15th > May > 2000 Archive

The Register breaking news

Boy tries to infect school with 256 viruses

A 15-old-youth who tried to infect his school's IT network with 256 viruses is now allegedly making claims that he wrote the "Love Bug".
Tim Richardson, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

L&H pins voice tech to Asian growth

Lernout & Hauspie's campus in Belgium is close to Ieper (Ypres), the site of the most extraordinary carnage during the First World War. The layout of the Flanders Language campus is modelled on the inside of the human ear, with buildings at the site spiralling off a model of the inside of the human ear. Its own HQ is at the centre of the spiral, but other firms which have offices there include Intel, Microsoft, Cisco and a number of smaller startup firms, all focusing on the aural and oral Holy Grail.
Mike Magee, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Pylonofthemonth.co.uk voted most yawnable Web site

All publicity is good publicity, so getting voted the dullest Web site in the world should have some advantages.
Linda Harrison, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Thunderbirds, Durons are go…

According to our friends at c't, AMD will roll out their T'birds on 5 June at Computex in Taipei. We'll be attending that show... But Big Blue seems to have jumped the gun, according to this incredibly long URL on the Aptiva page.
Mike Magee, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Industry, users to face Intel-Rambus Willamette duopoly

It is widely expected that when Willamette arrives later this year, hopeful third party chipset manufacturers will be prevented from access to its bus technology, and that means only Intel chipsets will be available to support its up-and-coming IA-32 AMD buster.
Mike Magee, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Valley votes against MS breakup – but IT doesn't

By a small margin, Silicon Valley resident's don't want Microsoft broken up, according to a telephone poll conducted by the San Jose Mercury last week. But of the people polled who worked in the technology business, 52 per cent do want the company split, and 37 per cent of all respondents, with 29 per cent against, thought it would be good for the economy if the company was broken up.
John Lettice, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

IT staff shiftless crooks who can't get dates, say IT staff

A survey carried out by NOP for Microsoft UK and PC Magazine (lovely couple) comes to the strangely unsurprising conclusion that senior management and IT professionals don't understand one another. Or, as Microsoft puts it, that only 30 per cent of senior management feel that IT staff communicated very clearly how they can meet business needs through technology. But the survey's results as regards what management think of IT staff, and what they think of themselves, are rather more shocking - sad bunch, really.
John Lettice, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Intel dithers over i820 recall details

The Intel cockup over the i820 chipset has placed profits of Taiwanese mobo makers in financial jeopardy as the chip giant decides exactly how to tackle what has to be a major logistics nightmare.
Mike Magee, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Wildfire takes aim at Intel, Sun, IBM, HP's server pants

Mike Capellas and his merry band of Compaq executives (sans Enrico Pesatori) will roll out their GS series tomorrow afternoon, but in the meantime, details have emerged about what we can expect at the Wildfire jamboree.
Mike Magee, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Write to reply – readers' letters

That's right. While we love to relay the insane rantings of some readers, it's about time the more reasoned got through. So here is the first of a weekly series in readers' letters.
Team Register, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

MS selling $10 Office 2k, testing Windows rental in colleges

Microsoft isn't just planning to offer Windows for rent when it reaches the next generation - a tipster from Cleveland State University in Ohio tells us that the company is already doing so for students at the University, at the bracing rate of $10 a week. And actually the deal is substantially wider-ranging, as it's part of an Enterprise Licensing Agreement (ELA) negotiated between Microsoft and 15 colleges and universities across Ohio.
John Lettice, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

The Times takes liberties with surfing package

Last week, Liberty Surf joined the throng of ISPs throwing around unmetered Internet access like there was no tomorrow. The company joins NTL, AltaVista and BT in the mad race for Net surfers (after all, once it's dirt cheap, why bother to change supplier?).
Kieren McCarthy, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

G8 on cybercrime: jaw jaw or war war?

The G8 group of industrialised nations is gathering in Paris this week to discuss the growing threat of cybercrime.
Tim Richardson, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

So you want to be a support professional?

Technical support is possibly the simplest area of the IT industry. Some organisations would appear to have got hold of the wrong end of the stick and introduced a call centre located in Bosnia, Scotland or Northern Ireland staffed with willing, knowledgeable people who unfortunately cannot speak a word of English.
Dr Spinola, 15 May 2000
Vulture Central vulture mug

Shame on The Register's support for Open Source

And we thought being against Open Source was like being against Christmas. But then again we may be getting politically too correct for our Readers' good...
Team Register, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

US Trade Commission to revisit online privacy

In a slight deviation from its market-forces-are-good-enough mantra, the US Federal Trade Commission has just established what it calls the Federal Trade Commission Advisory Committee on Online Access and Security. The Committee will advise the FTC on information security practices employed by Web sites. The Committee will "[consider] the parameters of reasonable access to personal information and adequate security to protect such information, and [prepare] a written report presenting options for implementation of these fair information practices and the costs and benefits of each option," an FTC press release says. Issues to be tackled include whether the level of access provided by Web sites should vary with the sensitivity of the personal information collected; whether consumers should be provided access to enhancements to personal information (e.g., inferences about their purchasing habits); methods for verifying the identity of individuals seeking access; whether a fee may be charged for access; and whether limits could be placed on the frequency of requests for access, and if so, what those limits should be. The Committee will also consider standards for evaluating the measures taken by Web sites to protect the security of personal information; what might constitute reasonable steps to assure the integrity and accuracy of such information; and what measures should be undertaken to protect such information from unauthorised use or disclosure. The decision to examine a regulatory initiative follows many months of debate within the FTC, during which the option to let business regulate itself has predominated. Much of the FTC's patience with self-regulation has been predicated on the expectation that businesses will look after privacy concerns with some diligence, recognising privacy as a natural and necessary lubricant of e-commerce. Numerous studies have indicated that overall, e-commerce is failing to offer adequate privacy protection to customers and Web site visitors, preferring to do only as much as it is forced to do. With that in mind, the FTC may be preparing to mandate what common sense and enlightened self-interest ought to encourage. ®
Thomas C Greene, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Reg names IT CEO of the Millennium

Faced with the tremendous task of winnowing the chaff from the wheat, seven Register judges were, once more, forced to convene in a hostelry to determine just which IT CEO would receive our once-in-a-lifetime award. Bill Gates was disqualified from the competition because we did not receive his application on time. Lou "Boot" Gerstner, was also disqualified because of his hasty nature. Winsome Carly Fiorina, now CEO of HP, was also disqualified but for technical reasons. The judges noted that she was formerly CEO of Lucent, and said that its logo was too distasteful to even think about. Scott McNealy of Sun received a couple of votes from the judges but the majority feeling was that as he was likely to win a similar award from the dental profession, it would be unfair to swell his ego further. Similar considerations were made in the cases of Oracle's Larry Ellison and Apple's Steve Jobs. William Jeremiah Sanders III, CEO of AMD, received a special commendation for services to KFC, but the judges felt that Intel's CEO, Craig Barrett, spent too much time moonlighting from his job to be seriously considered. They noted that running a multi-billion corporation was a full-time profession, and selling designer log cabins in his spare time had had a detrimental effect on Intel's ability to execute. If Eckhard Pfeiffer had just hung in there at Q until the end of the year, he would have had a good chance of winning the award. In fact, after several hours in the hostelry, the judges came up with a surprise winner. Carlo de Benedetti, ex-CEO of Olivetti, wins the award for his remarkable accomplishments. Not only did he preside over some bad times for the company while he was in the job, but he has the unique distinction of being the only CEO among the contenders to be a convicted fraudster. And, as far as the judges are aware, he has not spent a single night of his prison sentence in the clink. Congratulations to Carlo, who wins an all-expenses paid trip to Pentonville Prison. ® The Register's IT Company of the Millennium Award
Team Register, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

The Bat flies out of Microsoft hell

Review Towards the beginning of last week, we found ourselves slightly embarrassed because two 20MB Powerpoint presentation, courtesy of some spin doctors, clogged up our big pipe here at Vulture Central for half of the afternoon. We killed the job because, basically, no-one could work, thinking that we'd pick it up at home, first thing in the morning, when the pipes have just been cleaned here in Blighty. There then followed a full four days of 20MB Powerpoint Hell at the teleworking office of a Reg staffer. Microsoft Outlook, which we had used at home, has an option that is supposed to let you specify that files above a certain size not be downloaded. Whoever put that box in Outlook had better re-examine his or her code, because it certainly didn't work. Instead, our ISP bravely attempted to download our email and then Outlook consistently fell over during the 20MB monster, so filling up our hard drive and, eventually, destroying Windows 98 completely. We thought we'd see if our ThinkPad fared any better, but the Powerpoint Presentation from Santa PR bunnies pulled over IBM's best too... Enter The Bat Last Saturday morning, we thought we'd sit down and see if we could get the old desktop up and running -- and the first thing we had to do was to make the machine boot into Windows 98 and destroy Outlook. That job done, we then decided to see if we could find ourself an email client that wasn't a Microsoft product, and after a quick scan of Tucows, decided we'd try a shareware package called The Bat. Why it's called The Bat, we're not quite sure, but download it we did. Installation was pretty simple, with the package first asking you for the usual details of your ISP, SMTP, POP and the rest. But when we managed to get it up and running, we discovered that this little $35 package has some very sophisticated features indeed. Features Our first priority was to purge our email of the 20MB Powerpoint file, and so we specified that no email we received should be bigger than 1MB. Off we went to collect our (by then) 338 messages and sure enough, The Bat picked up the file and just delivered the header. It carried on churning away and we noticed that the PRs had actually sent us two 20MB files *%$@!@£! Free at last, this gave us some time to look at some of the other features of The Bat. The product, which TuCows awards five cows, allows the use of multiple user accounts, and also has a clever little mail ticker (which you can switch off), allowing you to see the remains of 20MB Powerpoint files fly by. It's also got rather a large number of advanced features, including support for PGP, Mail Dispatcher for managing email on remote servers, the ability to import messages from major (Microsoft?) clients, and a multi-lingual interface. The address book and filtering abilities are also pretty impressive and easily configurable. It supports IMAP4, POP, APOP and SMTP protocols, a spell checker, configurable and off-the-shelf templates, and a heap of other stuff. The Bat has also got abilities to allow you to manage your accounts on a remote server, and the ability to manage Listserv and Majordomo discussion lists. Conclusion Ah, the good old The Bat. It saved our existence last Saturday and it may well help you too. OK, we know it's not free -- but what's free is not necessarily good, as our own experience shows. It gets Five Vultures from The Register, while the PR company that decided to send us two 20MB Powerpoint files gets Five Inverted Vultures. Go to RIT Labs home page to check it out. And thanks guys. ®
Mike Magee, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Hardware Round-up Sites awash with AMD-Intel samples

Both AMD and Intel are now beginning to seed the hardware sites with processors, and here you'll see Anandtech's review of the Pentium III 800MHz part...And mysteriously there is a whole raft of similar articles all over the Wibbly Wobbly Web. CPU Review has posted some benchmarks of scientific code running on AMD's Athlon processor. At Got Apex, there's a review of the Creative Annihilator Pro GeForce 256 DDR, a name that stumbles, rather than trips, off the tongue. Kyle Bennett at Hard OCP had to go to bed before he could finish his review of the Slocket 2. But he's managed to get some pix up...and he points to... ...this piece at Ars Technica, which explores the mysteries of that arcane acronym SCSI. ® 20 December 1999 Just when you thought you were entertained enough by the different industry wars that have broken out, a little side skirmish breaks out that helps you see everything in perspective. Sort of. According to 3D Hardware, a firm called Everglide is going ballistic because a number of sites have not yet reviewed its Ratpadz mousepad. And it seems Hard OCP has been caught up in this battle of the titans. (Err, titans were big and rats and mice are small, Ed). Away from this intriguing rat and mouse war for a while. Over at 3D Game Force, there's a review of a Quantum Atlas 18.2 GB hard drive. It costs $799 at the moment, but that price won't stay that high for that long. Who needs extra storage when Win2000 is on the way, we ask ourselves, pointlessly. Despite rumours to the contrary, AMD Zone is still up, running and thriving. So much so, that there's a re-design underway. You can have a look at the preview site here. ®
Team Register, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Register staff only fit to shovel s**t

From: James Bond Date: 23 November 1999 04:26 Subject: The Register is a load of CRAP
Team Register, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Intel claims breakthrough on Pentium III speeds

A report in EE Times yesterday suggested that Intel has found a way to push the raw MHz speed of its current Pentium III family beyond 800MHz. The method is an arcane process method called notched-poly which allows the gate length of a transistor to be narrowed to 100 nanometers. According to EE Times, Intel has already produced silicon using the technique. If true, that will allow the company to extend the life of its current technology while it continues developing its next generation 32-bit microprocessors code-named Willamette. Intel intends to ship 750MHz Pentium IIIs in January, and will bring forward the date of an 800MHz part into February, while it is also showing roadmaps to PC vendors showing an 833MHz microprocessor in early April. However, Willamette is not expected to start sampling until the middle of next year, at the earliest. Meanwhile, AMD is expected to intro 1GHz Athlon processors early next year, and copper 1.2GHz Athlons in or at the end of the first quarter 2000. ®
Mike Magee, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

1999 Reg Stories of the Year

Your super soaraway Register has broken a good old number of stories this year, with only one or two bad eggs amongst them, despite our detractors. Here's a selection of some breaking stories and while you may have your own favourites, we thought these were worth a reprise as 1999 gallops to a close. Hardcore porn ads sneak past Excite filters Our Tim Richardson had a world exclusive with this one back in July, when he revealed that Excite wasn't able to filter out child pornography. The story is here. Porno cyber squatters target Intel Linda Harrison discovered that some smut-vendors were taking the good name of Chipzilla in vain with this story here. Woman walks away from $70k online gambling debt And Sean Fleming had a cooking goodie with this number, where he described how online gaming isn't everything that it appears to be. Go here. Caldera judge finds MS grossly misprepresented facts This was a good one from Grahame Lea, who opened a can of worms about DR-DOS and how Microsoft managed to re-seal it with the worms still wriggling inside. Go here. Earthquake costs Taiwan semicon industry $300m Simon Burns was on the spot when the big quake hit Taiwan in autumn. Here's his report. BT declares war against The Register The Kafkaesque bureaucracy of BT got us in early September, when the mammoth company managed to put a stop to La Registra once and for all. Drew Cullen reported the story here. Eclipse update: Apple PR stunt shocks World Young Tony Smith scored a coup when he reported in August on Apple's most audacious PR coup yet -- managing to persuade the cosmic powers to display the Apple logo on the moon as the sun eclipsed the satellite, here. Intel 1100MHz Athlon killer to launch in December? Hmm.. Pete Sherriff really shivered a lot of timbers with this story, which suggested that Chipzilla would manage to get a 1GHz Willamette out by this Yule. You'll find the whoopsie here. Merced -- those pictures Not-so-young Mike Magee happened to have his camera on him in February and secured the first pictures of the Merced (now Itanium) processor at the end of February. You'll find them here. And all this was despite the fact that "the animals" (how Intel describes the trade press) got their mitts on Intel's Official Guide to the European press. ®
Team Register, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Register staff lackeys of Intel

This one from a technical journalist who also sells chips -- no conflict of interest there then...
Team Register, 15 May 2000

Vodafone makes you an offer you can refuse

One of The Register's hacks came face-to-face last week with an offer from Vodafone that just didn't add up - in any currency*. After falling for the hype about mobile phone radiation giving you flat feet, or whatever, our reporter popped into his local mobile phone outlet – in this case a Vodafone shop – to buy one of those cases that makes your phone bulkier and less likely to kill you. "That'll be £19.99," the Vodafone shop assistant said. "But we've got a special offer on – if you buy a hands-free kit, you get the two accessories for £24.99 each." Never one to miss out on a bargain, our lone Vulture enquired after the regular price of the hands-free kit, in anticipation of all the money he was about to save. "Normally, they're £29.99," came the answer. Hmmm. Let's see, two accessories which can be bought separately for a total of £49.98, or if you take advantage of the Vodafone special offer, can be bought as a bundle for err, £49.98. Now that's a really special offer. With that sort of creative thinking found running amok at the UK's leading mobile operator, it's not hard to see why Mannesmann is reluctant to give into its hostile takeover bid. ® See also: *Confusion reigns over Mannesmann bid Man beaten to death for using mobile phone in pub Schroeder and Blair tussle over Vodafone bid Mannesmann humiliated in court as Vodafone goes hostile Mannesmann rejects Vodafone's £64bn bid
Sean Fleming, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Register anti-American

This is a old one, but we liked it so much. We also like the fact, since Mr Lauriano sent it to 46 people, it also counts as spam...
Team Register, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Register nothing but anti-Mac geeks

From: Wozniak [yeah, right... Ed] Sent: Sun, Nov 7, 1999, 10:17 am Subject: Nothing but anti-Mac geeks
Team Register, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Full Coverage Comdex Fall 99

Wireless/Internet Be's Stinger OS selected for Nat Semi WebPad Be breaks into Internet appliance biz for real -- sort of MS to join Bluetooth in December, without get-out on IP No special deals on licence conditions, even for Microsoft, says Ericsson Microsoft unveils MSN Web appliance design Whole new market gets opportunity to not be interested in Windows CE Semiconductors AMD unveils K6-2 Plus, K6-III Plus mobile CPUs Power-saving silicon similar to Chipzilla's SpeedStep Torvalds confirms Transmeta 19 January 2000 'D-Day' Finally, a Transmeta rumour comes true Hardware Future Power preps less iMac-like ePower Dark grey case and pastel shades will differentiate the two machines, says company Double-speed 1394 silicon due in volume by end Q1 2000 Way ahead of USB 2.0, yes -- but does that matter? 3dfx launches Voodoo 4 and 5 But graphics cards' new features require multiple 3D chips Linux Corel launches Linux into the mainstream And it hasn't done a bad job of it Red Hat buys Cygnus Cygnus acquisition makes plenty of sense Digital Music Iomega hops onto MP3 bandwagon -- again Tries to win support for Clik! this time -- but Flash still too popular
The Register breaking news

Compaq and C&W to reveal $500m SME deal

Compaq will today announce a deal with Cable & Wireless aimed at providing bundled hardware and online services for the SME market. According to Reuters, the PC vendor said the agreement would involve a joint investment of $500 million over the next five years. More details to follow.®
Linda Harrison, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Wall St jittery on MS antitrust news

Forty-two million shares of Microsoft changed hands in the first 45 minutes of nervous trading in New York this morning, as investors and speculators tried to make sense of Friday's unfavourable finding of fact in the company's antitrust suit. Under normal circumstances, something like 20 to 25 million shares of Microsoft might be traded in an entire day. Microsoft values fell by as much as 8.6 percent in early trading, but recovered gradually throughout the morning. By mid-day, Microsoft's losses on 72 million shares traded were in the range of 3 to 4%, still sufficient to help drag the Dow Jones Industrial Average, upon which the company made its debut last week, down by more than 25 percent. But nothing could stop the tide of celebration on the NASDAQ Exchange, which rose 15 percent by mid-day despite the fact that Microsoft accounts for 16 percent of its value. NASDAQ issues Oracle, Red Hat, Netscape and Apple all enjoyed smart gains adequate to compensate for MS losses, and then some. We can expect investor jitters to keep the stock in a volatile state at least until the judge delivers his ruling early next year. Market agitation today was due in part to an interview with Assistant US Attorney General Joel Klein, head of the DoJ's antitrust division, on the ABC Sunday news programme, "This Week", during which Klein stated for the first time that a breakup is a realistic possibility. Even if the judge's ruling falls short of supporting a breakup, the finding of fact is already negative enough to tempt Lilliputian legions of opportunistic lawyers to mount all manner of class-action suit against the Redmond giant. This could lead to persistently depressed share prices, as Wall Street has a real penchant for punishing the victims of opportunistic legal actions. ®
Thomas C Greene, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

MS anti-piracy tactics snare innocent dealers

My business was amongst the innocents attacked by MS. We had a small PC outlet, and meticulously avoided selling stolen or pirated items. My wife, a partner in the business, was absolutely adamant. Because of this, we were surprised when someone walked in and asked for a PC with Microsoft Office on it. The sale of 10 pound gold disks was so rampant, we had never sold one before. We built our own PCs. So we asked if our regular hardware supplier, from whom we had bought tens of thousands of pounds worth of parts from, if they sold Office. They did, so we bought it. It came shrink wrapped, with the manuals, with a certificate with hologram, and therefore matched all standards which MS said that we had to look out for. We asked the customer if he wanted the software installing, which he did, so we installed it for him. A week later came a letter from MS, saying that the software was pirated, that they wanted full access to our premises and accounts at any time, and were going to take legal action. When we said that we had followed their rules, they told us that they had changed them, and were about to tell everyone. They also said that "your installers would have been able to recognise that the product was not legitimate, because the manual was not very well printed, and the dots on the CD were closer than usual, and slightly smudged." Of course! We should have spotted that! The fact that we had never been able to sell any product before, because of the gold disks, so had never actually SEEN the real thing, and the fact the Microsoft were not prepared to tell us what to look for, seemed to be irrelevant. To be fair to the solicitors, they did admit that was quite difficult to spot pirated software. But we were told that any product at this price was going to be pirated. It was, in fact, always sold at that price. By everyone. Naturally, we had to settle, we can't afford to take them on. We had to pay about six thousand pounds out, a sum a small business could ill afford. We were told that we had to report any instances of people offering us software at that price, or selling software to the public at below the trade price -- the price we were told that we would have to buy from Microsoft's named suppliers. We paid up, and sent them the list of people selling at below the price we had to pay - this included all the adverts in the PC mags, Dixons, Currys, basically everyone. When we asked later what was being done, Microsoft could find no trace of the lists we had provided, and had done nothing. And to this day, the gold disks are still just as widely available as ever. I instructed my staff never to sell any Microsoft product again -- we had to supply Windows, of course, but we bought them from the approved suppliers, and absorbed the extra cost. And when anyone came in asking about anything by Microsoft, we just pointed out "We can't sell Microsoft product, because xyz is selling gold disks at ten pounds. But we can provide support, because xyz doesn't know the first thing about computers". And whereas we still refused to install any gold disks bought elsewhere, when we were providing support, we no longer asked the customer for the original disks they had purchased. In some ways, it helped us. Instead of saying "no, we don't sell the 10 pound gold disks, you have to pay two or three hundred pounds" and losing the customer forever, we were actually finding customers who were prepared to pay for support. We already had problems when customers thought it was our fault that Windows keeps falling over, simply because we had supplied it (under UK law, it probably is!) and we had to sort their problems out for nothing. Now there was no argument! "We can help you, sir, but as you didn't purchase it from here, we will have to make a charge" As a postscript, the guy still sells gold disks some years later - the only difference is that they are cheaper now, and he doesn't sell quite as many. He is disappointed that so many people have CD writers now. The moral of this story seems to be, if you are big, you are right, no matter how stupid you are. Finally, Julia Philpott writes, if Mr. Lea believes that Microsoft could be doing a better job at fighting piracy, we would be delighted to hear his views on the >subject and welcome any constructive suggestions. Stop fighting people on your own side just because they are soft targets. Any co-operation at all from Microsoft, rather than just bullying, would be much more constructive. Tackling software piracy is a delicate issue and we would like to think that we have been considerate and tactful in dealing with its distasteful criminal effects. I can't believe that I just read considerate and tactful from Microsoft! Did someone miss out the smiley? The theft of software is a criminal offence and this is a position taken by the majority of governments across the world. Theft takes many guises. Microsoft stole six thousand pounds from me. If they had been the same size as my company, I would certainly have taken them on in the courts! ® Related stories MS piracy losses claims don't stack up -Graham Lea Right of Reply: MS says stealing is wrong Register readers weigh in Y does not mean X : decoding the MS reply Software piracy stops software development? MS anti-piracy tactics snare innocent dealers How would Graham Lea like having his IP infringed? Phillpot calls piracy kettle black
Pete Clark, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Piracy redresses the balance

If s/w publishers didn't try to recoup all their development costs with the £1000 products they sell, then maybe consumers would be more inclined to go legal. £1000 a copy for programs like Quark Xpress is ridiculous. (I know, Autocad etc cost more but it's just an example) Add to this the fact that core technologies and code get repackaged and sold again and again, (and again in the case of MSWindows) leads users to feel ripped off and a bit of pirating redresses the balance for a lot of users. I don't think anyone seriously expects commercially useful or entertaining software to be free, but as the industry matures it would be to everyone's advantage if s/w was less than £100, with access to previous versions for £10-25. Not everyone -- in fact, in global terms hardly anyone --can afford the PIIIs and G4s with 100s of MB of RAM that the latest software requires. The rise of the low spec, cheap set-top box and games consoles WILL spill over into business computing quite soon and who can justify paying more for the software than the computer it runs on? Expect to see cheap software to match. ® Related stories MS piracy losses claims don't stack up -Graham Lea Right of Reply: MS says stealing is wrong Register readers weigh in Y does not mean X : decoding the MS reply Software piracy stops software development? MS anti-piracy tactics snare innocent dealers How would Graham Lea like having his IP infringed? Phillpott calls piracy kettle black
Dave Bancroft, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Phillpott calls piracy kettle black

Ooh, a well written, intelligent reply (from Julia Phillpot), David Hall writes. I wonder how long she'll last. Shame she can't back the 'If anything, the figures questioned by Mr. Lea are more likely to be an understatement as to the extent of software piracy, rather than an inflation of the issue.'with any facts though. I thought supplying goods that were not fit for purpose was also a criminal act, but I don't hear Microsoft campaigning for software licence's that state it is. Now if Microsoft spent more time making its software more reliable, and less on bells and whistles, and anti piracy campaigns, I'd be more impressed.
The Register breaking news

Stealing Microsoft software is wrong – but

The Right of Reply article from Microsoft anti-piracy manager Julia Phillpott generated a small but good quality email bag (around 40 responses, of which five were whole-heartedly pro-Microsoft). However there was only one joke, from Kurt Kwart who asks " you mean Windows isn't free?". We hope that's a pseudonym you're using, Kurt. OK, So let's get The Register position on software piracy out of the way, first. We're agin it. Because stealing is wrong. As dutiful capitalists (well, some of us) we support the concept of intellectual property. (We buy all the software we are supposed to buy). We're with Microsoft on this one. However, we part company when it comes to grey or parallel trading, which MS is against, and which The Register supports. Restrictive distribution is against the interests of consumers. Also we think the figures used by Microsoft and other software companies estimating the effect of software piracy is suspect, a point eloquently developed by Steve Jackson, Center for Mass Communication Research Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media Columbia. Finally, MS has some problems in executing its anti-piracy strategy. From time to time, innocent computer retailers get trampled upon by over-enthusiastic enforcers. We publish the tale of one poor computer dealer below. ® Related stories MS piracy losses claims don't stack up -Graham Lea Right of Reply: MS says stealing is wrong Register readers weigh in Y does not mean X: decoding the MS reply Software piracy stops software development? MS anti-piracy tactics snare innocent dealers How would Graham Lea like having his IP infringed? Phillpot calls piracy kettle black Visit The Register's forum and share your views with the world.
Drew Cullen, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Register unoriginal, not funny

From: Jim Fisher Sent: 02 November 1999 04:39 Subject: Your Stories... lack originality Hi Register Editors, I used to visit The Register because it often had up to the minute news in an industry I like to toy in. However, your story on Guillemot buying Hercules is an example of the petty thinking that is emerging from The Register. Your opinions are being reported alongside facts. How do you know that the Hercules name can Not be rejuvenated... do you think that that hasn't happened before? There are many products in the US where this has happened... a once defunct product comes back to life... it happens often. I'm also offended by your daily attack on Microsoft. For over six months you've done nothing to present a side of Microsoft that is even noteworthy or interesting. Where do you get off attacking the single company to make PC's mainstream in ALL of Society. You think that is funny... I think you're funny... NOT! Your staff is immature, your articles reflect this and I no longer consider the Register as a "must" visit site. Excuse me for looking else where. James D. Fisher, Chemistry Department, University of Florida Email reproduced in full and unedited. Email address supplied. Want your say? Visit The Register's forum and toss your orb in public.
Team Register, 15 May 2000
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Y does not mean X : decoding the MS reply

RE: Microsoft says stealing in wrong - Good reply Microsoft. Let us see what we can decode from this reply. Software Piracy is wrong. I actually like this one. They wrote the software and should profit from it. Of course, it costs more than the hardware it runs on, is often of poor quality, and generally makes everyone unhappy, but if you use it and keep using it upgrade after upgrade, you should pay for it. Don't blame US for the numbers we use, blame International Planning and Research IPR), and while we don't know if those numbers are cooked or not, they are probably far less than they seem. This statement implies that Microsoft doesn't look at the numbers it quotes in its marketing. Before I quote a number in a paper, I make sure that it is a valid measure of what I am talking about. If we follow this argument, then Marty Rimm's paper proves everyone on the Internet is a porn-head and the Bell Curve proves African blacks are genetically less intelligent than Anglo-Saxons. Good research reveals it data set for public comment. Good research (as opposed to Microsoft, the Bell Curve, and the Rimm report) measure what it actually attempts to prove and is approached from as unbiased a manner possible. Y does not mean X Without looking at the data sets, I can already tell you that they are somewhat suspect. Loss of jobs is an assumption that "X" number of people are needed to produce "Y" amount of product, and that an increase in "Y" will lead to an increase in "X". That is true, in a diminishing fashion, in the manufacture of cars, boats, hair dryers, or other consumer goods. In fact, it is not a perfect curb as increased demand may lead to increased automation and a net loss of jobs (even when you include the increase of capital production like automation equipment). The Software Industry is a Service Industry If Ys effect on X is not exactly true for manufacturing, it is not even remotely true for software. One set of engineers work on a Microsoft product. When that product is finished, it goes to a highly automated process of CD-ROM stamping and packaging. The difference in producing 10 or 100 or 15,000 copies is not much, certainly not a huge loss of jobs. The same goes for warehousing and distribution, which probably can move and store thousands of pieces of software a week for each employee. Sales, especially in the age of the Internet, are increasingly automated, adding fewer and fewer people. The largest segment of the work force exists merely to service and support software releases that are often difficult to maintain, understand, and deploy, both because of unintended bugs (don't blame Microsoft for bugs, everyone has them, Microsoft is just more lax than other companies in solving bugs before an initial software release) and because of design flaws that arise from the Microsoft corporate culture. This service force will be employed for pirated software or for legal software, no jobs lost. In fact, if Microsoft's OS side ever tighten up its act and adopted a culture closer to Adobe, Be, Apple, or even its own application division, it would cost these thousands of job, as well as jobs in the dozens of "Windows Patch" firms that sell software to make Windows work the way the press releases say it will. The Real Problem: If using bogus software is wrong, so is using bogus data (and lying). The problem in fact is not pirated software but a computer culture that accepts the "bending of the truth" (called lying in many places in the world) using bogus statistics and hidden agendas. The Linux tests show how decks can be stacked (and comically enough, Windows NT may not have needed that stacking - NT's poor performance against most versions of UNIX does not mean it automatically performs poorly against Linux) using less than scientific tests, while marketing people quote adoption rates, reliability rates, and other numbers that are about as valid as taste comparisons for soda pop. Look closely enough, and a researcher is presented with a startling array of "fibs" in Microsoft literature, from the LA Times discovery that Microsoft had hired public relations people to run a fake letters to the editors campaign in American media, to the shift of money from profitable quarters to unprofitable quarters to "fool" investors into thinking that Microsoft was consistently profitable. Sure, those are letters to the editor, but they were written by Microsoft, and I admit that a profit is a profit, but hiding profits is an unethical trick aimed at investors who deserve better. As a researcher, tainted research with a hidden agenda makes my teeth hurt, even when it is used for a good cause. Selling software is not a good cause, and Microsoft only plays into pirates hands when it feeds the world bad research with hidden data sets. ®
Steve Jackson, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

How would Graham Lea like having his IP infringed?

Graham Lea takes great exception to Steve Ballmer's estimate that American the software industry lost $11B in sales during 1998 because of piracy. According to Lea, Ballmer's claims, based on data from an International Planning & Research study, are "overstated". "This [$11 B loss estimate] assumes that every pirate would otherwise have bought the software. Many computer users cannot afford to buy software at Microsoft's prices, so any dollar value for supposedly lost sales is meaningless." Based the rationale, Lea applies (to the property rights of others) he has not suffered a loss when his copyrighted intellectual property is used without his knowledge, consent or compensation. There is no way to know that the publisher would have paid him had they not had an opportunity to steal it! I find it difficult (but amusing) to imagine Mr. Lea making this statement to the editor of a magazine he discovered "pirating" his work - Many [publishers] cannot afford to buy [articles at my] prices, so any dollar value for supposedly lost sales is meaningless. Mr. Lea rests secure in the knowledge that when his copyrights are ignored, and his intellectual property is used without his permission he is better off in the long run, after all "... pirate users are more likely to influence the purchase of legitimate copies of the pirated software in the future, because of familiarity." ® Related stories MS piracy losses claims don't stack up -Graham Lea Right of Reply: MS says stealing is wrong Register readers weigh in Y does not mean X : decoding the MS reply Software piracy stops software development? MS anti-piracy tactics snare innocent dealers How would Graham Lea like having his IP infringed? Phillpott calls piracy kettle black
Steve Mordarski, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Software piracy stops software development?

Of course, Julia Phillpot is correct regarded to the legal side about software piracy, but she states: "our business and that of every software company is completely dependent on the protection of the intellectual property rights. Without this fundamental protection, the software side of the IT industry simply wouldn’t evolve." Well, if that's so, why are we seeing the constant and powerful evolvment of Linux software and code? Because people want a stable, cheap(free) system in which they are taking part in the development and research themselves. In this area the profit lies in servicing and distrubution of the system, not the actual licensing, and of course this is a significantly lesser profit. As long as MS overcharges for their software, this is a problem they've gotta deal with. And how: "Although Microsoft runs a number of global campaigns to highlight the piracy issue, these are in fact just one part of our marketing activity through which we are trying to educate our various audiences as to the seriousness of software piracy." Except that its so-called "education" isn't education, it's purely propaganda and scarying tactics. A company with x$ billions net worth, and x millions dollars in net profit each year, whining about going "bankrupt" because about software piracy? Of course every company is in its right to protect their income and software, but as long MS and other companies charges a price people isn't ready to pay, they've got to cope with piracy as well as their competitors' prices. For me, software piracy is just the ordinary Joe's way to tell the product developer that they overprices their product. ® Related stories MS piracy losses claims don't stack up -Graham Lea Right of Reply: MS says stealing is wrong Register readers weigh in Y does not mean X: decoding the MS reply Software piracy stops software development? MS anti-piracy tactics snare innocent dealers How would Graham Lea like having his IP infringed? Phillpot calls piracy kettle black
Emil Anthonsen, 15 May 2000
SGI logo hardware close-up

'Virgin Mobile worth £1.4 billion without selling a single phone'

Virgin Mobile is worth £1.36 billion and it hasn't sold one phone. Who is responsible for this ludicrous estimate? Look no further than broker Investec Henderson Crosthwaite, which bases its claim on sales projections up to the year 2009. That's right, 2009. This is the year that Virgin Mobile should have 3.65m customers. Oh, and 2002 is the year when Virgin Mobile moves into profit. "The aspirational Virgin brand is a particular threat to Orange," Chris Godsmark of Investec told an unusually credulous ST. Yeah, Right. In the UK, Virgin muddied its brand with its foray into trains. Let's see what happens to the brand, the first time, there's a Virgin plane or Virgin train crash Virgin Mobile launches next week. It is a joint venture between the Virgin Group and One2One, with Virgin providing the retail thump, and One2One supplying the difficult network stuff. Handsets will be more expensive than from other providers, but tariffs will be much cheaper - maybe 50 per cent lower, the ST says. Virgin will sell phones and airtime contracts through its 310 Our Price and Virgin Megastore shops, giving it the "largest high-street presence of any existing mobile company". And that makes Virgin Mobile worth £1.36 billion? ®
Drew Cullen, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Lastminute.com's mega-rich Foxy lady not motivated by money

One of Britain's brightest Internet stars -- responsible for running hugely successful Lastminute.com -- is not motivated by money. Martha Lane-Fox, 26, said today: "If I got out of bed in the morning for the money I'd be a very sad person." A sentiment expressed by countless other gazillionaires over the years and one which the rest of us humble wage-slaves can only aspire to. Lane-Fox was speaking at an Intel-sponsored forum on e-commerce at a top hotel in swanky Mayfair, London. Dressed in a shocking pink knitted pullover, combat fatigues and with her blonde hair tied up out of the way -- in colourful comparison to the other grey suits taking part -- the 26-year-old e-ntrepreneur confirmed that Lastminute.com was set to float in the first quarter next year. The twentysomething fat kitten dismissed claims that she'll be worth £500 million when the company hits the stock market in 2000 as just media hype. "We are a new media retailer. We're trying to facilitate something you can't do online," she said. Lastminute.com offers gifts, flights, holidays online at discount prices and, as its name suggests, at short notice. "We're even able to sell and deliver presents on Christmas Eve," said the 26-year-old former head of network development at Carlton Digital Channels. She said that despite launching Lastminute.com in Germany and France the British Net company was continually looking to enter other markets. ® Related Story Misdials report Lastminute.com glitch
Tim Richardson, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Skill shortages multiply in Internet Economy

Having trouble finding IT staff? Worry, it's going to get a hell of a lot worse, according to those Cassandras at IDC. The market research firm predicts shortages of skilled IT professionals in Western Europe will jump from 1998's five per cent to 20 per cent in 2002. And it's all down to the Internet Economy. As if it weren't difficult enough for e-commerce/Net companies to make a profit already, they are faced with soaring wage bills, translating into higher operating costs and lower profit margins. So what does Europe need to do? It needs to devise a strategy, according to IDC research manager Andrew Milroy. "Otherwise in, individual countries, and Europe as a whole, will begin to suffer at the expense of other countries and regions, which are already planning more strategically," he says. "In October 1998, the United States attempted to address supply-side concerns by increasing its allocation of green cards to professionals with IT qualifications and experience." In other words, we're competing for programmers from second and third world countries. ®
Drew Cullen, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Carmel ain't the solution to Intel Rambus SNAFU

The much-anticipated announcement of the 840 (Carmel) chip set next week may not do much to soften the pain of the Camino snafu. The 840 works, the 820 does not - but that difference may have more to do with the platforms than the chip sets. Both chip sets were designed using the same Rambus channel interface logic, so the differences must lie somewhere else. Further investigation reveals that there are several key system level trade-off between Cost, Performance and Reliability that allow 840 system to run, while 820 systems fail. 1. Carmel platforms use a six layer motherboard. This adds cost but improves signal integrity -- one of Camino's problems. 2. OEMs may play it safe by using 600MHz RDRAM on 840 production platforms. This improves timing margins and reliability at the cost of performance. This trade-off has proven unacceptable for uniprocessor PCs running business apps. Workstation and server buyers prefer ECC (requiring 18-bit RDRAM rather than 16-bit). ECC helps with the reliability issues, but at an additional 20-30 per cent premium over the already high cost of Rambus. The 840's dual Rambus channels are interleaved, and reportedly cannot operate in single channel mode. Each channel has only 2 RIMM slots, which is good, but configuration options are limited. RIMMs must be installed in matched pairs. 2 RIMMs or 4 RIMMs - thats it. Not quite flexible enough for low cost systems. These 4 trade-offs are unacceptable for the mainstream PC market - but they are why the 840 works and the 820 does not. Catch-22? This perhaps explains why Intel seems prepared to launch Camino platforms entirely void of Rambus RDRAM as a "Time To Market" solution (see: Intel i820 update leaks). Intel's internal memos point to the '0+2' Platform as the preferred near term solution. This suggests that the first generation of Camino systems (presumably in Q1) would have no RDRAM slots at all, just an MTH chip and 2 SDRAM slots on the motherboard. Amazing… It is hard to anticipate any demand for Rambus in the PC market with a strategy like that. The final question then is: "Will the 840 inspire a quick upturn in Rambus demand?" The outlook here is not exactly bright either. First, the 840 is currently aimed at comparatively small market segments (workstations and small servers). Second, buyers of these do not usually rush to adopt a new and unproven platform technologies - particularly in light of the well publicized reliability and performance problems with Rambus. The near term elasticity of Rambus in these markets is questionable. If Intel does not fully productize the 820 for RDRAM soon, it could stand accused of leaving its many supporters in the lurch. Chipzilla is between a rock and a hard place: launch Rambus-enabled Camino early, and it risks humilation. But cut Rambus out of the loop altogether, and then the Cow Pie will really hit the fan. ®
Mike Magee, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Camino mobos go on sale

All the lurid details of Intel's delayed Camino motherboards have emerged at US site NECX Direct where you can actually place an order for the little devils, should you feel brave enough (and don't mind waiting). The Cape Cod CC820 comes with or without SoundBlaster 128 audio on board and features AGP4X (backwards compatible with 1X and 2X), ATA66, Instant On, five PCI slots (no ISA slots at all) and an audio.modem riser(AMR) slot. The mobo runs its memory bus at 100MHz independent from the system bus so fitting 133MHz DIMMS won't result in any performance boost. The 4MB Firmware Hub contains an Intel/AMI Flash BIOS which supports Plug and Play, APM 1.2, ACPI 1.0, DMI 2.0, multilingual support and multiple boot options. The BIOS also contains a hardware-based random number generator which it is claimed can be used to enhance PC security through encryption. Pricing is around $140 without audio and $150 with. The more upmarket Vancouver VC820 has all this and three 168-pin RIMM slots on the board, accommodating a theoretical maximum of 512MB of PC600, PC700 or PC800 DRDRAM. Both ECC and non-ECC RIMMs are supported. The VC820 also comes with two continuity RIMM modules, which must be installed in all unused RIMM slots. Of course, you can only actually use two of these slots due to the well-documented Camino cockup. A Vancouver will set you back $165. ®
Pete Sherriff, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Coppermine vs Athlon face-offs all over the Web

25 October 1999 The expiry of Intel's non disclosure agreement on its new .18 micron coppermine processors has led to a rash of reviews around the Web. And despite Intel's attempt to talk up coppermine through the year, most of the reviewers believe the Great Satan of Chips still can't cut it on the performance stakes. At Tom's Hardware Page, the good doktor takes a very detailed and thorough look at both architectures, including comparisons of the i820 (even though that's still not available) and the Via chipsets, the Katmai and the Coppermine cores, and an overall look at the two processors. He concludes that Coppermine is now an attractive proposition for gamers, but AMD beats Intel on the workstation front. He also points out that people will pay a premium for the Coppermine processors at launch. It's a leapfrog game at present. AMD Zone culls some reports that other investors rather than just Motorola are looking to take a slice of the state of the art sandpit AMD has in Dresden. The boys reckon Infineon (a spun off part of Siemens which has its own fab bang opposite AMD Fab 30) and Hyundai may be interested in taking a cut. At Ace's Hardware, there's another comparison of the 733MHz Intel part against the Athlon. He says that Intel has performed some miracles with the 256K cache in terms of data throughput and, that on business applications, the new processors perform well. According to Johan, that means Intel has regained its crown, although he points out that floating point performance on the Athlon continues to remain strong. JC, at JC News, reports good news for the AMD community. According to a report he has received, Asus has started advertising its K7M mobo in Japan. It can only be a matter of time before it's easier to buy them here. Lack of mobo support has been one of the issues AMD has had, with allegations of all sorts of monkey business, denied by both this company and Intel. ® 21 Oct 1999 The good Doctor Tom is not afraid to pick a fight or two -- this time he goes gunning for the eminent chip analyst Michael Slater of Microprocessor Forum fame for MISSING THE POINT. Two things get Tom's goat with Michael's presentation at last month's Microprocessor Forum: 1. "As long as we [Micro Design Resources] don't get our own lab and do our own benchmarks, you will have to live without competitive benchmark data." This statement is offensive to the well-established indenpendent benchmarking scene. 2. "Michael Slater's complete ignorance of the most ridiculous thing that's currently happening in the X86-processor scene: The cold war Intel is fighting against AMD." An analysis of AMD forms the main meat in Tom's Blurb (the first for a while). He also sinks his teeth into Intel and the i820 disaster. And he criticises the "pathetic" i810e platform. Read on here.
Team Register, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Win2k date prediction industry goes into overdrive

As Windows 2000 reaches crunch point the highways and byways of the Web are positively ringing to the crunch of beta-watchers changing step. The latest to climb aboard is Paul Thurrott of WinInfo, who today puts his neck on the line by insisting that Win2k will RTM on the first day of Comdex after all. Paul's latest information flatly contradicts the previous Win2k RC3 (Release Candidate 3) and RTM (Release to Manufacture) dates, including the ones WinInfo had been pitching until today. The general consensus was (and right now, still is) that RC3 will go out the week before Comdex, and RTM will happen at the beginning of December. WinInfo's latest punt however pulls RC3 back to next Wednesday, giving two and half weeks for Microsoft to hit RTM by 15th November. RC3 will be a limited beta, and barring major accidents will be more or less the finished product. So long as Microsoft can get the code together for next week, and so long as there are no big screw-ups, then RTM a couple of weeks afterwards is perfectly feasible. You might muse that this means RC3 isn't really a beta at all, but then it never really is, right? Does any of this matter? Well friends, no, not really. Specialist Windows sites have been getting into a serious lather (fortunately, you can't do fisticuffs on the Web) over the precise RC3 and RTM dates, and whoever winds up clutching the correct final, final one will crow mightily. But the truth is that we're now at the point where marketing drives the dates, not technical issues. Win2k is now sufficiently nearly finished for Microsoft to step back a little, secure in the knowledge that it can now more or less go when the high command says go. And as it long since passed the point where it could go onto PCs selling in Q4, MS can take a pretty relaxed attitude to the date. If Win2k doesn't RTM by Vegas MS could sustain some damage, but it'll only be minor, because the product will be really close anywhere, and a company that can 'launch' slideware doesn't need shipping code to kick-off a major rollout. Whether it RTMs tomorrow, next week, November or December is no longer particularly important. Whatever it does, the OEMs won't have it through their testing processes until Q1 2000, and they won't have it on shipping machines any earlier than February. And actually, there's almost an argument supporting the claims that Win2k isn't late (this is another thing the specialist sites have been getting exercised about). Earlier this week MS CFO Greg Maffei said he didn't expect revenue from Win2k until next financial year, i.e. July 2000 onwards. This doesn't mean Win2k won't be shipping before that date, just that the money won't have come in and been accounted for. Rationally though you'd interpret that as meaning shipping ramping up in Q2. This view of Maffei's isn't however recent - by no means. In his presentation to the annual analysts meeting a full quarter ago Maffei said exactly the same thing. Microsoft's head bean-counter has known the ship dates at least approximately since late July, and has told anyone who's prepared to listen. This isn't of course quite the same song as the marketing people have been singing, which is what you base the argument that Win2k is late on. But there's an upside for at least one segment of Microsoft - the OEM sales team. The ideal rollout time for a new OS, as far as MS OEM is concerned, is Q1. That gives Joachim Kempin and his merry men time to get the deals cut with the PC companies and get everybody primed for an orderly push through the rest of the year. This doesn't of course ordinarily happen, but if an OS overshoots by enough... Register perspective check: Just in case you're still confused about whether or not Win2k is really late, we'll briefly roll back a year. At that point, Microsoft was figuring out how it could deaden the impact of the NetWare 5 rollout. It wasn't possible to do so with shipping code, but its executives were planning on the basis that they could win corporate hearts and minds with the Corporate Preview Programme (which didn't actually kick off until much later), keep them interested in Win2k and stop them defecting to NetWare for long enough for Microsoft to get shipping code together. The targets they were then working to called for a CPP of around six months with regular updates, culminating in finished product by late Q1-early Q2 1999. Those dates got radically revised pretty rapidly, of course. ®
John Lettice, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

New MS contract clause caters for forced company breakup

A reader yesterday essentially cracked our April Fool's jest (that Judge Jackson would rule on US v Microsoft on 25 November, which is of course Thanksgiving Day in the USA). Thanksgiving for what? Well might you ask. (see story). A District Court source in Washington said yesterday said that "The findings of fact will not issue on October 22", so the bets are now on for a future Friday. Judge Jackson has asked that his chambers not be called, and said that no other notices would be posted. The reason for Judge Jackson deciding to issue his findings late on a Friday is to minimise the effect of his ruling on the stock market. This does suggest that he will be mostly finding that the DoJ's version of the facts is, well, more factual than Microsoft's. Microsoft itself seems to be confirming this expectation, since it has been putting some funny legal language in its contracts recently. What other explanation could there be for a pessimistic clause that says that the contract may be transferred to "any successor to its business that results from a reorganisation required under a court order as part of the pending United States trust case"? Dow Jones quotes an anonymous spokesman saying that there's no Microsoft policy to include such language, that he was unaware of any such language, and that perhaps it was requested by Microsoft's business partners. This doesn't wash, because lawyers and their clients have confirmed that the clause was invented by Microsoft. General opinion seems to be that the assignment clause is a product of "careful lawyering", but it is of course quite possible for the court to negate any contractual clauses or contracts. Meanwhile, Microsoft's share price rose 7 per cent yesterday, to regain the ground that Ballmer lost. The unanswered question is whether Maffei was acting under orders to be upbeat, in order to drive the share price up, and make Microsoft employees and investors more cheerful. ®
Graham Lea, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Intel holds secret meeting for unmetered UK Net calls

Senior executives at Intel have refused to publicly berate BT for the high cost of Net access in the UK despite holding a secret meeting with the telco's arch foes, the Campaign for Unmetered Telecommunications (CUT). Privately, however, one senior Intel executive said he would like to see the cost of Net access in Britain tumble admitting that the current tariff structure "was hurting us". Although he confirmed that the meeting with CUT took place back in August he was unaware whether the chipco was still in negotiation with CUT. An official Intel spokesman said he didn't know of any such meeting -- or who to talk to in the organisation who would know. Intel's diplomatic stance is in sharp contrast to that of AOL Europe. This week Andreas Schmidt, AOL Europe's president and CEO urged business leaders to unite behind the company's campaign against the high cost of metered Internet telephone calls in the UK. Schmidt said that the continuing low levels of Net usage in the UK undermined the government's vision of the country being at the centre of the European e-commerce revolution. ®
Tim Richardson, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Action suspends shares – again

Action Computer Supplies has temporarily suspended its share trading pending an announcement. The mail order PC company made the statement to the stock exchange at 12:15pm today. No explanation was given regarding the forthcoming announcement. A representative of the Middlesex-based company was unable to say when further details would be available. Action's shares have plunged around 50 per cent from their July high when prices topped £3. Its shares were today suspended at 177.5 pence. The company is in a closed period until 21 October when its results for the year ended 31 August are expected to be announced. CSL analyst Clive Longbottom said: "Judging by the share price, it's probably going to be negative rather than positive news." "Action is pretty much on its own in the mail order market, but is getting nibbled at by the office supplies companies selling PCs." "Action aims at the SMB market and is likely to get hit by Y2K. Also, SMBs tend not to be buying networks from Action, but increasingly from places like PC World," he said. The Action model is getting very weak." Action has been moving more towards being a Web-based company. There were several redundancies this summer during a re-jig towards online sales. "Insight already has the Web model in the US. But it bought Action for its mail order business," said Longbottom. The last time Action suspended its shares was in July, when it announced a revision to the proposed take-over by US giant Insight Enterprises. This took the deal from 0.16 cent to 0.12 per cent of an Insight share for every Action share. At the time, the move was said to be due to a "material adverse change" in Action's trading conditions, and put a lower value of around £93 million on the company. ®
Linda Harrison, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

HP says NT not robust enough for new L-boxes

The NT operating system is not suitable for HP's entry level L-Series machines, which the company introduces today. Instead, HP will use its own flavour of Unix for the L1000 and 2000 boxes, aimed at the entry level market. Janice Chaffin, GM of HP's business critical unit, said: "We see NT as quite successful in more collaborative applications. NT does not have the same robustness as HP/UX." HP claims that its L1000 and L2000 boxes, which will initially ship with PA-RISC and later IA-64 chips, will help it capture the midrange market. Chaffin said that while there was no doubt that HP has the largest market share in the enterprise on Unix boxes, it would pursue an "aggressive" campaign to wrest market share from competitors including Sun, Compaq and IBM in the midrange. The L1000, which comes in a two way configuration, is upgradeable to the four way L2000. HP claims that the range outperforms offering from Sun on price and performance. The collaboration HP has with Puffin to port Linux to the PA-RISC platform will bear fruit early next year, HP said. At the same time, it is helping to port Linux to the IA-64 platform. ®
Mike Magee, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Seagate fires 10,000, Quantum posts heavy losses

This story was first published on the old Register site in January 1998 The 1,400 Seagate Irish workers given their notice before Christmas, will be joined by 6,800 redundancies from plants in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. The rest will come from the United States and sales, marketing and admin jobs in all territories. The lay-offs don’t herald good news for Seagate’s official earnings announcement this week ( Jan 20). It has already said it would fail to meet previous expectations of "marginal profitability" in Q2, ending Jan 2, 1998. With redundancy and re-organisation costs, as well as big stock write-offs, Seagate will certainly get the red ink flowing. It doesn’t look too wonderful for Quantum, usually supposed to less vulnerable to market turmoil than most disk drive vendors. It posted losses of $32 million for Q3, ended Dec 28, 1997, against profits of $52.4 million the same period the year before. Quantum shipped Seven million disk drives during the quarter, pulling in revenues of $1.52 billion, up slightly from $1.48 billion in Q3, 1996. The loss is accounted for by a special charge of $79 million set against Milpitas, the company's high-end disk drive and recording head business. Without this, Quantum would have declared net income of $47 million. The charges include inventory write-offs, inventory valuation adjustments, and material purchase commitments, primarily related to the company's transition to its next generation of high-end products. "The charges were higher than the company had anticipated as a result of further deterioration in pricing in the high-end hard disk drive market and the company's desire to further reduce potential inventory exposure in response to those adverse conditions," Quantum said. It's not only the big guys who are suffering. A Dublin disk-drive component firm is closing down with the loss of 278 jobs. Applied Magnetics, which build disk head assemblies, blames the downturn in the disk drive market. ®
Team Register, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

AMD doesn't react to Intel price moves

Correction Advanced Micro Devices did not reduce prices on a number of its K6-2 and K6-III parts over the weekend, as part of its new positioning strategy. We originally reported this story as fact, using info on hardware sites and other wires, but AMD has now told us no changes were made at the weekend, nor are any others in the offing. It has so far resisted the barrage of cuts by Intel, intended to make it push down the prices of its Athlon K7 part. We apologise for the earlier story, which started when another wire incorrectly re-cycled a press release, which was then subsequently picked up by other sites across the world. If we'd talked to our original impeccable but hidden sources, we wouldn't have repeated it... So we've got red faces, but the original source of the story has a face the colour of a beetroot. ®
Mike Magee, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

Hardware site claims Intel underclocking 600MHz chips

A hardware site is claiming that Intel is satisfying demand for the soon-to-disappear Pentium III/450 by underclocking parts graded for 600MHz. According to the Overclocker's Workbench, it has obtained a 450MHz part which runs satisfactorily at 600MHz. However, it is as well to remember that Intel is only likely to guarantee its microprocessors at the grade it sells them at, despite any similarity between the innards of the part. As one ex-Intel PR representative said to us famously about overclocking chips: "Go ahead and burn them up, it will mean we're able to sell you more." ® Related Stories Intel burns desktop chip prices again
Mike Magee, 15 May 2000
The Register breaking news

BT Helpdesk – for one day only!

**** START TEXT HERE (THEN DELETE THIS!!!) ****
Team Register, 15 May 2000
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IDF99

Intel still stuck on the FireWire fence It's in the 1394 patent pool so why doesn't it just back the technology? Merced: what meaneth the Extensible Firmware Interface? Intel Developer Forum Or how to boot your IA-64 chip into shape Merced Tracks: Compaq's views on legacy Doesn't scale well enough Merced: the Linux track Trillian talk at Palm Springs 5 September 1999 Floppy disk on last legs as Concept PCs arrive Backup your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile smile Intel shifts to 133MHz bus, AGP 4x for notebooks next year But first moves to 100MHz bus, PC100 4 September 1999 Intel abandons server Rambus efforts Problems with Carmel frustrate Chipsetzilla efforts Does BX chipset with SDRAM outperform 820 with Rambus? It was well worth drinking those Banquet Coors 3 September 1999 How Intel raced flat out to demo Merced Two weeks ago it booted at 700MHz 2 September 1999 Dell's Bell admits company overclocks chips But all in the cause of science, of course Intel move to PC-133 mere lip service i820 won't have it, while special chipset won't have Rambus Intel in full cunning strategic retreat over PC-133 Requests from vendors make them promise support 1 September 1999 Four way Merced: the pix It's a great big lumbering beast Cumine 7xx processors confirmed for late October It's not from the horse's mouth, but it's pretty close Merced could be a great games machine Can Chipzilla prevent the inevitable? Intel's IXA architecture like fungal mycelium StrongARM controller strongarms six Risc processes Intel claims IA64 will outperform Risc offerings But how will Chipzilla achieve volume sales of Merced? 31 August 1999 "Chipzilla leapfrogs Chimpzilla in desert My chip's faster than your chip, says Tweedlebong to TweedleAMD Intel leaves 1394 out in cold, USB 2.0 exposed to desert glare VGA dead: not many end users out of pocket New lamps for old monitors arrive at 15 per cent premium Seven Dramurai say they will make Rambus cheaper But premium will still be 25 per cent more next year Intel pushes Rambus hard Gelsinger gives update on Camino i820 Intel's Barrett shows Linux running on Merced ...but Win2000 evaluation period runs out... NGIO, Future IO war over No more war, just more jaw jaw FlexATX mobos, Concept PCs make it to market Barbie Doll makes it but bad news for Ken Pentium III/Mobile at 0.18 micron to arrive fall But Geyserville won't come with it 30 August 1999 Intel to roll Camino i820 details out this week Launch date is a little later Intel says Via bigger threat than AMD But execution will see Chipzilla through Intel to demonstrate Merced silicon tomorrow Will it manage to run Win64 as well as Linux
Team Register, 15 May 2000
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Compaq admits Inventec makes its notebooks

Compaq has admitted that it does not build its own notebooks, following Saturday's armed robbery of £1 million of kit in Cheshire. The PC giant came clean last night, telling The Register that the notebook base parts that were stolen in transit were actually the property of Taiwanese OEM Inventec. Last month, The Register revealed which Taiwanese OEMs were making notebooks for which big name PC companies. Compaq has long maintained that it was the manufacturer of its notebooks; product manager after product manager has trotted out the same spin that the Big Q is responsible for the design and build of its products. Now that's all changed. The theft of Inventec built notebooks en route for final assembly and then delivery to Compaq has prompted Compaq to confirm the truth behind its notebooks. "The inventory belonged to Inventec - a Compaq alliance partner - but the product was destined for Compaq customers," a Compaq representative said. "Inventec has advised Compaq of this loss, and contacted the police." ®
Linda Harrison, 15 May 2000
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Rewriting the rules, Dell style

Analysis This column was first published on June 2, 1999 Came across a new word the other day - 'Delled'. Coined by some bright spark students at Harvard Business School, 'to Dell' illustrates the efficiency of the English language in turning nouns into verbs. The definition of 'to Dell' is all about efficiency and - that dreaded phrase which we detest - paradigm shift. It is an attempt to pinpoint the phenomenon where the market leader is outflanked by an upstart contender which refuses to play by the established rules. Compaq is the classic example of a company that has been out-Delled. Compaq wrote the rule book for the corporate PC market. It adopted a channel-only sales policy, made sure there was plenty of inventory in wholesaler warehouses - most of the time - to ensure supply, and established enough credit lines to ensure resellers could service their customers. Other vendors were forced to follow suit. IBM lost out big time because it tried to operate a hybrid channel/direct policy. By the time it abandoned direct PC sales, it was too late: Compaq already owned the market. Until Dell came along. It threw out the Compaq rulebook and established its own proposition - direct only, build-to-order and assemble parts from other companies. Dell simply ignored the resellers - which were in Compaq's pocket - and sold direct to corporates. Now it is the UK's second biggest reseller in this sector, behind Computacenter. By building to order, Dell ensured it was never left with surplus inventory which, as margins declined, has become a huge encumbrance on PC companies (wrong forecasting holed AST almost fatally, for example). The company is pressing home its advantage. Currently, inventory levels run at six or seven days and Dell aims to get this down to six or seven hours. Dell has never bothered about designing motherboards, unlike comparative tiddlers such as Apricot. Instead, it went out and bought the best components in the biggest numbers. The company's recent $16 billion components deal with IBM shows Dell reaching out to the lowest cost producer in its sector, even if that producer is a competitor. Dell's direct selling over the telephone has proved an extremely effective way of tapping in to the Soho market, which Compaq never really cracked. And its e-commerce strategy has proved an enormous success with corporate customers - 30 per cent of all Dell sales are now conducted through its Website. Dell is the fastest growing, most profitable and most efficient PC vendor. But it is not quite the biggest PC builder in the world. That accolade still belongs to Compaq. Compaq has enlarged its role as a PC vendor by bolting on significant storage and service capabilities, courtesy of Digital and Tandem. But it no longer dictates how the PC market should behave. ®
Drew Cullen, 15 May 2000
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Linux commands 13 per cent market share, says IDC

Linux's share of the business operating system market is now up to 13 per cent, according to the latest figures from researcher IDC based on a survey of 788 organisations in the US and Canada. The last time IDC carried out a similar survey, in 1997, Linux barely registered. However, it's curious that IDC's last set of Linux figures, based on its adoption as a server OS, suggested it had 6.8 per cent of the market in 1997, rising to 17.2 per cent through 1998. That's a growth rate of 212 per cent, the researcher then said. Following that trend through into 1999, and allowing for the fact that those numbers took in a wider range of users than the latest survey, we would expect Linux to be registering rather higher than the 13 per cent the latest survey puts the open source OS' at. That suggests that while Linux adoption by the commercial world is increasing by a fair margin -- negligible to 13 per cent market share in two years is impressive -- the growth in the uptake of Linux as a whole isn't be driven as much by business as had been assumed -- that gap of 4.2 per cent (at the very least) has to be somewhere, if the growth in the shipment of Linux hasn't fallen through 1999. Certainly there doesn't appear to be a major increase in the shipments of other business operating systems. IDC's survey suggested most businesses are holding fire on Windows 2000 roll-outs, with most respondents allowing between six and 18 months to pass before embarking on large-scale Win2000 installations. A full 50 per cent of respondents said the technical stabilisation of Windows 2000 would cause them to delay implementation, said IDC. "Past issues with first-release operating systems from Microsoft have caused organizations to reign in their Windows 2000 deployment plans," said IDC Client Infrastructure Software research manager William Peterson. ®
Tony Smith, 15 May 2000
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School sued after scam site expulsion

US teenager Karl Beidler is suing North Thurston School District after his High School expelled him for creating a Web site that ridiculed his assistant principal.
Tim Richardson, 15 May 2000
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933MHz CuMine on sale in Japan

The long-awaited (cough) 933MHz Pentium III Copperwhine chip has gone on sale in Japan's high-tech area, Akibara. If you go to this place, you'll discover more information, along with details of Colour PCI Athlons, and a Dog and Cat style PC. The exchange rate is around $1=109.
Mike Magee, 15 May 2000
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1GHz CuMines rarer than dodo's teeth

In all the flurry about problems with i820 chipsets and "material costs", it's easy to forget that only a little while back, Intel and AMD were head to head over who would be first to rush a 1GHz microprocessor to market.
Mike Magee, 15 May 2000
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Register goes to Computex

Once again, staff from this magazine will be attending the premier hardware show Computex, held in Taiwan, at the beginning of next month.
Team Register, 15 May 2000
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ClickCharity™: Click here for a good cause

The dotcom revolution has been a harsh one and the battle for eyeballs has become a war of attrition with all sides suffering substantial losses. Many previously financially-secure types have taken the Net gamble and will most likely have a partial breakdown when the bubble bursts and they're left with nothing but a URL for their trouble.
Kieren McCarthy, 15 May 2000
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Brave Boo.com battling on

Boo.com has dismissed claims that it is about to become the first high-profile dotcom to go down the pan.
Tim Richardson, 15 May 2000