|August, 1997 Archive
Sunday, August 31st
Ongoing Licensing Crisis
We have received many letters from readers concerning our stance on the Mac OS licensing issue. Most have been supportive, some have been critical. To clarify the situation further, we support Mac OS licensing, period. We have given a platform to developers and editors in our Mac OS Licensing Now! special feature that allows for the expression of whatever opinion contributors may have. This includes opinions that are different than our own such as that held by Brad Hutchings of Hutchings Software that is critical of our stance. If you are a developer or other Mac journalist and would like to write an editorial about Mac OS licensing, write [email protected]. We encourage you to go MacCentral's Clone Crisis Mandate and add your voice to those in support of Mac OS cloning!
On a related note, MacInTouch posted a letter from Victor Wong of Austin based Power Tools that suggests that Power Computing may be the only victim in the anti-cloning war. This letter adds more weight to reports that Motorola and IBM will actually be given the responsibility of managing CHRP standards. If so, this would put a radically different spin on this issue, one that will mean the continuation of cloning through CHRP. It is unclear whether Power Computing would or could earn a sub-license from Motorola or IBM. While such an outcome seems unlikely at best, it would be welcome news to those fans of Power whose direct Apple license will almost certainly be bought back by Apple. There are other cloning issues addressed as well in the August, 31st postings on MacInTouch.
Larry Ellison's Dream Coming True?
BusinessWeek is reporting that NCs (Network Computers) may be in Apple near term future. This report has been echoed by Mac Observer sources. It appears as though the network computers will be aimed at the education market in an attempt to solidify Apple's reported 54% market share. Running in the $500-$1000 range, these units will likely run some version of the Mac OS and appear as early as '98. NCs have long been heralded by both Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison as the future of the computing world.
Saturday, August 30th
G3-Based Systems Held Back By Power
Power Computing's Mike Rosenfelt told the Austin American Statesman yesterday that Power will await a resolution to their ongoing licensing discussions with Apple and delay shipment of the as-of-yet uncertified PowerTower Pro G3 machines. Although this reverses what Power said just one week ago, the company will now avoid what could have become a prohibitively expensive legal battle. At the same time, they stand to lose a significant amount of revenue by not being able to ship what effectively amounts to the fastest desktop machine, ever. Interestingly; while Power Computing says the decision is entirely linked to the licensing talks, Apple still maintains they won't certify the system because of what they believe to be incompatibilities between the PowerPC 750 (G3), a processor built from the ground up to run Apple's operating system, and the Mac OS.
Friday, August 29th
The Mac Observer's Mac OS Licensing Now!
Since the resignation of former Apple chief executive, Gil Amelio, in mid-July, this summer has been one of strenuous times for the Macintosh world. The uncertainty of what Apple will do with the Mac OS clone vendors has been a black eye on a company that, from all public accounts, has seen a tremendously positive summer. But despite the eye-popping sales of Mac OS 8, the newly appointed board of directors, and the Microsoft partnership, there is no getting around the fact that Apple has one of its biggest decisions (in the licensing situation) facing them.
MacCentral's fight for a resolution kicked off with their Clone Crisis Mandate, and The Mac Observer will join their efforts by providing the Mac OS Licensing Now! repository that will contain a collection of articles and links. Our crew of editors will be supplying much of the content, but we would like to warmly extend our forum to the entire Macintosh development community. Any developer interested in expressing his/her thoughts of the current licensing situation is invited to write an editorial piece. Any columns should be directed towards Dan Hughes at [email protected].
The Mac Observer Apple Purchases Put On Hold
Echoing the sentiments of both Ric Ford and Dave Winer, The Mac Observer has decided to forgo purchasing any Apple-branded products (including products from Apple-owned subsidiaries, Claris and Newton, Inc.) until a resolution to the current licensing situation is reached. Regardless of the different opinions each editor might have regarding the fundamentals of the license discrepancies, The Mac Observer agrees that the ever-present dark cloud we know as the current state of licensing is having an undoubtedly detrimental effect on the public perception of the platform. Furthermore, The Mac Observer feels that Apple must truly realize that they can not continue to let this issue go unresolved any longer. We encourage you to immediately sign the MacCentral Clone Crisis Mandate to voice your support for Mac OS licensing.
Buyout Of Power's License Coming?
Apple's decision regarding what to do with their group of licensees remains a mystery, but the company appears to be moving closer to reaching a buyout of Power Computing's Mac OS license, at least according to an email message received by Ric Ford's MacInTouch Web site. The note, which was apparently from a Power Computing employee, reiterates what has been suggested before -- Apple will buy back Power's Mac OS license and leave the largest Mac clone vendor with the option of becoming a sole Wintel oriented company -- and says that Apple will take over support of Power machines, as the Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker promises lifetime tech support for their systems.
Metrowerks Out With Record Earnings For Q4
Metrowerks, the leading provider of software development tools for the Macintosh, announced yesterday record revenue in its just completed fiscal fourth quarter. The company's revenues totaled a record $6.2 million, an increase of 78 percent from $3.5 million in the year ago period. Net income totaled $155,000, which compares with a loss of $178,000 in the corresponding period last year. What the company failed to reveal, however, is how much each of their supported platforms contributed to earnings, saying only that 65 percent of revenues were attributed to the desktop market.
SyQuest Slashes Prices On EZFlyer, SyJet
Pricing cuts on SyQuest Technology's line of removable media drives go into effect today, the company announced yesterday. The lower-end EZFlyer, SyQuest's offering that's analogous to Iomega's Zip drive, is now priced at $149, 25 percent lower than its previous price tag. The higher-end, large capacity, SyJet drives, SyQuest's Jaz competitor, are now $299 for an internal configuration and $399 for an external configuration, reductions of 25 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
OT/PPP Strip Now Includes ARA 3 Support
Final support for Apple Remote Access 3 has been added in the latest release of Dennis Wilkinson's connection control strip module, OT/PPP Strip 1.0.2.
Thursday, August 28th
Power Sits Down With The Mac Observer
Last Tuesday, August 19th, Tha Mac Observer's Bryan Chaffin had the opportunity to sit down for an in-depth interview with someone who just currently might be the most quoted man in the Macintosh industry; Power Computing's vice president of marketing, Mike Rosenfelt. The man behind all of Power's marketing moves since the company's incarnation had a lot to say, but because of the nature of Power's ongoing licensing talks with Apple, he was not at liberty to divulge everything we would have liked to know. Nevertheless, if you're interested in hearing about Power's television plans, Rosenfelt's thoughts of Apple's current state, what inspired their recent advertising campaigns, and more, be sure to check out "Power Talks."
Evidence Of Apple's License Direction?
As previously covered by Ric Ford's MacInTouch Web site, Apple's Mac OS Up-To-Date page has seen a number of subtle, yet exceptionally significant, changes over the past few days, one of which might lend a good deal of evidence regarding Apple's long-awaited license decision. The company removed all previous mention of clone machines from their list of qualifying computers, effectively meaning that customers who purchase a machine from a Mac OS licensee will not be able to participate in Apple's software update discount program. A note posted on the page points out that it that they will not honor upgrade orders sent in after August 1st:
"The program will honor orders from Mac OS licensee customers who sent in their orders postmarked no later than August 1, 1997. All other orders from Mac OS licensee customers will be returned along with their payment. Customers who purchased a Mac OS compatible system from a Mac OS Licensee should contact the manufacturer for information on how to upgrade to Mac OS 8."
Yale Says "Select A Windows PC"
According to a Business Week Online report, Yale University is circulating an open letter to its 1,130 incoming freshman advising them to shy away from purchasing a Macintosh computer. The school's Information Technology Services head, Daniel Updegrove, says students looking to purchase a new computer are "strongly encouraged to select a Windows PC." Updegrove warns that the school "cannot guarantee support for Macintoshes beyond June 2000." As it is, Updegrove says that the school's adminstration software is increasingly becoming Windows-only, with Macintosh support coming as an afterthought for the school's programmers, despite the fact that 25% of incoming students last year owned an Apple-branded machine.
Apple To Sponsor Internet Showcase '98
Apple, among other notable industry leaders, will return as one of the sponsors of the second annual Internet Showcase conference, event handlers Upside magazine and David Coursey announced yesterday. This year's conference is scheduled for January 27-30, 1998 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, in San Diego, California, and if last year's event proves to be any sort of indicator, Showcase '98 will be the prime opportunity for the industry to showcase some of its most exciting technology. And with an expected executive attendance of more than 750 (including a large pool of venture capitalists), participating companies will find no better audience to pitch their respective products to.
Virtual Memory Issue Discovered By Bare Bones
Bare Bones Software has discovered a Mac OS 8 compatibility issue, which arises when using Apple's Virtual Memory (VM) on 68040 Macintosh systems, that could cause general instability when using BBEdit, and may affect other applications as well. The company's president, Rich Seigel, says that the problem will likely be fixed in a future update to the Mac OS, but in the meantime, Bare Bones has written an extension -- VM 8.0 Fix -- that they say should correct the problem.
Desktop Tamagotchi Coming Next Month Via IE 4.0
In a joint announcement, 7th Level, Bandai Digital Entertainment, and Microsoft said this morning that they will team up to deliver a "Desktop Tamagotchi" as an Active Channel for Internet Explorer 4.0 clients this fall. The online version of the insanely popular digital pet is being developed using a combination of 7th Level's TopGun technology, Dynamic HTML and CDF-based Webcasting, and is currently set to launch in conjunction with IE 4.0 on September 30th.
Add Chat Services With Shotton's BIAP Chat
BIAP Chat 1.0 from the author of WebSTAR, Chuck Shotton, is plug-in that gives any W*API 1.2-compliant Web server the ability to conduct basic chat sessions. Chat rooms are accessible on the client side through a Java-based interface, which is entirely customizable. Shotton says that BIAP Chat areas can also be accessed through a telnet connection.
DoubleScroll Beta Adds Mac OS 8 Compatibility
A beta version of Edward Voas' DoubleScroll 2.2, which brings the double scrollbar buttons of the OpenStep environment to the Macintosh, introduces compatibility with Mac OS 8 and a new control panel design.
Wednesday, August 27th
Office 98 Macintosh Edition Unveiled
Microsoft officially announced the latest version of their office suite for the Macintosh -- Microsoft Office 98 Macintosh Edition -- at a press event yesterday. Beta demos of the software, which is expected to ship by the end of the year, were shown for the first time publicly, with the product's advanced installation routine being heralded as a sign of Microsoft's advancement in the Macintosh world. The suite features Word 98, Excel 98, PowerPoint 98, Outlook Express, and Internet Explorer, but as Microsoft doesn't feel Macintosh users need a high-end database solution (they said they will stick to core markets Apple is committed to), the company's Access component will not be included. InfoWorld Electric has more on the Office 98 rollout.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has released a converter that allows Macintosh Word 5.1 and Word 6.0.1 users to open Word 97 for Windows documents. Several readers note that the installer will only install the converter on startup disks.
FTC Investigates Intel Buyout Of Chips
Chips And Technologies said yesterday that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has requested further documents regarding Intel's tendered offer to purchase all outstanding shares of their company. The graphics chip manufacturer said in a press release that the FTC requested "additional information in connection with the previously announced $17.50 per share cash tender offer by Intel's subsidiary, Intel Enterprise Corporation." Speculation is that the probe has something to do with the concern of other graphics chip makers who feel that a Chip's buyout is the first step in Intel's run at an area that they have long stayed away from; the graphics chip business.
New Wall Street Details Surface At PowerPage
O'Grady's PowerPage, the quintessential PowerBook resource page, has uncovered a few new details about Apple's next-generation PowerBook design, Wall Street. According to O'Grady, the electrifying bundle of joy will sport a 83-MHz processor bus along with a super sizey active matrix LCD that supports a 1024x728 resolution. O'Grady continues by saying that the early-1998 machine might ship with an ultra-spacey 14.1" display, although the economical implications of such a move are the issues at hand. (Just as an indicator; Digital's new 14.1" equipped HiNote Ultra 2000 retails for just a smidgin under $6,000.)
Trio Of Industry Giants Announce Java Center
IBM, Netscape, and Sun Microsystems announced today that they are establishing a new resource center, dubbed "Java Porting and Tuning Center", where they will work to improve the Java programming environment. The center will be housed in Sun's JavaSoft division in Cupertino, Calif. and will consist of staffers from each of the involved companies. Additionally, the companies said developer partners of both Sun and Netscape will be able to receive 100% Pure Java pre-certification testing support through IBM's Solution Studios for Java, free of charge.
6th Annual Midwest Mac Expo and Garage Sale
The Mac Group of Michigan passed along the following information about their 6th Annual Midwest Mac Expo and Garage Sale, to be held on November 2nd in Livonia, Michigan.
"Join us and hundreds of other Mac users in Livonia on November 2nd from 11AM to 6PM at the Livonia Holiday inn. Check out booths from major local Mac vendors, businesses, and groups. Get your questions answered and discover all the Mac friendly businesses in the Midwest Area. Attend some fantastic seminars including Radius, Adobe, GoLive (CyberStudio), and Apple Computer. Participate in Raffles for $1000's of dollars worth of software and Mac Stuff. "Search for Gold" in the Disk Grab, hundreds of disks of all sorts of software, all mixed up. Get a great deal on new or used hardware and software that will be available of purchase. For more information, check out our Web site."
Sun's McNealy Criticizes Apple's Java Moves
Speaking in New York yesterday at a Java convention, Sun Microsystems' Scott McNealy denounced Apple's decision to expand the Java envelope with their Rhapsody Yellow Box extensions and the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm's deal to collaborate with Microsoft on Java development, saying that Apple "no longer belonged on the list of companies working on a version of 100% Pure Java." This morning's USA Today has more.
Contextual Menu Extension Gets An Update
Eric de la Musse's CMTools 2.2 has been released, adding a number of new features and improvements, including: "access to the Application Menu in the Contextual Menu, items in the Open Using folder display only if they can open the selection, numeric prefixes on folder names are not displayed in the corresponding menu, and menu separator implementation."
Tuesday, August 26th
Netscape, Sun Announce Pure Java Navigator
Plans for an all-Java version of Netscape Communicator were first revealed at Marc Andreessen's keynote address at DevCon, Netscape's annual developer's conference, and today an official announcement came forth, mapping out specific plans, and a key partner in those plans. Netscape and Sun Microsystems said this morning that Netscape intends to deliver a 100% Pure Java version of its Navigator client -- not Communicator -- by 1998, which will integrate Sun's HotJava Internet technology. The announcement strengthens Netscape's new "Netscape Everywhere" initiative, which is aimed at bringing Netscape products to millions of home and business users. A 100% Pure Java version of Navigator means that the company's already strong-crossplatform browser will be, in effect, usable on any machine that contains a JVM.
Sun's significance in the announcement can't be overlooked, however; they also agreed to integrate the Netscape HTML rendering component with the JDK (Java Development Kit), meaning that Netscape's hypertext parsing technology will become the standard for HTML rendering in Java applications and applets. The high-performance HTML rendering engine will be delivered by Netscape to Sun as an embeddable JavaBean component. Sun will in turn use this component as the basis for future products.
Also, as part of the multi-tiered agreement, Sun said it would ship the Pure Java Navigator browser technology as its standard Web browser in its products, which include workstations, servers, JavaStations and the Java Development Kit.
Exponential Patents Sold, Buyer Undisclosed
The final round of Exponential's sealed-bid patent auction ended last Friday with an undisclosed party walking away with the company's impressive collection of 45 patents, NEWS.COM said yesterday. The buyer, whom the publication is pointing as Intel, likely paid more than $5.1 million, as the initial bidding at the preliminary auction on August 15th yielded a price of that amount. Proceeds from the auction will not cover the company's $10 million of debt, Exponential's CFO said, but she stressed that compensating former employees of the company, who have been awaiting back pay and salary, will likely be the first priority.
But as The Mac Observer reported earlier this month, the auction held a special importance for the semiconductor industry, as the fate of Intel's jointly developed "Merced" 64-bit RISC/CISC hybrid processor was, more or less, held in the wings of the outcome of the event. Exponential was the first to file for (and win) a patent detailing a processor design that could handle both RISC and CISC instructions, which meant that Intel would likely stand to lose some control of the design of Merced if the patents were purchased by another party. Whether that will happen now is complete speculation until we hear an official answer.
TechWorks, DayStar Enter Into Partnership
In a MacWEEK article, TechWorks said that they have partnered with DayStar Digital to manufacture, sell, and support DayStar's nPower line of dual-processor upgrade cards. Gary Dailey, DayStar's vice president of marketing and business development, says the move will allow their company to completely focus on its upgrade technology. Meanwhile, TechWorks announced that they would be cutting prices on the nPower cards by $200.
Adobe's Venture Capital Arm Invests In Tumbleweed
Adobe Ventures LP, Adobe's Systems venture capital subsidiary, will infuse an undisclosed amount of cash in Tumbleweed Software, as part of an $8 million joint investment with August Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners, the companies announced today. Known for their network document technology, Tumbleweed said that they would use the seed capital to further develop their line of products in addition to ramping up its marketing division. Also, in a joint announcement, Tumbleweed said that they have named David Marquardt of August Capital and Standish O'Grady of Hambrecht & Quist to its board of directors.
Federal Judge Rules On Export Of Encryption Software
A federal judged ruled yesterday, in a case involving Daniel Bernstein, that the United States government regulations on the export of encryption software are unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel said licensing requirements for the export of encryption software and devices were an unconstitutional restraint on First Amendment rights, and issued a permanent injunction that hinders government officials from enforcing regulations against encryption programs. CNNfn has more.
Another Power Computing Executive Says Goodbye
Recent resignations in the executive ranks at Power Computing continue, as Ric Ford's MacInTouch Web site reports today that the company's head of Worldwide Operations and Manufacturing, James Hindmarch, has left the Round Rock, Texas-based firm to join Cidco, a leading innovator in "smart" phone technologies (including Internet-enabled telephones).
Monday, August 25th
Editorial Ranks At "New" Macworld Revealed
Mac Publications, L.L.C., the newly created publishing venture of Ziff-Davis and IDG, said today that Andrew Gore, former editor of MacUser magazine, has been named editor-in-chief of Macworld magazine. Current co-editor of Macworld, Galen Gruman, will be promoted to the editor position at the magazine, the company said. Colin Crawford, president and CEO of Mac Publications, said, "I am very enthusiastic about our new editorial team to be headed by Andrew Gore. Andy is highly regarded in the Apple Macintosh industry as an experienced editor and was a key contributor to the success of MacUser Magazine. I have every confidence in his ability to lead the editorial team and look forward to working with Andy as we begin a new era for Macworld."
Crawford went on to further say, "In addition, I am pleased that Galen Gruman will take on the leadership role of editor for Macworld. Galen has been a tremendous asset on our editorial staff, excelling in the timely reporting of crucial information. Galen's professional skills and commitment to quality journalism will ensure that the standards for which Macworld is well recognized will be upheld."
The November issue of Macworld will be the first to incorporate the MacUser editorial staff, although the exact makeup of the combined staff isn't yet known. Meanwhile, for those of you who have inquired; Mac Publications says that current subscribers of MacUser will automatically be switched over to Macworld.
Entering Audio CD Track Information Now A Snap
Wishing there was a way to automate the process of entering the track names and titles of audio CD's? With Glenn Howes' ingenious InCDius GH, there is. This new Java-based utility works in conjunction with the collection of Internet CDDB (Compact Disc Database) servers to automatically deliver the track names of over 9,000 audio CD's. Once downloaded, the track information can then be exported to the "CD Remote Programs", a file in the system folder used as a track repository for audio CD utilities, including Apple's own variation. As it is coded almost entirely in Java, InCDius GH 1.0 beta 3 requires Mac OS Runtime for Java (the author recommends using 1.5), as well as a connection to the Internet that isn't block by a firewall.
CE's Email Server Begins Shipping This Week
CE Software's Internet and intranet email server offering, QuickMail Pro Server, will begin shipping on August 29th, the company said today. The server is the core of CE's crossplatform QuickMail Office business email solution, and comes complete with mailing list and on-demand services built-in, making it possible for companies without an Internet connection to use the product solely as an "interoffice" solution. Pricing for the 50-user server starts at $349.95; a 100-user server is $499.95.
True Hierarchical Filing System For Newton?
Foundation Systems is set to introduce a product that will likely change the paradigm for storing data on Newton-based devices. The company's HyperNewt 2.0 -- due for release on September 1st -- is an application that will replace the built-in Notes program, but, more importantly, it will add a true hierarchical filing system (complete with an infinite number of directories and subdirectories) to Newton machines. The program will also have the ability to HyperLink data, allowing the content from supported applications to appear in the HyperNewt directories. Screenshots and further information is available from Foundation's homepage.
DVD-ROM Support In Mac OS 8.0.1, Says Readers
According to a number of readers (and confirmed by Steve Tannehill's Power Macintosh Resource Page), the latest seeded version of Mac OS 8.0.1 (codenamed "Bride Of Buster") includes an extension in the installation files called "Apple DVD-ROM", plainly suggesting that the system revision, due in November, will be the first to include support for DVD-ROM players. But this doesn't necessary mean that Apple will ship players this year -- their timeframe for DVD-enabled Macs is apparently set at early-1998. All it suggests is that the software support for such devices should be ready when Mac OS 8.0.1 rolls out.
NetJumper Claims To Let Users Surf Forward
NetJumper Inc.'s NetJumper, a new Internet browser plug-in for the Macintosh, allows, in the company's own words, users to surf "dynamically, three dimensionally and forward through the Internet." The product works by parsing all available links on a given page, creating an internal list of links. Users can then access their next location from a dropdown window or NetJumper's floating toolbar. The $19.95 tool is available in a 30-day free trial from the company's homepage.
[Update:] Despite the company's announcement, as of press time, the software has yet to be posted on NetJumper's homepage.
QuickTime Plug-In Beta Now Hosted On MRP
Eric Belsley's MRP Software Mirror is now hosting the recently released QuickTime 1.1.1 beta 1 plug-in (with Apple's permission), following its disappearance from Apple's overloaded seeding servers. The new version fixes several problems associated when used with Netscape Communicator.
Friday, August 22nd
Iomega Announces Zip Drive Successor
An Iomega press release officially announces the successor to its original, and remarkably popular, Zip drive. The ZipPlus, as it will be called, will not be a total overhaul of the product, rather it's intended to provide minor enhancements and performance improvements. Chief among those enhancements is Iomega's AutoDetect technology which will enable ZipPlus drives to be used on either a SCSI or parallel connection -- a boon to multi-platform users. The product's portability has been enhanced as well with the inclusion of a palm-size universal power supply. Faster performance will also be a part of the new drive; the company claims that the ZipPlus will perform some functions as much as 40 percent faster than the original Zip.
The ZipPlus will begin shipping in the fourth quarter of this year at a minimum advertised price of $199.95. That price includes a multimedia software bundle containing full versions of the following titles; Adobe PhotoDeluxe by Adobe, Web Buddy by DataViz, Image AXS by Digital Arts & Sciences, NetCard by PictureWorks Technology, and RecordIt by Iomega. The original Zip drive will still be sold at its current price of $149.95.
Certification Ban Extends To PowerPC 750?
Originally expected to entail only CHRP-based machines, Apple will extend its certification ban to systems using the newly introduced PowerPC 750 processor, according to a MacWEEK report. "Until there's a licensing agreement, certifying [new] machines is irrelevant," said Apple spokeswoman Katie Cotton. "Once we have finalized negotiations and have an agreement, then machines will be accepted." Neither CHRP nor PowerPC 750-based machines are covered under the current licensing agreement, which, in its present state, only allows clone vendors the use of Apple-designed motherboards and Mac OS 7.6.
Power Computing told The Mac Observer earlier this week that the first shipment of their PowerTower Pro G3, a 750-based system, are still scheduled for next week, so how, if at all, this news affects Power's plans isn't known at this time. It's in the realm of possibility that the company could ship their machines without license certification, much like they are doing with Mac OS 8.
New Internet Suite For Newton OS 2.1
LunaSuite Preview 2.1Bc211 from Lunatech Research is a set of network modules that integrates Internet functionality with Newton OS 2.1 machines (MessagePad 2000 and eMate 300). The suite provides tools for email and FTP access, but the HTML 3.2 compliant Web browser is the product's main attraction, in that it is the first Newton browser to support frames, animated GIFs, and JPEG images. This early access preview release expires on September 30th, and the company concedes that there are known bugs and short-comings with the software. They also warn that the Web browser module should only be used on MessagePad 2000 units, due to the eMate 300's slower processor.
Apple's Itsy-Bitsy Comet Makes Impact
After a brief delay caused by Apple's last-minute decision to include copies of Mac OS 8, the 4.4 pound PowerBook 2400 (aka "Comet") -- Apple's first sub-notebook since the PowerBook 2300 Duo -- hit retail store shelves yesterday. Availability of the IBM co-developed machine is expected to be initially limited (the overall production run is said to be somewhere in the area of only 100,000 units), and anyone in the market for one of these micronotes should tune into the PowerBook 2400 Watch on O'Grady's PowerPage. Of the vendors who have machines in stock, the suggested $3,495 price tag is being quoted throughout.
Macromedia Slapped With Shareholder Lawsuit
The San Francisco Chronicle reports this morning that a Macromedia shareholder has filed a lawsuit against the graphics software company in California Superior Court. The lawsuit claims that officials at the company knowingly lied about their financial position in an effort to raise the stock price between April 18, 1996 and January 9th, 1997, during which time shares of the company plummeted from a high of $46.50 to $9.06 on January 10. Macromedia says they will vigorously fight what they label as a suit with no merit.
Thursday, August 21st
Is The Plug Being Pulled On Power?
Another twist to the Apple/Power Computing saga has come to light. According to both Ric Ford's MacInTouch and Eric Belsley's Macintosh Resource Page, Apple is in the process of finalizing a buyout of Power Computing's Mac OS license. If true, this would leave the Round Rock, Texas-based firm, who is also the largest Mac OS clone vendor, with a few realistic alternatives. One would be a sole Intel play; the company could conceivably take their planned Intel machines and shift their entire business model around becoming an Intel-only provider. Second, Power could win a Mac OS license through either IBM or Motorola, who are official sub-licensees of the software. The fees, however, would be sequentially higher than what they've been accustomed to over the past two years, and there's no guarantee that IBM or Motorola will gain rights to Mac OS 8 and beyond. The final option is that Power Computing could shut their doors.
[Update:] Officials at Power Computing have denied that Apple has bought back their Mac OS license, and say that neither talks nor any deal surrounding such an issue have been arranged.
CompuServe Announces Flat-Rate Pricing
CompuServe, one of the few remaining online providers who have stuck with the per hour pricing structure as their only revenue model, said today that they will introduce a $24.95 flat-rate pricing option for customers in the United States and Canada. The company is planning to offer the new option to current subscribers and those who join the service by October 1st before trying to attract a broader customer base. But unlike CompuServe's chief competitor and oft-mention suitor, America Online, the new pricing will not be forced on customers; those interested will still have the option of using the previous pricing plans.
But the new pricing model might have an adverse affect on the struggling provider, as it has with numerous other companies. "This new pricing plan may affect our ability to achieve our stated goal to reach or exceed the break-even point in earnings sometime in the second half of the current 1998 fiscal year," a CompuServe statement said today.
Plan For Online Payment Protocol Posted
NetCentric said earlier this week that they are seeking public comment on their Metered Services Information Exchange, "an open protocol designed to enable Internet Service Providers and carriers to effectively meter usage and charge for value-added Internet services." The specification, which was co-developed with NetCentric and Compaq, is being back by 25 vendors, including such notable names as Progressive Networks, OnLive Technologies, VDOnet, and Voxware. The draft spec is available from the MSIX homepage, and details NetCentric's plan for a standard method of accepting online payments. The company said that comments will reviewed for the final release of the protocol slated for September 22nd.
MessagePad 200O Owners Assured Of Upgrade Path
While exact plans for future iterations of the MessagePad from Newton, Inc. are uncertain, the company's chief operating officer and acting chief executive, Sandy Benett, said last month that current and future owners of the MessagePad 2000 can be assured that the newly created subsidiary of Apple will provide an upgrade path. Exact details on how this will be accomplished are not known, but Benett's reassurance should hush any fears of potential customers being on the latter end of the technology curve if a talked about MessagePad 2100 does arrive as shortly as some have suggested. A segment of Benett's interview is below:
"I made a commitment when we released the MP2000 that users would be able to upgrade when we released a new ROM or updated the hardware. I stand by that statement." - Sandy Benett, 27 July 1997, Newton Intelligence
Internet2 Gets Funding From Bay Networks
The Internet2 initiative will receive technical expertise and $1 million of equipment funding from Bay Networks, according to Interactive Week Online. A group of universities, nonprofit groups, government associations, and industry members are in the construction phase of Internet2, an effort planned to eventually offer a high-speed infrastructure for the use and deployment of critical applications.
Integrate WebObjects On WebSTAR Servers
StarNine Technologies has announced the availability of a W*API based WebObjects Adapter, making it now possible to integrate a Mac OS-based WebSTAR Web server with WebObjects applications running on Solaris, OpenStep, NeXTSTEP, Windows NT. For those interested in testing the software, you can download a developmental version from StarNine's FTP server. A mailing list for discussion of the Adapter is also available. Subscription instructions are as follows:
WordPerfect Update Fixes Printing Problems
A WordPerfect 3.5.4 update from Corel addresses the widely reported problem of not being able to print when using Mac OS 8. The patch, available from the company's FTP server, can only be applied to WordPerfect 3.5.3 (issue the Get Info command on the program to verify the version number), and the application's name must be Corel WordPerfect.
Anti-Aliasing Explained In MacKiDo Article
Ever heard of the graphic technique anti-aliasing? Haven't got a clue what it means or what it does? David Every's latest MacKiDo article provides a detailed technical explanation of why the occasionally overlooked procedure plays such a crucial role in any and all aspects of typography.
Wednesday, August 20th
WebSTAR 3.0 Due By End OF Year
A major revision to StarNine Technologies' venerable Macintosh Web server, WebSTAR, is due by the end of this year, according to a report by NeTProfessional magazine. WebSTAR 3.0 will introduce a variety of new features, including integrated site searching functions, which have only been available on Mac Web servers through a myriad of third-party applications and add-ons. The new release will also sport an integrated FTP server, which means that system administrators will no longer need to run a separate program to allow for remote file transfers. Further, the latest HTTP protocol (1.1) will be supported, as well Apple's WebObjects technology and Sun's Servlets API.
Apple Loses Rhapsody Evangelist
Apple's Rhapsody Evangelist who was responsible for guiding current OpenStep developers over to the next-generation operating system has resigned. Jim Black told The Mac Observer earlier this week that he submitted his resignation to Apple last week, although he failed to mention any specific reasons for his departure. Black was a incredibly well respected figure in the Macintosh development community and, before taking the Rhapsody Evangelist post, was Apple's lead OpenDoc Evangelist. Netscape will be Black's next stop where he will become product manager of Netscape ONE.
Apple Out With MRJ 1.5 SDK, 68K JITC
As was promised several weeks ago, Apple has posted the Mac OS Runtime for Java (MRJ) 1.5 Software Development Kit (SDK). Two archive variants are available -- the "lite" version doesn't include the complete MRJ 1.5 Installer -- so when downloading, be sure to choose the correct version based on whether or not you have MRJ 1.5 installed or not. Meanwhile, the first Just-In-Time Compiler for 68030 and 68040 users has been released as well. The beta extension, available from Apple's "Bleeding Edge" Java homepage, requires that MRJ 1.5 be previously installed.
PointCast Goes After College Crowd
PointCast College Network is a special version of the PointCast Network being aimed at college students and anyone interested in campus life. The new alternative network consists of separate client software and a set of accompanying channels, which include such notables as U-Wire, Music Zone (Rolling Stone, Billboard, etc.), Wired Esc, E! Online, and Student Advantage. A PowerPC-only beta version of the software is available for downloading.
Teflon Coating For Your Sticky Menus
Teflon 2.0 is a new control panel designed to give users command over how the "sticky menus" in Mac OS 8 operate. Whether you want to disable the feature completely or you'd prefer menus that stick regardless of how long you hold your mouse button for, Teflon 2.0 is what you're looking for.
New TwinTurbo Drivers For 9600s
New drivers (4.0.2a) for the IX Micro TwinTurbo video cards that come pre-installed on the Power Macintosh 9600 line (including the 9600/200 multi-processor machine) have been posted on IX Micro's homepage.
Tuesday, August 19th
Power Computing's Kocher Calls It Quits
"Irreconcilable differences" with company management over the Apple licensing situation have forced Power Computing president and chief operating officer, Joel Kocher, to resign. Kocher also announced that he would step down from the company's board of directors, effective immediately. "I unfortunately have irreconcilable differences with Power Computing management over the way in which to move forward on the Apple licensing issue," Kocher said through a statement issued by the company. The once long-time Dell executive has been one of the Mac community's most prominent voices throughout the past several -- unsettling -- weeks, but clearly his fellow executives at the Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker were not in total agreement with the way to approach the touchy negotiations with Apple. Power's chief executive, Stephen Kahng, will assume Kocher's day-to-day duties.
Apple Says No To CHRP Machines
In a letter sent to at least two Macintosh clone vendors on Friday, Apple Computer upped the ante in their ongoing licensing dispute by saying that they will not test or certify new machines which are based on the Common Hardware Reference Platform (CHRP) "until further notice." This move effectively puts a stop-gate on any licensee wishing to ship CHRP-based systems (which, at the moment, include Motorola and UMAX), as under their current agreement with Apple, the companies are prohibited from selling any computer that doesn't complete the certification process. But Apple isn't entirely abandoning CHRP, at least not yet. The company says it is choosing not to review CHRP machines because it is "currently evaluating the future of directions of Mac OS licensing." The San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News have more.
Corel Spills Java; Moves To New Technology
Ottawa-based Corel, a long time proponent of the Java programming environment, has reportedly scrapped all of their Java development, including the much hyped, but as of yet, mediocre, Corel Office for Java suite. Instead the company said it will develop its own technology that allows software to run on any kind of operating system from a localized server. Coincidently, such capabilities are a large facet in the Java language, but Corel apparently wants to avoid having to re-write their entire applications in native Java code. "We don't believe Java is the centre of the world," said Paul Skillen, Corel's VP of software development, in the August 13th edition of Windows Watcher Online magazine. "We've come to realize it doesn't make much sense to just rewrite an application in a new language."
Hand-held Vendors Not CE'ing Good Sales
Robert X. Cringley, InfoWorld magazine's gossip column, reports this week that, which the possible exception of Philips, Windows CE-based device manufacturers have largely been disappointed with sales of their hand-held PCs. Take for instance, Compaq, the world's largest maker of PCs; according to the column, their Windows CE offering has sold fewer than 30,000 units, a number which is steering the company into discounting the machines. To give some idea of where these numbers are in relation to other PDA sales; Apple is believed to have sold 30,000 units of the largely criticized, and generally unaccepted, original Newton MessagePad in its first month of release.
Mandich Named Vice President Of The Americas
Former vice president of Worldwide Sales and Services at NeXT Software, Mitch Mandich, was appointed the senior vice president of the Americas position today at Apple. The 15-year veteran of client/server technology, who came to Apple in February, will be responsible for all sales activities in the United States, Canada, and Latin America markets. "Mandich's role will be the focal point for the integration of sales and support activities in the Americas therefore ensuring that all decisions, programs, and activities are executed in a very timely and efficient manner," said Dave Manovich, Apple's executive vice president of Worldwide Sales and Service.
New Funding, New CFO On Their Way To Marimba
On the heels of their open standards agreement with Microsoft, Marimba said last week that they are closing in on a new round of working capital. PC Week is reporting that the company will pull in $12 million from five to six top corporations, including Intel and Cisco Systems. Since its incarnation, Marimba has operated business with $15,000 from each of the four founders and $4 million from the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Buyers Java Fund. Meanwhile, the company said that they are actively looking for a CFO, and have had a search firm in place for two months.
Monday, August 18th
Mactivity To Be Part Of Macworld Expo
Continuing the consolidation in the Macintosh market, Mactivity Inc. said today that have entered into a new strategic relationship with Mitch Hall Associates to produce a new conference that will be held as part of Macworld Expo. The conference, tentatively labeled the "Macintosh Professionals Conference", will replace Mactivity's annual Mactivity event and will focus on Macintosh Web development, content creation, and site management, while still remaining the de facto gathering place for Mactivity's original focus -- Macintosh managers.
This announcement comes on the heels on Ziff-Davis' and IDG Publications' decision to consolidate their lineup of Macintosh magazines. "The Mac industry needs to enter into a time of consolidation - partnering and harnessing resources in order to come out of this transitional period," said Mactivity's president, Paul Kent. "You've seen it with the merging of the industries major publications, and now, with this agreement, you're seeing it with the industries major meeting places."
Netscape Out The Door With "Navigator Lite"
Weeks of speculation of whether or not Netscape would take the oft-suggested route of "unbundling" its Navigator Web browser from the hefty Communicator suite came to an end this morning when the company posted a standalone version of the Navigator client on its FTP servers. The discovery of the software preceded any kind of official announcement from Netscape, who, up until today, have only said that this re-discovered direction for Navigator has been discussed. Every Netscape fan won't be using the new product just yet, however, as not all of the company's preferred platforms are supported by "Navigator Lite". Like some of Netscape's latest products (namely Netcaster), versions are only available for Windows-based machines. A press release states that the Macintosh version will be out next month.
Former Sony Executive Latest CEO Candidate
An Iceland-based daily newspaper reported last week that the latest candidate for the vacant Apple chief executive position is Olafur Johann Olafsson, a 33-year old former Sony executive. The Morgunblandid newspaper said that Olafsson flew to Cupertino last week to meet Steve Jobs, and presumably, the Apple CEO search committee to discuss the possibility of the former Sony subsidiary chief filling the vacant chief executive position at Apple. Olafsson's name, however, isn't the only one flying around the executive round tables in Cupertino, as he readily admits. "There are a lot of possibilities, and I would not focus necessarily completely on me as a CEO," Olafsson said.
Olafsson, who has been spending recent years authoring short stories and novels, along with investing in a variety of technology start-up companies in the United States, is best known for his work as chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment from 1994-1995, where he oversaw the successful launch of Sony's PlayStation video game console in September of 1995.
Virtual PC On Apple-Branded Machines?
Connectix' announcement last week that their PC emulator, Virtual PC, would be bundled with a variety of Mac OS machines excluded one important name from the list of companies; Apple. The Mac Observer has since learned from a source close to the company that the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm intends on providing the software with a select group of high-end Power Macintosh machines this fall. However, which models will include the popular emulator is not known at this time, although the 8600 and 9600 machines would be our choices if we had to venture a guess.
The Mac Observer Chosen As One Of Macworld's Best
We are proud to announce that The Mac Observer has been selected as one the Best Mac Web Sites in Macworld's annual feature. The crew here at The Mac Observer would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the entire editorial staff at Macworld, especially Howard Baldwin. Below is an excerpt taken from their October issue:
News Junkies' Joy
"More than any other site, The Mac Observer resembles the front page of a traditional newsmagazine, with news, reviews, first looks, opinion pieces, and features, all relating to Macintosh systems, software, and peripherals. Best of all, it's updated almost hourly."
Microsoft's Eye On Education Software
Microsoft will challenge market segment leaders Learning Company, Broderbund Software, CUC International, and newcomer Walt Disney with an upcoming line of educational software, beginning with titles aimed to help children's math and reading skills. This move is the latest prong in the Redmond-based software giant's strategy that is aimed at cashing in on the lucrative K-12 education market, a market continued to be dominated by the company's new-found partner, Apple. Microsoft's initial titles will go on sale in mid-September.
Sales Of Mac OS 8 Hyped In New Ad
Apple has a hot seller on its hands, and, as evident in a new promotional campaign, the company has no plans of resting on their laurels. The run-away success of Mac OS 8 (as mentioned before, 1.2 million copies were sold in its first two weeks of release) is the highlighted theme in a new three-quarter page newspaper advertisement that began running in over two dozens publications yesterday. The placement is scheduled to follow again on this upcoming Thursday, August 21st.
Update To Micromat's TechTool Coming This Week
Micromat Computer Systems will release an updated version of its indispensable general purpose utility this week, according to Ted Landau's MacFixIt Web site. TechTool 1.1.5 will introduce compatibility with Mac OS 8 and non-United States versions of Mac OS 7.6.1, in addition to a new option to save file comments before rebuilding the desktop. The company's revised TechTool Pro will follow in one or two weeks.
Friday, August 15th
"Emergency Meeting" In Cupertino
Power Computing executives were called to an "emergency meeting" in Cupertino at 5:30am Central/Standard this morning! While the substance of these meetings is unknown to us at the moment, our source hints that it could be good news. Our speculation is that it involves the licensing issue.
Apple Seeing Growth In Asia
Reporting growth of 12% over the last quarter, Steve Vamos, Managing Director of Apple Asia Pacific said "The overall trend is definitely for growth." Mr. Vamos is regarded as being the driving force behind double digit growth for Apple in Australia before rising to his current position. The Mac Observer recommends keeping a close eye on this bright spot within Apple. We predict good things will come from the hand of Mr. Vamos.
Allegro To Be Pronounced "Copland"
MacWeek reports that Apple has decided that Allegro will be a big thing. Apparently blind sided by the success of OS 8 (1.2 million copies sold in the first two weeks), the company sees the potential for continued success by improving the aging OS. Interestingly enough, this renewed interest in the MacOS is coming from Steve Jobs himself. Many of the features originally intended for Copland are now scheduled to be included in Allegro.
More Contextual Menu Goodies
CMTools 2.0 has been released by Eric de la Musse, the plug-in's author. Several bug fixes and improvements are included.
Thursday, August 14th
Marimba Partners With Microsoft On OSD
After partnering with Netscape in a Castanet distributing pact last month, Marimba today announced that they would develop the first open industry data format to automate software delivery in association with none-other-than Microsoft. The two companies proposed a new specification, dubbed Open Software Description (OSD), that they say will reduce the cost of PC ownership for corporations. OSD is based on the eXtensible Markup Language (XML), a spec being reviewed for standardization by the W3C, which also provides the underpinnings for the Channel Definition Format (CDF). Companies who immediately endorsed the OSD spec include: CyberMedia, InstallShield Software, LANovation, Lotus Development, and Netscape Communications.
Netscape's support of OSD is interesting, as they have been strong opponents of the related CDF technology, a technology which they have neglected to support in their Communicator suite. Don't look for them to magically advocate the CDF standard either; the company said today that their endorsement of OSD is in no ways meant to be an indication of future moves.
Connectix Cuts Bundling Deal For Emulator
Connectix announced last week that their PC emulator software, Virtual PC, will be offered with high-end systems from Motorola, Power Computing, UMAX, and Newer Technologies. Power Computing will offer the Windows 95 version as an extra option on their PowerTower Pro, PowerCenter Pro, and PowerBase product lines, while Motorola said they will bundle a DOS version of the emulator with their StarMax Pro 6000 systems, which are expected to begin shipping on September 22nd. UMAX and Newer Technologies will each bundle the DOS version with their products as well, with the majority of UMAX' line and Newer's MAXpowr upgrade card being covered.
Meanwhile, this now leaves Apple as the only major Mac OS provider without a Virtual PC option for their customers. While some have suggested that a deal was in the works (Mac The Knife reported some time ago that an agreement orchestrated by Gil Amelio was about to be finalized with Connectix before his sudden departure), nothing has come to light, at least not yet.
Mac MDK Confirmed By Playmates
Though the Macintosh gaming community lost one of their biggest developers in Lion Entertainment last week, confidence in the platform's viability has not diminished, as evident from a Playmates Interactive announcement yesterday. The company confirmed widespread reports that they are in fact porting Shiny Entertainment's innovative 3D-shooter, MDK, to the Macintosh. Work on the port by an unnamed developer has already begun, and Playmates said yesterday that they have finalized a deal with an equally anonymous publishing house. The company failed to specify a release date for the title, but a first quarter-1998 timeframe would be our best guess.
Digital To Debut Notebook With 14.1-Inch Screen
PC Week says that Digital Equipment will announce on Monday an addition to their HiNote Ultra notebook line that comes equipped with a 14.1-inch display. The company's 166-MHz Pentium-powered HiNote Ultra 2000 will be the first notebook to feature a 14.1-inch XGA active matrix screen. As you would expect, however, the plush display won't come cheap; pricing will be around $5,999.
Now, for those of you wondering when larger screens will make their way to Apple's PowerBook line, here's what is known. The PowerBook 3500 (codenamed "Kanga") is slated to be announced in late-October, but as it is more or less an internally-redesigned 3400, it will share the same size display (12.1-inch). PowerBook aficionados who want larger screen real estate will have to wait until next year's "Wall Street", which is expected to be the first Apple-branded notebook to feature a 13.1-inch screen.
Online Advertising To Skyrocket, Says Report
Spending for online advertising is projected to jump from $301 million in 1996 to $7.7 billion in 2002, according to a new forecast. The report by the New York communications research group by Jupiter Communications, shows that spending will rapidly increase as more people go online and as the current advertising models are refined. But already, revenue is increasing swiftly as 1997's first-quarter number of $129.5 million outpaced the previous quarter by over 18 percent. Reuters has more.
Attendance At Macworld Expo Slips
Attendance at last week's Macworld Expo in Boston dropped nearly 10% from 1996 figures, The Boston Globe said today. According to MHA Event Management's president, David Egan, the three day show pulled in 49,700 visitors, compared with about 58,000 last year. Egan accredits the drop in numbers largely to the shortened show (last year's Expo was four days long) but doesn't deny the fact that Apple's financial woes over the past year probably played a large part in attendance.
Proteran's GoMac Gets An Update
Proteran Software's GoMac 1.3.1 is a minor update to the popular utility that brings the functionality of the Windows 95 start menu and task bar to the Mac OS. This new release, which follows on the heels of the Mac OS 8 compatible 1.3 version, adds an option to remove the start button and use the utility solely as a taskbar.
Wednesday, August 13th
Details Of Exponential's Death Come To Light
Following yesterday's report on the upcoming Exponential patent auction (see yesterday's news below), we received word from a former employee at Exponential who clarified the events that eventually lead to the company's unfortunate demise. We mistakenly attributed the company's departure to their inability to attract licensees. In all actuality, according to our source, even though Apple backed out of shipping Exponential's X704 PowerPC-compatible processor, several Mac OS licensees expressed continued interest in using the chip.
However, the cloners needed a ROM chip to use the processor in existing Macs, and when they approached Apple, Apple would not provide them with the needed ROM under any circumstances other than CHRP. Exponential's entire revenue stream suddenly rested on the oft-delayed specification, which was too far in the future for the company's business plan. Faced with an exhausted allotment of venture capital, the company then had no other choice but to close its doors, and the accompanying labs that held what some have labeled the fastest desktop processor.
Jobs' Paring Of Apple Continues
In hopes of making Apple "a more egalitarian, entrepreneurial company", Steve Jobs will enforce a number of new cost-cutting moves aimed at employees, according to MacWEEK. The moves were laid out in a memo to employees and center around the following items: stock options and severance pay; company sabbatical program; corporate travel; and consolidation on the R&D campus, which is now being dubbed "the Apple campus." One employee heralded the moves, saying that this is what Apple staffers have been asking for -- alluring benefits and compensation. Meanwhile, Jobs said in the memo that the executive team will forfeit their cash bonuses in exchange for stock options.
Early Consensus Estimate For Q4 Positive
The early consensus estimates for Apple's fiscal fourth quarter are looking somewhat positive, even though results will still remain in the red, as The Mac Observer reported yesterday. A consensus estimate of 34 financial analysts gathered by Zacks Investment Research expects Apple to lose 8 cents a share in the fourth quarter, which translates to roughly a $10 million loss. A loss of that size would be the company's best quarter since turning a $26 million profit in the year ago quarter, and it would lead one to believe that the company is closing in on returning to a sustainable profitability.
Netcaster Ships This Week, Still No Sign Of Mac
The final version of Netscape's Netcaster push component will ship by the end of this week, the company said today. A new release of their Communicator suite (4.0.2) will also coincide with the Netcaster rollout, but Netscape has still remained mum on when Macintosh users will see the first signs of the long-awaited push technology. The software has been available on the PC platform for several months, yet the company has made no mention of support for the Mac, instead only saying that it is their intention to release Netcaster for the platforms supported by Communicator.
Microsoft Won't Use Patented Technology... Yet
Microsoft has no current plans to use the patented Apple technology it bought rights to last week, Microsoft's Singapore marketing manager, Natasha Kwan, told Reuters. While the door is open to do so in the future, Kwan said that "this whole alliance, there's nothing covered on the operating system. It's about us developing applications for their platform. There's no mention of such an arrangement." Some analysts, however, believe that Microsoft is already eyeing some piece of Apple's software portfolio.
Virtual Desktop Planned For Rhapsody
Details of the previoulsy mentioned "Virtual Desktop" are being included in an internal Apple user interface Rhapsody document, says TechWeb. The concept, which would be an extension of OpenStep's already powerful network features, would allow a user to access his/her desktop when logging into the network, either locally or remotely. Basically, anywhere a user goes, they would have access to both their applications and documents.
Shipments Sink For Apple's European Unit
Apple's European unit, a typically strong branch of the company, saw shipments in its second quarter fall 31 percent, compared with the year ago period, and its market share ranking fall to ninth place, International Data said today. The unit's market share fell to 2.6 percent (from a 4.2 share in the same quarter last year) while key competitors (Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell) each saw significant growth in the European market.
Tuesday, August 12th
Exponential Auction Holds Key For Intel
Though Exponential shut their doors in mid-May after failing to attract either Apple or the Mac OS licensees with their heavily hyped X704 PowerPC-compatible processor, the once Apple funded venture now holds an important key to Intel's dominance of the microprocessor market. All of Exponential's 45 patents will be auctioned off on August 15th (with second bidding following on the 22nd) and the outcome of the "event" will largely determine the fate of Intel's next generation 64-bit processor, codenamed "Merced", which is being jointly developed with Hewlett Packard.
Both Exponential and Intel have patents for a processor that can handle both CISC and RISC instructions, but the U.S. Patents and Trademark Office granted the rights to Exponential first, giving the auction an abundant amount of importance. If a company other than Intel were to win the auction, they could conceivably build a Merced-like chip. If Intel wins, however, they would wind up having a strangle-hold on this chip implementation. NEWS.COM has more on this interesting story.
Another Red Apple Coming In Q4
The financial bleeding of Apple Computer will last for at least one more quarter, the company acknowledged yesterday. In a 10-Q filing with the Securities And Exchange Commission, the company publicly confirmed what acting chief executive, Fred Anderson, has been saying over the course of the past month; it "does not believe it will return to profitability in the fourth quarter", despite a continued decreased in operating expenses. But although Anderson has reiterated many times that Apple is out of the profit predicting business, one could reasonably assume that the 1st quarter of 1998 could be the break even point for the company -- that is, if all things happen to fall in place (ie. Apple has a successful Christmas selling season).
Apple Picks Up On Clones
In spite of declining sales and lower year-on-year second quarter shipments, Apple's share of the Mac OS market actually increased by 12 percent, according to a MacWEEK report. The gain now puts 80 percent of the market in Apple's hands, up from 70 percent in the prior quarter. Dataquest attributes this to aggressive pricing on its high-end desktop and portable systems and the K-12 education buying season. The San Jose-based research firm also continues to believe that Apple will see a strong surge in sales in the fourth quarter, as users upgrade their aging machines.
Latest Casualty In Internet Magazine Market
Faced with a stagnant market, Imagine Publishing says they will pull the plug on its 2 1/2 year old Internet publication, The Net, after the current month's issue. This adds to the growing ranks of Internet-focused magazines (including NetGuide, Internet Underground, and Websight) who have succumbed to the non-market realizations of an Internet magazine, and the lack of advertising that goes along with it. Imagine, who's publication lineup includes such titles at MacAddict, Next Generation, and Boot, says they will re-examine the industry next spring and re-launch the magazine with a new focus.
Newton Development Tools Available, For Free
Fresh off the unveiling of their new corporate logo and new company headquarters in Santa Clara, Apple subsidiary, Newton Inc., is now making bold efforts to help spark further development for the mobile computing platform. The company recently decided to make all of their development tools (including technical information and toolkits) for the Newton platform available for free from their Web site. Everything needed is available from the Newton Developer Homepage.
Apple/Microsoft: Java Questions Answered
A message posted on the Mac OS Runtime for Java Developer mailing list from Apple's Java Product Manager, Will Iverson, attempts to clarify Java-related questions stemming from last week's Apple and Microsoft partnership. Collaboration on Java is included in the agreement, yet, according to Iverson, it isn't expected to have an adverse effect on Apple's plans for current and future development of MRJ.
Chat It Up With ichat Pager
Ichat, Inc. introduces several subtle user interface changes in the newest release of their personal Internet paging and communication system; ichat Pager 1.1. In conjunction with this latest version, the company is running a promotion in which you can win a 1997 Jeep Wrangler, among other things. Both PowerPC and 680X0 machines are supported, although at press time, only the 68k link points to the 1.1 version.
New Quid Pro Quo Beta From Social Engineering
Social Engineering has released Quid Pro Quo 2.0b2, the latest pre-release version of the venerable Macintosh freeware Web server. For a complete overview of the changes in 2.0, be sure to check out Oliver Dueck's first look at the previous beta.
Monday, August 11th
Jobs Admits Losing Faith, Selling Stock
In a candid interview in this week's Time magazine (which goes on sale today), Apple co-founder Steve Jobs revealed that he was in fact the one who sold off the mysterious 1.5 million shares of Apple stock back on June 2nd. The now-present Apple board member claimed to have lost all of his confidence in the company making a turnaround, yet, the timing of his decision -- when the stock was trading at 10-year lows -- caused Jobs to miss out on the recent rebound, which, coincidently, began with his return to power following the ouster of former CEO, Gil Amelio. Meanwhile, the article also chronicles Jobs' life over the past several weeks, including a behind the scenes look at how the Microsoft partnership came about.
Power Computing IPO Put On Hold
According to a report by NEWS.COM, Prudential Securities, one of the lead underwriters in the Power Computing initial public offering of 3 million shares, said that they have put a hold on the pricing schedule -- which was expected in late August or early September -- following the recent surge in shares of Apple. The securities firm will announce a new timeframe at a later date, but some analysts have suggested that it will be delayed until the Mac OS licensing situation has been clarified in some way.
In a somewhat related story, PowerWatch has posted a message from Power Computing's Senior Director of Product Marketing, Bill Goins, which responds to reports by a Macintosh Web site which basically said that the company is hoping to get an upper hand in license negotiations by shedding a negative light on Apple.
New Tool, New Price From NetObjects
Hoping to cash in on the pools of capital sitting in the enterprise market, NetObjects is working on workgroup edition of their already popular Fusion tool that will enable multiple authors to simultaneously work on a project, says PC Week. The new product is scheduled for release at year's end and will be bundled with an as-of-yet unannounced Web server. In related news, NetObjects is expected to announce price cuts this week on Fusion 2.0. The pricey package will drop from $495 to $295 and a $100 competitive upgrade will supposedly still be in effect.
Cheese! PhotoDeluxe 2.0 To Debut This Month
Featuring a redesigned interface and a number of "Smart Features", the second generation of Adobe's consumer oriented photo-editing software, PhotoDeluxe 2.0, will be ushered in late this month for Windows 95, with a Macintosh version following shortly thereafter. PhotoDeluxe 2.0, which is expected to carry a suggested retail price of $49, will be the first application to support Adobe Connectables, an Internet feature that links users with additional capabilities and demonstrations every month from Adobe and third parties.
Evangelize The Mac With New MacAdvocate CD
Apple has introduced the latest in their series of promotional paraphernalia; MacAdvocate CD-ROM II. The jammed-packed disc now includes the following evangelistic items: "PDFs of all currently shipping products, Mac OS 8 demos, URLs to important Macintosh-related sites, demo versions of 8 great Claris products, a movie trailer, a way-cool music video, MIDI files, system software updates." Orders for the free discs can be placed here.
Heap Problems Addressed In NetHopper 3.2
Available now in public beta is AllPen Software's NetHopper 3.2, a Newton OS Web browser that is bundled with both the MessagePad 2000 and eMate 300. The new version fixes a host of bugs, and adds HTTP proxy server support, an integrated package loader, and improvements in the product's heap usage. The latter is said to alleviate any problems related to the browser freezing Newton machines.
Friday, August 8th
The Mac Observer's Macworld Expo Coverage
For all the latest happenings from what is already shaping up to be one of the most exciting Macworld Expo's in recent memory, be sure to tune into The Mac Observer's daily coverage of the big event in Boston. Our own Todd Stauffer is in Beantown covering the show and we will have several updates throughout the day.
The Mac Observer Macworld Expo Coverage
- Thursday's Wrap-Up From Boston
Apple Reunites With TBWA Chiat/Day
The relationship responsible for the legendary "1984" commercial has come full circle, as Apple announced today that it has completed its relatively short advertising agency creative review and has selected TBWA Chiat/Day as their account holder. The move comes just six weeks after Apple split ties with BBDO, following that agency's decision not to pursue the account after Apple put it up for review. Terms of the deal with TBWA were not disclosed, as they are currently being negotiated. However, the account is believed to be worth somewhere in the area of $150-$200 million. TBWA's current client list includes such notables as: Nissan, Taco Bell, Polygram/Gramercy, ABC Television, Infiniti, Seagram, Absolut, Energizer, Champion, and Sony PlayStation.
Revenues Up, But Losses Continue For AOL
Despite pushing revenues up by 42 percent to a record $475.7 million, America Online reported a $11.8 million, or 12 cents per share, loss in its fiscal fourth quarter. This compares with earnings of $16.1 million in the year ago period. One-time charges continued to hurt the nation's largest online provider, as the company would have actually beat street expectations for the quarter with earnings of $10.9 million, or 9 center a share (estimates called for a gain of 7 cents), if not for the charges taken for technical upgrades.
Microsoft's Streaming Software Hits The Mac
A beta version of Microsoft's NetShow 2.0 has been released for Macintosh machines (PowerPC-only). The application/server combination is Microsoft's foray into the streaming market, and much like Progressive Network's RealPlayer, NetShow 2.0 uses a variety of codecs (compressors and decompressors) to stream multimedia content (audio and video) across both intranets and the Internet. Neither ActiveX or dial-up multicast support is in included in this initial beta release.
UserLand Edging Closer To A New Frontier
The first alpha version of UserLand Software's Frontier 5 is getting closer to its inaugural widespread release, the company said today. Besides marking the first time that the popular scripting environment will work on Wintel machines (both Windows 95 and NT will be supported), Frontier 5 will also extend its already powerful Website management capabilities by offering work flow and custody management features.
Metrowerks Lending A Hand With New JVM
Yesterday's story (see below) regarding the new Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for the Mac that Microsoft is working on incorrectly implied that they would be developing the software entirely on their own. In all actuality, the same software team who worked on previous JVMs from the Redmond-based software giant (which consists of both Microsoft and Metrowerks employees) are involved in the development of the new product.
Lotus Debuts Organizer 97 At Macworld
Lotus Development is tip-toeing back into the Macintosh market with this week's Macworld Expo debut of Organizer 97 GS. The personal information manager (PIM) is expected to ship next month for $79 and will feature Web integration and intranet support. The product will also allow group scheduling and collaboration with Lotus Domino and Lotus Notes.
Thursday, August 7th
The Mac Observer's Macworld Expo Coverage
For all the latest happenings from what is already shaping up to be one of the most exciting Macworld Expo's in recent memory, be sure to tune into The Mac Observer's daily coverage of the big event in Boston. Our own Todd Stauffer is in Beantown covering the show and we will have several updates throughout the day.
The Mac Observer's Macworld Expo Coverage
- From The Floor
- Wednesday Wrap-Up From Boston
Microsoft Working On New JVM
In light of yesterday's Apple/Microsoft partnership, which includes future Java collaboration, The Mac Observer has learned that Microsoft is developing, in-house, their own Java Virtual Machine (JVM), aptly named the Microsoft Virtual Machine (MVM) for Macintosh. The project is totally separate from both Metrowerks' JVM and Apple's Mac OS Runtime for Java, even though Microsoft has invested considerable time in the former. It will support the same feature set as the Microsoft Virtual Machine for Win32: JDK 1.1.x, minus JFC (Java Foundation Classes, the new interface classes), RMI (Remote Method Invocation, which allows Java programs to execute code remotely), and JNI (Java Native Interface, the new way to write native methods).
Instead of those features, it will have AFC (Microsoft's Pure Java interface libs), COM (Microsoft's distributed method interface), and JRI (the old way native methods are written). In addition, the MVM for Mac will support J/Direct for Mac OS, allowing Mac programmers to work in Java. There's no word if the API for J/Direct for Mac and J/Direct for Windows will be the same. Apple is planning on allowing Yellow Box applications to be pure Java, but so far they haven't announced a way to write old-style Mac apps using Java alone. From the looks of things, Mac programmers who want to write in Java may need to go with Microsoft.
NewerTECH's Solution For 750-Envy
Discouraged that your Macintosh won't be on the cutting edge once the Motorola StarMax Pro 6000 and Power Computing PowerTower Pro G3 systems arrive? Don't be, because upgrade specialists, NewerTECH, introduced an upgrade card this week at Macworld that will breath new life into your machine for years to come. The MAXpowrPro/Pro+ card uses the new PowerPC 750 processor, which was announced earlier this week, and will be available in both 250-MHz ($1,200) and 266-MHz ($2,200) variations, with the latter also coming equipped with 1MB of the all important "backside cache."
The company is also expected to extend the 750's speed to Apple's forthcoming ultra light PowerBook 2400 sub-notebook through the MAXpowr 2400 Pro. Machines with the 250-MHz module should easily dethrone the PowerBook 3400 as the mobile speed king. Pricing is expected to be in the $1,000 to $1,500 area.
Lion Entertainment Closes Shop
Lion Entertainment, the game development studio responsible for many of the bigger name titles that have hit the Macintosh over the past several years, ceased business operations yesterday, according to a UseNet post from the company's president, Douglas Ground. The company is currently in negotiations with MacSoft and Accolade to finish the projects in development (MacQuake, Shadow Warrior, Unreal, and Deadlock), but at the present time, nothing has been finalized. Below is a copy of the message in its entirety:
From: "Douglas Grounds"
Subject: Re: lion died
Date: 7 Aug 1997 02:17:07 GMT
Lion Entertainment has indeed ceased business operations as of Wednesday, August 6, 1997.
We are currently in negotiation with both MacSoft and Accolade to finish the Mac OS versions of Quake, Shadow Warrior, Unreal, and Deadlock. Those negotiations, while going well, are inconclusive at this time.
Those of us at Lion want to thank all of our customers over the years, and wish the Mac game market well.
Lion Entertainment, Inc.
Carso Buys 3% Stake In Apple, Says Reuters
The Reuters news service is reporting this afternoon that Grupo Carso, a Mexican conglomerate, has bought a 3 percent stake in Apple Computer. The date of the transaction is unknown, but Reuters says that the firm acquired the stake for $60 million at $16 a share, which could mean the deal was finalized sometime early last week, when the stock was trading near that price. Carso shares are up sharply on the day following the report.
With OpenDoc Gone, Corda Turns To Java
As with Digital Harbor before them, Corda Technologies is making the transition to Java-based software development, following Apple's decision to halt proceedings with OpenDoc. PopChart and PopChart Builder, the company's first Java components, is a combination application/applet that allows Web publishers to provide dynamically updated graphs in their pages. A time limited evaluation copy can be downloaded from the company's Web site.
Updated JVM Showdown Feature
Recently released Java Virtual Machines from Microsoft, Apple, and Metrowerks are now included in the latest update to JVM Showdown, our continuously running Java benchmark feature article. It should be noted that a new version of Pendragon Software's CaffeineMark is now used in testing, and because the software has gone under a significant number of changes, results do not correspond to their previous marks.
News Sparks Upgrades From Investors
Yesterday's news out of Macworld Expo prompted investment bankers, Bear Stearns and J.P. Morgan Securities, to upgrade their outlooks on Apple this morning. Stearns is recommending Apple to their clients as "attractive", compared with the previous "unattractive" rating, while J.P. Morgan raised their projection on the company to a long-term buy from market performer.
Tuesday, August 5th
Kocher Lashes Out At Apple, Denies Rumor
Faced with the possibility of having his company's Mac OS license pulled out from underneath their feet, Power Computing's chief executive officer and president, Joel Kocher, lashed out at Apple during a pre-Macworld Expo discussion with mass volume buyers. "You'd be real safe if you assumed they're doing nothing," Kocher said in a response to a question regarding Apple's dragged out license negotiations. The former Dell executive continued by saying, "It appears at this point that Steve's (Jobs) attitude toward licensing is permeating throughout the organization."
With these rightfully strong emotions in hand, Kocher denied a recent rumor that had him taking the vacant chief executive position at Apple and becoming the successor to the recently ousted Gil Amelio. When questioned, Kocher asserted, "I am not a candidate for that job."
And while Kocher's firm will man the evangelist wagon at Macworld Expo this week, the company's message will be in stark contrast to previous efforts. Instead of triumphing "Fight Back for the Mac", Kocher said that Power Computing will supply "Freedom of Choice" signs at both the Expo and at Jobs' speech tomorrow morning, meaning Power is no longer just fighting for the Mac platform, they're fighting for their life as a clone vendor.
IBM & Motorola Deliver New PowerPC Chips
The IBM and Motorola tag team have once again raised the bar in the desktop processor market, and this time the performance gap of the new PowerPC line, when compared with Intel's flagship Pentium II, is so great that it will leave the latter half of the Wintel conglomerate sitting at the starting line for months to come. The previously announced and retooled "Mach 5" PowerPC 604e will now further outpace the Intel mother ship on its own with a 350-MHz version, but the true excitement centers around the PowerPC 750, and to a lesser degree, it's cousin, the 740.
Already announced in both Motorola's StarMax Pro 6000 and Power Computing's PowerTower Pro G3, the 750 will double the performance of the previous speed king (604e/250), in large part because of the processor's ability to support a "backside" cache. Yet, even with these impressive speeds, the 750 won't be prohibitly expensive; machines using the chip are in line with prices of previous high-end systems. Below are the prices of the new chip variations.
Quantities of 1000
Insignia's Latest Shot In Emulation War
In an apparent effort to counter Connectix' Virtual PC with a lower-cost, higher-performance solution, Insignia announced yesterday that they will broaden their SoftWindows emulation line with RealPC, a $79 product that is being almost solely promoted at gamers who want to play the wealth of PC games on their Mac's. Slated to ship this month, RealPC will surely have many people wondering how Insignia was able to reach the price point they apparently have. The answer lies with the product's bundled software; as only DOS 6.2 is included, the company was able to sidestep the hefty license fees associated with either Windows 3.1 or Windows 95.
Font Names: More Than Meets The Eye
The seemingly simple revelation that the Mac OS 8 Appearance Manager can handle more screen fonts than previously thought has lended a small amount of insight into Apple's future interface plans. According to a posting on a UseNet newsgroup from an Apple employee, the font names (Chisel, Gadget, Techno, Textile and Sand, as reported by Ric Ford's MacInTouch Web site) actually correspond to the long-awaited themes that are in development for a future version of the Mac OS. While release dates for a theme-enabled OS revision are not known, it is often speculated that themes will make their debut in an iteration of Mac OS 8.
Macromedia Announces Dynamic HTML Resource
Macromedia's newly announced Dynamic HTML (DHTML) Zone is intended to be a repository for Web designers interested in tapping the new dynamic HTML layout capabilities provided by both Netscape Communicator 4.0 and Internet Explorer 4.0. Tutorials, demos, articles, and discussion groups are all centered around how to maximize the potential of this latest addition to HTML, which, incidently, more or less delivers content typically found in CD-ROM applications.
NetObjects Appoints New CFO
NetObjects, publishers of the Fusion Web development application, have appointed Michael J. Shannahan as their new chief financial officer. Shannahan's 20 years of experience with high-growth public software companies (he served as vice president of finance and chief financial officer at Broderbund Software Inc. during that company's "Myst years") is expected to spearhead the financial functions of the already successful Silicon Valley startup.
PC Vendors Get Reimbursement From Intel
The USA Today is reporting this morning that Intel will extend its co-operative advertising program to Web-based advertising next year, giving PC clone vendors a larger incentive to purchase online space. The program, which has its roots in the TV and print medium, calls for the semiconductor giant to reimburse as much as 30% of advertising costs for the likes of IBM, Compaq, and Dell, so as long as they use the "Intel Inside" logo in their creatives.
Apollo Releases InstantSpace Explorer Edition
Meant to be a precursor to their forthcoming InstantSpace Internet Suite CD-ROM, Apollo Technologies has taken the wraps off of InstantSpace Explorer Edition, a free Web browser using technology licensed from Microsoft. The client is available from the company's homepage, although, as the program is encrypted, one must email Apollo for a password to the archive.
Monday, August 4th
Be Goes Crossplatform With Intel Port
As has been widely expected, Be officially christened their homegrown operating system, the BeOS, as "processor agnostic" with today's announcement of BeOS for Intel. "BeOS for Intel opens the door for an even broader customer audience to take advantage of our technology.", said Jean Louis Gassee, president and CEO of Be. "At the same time, we will expand the market - the business foundation - for BeOS software developers. BeOS for Intel represents an acceleration of our company's strategy, and we're looking forward to the opportunities the move represents.", continued Gassee.
The software made its first public appearance at the Be Developer's Conference in Boston earlier today. Among other things, the company demonstrated the ability to take the source code of an application and dynamically recompile it for Intel and PowerPC processors. Also shown was the once multiprocessor-only operating system running on multiprocessor Intel and PowerPC machines. A simultaneous release for both platforms is expected next January.
Connectix Zooms To Speed Doubler 8
Connectix' answer to Mac OS 8 incompatibility with its popular Speed Doubler utility came today in the form of an official Speed Doubler 8 announcement. Slated for shipment in September, the new $55 product will be offered as a free upgrade to users who purchased Speed Doubler 2 on or after July 1, 1997. A $25 mail-in rebate for prior owners will be available as well. Besides resolving the aforementioned Mac OS 8 compatibility issues, Speed Doubler 8's new features will include scheduled file copying and folder synchronization, and new keyboard shortcuts.
Netscape Working On Lightweight Navigator?
Faced with the increased size of their multipurpose Communicator suite, Netscape is said to be working on a standalone version of their Navigator Web browser that will give users what they had back in the days of the company's youth; a lightweight product who's sole purpose is to browse the Web. Speculation is that a bundle including only Navigator and Netcaster, the company's push component, will be unveiled sometime this quarter.
SGI Previewing Cosmo 2.0 At Siggraph
A beta version of Cosmo 2.0, Silicon Graphic's cross-platform VRML 2.0 browser that is being showcased at the Siggraph computer show in Los Angeles this week, is scheduled for release on the Macintosh this September. The long-time Windows- and UNIX-only product is being reworked to include a redesigned interface and support for OpenGL in its second generation revision.
Developer Purchase Program From UMAX
A new developer purchase program put in place today by UMAX will allow registered developers of both the Mac OS and BeOS platforms the opportunity to purchase, for a limited time, systems from the company's SuperMac line at a 10% discount. Qualified developers of multiprocessor-savvy applications who purchase one of the S900 models will also receive a secondary PowerPC 604e 180-MHz card at no charge. Further, UMAX is offering additional discounts on secondary 200, 225, and 233 MHz processors to developers.
Crack-A-Mac Emerges From Attacks
After succumbing to viscous SYN attacks last month, the Crack-A-Mac server contest has once again resumed. But as there is no solution yet from Apple, all references to any capabilities on how to handle SYN attacks have been removed. However, according to the organizers, the Cisco solution is waiting in the wings if such attacks do resume. Additionally, the staff at Infinit information has posted a statement detailing the events that eventually led to the contest being shutdown.
Apple Slashes Prices On 3400 Line
Over the weekend, Apple cut prices by $500 across the entire PowerBook 3400 line. The company's topping performing PowerBook machines now range in price from $4,000 for the 3400c/180 to $5,500 for the high-end 3400c/240. In conjunction with the price cuts, Apple also introduced a promotion for new buyers of the 3400 that includes a free TechWorks 32MB RAM card and a Apple coupon good for 50% off the price of a VST dual battery charger.
Digital Publishers More Profitable With Macs?
According to an Apple press release, the 'ROI Tech Brief', by GISTICS Incorporated reports that "a creative professional using Macintosh systems from Apple Computer produces over $26,000 more revenue annually than a Windows user of comparative skill engaged in similar work."
Friday, August 1st
Wild Week Propels Apple Stock
Wall Street must like Steve Jobs. Fueled by the prospect of the Apple co-founder taking the chairman of the board position at the company, Apple's stock climbed from ten year lows this past month to a three month high of 19 3/16 in today's session. The week saw shares of the company rise over 19%, culminate today with a jump of nearly 10%. The Street seemed to be unfazed by neither the report in the Wall Street Journal or the email message purportedly from Jobs that said he has rejected Apple's offer to become chairman, and was upbeat today following Larry Ellison's claims (see story below) that he will make an investment in the company and garner a seat on the board of directors.
Apple To Discontinue Mac OS Licensing?
A news piece on Dave Winer's Scripting.com is reporting the absolute unthinkable; according to sources at four clone vendors contacted by Winer, Apple's board of directors decided earlier this week to discontinue licensing the Mac OS, among other items. This bizarre story is enclosed in its entirety below:
"Confirmed with individual sources at four Mac clone vendors: Early this week Apple's board of directors discontinued licensing the Mac OS, withdrew their committment of CHRP, and decided not to license a laptop or their new desktop designs."
Meanwhile, Macworld has an article that lays out the severe implications if such eccentric actions were actually taken. They report that future licensing matters are going to be the central issue in last minute meetings taking place at Apple this weekend in preparation for Macworld.
Ellison Says He And Jobs Will Join Apple!
The latest twist in the daily Steve Jobs soap opera comes straight from the mouth of Jobs' best friend, Larry Ellison. In a French newspaper interview published on Friday, Oracle chairman and chief executive, Ellison, said that, despite reports in the Wall Street Journal and a purported letter from Jobs himself, the Apple co-founder will take the chairman position next week. Ellison himself said he will personally infuse an undisclosed amount of money into the company and will take one of the available seats on the board of directors. "Rumours of my interest are well founded," Ellison said. The man beyond the infamous Apple "trial balloon" also confirmed the timeframe for these moves. "On Monday we'll introduce Apple's new management team, and I'm part of it."
Jobs Shopping CEO Spot To Kodak's Fischer
Eastman Kodak's chief executive, George Fischer, has been approached by Steve Jobs about taking the vacant CEO position at Apple, says today's New York Times. Jobs' efforts, however, have been unsuccessful thus far, according to the paper, as Fischer, who happens to be a former executive at Motorola, has publicly stated, as recently as Wednesday, that his job at Kodak is only half done. The Times is also reporting that Jobs has approached Oracle chief, Larry Ellison (see today's top story), Adobe's John Warnock, and Daniel Case, an investment banker at Hambrecht & Quist, about filling the openings on Apple's board of directors.
Macromedia Out With First Quarter Loss
Despite shipping a new version of its hallmark product and several other key upgrades, Macromedia's results for the fiscal quarter continued a recent downward spiral. The company's first quarter revenue came in at $27.3 million, down sharply from $35 million in the year ago period. More importantly, a net loss of $1.24 million was posted, compared with an income of $7.1 million in the first quarter of 1996. Sales of Windows-based products accounted for 51 percent of sales, while revenue from Macintosh platform dropped 7 percent to 49 percent.
Along with their quarterly announce, Macromedia also shuffled their senior management staff by bringing in executives from Fractal Design, Alias/Wavefront, and Lotus.
Tesler Leaving Apple After Almost Two Decades
Apple's Larry Tesler's seventeen-year stint at the company has apparently come to an end. The man who had the duties of organizing Apple's Internet strategy in the early days of Gil Amelio's tenure, sent the following one liner to Dave Winer's Scripting.com Web site explaining his move: "After seventeen years, I am leaving Apple to co-found a software company that will develop products for children."
Brief Outage Hits America Online
Software and technical issues having to do with the data link between data centers in Reston and Vienna, Virginia, caused a one hour outage on America Online, the latest in a long line of hiccups at the nation's largest online provider. Members were unable to log in during this period, although users who were already signed on were largely unaffected.
Bare Bones' "Bluto" Gets A Name
After taking an online poll several months ago, Bare Bones Software has finally decided upon a name for its upcoming email client, which, thus far, has gone under the codename "Bluto" since it's original announcement. Now christened "Mailsmith", the multi-threaded client is slated for a third quarter release, and will be demonstrated at Macworld next week.
PowerWatch's Scoop On New Power Products
Jeff Keller's Power Computing resource page, PowerWatch, has come across detailed configuration and pricing information for Power's machines and peripherals that are set to be introduced next week. Topping the list are three PowerTower Pro G3 configurations, the PowerCenter Pro 240, and new Trinitron-based PowerTron monitors.
CMTools 1.1 Adds Features, Fixes Bugs
Eric de la Musse's CMTools -- a plug-in that brings additional capabilities to the contextual menus of Mac OS 8 -- adds control over the order of menu items, new commands, and compatibility with CM-savvy applications, in its 1.1 release.