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/// CPU Status Report Late Breaking Industry-Wide News
** Atari Ships $250 Jaguar System **
Last week, Atari Corp. formally launched its $250 64-bit games mach-
ine, the Jaguar. Computergram International said the machines will go
on sale in New York and San Francisco in the next few weeks, in the rest
of the U.S. early next year, and in Europe later next year. Atari says
that next year it will offer a $200 CD-ROM drive add-on to play audio
compact disks and disk-based games. The Jaguar systems are being made
for Atari by IBM's Charlotte, N.C., operations.
Atari chief Sam Tramiel has told reporters he expects the company to
sell 40,000 to 50,000 Jaguars before Christmas and at least 500,000 in
1994. "The critical requirement," comments CI, "is for successful soft-
ware, and there will only be four games this year, and perhaps two
dozen next year; the games will cost $40 to $50." The Jaguar ships with
one game cartridge included.
In a related story, this week, Atari Corp. and Accolade Inc., a
nota- ble publisher and developer of Sega and Nintendo video games,
jointly announced a licensing agreement that will enable Atari to bring
five proven, hot titles from Accolade to consumers on the new 64-bit
Jaguar Interactive Multimedia System by Fall 1994.
Commenting on the company's decision to work with Atari, Accolade's
chairman, Alan R. Miller stated, "That Atari Jaguar is definitely cool,
new technology that is being introduced at a price point attractive to
consumers. We think Atari has a real shot at establishing Jaguar as a
successful system, and we want be part of that effort." The Accolade
titles for Jaguar include:
Al Michaels Announces HardBall III; Brett Hull Hockey, Bubsy in:
Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind; Charles Barkley Basketball; Jack
Nicklaus' Power Challenge Golf.
"Accolade's list of titles adds significantly to the Jaguar product
line," said Sam Tramiel, president and chief executive officer of Atari.
"Accolade's proven titles enhanced by the 64-bit power of Jaguar
will enrich the Jaguar player's library of video games with life-like
sports adventures and real-time 3D animated characters that speak. The
Accolade titles help us to attain our goal of delivering a high quality
selection of Jaguar titles that will entertain all age groups."
** 3DO Posts $7 Million Quarterly Loss **
3DO Co., reported a fourth- quarter loss of $7 million for its
second quarter ended Sept. 30. This compared to a loss of $2.1 million
for the prior-year quarter. 3DO posted quarterly revenues of $2.6
million from development systems shipments to its software licensees. It
had no reve- nues in the year-ago quarter.
3DO has started selling its $700 Interactive Multiplayer, a device
that merges capabilities of the video-cassette recorder, the personal
computer and the video-game player.
3DO unveiled a prototype player, dubbed Opera, at the winter
Consumer Electronics Show last January in Las Vegas, Nev. The company's
backers include American Telephone & Telegraph Co., Time Warner Inc.,
Matsushita Electric Industrial, venture capitalist Kleiner Perkins
Caufied & Byers and Electronic Arts, one of the key developers of
Early reviews of the system, powered by a 32-bit computer chip and
playing compact disks, have been generally positive although some anal-
ysts think its price tag may be too high for many consumers. But backers
believe the machine will catch on with trend-setting buyers and will
take hold because it can be used with both adults and children.
3DO will face competition from Atari Corp.'s Jaguar video-game
player, due in some stores before the end of the year. Analysts have
been impressed with early reports about the $250 Jaguar, which runs on a
64-bit chip will sell for about twice the price of Nintendo's and
Sega's 16-bit machines but considerably less than 3DO's $700 player.
** Which Systems do MultiMedia Developers Prefer? **
The answer - Apple Computer's Macintosh and Sun Microsystems' SPARC
platforms for developing software - at least, that's what the new Data-
quest survey tells us.
The market researcher surveyed 200 multimedia developers who work on
a wide range of products including video games, corporate
presentations, CD-ROM title development, advertising, kiosks, training
and education. Nearly 63% of the respondents said they prefer the
Macintosh platform when developing multimedia software on personal
computers, and less than 36% said they prefer IBM and compatibles. Of
the respondents who use workstation platforms for multimedia
development, 38% said they prefer SPARC and 31% noted a preference for
the Silicon Graphics platform.
"It's ironic that, while multimedia software developers prefer to
use the Macintosh platform by nearly two to one, the majority of their
reve- nue will come from producing DOS- and Windows-compatible
products," said Bruce Ryon, principal analyst of Dataquest's Multimedia
** Japan's Computer Shipments Down **
Japan's shipments of small business computers in the April-September
first half of the current fiscal year fell 20.7% from a year earlier to
68,541 units. In terms of value, shipments dropped 22.4%.
** Washington Post to Create Interactive Newspaper **
The Washington Post Co. announced this week it has created a new
unit that will produce news and information products for distribution
through computers, faxes and telephones. Called Digital Ink, the
company's first product will be an online, interactive version of The
Washington Post. It will be available in July 1994.
******* General PC News *******
** IBM to Shrink Computers **
IBM on Tuesday formally signaled a big change in the way it builds
large computers, saying it would gradually adopt a design that costs
less money and takes less energy and space.
The design is called parallel processing because the computer makes
decisions and crunches data with dozens or hundreds of the chips found
in personal computers. Big computers in the past have typically been
built around one or a few large processor chips. Parallel-based compu-
ters take up the space of a refrigerator compared to previous monoliths
that filled a room.
** New Version of Anti-Virus Software **
Trend Micro Devices, Inc. has announced PC Rx 4.0, a new version of
its anti-virus software for DOS- and Windows- based computers. The soft-
ware features rule- based activities monitoring and virus scanning and
removal. It also incorporates a new technology called MutieClean.
MutieClean is designed for the elimination of mutation engined
viruses, codes which previously could not be detected or removed if in
an advanced state of infection generation.
PC Rx 4.0's rule-based virus trap doesn't require virus pattern up-
dates and is able to filter virus infected programs from legitimate
** Okidata Introduces New 600 dpi-class Printer **
Okidata Monday introduced the newest member of its 4 page-per-minute
(ppm) family, the OL410e. It is a compact, 4 ppm, LED/laser-class page
printer designed for individual PC users who require 600 dpi-class out-
put for desktop publishing, graphics, word processing and spreadsheet
applications. An affordable choice in 600 dpi-class printers, the OL410e
carries a suggested list price of $899.
The new OL410e joins Okidata's recently introduced OL400e, a
compact, 300 dpi LED/laser-class page printer designed with a suggested
list of $699.
Specifically, the OL410e, with its 600 dpi-class output, is targeted
at users of 386/486 PCs who have the need for higher quality output for
external selling and marketing documents, such as presentations,
flyers, newsletters and brochures.
** PC Price Cuts - Getting Ready for Comdex **
IBM cut prices up to 26% on its top-of-the-line personal computers
that run networks of desktop models.
Hewlett-Packard chopped the prices of several mid-range PC's up to
** Sound Blaster Owner Sues Covox Inc. **
Creative Technology Ltd., which owns the trademark of Sound Blaster
products, has received a preliminary injunction pending trial in U.S.
District Court to restrict Covox Inc. from selling products bearing the
word "Blaster." Covox produces speech recognition software bearing the
name "Voice Blaster."
Pending the hearing, Covox "is obliged to adhere to the court's
order that by Dec. 1 it must provide stickers to its customers
disclaiming any association between Voice Blaster and Sound Blaster."
** miro Introduces Two New miroVideo Cards **
miro Computer Inc. announces two new PC video cards, its first
entries in the U.S. multimedia market.
Both cards can do high-resolution, real-time single-frame or motion-
video captures, and are compatible with Microsoft Video For Windows,
and each offers significantly more. The economical miroVideo Model D-1
is available for $279. The professional-grade miroVideo Model DC-1 is
$899. The Model D-1 will ship by the end of December, the Model DC-1 by
the end of February.
** Cyrix Releases '486 Upgrade Chips **
Cyrix Corp. has added the Cx486SRx2 to its Upgrade Microprocessor
family. The Cyrix 386 to 486 Upgrade Microprocessor models allow users
to upgrade their 16, 20 or 25MHz 386SX systems to 486 performance. The
chip maker says the upgrade extends the life of existing 386SX desktop
PCs by delivering up to a 70% improvement on application performance
while maintaining software compatibility.
The Cx486SRx2 is a single chip module. A clip-on device,
co-developed with Augat Inc., snaps the Cx486SRx2 on the existing 386SX
micropro- cessor, disabling the original chip and allowing the Cx486SRx2
to take over all the microprocessor functions. The design works in all
desktop systems tested, but it's not suitable for notebook
applications, since it requires 1-inch spacing to accommodate the
Upgrade and heat sink and allow for proper airflow. Cyrix says it's
evaluating plans for upgrade products for the 386SX notebook market.
The Cx486SRx2 25/50, for upgrading 25MHz systems, has a suggested
re- tail price of $299. The Cx486SRx2 20/40, for upgrading either 16MHz
or 20MHz systems, has a suggested retail price of $269.
** Epson Expands ActionNote Line **
Epson America has added new systems to its ActionNote line of '486
portable computers. In a statement, Epson says:
-:- The ActionNote 700, built around 486DX/33 processors, includes
monochrome, dual-scan passive matrix color or TFT active matrix color
versions. The monochrome sidelit LCD screen offers 64 shades of grey,
while the passive matrix and TFT active color screens feature 256
-:- The ActionNote 500C offers an enhanced passive matrix color
note- book with a 486SLC/2-50 clock-doubled processor and local bus
Available also is a removable hard disk drive available in
configurations from 80MB to 213MB.
******* General Mac News *******
** Rumor - Apple to Launch MS-DOS-Based Mac at Next Week's Comdex **
Rumor has it that Apple Computer Inc. will be launching its combina-
tion Macintosh-Windows machine as the Quadra 610 DOS Compatible at
Comdex next week.
Sources say the machine, code-named Houdini, "includes the Apple
Win- dows co-processor board and enables users to switch among the
System 7, MSDOS and Windows environments with a hot key." Look for the
system to include an 80486 processor and a VGA graphics chip.
Insiders say that "It will use the screen, RAM, SCSI ports, serial
ports and hard disk of the Quadra," "Once the hot key is pressed, the
Microsoft Corp. environment takes over the screen; a second keystroke
returns the user to the Mac System 7."
Supposedly the machine will be offered in three configurations: a
basic unit with 8MB and 160MB disk and floating point unit, the same
setup with built-in Ethernet and another with a 230MB disk.
** Seagate Signs With Apple **
Seagate has signed a new contract to supply Apple Computers Inc.
with volume quantities of its 209MB ST9235N hard drive. Financial
details were not released. Reports say that the drives will be used
with Apple's portable computers.
** Two New Macintosh Viruses Discovered **
The Triangle Software Division of Datawatch Corp. this week announ-
ced the upgrade of its popular Macintosh anti-virus software, Virex, to
version 4.1 to detect and repair the newly discovered CODE 1 virus.
CODE 1, discovered at several sites in the United States, can infect
application programs and system files of any Apple Macintosh computer.
Once infected, CODE 1 will rename the hard disk to "Trent Saburo" when
the system is restarted on October 31 of any year. Although the virus
employs a trigger date mechanism tied to October 31, system crashes and
other damage can occur at any time of the year, as CODE 1 attempts to
alter system files.
"CODE 1 is the first Macintosh virus to utilize 'stealth'
techniques, indicating growing sophistication among virus writers,"
stated Andrew W. Mathews, general manager of Datawatch's Triangle
Software Division. "With version 4.1 we have once again demonstrated our
ability to combat this increasing sophistication."
A separate virus, named MBDF B, was also recently reported to Data-
watch as a "new" virus strain. The MBDF B virus can cause unintentional
system damage, such as system crashes and malfunctions in application
programs. Because of its advanced detection capabilities, Virex versions
3.6 and greater already detect and repair MBDF B.
For more product information on Virex or any of the Datawatch
Triangle Software Division products, please call 919/549-0711.
» COMDEX Opens! «
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, U.S.A., 1993 NOV 15 (NB) -- Comdex has become so
large it is hard to tell what the big story or announcement will be.
Will it be the battle between Novell's UnixWare and Windows NT? Will it
be the Apple Newton, or some other personal digital assistant (PDA)?
Will it be multimedia, by whatever name it is going by these days?
In fact, it will be all that, and more. The user base is so splintered,
with different types of people in different types of situations
requiring radically different tools, that it is hard to tell what will
happen. This at a time when Microsoft Windows is as big a standard as
DOS once was -- the DOS market is drying up.
For now, it seems that PDAs, personal communicators or hand-held mobile
devices are giving Microsoft's rivals one last chance to shine. Devices
running Microsoft at Work, a stripped-down version of Windows, are not
due until next year. Meanwhile there are three versions of the Zoomer
under Geoworks -- from AST, Tandy, and Casio -- the Apple Newton, and
the AT&T Personal Communicator with its PenPoint operating system. All
will try to get a piece of the market before the 800-pound gorilla, now
known as Bill Gates, decides where to sit down.
Speaking of Microsoft, many are featuring the Microsoft Office suite of
applications -- including Excel, Word, and PowerPoint -- which is
putting pressure on Borland, WordPerfect and single- purpose programs.
By selling a collection of applications at a discount, all of which work
together, some argue that Microsoft is making major application
software into a two-horse race -- with itself and Lotus, with help from
Notes, being the two horses.
The show itself will be housed in four venues -- the Las Vegas
Convention Center, the Las Vegas Hilton next-door, the Sands Expo
Center, and Bally's -- but that does not mean it is getting smaller.
Instead, cozy tents have been set up, some for exhibits, others for
functions like the press center. Parking will be impossible, but at
least there will not be the long rides to the Tropicana or Riviera to
worry over. Speaking of long rides, however, many people are literally
staying 50 miles or more from the show, and cabbies are taking people in
suits to hotels they would be scared to visit most days. The official
noise is 170,000 expected, although the word on the street is more like
» Editorial - The Online Future «
ATLANTA, GEORGIA, U.S.A., 1993 NOV 12 (NB) -- By Dana Blankenhorn.
There's a great and growing paradox online. Users remain tied to modems
running, at best, at 9,600 bits/second. Their main choices are among
CompuServe, GEnie, America Online, Applelink, and Prodigy on the
consumer side, Dialog, Dow Jones, or Mead Data Central on the business
side. Meanwhile, billions are being spent to "dominate" the coming
world of multi-megabit services linked to cable TV.
While information providers and service providers work at arms- length
in today's online world, and anyone with an idea has a shot at the
market, there's a growing assumption that only "brand names" need apply
in the future. The need to control such brand names has created a
feeding frenzy among players, who like BellSouth, are determined to be
"survivors" in a game that hasn't really started.
I don't know if anyone has noticed it or not, but Prodigy has yet to
turn a profit, and will never, ever, make back the $500 million IBM and
Sears invested to open it. This is because Prodigy continues to think
it can control what people say and read online, choices best left to
free people and free markets. The same hubris is now consuming such
otherwise intelligent men as Bell Atlantic's Ray Smith, BellSouth's
John Clendenin and TCI's John Malone.
The reasons for it can be found in the Bells themselves. The networks
they offer are, compared to their promises, pitiful. If I were Ross
Perot, comparing the Bells' promises and performance, I'd be a little
crazy too. A decade ago the Bells promised a raft of new services based
on a digital standard called ISDN. ISDN delivers two 64,000 bit/second
data channels and a 16,000 bit/second signaling channel to residential
customers. Today ISDN is offered in only a few places, and I still
can't get it in Atlanta, despite living just a block from a major urban
Even Bell-heads are in on this joke -- if the Bells were selling sushi
they'd call it cold dead fish. Bell-head suppliers were happily
pinning "cold dead fish" buttons to their lapels at this year's
Supercomm trade show, and the Bell-heads were laughing right along.
The problem today remains the same as it was 10 years ago, when ISDN
was the big buzzword. The Bells like to talk about competition, but all
they really understand is monopoly. They won't make investments in
plant and equipment unless they see a guarantee of profit. The same is
true of the cable companies. That's what this feeding frenzy over
Paramount is really all about -- control. The Bell-heads and cable-head
ends figure if they don't control what goes over their systems, its
cost, and the ability to keep others' content off, investments in the
"information superhighway" just aren't worth it.
As Ross likes to say, "I find that fascinatin'." Every other business
in the world seems to have figured out there's a difference between
content and distribution. The former must always be risky, in the way
that art and science are risky. There can be no guarantees the product
will be as promised. There's no way to guarantee against a movie like
"Ishtar" or "Popeye," no way to prevent a "Paula Poundstone Show" from
reaching the air for two weeks. The risks are inherent in the process
of trying something new. Distribution risks are different. They're
about balancing the cost of obtaining business with the cost of
providing service. Producers don't know if there will be any business.
Distributors just worry about getting their share, and at what price.
My point -- billions and billions of dollars are going to be lost in
the next few years, billions and billions of dollars that could have
been profitably invested in fiber wires and high- capacity switches,
billions and billions of dollars which will go instead to lawyers,
deal-makers and accountants. The Japanese thought they had this game
wired too, so Sony bought Columbia while Matsushita bought
MCA-Universal. Now Matsushita wants out -- even deep pockets have a
bottom to them. You'd think the Bell- heads would take a lesson from
that and stick to their knitting. Not a chance -- like those old ladies
fleeced by Zero Mostel in Mel Brooks' "The Producers" a
quarter-century ago, they've got stars in their eyes and sawdust in
their veins. The tragedy is this time we'll all pay for that, in the
form of higher phone rates, and less technology online than we'd like,
that we deserve, and that we'd pay for.
The preceding two stories are © 1993 NewsBytes.
Reprinted with permission.