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/// CPU Status Report Late Breaking Industry-Wide News
» Hitachi to Market Re-Writable Optical Drives «
According to Hitachi Ltd., the company later this year will begin selling
2-gig re-writable 5.25-inch optical disk drives. Hitachi said the re-writable
optical disk can store 50% more data than products of other makers available
on the same size of disk.
» Multimedia Expo - Analyzing The Games Industry «
At the "Analyzing the Games Industry - Investment and Return" session at the
Multimedia Expo in San Jose, one of the featured speakers was Volpe Welty's
Isgur identified Nintendo as the dominant player in the video game industry
in terms of installed base and hardware. However, he said that in terms of
sales, the "8-bit machine is faltering very badly," but the "16-bit will do
better in sales than last year." He also said that, "Game-Boy is, at the
moment, the leading portable platform."
He predicated that there would be 83 million units of software sales
domestically this year.
He noted that Sega has been outselling Nintendo in the last few weeks in the
US, in terms of new hardware and software sales. However, he said he did not
know if that would continue into the Christmas season.
He identified CD's as becoming the dominant factor in the industry in
terms of software during the 1995-1997 period.
Interestingly, he said that which media the game industry uses will dictate
where it goes. He maintained that the current cartridge industry is fairly
expensive, and expects a shift to something else - such as flash cards or
CD-ROMs. He also said that the current hardware "is lousy," with no flat
screens, no great colors.
» IBM Microelectronics Has Faster PowerPC Chip «
IBM Microelectronics has announced a new version of the PowerPC 601 micro-
processor that runs at 80 MHz. Previous versions operated at 50 and 66 MHz.
Company officials said the new chip would make possible desktop computers
faster than any based on existing processors.
The PowerPC line of chips resulted from an alliance of IBM, Apple Computer
Inc., and Motorola. The 601 is the first of four planned Power-PC parts.
The PowerPC 603 is a power-saving version aimed at laptop, portable, and
low-end desktop computers. The PowerPC 604 is meant for higher-performance
desktop PCs and workstations. The PowerPC 620 will be the top of the line,
meant for high-performance workstations and servers. IBM plans to begin
making these chips in 1994 and 1995, Smith said.
The 601 chip has 2.8 million transistors, in a package about four tenths of
an inch per side. It includes the Motorola 88110 bus, which provides an
advanced interface that supports a range of computer systems, including
personal computers, workstations, and multiprocessing systems, the companies
» Hewlett-Packard Announces Video Printing System «
Hewlett-Packard Co. this week announced the HP VidJet Pro, a product that
allows video images from a wide range of sources to be printed on plain
paper using most HP printers.
Designed for professional video production, the HP VidJet Pro has an
easy-to-use interface that is also expected to attract advanced home
hobbyists. Users connect the HP VidJet Pro to any video source, such as
a videotape player, television, camcorder, photo CD or laser-disc
player. They also connect the system to an HP DeskJet or LaserJet
printer or HP DesignJet plotter. Images are stored as individual frames,
sequences of frames or in pre-designated special formats, such as the
first frame of every scene change.
HP-authorized video dealers are scheduled to begin taking orders for
the VidJet Pro in December. Prices will vary depending upon options,
starting at about $3,500.
» QMS Unveils Color Laser Printer «
QMS Inc this week announced that it has begun quantity shipments of
its ColorScript Laser 1000 Print System, it first desktop color laser
printer. The QMS ColorScript Laser 1000 produces color and monochrome
documents on a variety of paper stocks, including plain office paper.
The unit offers an output resolution of 300 dots per inch. Four self-
contained toner cartridges containing cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow
and black toner, supply the basic colors used to create a palette of
millions of colors.
The QMS ColorScript Laser 1000 is compatible with most computer systems,
networks and mixed computing environments. Its resident emulations
include PostScript Level 2 and Level 1, HP PCL 5C with GL/2 (which
supports color) and an optional DEC LN03 Plus emulation. Standard
interfaces include parallel, serial and LocalTalk ports.
The QMS ColorScript Laser 1000 is available now and is priced at $12,499.
» Seagate Intros New High-Capacity Drives «
Seagate Technology has announced 13 new hard disk systems, with
storage capacity ranging from 214 megabytes (MB) to 9.1 gigabytes (GB).
Included in the new lines is the ST410800 Elite 9, a 9.1 gigabyte
unit in a 5.25 inch full-height form factor. Seagate says that the unit
is designed for hierarchical storage and large file plus database appli-
The ST15150 Barracuda 4 is a 4.1 GB 3.5 inch half-height drive for
super servers, super computers, and high performance storage systems.
The ST12450 Barracuda 2 is a 3.5 inch half-height drive that can
store up to 1.78 GB of data.
The Hawk family comes in 2.14 GB, 1.7 GB and 1.05 GB versions, designed
for advanced workstations and super servers. Hawk comes in Fast SCSI-2 and
Fast//Wide SCSI-2 versions in either single-ended or differential
In the under one GB category, Seagate is introducing the ST5660,
ST3491 and ST9550 families. The 5660 is available with AT or Fast SCSI-2
interfaces, has a 12 millisecond seek time. OEM pricing is $495 for the
AT/IDE model and $545 for the Fast SCSI-2 version. The 9550 was designed
for use in portable computing units and can withstand shocks up to 100
Gs and uses a disc substrate material called MemCor. The glass-ceramic
canasite-based media was developed jointly by Corning Glass Works and
Seagate. MemCor substrates can be manufactured much thinner than other
media and still retain rigidity. The ST9559 has a 16 millisecond average
» Hayes Launches New Fax-Modem, Cuts Prices «
Hayes Microcomputer Products Inc. announced a new fax board which can
work on two separate phone lines, the JT Fax 144B Dual, and cut prices
on its older 9600 bits per second (bps) product by over 35%, to $369.
The new fax-modem is more than just a fax answering machine. It eli-
minates the need for an additional voice card and provides voice
announcement and prompting, voice record and playback, and the ability
to enter commands through a touch-tone phone. It also off-loads the con-
version of files to the fax format from the main computer, and enables
routine multi-board installations in a single computer, limited only by
the number of available slots.
The modem will be available November 1 in North America, Latin
America, and Hong Kong, with a further world-wide rollout following
» U.S. Robotics Sells Subsidiary «
Modem maker U.S. Robotics Inc. has sold Communications Research
Group, the subsidiary responsible for making and selling the BLAST com-
munications software product line, to Blast Inc., a North Carolina cor-
poration. U.S. Robotics said that it retained an equity interest in the
new entity and "will work closely with Blast Inc. to ensure the needs of
new and existing BLAST customers are met."
Robotics Vice President Ross Manire said, "As we evaluated our core
business, we recognized that CRG was not a strategic fit going forward.
(This sale) allows for more focus on what is a very support-intensive
communications software line."
» Motorola Announces a New Integrated Processor «
Motorola's High Performance Microprocessor Division this week an-
nounced the 68307, a highly integrated processor ideal for a variety of
portable, low-power applications such as digital cordless telephones,
portable measuring equipment and point-of-sale terminals. The 63807 was
originally designed for the digital cordless phone products of a major
European telecommunications company. The newest member of the 68300
Family of Integrated Processors, the 68307 features a static 68EC000
core processor with multiple bus interfaces. It is the second processor
designed using Motorola's standard cell design methodology.
"The 68307's high level of functional integration results in reduc-
tions in power consumption, board space and system cost demanded by
today's portable devices," said Jim Reinhart, Motorola's manager, M68000
marketing and applications. "The 68307 is the only member of the 68300
Family of Integrated Processors that incorporates several bus
interfaces, providing glueless connections to a wide variety of common
system peripherals and memory."
» RAM Prices Falling «
On the July 4th weekend, the Sumitomo Chemical plant in Japan exper-
ienced an explosion that shut it down. Since Sumitomo produces 60% of
the world's high-quality epoxy resin, the explosion resulted in sky-
rocketing RAM prices. Some suppliers reported RAM costs jumping 200-300%
since the explosion. Sumitomo announced this week that it will be back
in production in December. This announcement has resulted in some com-
pany's RAM prices dropping 10-20%, with larger price reductions due in
December or January.
Epoxy resin may seem far removed from RAM chips, but the substance is
critical to about 80% of the computer chips made today. Alvin Despain,
Ph.D., an expert on computer architecture at the University of Southern
California, said the resin protects the surface of the integrated
circuit (IC), has some thermal properties that help get heat out, and is
the "glue" to hold down the silicon in the chips.
» Chip Rate Drops in September «
The chip industry's key book to bill ratio took a dive last month to
1.01, down from 1.08 in August, possibly indicating a much softer market
for semiconductors than had been forecast.
The ratio means that for every $100 worth of products shipped in Sep-
tember (billed), manufacturers received $101 worth of new orders
» Online Service for Women Formed «
An online service devoted to women, called WIRE (the Women's Infor-
mation & Resource Exchange) has been created in San Francisco.
The service, created by two computerists who are women, offers news,
entertainment, bulletin board conversations and electronic messaging.
Subscribers pay $15 a month for two hours of use, with additional time
billed at $2.50 an hour.
Sources say that "in the 'virtual community' formed by computer
online services, women represent 10% to 15% of online users. They often
are made to feel unwelcome by men who dominate online conversations and
make sexually harassing comments."
WIRE officials said men are welcome, but said unruly subscribers
could be expelled from the system.
» Recall of Faulty Dell Notebook PCs «
Dell Computer Corporation has announced the recall of 17,000 dis-
continued 320SLi and 325SLi notebook computers because of a faulty part
that, under certain circumstances, could cause a fire.
Dell said its engineers has determined that a capacitor on the mother-
board of both models might crack under physical stress. If that happens,
the capacitor might overheat and cause a fire.
A Dell spokesperson said he only knows of the problem happening on
three machines, and the company has been unable to replicate the problem
in the lab. However, due to the safety aspect the problem Dell is
immediately recalling both models. Registered owners are being notified
by registered mail.
Owners of either model should return their machines to Dell so repairs
can be made. Turnaround time will depend on how many owners return their
units. To return one of the computers owners should contact Dell on
their toll free number between the hours of 8AM and 6PM CDT. Special
customer services representatives are available to arrange the returns
and answer questions.
» Flying Toasters Arrive For DOS Users «
Berkeley Systems has started shipping its DOS version of After Dark
Screen savers, apart from looking good on screen, protect the computer
monitor from phosphor burn-in -- which is a problem when monitors are
left on but inactive. The company says that After Dark can also increase
privacy -- to block access to a user's files, the program features a
screen-locking security system that is deactivated only by a user-
After Dark for DOS also offers optional digitized sound effects, run
through the internal PC speaker or through Sound Blaster or Ad Lib com-
patible sound cards.
The package requires DOS 3.3 or higher, a VGA or SVGA display, 640k of
RAM, and a hard drive. The product is priced at $49.95.
» Mastercook II For PC Debuts «
Spinnaker Software has introduced its Mastercook II, a Windows-based
cookbook software package that contains more than 1,000 recipes and
allows the user to enter and store their own culinary masterpieces.
In addition to being a collection of recipes - 100 of them are from
what Arion calls "the great chefs of America" - Mastercook II can select
recipes that use on-hand ingredients meeting the user's personal
nutritional objectives. It can also print shopping lists, recipe cards,
menus, meal plans, or a complete customized cookbook.
Mastercook II requires a 286-based PC or higher running Windows 3.1 or
higher, 2 megabytes (MB) of system memory, and 2.5MB of free hard disk
space. Spinnaker says it will have a street price of under $30.
» Fujitsu Announces Latest Pen-Based System «
Fujitsu has announced the PadPlus RF, a pen-based computer with wire-
less communications built-in. Fijitsu previous pen-based systems had
carried the Poqet name.
The PadPlus RF incorporates the Proxim RangeLAN wireless adapter and
radio inside the computer, with a retractable antenna in the upper left
corner. The PadPlus RF can send data up to 300 feet using what's called
spread spectrum technology, which sends data over a wide spectrum of
frequencies to minimize interference. The PadPlus RF has a maximum burst
rate of 242,000 bits/second on three channels. The system includes error
correcting hardware and firmware designed to retransmit undelivered
The pocket PC weighs about two pounds, and can run for between two and
four hours on a set of rechargeable batteries. It also features a PCMCIA
expansion slot, a serial connector, an infrared link, and a keyboard. It
can work with Novell Netware and Netware Lite, with preliminary pricing
set at $2,449.
» Intel Earnings Up 143% «
Intel Corp. this week reported third quarter earnings of $584 million
(or $1.33 a share), up 143% from earnings of $241 million (or 56 cents a
share) for the same period a year ago.
Analysts believe Intel will continue to dominate the computer chip
industry for some time, especially with recent releases of the state-of-
the-art 486 and Pentium chips that have pushed the company ahead of its
rivals technologically and in terms of revenues and profits.
Sources say that Intel is on track to ship hundreds of thousands of
Pentium processors in 1993 and millions in 1994.
» Lotus Income Up 151% «
Lotus Development Corp. has reported net income of $18.3 million, or
41 cents per share, for its third quarter ended Oct. 2. This is up 151%
from $7.3 million, or 17 cents per share, before a stock-sale gain in
last year's third quarter. Lotus' third-quarter revenue was $240.1 mil-
lion, up 16% from $206.7 million in the same period last year.
» Ares Software Announces Font Workshop «
Ares Software Corp. this week announced Font Workshop, a value-packed
bundle containing FontMonger, FontMinder 2.0 and FontFiddler, three
essential font applications for Windows-based computers.
Ares Font Workshop will ship on Oct. 15, 1993 and have a suggested re-
tail price of $249.95. Now Windows users will have all the tools they
need to convert, modify, create and manage their fonts in one economical
FontMonge converts fonts between all major formats and enables cross-
platform conversion of fonts between Macintosh and PC computers. Fonts
can be modified or even created in a flash with FontMonger's simple,
elegant interface. FontMonger has a suggested retail price of $149.95.
FontMinder 2.0 will manage fonts in Windows 3.1. FontMinder stream-
lines the installation and de-installation of PostScript and TrueType
fonts. FontMinder has a suggested retail price of $79.95.
FontFiddler is a kerning editor for TrueType and PostScript fonts.
FontFiddler has a suggested retail price of $99.95.
» Peachtree Accounting for Windows Release 2.0 «
Peachtree Software announces that its best-selling Windows accounting
package, Peachtree Accounting for Windows Release 2.0, has surpassed all
sales projections and is outselling its previous version and the
competition three-to-one as of September 1993.
A PC Research Survey reveals Peachtree Accounting for Windows Release
2.0 is outselling Microsoft Profit and MYOB by a significant margin.
In addition to enhancements like graphical guides and on-line
tutorials, Peachtree Accounting for Windows Release 2.0 now reads files
created in Intuit's Quicken for DOS and Quicken for Windows.
Peachtree Accounting for Windows Release 2.0 is fully networkable out
of the box and sells for a suggested retail price of $169.
» New Ace Board «
Best Data Products Inc. is rolling out the ACE Advanced Communication
Enhancement system, a breakthrough internal board for IBM-compatible PCs
that will change the way small companies and at-home workers use
Developed in cooperation with IBM's Microelectronics division, ACE
merges fax, modem, sound, telephone answering capabilities and CD Rom
interface onto a single card--a first-time feat made possible by a new
digital signal processing (DSP) technology from IBM called Mwave. One
ACE board can take the place of four separate cards, saving valuable
space in the motherboard for other applications.
In addition, ACE defies obsolescence because it is fully software-
upgradeable, making it easy and inexpensive to add new applications such
as V.FAST, color faxing and video teleconferencing as they become
available. ACE also reduces downtime because it permits simultaneous
tasking, enabling a user to continue working at the computer screen
while a fax is being sent or a phone message is being taken. Both of
these important features were made possible by the Mwave technology.
The ACE system comes with a 14,400 bps modem, a 9,600 bps fax with fax
back and fax forward features, and a 16-bit audio board with wave table
synthesis. It requires a 386SX MHZ processor with a 4 MB RAM and is
designed to operate with Windows and OS/2. Suggested list price is $259.
» Apple USA Head Resigns Effective Tomorrow «
According to Apple Computer, Apple USA president and general manager,
Robert Puette, will be resigning effective October 15. His replacement
is expected to be his boss, Ian Diery, executive vice president of
Apple's Personal Computer Division.
Puette has been at Apple since 1990. Apple officials said the USA
general manager is leaving to pursue other interests. However there are
speculations that Puette's resignation could be the result of Apple's
restructuring. Sources at Apple did say that the resignation has nothing
to do with rumors that Apple USA might wholly move to Austin, Texas.
» Apple Sets up a "Try Before You Buy" Software Division «
Joining IBM and Gateway, Apple Computer has announced a new CD-ROM
delivery system for its software. The initial offering will consist of
80 software programs and will be handled by a new division called Soft-
Apple's Software Dispatch division will handle 800 number calls from
users who, after providing a credit card number to purchase the soft-
ware, can unlock applications on the Software Dispatch CD-ROM disc via a
key given over the phone.
A Quicktime movie tutorial will be supplied to explain the 'Try it
first' purchase process. Interactive tours, limited trial versions, and
product information sheets will be available for each software
application on the CD. Customers may select the software by clicking on
a button that adds the title to an electronic order form.
The electronic key will allow installation from the CD to a hard disk
of the software purchased. At the same time, the customer can also get a
full set of product documentation that is identical to the print version
that users would normally get in traditional packaging. Hard copies of
the documentation can also be ordered.
Over 80 applications will be on the first CD, featuring productivity,
utilities, education, games, fonts, clip art and other applications from
Symantec, Claris, Computer Associates, Intuit, Vividus, Spinnaker, and
The CDs will be distributed free by mail beginning in November 1993 to
Macintosh CD-ROM owners and in early 1994 to Windows CD-ROM owners. The
cost of the software will be about the same as users can expect to pay
in software stores.
» Pastel ships DayMaker Organizer 3.0 «
This week Pastel will start shipping the new version of its best-
selling personal organizer for the Mac, DayMaker Organizer 3.0. Version
3.0 was inspired by feedback from many of the nearly 50,000 users of
"The key to DayMaker Organizer's superiority is the natural integra-
tion of contact and phone-call management to the most usable calendar
and to-do list program," said Hank Williams, president of Pastel. He
added "DayMaker Organizer 3.0 offers a complete solution for personal
organization by providing a tightly integrated product that gives users
immediate access to their important information and is easily
Special introductory pricing of $129.95 is being offered through Nov-
ember 30, 1993. After that DayMaker Organizer 3.0 will list for $149.95.
A competitive trade-up is available for $49.95 from Pastel and leading
catalogs. Current DayMaker users can upgrade for $29.95 plus $5.00 for
shipping and handling. After December 31, the upgrade price will be
To order an upgrade, DayMaker users should send a check plus a copy of
their sales receipt or the cover of their DayMaker manual to: Pastel
Development, 113 Spring Street, New York, NY, 10012, or order by calling
Pastel's order department at: 800/249-8316. About Pastel Development
»» Dataquest - CD-ROM Market Exaggerated ««
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A., 1993 OCT 20 (NB) -- There is a
strong shift on the part of multimedia hardware makers towards
software in the form of CD-ROM titles.
Apple Computer, Media Vision, and Creative Technologies have all
announced their intention to offer CD-ROM software titles in
various forms. Traditional book publishers, such as Harcourt Brace,
are getting to the act as well. However, Dataquest analysts say
the race to CD-ROM may be premature.
Media Vision's Allen Thygensen, senior director and general
manager of multimedia publishing, told Newsbytes: "Content,
long term, is where the money is."
Ian Diery, executive vice president of Apple Computer's
Personal Computer Division, said the company sees such strong
opportunity in the direction of content that it has gone as far
as to spend $100 million to populate the market with CD-ROM
hardware so it can sell CD-ROM titles.
Harcourt Brace and Company, a publisher in the educational
market, just recently purchased Archipelago Productions, a
California-based developer of CD-ROM and interactive computer
software and educational products, for the purpose of entering
the educational software market. Random House, another
educational publisher, recently announced a joint venture
agreement with multimedia software publisher Broderbund to
develop and distribute CD-ROM titles.
However, the market for CD-ROM drives and titles may not grow
as fast as these companies anticipate, according to Bruce Ryon,
principle multimedia analyst with the market research firm
Dataquest. Ryon said exaggerated reports have had the CD-ROM
market as high as $3 billion, but Dataquest has been unable to
find any supporting evidence for a market larger than $600
million right now.
A recent Dataquest survey revealed only seven percent of a sample
population of 200 consumers with computers have CD-ROM drives
attached to their computers. Ryon says independent surveys he has
seen have held to the same proportions. This means the current
market for CD-ROM titles is a small subset of the PC market as
In addition, Ryon said he found a whopping 85 percent of the CD
software titles are sold bundled with CD-ROM drives and those
surveyed said they were happy with the software that came in
the bundle. Less than fifty percent bought additional titles
after buying the CD-ROM bundle and most buyers said they did not
plan to purchase any more CD-ROM titles. As the CD-ROM drive
market becomes more competitive, manufacturers are considering
cutting their costs by eliminating the expense of the bundled
software, but Ryon says these companies are also afraid to
eliminate the bundles because they fear CD-ROM sales will drop
The main demand in the CD-ROM market is driven by the needs of
home business and home education, according to Dataquest. A
family can easily justify the purchase of a CD-ROM drive
bundled with an encyclopedia on CD as opposed to the $1,700 or
higher expense of an actual book set of encyclopedias, Ryon
said. In addition, other reference materials, medical
encyclopedias, and early learning software titles are also
finding acceptance in the home and small business markets. As
for the rest of the titles out there, Ryon quipped, "There's a
lot of content chasing not many potential buyers."
While there appears to be a nice growth curve ahead of 30 to 40
percent, the steep growth curves hyped by the multimedia
hardware companies are probably not going to occur, Ryon
claims. A handful of companies are doing well, such as Software
Toolworks with a $28 million revenue stream and Compton's in
the $26 to $28 million range. However, the vast majority of
content developers are small shops with total revenue of under
Why all the hype? Ryon says it is in the interest of the
multimedia hardware vendors to make the market sound lucrative.
These companies sell more hardware and get more developers to
make titles for the hardware, Ryon maintains.