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/// CPU Status Report Late Breaking Industry-Wide News
** 15 More Companies to Write Software for the Jaguar **
Atari Corp. has announced that 15 additional leading software compa-
nies have signed agreements with Atari for Jaguar -- the world's first
64-bit system. This brings the total number of Jaguar licensees to 35.
The following new companies have signed with Atari:
Accolade, 21st Century Software, Activision, UBI Soft, International
Software, UBI Soft Inc., Microprose Ltd., Interplay Microprose Ltd.
(U.S.), Millenium Interactive Ltd., Phalanx Software, Brainstorm Gremlin
Graphics Ltd., Virgin Interactive Entertainment Ltd., 3D Games
"We're pleased to add more of the top software companies to the
Jaguar family, " said Sam Tramiel, president of Atari. "With jaguar,
developers enjoy unsurpassed ease in creating real-time, 3D virtual
worlds. They are not bound by the technological limitations of
antiquated systems or stringent programming requirements. Jaguar gives
developers the freedom to spend more time on the creative process,
producing games for Jaguar players that are rich in color, animation,
texture and sound."
Jaguar is the only video game system manufactured in the United
States. Atari has contracted with IBM Corp. to manufacture the Jaguar in
its Charlotte, N.C., facility.
** High Speed PC-Cable TV Modem Demo'd **
Intel Corp. and General Instrument Corp. have demonstrated high-speed
modem technologies that will enable home PC users to access a new range
of services via the cable TV at speeds that are 1,000 times faster than
The Intel-GI development effort is aimed at providing the increasing-
ly powerful home PC with richer, faster data transmission through what
is known as "broadband" communications used in the cable network. Both
companies are contributing technologies and expertise from their respec-
tive fields to enhance the home PC using the cable network as the data
pipeline to the home.
The home PC market is the fastest growing segment in the PC arena,
with approximately 31% of U.S. households owning at least one PC,
according to market researcher Link Resources Corp. of New York. Cable
TV is present in more than 60 million homes.
The companies say the combination of PC and cable TV technologies
will offer consumers virtually instant response from familiar online
services as well as a range of new services as program developers take
advantage of the fastest communications pipeline to the home.
** Five Companies to Jointly Develop New Telecommunications Services **
Five U.S. companies have agreed in principle to form a joint venture
to develop new telecommunications services using digital video, fiber
optic and wireless technologies.
Comcast Corp, Continental Cablevision Inc., Cox Cable Communications,
Tele-Communications, Inc. and Time Warner Entertainment plan to create
new telecommunications business lines that are enhanced and differenti-
ated from those currently offered by existing wired or wireless commun-
The potential new business lines include Personal Communications Ser-
vices (PCS), video telephony, energy utility communications and data
communications services. The joint venture will also include local
business and competitive access services provided through Teleport
In addition, national service organizations and local service pro-
viders will be established through the joint venture. The five companies
are seeking additional participation and investment by cable operators
in various local regions.
** Online Service Make Cable Moves **
Three major players in the online computing have announced plans to
test data delivery through cable television.
CompuServe Inc. announced it has allied with Continental Cablevision
and the Teleport Communications Group for a test of delivery of online
information via cable lines beginning this week. The pilot program links
Continental Cablevision subscriber households in Exeter, N.H., to
In a prepared statement, David Eastburn, CompuServe vice president of
product marketing, said, "As the market leader, we're pleased to involve
our members in determining the future direction of online services. Cab-
le access is one of several alternative delivery methods we are explor-
ing as we move toward multimedia delivery of a wide variety of informa-
tion via CompuServe."
Prodigy and America Online Inc. also announced plans to deliver con-
sumer online services through cable in a project with Intel Corp. and
General Instrument. America Online's experimental services will be
delivered as part of Viacom International Inc.'s trial in Castro Valley,
Calif. and a Comcast cable market trial, both planned for early 1994.
** SIA Says Resin Shortage Averted **
The Semiconductor Industry Association says a potential shortage of
high-grade epoxy resin used to package computer chips has been averted.
The SIA said this week's resumption of operations at Sumitomo
Chemical Corp.'s plant in Niihama, Japan -- rocked by an explosion last
July 4 that shut down the facility -- will boost production of the resin
to meet worldwide semiconductor industry needs for the foreseeable
future. One person was killed in that blast.
As noted earlier, prior to the explosion, the Japanese facility prov-
ided the chip industry with 50% to 60% of the world's supply of epoxy
******* General PC News *******
** Astound Multimedia Presentation Prgm For Windows **
Move over Mac, Gold Disk has unveiled a Windows-based counterpart to
Astound for Macintosh 1.0, a presentation program initially introduced
last December. Like the existing package for the Mac, the new Astound
for Windows 1.5 allows for the creation of multimedia as well as static
presentations, company officials said.
Astound for Windows 1.5 will read Astound for Macintosh 1.0 files in
fully editable form. In addition, an Astound for Windows file can be
saved as an Astound for Macintosh file.
The new release for Windows is also bundled with a CD-ROM containing
more than 1,200 animations, graphics, sound effects, and musical and
video clips that can be added to presentations.
Astound for Windows 1.5 is available for a special introductory price
of $129 through January 31, 1994. After that, the software will be
priced at $395.
** Canon To Show Interactive 3D Software For Windows **
Canon says it is getting into the software development business to
offer workstation performance without a big price-tag. The company is
holding a conference on Friday to demonstrate software from its new
subsidiary formed to develop interactive, three dimensional (3D)
software for the Microsoft Windows graphical environment.
Historically, workstation computers have been known for their power-
ful performance in manipulating 3D graphics, but at a cost that makes
these computers unrealistic for the mass market. Canon is claiming, how-
ever, that its new software will provide interactive 3D graphics at one
tenth the cost of current workstation-based products.
Canon has said the new software it will announce on Friday will not
only work with Microsoft Windows, but with the Motorola microprocessor-
based Macintosh and with Sun's workstation hardware as well.
** Radio Shack announces new Tandy Sensation! MPC for '94 **
Tandy Corporation continues to lead the way in personal computing for
the '90's with the 1994 Tandy(R) Sensation!(R) Multimedia Personal Com-
puter. Available at Radio Shack(R), the '94 Sensation has new state-of-
the-art features that make it even better than its award-winning
The system includes a fast 486-based processor, advanced audio and
video technology, send and receive fax capability, Photo CD compatibi-
lity and an incredible array of bundled software in a fully integrated,
energy-efficient, cost-saving package. It is ideal for use in a home,
home-office, small business or educational setting.
With a one-year warranty, the suggested retail price for the 1994
Tandy Sensation MPC is $1,799 ($1,999 with a SVGA color monitor).
** AMD Intros Local Bus SCSI Controller, Single-Chip PCI SCSI **
The PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) local bus specification
continues to gain in popularity, as does SCSI (Small Computer Systems
Interface) technology. Now Advanced Micro Devices has announced, what
the company claims is, a "complete, low-cost hardware and software
package facilitating the design of SCSI onto PCI local bus personal
AMD says that its PCSCSI is a single-chip Fast SCSI-2 controller
paired with software in order to support a wide range of operating
systems and SCSI peripherals. It is reportedly optimized for use on PCI
local bus motherboards and provides a "glueless interface to the PCI
AMD claims that the cost to implement SCSI on the motherboard with
PCSCSI (including all passive components and software) is less than $30.
** Microsoft Cuts Price Of Works For Windows 3.0 **
Microsoft has temporarily reduced the price of Works for Windows ver-
sion 3.0, and will bundle it with its personal financial management
Until January 31, 1994 buyers who purchase Microsoft Works for
Windows 3.0 will get the integrated software suite for $89. If they buy
Works before January 1, 1994 the company says it will throw in a copy of
Microsoft Money 2.0. Once the introductory period is over the suggested
retail price for either version of Works for Windows will be $199.
Current users of Windows or DOS versions of Works can upgrade by buy-
ing the new product and sending in the $10 rebate coupon that is in the
System requirements include at least a 386 microprocessor, four mega-
bytes (MB) of memory, a hard disk with at least four MB, and preferably
15MB, of available space, MS-DOS 3.1 or higher, a VGA or better display,
Windows 3.1 or higher, and a high-density (1.44MB) floppy drive. To use
the multimedia edition a CD-ROM drive is required, along with a sound
board and headphones or speakers.
** Dell In Black Again **
Dell Computer Corp., has returned to profitability in the third quar-
ter of this fiscal year. Dell says earnings for the third quarter are
60% below what they were a year ago, and Chairman Michael Dell said
sales will not meet the company's $3 billion sales target for the year.
The company reported earnings of $12 million, or $0.26 per share, for
the third quarter, which ended October 31. For the same period last year
earning were reported at $29.6 million, or $0.72 per share. Revenue for
the third quarter was $757.3 million, up 33 percent from the $570
million reported for the same period last year.
** C Learning Center Opens **
ITC, a developer of interactive multimedia training products, has
announced the opening of its first ComSkill Learning Center franchise.
The new learning center is located in Wilmington, Del. Over the next
several years, ITC plans to establish a nationwide network of ComSkill
ITC describes its ComSkill Learning Centers as innovative, state-of-
the-art personal computer educational facilities. It notes that students
will gain hands-on experience and master a broad range of PC skills,
applications and operating environments. The centers will also sell and
rent courseware and provide individual student training.
ComSkill's courseware combines full-motion video, audio and graphics
on a PC. Instruction is both self-paced and interactive.
** Hitachi Rolls Out Parallel Units **
Massive parallel computers are to be introduced on the Japanese
market next year by Hitachi Ltd., which says it is aiming to sell them
mainly to government agencies. Hitachi will sell a machine with 128 pro-
cessors and a processing speed of 20 giga flops (or 20 billion instruc-
tions per second).
Sources say that massively parallel systems, which use more proces-
sors than ordinary computers, "have won kudos from the supercomputing
community for their high speed."
** Compaq Offers Software Distribution CD with Presario **
Compaq Computer Corp. and InfoNow Corp. announced that they are
offering users of Compaq's multimedia Presario personal computers the
ability to purchase software directly from a compact disc.
The Compaq QuickChoice CD, developed and supported by InfoNow, is
shipping with each Presario CDS model and enables users to read elect-
ronic literature, test drive and instantly purchase industry leading
applications including Microsoft Excel, Word and Office.
The disc allows Compaq users to purchase nearly 100 business and
entertainment software titles that are loaded on the QuickChoice CD in
an encrypted or locked form.
** New Line of Pentium PC's **
A new line of PCs based on Intel Corp.'s new Pentium microprocessor
has been introduced by Zeos International Ltd. Officials of the company
said the new line, called "Pantera," includes the PC interface technology,
Peripheral Component Interconnect, as well as business audio
capability in every system.
The prices for Zeos Pantera start at $3,495.
» US Robotics Ships Free Guide To Online Services «
SLOUGH, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND, 1993 DEC 6 (NB) -- US Robotics Limited,
the UK operation of the US-based modem manufacturer, has confirmed
it is shipping "The Sportster Guide To Online Services," a free
color booklet that is designed to extol the benefits of high speed
modems to potential first-time buyers of modem technology.
Although the booklet was pre-announced last month at a press
conference in London, the company has only today announced the color
booklet, which contains what must arguably be the UK's most
comprehensive guide to online services, detailing most services
available, as well as a selection the most popular bulletin board
According to Clive Hudson, Managing Director of US Robotics, around
300,000 of the booklets have been printed and are being distributed
as inserts in the PC press, as well as offered via computer dealers
in the UK. The booklet will also be made available to schools,
colleges and public libraries,
"The modem has moved from being a rather dull technical product to a
consumer product with a wide range of possibilities, We felt the
guide would stimulate increased use of the amazing range of services
that are out there," Hudson said,
"It's not just the big boys though, We have included a number of
smaller BBS operator and we will be offering a hotline for anyone
who wants information they cannot find in the booklet," he added.
Readers of Newsbytes who want a copy of the guide should contact
Sally Roberts at the company.
» Captain Kangaroo Scolds Violent Video Games «
WASHINGTON, DC, U.S.A., 1993 DEC 2 (NB) -- At a press conference
held in Washington on Wednesday, beloved children's program
pioneer Bob Keeshan, known to tens of millions as Captain
Kangaroo, joined two Senators in criticizing the graphic violence
found in some video games. Mr. Keeshan said this violence is
interactive, resulting directly from the action of the player,
making it far more threatening than mere passively viewed violence
seen on television and in movies.
Senator Joseph Lieberman (D. Conn.) and Herbert H. Kohl (D Wisc.)
joined Captain Kangaroo in calling for voluntary labeling of such
violent programs and suggested that if the publishers don't take
action on their own that Congress will.
Specifically cited in the Wednesday press conference were two
SEGA games, Mortal Combat, and another which shows graphic abuse
There have been increasing calls for television networks to label
programs according to their violence level and even demands from
some Senators for physical devices built into TV sets which
parents could set to block such programs.
» Cable Modem Shakes Online Industry «
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A., 1993 DEC 2 (NB) -- The
demonstration of a modem running at 10 megabits per second over
cable television lines shook up the industry at its annual
Because it comes at the end of the industry's fiscal year, when
capital budgets are being set, the Western Show has long been one
of the industry's main technology showplaces, alongside the
National Cable Television Association show itself.
The focus of the excitement was really a simple demonstration of
technology which General Instrument Corp., a leader in supplying
set-top converters and other equipment to cable operators, and
Intel plan to bring to market next year. To serve customers with
the new modems, a General Instruments spokesman indicated to
Newsbytes, cable operators will merely need to feed a digital
line from a major phone company into their cable head-ends, and
connect it to one of their existing channels. Many operators
already have, or are planning, such links in order to get into
the alternative access business, moving calls from large
businesses to long distance networks. Teleport Communications
Group, the leader in this business, is now owned by five cable
While Zenith has had a similar product available for some time,
cable companies are comfortable dealing with General Instruments,
and they're further impressed by Intel, the leading supplier of
chips, in the deal. With 31 percent of US homes now owning at
least one PC, they also see that the online market is moving into
an area they're familiar with serving. The companies estimated it
will cost consumers about $500 to buy and install such a modem,
with the first buyers likely to be telecommuting engineers and
computer programmers who need fast-access to data and programs on
At the show Comcast and Viacom, both major cable operators, said
they would field-test the technology next year. Online services
like America Online, Prodigy, and CompuServe, all announced they'll
support the new modems with versions of their services at the
higher speed. Prodigy was the first into this market, and has a
test of its services planned with Cox Enterprises' San Diego
cable system already. Online services are very interested in
cable because, while they have about four million customers among
them, cable has 60 million customers. Prodigy is especially keen
on the market because many consumers have complained its service
is slow at the 9,600 bit/second speed available on most PC modems
used on phone lines.
The cable modem was just one of many computer-related
announcements at the Western Show. Time Warner joined the group
of cable operators which own Teleport, the largest alternative
access company, which should make most major US cable systems
cable modem-ready in short order, since those systems will be
used to offer services to business customers anyway. Scientific/
Atlanta and Motorola joined with Kaleida Labs in launching a new
chip called Malibu, which they'll put into set-top converters
accessing interactive systems. S/A and Hewlett-Packard both said
they'll begin supplying set-top converters to Tele-Communications
Inc., the largest cable operator, and H-P will begin delivering
printers that work with video images to Time Warner for its full
service network in Orlando. Finally Eastman Kodak said
its Picture Exchange, an online imaging service which allows for
the sharing of photos over cable, is now operational.
The one warning note was given by America Online President Steve
Case at a Western Show news conference. While joining Intel and
GI in a test of the new cable modem, and working directly with GI
on services for interactive television, he warned that the
financial impact from all this won't be apparent for 3-5 years.
"We are investing early in these new technologies because we
believe they represent the future and will move interactive
services into the mainstream," he said in a press statement
released at the news conference.
» Multimedia Trade Group Poised To Fight Compton's Claims «
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, U.S.A., 1993 DEC 3 (NB) -- The Interactive
Multimedia Association (IMA), populated by 260 organizations
involved in the multimedia industry, says it will support legal
efforts against the claims of Compton's Newmedia that it holds a
patent on multimedia. But more importantly, the IMA is concerned
over the issuance of such broad, non-technical multimedia patents
by the US Patent Office.
Philip Dodds, IMA director, said, "The Patent Office is issuing
extremely sweeping patents that are for basic computer and
multimedia processes that have been used for many years which are
obvious and not novel." One multimedia developer told Newsbytes:
"Next someone will be getting a patent for driving on the right
side of the street."
Compton's Newmedia announced at Comdex computer trade show it was
issued a patent number 5,241,671 for the "Multimedia search
system using a plurality of entry path means which indicate inter
relatedness of information." Compton's patent states: "...it is
contemplated that this invention can be used with any information
that can be stored in a database. While the present invention has
largely been described with reference to an encyclopedia, other
databases of published graphical or textual information could be
The IMA asserts that Compton's claim that it invented multimedia
and wants royalty payments as a consequence stunned the
multimedia industry. Representatives from Compton's said the
patent isn't dependent on the delivery method for multimedia and
therefore covers not only software but interactive television and
graphical online services as well.
Evidently, the Compton's patent is not the first questionable
multimedia patent the US Patent Office has issued. Educational
multimedia software developer Optical Data Corporation (ODC) of
New Jersey received two patents in 1992, "Interactive method for
the effective conveyance of information in the form of visual
images" and "Curriculum planning and publishing methods." ODC
sent letters in early 1993 to several companies claiming patent
infringement as well as letters to three state education
superintendents to inform them other products could be
Videodiscovery of Seattle, Washington, also an educational
multimedia publisher, filed a complaint in August 1993 against
ODC in the US District Court, Western District of Washington, in
Seattle. The complaint asked the two patents be declared invalid
based on the "obviousness" of the both. Last month, on the day
ODC was to answer in court, it issued a press release saying it
was donating the first "Interactive method..." patent to the
public and asked the Patent Office to re-examine the other rather
than have the validity of the second determined by legal
Joe Clark, chief executive officer of Videodiscovery maintains:
"It's obvious that the Office of Patents and Trademarks needs
more expertise and data in the area of software and multimedia as
shown by the awarding of these patents. These represent at best
nuisance patents and at the worst, a severe hindrance for the
growth of the multimedia industry."
One of the suggested answers to this dilemma is the suggestion
that Patent Office form an industry commission made up of those
in the field of multimedia to review pending patents.
The IMA is a leading multimedia trade group, headquartered in
Annapolis, Maryland. The group's board of directors and officers
include: Victoria Vance of Apple Computer, Sueanne Ambron of
Paramount Technology, Michael Braun from IBM, Nat Goldhaber
representing Kaleida Labs, Joe Clark of Videodiscovery, Robert
Harris from Philips, Hal Josephson of 3DO, Georgia McCabe
representing Eastman Kodak, and Robert Pearson from Sun
» Chip Resin Supply Back On Stream «
LONDON, ENGLAND, 1993 DEC 3 (NB) -- First the good news -- the resin
shortage that has caused the surge in chip prices since July is
over. The bad news is that DRAM (dynamic random access memory) chip
prices will not fall as quickly as they went up.
This week has seen the Sumitomo Chemical Company's resin production
plant in Japan, which blew up on July 4, resume production.
According to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), the
current shortage will soon be alleviated.
The story at the sharp end of the industry in the UK is somewhat
different, however. Fergus Campbell, senior product specialist with
Datrontech, a major supplier of chip products to dealers in the UK,
said that the market has advanced since the July explosion.
"The problem is that supplies of the 4Mbit SIMMs have been cut back
as manufacturers move to 16Mbit. But 1Mbit users have migrated to
4Mbit SIMMs (single inline memory modules), meaning that the 4Mbit
chips are still in short supply," he told Newsbytes.
Datrontech's prices on 4Mbit SIMMs are currently just under UKP100.
Three months ago, they were at an all-time high of UKP145. A year
ago they were 70. Campbell said that it would be a long time before
the UKP70 price point was realized again.
Mike Lunch, general manager of Toshiba's Personal Systems division,
said that easing of shortages in DRAM supply, rather than a price
fall, was good news for the company, since it would allow memory
card supplies to get back up to volume.
"Although chip prices make up only a small part of our end user
pricing, DRAM shortages have caused up problems with memory cards
for our portables. These cards add value to our portables," he said.
The previous stories are © 1993 by NewsBytes.
Reprinted with permission.