|December, 1997 Archive
Wednesday, December 31st
"AppleMasters" Added To Macworld Lineup
[1:55PM] Like last year's annual gala in San Francisco, a handful of different ranking celebrities will be on hand at Macworld Expo next week, only this time they won't be paraded on stage during the opening keynote address. IDG Expo Management Co., the producers of the show, said today that a third keynote has been added to the opening morning festivities. "AppleMasters, Forward Thinkers and World-Changers," featuring notable names and faces who use the Macintosh "to make the world a better place," will follow the previously scheduled speeches from Steve Jobs and Kai Krause. Among a few of the AppleMasters scheduled to participate in the keynote include: Author and Fantasist Douglas Adams, Heavyweight Champion Boxer Muhammad Ali, Physicist and Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Donald Glaser, Dancer/Actor/Director Gregory Hines, Actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, Video Animator Jim Ludtke and Video Broadcast Designer Harry Marks.
CompUSA Tops $5 Billion Milestone In 1997
[1:20PM] Sales at retail computer superstore CompUSA reached record levels in both the second fiscal quarter of 1998 and calendar year 1997, the company announced today. Net sales for the three months ended December 27th rose 22 percent in the year ago period to $1.46 billion, pushing 1997 sales figures past the $5 billion mark for the first time. "We reached a milestone in this quarter -- over $5 billion in sales for calendar year 1997, in addition to achieving strong second quarter sales, led by a substantial comparable store sales increase," said James F. Halpin, president and CEO, in a statement. "These accomplishments are a result of our ongoing investment in CompUSA, including opening 14 Computer Superstores, opening five small market stores, and premiering our new Apple product 'store within a store' concept."
Mac Users Can't "C" New CompuServe Service
[12:45PM] "C from CompuServe," the new online service from CompuServe being billed as an Internet-based online community is available only to Windows 3.1, 95 and NT users, as several Mac Observer readers discovered upon attempting to use the service's free trial. Despite the claims made yesterday by Sam Uretsky, vice president of business management for "C," who said in a statement that people using any Internet provider and browser can access the new service, "C" requires specialized client software, which is only available to users of the Wintel platform.
"C from CompuServe"
Clone Vendor Goes Public With Lawsuits
[11:55AM] Days after the Austin American-Statesman broke news of PowerTools' lawsuits against Umax Data Systems, Umax Computer Corp. and Apple Computer, the tiny Austin, Texas-based clone vendor has gone public with their disputes, taking down their Web site and replacing it with a parody of Apple's "Think Different" advertising campaign. On the site, a note from company president and chief executive Victor Wong says that PowerTools has been forced to discontinue accepting orders for an indefinite period of time, due to its "inability to arrange a reliable wholesale source of supply of component parts." Copies of PowerTools' federal complaints against Apple and Umax, along with a petition for the state of Texas, have also been posted on the site, which is tagged with the slogan, "We Were Different."
PowerTools - Apple Computer - Umax
Tuesday, December 30th
"C" CompuServe's New Web Service For Free
[5:15PM] After talking up the mysterious project for months, CompuServe today formally unveiled "C from CompuServe," a new Internet-based service aimed at business, professional and technology-savvy users. To coincide with the launch, CompuServe will be offering "C" on a free trial basis, meaning US and Canadian users will be able to enjoy full access to CompuServe's Forum areas on more than 500 work and lifestyle topics, as well as an enhanced POP3 email service. Once the service exits its unspecified free trial stage, three different membership options will be available, ranging from a generally restricted free account to one offering full privileges for around $10 per month. Members of CompuServe's traditional CSi service will receive full membership privileges to "C" for no additional fee.
C from CompuServe
Saudi Prince Prepping Investment In Teledesic
[3:25PM] Bill Gates' satellite venture Teledesic LLC will soon see a cash infusion from Saudi Arabia's billionaire Prince Alwaleed, a statement from the prince's office revealed last Wednesday. "Prince Alwaleed plans to invest in a joint project with Teledesic to finance and launch a network of... satellites that will transmit voice, data, and the Internet to cover every spot on earth," said the statement from his office in the Saudi capital Riya. Al Waleed's planned stake in the $9 billion "Internet-in-the-sky" venture of Gates and telecommunication pioneer Craig McCaw will likely be significant, if his recent investments in the likes of Apple Computer, Netscape Communications and Motorola are any indication. Seattle-based Teledesic, which is also being backed by Boeing, is planning to launch a constellation of low-earth-orbit satellites in 2002 to provide affordable, worldwide, "fibre-like" access to telecommunications services such as broadband Internet access, video conferencing, high-quality voice and other digital data needs.
Teledesic LLC - Reuters Article
Intel Wheels And Deals With Platinum Tech
[12:30PM] Semiconductor giant Intel said today it has signed a broad development, licensing, sales and marketing agreement with software maker Platinum Technology to advance desktop and systems management. The alliance will join the companies respective strengths in PC management and information technology infrastructure management to give customers the ability to manage resources across networks, reduce the total cost of business computing and improve information technology service levels. Under the terms of the deal, Intel will purchase an undisclosed number of non-voting shares of Platinum; license components of Platinum's integrated systems and database management solution, Platinum ProVision; and provide Platinum with exclusive rights to its Intel LANDesk Configuration Manager.
Intel - Platinum Technology
IBM Breaks Disk-Drive Storage Barrier
[11:05AM] According to this morning's edition of The New York Times, IBM is planning to announce today a breakthrough in disk-drive storage. Big Blue will unveil storage technology today that breaks the barrier of 10 billion bits of data a square inch, the paper said, with plans for implementing the innovation into actual products sometime in the year 2001. The new technology will first be used in 2.5-inch, non-removable, single-platter hard drives intended for use in portable computers. At that size, the drives will hold 6.5GB of data, although the normal 3.5-inch platter will scale up to 12-13GB. IBM, who just passed the one-billion bit mark in April of 1996, says every square inch of disk space in the new technology will hold 1,450 average-sized novels or more than 725,000 pages of double-spaced typewritten pages, which would make a stack taller than an 18-story building.
NY Times Article - IBM
Netscape Launches 'Customer Choice' Campaign
[10:10AM] Netscape Communications kicked off a new campaign last week aimed at reminding customers of the choice they have in the Web browser market. The company's "Customer Choice" initiative gives users a procedure for not only downloading the latest copy of its Communicator suite, but also for selecting Communicator as the default browser and uninstalling Microsoft's Internet Explorer. The campaign will tie in with the ongoing Netscape Now program and will be offered as a linkable desktop icon to OEM computer vendors, as well. "We want to make sure that Internet users know that they have a choice when it comes to Internet software," said Mike Homer, executive VP of worldwide sales and marketing at Netscape. "The 'Customer Choice' initiative provides Internet users with information about their options as well as an easy way to choose Netscape software and uninstall unwanted browsers from their desktops."
Customer Choice - Netscape Communications
Newton Doing "Well," Spokesperson Says
[8:45AM] Apple Computer is satisfied with sales of their Newton-based devices, a company spokesperson told an online publication, adding that both the eMate 300 and MessagePad are doing "well," with units of the later being on backorder. The insight from the company comes in a decisively negative NEWS.COM article that suggested the Newton group might be in trouble, following the departure by a number of employee to 3Com's PalmComputing subsidiary. But Apple denies any turmoil in the group and, moreover, scoffs at the notion that the Newton group might be sold. "We are not making imminent announcements about the Newton organization," the spokesperson said.
NEWS.COM Article - Apple Computer
Doom Source Code Now Available For Download
[8:25AM] In celebration of the game's four year anniversary, id software released last week the source code to their landmark 3D shooter Doom, opening the door to a wide variety of possible improvements and enhancements. Most of all, the source code shows the world the insides to one of gaming's most revolutionary engines, which could be of immense help to budding programmers abroad. The code, available in its Linux distribution (the DOS version contains a copyrighted sound driver which stopped id from freely distributing the code), may be used for non-commercial efforts, but it does require a full working copy of Doom. "If significant projects are undertaken, it would be cool to see a level of community cooperation," id's programming guru John Carmack said. "I know that most early projects are going to be rough hacks done in isolation, but I would be very pleased to see a coordinated 'net release of an improved, backwards compatable version of DOOM on multiple platforms next year."
Carmack goes on to suggest several project ideas, including a port to one's favorite operating system, the addition of some rendering features (transparency, look up/down, slopes), some additional gaming features (weapons, jumping, ducking, flying, etc), a packet server based Internet game, a client/server based Internet game, and a 3D accelerated version using modern hardware.
Doom Source Code - John Carmack's .plan
Monday, December 29th
MetaCreations' LogoMotion Goes Cross-Platform
[6:10PM] MetaCreations said today that it has begun shipping LogoMotion 2.1, the first version of the logo animation utility to add compatibility with the Windows platform. Intended as a low-cost solution for multimedia artists, savvy business presenters and Web designers, LogoMotion brings high-quality 3D output without the high learning curves usually associated with 3D applications. And like much of MetaCreations' software lineup, LogoMotion is now available in both Power Macintosh and Windows versions. "With the introduction of LogoMotion to the Windows market, MetaCreations now provides the broadest category of 3-D graphics products to the ever-expanding market of 3-D professionals and enthusiasts," said Frank Casanova, MetaCreations' vice president of product management and design.
MetaCreations - LogoMotion Information
PowerTools Files Suits Against UMAX, Apple
[2:05PM] Faced with an exhausted supply channel and a re-arranged licensing agreement, Macintosh clone vendor PowerTools has filed suit against its supplier, UMAX Data Systems, alleging that the US branch of the Taiwanese company broke a two-year contract by cutting off their supply of systems, following pressure from Apple Computer. The Austin American-Statesman, who first broke the story, also says that the Austin, Texas-based clone vendor has filed a suit against Apple for $50 million. In question is the agreement PowerTools has with UMAX. PowerTools says that the Taiwanese parent firm, UMAX Data Systems, conceded to pressure from Apple and breached its contract, transferring the PowerTools account to US subsidiary UMAX Computer Corp., a unit which is prohibited from selling incomplete systems due to an agreement with Apple.
The newspaper reached Phil Pompa, vice president of marketing and strategic planning for UMAX Computer Corp., for comment. Pompa, unaware of the suits, acknowledged the dispute, however. "There was an agreement that didn't work out with our parent company in Taiwan," Pompa said. "UMAX Data Systems felt it was a U.S. market issue and felt we could handle it here."
Meanwhile, Victor Wong, president and chief executive of PowerTools, says that, as a stop-gate measure, the company has been purchasing stock UMAX machines and is re-configuring parts to meet the current demand for machines. Wong told the Statesman, the suit "is really the last possible solution we have."
American-Statesman Article - PowerTools
Jobs Wins Council Approval To Build Heliport
[12:35PM] Steve Jobs' request to build a helicopter port at the former Point Molate Naval Fuel Depot near his office at Pixar Animation Studios has been approved by the City Council of Richmond, California, the Associated Press reported last week. The council gave the Apple Computer interim chief executive a one-year lease with four one-year options on the space, which will be utilized to cut down on Jobs' commute between his offices at Apple and Pixar. The trip between Pixar's headquarters in Richmond and Apple's Cupertino campus will take 25 minutes by air, compared with the one hour drive it routinely takes when traveling through light traffic by car. Jobs, however, still needs one important item before using the facility; an actual helicopter.
AP Article - Pixar - Apple Computer
Apple Revs Internet Data Detectors Suite
[12:05PM] Apple Computer released an incremental upgrade to its Internet Data Detectors suite last week. The revision, 1.0.2, contains a "few important internal bug fixes" as well as one new feature that makes it easy to disable contextual menus (and hence, Data Detectors) in individual applications. IDD, originally released this past fall, is the first publicly available example of Apple's innovative AppleScript-powered data management technology.
Internet Data Detectors - AppleScript Information
Macromedia Preparing Rollout Of FreeHand 8.0
[10:45AM] Macromedia will be rolling out a new version of their illustration and graphics creation package at next week's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, The Mac Observer learned last week. Although not much is known about FreeHand 8.0, as the upgrade will be enumerated, the company began sending out invitations last week for an official Macworld roll out party.
Macromedia - FreeHand Information
Cosmo Player Coming "Soon," Company Says
[9:50AM] Cosmo Player 2.0, the latest VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) browser from Silicon Graphics subsidiary Cosmo Software, will be released for the Macintosh "soon," the company says, with a launch in the second quarter of 1998 probable. As part of a multi-tiered agreement made with Apple Computer late last year, SGI committed to bringing the popular browser to the Mac, in addition to supporting QuickDraw 3D as a rendering engine in both the Mac and Wintel variations. But the company's goal of doing so by Q1 1997 obviously was not met, and the software is now shaping up to be at least one year overdue.
Cosmo Software - Silicon Graphics - Apple Computer
Big Blue Tells Comdex; You're Too Big For Us
[8:55AM] Believing that the world's largest computer show has gotten too big for its own good, IBM indicated last week that they will be pulling out of next year's series of Comdex shows, marking their first absence in the show's 20 years of existence. The sheer size of the event, which attracted an estimated 220,000 attendees for this year's fall show, has made the time less than ideal for working one-on-one with potential customers, IBM said. "We don't think Comdex is the best way to reach our customers," John Bukovinsky, a spokesman for the computer giant, told the USA Today. "Comdex is a good way to talk to customers about products, but not the best way to talk about solutions."
The event, which is held in Las Vegas and Chicago each fall and spring, respectively, will likely continue unfazed (several reports already say IBM's booth space has been snapped up by Toshiba), but IBM's decision marks yet another departure for one of the computer industry's icons. Earlier this year, Apple Computer, who like IBM was one of the original Comdex vendors, said their recommitment to the world of content creation and education would bring a halt to their Comdex presence.
IBM - USA Today Report
Friday, December 19th
Oracle Slapped With Shareholder Lawsuit
[3:30PM] Investors who purchased shares of Oracle between April 29th and December 9th have filed a lawsuit against the database maker, charging that the company's CFO and COO knowingly inflated the price of the stock. The suit alleges that, during the period in question, Oracle artificially inflated the stock to a split-adjusted high of more than $42 per share based on representations that it was experiencing revenue growth of 20%-25% in its core database business and 60+% in its applications business. Oracle also said its strong revenue growth would result in a positive swing in earnings-per-share for the first half of fiscal 1998, the suit says. However, on September 16th, Oracle's first quarter results showed otherwise, with growth in Oracle's core database actually coming in lower. But even with the disappointing Q1 results, Oracle continued to assure investors that the quarter was merely an anomaly, the lawsuit says.
Then came December 9th, when Oracle revealed in its second quarter results that it was seeing little if any growth in its applications and database revenue. And moreover, the company was actually experiencing declining revenues in certain areas, such as domestic revenues. Oracle further disclosed that stagnating database and applications revenue meant that they would be lucky to generate any growth in earnings-per-share at all during fiscal 1998. Oracle's stock immediately collapsed to $22 15/16 per share as the market digested this bad news.
Additionally, the investors also point to the fact that five Oracle "insiders" sold over 800,000 split-adjusted shares of their stock, coincidently, before the actual quarterly results came to light. Over $28 million was pocketed by the insider trading, the lawsuit claims, including some $7 million in stock sold by COO Raymond Lane within weeks of Oracle's disappointing December 1997 announcement. The plaintiffs are seeking to recover damages on behalf of all stock purchases made between the 8 month period.
TechWorks To Remain Autonomous Entity
[2:20PM] Clarifying this week's news of a "significant" investment Japanese-based Melco made in TechWorks, TechWorks' Debbie Strance told The Mac Observer earlier today that the investment gives Melco a majority stake in the Austin, Texas-based Macintosh upgrade vendor. However, Melco has no plans to fold their investment under its own wing, leaving TechWorks to continue operating as an autonomous entity, with Mike Frost remaining president and CEO of the company.
unreal to make appearance at macworld?<>
[11:45AM] Epic MegaGames' hugely anticipated, self-labeled Quake killer, "Unreal," will make its first public appearance on the Macintosh at next month's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, according to online video game publication Next Generation Online. Developed almost in parallel with its PC counterpart, the Macintosh version of Unreal is being coordinated by Westlake Technologies, the company, as you might remember, founded by several former employees of the now defunct software house, Lion Entertainment. As for the version of the 3D shooter being readied for demonstration at Macworld, it will have native support for ATI and 3Dfx video cards, Next Generation says.
Next Generation Report - Unreal - Epic MegaGames
Intuit's Quicken 98 Cleans Up In Retail Sector
[11:20AM] According to a report released by market research firm PC Data, Intuit, Inc.'s Quicken 98 has become the top selling personal productivity software package, since its release in late October, claiming over 80 percent of the retail market share. PC Data's November 1997 report showed that Quicken 98 outsold the next closest title, Microsoft's Money, by a factor of 4 to 1, putting the market share of Intuit's cornerstone product at 83 percent. "Quicken has been the #1 personal finance software program for every month since PC Data began collecting industry data in 1991," said Ann Stephens, president of PC Data. "With the introduction of Quicken 98, Intuit continues to lead the category, with no competitor even coming close."
Intuit - Quicken - PC Data
Adobe Makes Series Of Management Shuffles
[10:55AM] In conjunction with the release of their quarterly earnings, Adobe Systems also announced sweeping changes in its management architecture, including the formation of a new executive committee that will oversee the company's performance, strategy, and policies. The committee will be comprised of John Warnock, Charles Geschke, Robert Roblin, Ross Bott, Jack Bell, Derek Gray, Colleen Pouliot, and Fred Schwedner. In addition, Bott, formerly senior vice president and general manager of the Graphics Professional Product Division (GPPD), will be moved to the newly created position of executive vice president, products division. In Bott's place in the GPPD will be Bruce Chizen, who'll make the move from vice president of the Consumer Products Division. Also promoted were Robert Roblin, from senior vice president of marketing to executive vice president, marketing; and Colleen Pouliot, from vice president and general counsel to senior vice president and general counsel.
The company also made significant changes in its marketing management organization, going from a product-oriented structure to one that focuses on customer segments through four distinct divisions. The new Enterprise Solutions Division, headed up by George Cacciopo, will tend to the publishing and management requirements of Acrobat and FrameMaker, while the Mass Market Division will be responsible for the user categories of the home, home office, small/medium businesses, and corporate user. At the moment, PhotoDeluxe and PageMill make up the home user product line, although the division will focus its efforts on expanding the company's product offerings and customer base beyond digital imaging and Web authoring, Adobe said.
The company's flagship products, Photoshop and Illustrator, will be marketed through the Graphics Professional Products Division, led by Bruce Chizen. And the final division, Printing & Systems, headed by Fred Schwedner, will focus on Adobe PostScript, Adobe PostScript Extreme, and Adobe PrintGear.
Adobe Releases Forth Quarter Financials
[10:30AM] Adobe Systems, has posted their fourth quarter and 1997 year end net income figures. For the forth quarter, ending November 28, 1997, the company announced a net income of $40.9 million, bringing their total net income for the year to $180.8 million. The company attributes 56 percent of their revenues from product sales for 1997, to their Windows based applications with the overall yearly Windows sales growing 49 percent over the same period in 1996. Sales of the company's Macintosh platform applications made up the remaining 44 percent of total sales, dipping 19 percent during 1997 compared to 1996 sales figures.
John Warnock, chairman and chief executive officer of Adobe stated, "Even though there were no major product upgrades in fiscal Q4 1997, we generated 15% growth in application product revenue compared with fiscal Q4 1996, when Photoshop 4.0 and Acrobat 3.0 were released." Warnock also mentioned that the company continues to benefit from the continued strong growth of their Windows-based revenue.
Thursday, December 18th
Apple Licenses Roland Corp.'s Sound Canvas
[TOP STORY 4:05PM] Promising to expand creative control for music and multimedia content publishers and offer a better musical experience for consumers, Apple Computer has licensed Roland Corporation's Sound Canvas sound set and GS Format extensions for inclusion in QuickTime 3.0, the companies announced today. Seen immediately in an updated preview release of QuickTime 3.0, the Roland sound set consists of 128 General MIDI-compatible instruments plus more than 100 additional sounds from a variety of instrument categories including keyboards, woodwinds, strings, brass, percussion, and sound effects. The GS Format, meanwhile, extends the General MIDI specification by defining additional music performance controls that provide greater accuracy, consistency, and expressiveness for MIDI-based interactive audio.
Of the licensing deal, Avie Tevanian, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering, said, "For music and multimedia content publishers, the Roland technologies combined with QuickTime 3.0's advanced music architecture represent a significant milestone in the development of interactive audio. For the first time, it is now possible to create high-quality MIDI music that can be reliably and faithfully reproduced on the consumer's computer."
A key facet of today's move, Apple is hoping, will be the improvement of Internet audio that comes as a result. The compact file-sizes traditionally associated with MIDI files, combined with QuickTime's now powerful built-in music synthesizer, gives content authors a viable alternative for low-bit, high-quality music.
Apple Computer - Roland - QuickTime
New Final Effects Package Announced
[7:15PM] MetaCreations Corp. today announced Final Effects Complete, a new cross-platform production tool combining features from its Final Effects and Studio Effects products together with 14 new filters, multiprocessor support, and new controls. Final Effects Complete, scheduled to ship at the end of this month for the Mac OS, is able to generate full-featured 2-D and 3-D particle animations within After Effects. Content editors can use the particle filters to add effects such as rain, snow, fire, smoke, ball action, explosions, distortions, jet trails, hair, liquid mercury distortions, and spotlights to their productions. "Final Effects Complete introduces a comprehensive set of video special effects that will provide new cross-platform capabilities and features for professionals creating desktop motion graphics,'' said John Wilczak, chief executive of MetaCreations.
"Soon desktop digital artists will have a larger variety of tools to create digital special effects similar to those currently seen on MTV, NBC, FOX and in feature films. Corporate presentation designers will also be able to use a desktop computer to add high-quality special effects to their work," Wilczak added.
TechWorks Dubs Melco Investment As "Merger"
[5:50PM] Yesterday's news of a significant investment in Austin, Texas-based TechWorks by Japanese firm Melco, Inc., first broke by The Mac Observer, is now being a labeled by a TechWorks employee as a "merger." Details remain sketchy at this time, primary because of TechWorks' being a private entity, although it appears as if the two companies will function as autonomous operations.
Apple Will Still Be CEO-Less By Year's End
[12:15PM] Put in place this past summer, Apple Computer's self-imposed year-end goal of finding a full-time chief executive will not be met, company spokeswoman Katie Cotton told InfoWorld. "Apple's search for a CEO has been met with interest from several serious candidates," said Cotton, who went on to tell the publication that none of the candidates interviewed have been a perfect fit for the chief executive slot at Apple. This news follows closely after reports surfaced that said Apple had formally offered the top position to Ed Zander, only to have the Sun Microsystems executive turn it down. Other candidates rumored to be on the short list in Cupertino, namely Dave Dorman and Joe Costello, have already secured positions with other companies.
Meanwhile, as previously announced, Apple's interim chief executive Steve Jobs will be the keynote speaker at next month's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, although with the search having turned up nothing thus far, it is not known what Jobs will discuss. InfoWorld speculates that he will tout Mac OS 8.1, QuickTime 3.0, as well as other new shipping products, during the keynote.
InfoWorld Report - Apple Computer
Iomega Delays Shipment Of Jaz 2 Drive
[11:00AM] Iomega said today that its premium performance Jaz 2 drive, originally scheduled to debut in the fourth quarter of 1997, will now be introduced in the first quarter of 1998. With the quality assurance problems of the original Jaz in its rear view mirror, the company says the extra time will be used to insure that the quality standards of the drives's second incarnation are at the appropriate levels. "The decision not to ship Jaz 2GB this quarter," said Fred Forsyth, president, professional products division at Iomega, "is based on allowing Iomega to conduct further quality testing to assure that Jaz 2GB fully meets our rigorous quality standards before releasing the product for customer shipment."
Iomega - Jaz Information
Booted At Comdex, Company Turns To Macworld
[9:55AM] Shunned at last month's Comdex in Las Vegas, Palladium Interactive's Microsoft bashing, and much-talked-about, Microshaft Winblows '98 CD-ROM will debut to a generally more receptive audience at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, the company said today. "We are thrilled to launch Microshaft Winblows 98 in the heart of Silicon Valley," said Palladium's vice president of marketing, Rob Halligan. "We are certainly looking forward to a warmer reception at Macworld than the one we received at Comdex." At Comdex earlier this fall, Palladium was barred from the event while walking the floor with a Bill Gates look-alike. But at Macworld, the incognito Gates will be present, and it's very likely no one will object.
Palladium Interactive - Winblows Web Site
Wednesday, December 17th
Melco Buys "Significant" Stake In TechWorks
[TOP STORY 11:55AM] Melco, Inc., one of Japan's largest players in computer upgrade products, announced today that it has acquired a significant, undisclosed, stake in Austin, Texas-based TechWorks, a firm known to the Macintosh world for its memory product line and the heralded 3Dfx-based Power3D video card. More than just an investment, however, the move will position the two companies as partners in supplying memory and performance enhancement products. "This is a watershed event for our shareholders, customers, and employees," TechWorks president and chief executive Mike Frost said in a statement. "It's a very exciting development. We put on instant muscle in every place that matters: manufacturing, the product lineup, product development, sales, and marketing."
While the cash infusion will initiative a move to the Wintel world for TechWorks, Frost affirms that the company has no intentions of cutting back its Macintosh-related operations. "We will continue to provide excellent products and highly responsive support to our existing customers in both Mac and Wintel environments," Frost said. "We will manufacture, sell, and support the high-quality products that make sense in our marketplace, and at the same time we will be able to offer our customers the most advanced technologies from the Pacific Rim."
MacCentral Previews Connectix' Surf Express
[3:45PM] Connectix Corporation's upcoming Web accelerator Surf Express, due for release next month, is previewed in a special report by MacCentral. Both product manager, Taran Reese, and director of product marketing, Eric Zetlin, sat down for an interview with the Web publication and talked it up about Surf Express, a product which Connectix claims can, at its peak speed, increase Web performance by 36 times. The hybrid CD for Windows and Mac OS will ship at a price of $34.95, and a hands-on demonstration will be available in Connectix' booth (#3680) at Macworld Expo in San Francisco early next month.
MacCentral Report - Connectix - Surf Express
ATI Technologies Acquires Assets Of Tseng
[2:30PM] ATI Technologies said today that it has acquired the graphics design assets of struggling video chip maker Tseng Labs in a deal pegged at $3 million. The transaction also calls for ATI to lease Tseng's Newtown, Pennsylvania facilities for at least three years, with renewal options being available through 2007. ATI said it will bring in 40 members of Tseng's 3D graphics development team, including engineering and marketing personnel, to strengthen their presence in the 3D video card market. Already, ATI is a popular OEM solution provider for many computer makers, including Apple Computer, who uses ATI's 3D Rage II+ chipset throughout its Power Macintosh G3 line.
"Tseng has weathered a difficult time but we believe we have found a positive resolution that benefits our shareholders and meets our goal of positioning the Company to utilize our strong, debt free balance sheet to make acquisitions. With the completion of this transaction, our liquid assets will reach in excess of $30 million," Jack Gibbons, president and CEO of Tseng, said in a statement.
ATI Technologies - Tseng Labs
Judges Lift Injunction In Iomega, Nomai Battle
[2:10PM] In the ongoing litigation battle between Iomega and French competitor Nomai S.A. and its U.S. subsidiary, Nomus, Inc., a panel of appellate court judges in Paris, France, have lifted a preliminary injunction, originally awarded on June 20, 1997. Nomai's initial blueprints for their XHD 100 cartridge duplicated Iomega's Zip design, causing the court ruling, but subsequent changes to XHD apparently made enough of a difference to warrant the judges' ruling. After learning of the revised design, however, Iomega was prompted to file a second action. A ruling in the second case is scheduled for January 1998.
"As we have stated since this litigation began, Iomega plans to vigorously protect and enforce its intellectual property rights," said Kim B. Edwards, Iomega president and chief executive officer. "In addition, it is very important to us," he continued, "to protect our customers against compatibility claims made by Nomai or others which we believe are false."
Tuesday, December 16th
PowerTools Intros 300-MHz G3 Machines
[9:15PM] Seemingly unfazed by recent moves made at Apple Computer, Macintosh clone vendor PowerTools is continuing to crank out new machines, introducing today a new line of models using a 300-MHz PowerPC 750 processor. The X-Force 300e, based on the previously available X-Force design, incorporates a 250-MHz tunable processor card, but achieves the higher clock rate through a lower operational temperature, a technique which that company says has been used in super computers such as CRAY mainframes. "The X-Force 300e workstations represent the best value in high performance graphics workstations," said Victor Wong, chief executive of Austin, Texas-based PowerTools. "By incorporating leading edge technology into today's designs, we are able to produce systems that far out perform the original specifications of the products used."
Pricing starts at $3,999 for a "bare bones plus" system, which comes limitedly equipped with 1MB of backside cache (operating in a 1:1 ratio with the processor), 16MB RAM, no hard drive, no CD-ROM drive, nor any video card. More capable machines are priced at $4,599 and $5,999.
Sun, Intel Partner On Solaris For Merced
[3:10PM] Sun Microsystems' Unix-based Solaris operating system will be making its way to the upcoming "Merced" processor from Intel, as part of an alliance announced today. With technical assistance provided by Intel, Sun will deliver a 64-bit optimized version of Solaris to coincide with the availability of systems using Merced, currently expected in 1999. In addition, Sun also announced plans for a "Solaris on Intel" porting and tuning center designed to help developers tune and optimize applications for the Intel version of Solaris. "Merced's world class performance and scalability will enable industry-leading enterprise computing platforms, and the addition of Solaris as a strategic operating environment supporting Merced will be a strong benefit," said John Miner, vice president and general manager, Intel's Enterprise Server Group. "We are very excited about Sun's strong commitment to Solaris on Merced. Solaris will further extend Merced's already unprecedented industry momentum."
"The market is consolidating around Solaris to deliver the kind of reliable, scalable and powerful computing environment required to drive demanding enterprise applications. No other operating environment will be able to unleash the power of Merced for these types of applications," added Janpieter Scheerder, president of SunSoft, the software development unit at Sun.
Sun Microsystems - Intel
CybOut Becomes Apple Authorized Dealer
[1:00PM] Kent, Conn.-based online reseller Cyberian Outpost said today they have officially been named an Apple Computer authorized electronic dealer, effective October 30, 1997. As an authorized reseller, CybOut will continue selling Apple-related hardware and software as they have before, the obvious difference being that customers will now be fully eligible to participate in Apple promotions and programs. "It's quite an honor for a small, rapidly growing two- year old company like Cyberian Outpost to become a reseller of one of the world's most recognizable computing brands," said Darryl Peck, president and chief executive of Cyberian Outpost. "And now as an Apple authorized reseller, we will provide Apple online customers competitively priced Apple-based products with the exceptional speed and service Cyberian Outpost customers expect and appreciate."
Cyberian Outpost - Apple Computer
RealNetworks Announces April Conference
[12:40PM] Multimedia streaming specialist RealNetworks announced its second annual RealNetworks Conference, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, San Francisco Airport, April 27-29, 1998. The company is anticipating a turnout of 1,000 developers, customers, partners and press at "RealNetworks Conference '98," which will feature demonstrations from streaming leaders, as well new products and technologies from RealNetworks. "The innovation and growth in the streaming media category has been astounding," said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO, RealNetworks. "The RealNetworks Conference '98 will give Web designers, developers and RealNetworks' customers an opportunity to learn how to integrate cutting edge streaming media tools and applications into their Internet and Intranet businesses."
RealNetworks - RealNetworks Conference '98
America Online Hits International Milestone
[10:05AM] Just two years after founding its first international service in Germany, America Online's membership outside the United States has reached the one million mark, the company announced earlier today. By comparison, AOL's localized service took nine years to reach the milestone, although the strong international performance comes at the pinnacle of online popularity. Of the news, Bob Pittman, president and CEO of AOL Networks, said: "The extraordinary international growth of AOL in a very short time underscores the global power of the AOL brand and indicates that the convenience and ease-of-use AOL provides appeals to mass market consumers everywhere. Around the world, people are finding out that AOL is the best way to communicate with family, friends and business associates, find information, meet new people, shop, and just plain have fun."
BANG To Highlight Metrowerks' Rhapsody Tools
[9:40AM] This month's BANG (Bay Area NeXT Group) meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, December 17, 7:00PM at the Apple Campus Town Hall, will feature development presentations from a pair of Metrowerks employees. Standing on the same stage where, almost a year ago to the day, Metrowerks pledged their support of the then unnamed NeXT/Apple operating system, David Hempling, CodeWarrior Latitude Technical Lead, will present "Porting Mac Apps with CodeWarrior Latitude", followed by Bob Campbell, who will present "Metrowerks' C/C++/ObjC compiler running on Rhapsody." Directions, along with further information about BANG, can be found via their homepage.
BANG - Metrowerks
Intel Extends Chips Acquisition, Yet Again
[9:05AM] Intel Corporation said yesterday that its offer to purchase all outstanding shares of Chips & Technologies, Inc. has been extended until January 19th, 1998, causing yet another delay in the acquisition originally announced in June. The $17.50 per share offer is proceeding slowly because of the previously announced Federal Trade Commission probe that was sparked following word of the deal this past summer, Intel says. The FTC requested additional information from Chips in August concerning the transaction under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. However, according to a statement released by the company, the semiconductor giant is expecting to receive, on or before January 9th, the FTC's decision as to whether or not it intends to challenge the acquisition.
Intel - Chips & Technologies
Monday, December 15th
Sculley Hypes Live Picture's Reality Studio
[12:35PM] Internet imaging, specifically Live Picture's Reality Studio tool, was the centerpiece of former Apple Computer chief executive John Sculley's keynote speech at Fall Internet World in New York last week. The man who once coined the phrase "personal digital assistant," is now proclaiming high-resolution Web images as the next "monster market," one which will be set apart by tools such as Reality Studio. Live Picture's new product, slated for delivery in March, will be one that will usher in the so-called next-generation of digital imaging, the company says, bringing high-resolution imagery across low-bandwidth lines while also integrating features such as zooming capabilities in the fold.
Sculley, who holds the chairman seat at California-based Live Picture, has been an active investor, a "venture catalyst" in his words, since parting ways with Apple in 1993. His investment portfolio includes stakes in Israeli software company Zapa Digital Arts, Seismic Entertainment, PeopleScape, LiveWorld Productions, and General Wireless.
Reuters Report - Live Picture
TCI Talking New Cable-TV Boxes, WSJ Reports
[9:45AM] A collection of high-profile technology movers and shakers, including Microsoft and Intel, are in negotiations with cable giant Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI) to supply as many as 10 million network computers for TCI's implementation of digital television, the Wall Street Journal reported in its Monday edition. Possibly valued at more than $3 billion, the deal could be increased to some 25 million units if TCI's network of national cable affiliates join the fray, the paper said.
Tele-Communications, Inc. - Wall Street Journal
Macworld "Eddy" Award Finalists Announced
[9:25AM] Finalists for Macworld magazine's 1997 Editor's Choice Awards were announced late last week. The "Eddy" awards, now in their thirteenth year, recognize the best Macintosh software and hardware products released throughout the year, as well as individuals who had a significant impact on the industry. "The Eddys have a long standing tradition of celebrating the innovative spirit of the Macintosh and represent an industry hallmark for outstanding technological achievement," said Andrew Gore, Macworld editor-in-chief. "I'm pleased to say that this year's finalists carry on the tradition of technical excellence that has always been the cornerstone of the Macintosh platform."
This year's awards recognize product excellence and innovation in 41 categories, with 3 awards honoring individual achievement and 4 recognizing overall technological excellence. Over half of the 33 product categories on the Eddys roster honor technical innovation and excellence in the content creation areas of graphic arts, pre-press, digital video and Web-publishing, reflecting the Macintosh's dominance in the digital media creation arena. (A complete listing of all nominees can be found via the link below.)
Macworld Magazine - Eddy Nominees
Web Site Parodying Microsoft Launches
[9:05AM] Palladium Interactive, publishers of the upcoming parody CD-ROM, Microshaft Winblows 98, officially launched "Winblows," a companion Web site that pokes fun at everyone's favorite software company in Redmond, Washington. "For years people have been sending e-mail and telling jokes poking fun at Microsoft and Mr. Gates, and we are excited to launch a web site that is loaded with entertaining games and hilarious spoofs of the software king and his empire," said Palladium's vice president of marketing, Rob Halligan. "The Winblows web site is a terrific compliment to our CD-ROM."
Winblows - Palladium Interactive
Microsoft Going After PalmPilot With "Gryphon"
[8:25AM] Showing that its Windows CE operating system can scale across a variety of palmtop devices, Microsoft will unveil a self-labeled "PalmPilot killer" at next month's annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, according to this week's edition of InfoWorld. Code-named "Gryphon," the new device will be aimed squarely at unseating 3Com's hugely successful PalmPilot organizer, matching both its pocket-size form factor and $250-$400 price tag, the trade magazine's report says. The first-generation models, which, like most things Microsoft, will be manufactured and marketed by third-party vendors, will come with a 240x320 monochrome screen, although versions using the color capabilities of Windows CE 2.0 are scheduled for introduction next year.
Gryphon devices will also boast features not found on the Pilot, including a CompactFlash slot intended for additional memory or wireless communications applications. And unlike the Pilot's proprietary method of handwriting recognition, the new CE handhelds will include InkNote, an application which will allow users to capture their handwriting as digital ink, much like the MessagePad and eMate machines from Apple do.
InfoWorld Report - Microsoft
Friday, December 12th
Temporary Ruling Issued In Microsoft, DOJ Case
[TOP STORY 10:30AM] In a major setback to Microsoft, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction last evening, ordering the nation's top software company to stop packaging its Internet Explorer Web browser with the Windows operating system. U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson filed the temporary injunction as a stop gate until a full presentation of evidence is completed next year. However, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant did manage to win one side of the case by escaping the $1 million a day fine the Justice Department was seeking. In his ruling, Jackson said, "(Microsoft) shall cease and desist... from the practice of licensing the use of any Microsoft personal computer operating system software (including Windows 95 or any successor version thereof), on the condition, express or implied, that the licensee also license and pre-install any Microsoft Internet browser software... pending further order of (the) court."
In addition, Jackson also ordered a special judicial officer, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, to the case. Lessig, a specialist in Internet laws, will consider the facts and legal precedents that apply to the case, and issue a report by May 31, in time for the final ruling expected to begin sometime in June. Hinting at that ruling, Jackson said in his preliminary injunction that "the government appears to have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits." However, Microsoft remains confident in the case it will present to the judge. "We're confident that once the court has reviewed all the facts that it will agree that Microsoft complied fully with the consent decree and that Microsoft's integration of Internet Explorer with Windows 95 is good for consumers," Mark Murray told Reuters in an interview following the announcement.
CNN Report - Reuters Report - Microsoft
PCs Now In 43% Of Homes, Survey Shows
[12:50PM] Personal computers are now present in 43 percent of homes in the United States, up from 35 percent just a year ago, a new survey released by research firm Dataquest shows. The arrival of computers in the sub-$1,000 category have been a driving force in the recent surge, the researcher says. "There has been a strong shift in PC purchase intention to the near term," Van Baker, Dataquest's director of consumer research, said in a statement prepared for Thursday's release. "This supports strong near-term growth in the U.S. home market." Miller also added that few consumers are purchasing PCs priced above $2,000.
PointCast Unveils First Subscription Service
[12:20PM] Push content pioneer PointCast announced it will enter the subscription content business with a new service featuring premium financial news and analysis from the likes of First Call, Hoover's, and Reuters, as it tries to increase revenues in preparation for an expected initial public offering next year. The company also said that it has formed a strategic alliance with Visa, promoting the card as the preferred method of payment for the new service. The new channel, Companies Premiere, will feature company profiles from Hoover's, consensus earnings estimates from First Call, and company comparison reports from Media General. Premiere, expected to be available in Q1 of 1998, will be a standard part of the PointCast Business Network, although pricing has yet to be announced yet.
"We are delivering on the vision of a robust news service, which addresses the news and information needs of an ever-increasing range of business professionals," David Dorman, president and chief executive of PointCast, said in a statement. "This new service signals the first in a series of content and commerce initiatives, which will make PointCast an indispensable tool that's efficient as well as economical."
Micro Warehouse Announces Restructuring
[11:55AM] Direct computer marketer Micro Warehouse, Inc. said yesterday will begin a company-wide restructuring, involving changes to its businesses and upper management. Locations in Australia and Japan will be closed, the company said, while operations in Norway, Denmark, and Finland will be disposed of. All five of the Micro Warehouse units were dependent on the Macintosh, and accounted for $61 million of revenue in 1997. In addition, the company will close its European headquarters in the United Kingdom and shift some of its functions to other European divisions. For these changes, a one-time pre-tax charge of $68 million will be posted in the company's fourth quarter.
Micro's restructuring will also be felt in the throughout its executive ranks. Former chief executive officer and president Linwood Lacy Jr. resigned from the board yesterday, and the company said Kris Rogers, executive vice president and U.S. general manager, and Bruce Martin, senior vice president, international, plan to resign as a result of the changes.
Reuters Report - Micro Warehouse
Thursday, December 11th
AOL's Instant Messenger Coming To Eudora
[4:45PM] Continuing their recent bundling efforts, AOL Networks, the Internet online service division of America Online, said today that its Instant Messenger software will be distributed with Qualcomm's Eudora line of email clients, as part of a partnership between the two companies. Qualcomm will include a co-branded version of the popular communications tool as part Eudora Light 4.0, Eudora Pro 4.0, and Eudora Pro CommCenter 4.0. In turn, AOL will make the Eudora client available to its exisiting subscriber base of 10 million users. Today's agreement between the two companies replicates similar deals AOL made earlier this fall with both Netscape and Lotus.
"Our partnership with AOL lets us bring a great product to our users, furthering our goal of offering them the best communications tools in cyberspace," said James Debello, VP and general manager of Qualcomm's Eudora Division. "AOL's recent support of HTML email and our new license to provide professional email features to AOL members shows the commitment AOL is making to bring the best of the Internet to its members."
America Online - Qualcomm
Digital Imaging Group Names Gerard President
[1:25PM] The Digital Imaging Group, an open, not-for-profit consortium launched in October to expand the use of digital images across consumer, business and professional imaging markets, and applications, named industry analyst Alexis J. Gerard as its president and executive director today. The group, whose central mission is to promote the FlashPix imaging architecture and the Internet Imaging Protocol (IIP), also announced today the addition of 19 new members, including photo-imaging industry leaders AGFA, Konica and Polaroid -- bringing the current total membership to 28, including founding notables as Adobe Systems, Microsoft, Eastman Kodak, Intel, IBM, and Live Picture.
Digital Imaging Group
Tough Times Hit Roaster, Firm Forced To Close
[11:05AM] Just weeks after announcing Roaster Release 4, Cambridge, Mass.-based Roaster Technologies said yesterday that it will be forced to close its doors, due to impending financial constraints. The board of directors at the Java oriented company concluded that the proper financing to fund further development was not likely to occur within a reasonable time frame. The company's day-to-day activities will cease immediately, while CEO and president John Dhabolt will remain active at the company until the end of the year. In that time, Dhabolt will be completing the necessary business closure activities, as well as interviewing prospective candidates who have expressed interest in acquiring all or part of the technological assets of the company.
In a statement released today, Dhabolt expressed his regret for the inconvenience to current Roaster users. "We have an exceptional product--witness the great press and industry accolades received over the last two years. At this stage of our development, however, sales alone cannot generate the investment required to continue producing the first class products our users rightfully demand. I will continue to work hard toward our current goal of finding a company to acquire our technology whose ideals for Java development reflect those of Roaster Technologies. We know there are companies who would certainly be able to complement their current efforts with the acquisition of our technology."
The technology assets Roaster will be looking to liquidate include the recently announced Java-based Roaster 4, their Macintosh Java Virtual Machine source code (which was, at one point, licensed to Apple Computer), their PowerPC JIT technology, and the currently shipping Macintosh-based Roaster 3.0 and 3.1 products. Meanwhile, the company says its Roasted Java News Web site will continue to publish its daily edition.
Roaster Technologies - Roasted Java News
Pay-Per-View Internet Content Coming Soon
[10:05AM] Just as television once took the step into the world of pay-per-view content, Internet multimedia material may be taking a similar journey in the not-so-distant future. Multimedia streaming specialist RealNetworks said today they are teaming with digital commerce leader CyberSource to provide customers of the RealServer with a pay-per-view option for their content. The joint solution will offer integration of secure, backoffice transactions, and payment processing via CyberSource's commerce product, and demographic tracking, subscriptions, and the actual pay-per-view management through RealSystem 5.0 Commerce Solution.
Of the announcement, Kevin Epstein, Server Product Manager at RealNetworks, said, "The RealSystem 5.0 Commerce Solution is the first streaming media system with embedded features for providing secure, selective access to Internet or intranet content," said Kevin Epstein, Server Product Manager at RealNetworks. "CyberSource brings critical transaction and payment processing components required to make our offering a complete solution for the pay-per-view market."
RealNetworks - CyberSource
Macromedia Enters Web Authoring Arena
[9:40AM] Software developer Macromedia, Inc. used this week's Fall Internet Show in New York as the stage to unveil their entry into the ever growing arena of Web authoring tools. Coined Dreamweaver, the company is targeting this latest product at Web professionals who are seeking an authoring tool that will provide them with the combined power of a visual tool and the control and flexibility of an HTML text editor.
Dreamweaver not only offers support for cross-browser Dynamic HTML, but introduces another buzz word -- "Roundtrip HTML" -- in its list of features. With the development of Roundtrip HTML technology, Macromedia is hoping to lure Web designers that have shyed away from current offerings of visual HTML editors because of the changes these products inflict upon imported HTML. The Roundtrip HTML technology incorporated into Dreamweaver allows the user to move seamlessly between their HTML source editor and Dreamweaver without altering the original HTML code. As an added bonus, Macromedia has also bundled a special enhanced version of Bare Bones Software's popular BBEdit HTML text editor with the Macintosh version of Dreamweaver.
To kick off the roll out of Dreamweaver, Macromedia, in conjunction with Project Cool, is offering a Web site design contest that will offer users of Dreamweaver the opportunity to flaunt their design talents and win "Roundtrip" airfare anywhere in the world. The contest will run from December 8, 1997 to February 28, 1998. Winning entries will be announced during the Spring Internet World show in March.
Macromedia - Project Cool Contest
Bryce 3D Gets Animated and Atmospheric
[9:20AM] Fans of MetaCreations Corp. -- the graphics conglomerate consisting of MetaTools, Specular Design, and Fractal Design -- will be happy to learn that the company's much anticipated Bryce 3D is now shipping. "Bryce has come full circle from creating breathtaking natural 3-D worlds and abstract still scene files to fully navigable 3-D interaction," said John Wilczak, president and chief executive of MetaCreations, in a statement. "This release of Bryce 3D will integrate powerful animation and file support, but retain its elegant, easy-to-use interface that we're so well known for. It's a true victory for 3-D artists and animators -- both professional and the serious hobbyist."
Bryce 3D offers the savvy designer an array of goodies to add to their design tool kit including the ability to add animation and atmospheric effects to a scene. Using the new animation controls, designers can make mountains move and atmospheric conditions, such as clouds, dance. Bryce 3D also supports popular TIFF, PICT, BMP, AVI, and QuickTime file formats.
MetaCreations - Bryce 3D Homepage
Adobe's Illustrator 7.0 Remains Number One
[9:10AM] According to just released sales figures by research firm PC Data, for the sixth time in as many months, Adobe Systems' Illustrator 7.0 is the number one selling cross-platform illustration product in the United States. Since its debut in May of this year, Illustrator 7.0 has overtaken former front runner, CorelDRAW, as the cross-platform leader in its field. Despite continually strong Macintosh sales, the Windows version has increased monthly unit sales of Illustrator in the previous six months to more than eleven times the average monthly unit sales in the pre-Windows version year of 1996.
In an effort to maintain their number one ranking, Adobe is offering a set of three-CD plugins dubbed affectionately as the "Adobe ActionPack," at no additional charge to customers that purchase full retail copies of Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe PageMaker between September 1, 1997 and December 31,1997. Adobe ActionPack serves up an array of tricks and tips for using Adobe products as well as interactive training materials.
Adobe Systems - Adobe ActionPack
Rearden Offers SiteCam Users Free Upgrade
[8:45AM] Rearden Technology has announced the immediate availability of SiteCam 1.1, a free upgrade to their popular Webcam application that allows users to easily capture internet-ready video. New features include anti-hijacking, improved video streaming, and enhanced QuickTime time-lapse movie archiving capabilities.
Wednesday, December 10th
Apple Store Tops $12 Million In First 30 Days
[6:25PM] Sales at Apple Computer's online storefront, The Apple Store, have topped $12 million in the first thirty days of operation, making it the third largest electronic commerce site on the Internet, the company reported today. "The Apple Store is now one of the top e-commerce sites on the Internet," said Steve Jobs, Apple's interim chief executive, in a statement released late this afternoon. "We are thrilled by the customer acceptance of both the store and our new build-to-order program."
The Apple Store - Apple Computer
Qualcomm Unveils Web-Based Email Service
[5:45PM] The Eudora division at Qualcomm will be branching out of their traditional email client mold with "Eudora Web-Mail," a free Web-based email service, the company said today. Based on technology provided Mountain View, Calif.-based WhoWhere?, Eudora Web-Mail will follow the trail laid by other Web-based email providers, by offering the freedom of being able to access email in any location outfitted with a Web browser. Qualcomm's service, however, deviates slightly from others in the feature set it provides. Capabilities typically found in standard email clients -- a personal address book, directory services, listserve management, automated message reply, URL hot links, and multiple personalities -- will all be accessible to users of the new site.
"With Eudora Web-Mail, Qualcomm now provides consumers with an even greater choice in how they may access and use e-mail," said James DeBello, vice president and general manager of the Eudora Division of Qualcomm. "Eudora Web-Mail offers a truly mobile means of communication that people can use free of cost, anytime, anywhere."
Eudora Web-Mail - Qualcomm
Apple Begins Support Of Power Machines
[3:25PM] Apple Computer has begun assuming their support obligation to Power Computing customers, as evidence by the incorporation of Power's technical library, PowerSource, into Apple's Tech Info Library. Although things remain unofficially announced, according to a source close to the company, Power recently provided the technical documents to Apple, and as of December 8th, the two libraries have been integrated. A search on Apple's TIL Web site for "Power Computing" confirms this, and further, displays reports containing the following disclaimer: "Power Computing provided the information in this article and it was deemed accurate as of 14 November 1997. Apple Computer, Inc. is not responsible for its content. This article is being provided as is and will not be updated in the future."
Apple Tech Info Library
Group Hacks Yahoo, Leaves Ransom Note
[12:45PM] A campaign to free jailed hacker Kevin Mitnick was unleashed on Yahoo yesterday, when a group of hackers forged an attack on the popular search engine. The group, believed to be known as PANTS/HAGIS Alliance, hacked their way into the site's system and threatened to upload a virus, unless Mitnick, whose been in jail awaiting trial since 1995, was released from prison. A message was also put in place of the regular Yahoo page, but was subsequently removed by Yahoo engineers, just minutes after the attack. "There wasn't any damage, there is no virus," Yahoo spokeswoman Diane Hunt told Reuters. "We deleted everything... everything was restored in 15 minutes."
Reuters Report - Yahoo
E*Trade Completes The First Online IPO
[11:55AM] Pushing the capabilities of online trading to a point never before reached, brokerage firm E*Trade Group successfully completed the first online initial public offering yesterday, selling all of its allocated shares of Internet sports information service SportsLine USA. More than half of E*Trade's customers participated in the offering, which was conducted as part of E*Trade's exclusive agreement with BancAmerica Robertson Stephens. In total, 75,000 shares of SportsLine USA were sold to individual online investors throughout the trading day yesterday.
E*Trade Group - SportsLine USA
Power Of 10 Program Off To Rousing Start
[9:15AM] Since the program's inception this past October, more than 5,000 K-12 schools have registered for participation in Apple Computer's "Power of 10" initiative, the company announced today. The program, one of Apple's most significant investments in education in recent years, credits 10 percent of the price of each computer purchased through the program to any qualified public or private non-profit K-12 school in the U.S. "The number of schools signing up for this program signifies not only the need for computer technology in the classroom," said Mike Lorion, vice president of Education for Apple's North America division, in a statement, "but also the strong desire to have Macintosh computers in the classroom. The ease-of-use of the Macintosh platform provides the most positive learning experience for students and teachers."
Power Of 10 - Apple Computer
Digital Licenses MetaCreations' Painter 5
[8:55AM] MetaCreations said yesterday that Digital Equipment has licensed the full version of Painter 5 for its Digital Creation Studio Windows NT personal workstations. In announcing the arrangement, John Wilczak, MetaCreations' chief executive and president, said, "The combination of Painter 5, MetaCreations' powerful creative production tool, and the Digital Creation Studio provides the perfect solution for digital media content creators who demand unparalleled graphics computing power. Painter 5, coupled with this new Digital workstation, will allow artists to enhance creativity and increase productivity -- all in a competitive package." The package including the popular natural media program will begin shipping worldwide in 1998.
MetaCreations - Digital Equipment
Internet Explorer 4.0 Coming January 6th
[8:25AM] Microsoft will release the final version of Internet Explorer 4.0 for the Macintosh to coincide with Macworld Expo in San Francisco on January 6th, 1998, the company said in a note posted on their Web site. Like its Windows brethren, Microsoft will be offering a special "Commemorative Edition Internet Explorer 4.0 for Macintosh CD," in addition to the downloadable distribution. The CD, which is free except for a $4.95 shipping and handling fee, will include the assuredly bandwidth intensive IE 4.0, demo versions of Bungie Software's Myth and Macromedia's Dreamweaver, as well as discount coupons for use on ESPNet SportsZone and the Warner Bros. Online Store.
IE 4.0 Order Form - Microsoft
Tuesday, December 9th
Apple Warns Of Slower Sales, Revenues
[TOP STORY 10:25AM] Sales and revenues at Apple Computer will remain below year-ago figures at least until March, when its fiscal second quarter ends, the company warned in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week. Apple's statement, contained in their quarterly 10-K document, reads as follows: "The Company believes that net sales will be below the level of the prior year's comparable periods through at least the second fiscal quarter of 1998, if not longer." The company attributes the expected dip, in part, to the close-out prices being offer by the Macintosh clone vendors, who are still in the midst of exhausting their remaining inventory.
Meanwhile, according to further statements made by Apple, it appears that once the current licensing contracts with the remaining clone vendors expire, the company will entirely bring licensing to a closure, despite rumors that an extension to Umax' agreement may be forthcoming. Apple states, "...the Company agreed to acquire certain assets, including the license to distribute the Mac OS, of Power Computing Corporation ("PCC"), a Clone Vendor, and has no plans to renew its other Mac OS licensing agreements."
10-K Quarterly Report - Apple Computer
Yahoo Atop RelevantKnowledge's Web Study
[2:10PM] A study conducted by Internet research firm RelevantKnowledge placed Yahoo as the Web's most popular stop for the month of November. Over 17.2 million unique visitors passed through Yahoo's collection of material housed in the www.yahoo.com domain, the research firm's "Top 25 .com Domains" report said. Netscape and Microsoft came in second and third, with 13.1 million and 11.6 million unique visitors, respectively. Excite's search engine, with 9.2 million visitors, and America Online's crowd of 8.7 million rounded out the top five.
RelevantKnowledge - Yahoo
Zander Joins Board Of Internet Software Firm
[12:15PM] Ed Zander, long believed to be on the short-list of candidates for the chief executive position at Apple Computer, was named to the board of directors at Portal Software Inc., which markets "Infranet," a customer management and billing software for providers of Internet services. "Portal has developed a unique customer management and billing solution for the Internet market," stated Zander, currently president of Sun Microsystems Computer Company and corporate executive officer of its parent firm. "I look forward to participating in the company's rapid growth."
Prior to his years at Sun, Zander was vice president of marketing at Apollo Computer, a company that was linked quite ominously with Apple back in the 1980's. As told in Jim Carlton's "Apple: The Inside Story Of Intrique, Egomania, And Business Blunders" tale, Apollo and Apple were inches away from a deal that would have planted the Mac OS on Apollo's family of high-end workstations. The deal eventually was canned by then Apple chief executive John Sculley, and Apollo, with sliding sales, subsequently landed in the lap of once rival Sun Microsystems.
Portal Software - Jim Carlton's "Apple"
Iomega Shuffles Executive Lineup
[9:15AM] Iomega Corporation announced yesterday the appointment of Scott Flaig as executive vice president, operations and David J. Henry as vice president, worldwide marketing. Flaig, a 25 year industry veteran, will be responsible for all areas of operations including customer satisfaction, quality, manufacturing, materials, supplier relations, and corporate engineering. Previously, Flaig's most noted experience came at Dell Computer where he was senior vice president, worldwide operations, lending a hand in what would become the company's widely recognized operational initiatives. Meanwhile, Henry joins Iomega from Lithonia Lighting in Atlanta where he served in a variety of senior management roles in marketing, sales and product engineering. At Iomega, he'll be responsible for management of all functions of the company's global corporate marketing group.
"We welcome Scott and David to our management team," said Kim B. Edwards, president and chief executive of Iomega. Scott's experience with large and growing operations will support Iomega's ability to continue to satisfy high customer demand for our Zip, Jaz and Ditto drives, disks and tape products -- and the anticipated demand for our Clik! products. David's solid leadership and creative verve will enable Iomega to further build our brands."
Netcom Teams With Metricom For New Service
[8:45AM] High-speed wireless Internet access will begin being offered to customers of Internet service provider Netcom. The company announced today that they are teaming up with the Ricochet division of Metricom, Inc., a leading distributor of high-speed, portable data services, to provide a wireless Internet access solution to small- to mid-size businesses. Ricochet's existing area of coverage in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. markets will be supported by the service initially, and plans call for future expansion in relation to Metricom's rollout in other territories. "Our agreement with Metricom gives us yet another avenue to extend Netcom's range of one-stop Internet solutions to our customers without having them tethered to a phone line," said Mike Kallet, Netcom's senior vice president, products and services.
"Netcom has led the industry by being the first to offer innovative, new services which meet the emerging needs of its customers," said Don Wood, Metricom president. "Ricochet will complement those offerings with the fastest, most affordable wireless data communications solution in the nation, and enable Netcom customers to truly have mobile access."
Metricom Ricochet And Netcom
Netscape Users Left On IGZ's Sidelines
[8:15AM] Users looking to access Microsoft's popular Internet Gaming Zone service with a Netscape browser are being met with the latest sign of the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant's apparent attempt to the browser market to a proprietary, closed world. Those users get the following message: "We're sorry. For technical reasons the Zone doesn't yet support Netscape Navigator 3.0 and higher browsers. We're working to add this support, and we apologize for the inconvenience. In the meantime, we invite you to download Microsoft Internet Explorer for free." According to users contacted by TechWeb, the site utilizes a number of ActiveX controls, which Netscape's browser does not natively support.
TechWeb Article - Internet Gaming Zone
Monday, December 8th
SEC Filing Reveals Amelio's Settlement
[9:10PM] Despite having guided Apple Computer through four quarters of losses, which ended up totaling over $1 billion, former chairman and CEO Gil Amelio walked away with a hefty severance pay following his ouster this past July, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed. According to the proxy statement, Apple paid Amelio a severance pay of about $6.73 million in connection with his resignation, on top of the $2 million of wages and bonuses he was already collecting from the company. In addition, the document also confirmed that interim chief executive Steve Jobs is not being paid for his role in the company, and is instead being compensated by stock options. Incidently, earlier this year, it was Jobs who sold the 1.5 million issues he acquired as part of Apple's purchase of NeXT, leaving him left with a single, almost sentimental share of the company.
"Xerogel" Showcased In New TI Breakthrough
[2:50PM] IBM was first, Motorola second, and now another semiconductor player has announced that it has developed a new manufacturing process using copper wires. This time, however, a distinctly different twist has been added. Texas Instruments demonstrated last week a chip prototype that combines copper wiring with an ultra low-k dielectric insulating material, called "xerogel," in an integrated circuit. TI says that future digital signal processors and microprocessors using the breakthrough technology will yield performance at least 10 time faster than what today's most powerful chips provide, while utilizing much less power.
"Xerogel may be the ultimate solution because it has the lowest dielectric constant known other than air," said Robert Havemann, Manager of Advanced Interconnect Development at TI. Xerogel is a material made of microscopic glass bubbles containing air which is nature's ideal insulator. TI has shown it is now possible to integrate xerogel into copper interconnects--pushing the limits of Mother Nature," said Havemann.
Connectix Sets Sights On Speeding Up The Web
[2:20PM] After having broke the speed barriers with their Macintosh line of Speed Doubler products, software developer Connectix Corporation is taking their acceleration experience to the Web with their first Internet product, Surf Express, announced today. Through the use of their new FASTore technology, Connectix claims that Surf Express will be able to load Web graphics and text up 36 times faster than a standard browser alone. Also included in the utility is SmartFetch, a "smart" technology that automatically checks most-commonly visited pages and downloads any updates since the user's last visit. Lastly, finding recently visited Web pages will be easier through the FindCache component which scans the content of already viewed pages.
"Connectix is pleased to introduce an affordable consumer product that combines industrial strength proxy and cache technology with our award-winning ease of use. The power of Surf Express redefines the Web browsing experience for modem and ISDN users." said Taran Reese, Surf Express product manager. Available today for Windows operating systems, the $34.95 Surf Express will blast onto Macintosh desktops in January.
Connectix. - Surf Express Homepage
GT Interactive, Microprose Call Off Merger
[9:25AM] The proposed $250 million mega-merger between video game giants Microprose (formerly known as Spectrum Holobyte) and GT Interactive Software has been terminated, the companies announced last Friday. Despite the failed deal, which was mutual by public accounts, the companies said that they will continue to work together on a number of marketing and distribution initiatives, as stressed by the leaders of both firms. "Both managements agreed that the time simply is not right for combining the two businesses. Nevertheless, there are important areas in which we can work together," GT President and CEO Ron Chaimowitz and Microprose CEO Stephen Race said in a joint statement. The deal would have given GT Interactive some $500 million in annual revenue, making it the second largest United States-based entertainment software publishing company, behind only Electronic Arts.
"While our acquisition of MicroProse will not be completed, through both increased investment in our internal development studios and acquisitions of new development studios, we will continue to focus on the expansion of our publishing business, which accounts for more than 60 percent of our total revenues," Chaimowitz said. "We believe that this successful ongoing strategy will further strengthen our global leadership position in interactive entertainment."
GT Interactive - Microprose
Microsoft Abruptly Cancels "Java Summit"
[8:50AM] Microsoft's scheduled Java conference for this past weekend was abruptly canceled when officials at the company determined that the gathering conflicted with a number of other events, including Fall Internet World, in New York City this week, and the upcoming holidays. "Our original list had over 80 folks. Over a quarter of them had conflicts, and of those who could confirm, they had to move personal and professional schedules around to the point where they let me know it was painful," Michael Werner, manager of Microsoft's developer relations group explained to Developer.com last week. The "Java Summit," as it was being called, will be rescheduled, although a general timeframe, let alone a specific date, has yet to be set.
The event was being billed by Microsoft as a chance to "set the record straight" about their support of Sun Microsystems' Java technology. The company was expected to divulge details about how it fits into its platform, tool and technology strategy. Invitees, many of whom already made hotel and plane reservations, were routinely disappointed about the cancellation when questioned by Developer.com. "It's disappointing that we're not going to have an opportunity at this time to sit down and really discuss the issues," said Rick Ross, president Activated Intelligence, and a founder of the Java Lobby. "Communication is the beginning of effecting any kind of resolution in the conflicts surrounding Java."
Developer.com Article - Microsoft
Rockstar Revs Internet Connection Manager
[8:25AM] San Francisco, Calif.-based Rockstar Studios announced last week the release of a new version of their management and configuration utility for connecting online. GearBox 1.5, free to existing owners, includes more comprehensive modem support, simplified importing of settings, improved connection and corrupt preferences diagnostics, and better stability with Mac OS 8. "The biggest problem for dialup users has been with maintaining a stable, working dialup connection," comments Bryce Bigwood, Rockstar Studios. "With GearBox, Internet setup is easy." GearBox carries a street price of $44.95 and is available from a variety of online resellers, including BuyDirect and Rockstar's own Web site.
Rockstar Studios - Gearbox Homepage - BuyDirect
Mirabilis Has No Plans To Discontinue Mac ICQ
[7:50AM] Contrary to what The Mac Observer reported late last week, Macintosh development at Israeli-based Mirabilis is continuing full steam, and the company has no plans to drop support of the platform with its ICQ messaging product. Our original report, which was gleamed from an apparent "hoax" posted on Guy Kawasaki's EvangeList, stated that the company was planning to abandon the Mac, in part because of failed acceptance on the platform. However, according to Mirabilis' Arik Vardi, that is just not the case. "ICQ for Macintosh development continues as planned and the issue of stopping the development was never even raised," he said. Further, the next release of ICQ will begin implementing some of the features missing in the Mac client.
ICQ Homepage - EvangeList
Apple Board Member Dismisses Iacocca Rumors
[7:25AM] Apple Computer board member Jerry York, speaking to Computer Reseller News, dismissed wild rumors published by various Macintosh Web sites speculating that former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca would become the next full-time successor to Gil Amelio's chief executive seat at Apple. "Nothing could be further from the truth," said York in an interview with the publication. York, a former co-worker of Iacocca's back in their days at Chrysler, said that although the two haven't directly spoken, Iacocca will not become Apple's next leader.
Computer Reseller News Report - Apple Computer
Friday, December 5th
After Effects, Premiere Bundle From Adobe
[1:40PM] Earlier this week, Adobe Systems announced that they would begin immediately bundling two of their popular video editing and compositing tools at a special discounted price. As part of the $2,495 bundle (a savings of $300 off the suggested retail price tag), customers will receive Adobe After Effects 3.1 and Adobe Premiere 4.2, making the package an ideal solution for film, video, multimedia, and Web professionals. "Combining Premiere and After Effects provides our users with a tremendous value, from both a functionality and cost savings standpoint. The products are a natural pair that work together extremely well and can be integrated with a wide range of software applications," said Steve Kilisky, product marketing manager for After Effects.
DVD Player Sales Off To Sluggish Start
[1:15PM] No one said making the next premiere storage and multimedia format would be easy. But despite slower than expected sales of DVD players, Japanese manufacturers are putting on a brave face and remaining optimistic about the technology the will eventually replace CD-ROMs. "The domestic production of DVD players will be 300,000 to 400,000 in 1997/98, falling short of our initial expectation of 500,000 to 600,000," said Toshiba President Taizo Nishimura told a news conference today. Nevertheless, he added: "The market has a large potential in the future." But the slow start is likely to erode, at least that's the hopes of players in the DVD consortium. A spokeswoman for Toshiba told Reuters, demand for DVD players in 1998/99 is expected to double from 1997/98 in the both Japanese and global markets. Likewise, a spokesman for Matsushita Electric Industrial also said today that the company expects the market for DVD players in the year to March 1999 to double.
Reuters Report - Toshiba - Matsushita
Astarte Readying New Online Storefront
[11:45AM] Astarte, makers of the Toast CD recording software, is prepping a new online storefront, dedicated exclusively to Macintosh-related products, for launch early next year, the company said last week. The goal of the virtual store, according to a company statement, is to offer all the best Mac solutions, from developers around the world, for online ordering and download. Mac software developers and publishers will be able to participate in the project, to be called "MacShop," at no cost. Astarte currently has Jan. 15, 1998 penciled in for the site's official debut.
Astarte - MacShop Homepage
Thursday, December 4th
@Home, Microsoft Form Multi-Tiered Alliance
[5:30PM] @Home Network today announced that they have struck a deal with Microsoft to develop its broadband service. The deal, similar in part to the one the cable modem innovator made with Microsoft rival Netscape Communications two years ago, calls for the two companies to collaborate on an @Home branded version of Internet Explorer 4.0 as well as a Windows NT initiative. The deal will have @Home incorporating the Microsoft operating system as part of it network infrastructure. "This technology initiative will provide users with a broad set of solutions for delivering broadband content," said Tom Jermoluk, chairman and CEO of @Home. "In addition, Windows NT will be a notable addition to specific @Work commercial services that deliver reliable, fully-managed solutions for small to medium sized businesses."
Cameron Myhrvold, vice president, Internet customer unit at Microsoft added, "@Home Network's broad distribution and leading high-speed, broadband service combined with Microsoft technology will create new and compelling Internet experiences never before possible, such as near-CD quality audio, full motion video and active desktop applications."
@Home Network - Microsoft
56K Standard Subject Of Meeting This Week
[2:45PM] A proposed standard that would allow any 56K modem to make high-speed connections, regardless of whether if it was using x2 or K56flex technology, will be the top priority on the agenda at a meeting this week between the industry's top modem players. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has been working on specifications for such a standard since this past March, and according to what a spokesman for Lucent Technologies told Newsbytes, the committee will vote on that proposal at a meeting in Geneva at the end of January, and could ratify it in September or even earlier.
Comcast Going Corporate With Cable Modems
[1:25PM] Philadelphia, Pa.-based Comcast Commercial Online will be taking their parent's cable modem consumer experience to the corporate world with Comcast Commercial Internet Service, the first cable modem based turnkey Internet access solution for businesses with up to 100 workstations. Like Comcast's previously launched consumer service, CCIS will use @Home Network's engineered high-speed Internet backbone for bandwidth. The company is hoping to offer businesses a viable alternative to higher-costing, yet more proven, T1 connections, the predominant method of access in the corporate world. The CCIS service, while not offering as fast a connection as its dedicated sibling, will have an advantage with it's lower cost of ownership, since the only associated installation fees are the cost of installing cable lines, something which most business already have. CCIS will only be available in a few select locations, however, first in several New Jersey communities, followed in 1998 by access in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Detroit, Orange County, and Sarasota.
"We are pleased to be the first company in the United States to offer a truly affordable high-speed Internet access service to the business community," said Mark Coblitz, vice president of Comcast Corporation, in a statement released today. "Comcast prides itself on being an innovator and, in fact, is a pioneer in the delivery of Internet services via cable. Comcast Commercial Internet Services is the first of many advanced products and services for small and medium businesses."
Comcast Corporation - Comcast Commercial Online
West Creek Land Site Of New Motorola Plant
[12:55PM] Motorola's committment to the semiconductor market, which was questioned by some industry pundits in recent months, is seemingly profound as ever, as the company said yesterday it will spend $3 billion on the first phase of a manufacturing plant at West Creek, near Richmond, Virginia. The project represents the largest single initial investment in the history of Motorola, said Motorola chairman Robert Galvin, in a news release received by Reuters. Construction of the five building plant will commence in the second quarter of next year, and Motorola expects to have product coming off the line by mid-2000.
The West Creek location was originally purchased with the idea of building PowerPC chips in mind, however yesterday's announcement did not specify what the plant's main product would be. Motorola only said that the facility would have the capacity to handle the manufacturing of many types of chips.
Reuters Report - Motorola
AOL Secures $200 Mln. In Revolving Credit
[10:15AM] America Online has secured a two-year $200 million senior secured revolving line of credit, effective November 25, 1997, the company announced today. The credit will pass through a syndicate of commercial lenders in a transaction managed by Chase Manhattan Bank with Dai-Ichi Kangyo as co-agent. In the same announcement, AOL also said that is has cash and cash equivalents totaling $228.9 million, as of September 30, 1997.
Lari Unleashes First QuickTime 3.0 Product
[9:45AM] In conjunction with the preview release of Apple Computer's QuickTime 3.0, Lari Software has rolled out the latest version of their illustration application, LightningDraw/WEB 1.1. Targeting their new release at Web designers, Lari is claiming that LightningDraw/WEB will offer them a high level of control and options in creating low-bandwidth QT3 graphics. Designers can either create their graphics directly in LightningDraw/WEB or import them in from other applications. Illustrations can be saved within LightningDraw/WEB as QuickTime 3.0 vector graphics, GIF or JPEG images. Some of the features found in LightningDraw/WEB include; standard "Web-safe" 216-color Palette, transparency, interlacing (preview), dithering, and an integrated GIF export option.
Lari has also created the QuickTime 3.0 for Fast Web Multimedia Web site. The new site previews the work of Web designers using QuickTime 3.0 and offers a library of audio, video, MIDI, bitmap, and vector image samples, all of which showcase the capabilities of the new multimedia engine from Apple.
Lari Software - Fast Web Multimedia Site
Wednesday, December 3rd
Jobs Scheduled To Take Stage At Macworld
[TOP STORY 4:50PM] Apple Computer's interim chief executive Steve Jobs will be the keynote speaker at next month's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, show organizer IDG Expo Management announced today. "Apple certainly views Macworld Expo as a key event in the Macintosh market, and we hope to have some surprises in store," said Jobs in a statement. The keynote, which will be open to conference attendees only, will take place from 9AM to 10:30AM January 6th at the San Francisco Marriott Hotel.
IDG - Macworld Expo - Apple Computer
VP Of Developer Relations At Apple Makes Exit
[TOP STORY 11:55AM] For the second time in less than a year, Apple Computer has lost its vital link to the development community. The all-important Vice President of Developer Relations position was vacated yesterday when David Krathwohl tendered his resignation to pursue other interests. "It felt like a good time to move along," the eight-year Apple veteran told MacWEEK. In place of Krathwhol, who will officially leave mid-month, the company will bring in Clent Richardson, a former senior manager of evangelism at Apple and the current vice president of strategic relations for Design Intelligence Inc. Krathwohl took over as head of the developer relations program when Heidi Roizen, now a member of the board of directors at Be, Inc., left Apple this past February to devote more time to her family.
MacWEEK Report - Apple Computer
Corel Appoints New Chief Financial Officer
[4:40PM] Corel Corporation announced today the appointment of Michael P. O'Reilly as chief financial officer and vice president of finance. O'Reilly makes his way to Corel after spending 19 years as a chartered accountant in the Ottawa practice of KPMG. "Mike O'Reilly's skills in the areas of both financial and information systems implementation will complement our strategic growth plans for 1998," said Dr. Michael Cowpland, president and chief executive officer of Corel Corp. "In particular, his experience working with financial information systems within the hi-tech sector will be a tremendous asset to Corel going forward."
BoxTop's iVisit To Be Bundled With Kritter Cam
[1:25PM] BoxTop Interactive's Internet video chat application, iVisit, will begin being bundled with Kritter color digital video cameras from iREZ Research Corp., the companies announced today. Designed specifically for the "ZoomedVideo" capabilities of Apple's PowerBook 2400, 3400, and G3 models, the Kritter camera gives laptop owners full-color, full-screen, 30 frames per second video preview. Credited by the Wall Street Journal "with giving the Internet its eyes and ears," iVisit, a full cross-platform solution, is the first multiparty video chat application that does not require a reflector, central server or other special hardware.
Of the bundle, iREZ president Michael Harris said, "We chose to include BoxTop's iVisit because our companies share similar entrepreneurial and creative spirit. BoxTop is about providing solutions to everyday consumer communication needs through its applications and content, while iREZ's Kritter camera brings the same type of video performance to the laptop user as the desktop PC user and gives them usable video."
BoxTop Interactive - iREZ Research
PRINTZ Selected To Produce Apple Funded CD
[12:25PM] Production on a CD-ROM about The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and its work for children worldwide has been awarded to San Francisco, Calif.-based PRINTZ Electronic Design. Supported by a grant from Apple Computer, the title will draw from both CD and Web content, all of which highlights why UNICEF was created in 1946 and why, more than 50 years later, its work continues to evolve.
PRINTZ Electronic Design - UNICEF
Apple's Japan Unit Sets Yearly Sales Goals
[10:25AM] Apple Computer's Japanese unit, Apple Japan, said today that its sales goals for the current fiscal year are pegged at 650,000 Macintosh machines, a number roughly equivalent to its performance in the year ago period. The unit also announced the desktop and notebook G3 models, introduced here last month. Both machines are slated to be released in Japan in late December, with a January introduction penciled in the for the higher performing mini-tower model. "We are aiming to sell almost the same number of Macintosh PCs as we sold last year," Apple Japan president Eiko Harada told a news conference, noting also that the branch is aiming to sell 200,000 G3 machines in the first six months of sales. In addition, Harada said that 300,000 copies of the localized version of Mac OS 8 were sold in the first month after the software's September release. An additional 600,000 units are expected to be purchased by the end of the year, Apple says.
Reuters Report - Apple Computer
Netscape Expecting To "Hold Or Grow" Share
[10:00AM] Speaking at a developers' conference earlier this week, Netscape Communications' co-founder Marc Andreessen stated that he expects his company to "hold or grow" its 67 percent share of the Web browser market, despite the significant inroads Microsoft has made with its Internet Explorer. "We are going to launch some exciting products which should help our market share," Andreessen told a crowd at the first European Netscape Programmers Conference in Paris. Earlier this month, research firm Dataquest released numbers showing that Microsoft would likely overtake Netscape's top position by sometime next year. Andreessen, who currently holds the title of executive vice president of products, however, disputes the study. "We are contesting those data. Dataquest used a sole source which is unpermissible," he said.
Netscape Communications - Microsoft
Intel Readying "Lean Client" Specification
[9:25AM] Players in the emerging network computer marketplace will soon be joined by semiconductor giant Intel, who is planning to release its own specification for low-cost access devices, according to Wednesday morning's edition of the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper reports that the company will announce guidelines today for machines it calls "lean clients." The systems, designed to be targeted at establishing standards for low-cost business computers, are expected to come in at under $500 and resemble similar offerings from prominent network computer backers Sun Microsystems and Oracle.
Intel - Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, December 2nd
Apple Shares Jolted In Tech Sector Sell-Off
[5:35PM] Recent gains in the Nasdaq composite index were almost entirely eroded during today's trading session, in large part because of the earnings warnings several prominent technology players issued. Chip maker Altera Corp. and storage specialist Western Digital both warned of disappointing quarterly earnings, sparking a mid-day sell-off which lasted throughout the remainder of the day. "Technology stocks got hammered today," one trader told Reuters. "Altera started it off, we also had Western Digital and the comments by Merrill Lynch didn't help," referring to the brokerage house's upgrade of Cisco Systems to a long-term buy from a long-term accumulate. And unlike recent sell-offs, Apple Computer wasn't able to avoid the scepticism on Wall Street. Shares of the company fell nearly 2 points, or just over 10 percent of their value, on trading volume of 3.5 million issues.
Reuters Report - Apple Computer
Plug-In Attends To Crashed Web Servers
[5:05PM] StarNine Technologies and Sophisticated Circuits announced today the release of the WebSTAR PowerKey Pro Ticker Plug-In, a WebSTAR plug-in that periodically sends a "User Time" AppleEvent to the PowerKey Pro power strip. This allows PowerKey Pro to restart a server, in the event of a crash.
PowerKey Pro Ticker Plug-In
CNNfn, Intuit Forge New Relationship
[1:25PM] CNNfn, the financial news arm of cable giant CNN, and software developer Intuit announced today that they are joining forces to create "Quicken.com on fn," a new mutually developed personal finance Web site, scheduled for debut on December 9th. "For the millions of visitors who use CNNfn.com, the partnership with Intuit further enhances CNNfn.com's presence as one of the leading sites for business news and information on the Web," said Lou Dobbs, president of CNNfn, in a statement. "Quicken.com on fn presents Internet users with the opportunity to see how financial news directly affects their lives when they analyze their own finances using Intuit's financial applications."
Slated to replace the current "Your Money" section on CNNfn, the free service will integrate up-to-the-minute personal financial news and information with an array of interactive tools, the companies said. Users will be able to compare insurance quotes, calculate how much they need to retire, or assess how much mortgage they can afford or when is the best time to refinance. All of the site's tools are geared toward helping people make informed financial decisions specific to their situation and goals for the future.
"By bringing together a world-class financial news gathering organization and the most comprehensive personal finance tools and resources from Intuit, Quicken.com on fn offers the most valuable personal finance site free to customers," said Scott Cook, chairman and co-founder of Intuit. "The relationship with CNNfn adds even greater momentum to our Internet businesses and to the growing popularity of Quicken.com."
CNNfn - Intuit - Quicken.com
CompuServe Purchase Passes European Hurdle
[12:30PM] The deal that will give America Online the consumer subscriber base of CompuServe inched one step closer to completion yesterday, when German regulators approved the acquisition. Officials here in the United States endorsed the September purchase, which involves CompuServe parent firm H&R; Block as well as communications giant WorldCom, two weeks ago. However, Germany regulatory approval was required as AOL will co-operate CompuServe's European operations with German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG.
CompuServe - America Online
AOL Not Receiving MSN Email, Report Says
[8:50AM] A problem that prohibits Microsoft Network members from sending email to chief rival America Online is what a Microsoft manager attributes to a technical glitch on AOL's side of the fence. Marco DeMello, program manager for MSN's email system, told NEWS.COM that the problem arose on November 23rd, just one week after AOL's most recent widespread email outage. "I notified them of this problem last Wednesday and I notified them again over the weekend," DeMello said. "I even called the network data center and talked to them. They said they were going to look into it and get back to me, and they didn't." A representative at the nation's largest online service, however, isn't aware of any problem. "We are not aware of any problem on our side that would cause this," spokesman Rich D'Amato told the publication. "We're looking into it and we would certainly be happy to work with MSN to solve this problem."
This news comes just one day after AOL said they will integrate Microsoft's Outlook Express email technologies, including Dynamic HTML, into their existing email client. The functionality is slated to be available on the service in the first half of 1998.
NEWS.COM Report - MSN - America Online
Intuit Pledges To Ease Tax Season Blues
[8:00AM] Santa is not even down the chimney and we are already thinking tax time. With the sweeping changes in this year's tax laws, consumers now more than ever might want to take advantage of the new features available in Intuit's latest offering of their personal tax preparation software, TurboTax and MacInTax. "With the 1997 versions of TurboTax and MacInTax, we listened to what our customers wanted out of their tax software and gave it to them. The result is software that sets new standards for personalized tax preparation, Web connectivity, and truly seamless electronic filing," said Scott Cook, Intuit Chairman. In a move to show faith in their product, Intuit will guarantee that calculations from its TurboTax and MacInTax software (Federal and State versions) are accurate by offering to pay users for any assessed IRS or state penalties resulting from a calculation error in the software. Estimated street prices for TurboTax and MacInTax will be $34.95 and $49.95 for the Deluxe versions of the products.
Intuit - TurboTax Homepage
Metrowerks' Ink Flows Black In First Quarter
[7:45AM] Metrowerks Inc., developer of the popular software development tool CodeWarrior, yesterday released their first quarter profits for 1998 in the amount of $237,000. Revenues for the Austin, Texas-based company during the first quarter of this fiscal year showed a gain of 65 percent over revenues for the same period last year, topping out at $6.15 million. Product sales accounted for 74 percent of total revenue, while product agreement revenue picked up the remaining stream. "The first quarter was significant for Metrowerks, as revenues from the embedded and windows markets totaled 75 percent of total revenues for the quarter," said Jean Belanger, Metrowerks CEO and chairman of the board. "Moreover, we maintained strong revenue growth while increasing our profitability." Metrowerks also said they completed a financing during the period, issuing an extra 1.25 million shares of common stock priced $10.08 per share.
Press Release - Metrowerks
UMAX Offers Cash Back On Selected System
[7:10AM] Macintosh clone maker UMAX is offering a $500 cash back refund to customers that purchase its SuperMac S900/200 Mac-compatible system between November 15, 1997 and January 31, 1998. Some of the features included with the S900/200 include a 200MHz 604e PowerPC processor, 512K Level-2 Cache, a 2.1 GB hard drive, 4 MB video card, 32MB RAM, 8x CD-ROM, and 10Base-T Ethernet for out-of-box network connectivity. The estimated, after rebate street price for the S900/200 places this mid-range machine below the $2,000 price point.
Monday, December 1st
Apple Unveils Its First WebObjects Upgrade
[TOP STORY 11:50AM] Apple Computer today announced the release of WebObjects 3.5, an upgrade to the venerable Web application development platform it acquired as part of last December's acquisition of NeXT. The new version is aimed at providing ease-of-use enhancements, via a new Direct-to-Web technology, and improved Java support. The company says the addition of Direct-to-Web will make it easier to build database applications, and with a newly included WebObjects Builder, developers will now be able to work with a real-time WYSIWYG view of applications in progress. "WebObjects is the leading product for putting serious large-scale web applications on the Internet," said Jim Gable, Apple's vice president of Software Product Marketing. "Increasingly, companies are turning to the web to provide their customers, partners and employees with customized and top-quality interactive services. WebObjects Version 3.5 goes the distance by delivering more flexibility and ease-of-use to the site creator."
Java functionality has been retooled in WebObjects 3.5, with better performance and tighter development tool integration coming as a result. The developer tools and utilities bundled within the software all now provide Java capabilities, and with the new version, Apple has included the ability to use a mixture of programming languages. "In enhancing its Java support, Apple demonstrates an investment in true application portability and extendibility", said Steve Garone, research manager, International Data Corporation. "In making WebObjects easier for developers to use, Apple is broadening its appeal and speeding the platform's adoption cycle."
Press Release - Apple Computer
3Com Chooses RealSystem For Intranet
[3:05PM] 3Com will deploy RealNetworks' Intranet RealSystem 5 across each of the 15,000 desktops connected to its corporate intranet, the company announced today. 3Com's use of the streaming server, the largest known implementation, will enable employees worldwide to view live or on-demand video programming, such as a corporate communications event or on-line interactive training. "3Com's decision to deploy the Intranet RealSystem 5.0 is an important recognition of RealNetworks' efforts to continually push the window of innovation and deliver compelling real-world applications across corporate enterprise networks," said Scott Baker, director of web services, 3Com Global Information Systems Division. "For example, we can achieve tremendous cost reductions and productivity increases by using RealSystem 5.0 to develop and deliver training sessions over our Intranet, allowing our employees to be trained remotely and on their own schedules."
Press Release - 3Com - RealNetworks
Former Apple Exec Named CEO Of TimesTen
[2:25PM] James R. Groff, a former senior vice president at Apple Computer, was appointed the chief executive position at TimesTen Performance Software, the company announced today. Prior to joining TimesTen, a company dedicated to accelerating applications through unique software technologies, Gross held a number of top positions at Apple. Most recently he was senior vice president and general manager of the Information Appliances Division, home of the Newton handheld computer, Pippin multimedia appliance, and other product initiatives.
Roaster Licenses ObjectSpace Voyager
[1:35PM] Roaster Technologies said today that it has licensed ObjectSpace Voyager for use as the core Java interface for distributed programming within its Java development environments. Roaster will include Voyager in its Enterprise and Data Edition products, thereby extending the environments to allow customers to build distributed applications quickly, easily, and with great power and flexibility. "We selected ObjectSpace Voyager as the primary vehicle for delivering multi-tiered, distributed Java applications with Roaster Enterprise because of its diversity and ease of use," said John Dhabolt, President/CEO of Roaster. "You can't help but be impressed when you review this technology. There is really nothing like it out there today."
The first versions of Roaster containing Voyager 2.0 are scheduled to ship in the second quarter of 1998. This particular version of Voyager will provide complete bidirectional support for CORBA. With a single button, customers can use the Roaster development environment to enable CORBA communication and automatically create CORBA IDL specifications for any existing Java class, even without access to the classes source code.
Roaster Technologies - ObjectSpace Inc.
Free QuickTake 200 From The Apple Store
[12:35PM] As part of a holiday promotion with its online storefront, Apple Computer will be giving away a free QuickTake 200 digital camera with the purchase of any Power Macintosh G3, Power Macintosh 800/300, or PowerBook G3. The camera, Apple's newest model, normally carries an estimated price of $500.
Apple Store - QuickTake 200 Specs - Apple Computer
Netscape Signs Licensing Deal With Oracle
Press Release - Netscape Communications - Oracle
Toshiba Latest Casualty In Consumer Market
[10:15AM] Citing unexpected consumer demand for sub-$1,000 computers, Toshiba America told trade publication Computer Retail Week that it will discontinue selling its consumer-desktop line once remaining inventory is exhausted. Recognized for not only its high-level of convergence, Toshiba's year-old Infinia desktop series was also the first consumer machine outfitted with a DVD-ROM drive. However, consumer acceptance of sub-$1,000 systems took the company by surprise, prompting the shift in plans. "We found that basically the market has changed dramatically over the last year," Ron Crocco, Toshiba's vice president of sales, told the publication. "Sales of sub-$1,000 PC sales grew by leaps and bounds and caused us to look at what we are going to do in this space." The Toshiba unit will continue selling their business line of machines in the corporate sector.
Computer Retail Week - Toshiba America