hughes is asking for an injunction against further infringement and "as an accounting for damages owed to Hughes as a result of the infringement." The statement doesn't mention Microsoft once, but we know what they mean, don't we? Game on... ®
John Lettice, 11 May 2000

InterX folds IT publishing arm into ComputerWeekly.com

Well, this puts the cat among the IT publishing pigeons. InterX and Reed Business Information are wrapping their online IT publishing interests into a JV company. Called ComputerWeekly.com, ownership of the new company is split 75:25 in RBI's favour. The JV sees InterX effectively withdrawn from the publishing business by turning over the content production bit of the IT Network into the JV. Financial details were not revealed. Computer Weekly, Europe's biggest and most profitable computer magazine, has not, to date, pulled its weight on the Internet front. With one leap, Weakly gains a powerful back-end content management and tracking system called Bladerunner (Britain's answer to Broadvision). This takes it head to head with Silicon.com, the VC-backed IT publishing group and Britain's first Bladerunner licensee. Both companies will now be able to out-Doubleclick Doubleclick by providing advertisers with "detailed business user profiles". There are companies which pay a lot for this sort of information. Computerweekly.com will pool the content from RBI sites computerweekly.com, distiedeals.com and, from InterX, ITNetwork. It is to be staffed by 20 people from RBI and 35 sales, marketing and editorial staff from The IT Network. In a show of humanity, all too rarely seen in the publishing world, the new business will hang out at the IT Network offices in London's West End, as opposed to the Reed Gulag in godforsaken Sutton. The joint venture will have the right to republish all the editorial content from RB's editorial stable - including Computer Weekly, Computer Weekly e-business Review, MicroScope, Freelance Informer, The VAR, Network Reseller Magazine, Business & Technology and Computer Trade Shopper. The rump of IT Network, 35 employees-strong, is to rename itself Electronic Product Intelligence Limited ("E-PI"). Not exactly a snappy name, but one more in keeping with its new status as an specialist systems integrator for Bladerunner. It will also retain the product database at the heart of the IT Network. E-PI kicks off with six or seven clients, mostly within the InterX family of companies. It is seeking to widen its reach in coming months, probably by using an Application Service Provider software rental business model. InterX shares closed yesterday at 11.75, 150p down on the day, and a couple of mountains away from the company's March high of 39.375. ® Trumpet Blowing... from The Register, 28 February 2000 "On the computer pub side, Reed Elsevier owns Computer Weekly, Europe's biggest and most profitable computer magazine (even though it operates only in the UK). But as with farming, it could be too late for Reed Elsevier to make a big success on the b2b portal front. Very simply, there are far too many well established, and well-capitalised companies already operating in this space. "As a late entrant, Reed Elsevier's best bet is to team up with players which are already active in this sector. In return for equity, it provides the mortar, while its online partners supply the clicks (and the fancy Net IPO ratings). We would not be surprised if, in coming months, the company announces deals along these lines."
Drew Cullen, 11 May 2000

MP3.com offers to pull major label tracks from MyMP3.com

MP3.com yesterday said told the world's major record labels it would pull all of their tracks from its MyMP3.com 'virtual Walkman' service if they wish.
Tony Smith, 11 May 2000

The Love Bug: Baldrick Operators From Hell act

IT administrators have moved quickly to limit the damage caused by the Love Bug by, er, stopping their users reading anything that even mentions it. Think about it, folks - virus breaks out, Symantec sends out virus alert which explains the virus, virus alert trips the corporate filtering system...
John Lettice, 11 May 2000

Evolvebank.com crawls out of primeval Web slime

Lloyds TSB has jumped into bed with Lycos to spawn an ugly lovechild that will grow up to be a pan-European e-bank.
Tim Richardson, 11 May 2000

Technology dinosaurs reluctant to cuddle up to the Web

Half the technology companies in Europe are not yet selling via the Web, a survey by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) has revealed.
Linda Harrison, 11 May 2000

Intel U-turn finally means Cape Cod mobo recall

Regular readers will be aware – bored even – by our continuing coverage of the Caminogate horror story. Since October last year, we have been pointing out numerous performance and design shortcomings in Intel motherboards using the 820 chipset, as evidenced by the long list of related stories below.
Andrew Thomas, 11 May 2000

Pornjackers steal property site bandwidth

A British property publishing house postponed its Web site launch for 15 months, on discovering 2GB of pornography had been dumped onto its server.
Drew Cullen, 11 May 2000

GtterRedmondung: MS sees Apocalypse following breakup

MS on TrialThe Potomac will foam with blood, Silicon Valley will be turned into a vast dust-bowl, the US economy will be destroyed and starving software developers will head back East, choking the Interstates with convoys of BMW Z3s. This isn't quite what Microsoft says will happen if it gets broken up, but its court filings of yesterday stop only marginally short of plague of boils territory.
John Lettice, 11 May 2000

ClaraNET access prices tumble

ClaraNET has slashed the cost of its off-peak unmetered Net access service.
Tim Richardson, 11 May 2000

Sega offers Dreamcast users second rebate

Sega appears to be getting increasingly downcast over Dreamcast. According to reports, the company is now offering buyers a $50 rebate (C$100 in Canada).
Tony Smith, 11 May 2000

Irate fans prep Metallica specific Napster clone

A band of programmers are developing a clone of the controversial MP3 'seek, locate, download' software, Napster, that will specifically targets and offer Metallica tracks.
Tony Smith, 11 May 2000

Shock horror as Caminogate evolves into ‘Pentium III flaw’

The redoubtable BBC Web site is running its take on the Caminogate saga and rather showing up its lack of knowledge on the subject. Its story is headlined Intel hit by Pentium III flaw rather unfortunately (and ill-advisedly, considering Chipzilla's famous sensitivity to processor flaws and its monstro and highly litigious legal department).
Andrew Thomas, 11 May 2000

US Reps question anti-virus companies' integrity

US Congressman Anthony Weiner (Democrat, New York) blasted the anti-virus software industry for being humiliated by the Love Bug in a five-minute tirade during House Science Subcommittee hearings this week.
Thomas C Greene, 11 May 2000

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