The Active Network

News Date: Thursday 30th December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Y2K News
  • NZ Urges Care in Diagnosing Any New Year Glitches
    Time: 07:58 EDT/12:58 GMT News Source: Yahoo Daily News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The world will be watching New Zealand carefully for Y2K breakdowns on January 1 and any misdiagnosed chaos scenario could damage the country's economy, the New Zealand Y2K Readiness Commission said on Thursday.

    New Zealand will be the first industrialized nation to roll into the new millennium, on local time, and could serve as an early warning center on whether computers may mistake 2000 for 1900, and crash or misbehave.

    ``Perceptions of New Zealand management of the Y2K risk will create attitudes, and could in fact create attitudes in the finance markets which could be detrimental to New Zealand,'' Commission chairman Basil Logan said.

  • New cyber-assault methods pop up
    Time: 07:50 EDT/12:50 GMT News Source: MSNBC Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    As the pre-Y2K hype enters its final phase, computer watchdogs have identified two new techniques for bringing Internet sites down: One of the denial-of-service attacks is nicknamed TFN2K, the other is called the “Mac Flood Attack.” Neither of them is directly related to the Year 2000 computer bug itself, but the failures they cause could be misinterpreted as New Year’s glitches.

    The two attack strategies were reported Tuesday in an advisory from the CERT Coordination Center, headquartered at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute. A spokesman for the institute, Bill Pollak, acknowledged that there wasn’t any “explicit connection” to the potential Y2K problem, which could arise if computer chips fumble the rollover from 1999 to 2000.

    However, he added, “use of the tools described in the advisory may cause significant service outages that may be mistaken as Y2K failures.”

  • Y2K bug behind credit card debacle
    Time: 07:42 EDT/12:42 GMT News Source: MSNBC Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    A Y2K-triggered failure in credit card swipe machines caused frustrating delays for thousands of retailers and customers trying to ring up purchases across Britain on Wednesday. The machines, manufactured by Racal Electronics and supplied by HSBC, one of Britain’s largest four banks, improperly rejected credit cards because of a failure to recognize the year 2000, a bank spokeswoman said.

    Merchants who tried to swipe Mastercard and Visa cards through some 20,000 machines beginning on Tuesday found they were improperly rejected, said HSBC spokeswoman Nicolette Dawson. Lines grew as retailers were forced to telephone for further authorization.

    The failure, characterized as minor by Dawson, comes just days before the New Year, when most Y2K glitches are expected to begun to be felt. Experts say the seriousness of disruptions will depend on the quality of Y2K remediation.

  • Web sites wary of New Year's mischief
    Time: 07:35 EDT/12:35 GMT News Source: USA Today Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Web site operators and people who run computer systems will be watching for more than the Y2K bug on New Year's Eve: They will be on guard for viruses and other mischief spread by hackers looking for some start-of-the-millennium attention.

    The threat has prompted several Web site operators to shut down beginning on Friday. For some companies, security breaches could cause greater problems than year 2000 glitches.

  • Officials make final Y2K preparations
    Time: 07:30 EDT/12:30 GMT News Source: USA Today Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Federal officials said Wednesday they are prepared to respond quickly and can draw on resources from as many as 26 federal agencies and the Red Cross if any Y2K emergencies arise this weekend.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency has established 10 regional centers around the country to monitor any potential difficulties in the United States or U.S. territories. Beginning Thursday, FEMA will have its emergency support team in full gear 24 hours a day through Jan. 2. Roughly 800 personnel will be working through the weekend.

    ''FEMA is confident that nothing serious will happen, but we are prepared to respond just like we would for any other natural disaster or any other emergency situation,'' said Robert Adamcik, associate director for FEMA response and recovery.

  • Western U.S. Power Plants to Cut Output on Dec 31
    Time: 07:26 EDT/12:26 GMT News Source: Yahoo Daily News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Major power plants across the western United States will operate at reduced rates on New Year's Eve in a move that will allow electric companies to increase power output in case of any Y2K problems.

    The reason for the limit, which takes effect around 9 p.m. PST on Friday, is to allow more power plants to operate, thereby reducing the impact should a unit trip off line during the transition.

    ``We're limiting the amount of generation out of some of the larger base load plants,'' said Bill Comish, Y2K coordinator for the Western Systems Coordinating Council (WSCC), a regional electric reliability council for 14 U.S. states, two Canadian provinces and a small part of Mexico.

  • Pentagon Pay Agency to Shut Web Site for Y2K
    Time: 07:24 EDT/12:24 GMT News Source: Yahoo Daily News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The Defense Department agency that pays military personnel and contractors temporarily will shut its Internet site to protect against computer hackers during the changeover to the year 2000, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

    The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), which disburses $24 billion a month, will take its Web site offline from 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. on New Year's Day. A notice of the shutdown was posted at the agency's site (

    ``We're taking the site down, basically to protect ourselves from hackers,'' said agency spokeswoman Lisa Anderson.

News Date: Monday 27th December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Fox pounces on TV fan Web sites
    Time: 16:32 EDT/21:32 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    On the popular TV show "The X-Files," FBI special agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder crack the bizarre and paranormal cases other agents can't handle.

    On the Internet, it's the show's fans who are up against powerful forces, trying to get through to 20th Century Fox executives who want to clamp down on Web sites devoted to TV characters.

    The Web serves as a venue through which enthusiastic fans can share their passion for a particular TV show. But the way Fox network executives see it, some sites go too far and may infringe on copyrighted work.

    In a statement, Fox said it "appreciates" fan sites but "requests that sites using Fox's copyrighted and trademarked materials comply with guidelines that protect the creative integrity of the series."

  • Net founders seek clearer Net policy
    Time: 16:29 EDT/21:29 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Is television part of the Internet, if you can watch programs online? And what about new Web-based mobile phones?

    Policymakers proposing Internet regulation must settle on a solid definition for today's Internet or face increased confusion as the technology matures, a high-profile Internet think tank warned today.

    The advice came in a paper drafted by MCI WorldCom vice president Vinton Cerf and Corporation for National Research Initiatives president Robert Kahn, who jointly helped create the technology that allows computers connected to the Internet to communicate.

    "Governments are passing legislation pertaining to the Internet without ever specifying to what the law applies and to what it does not apply," the pair wrote. "This area is badly in need of clarification."

  • Experts, officials confident Y2K will arrive smoothly
    Time: 16:25 EDT/21:25 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    A number of government officials and industry experts join the growing chorus of dignitaries who say the transition to the new year will be a smooth one.

    Government officials took to the weekend talk show circuit yesterday to explain away any doubts over whether the nation is ready to tackle potential problems caused by the so-called Year 2000 bug.

    Repeating his familiar message from the last four months, John Koskinen, the White House's top gun on Y2K, said the date change should cause very few technology problems. Americans should make no more preparations for New Year's this year than they would for any long winter weekend, he added.

News Date: Wednesday 22nd December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Network Solutions may divide businesses
    Time: 12:05 EDT/17:05 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Network Solutions, which runs the database that manages Internet addresses, said it's considering separating its registry and registrar businesses to be eligible to continue to operate the database for the federal government for another four years.

    NSI collects fees from other companies that register Internet names. The company had been the sole register of addresses ending in ".com," ".net" and ".org," until the Clinton administration decided to introduce competition last year. It agreed earlier this year to extend the contract until 2003.

    The company plans to hire financial advisers on how to split the businesses. NSI has controlled the registering of domains since 1993. Under agreements reached in November, the company was given 18 months to separate the businesses for the terms of the contract to be extended until November 2007.

  • AOL to acquire MapQuest in $1.1 billion deal Year: All Net Access Free?
    Time: 12:00 EDT/17:00 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    America Online today said it will acquire online map and navigation provider in a stock deal worth $1.1 billion.

    The online giant said adding New York-based MapQuest to its local content network Digital City and movie listing guide and ticketing service MovieFone offers new advertising and business opportunities built around mapping and directions for areas of entertainment, dining and shopping online.

    The acquisition provides AOL members, including members of CompuServe and visitors to Netcenter and ICQ, with maps, directions and new ways to customize their experience, Dulles, Va.-based AOL said.

    The acquisition also pushes the company's "AOL Anywhere" strategy by providing maps and directions on multiple devices, such as smart phones, PalmPilots and other non-PC devices. The company has been aggressively building on its strategy partly by forming alliances with satellite companies, mobile telecommunications firms and makers of portable devices. The company also has made significant investments in satellite television firms to try to remain on top of the consumer Net access market.

  • Next Year: All Net Access Free?
    Time: 04:45 EDT/09:45 GMT News Source: PC World Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    This time next year, Internet service will be free of charge to consumers, according to one scenario developed by the market research firm Datamonitor.

    "I admit the idea sounds a little bit out there," says Rob Shavell, a Datamonitor analyst. "But the money will be made up in advertising and in e-commerce offerings."

    Free Internet access is growing in popularity, with 3.5 million people signed up to firms such as Netzero and Juno Online Services since 1998, says Shavell, the author of a report entitled "The Future of the Internet, 2nd Ed."

    Low technology costs for Internet service providers, improvements in online advertising technology, and a flood of new Internet users will combine to encourage free Internet service, he says.

  • Social Security Secure for Y2K
    Time: 04:35 EDT/09:35 GMT News Source: Wired Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Federal officials say the Social Security system is Y2K-OK, and they're probably right.

    The most recent figures show that all of the agency's 2203 computer systems are Y2K compliant, and many have been for years.

    "We want the public to understand we are prepared for the year 2000," Commissioner Kenneth Apfel told reporters at a White House press center.

    He said that all 1,300 Social Security field offices will be prepared for possible glitches on New Year's and -- if necessary -- can handwrite checks for US$999 to people in "dire circumstances."

  • servers will be down over New Years
    Time: 04:28 EDT/09:28 GMT News Source: E-Mail Posted By: Matthew Sabean, the pay as you surf company has decieded to play it safe over the New Year and has issued the following statement to its viewers:

    OK, so the Year 2000 isn’t even the real Millennium. But it really IS Y2K Time. That means we can finally stop guessing about what Y2K is going to do to the world’s computers – and get on with our lives.

    But as a prudent measure, we’re going to disconnect our servers from the Internet on Thursday, December 30, at midnight PST and reconnect to the Internet at noon PST on Saturday, January 1, 2000

    We evaluated the risks and rewards of turning off the Viewbar™ and have elected to take a better-safe-than-sorry approach to the date changeover. Consequently, the end-of-month accounting that determines your paid time will take place as of midnight, Thursday, December 30. So if you haven’t surfed your full 25 hours yet, try to get them in before Thursday at midnight.

News Date: Tuesday 21st December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Palm devices with color screen coming soon
    Time: 16:43 EDT/21:43 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Palm Computing will release its first device with a color display early next year, sources close to the company confirm, but in doing so, the handheld maker may actually be opening up a new can of worms.

    Palm Computing will release the new handheld, dubbed the Palm IIIc, in February, sources said, marking a major milestone for the company and the latest salvo in its ongoing battle with Microsoft for the minds and wallets of gadget lovers. Arguably the most anticipated product release from Palm, the introduction of the IIIc will also coincide with its initial public offering, also expected in February.

    Palm declined to comment, citing a policy of not discussing unannounced products.

    The move could present challenges for Palm. The color-display release presents a new set of thorny issues for the company, which has so far predicated its marketing and development strategy on a so-called Zen of Palm principle, which mandates keeping devices as simple as possible, even at the expense of cooler features. By their very nature, color displays are exceedingly complex to implement, which raises questions about whether Palm is unwisely veering from its tried-and-true strategy.

  • FDA issues safety tips on Net pharmacies
    Time: 05:08 EDT/10:08 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    With new Internet drugstores appearing every day, the U.S. government today outlined steps for consumers to avoid trouble when purchasing prescription drugs or medical devices online.

    The Food and Drug Administration unveiled an online guide with tips for safe shopping among the hundreds of Internet-based pharmacies, complete with an email form for consumers to alert the agency of suspect Web sites.

    While some online pharmacies offer legitimate products and convenience, officials warned it was easy for operators to sell pharmaceuticals without a valid prescription, promote unapproved drugs or peddle counterfeit medicines.

    "We know that more and more consumers are going online to purchase prescription drugs and other products, and we want to tell people to just be careful," said Tom McGinnis, director of pharmacy affairs in the FDA's office of policy.

  • Be, Compaq in software licensing agreement
    Time: 05:05 EDT/10:05 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Be Inc., the operating system developer that's been looking for ways to move into the mainstream of computing, landed a licensing agreement with Compaq Computer that could lead to Compaq-Be Internet appliances.

    The announcement marks one of the first deals to result from Be's revised strategy to target the emerging market for information appliances. Earlier this year, Be said it was working with National Semiconductor to port its software to a variety of appliance prototypes, including National's Web tablet.

    One potential area of cooperation with Compaq is in Internet terminals, stripped-down PCs designed for Web surfing and e-mail delivery. At the Comdex trade show earlier this year, Compaq unveiled such a device, code-named "Clipper," which will be sold by telecommunications carriers to the public as a simplified way to get onto the Net. Microsoft has already announced plans for taking a Windows CE-enabled version of Clipper and selling it as the MSN Web Companion.

    Sources at Compaq, however, have said that other communications carriers are looking at the device and considering different operating systems.

  • More details emerge on IBM's wearable PC
    Time: 05:00 EDT/10:00 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Small is in at IBM, which is currently testing a wearable PC based on the ultra portable ThinkPad 560. IBM has been working on various wearable prototypes for about the last four to 12 months, but does not expect marketable products before late next year.

    The as-yet unnamed wearable PC is an important proof-of-concept, as IBM looks to breathe new life into its Personal Systems Group, which it recently reorganized. The division lost nearly $1 billion last year.

    As previously reported, the wearable PC is part of a new class of devices IBM calls EON, which stands for "edge of the network." EON emphasizes specialized-function devices rather than the ubiquitous one-size-fits-all approach typical of PCs. /font>

News Date: Monday 20th December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Amazon CEO named Time's "Person of Year"
    Time: 04:04 EDT/09:04 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Jeff Bezos, chief executive and founder of, was named Time magazine's 1999 "Person of the Year," though his groundbreaking company has yet to make money.

    "He has helped guarantee that the world of buying and selling will never be the same," Time deputy managing editor James Kelly wrote issues that will appear on newsstands tomorrow. Bezos is "the driving force behind the striking growth in Internet commerce over the past 12 months."

    Bezos, 35, is the fourth-youngest person to win the annual award, which singles out a person who, for better or worse, most influenced events in the past year. Younger winners were aviator Charles Lindbergh, who was 25 when named chosen in 1927; Queen Elizabeth II, who was 26 when selected in 1952; and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who was 34 when chosen in 1963., based in Seattle, began selling books online in 1995 and went public in May 1997. As it continues to be the Internet's largest retailer, the company has opened an auction site this year.

  • Top Web sites compromise consumer privacy
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT News Source: Daily News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Online holiday shopping is expected to deliver record sales for e-tailers this year, but a new study finds it may put consumers' privacy at risk.

    "[Online] consumers are more at risk today than they were in 1997," Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), said in a report issued today. Rotenberg cited extensive customer profiling and intrusive marketing techniques, such as the use of "cookies," among the factors causing higher risk. Cookies track user browsing and shopping habits online.

    "Anonymity, which remains crucial to privacy on the Internet, is being squeezed out by the rise of electronic commerce," he said.

    Only a handful of the 100 most popular online stores give shoppers adequate privacy, according to the Washington-based privacy research group. The group's research focused on whether sites use profile-based advertising and whether they use cookies in their site operations, both controversial practices on the Internet.

News Date: Friday 17th December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
  • U.S. utilities ready to beat Y2K bug
    Time: 06:35 EDT/11:35 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Americans can go to bed on New Year's Eve confident that the millennium bug won't disrupt their electric lights and power, the Clinton Administration said today.

    Energy Secretary Bill Richardson declared that the nation's electricity utilities are 100 percent ready for possible Y2K computer problems, and there are contingency plans in place to keep power flowing smoothly.

    Consumers who bought portable electric generators out of fear about power shortages linked to the millennium bug should consider returning them to the stores, he said.

    "My advice to the American people is, you don't need to buy power generators. If you can get a good deal on a return, do it," Richardson said.

  • Russia, Britain sure nukes are Y2K-ready
    Time: 06:33 EDT/11:33 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The Russian and British defense ministries are confident there is no risk of any accident involving their military nuclear weapons systems as a result of the millennium bug, Britain said today.

    "Detailed exchanges of information on computer systems associated with nuclear weapons took place at meetings in Moscow and in London last week," Britain's defense ministry said in a statement.

    "Both sides agree that there is no risk of an accidental missile launch as a result of the year 2000 date change or any other computer failure," it said.

    The two ministries, which were due to keep up contacts over the millennium period, also exchanged assurances on their conventional forces.

  • Programs for Poor Not Y2K Ready
    Time: 06:30 EDT/11:30 GMT News Source: Yahoo Daily News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    With barely two weeks until the new year, a handful of states are still scrambling to fix Y2K computer problems for programs that serve millions of poor Americans.

    And many others have fixed their computers only very recently, putting at risk programs to write welfare checks, sign people up for government health care and hand out food stamps.

    ``Clearly some of them have cut it far too close,'' said John Koskinen, the White House Y2K coordinator.

    Eight states and the District of Columbia remain at risk for Y2K computer glitches in welfare, health care and other federally funded programs, according to the federal government's final report on Y2K readiness, issued this week and based on data from a week earlier.

  • FBI On Alert for Y2K Threats
    Time: 06:30 EDT/11:30 GMT News Source: Yahoo Daily News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The FBI will remain on nationwide alert throughout New Year's weekend, although there have been no specific threats by terrorists, says Attorney General Janet Reno.

    Reno was asked Thursday if there were any domestic threats similar to that allegedly posed by 13 people arrested in Jordan recently. That group is said to be linked to radical Saudi exile Osama bin Laden and to be planning to attack Americans abroad at New Year's gatherings.

    ``We have no specific information concerning specific attacks,'' Reno replied. But ``we must always be concerned about the possibility of an attack and take every reasonable step that we can.''

    She said common sense prevented her from publicly outlining in detail the precautions taken by her department.

  • Military Ready for Y2K After $3.6 Billion Fix
    Time: 06:28 EDT/11:28 GMT News Source: Yahoo Daily News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    U.S. military computers and weapons are now ready for high-tech war after the critical Y2K roll-over on Dec. 31, thanks to a $3.6 billion fix over the past 18 months, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

    ``I think it was nearly miraculous,'' Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre told a news conference to announce that more than 7,600 U.S. military computer systems had been fixed, tested and were ready to advance to the year 2000 without major confusion.

    ``This is a war-fighting issue for us. This isn't a computer geek issue. We are ready. We anticipate absolutely no problems in the Department of Defense,'' Hamre said.

News Date: Thursday 16th December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Surfing the Web: The New Ticket to a Pink Slip
    Time: 06:48 EDT/11:48 GMT News Source: New York Times Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    One day early in October, 40 employees of the Xerox Corporation, working in locations across the United States, received unwelcome news: They had been caught in the act of surfing to forbidden Web sites, nabbed not by managers or fellow employees but by software designed to monitor their online indiscretions.

    The software recorded every Web site they had visited (many of which, it turned out, were related to shopping or pornography) and every minute they had spent at those sites.

    "This was up to eight hours a day in inappropriate visits to Web sites," said Bill McKee, a spokesman for Xerox. "Obviously they were not doing their job."

    The 40 workers were fired immediately, but they were not the only ones being subjected to the watchful eye of the monitoring software. In fact, the Web use of every one of Xerox's 92,000 employees -- in countries around the world -- is routinely monitored by the company. The surveillance is no secret, Mr. McKee said. Xerox workers have come to expect that they are being watched.

  • Microsoft's Gains Lift Dow as Internet Issues Cool Off
    Time: 06:41 EDT/11:41 GMT News Source: New York Times Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Microsoft led the stock market higher Wednesday, putting an end to a one-day slump in high-technology shares and lifting the Dow Jones industrials.

    The Dow Jones industrial average rose 65.15 points, to 11,225.32. Microsoft accounted for more than half the gain.

    Stocks rose after Microsoft said its Windows 2000 code, which had been held up in numerous delays, had been delivered to software manufacturing plants. Retail customers will be able to purchase products based on Windows 2000 on Feb. 17.

  • Net tax panel punts
    Time: 06:35 EDT/11:35 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    After a day and a half of meetings, a congressional panel charged with investigating Internet taxes decided not to decide.

    The Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce met here over the last two days, hearing and debating proposals on international taxes, state sales taxes and the so-called digital divide, said to separate those who have access to the Internet and those who don't. Although commissioners indicated agreement on several issues, including a ban on online access taxes and the elimination of a three-percent excise tax on telecommunications services, the panel elected to delay a vote on those issues until its March meeting in Dallas.

    The commission, which is required to report to Congress on its findings in April, plans to present and vote on its final report at that meeting.

  • Record labels charge Chinese sites with music piracy
    Time: 06:31 EDT/11:31 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Major recording companies today launched two landmark legal actions in China against two Web sites that allegedly offer more than 1,000 Internet music files illegally.

    The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said the civil suits filed by its members against the alleged pirate operators--My Web in Beijing and Tekson in Guangzhou--were the first such actions launched in China.

    The action was brought by EMI Group, Sony Music, Universal Music, Warner Music and China Record Guangzhou Company.

  • Dell signs another computer services partner
    Time: 06:28 EDT/11:28 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Dell's tepid enthusiasm for the computer service market emerged again today when the company revealed an investment in PC support start-up will specialize in providing Web-based technical support services to small- and medium-sized businesses. While Dell Computer would not disclose the extent of its financial commitment, sources close to the company said that it is the major backer behind, which will start to offer its services next month.

    Service and support have always presented a quandary for the Round Rock, Texas-based direct PC maker in its plans. The company has historically stressed providing customers with top-notch technical support, an emphasis that has paid off in relatively consistent high marks for service in polls of corporate IT (information technology) executives.

News Date: Wednesday 15th December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Charter may buy 1 million set-top boxes from GI
    Time: 11:07 EDT/16:07 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Cable systems operator Charter Communications plans to buy 1 million digital TV set-top boxes from General Instrument in a deal valued at $300 million, according to reports.

    The boxes, which allow Internet access through television sets, would be delivered to Charter in 2000 and 2001, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The boxes would offer advanced features such as the ability to record video, and are seen as a way for Charter to move quickly into the interactive services market.

  • DOJ probes MTV Networks on charges of antitrust practices
    Time: 11:05 EDT/16:05 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Viacom's MTV Networks unit is under investigation by the Justice Department regarding alleged antitrust violations in dealings with major music companies, according to reports.

    A range of practices are under investigation, including demands that music companies give channels MTV, M2 and VH1 exclusive rights to music videos, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing an unidentified Justice Department official.

  • Excite@Home poised to offer free dial-up service
    Time: 11:02 EDT/16:02 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Excite@Home is expected to offer its own branded free dial-up Internet service in hopes of luring a larger customer base, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

    The company plans to offer the service using technology provided by CMGI-owned, the same free access provider that AltaVista cut a deal with in July. Excite@Home already is the largest provider of high-speed Net access over cable networks.

    The decision to enter the free Internet service provider (ISP) space comes at a time when Excite@Home Web content competitors are beginning to offer their own free ISP services.

    Yahoo is expected to announce a deal tomorrow to offer a co-branded free ISP service with Kmart as part of the launch of the retailer's e-commerce site, according to sources. Spinway, the free ISP with funding from Masayoshi Son's Softbank and Seagate founder Al Shugart, will power the service, sources said.

News Date: Tuesday 14th December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Palm Computing, Inc. Files Registration Statement For Initial Public Offering
    Time: 05:08 EDT/10:08 GMT News Source: 3Com Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    3Com Corporation (Nasdaq: COMS) today announced that a registration statement has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the initial public offering of the common stock of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Palm Computing, Inc. In connection with the IPO, Palm Computing, Inc. intends to change its name to Palm, Inc.

    Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter are co-lead managers for the offering. Other managers for the offering are Merrill Lynch & Co. and Robertson Stephens.

  • U.S. stations want to shut off Internet TV
    Time: 05:08 EDT/10:08 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    A group of U.S. television stations is preparing legal action against Canadian Net TV company, joining a group of Canadian broadcasters already battling the controversial start-up.

    iCraveTV launched just two weeks ago, broadcasts 17 television stations from Canada and the United States over the Internet. As the first North American site to bring network television shows online, it is testing the boundaries between old and new media--and has wound up in legal trouble as a result.

    Last week, the U.S. stations gave iCraveTV an ultimatum: Stop broadcasting, or face legal action. The Friday deadline passed and the shows went on, and now the stations say they'll see in court.

    "We are in agreement that we will initiate legal action to stop what [iCraveTV] is doing," said Tom Davidson, legal counsel for Granite Broadcasting, which owns Buffalo, N.Y.'s WKBW-TV. "We are confident that what they are doing is illegal in both jurisdictions."

  • Security firm creates spin-off for broadband consumers
    Time: 05:00 EDT/10:00 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Check Point Software Technologies announced the creation of a new company, SofaWare Technologies, intended to provide Internet security software to high-speed Net access consumers.

    SofaWare will sell Check Point's software, such as HomeSecure, to home and home office users connected to the Internet via "broadband" technologies, the company said. HomeSecure protects users from hackers and helps Internet service providers maintain traffic control.

    Redwood City, Calif.-based Check Point is venturing into a quickly growing market, hoping to tap what analysts expect will become a lucrative business. Both digital subscriber lines (DSL) and cable modems are proving popular with consumers tired of waiting on slower dial-up connections.

    Because broadband connections are typically "always on," some critics have claimed that they are more susceptible to penetration by hackers or crackers. Check Point sees the concern as an opportunity and decided a new company could best handle the extra load, the company said.

  • Excite@Home, Sega in gaming partnership
    Time: 04:54 EDT/09:54 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Excite will help produce Sega's Dreamcast Network, an Internet gaming portal developed in conjunction with Sega's hugely popular Dreamcast console, according to the two companies.

    Dreamcast users will find Excite-produced content and personalization features, such as Excite Mail and stock quotes. Eventually, the companies said, Excite will produce an interface for a Dreamcast TV-based Web browser.

    Besides being a video game player, Dreamcast lets users access the Internet through a built-in 56-kbps modem; preferred ISP service is delivered via AT&T WorldNet. Sega already has sold over 1 million Dreamcast consoles in North America since it launched in September.

    According to Excite, the partnership is the latest in the Redwood City, Calif.'s company's attempts to distribute its service through non-PC devices, and follows a deal to provide content for AT&T's PocketNet wireless Internet service.

News Date: Monday 13th December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • The Spending Lamp Is Lit
    Time: 16:47 EDT/21:47 GMT News Source: Wired Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The online shopping phenomenon shows no signs of slackening, according to a study released Monday. In fact, it looks like the sky's the limit.

    According to the Goldman Sachs-PC Data study, home Internet shoppers spent more than US$900 million at online retail sites last week, an increase of 60 percent over the previous week.

    Although spending increased in virtually every category, toys were the top grossers, with around 1.3 million individuals punching the "buy now" button. Music was the second leading seller with 1 million unique visitors, the study said.

  • Battle lines tighten over Net sales tax
    Time: 16:27 EDT/21:27 GMT News Source: USA Today Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Traditional retailers are joining forces with state and local government officials this week to try to prevent the Internet from evolving into a tax-free sales haven.

    But they face an uphill battle in their effort to persuade a government board, the 19-member Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce, to adopt their position. The commission is deeply divided on the issue, and so is the political world -- though not along partisan lines.

    It meets here Tuesday and Wednesday to hear from retailers and begin considering 37 proposals on taxation of Internet commerce.

News Date: Friday 10th December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • AOL, Tribal Voice to negotiate on instant messaging
    Time: 04:10 EDT/09:10 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    America Online has agreed to sit down with instant messaging rival Tribal Voice to seek ways to end an escalating battle over access to the online giant's user base, according to a Tribal Voice spokeswoman.

    Word of the negotiations came after AT&T and its partner Tribal Voice said today that they had circumvented AOL's efforts to block their respective customers from exchanging messages.

    Yesterday, AOL blocked AT&T's WorldNet I M Here instant messaging service--which was developed by Tribal Voice--from reaching users of its AIM program.

    The two companies agreed to meet after Tribal Voice introduced the fix, according to Beth Nagengast, an instant message product manager at Tribal Voice. She said the companies early next year will hold "initial conversations in an effort to start laying the groundwork for cooperation."

  • Qualcomm Frees Eudora
    Time: 04:03 EDT/09:03 GMT News Source: InternetNews Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Qualcomm Inc. Thursday announced it will release a free full-featured version of its Eudora e-mail program, with sponsors picking up the tab.

    Although smaller software companies have sought to sell advertising space on applications, the move is significant because Eudora is one of the most popular e-mail clients in use, and e-mail is the activity on which Internet users spend a great deal of their time. Qualcomm (QCOM) said most Eudora users spend 30 minutes a day or more using the program.

    The company is touting the sponsored space on the Eudora program as premium property, saying that advertisers have users all to themselves when their ad is running on the program. Qualcomm also says the software "knows" when a person is actively using Eudora, and it displays (and tracks) ads only during that time.

  • Smith pleads guilty to Melissa virus
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT News Source: MSNBC Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    David L. Smith, who was arrested for creating and releasing the Melissa virus in April, pleaded guilty Thursday to a second-degree charge of computer theft. The Melissa macro computer virus hit companies on March 26 after being released to a Usenet newsgroup.

    The virus, which mailed itself out to the first 50 addresses listed in the address book of Microsoft’s Outlook e-mail client, caused a massive spike in e-mail traffic, flooding corporate e-mail servers. Companies such as Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., and Lucent Technologies Inc. shut down their gateways to the Internet in the face of the threat.

News Date: Thursday 9th December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Be to bundle Opera's Web browser
    Time: 04:10 EDT/09:10 GMT News Source: PC Week Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Be Inc. and Opera Software A/S announced Wednesday a joint development and marketing agreement to integrate Opera's Web browser with Be's Stinger Internet appliance software platform and BeOs desktop operating system.

    Under the agreement, Be will bundle the Opera browser with BeOS, and the browser will serve as the user interface for the Stinger platform, allowing licensees of Stinger to create customized interfaces for Internet appliances, company officials said.

    Stinger, which will be introduced in the first quarter, is the code name for Be's software that creates appliances for information and entertainment over the Web. Based on BeOS, it is fully customizable and supports popular streaming audio and video standards, officials said.

  • New York does final Y2K checks
    Time: 04:08 EDT/09:08 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    With just 23 days before the crystal ball drops in Times Square, New York City officials plan to hold the last Year 2000 test of all municipal computer systems tonight.

    A spokesperson for the city's Office of Emergency Management said the test is taking place between 9:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. ET.

    City officials plan to check hundreds of computer systems and countless devices in New York City's vast inventory of technology to be sure everything from traffic lights to elevators in public buildings will work after the century date change.

    The evaluation comes just a few weeks before hundreds of thousands of people gather in Times Square to watch a Waterford crystal ball descend.

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers offers Net quality seal
    Time: 04:05 EDT/09:05 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers wants to give e-commerce sites the white-glove treatment.

    The company best known for tallying votes for the Academy Awards, PricewaterhouseCoopers announced today that it has launched its own Web standards program. The company is offering e-commerce sites a chance to be evaluated on how well they disclose sales terms, protect customer privacy and handle customer complaints.

    To Web sites who meet the services firm's standards, PricewaterhouseCoopers will license a seal that companies can post on their sites for a $15,000 annual fee.

  • NFL files trademark suit against gambling site
    Time: 04:03 EDT/09:03 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The National Football League sued the operator of a Web site, claiming trademark piracy and copyright infringement.

    The league charges that the Web site's operator, Ken Miller of Clearlake Park, Calif., is using the NFL brand to lure Internet users to three gambling, and have no affiliation with the league.

    The sites offer picks, point-spread information and statistics. NFL attorney Gary Gertzog said the unauthorized use of NFL trademarks and links to official NFL Web sites serves to convince users that the league supports

    "The NFL has spent billions of dollars building its name and reputation; it's the most important asset any company has," Gertzog said. "This was outright theft."

  • AOL blocks AT&T in messaging war, part two
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    As AT&T prepared to link its customers to America Online's instant messaging service this morning, AOL fired off an instant message of its own: hands off.

    Following through on a vow to bar rivals from accessing its AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) member lists, AOL today began disconnecting AT&T customers from AIM just hours after AT&T released a product built to connect with AOL's huge installed base.

    Tribal Voice, which provides AT&T's I M Here messaging software, said AOL started rejecting registration requests from AT&T users at 10 a.m., five hours after AT&T's WorldNet Internet service first made the product available on its Web site.

    Ma Bell confirmed that AOL began blocking its users from AIM this morning, as it did with Microsoft and its MSN Messenger software this summer. But AT&T said it hasn't yet determined a response.

News Date: Wednesday 8th December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Are new Yahoo, Hotmail spam filters better than past efforts?
    Time: 18:47 EDT/23:47 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Even as the costs of battling spam mount, some companies are beginning to claim partial victories in the war on bulk junk email. More surprisingly, perhaps, is that some users are backing up those claims.

    In recent months, both Yahoo Mail and Microsoft's Hotmail have implemented filters to cut down on the amount of unsolicited commercial email, commonly referred to as "spam," that users get in their free, Web-based email accounts. Spam has earned the ire of email consumers, faced with the time-consuming task of separating and deleting junk email, and Internet service providers and corporations, whose networks and personnel are taxed by spam influxes.

    Hotmail's implementation of a controversial spam filter met with disappointing results, according to users who did not notice a significant reduction in spam following the implementation.

    But Yahoo's anti-spam measure, launched last week, has met with a better reaction.

  • Online crime against companies, countries seen rising
    Time: 04:04 EDT/09:08 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    International online law enforcers today warned that they are behind in tackling Internet crime, and that cybercrime might prove a major threat to countries as well as to businesses.

    Michael Vatis, director of the FBI's national infrastructure protection center, told a meeting of business and legal executives that there is a rising trend of attacking countries through private companies and civilian systems.

    "Companies and private-sector entities are the new targets for terrorism and acts of war," he said. "This is a problem that's really spreading rapidly and will affect all of us."

    No figures exist for Internet crime, but they seem to be growing faster than the Net itself, said Brian Jenkins, an adviser to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which organized the meeting.

  • Netscape relaunches portal to attract daytime users
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    America Online subsidiary Netscape Communications today has unveiled a redesign of its Netcenter Web portal in an effort to target consumers who access the Internet at work.

    As previously reported, Netscape has toyed with new ideas for giving Netcenter a refurbished image to appeal to a market it calls the "business professional."

    With the new look, the site adds a "today's features" section that updates daily with top news headlines. The site also features two content tabs: one labeled "business" for stock quotes and small business links, and one labeled "leisure" for local events, TV listings and sports headlines.

    The redesign is one of the first transformations to appear on Netcenter since AOL's $9 billion acquisition of the company closed in March. AOL has stated in the past that it wants to turn Netscape into its primary service for attracting Net users at work, since users of the AOL proprietary service generally log on during prime-time hours in the evening.

News Date: Tuesday 7th December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • America Online to Lure Web Surfers to Sign Up Online
    Time: 04:08 EDT/09:08 GMT News Source: New York Times Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    America Online Inc., the company that blanketed the country with the now-ubiquitous disks offering free introductory service, wants to come to a Web site near you.

    AOL said it will pay Web site operators $15 each time someone signs up by clicking a link to AOL posted on the site. The new subscriber has to stay registered for 90 days for the Web site to receive the money, which arrives in the form of a check.

    The new marketing scheme using other Web sites as affiliates is a sign of the fierce rivalry between Internet service providers. "People are upping the ante on the value of these customers," said Chris Atkins, director of product marketing at rival MindSpring Enterprises Inc.

    "It's a lot more competitive. We've already got all the early adopters now so everyone is going after the masses."

  • Internet Domain to Be Assigned for Palestinian Territory
    Time: 04:07 EDT/09:07 GMT News Source: New York Times Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Palestine, still struggling for international recognition as an independent state, will soon gain official status of another sort with the designation of its own piece of real estate in cyberspace.

    The Internet's international coordinating authority, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, said on Friday that it had received and expected to grant an application to give the Palestinian National Authority its own two-letter suffix, or domain, on the Internet.

    The domain -- .ps -- would enable the Palestinian group to register Internet addresses like, say, The .ps domain will join the list of the 243 so-called country-code domains that have already been assigned to countries and territories around the world.

    It will be the first new domain added to the Internet since administration of its addressing, or domain name system, was handed last year from federal contractors to the private, nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, widely known as Icann.


  • AT&T's Promise Is Not Enough, Critics Say
    Time: 04:04 EDT/09:04 GMT News Source: TechWeb Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    AT&T's commitment Monday to open its cable network in the future did not stop ISPs from urging the long distance and cable giant to open its network completely and immediately.

    "This is an important first step in the right direction. But consumers should enjoy the benefits of open access sooner rather than later. They should not have to wait for exclusive arrangements between AT&T and its affiliates to expire years from now," said Dave Baker, MindSpring's vice president for legal and regulatory affairs.

    MindSpring announced on Monday a deal whereby in 2002, the ISP will be able to offer Internet access over AT&T's cable TV systems.

    Baker signed a document, along with AT&T officials and the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission state and local advisory committee, in which AT&T promised to open its cable network to other providers once its exclusive arrangement with its cable modem service provider ExciteAtHome expires in June 2002.

    Baker called for federal regulators to create a clear and unambiguous policy that will enforce AT&T's commitment. "Otherwise, today's agreement may not benefit consumers for years to come," Baker said.

  • IBM's Fastest of the Fast
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT News Source: Wired Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    IBM said Monday that it is trying to build the world's fastest supercomputer, which will be used in the medical research field.

    The development of "Blue Gene," a new RS/6000 computer capable of more than 1 quadrillion operations per second, will cost in the neighborhood of US$100 million, IBM said. It will be used to understand how proteins fold, a process at the very heart of diagnosing and treating disease.

    Proteins, which control all cellular function in the human body, fold into highly complex, three-dimensional shapes that determine their function. Any change in the shape can alter the protein, turning a desirable protein into a disease.

    Blue Gene, which IBM said will be 1,000 times faster than Deep Blue, the computer that defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, could be operational within five years, researchers said.

News Date: Monday 6th December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Investment firm to buy Ziff-Davis Publishing for $780 million
    Time: 18:04 EDT/23:04 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Willis Stein & Partners, a private equity firm, today announced it will acquire technology trade publishing giant Ziff-Davis Publishing for $780 million.

    Willis Stein will use the Ziff-Davis magazines to "launch new special interest magazines and create ancillary businesses," the company said in a press release.

    The investment firm added that James D. Dunning Jr. will serve as chairman and chief executive of the new Ziff-Davis Holdings and chairman of Ziff-Davis Publishing. Dunning was formerly an executive vice president at Ziff Communications, the precursor to Ziff-Davis, from 1984 to 1986.

    Mike Perlis will continue as president and chief executive of Ziff-Davis Publishing, Willis Stein said. Ziff-Davis Publishing's offices will remain in New York.

    For Ziff-Davis, today's announcement marks the latest in a series of sell-offs of its numerous divisions. In July the company announced it was considering a sale of all or some of its businesses in hopes of boosting its stock price.

  • Fear of Obsoletion Slows MP3 Sale
    Time: 07:03 EDT/12:03 GMT News Source: Yahoo Daily News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    This Christmas will be the first with a full range of nifty little MP3 digital audio players for sale, though the still-evolving music technology holds both promise - and perils - for consumers.

    MP3 is the technical abbreviation for a method of compressing audio files into digital formats. It allows users to download songs from the Internet to play back via their own computers or on Walkman-like players.

    The recording industry remains wary of MP3 players, mainly because of copyright concerns, so they have not been widely promoted. Just a half a million of the devices are available so far.

    As a result, sales have not met expectations, said Aram Sinnreich, an analyst at Jupiter Communications. ``They're not getting sold in every brick-and-mortar retailer,'' he points out.

  • Y2K virus flood just beginning
    Time: 04:03 EDT/09:03 GMT News Source: MSNBC Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    As another Y2K virus aimed at capitalizing on millennium confusion circulated this week — in this case, actually infecting several companies — anti-virus firms warned it was just the tip of the iceberg. “We think of this as the kickoff. Y2K is the Super Bowl for virus writers,” said one expert, who expects 500 to 1,000 more will be released before New Year’s Eve. Some companies are shutting down e-mail systems entirely to deal with the expected trouble.

    Despite all the preparation, midnight Dec. 31 is expected to bring about plenty of computer confusion, if not real electronic meltdowns. Virus writers have decided to take advantage of the flurry of activity and are promising to release several programs designed to wreak havoc Jan. 1 — many even simulating a Y2K bug-related problem.

    “Thanks to all the publicity surrounding this, there’s a lot of people out there writing viruses, trying to write the one that does the most damage,” said Sal Viveros, spokesman for Network Associates.

    Add that to the fact that many companies’ best information technology workers will be out celebrating, leaving less-experienced professionals at the helm, and you’ve got a prescription for trouble.

  • Court upholds hacker's death sentence
    Time: 04:03 EDT/09:03 GMT News Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Chinese court rejects appeal -- upholds death sentence for hacker nabbed in cyber bank robbery.

    A Chinese court has upheld the death sentence for a man who hacked into the computer system of a state bank to steal money, the Financial News reported on Saturday.

    The Yangzhou Intermediate People's Court in eastern Jiangsu province rejected the appeal of Hao Jingwen, upholding a death sentence imposed last year, the newspaper said.

    Hao Jingwen and his brother Hao Jinglong hacked into the computer network of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and shifted 720,000 yuan ($87,000) into accounts they had opened under false names, it said.

  • Orwellian Nightmare Down Under?
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT News Source: Wired Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Any data seem different on your computer today? If you're in Australia, the government has the ability to modify your files. Its cyber spooks have been given legal power not only to monitor private computers around the country, but to change the data they contain.

    The new powers are contained in a bill passed by Australia's parliament late last month (the Australian Security Intelligence Organization Legislation Amendment 1999). They now await only the largely ceremonial assent of Australia's governor general before becoming law.

    "These are really untested waters," says Chris Connolly, a vocal Australian privacy advocate. "I don't think there's any example anywhere else in the world that's comparable."

    Under the new law, Australia's attorney general can authorize legal hacking into private computer systems, as well as copying or altering data, as long as he has reasonable cause to believe it's relevant to a "security matter."

News Date: Friday 3rd December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Groups petition FTC over e-mail loophole
    Time: 20:18 EDT/01:18 GMT News Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Consumer and privacy advocates on Friday asked the Federal Trade Commission to close software loopholes that potentially allow bulk e-mailers to identify consumers by exploiting 'cookie' technology.

    The groups said that the security hole allows senders of bulk e-mail to attach a cookie to a user's computer through an e-mail message. Cookies are small identifying files that are normally used with Web browsers, not e-mail.

    Security consultant Richard Smith said that if someone reads an e-mail through a Web browser, and that e-mail contains graphics pulled from the Web, a cookie can be deposited on the user's PC. When the user surfs online later, that cookie can be read by the depositing site, and matched with the e-mail address of the user.

    For example, someone could receive an e-mail newsletter from a media organization that includes news updates and ads. That mailing list may be purchased from a separate company.

  • eBay reels in 1 million shoppers daily
    Time: 04:11 EDT/09:11 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Holiday shoppers opted to check off their gift lists online with a visit to Web auctioneer eBay, which topped Media Metrix's list of top 10 e-commerce sites for the week of Nov. 28.

    eBay attracted a little over 1 million daily visitors last week, surpassing retailing giant, which had about 800,000 daily visitors to its site.

    Toy retailer Toys "R" Us, which came in at No. 3, had only about 300,000 visitors, followed by eToys, CDNow and, which all had about 200,000 visitors per day.

    Most online retailers have enjoyed large percentage gains in the number of visitors who are calling up--and buying from--their sites. An entire year of shopping and purchasing goods via the Web has boosted consumer confidence, analysts said.

  • AOL Links Net2Phone
    Time: 04:08 EDT/09:08 GMT News Source: PC World Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Instant Messenger users will be able to make low-cost calls between a phone and a PC.

    America Online and Net2Phone have a three-year deal to provide AOL Instant Messenger users with phone service over the Internet, America Online said on Thursday.

    AOL, the world's leading Internet service provider, will work with Net2Phone to create AOL Instant Messenger-branded phone service and products, including a branded card that gives Instant Messenger users low-cost Internet-based phone service.

    Under the deal, Instant Messenger users will be able to place and receive telephone calls between a phone and a personal computer that has Internet services, computer speakers, and a microphone, AOL says.

  • Microworkz Is Out of Work
    Time: 04:05 EDT/09:05 GMT News Source: PC World Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Missing Web site signals the end of the beleaguered cheap PC manufacturer.

    In what could indicate the rapid demise of early models in the cheap and "free" PC movement, it seems that has shut down its business.

    The Microworkz Web site is gone, its telephone number rang busy all day on Thursday, and a toll-free number is disconnected. No one at Microworkz could be reached for comment.

    The company made a splash earlier this year when it announced the low-price Webzter PC, which sold for $400 to $600. Besides the Webzter, the company also announced plans for the iToaster, a $199 machine allowing basic Internet access functions.

  • McAfee shares triple in trading debut
    Time: 04:03 EDT/09:03 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    McAfee, the online site of anti-virus software maker Network Associates, more than tripled in its first day of trading following an initial public offering.

    McAfee rose 32.06 to 44.06, a 267.19 percent leap, in a strong trading debut. Earlier, the shares touched 48.31, giving the company a market value of $2.04 billion.

    McAfee sold 6.25 million shares at $12 each yesterday, raising $75 million. The sale represented a 15 percent stake.

    McAfee's software lets consumers accessing its Web site repair damage from viruses such as Melissa and Chernobyl, and check for others. The Web site also lets people check whether their PC will work as normal after yearend, when the Y2K bug is expected to affect some computer systems. McAfee has acquired 128,000 paid subscribers in less than three months who since Sept. 2 have each paid an annual fee of up to $49.95. More than six million users from more than 230 countries have registered with the Web site, the company said in its IPO filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • IBM outlines ambitious post-PC plans
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The "one-size-fits-all" PC is dead, according to the high-tech behemoth that legitimized the personal computer industry in the 1980s.

    That's essentially the message IBM delivered to industry analysts this week, when it outlined an ambitious strategy for moving beyond the PC era--way beyond.

    Big Blue has essentially recognized the movement taking place across the industry. Gone will be the ubiquitous "one-size-fits all" computing that has defined IBM's Personal Systems Group, as it experiments with designs beyond the standard "beige box," including wearable PCs, and adding wireless connectivity to virtually all new products.

    But despite the hype--seen most vociferously at the Comdex trade show--it's still far from clear if customers, especially traditionally staid corporate buyers, will react to these changes with the same enthusiasm that Silicon Valley has.

News Date: Thursday 2nd December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Y2K Bug: From Time Bomb to Dud
    Time: 04:15 EDT/09:15 GMT News Source: Yahoo Daily News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The millennium computer bug has mutated from a time bomb into a dud.

    Former Cassandras are backing away from scenarios that predicted chaos around the world as computers crashed at midnight on Dec. 31 because of the ubiquitous bug. Now these experts say that thanks to their perception in identifying the problem and the effectiveness of their public relations effort, the world can party into the next millennium without fear.

    The lights will not go out at midnight. Telephones will work normally, once the traditional New Year phoning frenzy has died down. Jumbo jets will not fall from the sky. Civilized life as we know it will not come to an abrupt halt.

    But this hoped-for happy outcome has not come cheaply. U.S. information technology research company Gartner Group said companies around the world would have to spend between $300 billion and $600 billion to fix the problem.

  • Cursor Company Offers Fix
    Time: 04:12 EDT/09:12 GMT News Source: New York Times Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    A company that offers free software to change an Internet browser's cursor into cartoon characters is offering to let people delete a serial number the company was using to track its customers across the Internet.

    Responding to an outcry over the privacy implications of its software, Comet Systems Inc. also said it will seek certification from Truste, an organization that monitors whether Web sites are following the privacy promises they make to consumers.

    Truste said Comet Systems had "significantly damaged the trust of their customers."

    Comet Systems, which is based in New York, acknowledged earlier this week that its cursor software -- used by more than 16 million people -- reports back to its own computers with each customer's unique serial number each time that person visits any of 60,000 Web sites that support its technology.

    Delete The Download Number

  • BBC Calls For Open Standards For Web TV
    Time: 04:08 EDT/09:08 GMT News Source: TechWeb Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Bringing the Internet and e-commerce to the masses through television could be thwarted if the open standards culture of the Internet isn't carried over into digital TV, said the BBC's director of policy on Wednesday.

    Speaking at the Westminster Media Forum here -- an annual meeting of politicians, press, and broadcasting figures to discuss policy, trends, and regulation -- Patricia Hodgson called for proprietary connectivity and set-top box suppliers to be made to lodge their intellectual property with an industry regulator so that other providers could license the technology.

    "The Internet's phenomenal growth is due to open standards," Hodgson said. "We stand on the brink of turning our back on this sensible framework."

    She said in the U.K. there are currently three access methods for digital TV and three types of set-top boxes -- potentially locking users into particular suppliers.

  • Net radio firm adds downloads
    Time: 04:06 EDT/09:06 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    America Online's Net radio company,, is spinning into something else altogether: a music download site.

    In a move that aims to position Spinner as a stronger competitor to the growing number of sites that let computer users collect and store free audio tracks, Spinner unveiled an MP3 music download service today.

    Using Spinner's Playlist-to-Go, which will be compiled by the site's editors, Net users can gather more than 1,400 songs to play via Spinner's site through its newly incorporated Winamp MP3 player, handheld music devices such as the Diamond Rio, and eventually car and home stereos.

  • Yahoo adds spam filter to email, but will it work?
    Time: 04:04 EDT/09:04 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Web portal Yahoo today said it will begin using software it has developed to automatically filter unsolicited bulk email, or "spam," from its free email service.

    Beginning today, Yahoo Mail will begin filtering spam into separate folders, according to Geoff Ralston, vice president of Yahoo's communications group. The software, which was created internally, will automatically determine whether email being sent to a user is unsolicited and then take appropriate action.

    "We have an automatic system that can see all messages that come into Yahoo Mail and uses technology to on how the system works, citing concerns that spammers could exploit the filter. He also declined to comment on whether the technology will be patented and marketed to other email systems.

  • Web site creates marketplace for free-lancers
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Executives from free-lance job firm eLance say they want to put an East Coast spin on the online job hunting market.

    eLance, which lets free-lancers bid on jobs posted by potential employers, is set up similarly to a trading floor, with eLance employees stepping in to facilitate trades, make sure they are completed, and stimulate demand or supply as needed to ensure liquidity of the market.

    Srini Anumolu, who before founding eLance was a portfolio manager trading bonds on Wall Street, and his partner, fellow Wall Street graduate and "chief eLancer" Beerud Sheth, are after more than atmosphere with their model for job hunting.

    "We wanted to recreate the kind of excitement you find on a trading floor," Anumolu said. "When I first walked into the Salomon Bros. trading desk, there were hundreds of people sitting row after row on the phone, with clocks on the wall giving the time in cities around the world, and ticker tapes giving the latest quotes.

News Date: Wednesday 1st December 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet News
  • Alta Vista to Acquire Raging Bull in Stock Deal
    Time: 04:15 EDT/09:15 GMT News Source: New York Times Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    CMGI , which gained fame for financing and then selling young Internet companies, said Monday that two of its progeny would join forces.

    Exchanging privately held stock, the Internet portal Alta Vista will acquire the financial Web site Raging Bull, the companies said. The deal follows a five-month alliance between the two companies. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. All three of the companies are based in Andover, Mass.

    CMGI owns 83 percent of Alta Vista. It has an approximately 20 percent interest in @Ventures III, a venture capital fund that has a majority interest in Raging Bull, according to CMGI investor relations.

    "This is going slightly against the tide in bringing two companies together," said Rod Schrock, president of Alta Vista. "You want one team developing and producing the entire site."

  • Web site's challenge: Name the next decade
    Time: 04:12 EDT/09:12 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    With the millennium just weeks away, Y2K bug concerns may be overshadowed by another problem gripping the public: what to call the next decade.

    Not content to leave the outcome to chance, three veteran Net heads have launched, a Web site that gives the public the opportunity to make nominations and vote for their preference.

    Since the site was launched 10 days ago, suggestions have trickled in ranging from the serious--"the two-thousands," "the singles," "the zeros"--to the not-so-serious--"the zippity-do-dahs," "the anticlimax," "the tainties (cause it 'taint the nineties, and it 'taint the teens)."

  • Security Firms Reports New Explorer Outbreak
    Time: 04:09 EDT/09:09 GMT News Source: Yahoo Daily News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    Computer security firms reported on Tuesday a new outbreak of the Explorer Zip computer ``worm,'' one of the most damaging computer infections ever seen.

    The bug was being carried with a different kind of compression software, the computer security firms said, but the effect is the same. The worm can destroy files and data, and the last outbreak earlier this year cost hundreds of millions of dollars damage in thousands of computers around the world.

    Because it is a new version of the virus, it has eluded existing anti-virus software, though major firms quickly upgraded programs that combat the bug.

  • Muze gets creative with Net music business model
    Time: 04:08 EDT/09:08 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    While untried start-ups stampede the Net to get a piece of the online music scene through album sales or advertising revenue, veteran entertainment information company Muze is quietly reinventing itself to get a cut of the action.

    Muze's computerized catalogs of music, books and video titles already serve as the search directories for more than 13,000 retail outlets, such as Virgin MegaStore, Barnes & Noble, and Yahoo, which in turn sell products by major record labels, movie studios and publishing houses.

    But when Muze executives saw the free MP3 phenomenon taking hold and digital music players coming to market more than a year ago, they decided to rebuild Muze's core to prepare, not only for the inevitable e-commerce boom, but for a fundamental shift in how consumers buy and collect music.

    Muze launched in 1991 as a provider of look-up kiosks to stores, but it is now aggressively moving its services online. The privately owned company is trying to position its entertainment information database as the industry standard. By doing so, the company is looking to cash in on the ever-growing battle to sell songs, promote artists, and push various digital music formats and players online.

  • Mouse Pointer Records Clicks
    Time: 04:03 EDT/09:03 GMT News Source: Wired Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    The maker of a simple animated mouse pointer is raising privacy concerns because the device's software surreptitiously tracks its users' Web travels.

    When a surfer visits Web sites that use the cursor to customize their pages, the pointer transmits a record of the visit to Comet Systems, which designed the software.

    Unbeknownst to users, the Comet Cursor's tracking activities are tied to unique identification numbers. Privacy advocates complain that the software company didn't disclose the cursor's capabilities to users, many of them children.

  • Volkswagen Loses First Round in Domain Dispute
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT News Source: Internet News Posted By: Matthew Sabean

    In another David-versus-Goliath court battle, a Virginia judge set another precedent for small companies by favoring Virtual Works' domain name registration over the Volkswagon trademark.

    U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton last week refused to grant an injuction to Volkswagen that would force Internet company Virtual Works from using the domain address.

    The judge found that Volkswagen was not demonstrating "irreparable harm," effectively invalidating Volkswagen's cease and desist order which was based on an Network Solutions (NSI) statute related to trademark status.

    Virtual Works had counter-filed for entitlement of the domain name, and sought damages from NSI for changing its dispute policy to favor trademark holders. It also sued Volkswagen for interfering with its contract with NSI. In further domino-effect filings, NSI called for a dismissal of the charges, which the court granted.

Read more of the past months news in our News Archive for October and November News.

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