Contents | < Browse | Browse >
/// CPU Status Report Late Breaking Industry-Wide News
QVC MAY BID FOR PARAMOUNT
NEW YORK -- A group led by QVC Network Inc. emerged Thursday as the
most likely to make a rival offer to Viacom Inc.'s $8 billion bid for
Paramount Communications Inc.
Speculation grew that the cable-shopping network and its chairman, former
movie mogul Barry Diller, were seriously considering an offer that would top
Viacom's proposal, based on a Wall Street Journal report that influential
investment bankers Allen & Co. were advising QVC.
Diller is widely believed to have approached Paramount about a merger earlier
this summer, but he reportedly was turned down by Paramount Chairman Martin S.
Davis, who fired Diller nine years ago from his post as head of Paramount's
QVC, of West Chester, Pa., called the reports "speculation" and refused to
QVC, currently trying to close a $1.16-billion acquisition of Home Shopping
Network Inc., is believed to be able to raise as much as $6 billion.
New York-based Allen & Co. was an adviser on the $4.8 billion sale of
Columbia Pictures to Sony Corp. in 1989 and the $6 billion sale of MCA Inc. to
Matsushita Industrial Electric Co. in 1991.
Many analysts have indicated that they consider the $69.14 price Viacom is
paying for Paramount to be high enough to prevent other bidders. They also
have noted that such a bid, to be significantly better than Viacom's, would
have to be all-cash, which would be difficult in the current environment.
Still, Viacom's bid calls for payment of about $9.10 a share in cash and the
rest in Viacom stock, so if Viacom stock continues to decline, holders of
Paramount stock could develop objections to the deal. Additionally, the Viacom
deal will need several months to close, giving QVC at least several weeks to
assess the situation.
If Diller were to make a bid, it would probably include cable giant Tele-
Communications Inc., which controls QVC through its Liberty Media affiliate,
and cable concern Comcast Corp., which also has a QVC stake.
Davis and Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone have pledged they would oppose a
rival bid, saying the synergies from the merger make it a unique one that
cannot be matched by other companies.
APPLE, KODAK EXPECTED TO RELEASE 'FILMLESS' CAMERAS
CUPERTINO, Calif. -- Apple Computer Inc. and Eastman Kodak Co. are
expected to introduce two "filmless" digital cameras that can transfer
photographs directly into personal computers.
The first camera, code-named Venus, may be rolled out in November at the
Comdex computer industry trade show in Las Vegas, Nev., and cost about $600.
The second camera, code-named Mars, is expected to cost more than $2, 000,
and may be unveiled at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco in January.
Apple, of Cupertino, Calif., and Kodak, of Rochester, N.Y., have declined to
comment on the cameras and recent published reports about the devices in the
Wall Street Journal and trade publication MacWeek.
The cameras are expected to be sold to advertising agencies and desktop
publishers, rather than to individual consumers. The Apple-Kodak cameras are
expected to be able to produce photos that are of much higher quality than
filmless cameras currently on the market.
The Venus is believed to have been designed to take up to 25 pictures and
capture the images on a computer chip, which would then be plugged into an
Apple Macintosh personal computer. The pictures could then be edited on the
computer and printed out through color printers or color laser copiers.
The images from Venus are not expected to be detailed enough for reproduction
in magazines, but the Mars camera may have the capability of generating
pictures good enough for such use. MacWeek said Mars would store its images
on mini compact disks made by Sony Corp.
Apple, which moved recently into the consumer electronics area with the
hand-held Newton MessagePad, is expected to market the cameras.
Apple has reported strong early sales of the Newton MessagePad, which is
designed to recognize handwriting better than previous computers and can link
written commands to stored files of information such as addresses or telephone
numbers. The barebones version of the device has been selling for about $700.
AST TO INTRO HANDHELD PEN COMPUTER
IRVINE, CALIFORNIA -- AST Research has been busy these days with its purchase
of the manufacturing facilities of Tandy Corporation, price cuts on notebook
computers, and its moves into the lucrative Chinese market. However, as it
hinted in the announcement of the Tandy purchase, AST will demonstrate its
first handheld, pen-based computer at the Mobile World Show in San Jose this
AST is getting Grid, Tandy's pen-based computer technology company, along with
the other Tandy manufacturing facilities in a $105 million purchase announced
in May. Because AST is acquiring fewer assets and will assume more trade
accounts payables than originally expected, the purchase price has been cut
significantly from the original estimate of $175 million.
Tandy/Grid France is also part of the agreement and AST says the French
addition will cost it less than $10 million.
Officials at the company hinted to Newsbytes AST would take advantage of its
access to the pen-based technology offered by Grid. This new handheld computer
to be demonstrated is the first of AST's new products aimed at the popular
personal digital assistant (PDA) market. The company claims the new handheld
computer it will introduce will offer integrated communications options and is
also boasting the unit will add ruggedness and a format for utility
applications that outshines any similar small form factor product yet announced
To increase its manufacturing capacity, AST is looking to China and announced
the opening of a Tianjin facility, 60 miles southeast of Beijing, for the
manufacture, repair, and distribution of personal computer (PC) systems. The
new plant is expected to employ 400. Number one in the rapidly expanding $440
million Chinese computer market, AST claims it holds 25 percent of the pie -- a
pie that is expected to grow at the break-neck rate of 22 percent annually
through the year 2000, according to International Data Corporation.
Price cuts on its award-winning notebook computers were also announced this
week. The company said it cut retail prices nearly $900 on the 386 Grid
Convertible and the pen-based Penexec Convertible from $2,495 to 1,599. The 486
Convertible was reduced to $1,999 from $2,699. The Grid Convertible was voted
Best Pen Convertible computer at the recent Penexpo Show in Boston,
Headquartered in Irvine, California, AST has garnered praise for its products
from World Trade, PC Magazine UK, PC World, Consumer's Digest, and Infoworld.
Part of Fortune Magazine's top 500 US companies, AST has also gained the
distinction of being ranked 15 on the World Trade's 1992 list of "Top 100"
mid-size multinational corporations. AST reported foreign sales of $393 million
in 1992 and $582 million in international sales in fiscal year 1993.
COMPANIES TEAM UP TO DEVELOP HAND-HELD MOBILE PCs
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- Saying its no longer possible for a single vendor to offer
the whole solution, Compaq Computer Corporation President Eckhard Pfeiffer
announced this week Compaq will team up with two other companies to develop a
class of hand-held mobile computers that will allow the user to tap into
their personal computers and networks anytime, anywhere.
Pfeiffer said the number-three PC maker has joined with software company
Microsoft Corporation, chipmakers Intel Corporation, and VLSI Technology to
develop what Compaq calls "a hand-held mobile companion device."
Compaq said the devices, which could be available as early as next year, will
be powered by VLSI's Polar chip set, which is based on designs by Intel.
Microsoft will support the chip sets with its Microsoft At Work operating
system. Compaq will integrate the chip set and the software into a machine.
Pfeiffer said he sees the venture as a survival strategy in which computer
firms and component suppliers must work together. "We must integrate. No vendor
can offer the whole solution any more. Alliances, powerful alliances, are the
answer." Pfieffer declined to provide details about the new device's content.
WESTERN DIGITAL'S ROCKETCHIP IN THINKPAD, 540 MB HD
IRVINE, CALIFORNIA -- Western Digital has announced its Rocketchip video
graphics liquid crystal display (LCD) controller has been designed into
IBM's new Thinkpad 750 notebook computer. The company also said it is
shipping a one-inch high, 540-megabyte (MB), 3.5-inch form factor hard
disk drive and has passed the one million mark on shipments of its 340 MB
Caviar AC2340 hard disk drive introduced a year ago.
Western Digital boasts the Rocketchip WD24 is the first video accelerator for
portable computers. The Rocketchip is designed to operate in the low power 3.3
volts necessary for portable computers. The company claims the video
accelerator speeds up Windows from 5 to 6 times over competing products by
offering hardware-integrated, commonly used functions such as bit block
transfer, line drawing, area fill, color expansion, and hardware cursor.
Western Digital pointed out its Rocketchip products have been previously
selected by IBM for integration into the Thinkpad 500, 700, and 720 product
In the hard disk drive arena, Western Digital says its 540 MB (formatted
capacity) Caviar AC2540 is aimed at the Pentium, Power PC, and 486-based
personal computer market. Features of the drive include an average seek time of
less than 11 milliseconds (ms) as well as an adaptive multisegmented read cache
and write cache. In addition, the drive supports enhanced integrated drive
electronics (IDE) features including support for high host transfer rates via
input/output Channel Ready (IORDY) operation and Type B and Type F direct
memory access (DMA).
Western Digital says these enhanced IDE features make the drive very
competitive with features available on the higher-cost small computer systems
interface (SCSI) drives. Gateway 2000 is reportedly the first adopter of the
new 540 MB drive.
The company also said it has shipped nearly 3 million of its Caviar
Architecture I-based drives in a year's time. Of the drives shipped, one third
were the 340 MB Caviar AC2340, the first 340 MB two-platter, 3.5-inch hard disk
drive. Western Digital is making nothing in a 3.5-inch form factor smaller than
170 MB and no 5.25-inch hard disk drives at all, company officials said.
Consumers can expect to pay about a dollar a megabyte for hard disk storage.
Smaller sizes with larger capacities will continue to be the trend, officials
IBM SHIPS PRODUCTION VOLUMES OF FIRST POWERPC CHIP
SOMERS, NEW YORK -- IBM has started to ship production volumes of the
PowerPC 601, the first of four microprocessors the company is producing out
of the PowerPC alliance between IBM, Motorola, and Apple Computer.
The PowerPC 601 is designed for use in low-end to midrange desktops, a company
spokesperson told Newsbytes. IBM began sampling the microprocessor among OEMs
in May, he added.
Motorola is also developing PowerPC chips, but IBM's PowerPC 601 is being
billed as the first edition of the part to be available to the "merchant
Other microprocessors that will support the RISC-based crossplatform PowerPC
environment include the PowerPC 603, for laptop, handheld and other portable
systems; the PowerPC 604, for servers and high-end desktop systems; and the
PowerPC 620, an ultra-high-performance 64-bit chip for workstations and
The PowerPC chips conform to a specification created by IBM, Motorola, Apple,
Bull, Thomson-CSF, Harris, TadPole Technology and other members of the
PowerOpen Association for a hardware and software interface that will allow
binary-compatible Unix and Apple Computer Macintosh System 7 applications to
run across compliant systems from multiple vendors.
In related news, IBM plans to unveil its first PowerPC computer systems next
week. The PowerPC systems will be part of a new series of RISC System/6000s
models to be announced on Tuesday at Unix Expo in New York City.
PSION LAUNCHES $500 PDA WITH DIGITAL VOICE PROCESSING
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- Psion has launched the Series 3a, a new personal
digital assistant (PDA) priced at under $500 and billed as the first in
the category to offer on-board digital voice processing.
Designed to fit comfortably into a jeans or jacket pocket, the 6.5-
by-3.3-by-0.9-inch unit features a microphone, loudspeaker, and a
record-and-playback application for making quick voice messages and for
recording sounds to be used as personal alarms.
The new PDA also incorporates a large, 480-by-160 pixel LCD screen, a windowed
GUI, a page preview option, built-in database, time/agenda management, word
processing, and spreadsheet applications, the ability to share documents with
desktop PCs, and drivers for 16 popular printers.
"The Series 3a heralds the beginning of real voice interface development. In
the future, we expect to see combined computer and telephony products, and also
a degree of voice recognition," said David Potter, chairman of Psion PLC,
announcing this latest pocket computer in his company's long line of machines.
Barry Balcourt, vice president of Psion Inc., told Newsbytes that the Series 3a
uses a proprietary multitasking operating system running on an 8088
The 80 character-by-17-line screen is equivalent to that of a standard computer
monitors, he added, in an interview with Newsbytes. A variety of fonts and font
sizes are available. The PDA never switches off, and can run for months on two
AA batteries without battery replacement, according to Balcourt. In the near
future, Psion plans to support the Series 3a with gateways to specific e-mail
systems, he told Newsbytes.
The Series 3a will be sold in 5000 European retail outlets, as well as all in
major chains and many independent stores in North America, Balcourt noted.
The product is on the cover of this week's Sharper Image catalog, and will be
available in all 75 stores operated by that North American chain. Other large
North American outlets include Sears, CompUSA, Silo, Circuit Cities Impulse
Stores, The Wiz, Lechmere, J&R Computer World, Best Buy, and Good Guys.
The new PDA is priced at $495 for a 256K model and $595 for a 512K model,
according to Balcourt. Shipment starts today.
NEC TO UNVEIL POWER SAVING MONITORS IN OCTOBER
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA -- While exact details are under embargo until October 5,
Newsbytes has learned that Japanese electronics giant NEC has a new range of
power saving monitors streaming off its production lines for an October 5
launch in the US and Australia, as well as October 15 in Europe.
With the US government taking the lead in demanding drastic power cuts from new
PCs -- especially those to be purchased for government use -- many
manufacturers are readying their 'green' product lines. In the case of PCs,
most will have progressive shut-down procedures that sense when the machine is
not being used. They will have to consume less than 30 watts at rest, or around
a quarter of the normal consumption.
Many users already have a screen-saver program running on their computer, but
rather than save power, this simply prevents an image from being burned into
the screen. New monitors such as the NEC range are expected to reduce power at
rest by turning off all drive to the picture tube, by shutting down some
sections of the electronics, as well as reducing power to the picture tube
heater. This means that the system will not re-start instantly, but will take a
couple of seconds to come back to full intensity.
As the monitor itself will not be able to detect when a machine is idle (an
unchanging screen alone is not a guide as the user may simply be reading the
screen) most will rely on a signal from the PC. And this really means a video
driver card that is capable of indicating a power-down signal such as by
suppressing one of the drive circuits going to the monitor.
IBM CUTTING FACILITIES
WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK -- For Sale. For Lease. The signs are going up on
former IBM facilities across the United States and around the world.
The company plans to cut its office holdings in the US from 44 million to 26
million square feet by the end of this year, spokesman Jon Iwata confirmed for
Newsbytes. That is part of a worldwide plan to reduce real-estate holdings by
15 percent from the present 172 million square feet over the next few years.
IBM expects to save $500 million per year worldwide by making the cuts.
While IBM will not leave any city where it currently has facilities, Iwata
said, it will move out of some of its space in a number of locations. This will
mean breaking leases in some cases and selling company-owned facilities in
Among the sites IBM is leaving is a 425,000-square-foot facility in Purchase,
New York, that formerly was home base for the company's North American sales
force. The sales force has moved "down the street" to a company-owned facility
in neighboring White Plains, Iwata said.
A 600,000-square-foot facility in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, is also being
sold, and the company plans to lease out several more floors of its midtown
Manhattan office building at 590 Madison Ave. Some space at the IBM Plaza in
Chicago will also be leased out, Iwata confirmed.
IBM announced a special $8.9-billion charge against earnings in the second
quarter of this year to cover the cost of job cuts and capacity reductions. At
that time IBM said it would cut an additional 35,000 jobs beyond the cuts
already announced. The company's total staff has shrunk from more than 400,000
in the late 1980s to just under 300,000 now.
In 1992, IBM lost $4.96 billion. Its second-quarter loss this year, after the
special charge, was $8 billion.
RADIO SHACK INTROS "GREEN PC" WITH LOCAL BUS VIDEO
FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- Radio Shack has introduced the Tandy 3100, the first
Tandy personal computer to carry the Energy Star logo, and also the first
in the line-up to come with local bus video.
Aimed at small business and home office users, the new 33 megahertz (MHz)
80486SX-based "green PC" also provides a 212 megabyte (MB) hard drive, a
built-in SoundBlaster audio card, and bundled software estimated at more than
$380 in value.
The computer's compliance with the Energy Star program will save users money on
their electric bill, and the local bus video feature reduces the time needed to
draw and process sophisticated graphics, officials stated.
According to Tandy, the SoundBlaster card allows easy upgradeability to a
"multimedia PC" with the addition of speakers, a CD-ROM (compact disc - read
only memory) drive, and multimedia software, the company maintained.
Applications software that comes pre-installed includes Microsoft Works for
Windows, the America Online communications package, and productivity tools for
managing family schedules, personal finances, and household inventories.
The new PC also sports Windows 3.1, Super VGA graphics, 4 MB of memory
(expandable to 64 MB), three expansion slots, a 3.5-inch floppy drive, an open
device bay, a parallel port, two serial ports, a 101-key enhanced keyboard, and
a two-button mouse.
Priced at $1,299, the new PC is available at nearly 6,600 participating Radio
Shack stores and dealers nationwide, according to the company. A one-year
warranty is included in the purchase price.
SHARP TO INTRO DOS-COMPATIBLE PDA/NOTEBOOK HYBRID
BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA -- Sharp is planning to introduce a new pen-based
consumer electronic device which it describes as a mix between a personal
digital assistant (PDA) and a notebook computer. The PT-9000, expected to
be officially announced in the fourth quarter of this year, has a new
acronym -- personal information assistant (PIA).
Sharp, which manufacturers the Newton Messagepad PDA for Apple Computer, has
decided upon a DOS-compatible Geos graphical user interface (GUI) for the
steno-pad sized PIA. Sharp announced its own version of the Messagepad, called
the Expert Pad, that uses Apple's Newton operating system technology, but
Geoworks boasts the power- saving Geos operating system won out for use in the
The PT-9000 has not been officially announced, but Newsbytes has learned the
unit will have a detachable keyboard, use 6 AA batteries for 25 hours of
operation, weighs under two pounds, offers an "instant on" facility, and the
entire top portion of the unit is a screen that can also accept pen-input via
an included pen.
The Geos operating system offers built-in software applications including the
Geowrite word processor, forms-based database Geofile, and the spreadsheet
Geocalc. Also included is the software for accessing the electronic information
service American Online, as well as utilities for file management and games.
The Geos operating system is also compatible with DOS- based personal computers
(PCs) and a connection kit is being developed for desktop computers by Los
Altos, California-based Palm Computing.
Palm Computing and America Online will be familiar names for those who are
awaiting the DOS-compatible competitor for the Messagepad, the Zoomer. Expected
from Casio and Tandy toward the end of this month, the Zoomer is a direct
competitor to the Newton Messagepad. Geoworks, the makers of the Geos operating
system, claim Geos makes the Zoomer and PT-9000 more attractive to consumers
because of its DOS compatibility and because of all the built-in applications
that come with it.
To encourage software development for the new Zoomer PDA and PT-9000 PIA, Geos
is hosting a developer's conference, Monday and Tuesday, October 25-26, at the
Hyatt Regency in Burlingame, California. Attendees of the two-day conference
entitled, "Geos: The New Profit Platform," will each receive the Geos Software
Development Kit (SDK) without charge.
In addition, attendees will be treated to a preview of the prototype PT-9000
and three Zoomer PDA's will be raffled off. Conference attendees who sign up
before October 6 can register for $445, a discounted price from the regular
conference fee of $595, Geoworks representatives added.
TWO BIG TELECOM DEALS GO DOWN
JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI -- Two major telecommunications deals were finalized.
LDDS announced a mega- merger creating a new fourth long-distance network,
while US West closed on its buy of part of Time-Warner's entertainment unit.
The new number four long distance company, to be called LDDS Metromedia
Communications, will be based in Jackson, Mississippi, the home base of
President Bernard Ebbers. LDDS was formed by a series of mergers over the last
year, absorbing the former Advanced Telecommunications Corp., of Atlanta,
Resurgens Communications Group of Atlanta, and billionaire John Kluge's
Metromedia Communications Corp., of New Jersey. The Advanced-LDDS deal closed
Kluge will chair the new company, and the entrepreneur, who's worth a reported
$6 billion and holds 20 percent of the new combine, won praise from financial
writers for putting the deal together. But it's clear that Ebbers, who put
together LDDS over the last several years by acquiring many smaller long
distance companies, is the key man. Shareholders of LDDS, after all, own 68.5
percent of the new company's equity. The deal also makes Jackson, which also
holds the head offices of Mobile Telecommunications Corp., or MTel, and
BellSouth's Mobilecomm paging unit, the South's unquestioned telecommunications
headquarters city. The new company has annual revenues of $1.5 billion, which
Press <RETURN> or <S>croll?s
still puts it way behind number three Sprint, and trades on the NASDAQ under
the ticker-symbol LDDS.
The Time Warner-US West deal, announced in May, brings Time Warner Cable $2.5
billion with which to upgrade its systems so it can handle hundreds of channels
and more two-way services.
Time Warner Cable is the nation's second largest cable operator, with about 7.1
million subscribers, and the company plans to spend $5 billion on the upgrade
over the next five years. The firm had to overcome an 18-month hurdle by the
Justice Department giving the new company time to divest itself of small cable
systems in US West's 14-state service area, although Bell Atlantic recently won
a District Court challenge to the prohibition against Bell company competition
in cable within their home territories.
REAL 14,400 BPS MODEM FOR LESS THAN $200
LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA -- A 14,400 bit/second data-fax modem, with software,
for under $200? Yes, and that's just the retail price, according to Cardinal
Technologies, which expects a $139 "street price" for its new MVP144DSP, part
of its Cardinal Modem Value Pack series sold at computer "superstores" like
Computer City and Comp USA.
The new modem costs about $80 less than the current retail prices on Hayes
Accura and US Robotics Sportster models. It's based on an Analog Devices
digital signal processing chip, which means it can be upgraded through software
to even faster speeds, or new protocols and other features. The new modem also
bundles both Windows and DOS fax and data software, and features a limited
lifetime warrantee. The new modem will ship this month, along with a companion
9,600 bps model at $169 retail.
At the same time, Cardinal has cut prices across its line by up to 38 percent.
The company makes 15 different modems now at its factory, and will increase
that to 23 this fall. In a prepared statement, president Harold Krall chided US
Robotics and Hayes as "recent converts" to the notion of affordable modems. He
also said that, this fall, Cardinal will roll out new pocket modems, and 19,200
bps Vterbo modems developed with AT&T.
One of Cardinal's biggest successes has been its MVP Series, co- marketed with
Prodigy. The company said that the 2,400 bps MVP product now ranks Number four
on Ingram Micro's Best Sellers List, and has been in the Top 10 for over 40
While fighting the modem price wars aggressively, Cardinal is also trying to
branch out into other areas, spokesman Stacey Pierson told Newsbytes. "We also
released a multimedia upgrade kit two weeks ago," she said, which will be going
into the same channels. "We want to be known as more than just a modem company.
You can go to Cardinal for many different products and upgrades."
ATI SHIPS 14,400-BPS MODEMS
TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA, -- ATI Technologies has announced shipment of two
new 14,400-bit-per-second (bps) data and facsimile modems -- the 14400 ETC-I
and ETC-E units.
The 14400 ETC-I is an internal model and the 14400 ETC-E is external. Both
support 14,400-bps data transfers using the V.32bis standard, and can also send
and receive fax messages at speeds up to 14,400 bps, ATI officials said.
The modems also support commonly used data compression and error control
standards, including V.42bis, which ATI said can increase transmission speeds
by as much as a factor of four. The fax component of the modems is EIA Class 1
compliant and is claimed to be compatible with Group 3 fax machines and fax
Both modems come with the full retail versions of the FaxWorks facsimile
software and COMit communications software from SofNet, both of which are
designed for use with Microsoft Windows.
The internal modem comes with Multiple Interrupt Select (MIS) to allow serial
ports to be assigned to alternate interrupts for compatibility with multiple
expansion cards. The external version has an Easy-Set front panel meant to make
it easy to set frequently used functions such as auto-answer and redial without
The 14400 ETC-I has a suggested retail price of US$249 or C$299. The 14400
ETC-E's list price is US$299 or C$369. Both are shipping now, company officials
INTEL, MCI TO INTEGRATE PHONES, PCs
NEW YORK -- MCI announced it has signed a development deal with Intel to
explore opportunities in integrating telephones and PCs. Applications include
advanced PC-based data, audio, and videoconferencing.
The idea is to marry Intel's expertise in computer hardware, video, and PCs
with MCI's expertise as a provider of intelligent network services.
Earlier this year, Intel made a number of related announcements , including
support for the Microsoft Telephony Application Program Interface. It has also
signed separate alliance agreements with regional Bell companies Ameritech,
Bell Atlantic and Pacific Bell, and with European equipment makers Ericsson and
Siemens. Until now, it has been best-known in the telecommunication business
for its fax-data modems.
Analysts speculate the new deal could put MCI's videophone technology, which
comes from GEC and Marconi of the UK, onto Intel boards for insertion in
Windows-based PCs. That could prove important to MCI, since videophone sales
have been slow because the MCI and AT&T offerings are incompatible. Intel could
also work with MCI on digital services used by videoconferencing equipment
makers like PictureTel. No money changed hands in the deal.
Separately, MCI signed CompuLink Ltd., as a value-added dealer, meaning its
WorldLink gateway products could be cross-marketed with MCI services like MCI
Mail and MCI Fax. The company's products are designed to integrate data and
text-based services, which could provide powerful links between MCI Mail and
AMERICA ONLINE SUBSCRIBER BASE EXPANDS
VIENNA, VIRGINIA -- While Prodigy and Compuserve still have the lead in
subscribers, America Online is now competing with GEnie for third place.
America Online says it now has 350,000 subscribers. That would put it even
with GEnie, based on recent market analyses by Jupiter Communications of
The company said the figure represents a gain of 100,000 subscribers in the
last six months, and an 80 percent increase in the last year. Over that time
the company has turned on local versions of its service in Chicago and
elsewhere, created alliances with a number of publishers for special forums,
and begun bundling its software with popular computers. The last move is
thought to have been the greatest spur to growth, according to company
America Online has achieved success in part because it offers a graphical user
interface. Apple Computer recently signed a deal to switch to America Online's
GUI (graphical user interface) for its future online offerings. America Online
originally created its interfaces, for both Macintosh and PC-compatible
computers, when it was developing specialty services for computer
manufacturers. The company also went public in March, 1992, the only online
service to do that.
America Online's chief financial officer, Lennert Leader, recently told
analysts he's comfortable with earnings estimates of 75-85 cents per share for
the fiscal year ending next June. He estimated the number of subscribers could
grow to 500,000 by the end of the year, which would probably put it well ahead
of GEnie, now in third place behind Prodigy and CompuServe, among US consumer
online services. GEnie, which is a unit of General Electric, is highly
profitable, according to Jupiter's Josh Harris.
ONEBBSCON - BBS's ARE KEY TO CLINTON'S DATA HIGHWAY
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO -- The more than 70,000 private and public
bulletin board systems (BBS) are the key to President Bill Clinton's widely
touted data highway of the future.
That's what Jack Rickard, organizer of the second annual Online Networking
Exposition Bulletin Board Systems Convention (ONE BBSCON) being held this week
in Colorado Springs, Colorado, says. "That network already exists to some
degree, but the national highway is a conceptual problem. What they are
proposing to do all can center on an infrastructure for the data highway part,"
"Implicit in that is to bring K-12 education onto this data highway, but some
of their concepts are a little naive. There are 16,000 school districts in this
country, and about 80,000 schools. The infrastructure that is the Internet now,
or even that could be built with a fairly large application of money, tends to
be more technical than these people are going to adopt as an interface." He
also cited the enormous cost of teaching educators to use the system. Rickard
believes bulletin boards will wind up being the interface between the Internet
and the actual data highway.
BBS operation has become a big business, with thousands of boards, both public
and private, now in operation worldwide. About 2,000 of those operators, called
sysops (system operators), met this week to hear talks by industry experts and
participate in discussions about subjects as diverse as legal issues, media
relations, bulletin boards for government agencies, programming languages,
copyright issues, and women online. They also got a chance to play some golf,
see some Colorado scenery, take in a mountain barbecue, and rub shoulders with
their counterparts as well as the big names in the industry.
The subject matter found on the thousands of boards is as varied as the people
that operate them, sometimes general in nature and sometimes very specific.
Newsbytes talked to Julie Silverman, sysop for the National Process Servers
BBS. Five years ago Silverman, a real estate agent, was calling boards to get
information about properties for sale. She now owns a legal processing service
company in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and set up her board to provide a common
ground for process servers and investigators in Minnesota and western Wisconsin
to share information and exchange jobs. The monthly charge to access
Silverman's board is $49.95. "That's to cover the cost of the equipment and
phone lines," she told Newsbytes.
While this year's show didn't have a specific theme attached to it, Rickard
told Newsbytes there are several main issues being discussed. "There is an
intense interest in, and we have a lot of sessions about, the Internet
connection for bulletin boards systems. Another has to do with the legality of
adult images, and the third, which is related to the second, is how to present
images online as we move towards a more graphical user interface."
The attendees are also getting a look at the latest technology in hardware and
software. "They (the vendors) are coming in with all kinds of secret stuff, new
products, new presentations, and special show discount deals," says Rickard.
The preceding stories are © 1993 NewsBytes.
Reprinted with permission.
AMD DISCLOSES INCORPORATION OF INTEL IN CHIP
Advanced Micro Devices has disclosed that its scientists may have
incorporated parts of Intel's computer language in its new "built from
scratch" microprocessor. An AMD spokesman said the development will not
significantly delay release of the new chip, which could occur as early as
this month or in October. AMD had previously pledged that it would release
the AM486SX chip during the current quarter. The new chip was designed to
be a non-cloned version of Intel's 486 with the circuitry largely
reverse-engineered from Intel's. The chip will be "pin-compatible" -
that is, like other AMD chips, it will be able to be plugged into
sockets designed for Intel chips.
COMPUTER ORDERS RISE
A government report on factory goods orders, released earlier this week
shows that demand for computers is rising sharply. Overall, orders for all
products made in U.S. factories and manufacturing shops is growing
slowly, rising 3.7 percent from July 1992 to July 1993. But orders for
computers and office equipment climbed 21.6 percent in that one-year
span. Computer and office equipment orders each month this year: -up
8.1 percent, July; down 5.3 percent, June; up 6.1 percent, May; down
2.5 percent, April; down 4.8 percent, March; up 9.6 percent, February;
down 0.8 percent, January.
HP ANNOUNCES TAKE BACK PROGRAM
Hewlett Packard has announced a pilot program to collect used
inkjet printer cartridges. The cartridges are used in HP's
market-leading DeskJet brand printers, as well as in its inkjet
plotters and fax machines. In the U.S. program, customers may return
their used cartridges to any participating dealer. HP will provide
dealers with cartridge collection bins and retrieve the cartridges
periodically at no cost to the dealers. After the cartridges are
collected, they will be sent to processing facilities where the
precious metals (gold and copper) used in the cartridges will be
reclaimed. Ore smelters will use the remaining plastic parts as an
energy source. The plastic, which can be burned at extremely high
temperatures, is a much cleaner source of energy than traditional
ATARI REPORTS SECOND QUARTER RESULTS
Atari recently reported its operations for the second quarter ended June
30, 1993. Net sales for the quarter were $5.7 million as compared to $23.3
million for the same quarter in 1992. During the quarter, Atari incurred an
operating loss of $4.0 million as compared to an operating loss for the
second quarter of 1992 of $45.0 million. In addition, during the quarter
the company incurred loss on exchange of $3.1 million and had other income
items totalling $0.5 million, which resulted in a net loss for the second
quarter of 1993 of $6.6 million as compared to $39.7 million in 1992.
Commenting on the results, Sam Tramiel, president of Atari, said, "The
company has focused all of its efforts on the development and launch
of its new multi-media video entertainment system called Jaguar, which
will be launched in the fourth quarter of this year in the New York
and San Francisco markets. We have approximately $35 million in cash."