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Graham Lea

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Caldera goes Unix with SCO acquisition

The long-trailed deal between Caldera Systems - the Linux part of Caldera, rather than Lineo, the separate but blood-related embedded Linux company - and SCO has happened. Caldera is acquiring SCO's Server Software and Professional Services divisions, leaving SCO with Tarantella and the revenue stream from SCO OpenServer. …
Graham Lea, 02 Aug 2000
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Gates & Co describe long, hard code to .NET

MS Analysts The theme for Microsoft's financial analysts meeting last week was "the road to the .NET" but it still seems that real plans are sketchy, and the paradigm shift that it is supposed to represent is still being invented. Gates' speech was not exactly the stuff to excite financial analysts; far from pitching them exciting new ideas …
Graham Lea, 31 Jul 2000
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MS' Ballmer: Linux is communism

MS Analysts Steve Ballmer was the only person to raise the issue of Linux when he wrapped up Microsoft's annual financial analysts meeting in Seattle, although he put Sun and Oracle ahead in terms of being stronger competitors. They of course are 'civilised' competitors - but the Linux crowd, in the world of Prez Steve, are communists. …
Graham Lea, 31 Jul 2000
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Gates on speech recognition: a long road still to travel

MS Analysts Speech recognition software, and to a certain extent handwriting recognition and machine translation, have been a sore point at Microsoft for some time. An enormous amount has been spent on research in these areas, but still there is no sign of a product. Speaking to financial analysts recently about .NET, Gates said that " …
Graham Lea, 31 Jul 2000
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Microsoft Network grows in sea of red ink

MS Analysts Consumer group vp Rick Belluzzo has the unenviable task of running Microsoft's billion dollar consumer business, and it continues to bleed. At last week's analysts meeting hee painted a picture of an improving situation, but gave the game away when he said: "our numbers continue to grow through the distribution agreements that …
Graham Lea, 31 Jul 2000
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US buckles on export subsidies to MS et al, but ups them $1.5bn

The US is retreating in the latest skirmish of the trade war with the EU, and will revise the controversial foreign sales corporation system that, according to World Trade Organisation rules, gave illegal export subsidies to the likes of Microsoft and other major US exporters. More than half of US exports go through FSCs, and it …
Graham Lea, 28 Jul 2000
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The search for the perfect search engine

Analysis There are several unsolved problems with search engines: they do not index all the Web; no single engine is likely to be satisfactory for all searching purposes; and their capabilties are often over-hyped. At least the issue of completeness is improving, with Google claiming to have indexed 1.06 billion Web pages - but that's …
Graham Lea, 27 Jul 2000
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MS slams judge in Supreme Court filing

MS on Trial Microsoft has filed with the Supreme Court its view as to why the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit should first hear its appeal. The arguments are principally that the case is too big and complex for the Supremes; that there are many factual issues best resolved by a lower court; and that the trial was flawed because Judge …
Graham Lea, 27 Jul 2000
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Borland bounces back in style

It's been widely assumed that because Inprise/Borland almost succumbed to Corel's caper, it must be awaiting another suitor. But a glance at its Q2 results shows that the venerable tools maker still knows which way is up in the developers' world, so maybe it's not. The company delivered a 16 per cent increase in revenue (to $47 …
Graham Lea, 26 Jul 2000
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MS to ask Supremes to stay off its case

MS on Trial Microsoft is about to file its first missive to the Supreme Court, in what is widely expected to be an attempt to persuade the Supremes not to hear the case, and send it to the more sympathetic Court of Appeals. Antitrust lawyer opinion is divided as to whether it is more likely that the Court of Appeals will be asked by the …
Graham Lea, 26 Jul 2000
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Palmisano moves up into Gerstner heir slot at IBM

Sam Palmisano has been made president of IBM as well as COO, which positions him as the most likely to succeed Lou Gerstner as chairman when he retires. Palmisano was executive assistant to John Akers, the previous chairman, then ran IBM Japan before a stint as number two in global services. He went on to run the personal …
Graham Lea, 25 Jul 2000
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What's making Sun a stellar success?

Analysis Wall Street financial analysts are not renowned for being very kind about results, but during Sun's analyst call last night for its Q4 results, their praise was unprecedented in our experience. "Breathtaking numbers" was the commonest comment, with "an unbelievable quarter" and "spectacular" being runners up. So what had excited …
Graham Lea, 21 Jul 2000
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How Microsoft played the numbers game to boost MSN

Analysis Microsoft's claims this week that the "MSN network of Internet services" has become the "No 1 worldwide Internet destination for consumers" on "multiple Web sites associated with the MSN brand" got plenty of publicity upfront, but how true were they? Specifically, the company claimed that its own count shows 201 million unique …
Graham Lea, 21 Jul 2000
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‘Transitional’ IBM faces growth slowdown

IBM CEO Lou Gerstner recognised at the announcement of IBM's Q2 results last night that "In a portfolio of our size, we often have units in transition", and so it proved. IBM is in effect a conglomerate of companies, each with a different business cycle, so it is difficult for the company to do well as a whole unless the …
Graham Lea, 20 Jul 2000
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Slow Win2k uptake, flagging Office sales dog MS Q4

Almost without it being noticed, Microsoft has transformed itself from a software company to an investment company. The Q4 results announced last night show investment income up 132 per cent compared with the year-ago quarter. Investment income of $1.127 billion in the quarter represented 32 per cent of Microsoft's income before …
Graham Lea, 19 Jul 2000
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MSN Empire hits 201m users

Microsoft says that the "MSN network of Internet services" has become the "No 1 worldwide Internet destination for consumers", with 201 million unique users visiting during June. This data quite probably comes from Media Metrix, since in the same paragraph Microsoft goes on to say that in the (11-month) period from July 1999 to …
Graham Lea, 18 Jul 2000
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ICANN adds domains names, stores up troubles

Analysis The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the administrator of the domain-name addressing system, has decided to increase the number of top-level domains (TLDs), but has not decided on how many there should be. At present there are just seven (.com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, .org), apart from the two-letter …
Graham Lea, 17 Jul 2000
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Junk mail from MS: whose spam is it anyway?

Special report "Spammers are thieves... They're hijacking your system to deliver their unrequested, unwanted advertising," says a new Microsoft web site paper by R'ykandar Korra'ti. But Microsoft is on shaky ground when it comes to spam - in recent newsgroup posting the company's own abuse manager Mike Lyman has effectively been conceding that …
Graham Lea, 13 Jul 2000
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With version 4 shipped, Opera aims for expansion

The release of the Opera 4 browser by Opera Software of Norway is a significant event because it is the first browser to do a decent job with cascading style sheets (which describe how documents are presented on screens). Those who have come to grief with Netscape's or Microsoft's efforts with CSS might care to try Opera. It's …
Graham Lea, 03 Jul 2000
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MS casts its ‘permatemps’ into outer darkness

Analysis From tomorrow, new rules will go into effect for thousands of "permatemps" currently employed at Fort Redmond. After working for a year, they will have to "leave" for a hundred days before being allowed to return as temps, often to do the same work. The policy has been applied to all new temporary hires since last March. It may …
Graham Lea, 30 Jun 2000
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Google in lead as search wars hot up

Reliance on search engines is increasing and will continue to do so, so it is not surprising that there are shake-outs from time to time. The latest changes have affected Inktomi, Euroseek and Google. Stockholm-based Euroseek agreed yesterday to supply MSN and IE with its search engine for the Nordic region, and the company has …
Graham Lea, 30 Jun 2000
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Bill Gates' roots in the trashcans of history

It is interesting to note the high moral tone being taken by Microsoft in its castigation of Oracle's legal if somewhat dodgy intelligence gathering activities.* But surely Microsoft hasn't forgotten that Bill Gates himself, together with Paul Allen, has also used trash cans as a primary source of intelligence? Gates even …
Graham Lea, 29 Jun 2000
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Torvalds: main impact of MS trial psychological

During a predictably banal interview of Linus Torvalds on Radio Wall Street yesterday - where the interviewer clearly hoped for some tips about how to turn Linux into a pot of gold for investors - our hero had a couple of interesting things to say about the Microsoft case. Torvalds said that "the major impact is psychological" …
Graham Lea, 29 Jun 2000
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Spying on MS – yes, it's the Man from Oracle

Oracle says that it hired Investigative Group International to spy on Microsoft-funded support groups like the National Taxpayers Union, the Independent Institute (not so independent, after all), and the Association for Competitive Technology. Since it was clear enough that these outfits were toeing a particularly pro-Microsoft …
Graham Lea, 28 Jun 2000
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Afternic sues ICANN over domain-name status

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (the US-based outfit that accredits domain name registrars), is being sued by privately-held NYC-based Afternic.com because ICANN will not grant it domain-name registrar status. ICANN says that when Afternic applied, it looked at its web site and found that the …
Graham Lea, 27 Jun 2000
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Is Microsoft.NET contempt of court?

MS on Trial There is an intriguing possibilty in the Microsoft case that so far seems to have been overlooked - what if the Department of Justice viewed the Microsoft.NET announcement as a contempt of court, and asked the Supreme Court to act accordingly? Microsoft very deliberately chose to announce a series of actions with its .NET plans …
Graham Lea, 27 Jun 2000
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Amazon pulls a fast one over latest Harry Potter

Harry Potter fans are waiting impatiently for JK Rowling's fourth book at noon on 8 July, but there is still great secrecy about the title. (To spoil the surprise the Sunday Telegraph has revealed it is called "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire".) Booksellers have had to sign affidavits that they would not unpack them until …
Graham Lea, 26 Jun 2000
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Does MS get the net, or is it building its own again?

Analysis Despite the extra preparation time provided by delays, Microsoft was still generating more heat than light at its great Next Generation Windows .NET announcement. The speakers were Messrs Gates, Ballmer, Maritz, Muglia and Belluzzo (no Allchin, as he's having a long holiday). Microsoft's press team must have been in overdrive, …
Graham Lea, 23 Jun 2000
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MS and DoJ agree schedule for Supreme Court

MS on Trial The DoJ and Microsoft agreed a briefing schedule yesterday, and proposed it to the clerk of the Supreme Court in a letter from Seth Waxman, the DoJ's solicitor general, who will head up the case there. Microsoft would file on 26 July, the DoJ reply would be by 15 August, and if Microsoft chose to reply, it would be by 22 August …
Graham Lea, 23 Jun 2000
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MS judge opts for damage control with Supremes order

MS on Trial The Gang of Seven judges in the Court of Appeals have been outflanked by Judge Jackson. Tucked away in his Order certifying the joint case to the Supremes is the news that his Final Judgement of 7 June be "stayed in its entirety" (meaning the conduct remedies as well as the breakup) until the appeal is heard and decided, unless …
Graham Lea, 21 Jun 2000
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DoJ argues against splitting MS appeal

MS on Trial The DoJ has suggested to the Court of Appeals (the posted document mistakenly says "District Court") that it should not go along with Microsoft's attempt to split the DoJ's and States' cases. Even if the Court of Appeals reads the terms of the Expediting Act to agree with Microsoft's contention that the States' case could not be …
Graham Lea, 19 Jun 2000
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Ten years hard – Microsoft's long antitrust struggle

MS on Trial Happy tenth anniversary, Microsoft: it's now ten years since news first broke that you were under antitrust investigation. It's been a long battle, and it's by no means over yet - but the point is not so much that Microsoft has been under investigation for over a decade, but that it's been able to hold off serious corrective …
Graham Lea, 19 Jun 2000
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MS tries to cut States out of Supreme Court appeal

MS on Trial We can now reveal why Microsoft decided to split its appeal into separate actions against the DoJ and the Plaintiff States. In Microsoft's response filed yesterday with the Court of Appeals against the States' request that Microsoft's stay motion be dismissed or deferred, there is a note of triumph: "In their zeal to secure …
Graham Lea, 16 Jun 2000
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Psion chief says deals with split MS possible

Psion CEO David Levin has been warning today that WAP is over-hyped and doesn't put "the Internet on your phone" as some over-enthusiastic promoters have been suggesting. This is refreshing, since the emerging generation of WAP devices is going to be a considerable disappointment for many users until there is a broader band …
Graham Lea, 15 Jun 2000
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DoJ files, while MS plays double game on delays

MS on Trial The euphoria yesterday that sent Microsoft's share price above $70 (but still seriously down from $130 in December) may be short-lived, as it resulted from Microsoft filing an appeal for a stay over the conduct remedies with the Court of Appeals. The DoJ filed a brief and cool Motion with the Court of Appeals asking that …
Graham Lea, 15 Jun 2000
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MS begs court for longer sentences

MS on Trial Microsoft's stay appeal is not at the moment in a form acceptable to the Court of Appeals because it is too long. Microsoft knows this, because it has submitted a separate "Motion for Leave to Submit an Overlength Motion for Stay Pending Appeal" to the court asking it to accept its longer motion for a stay. The Federal Rules of …
Graham Lea, 14 Jun 2000
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Politics and the courts – will MS get an easier appeal ride?

MS on Trial Harry Edwards, the chief judge of the DC Circuit, went on the record last October in the Legal Times to express his disdain that a judge's politics should influence a ruling. He lashed the Washington Post for suggesting that "Microsoft's fate could hinge on which judges hear appeal" and characterising "the impending appellate …
Graham Lea, 14 Jun 2000
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Citrix takes a whack on Wall Street

Citrix' share price fell 46 per cent yesterday on fire-sale volume, after it lowered expectations for its quarter ending 30 June. Revenue is expected to be $105-110 for the quarter, compared with $94 million a year ago, but earnings per share are forecast at 9-11 cents, compared with 16 cents a year earlier. The reasons, Citrix …
Graham Lea, 13 Jun 2000
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DoJ, MS wrangle over road to appeal

MS on Trial Microsoft's Motion for a stay in the Final Judgement has been robustly criticised by the DoJ on two main grounds: it "fails entirely to make any of the showings required to obtain such a stay"; and Microsoft's delay in filing its notice of appeal was "simply an attempt to manipulate the Court and thwart the operation of the …
Graham Lea, 13 Jun 2000
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Dear Bill: Time to lay down your jobs for MSFT

Dear Bill, I'd like to explain why I think that the smartest thing you could do would be to settle the case with the government and resign from Microsoft. If you did that, it would be a win-win. I have been following your career since you and others developed a version of Basic, through your first big break when IBM selected …
Graham Lea, 12 Jun 2000
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Ballmer unplugged is off message from Redmond

MS on Trial Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's travelling CEO, is unwired from Fort Redmond, judging by some contradictory statements he has been making about the judgement - as well as a startling admission that Windows 2000 desktop sales may not be so good. He acknowledged to reporters in Rotterdam yesterday that it was a mistake to have had …
Graham Lea, 09 Jun 2000
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Ruling would hurt MS, staff, millions of people – says MS

MS on Trial Microsoft has asked Judge Jackson for a stay on the Final Judgement, couching its Motion in aggressive terms. Starting with a claim that the judge's ruling would inflict "grievous and irreparable harm on Microsoft, its 35,000 employees, its millions of shareholders, its thousands of business partners, and the tens of millions of …
Graham Lea, 09 Jun 2000
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MS shoots off last volley, now it's back to the judge

MS on Trial In a surprise move, Microsoft has filed its response to the response to the response a day early. And the company's Reply to plaintiffs' response to Microsoft's comments on their revised proposed final judgment is for once a short one. Microsoft's legal team may well be tired and limited to repeating its arguments, in the …
Graham Lea, 07 Jun 2000
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The Web is the platform, says Gates – carefully

It was a subdued Bill Gates who kicked off Microsoft's TechEd meeting in Orlando yesterday. There was certainly nothing controversial, which was just as well in view of the imminence of the Final Judgement. We were told how "getting the personal computer to critical mass... has been the legacy of Microsoft's work". Software is …
Graham Lea, 06 Jun 2000
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DoJ accepts trivial MS changes, refuses all the big ones

MS on Trial The DoJ's last brief before the Judge Jackson's Final Judgement shows that Microsoft has lost none of its fighting spirit, and is determined to get as many proposed provisions as possible reversed. It's going to be uphill work, because the DoJ has stonewalled the best that Microsoft could offer. The changes Microsoft was seeking …
Graham Lea, 06 Jun 2000
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Is Gates planning a share stake shuffle ahead of an MS split?

MS on Trial Could it be that Bill Gates has a plan to reduce his shareholding to less than five percent, so that after the divestiture, he could still have shares in both companies and be recognised as the person running both of them? Gates would not relish being identified as a pariah, and to him the most distasteful of the DoJ's proposals …
Graham Lea, 06 Jun 2000
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Don't tax Net hardware either, says Intel's Grove

Andy Grove has been offering advice to the US government, as well as the odd maxim for individuals and businesses, at a conference on Internet and Society at Harvard. His messages were couched in coded terms, but by a massive coincidence, they'd be good for Intel as well as the government. Grove's main political theme was "Do …
Graham Lea, 05 Jun 2000
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Outlook Love Bug patch still mysteriously missing

Users are still waiting for a fix for MS Outlook after the ravages from the ILOVEYOU, Melissa and related viruses. Microsoft is itself in a bit of a fix here; having pushed the idea of attachments, a security fix based on blocking all attachments seems like a massive climb-down. But on the other hand, what else could you do? …
Graham Lea, 05 Jun 2000
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IBM donates SOAP to Apache XML project

There's a bit more to the IBM/Lotus donation of its Simple Object Access Protocol (6,000 downloads from IBM's alphaWorks site) to Apache's XML Project than meets the eye. As Robert Sutor, IBM's XML program director, put it yesterday, IBM does not want the Internet to become "a battleground of competing, vendor-specific 'control …
Graham Lea, 02 Jun 2000
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Beached Baan bows to buyer

Invensys has confirmed that it has made an agreed all-cash offer for Baan of 2.85 Euros share, which values Baan at 762 million Euros, 474, or $708 million. The offer is recommended by both boards. Yesterday, Baan closed in Amsterdam at 2.62 Euros, giving a less than nine per cent premium, which is certainly considerably less …
Graham Lea, 01 Jun 2000