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News Date: Monday 31st January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • IBM blasts off with ThinkPads in space
    Time: 19:35 EDT/00:35 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    When the space shuttle Endeavour blasts off tomorrow, astronauts aboard will be equipped with IBM ThinkPad notebooks for the 11-day mission.

    This isn’t the first time that the portable computers have been put to work in space. In 1993, NASA astronauts used an IBM portable during a mission to repair the crippled Hubble telescope. But their increased use in space missions and on international space stations demonstrates the versatility of portables in space.

    For its part, IBM is trying to get as much public relations value out of the mission as possible, especially as the company plans to introduce a series of new products next month.

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  • Music retailers charge Sony with unfair competition
    Time: 19:24 EDT/00:24 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    A retail industry group is suing Sony Music Entertainment, alleging that the company is strong-arming retailers to point their customers toward its online shops.

    The lawsuit was filed today by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It claims that the "Big Five" recording company and its parent, Sony Corp. of America, are engaging in unfair competition and price discrimination to force brick-and-mortar retail chains to stock CDs by Sony Music artists that also contain Web links and that include promotional material for Sony's e-commerce sites.

    The complaint also charges that Sony plans to uses its market muscle to push consumers toward buying CDs and digital music tracks from the soon-to-be merged Columbia House record club and online music retailer CDNow. Sony and Time Warner will each own a 37 percent stake in the combined company.

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  • Excite@Home, McAfee make pact for network security
    Time: 19:07 EDT/00:07 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Excite@Home today announced plans to offer its Internet access subscribers new security software from that protects them from malicious hackers.

    The alliance is an attempt by Excite@Home, the nation's largest high-speed Internet access provider, to protect its cable modem subscribers from hackers who could try to penetrate a home PC network, delete information on computer hard drives, distribute viruses and even steal sensitive data such as credit card numbers.

    Analysts are concerned that consumers with high-speed, or broadband, Internet access connections may face a security risk because their Internet connections are always on, meaning they don't have to log in each time they want to access the Net. Cable modems and digital subscriber lines (DSL) are the two leading methods of broadband connections.

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News Date: Thursday 27th January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Yahoo-GeoCities shadowed by Web publishing woes
    Time: 17:47 EDT/22:47 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Once among the hottest properties in the red-hot dot-com sector, home page community sites are in need of renovation.

    Rapidly changing fortunes are nothing new among Internet companies, but few have seen their stars fall faster than those of home page sites.

    Hype for online communities reached a peak a year ago this week, when Yahoo agreed to buy GeoCities in a stock deal eventually worth $4.5 billion--a valuation stoked by's then record-setting initial public offering just weeks before the acquisition was announced.

    At the time, communities such as GeoCities, Tripod, TheGlobe and were considered the next big thing. The belief was that Web portals needed a way to keep often fickle Web users on their services for longer periods of time and to be appealing enough that they would return every day. Home page communities seemed like the answer, as they showed loyal traffic.

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  • China Issues Rules to Limit E-Mail and Web Content
    Time: 04:15 EDT/09:15 GMT News Source: New York Times Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The Chinese government issued stern new regulations today that were intended to control the release of information on the Internet, underscoring the government's love-hate relationship with cyberspace in a country where the number of Internet users is growing dramatically.

    The new regulations, published today in the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily, specifically govern the posting and dissemination on the Internet of "state secrets," a vaguely defined term that has been applied by the government to cover any information whose release it has not sanctioned.

    The pronouncement may have little direct impact, because much of what is formally forbidden under the new rules had already been illegal under existing law, even if it was not formally applied to the Internet. Enforcement will be difficult in a country that brims with Internet cafes and free e-mail services. Officials will be cautious, too, about aggressively dampening an industry whose exuberant growth has been a magnet for foreign investment.

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  • Sun Plans to Start Shipping Operating System Next Month
    Time: 04:53 EDT/09:53 GMT News Source: New York Times Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Moving to maintain its hold on the Internet, Sun Microsystems Inc. said that Solaris 8, the latest version of its operating system, would ship on Feb. 28.

    Sun's announcement comes as the Microsoft Corporation prepares to ship Windows 2000, its strongest challenge yet to Sun's domination of high-powered server computers for delivering Internet services, on Feb. 17. Windows 2000, the latest version of Windows NT, Microsoft's operating system for corporate networks, is meant to answer criticism that NT is not robust, secure or reliable enough for the demands of World Wide Web servers.

    Sun has flourished on the Web. It is the system of choice for 75 percent of Internet service providers, in large part because of the reliability of Solaris.

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News Date: Tuesday 25th January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Ask Jeeves shells out $506.9 million for Web search firm
    Time: 09:17 EDT/14:17 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Ask Jeeves said today that it has agreed to buy closely-held Direct Hit Technologies, a developer of Web search technology, in a stock deal worth about $506.9 million, based on yesterday's closing price of Ask Jeeves' shares.

    Emeryville, Calif.-based Ask Jeeves, which operates a popular question-and-answer Web search service, said it will trade 5.12 million shares for all outstanding stock, warrants and options of Direct Hit. Shares of Ask Jeeves closed at $99 yesterday on the Nasdaq stock market.

    The deal gives Direct Hit about a 12 percent pro-forma ownership stake in Ask Jeeves.

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  • Emachines plans new PCs to keep pace, make profit
    Time: 09:15 EDT/14:15 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Emachines, which shook up the retail PC market in 1999 with its low cost sales model, is hoping to start the new year by translating its high sales volumes into profits.

    The company said it plans to launch new PC models priced from $399 as it strives to maintain the No. 3 spot in retail PC sales it garnered in 1999, according to results from researcher PC Data. All of the new machines feature Intel processors, and DVD drives will be available in systems priced as low as $599.

    An unknown name just a year ago, Emachines' aggressive pricing has landed the company a spot among the top five consumer PC makers in the United States, mostly because when combined with ISP rebates, some Emachines systems sell for $1 or less. The company said it shipped 600,000 systems in December, and 2 million since its inception in late 1998.

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  • Hackers learn how to take over AOL IM accounts
    Time: 04:10 EDT/09:10 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    America Online Instant Messenger users could find their online identities stolen via a security hole that allows hackers to hijack their accounts through another popular service: AOL 5.0.

    A small band of hackers has discovered a way to take over any AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) account as long as they have a person's screen name. By using an AOL staff tool they unearthed while poking around the company's proprietary online service, they exploit a public hole in the AOL 5.0 registration process that lets them reset AIM users' passwords.

    Once the hackers do this handiwork, initial users of the screen names are locked out of their accounts, giving the hackers open access to users' buddy lists of other AIM users and the ability to maintain trial AOL 5.0 accounts under the same screen names, as confirmed by CNET

    AOL spokesman Rich D'Amoto said he hasn't heard of any complaints about stolen AIM screen names, but that the company is looking into the issue and will try to track down the hackers.

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  • Pentium III price cuts likely to presage PC discounts
    Time: 04:05 EDT/09:05 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Intel cut prices on its Pentium III line by up to 31 percent, the latest salvo in an escalating battle between the chip giant and Advanced Micro Devices in the high-end processor market.

    The price cuts, which went into effect yesterday, fell mostly in the 20 percent range. The 733-MHz Pentium III, for instance, dropped 21 percent, from $754 to $594, in volume quantities, while the 650-MHz dropped from $562 to $423, a 25 percent discount.

    AMD, meanwhile, followed with cuts up to 31 percent on the Athlon family and cuts above 50 percent on its mobile line, said a spokeswoman. Discounts on PCs will likely follow.

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News Date: Monday 24th January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Court rejects long-standing patent suit against Apple
    Time: 14:45 EDT/19:45 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    A court has dismissed a long-standing patent suit regarding Apple Computer's ColorSync software, the company said today.

    The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has rejected the $1.1 billion lawsuit, filed by New York-based Imatec in Feb. 1998. The suit alleged that Apple had infringed three U.S. patents related to color calibration of computer equipment, first filed by Imatec's president, Hanoch Shalit.

    "We are pleased that the judge threw out this frivolous lawsuit," Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, said in a statement. "Our customers can now lay to rest any concerns raised by Imatec's lawsuit."

    The dismissal came after the judge found that Imatec and Shalit do not own the patents on which the suit was based and that ColorSync does not infringe on these patents anyway, Apple said.

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  • Time Warner, EMI team to create music powerhouse
    Time: 14:39 EDT/19:39 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    In a deal that could change the face of music on the Internet, Time Warner and Britain's EMI Group today announced they will combine their music empires to create a $20 billion company and Net music powerhouse.

    EMI shareholders will receive a cash payment of $1.65 per share, totaling about $1.3 billion.

    Today's deal, which comes on the heels of the proposed megamerger between online giant America Online and Time Warner, is likely to establish a music giant on the Net as the business of offering digital downloadable music online blossoms.

    "When AOL and Time Warner launch their music initiative, they will have about 35 percent of American recorded music at their disposal," Jupiter Communications analyst Aram Sinnreich said. "That will probably be enough to draw enough customers to really begin to change the way people consume music online, or consume music in general."

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  • E-Mail With Eyes; Internet Users Get A Warning
    Time: 04:05 EDT/09:05 GMT News Source: TechWeb Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    A controversial and invisibly run keystroke-monitoring software will be adding an optional notification banner that warns users their computer activity may be watched and recorded, makers of the product said Friday.

    A new version of the powerful program, Investigator 2.05, will include the notice telling users they are consenting to being monitored by operating the system. The upgrade will be officially rolled out early next week.

    Developed by the software firm WinWhatWhere of Kennewick, Wash., the software has won accolades from corporate security experts, while unnerving advocates of greater privacy rights for computer workers.

    Once installed, Investigator software monitors all keyboard and application activity, then covertly e-mails a detailed report to the system administrator or the employee's supervisor.

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  • Why RSA's loss is everyone else's gain
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT News Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    What's likely to happen when the company's patent on a public-key algorithm expires later this year? Hint: The news is good.

    The computer industry will find out later this year if RSA Security Inc.'s loss is everyone else's gain.

    On Sept. 20, the patent on RSA's namesake public-key encryption algorithm will expire, allowing it to slip into the public domain.

    While the expiration won't adversely affect RSA -- the San Mateo, Calif., company has spent the last three years diversifying, ensuring that it doesn't rely on algorithm licensing revenue -- one thing is clear: The cost of adding good encryption to software will likely drop.

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News Date: Friday 21st January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Online Gender Gap Narrows (Somewhat)
    Time: 17:15 EDT/22:15 GMT News Source: PC World Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The Internet gender gap narrowed last year as more women went online, according to a year-end survey from Nielsen/NetRatings.

    Women accounted for 47 percent of the total U.S. Internet population on average from February to December, but jumped to 50 percent during December as holiday shopping increased, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, a Web measurement service.

    From February to December, as the overall number of active U.S. Web users jumped 23 percent to 119 million, the number of women who used the Web surged 32 percent, outstripping the 20 percent growth rate for men.

    The data provided no 1998 figures for year-to-year comparisons.

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  • Eudora Free, Thanks To Advertisers
    Time: 17:12 EDT/22:12 GMT News Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Eudora is getting into the online ad business. Qualcomm this quarter plans to launch a free commercial version of its full-featured e-mail utility software that will be supported solely by advertising fees.

    The move makes Eudora the biggest software brand yet to embrace the model of integrating ads into software applications - a trend with the promise of transforming traditional software products into media properties whose success can be measured by the size of the audience they attract.

    "This is a recognition that a tectonic shift is going on in the software business," said Jeffrey Belk, vice president and general manager at Qualcomm's Eudora products group. "This is definitely a new form of media that is all about giving users their choice."

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News Date: Thursday 20th January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Crypto crowd celebrates export rules
    Time: 04:55 EDT/09:55 GMT News Source: MSNBC Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    A week after the Clinton administration announced it was lifting most export restrictions on cryptography, the security crowd gathered here for the RSA Conference 2000 danced, celebrated and — you’ll have to pardon them, this has been a long fight — gloated over the federal government’s apparent change of heart.

    “This feeling is really good, you know?” said Phil Zimmerman, the inventor of the PGP encryption algorithm who was once threatened with a federal jail sentence. “I wish my prosecutor and the customs agents who attempted to incarcerate me were here tonight.”

    Zimmerman, as much as anyone in the computer industry, personifies the battle over encryption export regulations. Nearly five years ago, Zimmerman, now a fellow at Network Associates Inc., defied encryption export restrictions and used his PGP encryption across international borders.

    At the time, this was nothing short of treason — at least in the eyes of federal regulators. Until 1998, encryption was considered a munition — a weapon of war. So allowing strong encryption — that is, encryption strong enough to thwart any head-on attack — to cross international borders was akin to selling explosives to the enemy. To make a long story short, Zimmerman just barely escaped going to the slammer for a very long time.

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  • Real, BackWeb team to push music delivery service
    Time: 04:42 EDT/09:42 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Streaming media software maker Real Networks plans to use once-fashionable push technology to launch a new digital music delivery service later this year.

    Seattle-based Real Networks said it intends to integrate BackWeb's so-called Polite Push technology with its Real Jukebox. The software is used to send data directly to desktops, as well as notify people when they receive the information. Real Jukebox is a desktop product that allow users to convert, or "rip," compact disks and translate them into a digital file format.

    The subscription-based service, code-named Quicksilver, will be free to Real Jukebox users and available mid-year, executives said.

    In a separate agreement, Real Networks said it invested $15 million in San Jose, Calif.-based BackWeb.

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News Date: Wednesday 19th January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Cryptic Issues of Cryptography
    Time: 04:45 EDT/09:45 GMT News Source: PC World Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Security will never be perfect, panel warns, but there are ways to make it better.

    Issues of ease of use, governmental regulations, and wireless systems will be at the forefront of the cryptography realm in upcoming years, a panel of specialists said Monday at the RSA Conference 2000 show here.

    The panelists, with affiliations ranging from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to Sun Microsystems, urged that a variety of actions be taken by the industry to ensure better privacy.

    Ron Rivest, a computer science professor at MIT and an inventor of the RSA Public Key cryptography system, emphasized that security systems need to be easy to use.

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  • Real wins injunction in software case
    Time: 04:39 EDT/09:39 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    RealNetworks said it won an injunction to stop Streambox from distributing software for recording music off the Web during a lawsuit.

    Streambox on Dec. 23 was ordered temporarily to stop distributing three products that record online audio and video, search for such material on the Web, and convert the material into other software formats. Today's preliminary injunction means it can't distribute or market two of the three products for the duration of the trial.

    RealNetworks argues it's suffering irreparable harm from Redmond, Wash.-based Streambox's violation of its copyrights by making software that let consumers copy audio and video intended for use by RealNetworks' programs. Closely held Streambox has said its products benefit consumers and content providers.

    The court battle is one of the first tests of the new Digital Millennium Copyright Act, designed to extend intellectual property protection to digital and computer-based material. The emergence of Internet law will help shape the future of online music and video markets.

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  • Rambus sues Hitachi--will others be next?
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Memory designer Rambus has filed a lawsuit against Hitachi for patent infringement, a move that could end up spreading across wide segments of the semiconductor industry.

    Mountain View, Calif.-based Rambus filed an action in the Federal District Court in Delaware which alleges that Hitachi unlawfully incorporated Rambus' intellectual property into the designs of a large number of Hitachi memory chips and microprocessors, according to company executives. Rambus is seeking an injunction, as well as punitive damages.

    Hitachi could not be reached for comment.

    The circumstances of the suit indicate that Hitachi isn't likely to be the only company hit by some sort of legal action or request for royalties. Conceivably, Rambus could eventually file similar, although perhaps less bitter, suits against any company that made SDRAM memory (synchronous dynamic random access memory), or products that "interface" with computer memory, during the past 10 years. Such a list could include Samsung, Micron Technologies, Infineon, IBM and Intel.

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News Date: Tuesday 18th January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • MGM, Blockbuster team for Net movie delivery
    Time: 17:05 EDT/22:05 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the home of classic musicals and holder of the rights to 19 James Bond movies, today reached agreement with rental giant Blockbuster to find ways to give customers movies via the Internet.

    The two companies said in a joint statement they had entered a non-exclusive agreement to test and develop a model under which Blockbuster would make available selected MGM films for digital streaming and downloading video via the Internet and other home delivery technologies.

    "We are delighted to be able to partner with Blockbuster in new ways and further capitalize on the extraordinary collection of MGM films," said David Bishop, president of MGM home entertainment.

    The agreement is part of a new multi-year VHS revenue-sharing arrangement that encompasses both new MGM films and library products.

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  • Be tries free software strategy again
    Time: 16:59 EDT/21:59 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Admitting that too few people are willing to pay for an alternative to Windows operating systems, Be Inc. has decided to offer its software for free--again.

    This time, the BeOS will be available for free to any individual users who register with the company, starting with the next version of the software, due out later this quarter. The move portends a continued shift away from the desktop software market and towards the information appliance market--an arena where Be faces more competitors, albeit less entrenched ones than Microsoft.

    This isn't the first time the company has tried to woo customers by offering its main product for free. When the company failed to gain traction against Microsoft's Windows operating system, the company's chief executive, Jean Louis Gassee, last year offered the software for no cost in to any PC maker that would make Be's products the first that users see on starting up a computer. No takers were ever announced.

    "The Internet appliance opportunity is now. We are shifting our resources towards that opportunity, and we're using the desktop version as our calling card [for people] to become more familiar with BeOS technology," said Steve Sakoman, who was named Be's chief operating officer today.

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  • Supreme Court clears the way for domain registration fees
    Time: 16:58 EDT/21:58 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    A group of nine angry individuals and companies claiming a government agency, the National Science Foundation, and Network Solutions illegally taxed computer users when registering Web addresses today lost their only hope for indemnification when the U.S. Supreme Court spurned the group's appeal.

    Without any comment or dissent, the high court let stand an appellate court ruling that the fees do not represent unconstitutional or unauthorized taxes because Congress had approved their collection.

    The ruling also dismissed allegations that Network Solutions had violated federal antitrust laws.

    "We're obviously pleased,'' said Brian O'Shaughnessy, a Network Solutions spokesman. "The merits of our inclusion (in the lawsuit) were certainly dubious, however.''

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News Date: Monday 17th January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • 2000 Retail Sales Will Slow While Online Grows
    Time: 18:15 EDT/23:15 GMT News Source: TechWeb Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The year 2000 is not going to be as spectacular for retail sales as 1999, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said Monday in releasing projected retail sales numbers for the year.

    Consumers will still exude confidence in the economy and companies will be selling, but the Fed, the country's central bank, will apply the monetary brakes to an economy that in February will mark nine years of expansion, the longest period of economic growth in the nation's history, said an economist who watches the sector for a Washington, D.C.-based trade group.

    "The pace will slow because the Fed wants it to slow," said Rosalind Wells, chief economist with the NRF at a media briefing at the trade group's annual trade show and conference, here in New York.

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  • Merger shifts focus to Web products
    Time: 18:10 EDT/23:10 GMT News Source: USA Today Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The proposed merger of America Online and Time Warner has been a wake-up call for other entertainment companies: If they haven't gotten serious about products specifically for the Web, they'd better start.

    Now, many industry experts say, Warner Bros. studios is in position to grab a big lead on its rivals.

    "We're going to put our best resources behind this. We want to raise the bar of what you can see on the Internet," says Kevin Tsujihara, Warner's vice president of strategic planning. Even before the deal, Tsujihara says Warner Bros. was developing a Dating Game-like talk show for debut on the Net later this year. "Everybody views this as very important. This heightens the awareness in a big way of the Internet."

    The AOL-Time Warner deal actually sent a positive message to other old media firms, such as Walt Disney and Seagram, that there is a key place for old media in the new media world, says Joe Roth. Roth, who on Wednesday resigned as chairman of Walt Disney studios to form a Web-oriented productions company, says there was concern that when the two worlds met, new media companies would use old media companies only as product vendors, rather than form partnerships for the long term.

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  • Excite Updates Web E-mail
    Time: 18:04 EDT/23:04 GMT News Source: InternetNews Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Excite@Home Monday updated its Web-based e-mail service, putting a new interface on the product which allows users to manage e-mail, voice mail and fax messages in one location.

    Known as Excite Inbox, the free service replaces Excite Mail and features a new user interface and additional features making the product more customizable. It also integrates Excite's voice mail feature into the same interface.

    The update also gives users the ability to synchronize their e-mail address books with the information stored in personal digital assistants, including Palm Computing's Desktop. Palm customers can download My Excite for Palm VII at a variety of Palm download sites.

    The service also features links to a variety of other Excite services, including Blue Mountain Arts electronic cards.

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News Date: Friday 14th January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Domain name hopes falsely raised
    Time: 19:01 EDT/00:01 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    A software malfunction may have raised false hopes for domain name hunters today when all domain names appeared to be available from Network Solutions Inc.

    An NSI representative said a "software glitch" made long-registered domains like "" and "" appear to be unreserved. But users could not go on to register the domains, according to the company.  The problem was fixed later this afternoon.

    The glitch is the latest in a series of mishaps for the veteran domain registrar. This past weekend, a hacker hijacked educational top-level domains--those ending in ".edu"--including the one belonging to Emory University.

    Last week, registrars recalled hundreds of domains registered with NSI over the past few months because they began or ended in hyphens--which is not allowed under domain name protocols.

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  • Network Associates calls it quits on suite plan
    Time: 17:39 EDT/22:39 GMT News Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Network Associates Inc., convinced that six smaller companies can compete in the Internet economy better than one big one, is giving up on its integrated security strategy and splitting itself up.

    Two years ago, the Santa Clara, Calif., company embarked on a 10-company, $2.5 billion acquisition spree. The goal: to become a one-stop shop for a corporation's security needs.

    But NAI learned that's not what corporate IT wants, said Chairman and CEO Bill Larson. So later this month, when it announces its quarterly earnings, NAI will detail plans to split the company into six business units, with the long-term goal of taking them public.

    Network Associates' software business will split into four independent business units: McAfee Inc., which will develop anti-virus sofware; PGP Security Inc., which will control encryption, firewall and VPN software; Magic Solution Inc., which will control help-desk software; and Sniffer Technologies Inc., which will develop network management tools.

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  • Tax credit for online filing proposed
    Time: 04:15 EDT/09:15 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Taxpayers could soon have an incentive to file their returns online: a $10 credit from the federal government.

    At a Washington conference on modernizing the Internal Revenue Service, Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers today unveiled a proposal that also includes a $5 rebate to taxpayers who file their returns over the phone. The suggested tax credits will be part of President Clinton's forthcoming budget proposal, and must be enacted by Congress to take effect.

    The IRS is pushing electronic filing because it considers it to be a much more efficient process than traditional paper returns. "Electronic filing will produce faster refunds, a reduction in errors, quicker identification of compliance problems and reduced costs, all at the same time," Summers said.

    Growing numbers of consumers are already jumping at the chance to file their returns electronically. Some 2.5 million taxpayers filed tax returns using their home computers last year, up 161 percent from 1998, Summers said. Overall, taxpayers filed some 29 million returns electronically last year, either over the phone or through one of several online means.

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  • A healthy economy spurs recent price rises in PCs
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT News Source: MSNBC Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    For the first time in years, the cheapest home computers are getting more expensive. Hewlett-Packard Co.’s lowest-priced Pavilion today costs $100 more than an equivalent did four months ago.

    Compaq Computer Corp.’s lowest-priced Presario desktop now costs $200 more than its predecessor did last fall.

    All together, average personal-computer selling prices rose in November and December, according to market researcher PC Data Inc. After dipping below $800 from August through October, the average price for consumer computers reached a six-month high of $844 in December, the market research company said.

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News Date: Thursday 13th January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • U.S. Removes More Limits on Encryption Technology
    Time: 16:35 EST/21:35 GMT News Source: New York Times Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The Clinton administration yesterday lifted more of the licensing requirements on software products that are used to keep computer data and communications secure after industry complaints last fall that its efforts to rewrite the rules still placed American companies at a disadvantage.

    Under the new rules, virtually any program sold on the retail market to encrypt data can be sold overseas after what the Commerce Department said today would be a "one-time review" to give it an exemption from export license. But more important, for the first time the administration said it would allow the export, without licenses, of most types of "source code," the computer code used to create programs that encrypt data. The only exceptions would be to nations on the State Department's terrorist list, including Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria and North Korea.

    The action marks another retreat by the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which have long opposed the export of cutting-edge encryption products, for fear they would be unable to break coded communications sent by foreign governments and terrorist groups.

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  • Intel Cuts Celeron Prices
    Time: 16:33 EDT/21:33 GMT News Source: PC World Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Intel is offering post-holiday savings on select Celeron processors. The chipmaker lowered prices between 5 percent and 10 percent on the processors at the start of the week, as it tries to maintain a strong presence in the market for low-cost PCs.

    The price cuts follow the launch last week of the new 533-MHz Celeron chip, which was introduced at $167, a price that has not changed.

    The 500-MHz Celeron dropped 10 percent in price, to $128. The price of the 466-MHz and 433-MHz versions each dropped 5 percent, to $89 and $69, respectively, Intel says. The price of the 400-MHz Celeron remained unchanged, at $64.

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  • Online retail sales reach $7 billion this holiday
    Time: 16:25 EDT/21:25 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Holiday shoppers spent record amounts online in the midst of a banner year for retailers, according to several studies released today.

    Jupiter Communications estimated today that consumers spent $7 billion online between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, up from $3.1 billion for the same period in 1998. Jupiter originally projected that consumers would spend $6 billion during the holiday season.

    A separate survey from PC Data Online reported that online consumers spent $5 billion during the seven-week period between Nov. 14 and Dec. 31. In addition, the Department of Commerce estimated that consumers spent $259.6 billion online and off in December, up 9.7 percent from the previous year.

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  • NBC And CBS in 'Virtual' War Over Digital Logo
    Time: 16:22 EDT/21:22 GMT News Source: Yahoo! News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    ``Virtual'' war erupted between two TV networks Thursday as NBC demanded CBS stop using digitally created images like the logo that blocked out NBC's huge video advertising screen in Times Square during New Year's Eve broadcasts.

    NBC said it was ``shocked and outraged'' at CBS's action and the flap also put veteran CBS anchor Dan Rather at odds with his own bosses over the technological sleight of hand which was visible only on TV screens and not to revelers actually in Times Square.

    ``We have initiated a dialogue at the highest level with CBS News to ensure this practice is short-lived,'' said Dave Anderson, vice president at NBC's cable cousin CNBC, which markets and maintains the Astrovision screen.

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News Date: Monday 10th January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • GM, Ford sign alliances with AOL, Yahoo
    Time: 05:40 EDT/10:40 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    General Motors and Ford Motor announced marketing alliances with the world's biggest Internet companies, America Online and Yahoo, as more companies go online to reach customers.

    Terms of the agreements weren't disclosed. GM, the world's biggest automaker, will link its car sales Web site to America Online while the No. 1 online service adds content to GM's OnStar communications system. Ford, the world's second-largest automaker, unveiled a campaign to market its vehicles on Yahoo.

    Automakers are reinforcing their Web sales through alliances with Internet companies to reach more car shoppers. The Internet companies stand to gain additional traffic and advertising. The number of car purchases influenced by Internet shopping is expected to quadruple to 8 million by 2003, resulting in 500,000 sales, according to Forrester Research.

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  • Gateway expected back in AMD camp
    Time: 04:05 EDT/09:05 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Gateway will resume using processors from Advanced Micro Devices, according to people familiar with the PC maker's plans, opening up another chapter in one of the long-running soap operas of the computer world.

    On Monday, or soon after that, Gateway is expected to announce that it will once again incorporate AMD's chips in its consumer PCs, including AMD's touted Athlon processor. The AMD-based systems may not be available the same day as the announcement, however, these people indicated.

    The move comes days after a Gateway conference call in which chief executive Jeff Weitzen blamed lower-than-expected earnings on a shortage of Intel chips and promised that the company would reveal a plan to use alternative processors in the near future.

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  • Failed Blackmail Attempt Leads to Credit Card Theft
    Time: 04:01 EDT/09:01 GMT News Source: InternetNews Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    In what may be the largest credit card heist on the Internet, an 18-year-old Russian cracker claims to have stolen thousands of credit card numbers from an online store and dispensed them to visitors of his Web site.

    Before it was taken offline early Sunday morning, the rogue site, a page of which has been captured here, had doled out more than 25,000 stolen card numbers. Also included with the numbers were expiration dates and cardholder names and addresses, according to a counter on the page. With the click of a button, visitors could launch a script that purportedly obtained a valid credit card "directly from the biggest online shop database," according to a message at the site.

    The cracker, who goes by the nickname Maxus, claimed in an e-mail to to have breached the security of, an online music store operated by eUniverse, Inc. of Wallingford, Conn. Maxus said he had defeated a popular credit card processing application called ICVerify, from CyberCash (CYCH)and obtained a database containing more than 300,000 customer records from CDuniverse.

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News Date: Friday 7th January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Clinton Aims To Combat Hackers
    Time: 04:45 EDT/09:45 GMT News Source: Yahoo! News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    President Clinton will ask Congress next month for more money to develop new technologies and increase the capability of federal law enforcement officers to combat cyber-terrorists.

    With the New Year's Y2K threat now apparently over, Clinton hoped to turn the nation's attention with a White House announcement today toward the need for devoting more federal money to monitoring and protecting government computer systems from infiltrators.

    The White House was outlining what will be a part of a budget request to Congress next month detailing the need and proposed measures for maintaining the security of the nation's increasingly digitalized infrastructure.

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  • Gateway rips Intel over chips
    Time: 04:39 EDT/09:39 GMT News Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    PC maker blames Intel for its poor financial performance in the last quarter.

    Executives at PC maker Gateway Inc. have leveled harsh criticism of Intel Corp., coming close to blaming the chip manufacturer for its poor financial performance in the last quarter.

    As Gateway officials announced late Wednesday that the company's fourth-quarter earnings would fail to meet expectations, they also strongly hinted that the company would be seeking an alternative chip supplier. The financial warning, the officials said, was due in large part to Gateway's inability to obtain needed processors and motherboards.

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News Date: Thursday 6th January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Strike One Against Cybersquatting
    Time: 04:55 EDT/09:55 GMT News Source: Wired Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Domain dispute experts say a lawsuit against the owner of could score as a test case for a new federal law against cybersquatting. But there's plenty riding on the legal pitch.

    Baseball's New York Yankees, together with Major League Baseball Properties, filed a Christmas Eve suit against Brian McKiernan, a Queens, New York, owner of since 1997.

    The lawsuit's primary charge of domain-squatting cited the Trademark Cyberpiracy Prevention Act, which Congress enacted in November to outlaw cybersquatting. The list of charges also included trademark infringement, false representation, and trademark dilution.

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  • Domain Names Revoked Over Extra Character
    Time: 04:45 EDT/09:45 GMT News Source: New York Times Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Hoping to avert a new twist on cybersquatting, the body that oversees the Internet's address system said it was revoking hundreds of new domain names because a software bug had enabled people to claim addresses nearly identical to already established Web sites.

    The new trend, where people simply added a dash at the end of registered addresses, resulted in new domains based on trademarks like "," "" and a number of short or catchy phrases, like ""

    The revocation, approved late Tuesday night by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, is believed to the first wholesale recall of Internet domain names.

    Officials said the glitch was a by-product of opening the lucrative business of registering domain names to competition last year.

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  • domain goes up for sale--again
    Time: 04:29 EDT/09:29 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Offering the rights to the domain name on eBay may have caused a splash, but it didn't lead to a sale. Now the Web site's owners say they will offer the address again in a private sale.

    Most of the top bids for the domain, including the $10 million high bid, turned out to be pranks, said Cliff Kurtzman, president and chief executive of Tenagra Corp., which registered the domain. Although a $2 million bid turned out to be legitimate, Kurtzman said the bidder withdrew it after the auction ended.

    Several other bidders made offers in the $1 million range, but Kurtzman said Tenagra and its partner, Canadian consultant Peter de Jager, would not accept those offers. Instead of repeating the "the lengthy bidding process," Kurtzman said the partnership would sell its rights to the domain name through a private sale.

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  • Compaq, Casio handhelds to offer AOL email
    Time: 04:23 EDT/09:23 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Casio and Compaq handheld users soon will be able to access America Online email, but the alliances raise new questions about the ever-changing competitive landscape in the burgeoning device market.

    Under the agreements, AOL is developing software that will allow Compaq Aero and Casio Cassiopeia devices to access AOL email. The software will be distributed through the handheld makers via a free download to AOL's 20 million members, the companies said.

    The twist is that Compaq and Casio are two of the bigger supporters of Microsoft's Windows CE operating system, and Microsoft and AOL are engaged in a bitter battle for consumer loyalty.

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News Date: Wednesday 5th January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Apple Invests In EarthLink, Demos Mac OS X
    Time: 17:59 EDT/22:59 GMT News Source: TechWeb Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Apple Computer said Wednesday that it will invest $200 million in Earthlink Network, which will be the ISP for Apple's Macintosh computers.

    Apple also said it will take a seat on Earthlink's board. Earthlink is set to merge with Mindspring Enterprises, which would create the No. 2 ISP after America Online.

    The agreement with Earthlink is similar to a service that Gateway -- a maker of so-called "Wintel" PCs that use Microsoft software and Intel chips -- has been offering for some time.

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  • to offer 10-year Net name registrations
    Time: 17:53 EDT/22:53 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    In its ongoing attempt to cut a path for itself among the numerous other domain name registrars, this month will extend the expiration date on its online addresses from two years to 10 years.

    Beginning sometime in the next two weeks, customers will be able to hold on to their domain names for anywhere from a year to a full decade, the company said in a statement.

    At the moment, ".com," ".net" and ".org" domain names are registered for up to two years, with an option to renew the names for another two years at the end of each term.

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  • auction on eBay found a hoax
    Time: 04:59 EDT/09:59 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    eBay said today that the record $10 million bid for Web address turned out to be a prank.

    Houston-based Tenagra Corp., which put its rights to the domain name up for auction on eBay, asked the auction leader to investigate the $10 million bid after not receiving any response from the bidder, eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said. eBay's investigation team then examined the bidder's contact information and tried to get in touch with the buyer without success, Pursglove said.

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  • Intel to enter Web appliance market
    Time: 04:36 EDT/09:36 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Intel will further expand its horizons beyond the microprocessor when it details plans for selling Linux-powered Internet appliances that make phone calls, surf the Web and send and receive email.

    The new appliances, which will come out toward the middle of the year, will essentially combine a phone with a limited but upgradeable Internet PC. Prices will range from $300 to $700 with monthly service starting at $25 to $30, said Claude Leglise, general manager of the home products group at Intel.

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  • Compaq Unveils Streamlined Consumer PC Models
    Time: 04:35 EDT/09::35 GMT News Source: Yahoo! News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Compaq Computer Corp said on Wednesday it will introduce a line-up of innovative personal computers, wireless links and digital cameras that mark a further break from its focus on traditional beige-box PCs.

    Compaq said its new Presario EZ2000 PC models, with prices starting at $999, come with easy-to-use features and one-touch Internet access.

    The Presario EZ2000 PC parallels a new line of small and stylish PCs introduced last month by rival Dell, the world's No. 2 personal computer maker. Other PC makers plan similar machines in coming months.

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  • Sony powers up new laptops, PCs
    Time: 04:05 EDT/09:05 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Sony Electronics kicked off the millennium by announcing a range of new notebooks, all-in-one LCD computers and multimedia desktop systems, all built to help sell more Sony digital cameras, camcorders and music products.

    The new computers are positioned as multimedia powerhouses, not just because digital imaging is a hot consumer application, but also because Sony's strategy in its consumer PC business has been to design computers explicitly for use with its high-profit consumer electronics products, such as the Sony Mavica camera.

    The strategy is similar to what many PC companies are sticking to these days, as component and system prices drop so low that it's difficult to differentiate computers by hardware specifications or software bundles. In contrast to other PC makers, however, Sony is ideally suited to this strategy, the electronics giant has argued, because its core strengths are in traditional audio video products, not computers.

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  • EarthLink Keeps Access in the Family
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT News Source: PC World Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Family Pack option lets you add multiple users and e-mail boxes to one EarthLink account.

    The family that Web-surfs together doesn't have to stay with America Online to share a multiuser account. EarthLink unveils this week a competing multiuser service designed for families sharing one EarthLink account.

    Family Pack lets members establish up to five additional user IDs for $2 monthly in addition to EarthLink's $19.95 monthly fee. Up to six people in one household can now share one EarthLink account while maintaining separate e-mail boxes and personalized settings, which include custom Personal Start Pages, bookmarks, and filters.

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News Date: Tuesday 4th January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • AOL, Liquid Audio offer music download software
    Time: 18:53 EDT/23:53 GMT News Source: News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    America Online today agreed to begin distributing a plug-in developed by Liquid Audio throughout its Web music software properties, marking another step in the online giant's bid to become a major online music destination.

    The software plug-in will allow users of AOL's Winamp Web music player to preview, buy and download music from Liquid Audio's full catalog of more than 50,000 songs. The Liquid Plug-in, as the software is called, will not only deliver music to Winamp users, but also will offer music lyrics, album liner notes and album cover art.

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  • World Back at Work With Few Delays
    Time: 04:53 EDT/09:53 GMT News Source: Yahoo! News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The first major business day of the millennium opened with few signs of Y2K computer glitches, much to the delight of stock markets worldwide. At least two stock indexes hit new heights.

    Those returning to work today found energy supplies and corporate computer systems operating smoothly. The U.S. banking system was ``running smoothly'' this morning, said the U.S. Federal Reserve. Bruce McConnell, director of the International Y2K Cooperation Center, told the CBS ``Early Show'' that nothing serious was reported anywhere and ``the risk is very low at this point.''

    Not that the Y2K bug was nowhere to be seen: Glitches hit government computers in Hong Kong and mainland China. Police testing the sobriety of drivers in Hong Kong had to enter birth dates on breath-testing machine because of an apparent Y2K malfunction. Courthouse computers in Italy mixed up prisoner dates by 100 years. A few ATM machines shut down.

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  • How Y2K Bug Money Was Spent
    Time: 04:39 EDT/09:39 GMT News Source: Yahoo! News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    For anyone who believes the $100 billion spent in the United States immunizing technology from Y2K bugs was wasted, consider this: Three minor computers known to have problems and deliberately left running crashed completely at the century's dawn.

    ``All three of the systems failed following the Y2K rollover and could not be used,'' said John Koskinen, President Clinton's top Y2K adviser. ``The systems simply stopped and became unusable.''

    Koskinen said all three computers had been replaced before the date rollover, but he described the unscientific experiment by one of the states ``an interesting example of what happens with systems that have failures.'' He declined to identify which state let the computers fail.

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  • Twice as Nice: Micron Doubles CPU Power
    Time: 04:30 EDT/09:30 GMT News Source: PC World Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    A PC with Intel's 733-MHz Pentium III processor just isn't fast enough for you? Perhaps you'd prefer a system running a pair of the high-speed processors. will announce Tuesday its new ClientPro Dx5000, offering single or double Pentium III processors running at up to 733 MHz (with 800-MHz CPUs coming soon). The system uses Intel's 840 chip set, and supports high-speed Rambus memory, high-quality AGP Pro graphics, the ATA 66 hard drive standard, and the fast new 133-MHz front-side bus. It's geared toward power users who want near-workstation performance from their PCs.

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News Date: Monday 3rd January 2000
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Network Solutions Takes Domain Disputes Online
    Time: 17:49 EDT/22:49 GMT News Source: InternetNews Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Domain name registrar Network Solutions Inc. Monday launched , which will enable clients to resolve cybersquatting disputes online.

    The new site provides a roadmap to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, which was recently adopted by the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers and is mandated for all registrars in the .com, .net and .org domain names.

    Network Solutions established its former Domain Name Dispute Policy in July 1995 to balance the rights of domain name registrants and registered trademark owners, but is no longer accepting any new trademark complaints under its former policy.

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  • Asia Markets Show No Y2K Problems
    Time: 04:36 EDT/09:36 GMT News Source: Yahoo Daily News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    As major Asian financial markets opened Monday for their first trading of the new millennium, no Y2K problems were reported, and two major stock exchanges in Asia quickly set new records.

    ``Trading has been fairly smooth so far,'' said John Yap, a dealer in Singapore. ``There's been no indication of any glitches. Trading has been as smooth as we had hoped.''

    In the United States, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade also opened electronic trading on Sunday evening without a hitch.

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  • Companies Say Y2K Preparations Paid Off
    Time: 04:30 EDT/09:30 GMT News Source: TechWeb Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    What appeared to be an effortless transition to the year 2000 left some of the millions of workers on Y2K watch on Friday with little to do, but companies stressed that the efforts and the preparation were absolutely necessary.

    The trouble-free new year was fueling questions about whether there was too much hype surrounding the problem, but companies involved said it was a necessity.

    "The fact that nothing happened doesn't mean that nothing would have happened," a Cisco spokesman said. "It just means we prepared well."

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  • E-tailers may be stuck with shipping costs
    Time: 04:05 EDT/09:05 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    E-commerce companies spent big bucks on expensive advertising campaigns, selling goods at rock-bottom prices and offering free shipping to acquire new customers. Now they may find they are locked into such practices.

    Online customers have grown accustomed to special discounts and free services offered by e-commerce sites. One of their favorite perks is free shipping, according to a recent survey released by Internet study group Forrester Research.

    As the holidays end and the new year approaches, analysts predict e-tailers will concentrate less on acquiring new customers and more on the bottom line. Many companies had hoped to cut costs by charging for delivery. But Forrester found 82 percent of online consumers said that shipping costs "factored into their purchase decision."

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  • Wall Street Ready After Minor Fixes
    Time: 04:03 EDT/09:03 GMT News Source: TechWeb Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The U.S. securities industry said Saturday that all major U.S. stock and bond exchanges and their clearing houses are fully operational and ready for business on Monday, although a few glitches appeared overnight.

    There were instances of trade reports showing 1900 instead of 2000 and a decimal point problem that changed net asset valuations, but it was unclear if it was Y2K-related.

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  • $10 million bid for Y2K Web site address
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT News Source: Nando Media Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Bidding for the Internet domain name closed on eBay early Sunday at $10 million. That would be a record if the sale goes through.

    The domain name is now used for a Web site run by Peter de Jager, a Canadian computer consultant who was among the first to sound the Y2K alarm. In an announcement to subscribers, de Jager and partner Cliff Kurtzman said the name has served its purpose well and "can undoubtedly be put to better use" in 2000.

    The online auction site eBay accepted 13 offers by the end of bidding at 1 a.m. EST Sunday, according to the auctioneer's Web site. No names were disclosed and an eBay spokesman said it typically takes three business days to determine whether a bid is legitimate.

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Read more of the past months news in our News Archive for December and Previous January  News.

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