The Active Network

News Date: Friday 29th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
  • Do free ISPs really get used?
    Time: 04:20 EDT/09:20 GMT News Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt Sabean

    There's already 1.5 million subscribers in the United States. Signing up and not using could spoil the ad revenue model.

    The free ISP business appears to be booming, with 1.5 million subscribers in the United States and significant growth expected over the next few years, according to market research firm Jupiter Communications.

    But how many of these subscribers actually use their free services? "The number of free ISP accounts will definitely skyrocket, but active use will be a different story. As with the free e-mail phenomenon, you can sign up for lots of them, but you don't have to use them every day," says Zia Daniell Wigder, analyst for Jupiter.

    As a result, subscribers aren't loyal to any single free ISP, which undermines the advertising-based revenue model that the free ISPs are so eagerly trying to build.

  • Music execs threaten to kill MP3 sites
    Time: 04:15 EDT/09:15 GMT News Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt Sabean

    Group plans to shut down illegal music sites and delete almost 1 million unauthorized files worldwide.

    The global music industry on Thursday outlined plans for a coordinated attack on Internet piracy, taking action against hundreds of outlaw sites in more than 20 countries.

    The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said its strategy was aimed at paving the way for artists and record companies to deliver music electronically and legally around the world.

News Date: Thursday 28th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
  •, to sing each other's praises
    Time: 05:53 EDT/10:53 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matt Sabean

    Digital music pushers and will try to drive traffic to each other's Web sites under a deal the companies will announce today.

    Coming off a healthy initial public offering,, which hosts tracks by more than 31,000 artists, is beefing up its partnerships to keep a grip on its position in the thriving Net music arena, which includes MyPlay, RioPort, and EMusic, companies that allow users to play, store, or buy digital music tracks.

    This month also will launch, a network of music portal sites that it will build with Cox Interactive Media.

    The marketing partnership between with is just the latest in a series of similar deals for both companies. Reminiscent of the way Yahoo and America Online built their businesses through premier placement and cross-marketing deals, the music sites will display references to each other and their respective directories.

  • launch, take two
    Time: 04:30 EDT/09:30 GMT News Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt Sabean

    Its first launch buried by an avalanche of users, encyclopedic site preps to try again Monday., the online arm of legendary Encyclopaedia Britannica, will re-launch its highly promoted Web site on Monday. The site was taken offline Oct. 19, barely 24 hours after its initial launch, due to a site overload.

    "The good news is we have wonderful demand," said Kent Devereaux, senior vice president of product development for "The bad news is we need to ramp up our hardware much quicker than we ever anticipated."

    Devereaux said the decision to take down the newly launched site was made because "the level of service was not acceptable."

  • NSI not liable for domain-name trademark woes
    Time: 04:15 EDT/09:15 GMT News Source: Computer World Posted By: Matt Sabean

    Network Solutions Inc. can't be held liable for registering domain names that may infringe on another company's trademark, a federal appeals court said this week.

    The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said that NSI's role in registering domain names differs little from the mail-delivery services offered by the U.S. Postal Service. "NSI does not supply the domain-name combination any more than the Postal Service supplies a street address by performing the routine service of routing mail."

    The opinion stems from a 1996 lawsuit filed by Lockheed Martin Corp. in Bethesda, Md., over third-party registrations of "Skunk Works," the name of Lockheed's famed aircraft design and construction laboratory, where prototypes of the nation's first jet fighters were developed.

News Date: Wednesday 27th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
  • Juno's losses widen, but revenue doubles
    Time: 18:06 EDT/23:06 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matt Sabean

    Juno Online Services, the Internet service provider controlled by hedge-fund manager David Shaw, said its third-quarter losses widened and revenue more than doubled as it added more subscribers.

    Juno said its losses widened to $16.1 million, or 46 cents a share, from $6.5 million in the year-ago period, when the company was a private partnership. The company spent $15 million to add new customers in the quarter. That outstripped its $13.1 million in revenue, an increase from $5.1 million a year ago.

    New York-based Juno's paid subscriber base rose 48 percent to 400,000 subscribers, up from 270,000 at the end of June. Its total subscriber base, which includes customers who receive free email, rose to 7.6 million from 7.1 million in June. Juno has been trying to convert its free subscribers into paying customers this year.

    "There's a bit of a land rush. Ordinary citizens who might not have thought about computers before are pouring onto the Internet in large numbers," said Charles Ardai, Juno chief executive.

    Juno offers unlimited Internet access for $19.95 a month and an enhanced email service for $2.95 a month. That compares to America Online's $21.95 monthly fee.

  • House Passes Cybersquatting Bill
    Time: 04:59 EDT/09:59 GMT News Source: New York Times Posted By: Matt Sabean

    The House on Tuesday passed legislation to crack down on so-called cybersquatting, the practice of buying up popular words as Internet addresses in the hopes of reselling them to companies and trademark holders at a hefty profit.

    The bill was passed on a voice vote despite a grass-roots effort to slow down action on the proposal, a similar version of which has already passed the Senate.

    "This legislation will make cybersquatters think twice before trying to profit off the hard work of others," Representative J.C. Watts Jr. of Oklahoma, the House Republican conference chairman, said of the bill by Representative James Rogan, a California Republican. "Congress acted today out of the best interests of e-commerce as well as simple fairness."

  • MS, Intel make Dow Jones Industrials
    Time: 04:55 EDT/09:55 GMT News Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt Sabean

    The announcement marks the first time a stock not listed on the New York Stock Exchange has been added to the average.

    Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. have been added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the editors of the Wall Street Journal announced Tuesday.

    The announcement marks the first time stocks not listed on the New York Stock Exchange have been added to the average, and marks the growing importance of high-tech companies to the nation's economy.

  • Online shoppers to spend more for the holidays
    Time: 04:25 EDT/09:25 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matt Sabean

    The holiday shopping season has begun, a new survey indicates, as many online shoppers already head to virtual stores with plans to spend more than they did last year.

    The new study comes from Reston, Virginia-based PC Data, which sent its survey out to 5,000 Internet users over the weekend, 2,100 of whom responded. Because the company did not pick the survey respondents at random, the study may not be representative of the general population of Internet users.

    However, the survey does provide some interesting insights into shoppers' behavior as the holiday season draws near. Many analysts have predicted that millions of new online shoppers will boost e-commerce revenues to record levels this holiday season.

    According to the survey, many veteran online shoppers have already started buying gifts. Twenty-six percent of Internet buyers who responded to the survey said they already have begun their holiday shopping. In addition, another 40 percent said they plan to begin shopping before Thanksgiving.

  • Ebay leaning away from Sun servers
    Time: 04:15 EDT/09:05 GMT News Source: Posted By: Matt Sabean

    EBay, the No. 1 Internet auctioneer, said it's considering buying computers from International Business Machines and Hewlett-Packard, a possible blow to current supplier Sun Microsystems.

    EBay is talking to IBM and Hewlett-Packard, the No. 1 and 2 computer makers, as well as Sun about buying server computers that will power its Web site, said chief executive Margaret Whitman. EBay will gradually replace its computers in the next 12 to 18 months, she said.

    Analysts have expected eBay would be looking to replace its computers after several well-publicized failures this year. With an eBay sale, Hewlett-Packard and IBM would gain prestige in the Internet market, which Sun has dominated for the past two years.

    "It certainly would be a black eye for Sun" if eBay went elsewhere for its computers, said Gary Helmig, a Soundview Technology Group analyst who rates IBM "buy."

    The eBay site has had a string of failures, some of which the San Jose, California-based company blamed on Sun. One software glitch traced to Sun shut down eBay for almost a full day.

News Date: Tuesday 26th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Dell - Compaq
  • Compaq in memory chip deal with Micron
    Time: 04:05 EDT/09:05 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Compaq Computer today said it agreed to a five-year deal for Micron Technology to supply its memory chips.

    While not exclusive, the agreement makes Micron the largest supplier of memory chips to Compaq.

    Sources close to Compaq valued the deal at more than $20 billion, although some analysts questioned if that number was too high. Boise, Idaho-based Micron, the largest memory maker in the United States, posted losses in five of its last six quarters.

    Micron representatives told Warburg Dillon Read analyst Dave Bujnowski the deal was worth multiple billions of dollars over its five-year term. The deal appears to commit Compaq to buying a certain percentage of its memory chips from Micron, not an absolute number of chips, Bujnowski said.

  • Dell topples Compaq in U.S. market share
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Dell Computer has pushed aside Compaq Computer for the top spot in PC market share--at least in the United States.

    The so-called direct sales PC manufacturer has stolen the leading role in the world’s largest market away from the longtime front-runner for the first time, according to studies to be released today by market research firms International Data Corporation and Dataquest.

    Dell edged out Compaq in the U.S., according to final second-quarter numbers released by IDC last month. But Dell widened the margin in the third quarter, grabbing the top spot for the first time from both market-research firms.

    Compaq held on to the No. 1 spot worldwide, but analysts predicted that Dell soon would push its Texas rival aside in that category too.

News Date: Monday 25th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Symantec - Apple
  • Excite@Home buys online greeting card site for $780 million
    Time: 17:49 EDT/22:49 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Excite@Home today said it would acquire popular online greeting card site Blue Mountain Arts for about $780 million in cash and stock, hoping to accelerate the adoption of its broadband strategy.

    Blue Mountain is the 14th most-trafficked Web property, according to research firm Media Metrix. It also ranks third among e-commerce sites, behind and eBay. With the holiday season just around the corner, Excite@Home said it would make an additional payment of up to $270 million in stock contingent upon Blue Mountain reaching traffic and other performances goals.

    The two companies said the demographics of Blue Mountain users are consistent with those of people who subscribe to residential broadband services, adding that broadband is ideal for Blue Mountain's interactive greeting cards and e-commerce offerings. The companies said their users tend to be older, more experienced, and heavy home Net users.

    The acquisition comes amid mounting competition in the online greeting card market. Another player, Egreetings, filed for an initial public offering earlier this month. Meanwhile, as traffic has flattened or dropped off lately among the portals, the sites are always looking for ways to differentiate themselves.

  • Lawsuit flares up in wake of Mac OS 9 debut
    Time: 17:35 EDT/22:35 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Just days after its release, Apple's Mac OS 9 operating system is drawing controversy.

    Apple's latest operating system hit stores this weekend, with some retailers holding "Midnight Madness" sales. Priced at $99, the new software includes enhanced search technology, new security and password features, and other improvements.

    Today, an existing trademark infringement lawsuit filed against the company was updated to include the new operating system. New York-based Imatec is claiming that the ColorSync 3.0 technology in Mac OS 9 infringes on patents held by the digital imaging firm.

    Apple declined to comment on the specifics of the suit. "We don't comment on pending litigation," a company spokesperson said. "But we believe the claims are without merit."

    Imatec filed a $1.1 billion lawsuit against Apple in February 1998, alleging that the Mac operating system infringed upon patents first filed by Imatec's president, Hanoch Shalit. Both companies have finished the discovery phase of the case, and the trial is expected to start in the next few months.

  • Symantec cuts deals for Web delivery
    Time: 17:29 EDT/22:29 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Antivirus software maker Symantec sees the future of software, and it's not going to arrive in a shrink-wrapped box.

    The company today announced plans to rent its software over the Internet. Symantec will make its antivirus and security software available to Internet service providers (ISPs), application service providers (ASPs), and portal sites, which, in turn, will offer the software to consumers and businesses online.

    With the move, Symantec joins a growing field of software makers--including Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft, and Intuit--who are entering the software rental business, a market that International Data Corporation predicts will grow to $2 billion by 2003.

    The software makers believe the nascent application hosting market will explode as businesses choose to save money by renting their software--from email to financial applications--online. Software companies and ISPs that enter the market will not only provide the applications, but will manage a customer's networks, saving businesses from adding the staff needed to carry out the work of updating and maintaining software.

  • Providian may bar customers from Net gambling
    Time: 04:07 EDT/09:07 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Hitting cybercasinos where it hurts, a major credit card company is taking steps to block its 11 million customers from making illegal bets on the Net.

    Providian National Bank, the sixth-largest Visa card issuer in the United States, said it will deny approval for most online wagers made by its customers.

    "People who use credit cards to gamble on the Internet present a higher credit risk to a lending institution, and there also is a more significant fraud risk with Internet gambling transactions," Laurie Cole, Providian's vice president of corporate communications, said in explaining the bank's decision.

    "Providian was evaluating the Internet gambling issue and has decided to decline to authorize transactions on its credit cards that we can identify are originating from Internet gambling sites," she added.

    The decision comes as the company recently settled a lawsuit with a Net gambler and as online gambling comes under scrutiny by lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

  • Computer prices about to jump up
    Time: 04:04 EDT/09:04 GMT Source: Nando Info Tech Posted By: Matt

    The trend toward cheaper personal computers may come to an abrupt end this holiday season. Analysts are expecting computer costs to jump significantly because of a shortage of parts.

    PC prices could climb as much as 20 percent this fall because of a dramatic decrease in the number of memory chips, also known as RAM, available on the world market.

    "What people will see is that for the same amount of money they will be getting less machine," said Rob Enderle, vice president of mobile and desktop technology at the Giga Information Group, a Norwell, Mass.-based market research firm.

    Last month's earthquake in Taiwan pushed prices upward as suppliers struggled to meet burgeoning demand for low-cost computers heading into the busy electronics selling season. Taiwan accounts for 12 percent to 15 percent of the world's supply of memory chips.

  • Amazon.Com Sues Rival Over '1-Click' System
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT Source: Yahoo! News Posted By: Matt

    In a case likely to be watched closely by Internet retailers, Inc. Friday said it filed suit against rival Inc. for allegedly infringing on patented online shopping technology.

    In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle,, the biggest online retailer, alleged "meticulously copied" its proprietary "1-Click" express checkout system, which was granted a U.S. patent late last month.

    The lawsuit raised eyebrows among intellectual property experts and industry analysts because by one estimate half of all online retailers use some type of express shopping mechanism to speed checkout for returning customers.

    "I looked at this incredulously," said analyst Paul Hagen of Forrester Research. "It's like patenting taking orders over the telephone. My gut tells me this will go nowhere." called the suit "a desperate attempt to retaliate for our growing market share."

News Date: Friday 22nd October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
  • Rolls Out Internet Postage Service
    Time: 19:52 EDT/00:52 GMT Source: InternetNews Posted By: Matt

    Online postage finally became a reality Friday with's formal launch.

    The company, whose service was recently approved by the U.S. Postal Service after a year of filed testing, claims more than 100,000 customers have pre-registered.

    " has taken a very simple need -- postage -- and leveraged the widespread adoption of the Internet to fulfill that need," said (STMP) Chief Executive Officer John Payne.

    " Internet postage is truly a revolutionary service for home office and small office users looking to save time and be more productive in their business."

    Requiring no additional hardware or fees, offers clients easy access and flexibility to get their postage online by downloading free software and setting up an account. They may then print postage for any type of mail, including first class mail, Priority Mail and Express Mail.

  • Net-infused Mac sold this weekend
    Time: 18:45 EDT/23:45 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Apple Computer said today the latest operating system for its Macintosh family of computers, beefed up with special Internet features, will hit store shelves this weekend.

    The new Mac OS 9 operating system will carry a suggested retail price tag of $99 and will include Sherlock 2, Apple's Internet search and shopping tool that lets users find and compare products online, the company said.

    "Mac OS 9 is the best Internet OS ever," Apple's interim chief executive officer Steve Jobs said in a statement. "With great new features like Sherlock 2, we think our customers are going to love Mac OS 9."

  • Marine Corps headquarters at Pentagon hit by computer virus
    Time: 18:39 EDT/23:39 GMT Source: CNN Posted By: Matt

    Marine Corps computer technicians were at work overnight Friday, improving security, after the Corps headquarters at the Pentagon was hit by a "worm virus," a Marine Corps source told CNN.

    The Thursday afternoon attack infiltrated only "unclassified" computer systems, according to the source, and affected Microsoft programs only. Computer systems containing sensitive or "classified" information were not affected, he said.

    The Marine Corps computer warriors were working with computer experts from Symantec Corp. to defeat the virus and retrieve lost files.

    The attack left Marines around the Pentagon looking at blank pages where documents had once resided. Symantec installed Norton Anti-Virus software for the Marines.

  • Community Update
    Time: 05:06 EDT/10:06 GMT Source: ActiveWindows Posted By: Matt

    Just another reminder about signing up for our ActiveWindows Community on MSN.

    It allows you to chat with us in our chat room or via our message board. It also lets you post your own screensavers and backgrounds for other ActiveWindows readers to download.

    We are currently the largest Windows site on the MSN community list.

  • Combo Players Do CD and DVD
    Time: 04:22 EDT/09:22 GMT Source: Wired News Posted By: Matt

    Here's a merger that most PC owners won't disagree with -- the first players that can solve all of their CD and DVD needs.

    Many high-end PCs have been coming with two drives for the past year; one CD rewritable (CD-RW) drive, and one DVD drive. By combining the CD-RW laser diode with the DVD-ROM/CD-ROM reader into one unit, Ricoh and Toshiba free up a drive bay and drive connection.

    "This is the next logical step of integration in the CD-ROM and DVD marketplace," said Wolfgang Schlichting, research manager for removable storage research at International Data Corp., in Framingham, Massachusetts. "Now consumers don't have to make a choice between recordability and being able to play back DVD titles."

    "The major benefit to the consumer is saving the bay space," said Takayuki Kuroshima, marketing and business development manager at Ricoh's Disc Media and Systems Center in Tustin, California. The combo unit lets people support CD-ROM while being ready for future DVD-ROM growth, he said.

    Having two drives in the PC has its advantages if you want to do CD copying, said Schlichting, but an all-in-one unit makes more sense. "I predict many of the current DVD-ROM and CD-RW players will offer a combo product and it will be a popular next step in extending the [optical storage] product line," said Schlichting.

    The Ricoh drive is the same size as a standard DVD or CD player, and can read DVDs at 4X speed and CD-ROMs at 24X speed. The drive can also write CDs at 6X speed, and can rewrite at 4X speed.

News Date: Thursday 21st October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
  • AIM to follow ICQ in targeting Web site chat
    Time: 17:39 EDT/22:39 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    America Online is catching the latest wave in Internet chat, and the result could spell disaster for some innovative start-ups and Web site chat communities in general.

    This summer, two firms launched with products that let users see who else with the software is visiting a particular Web site and then chat with them. Both Gooey, from Tel Aviv-based Hypernix, and Odigo, from New York-based NovaWiz, promised to make Web surfing a less solitary experience and create groups of people with a shared interest: the Web sites they visit.

    The idea caught on with users; since its June launch, Gooey has amassed 250,000 registrations, Odigo 150,000.

    But a significant cloud appeared on the horizon last month when ICQ, a wildly popular chat and messaging client acquired by AOL last year, launched a trial version of a similar technology. Dubbed ICQ Surf, the "alpha" software has attracted 48,000 trial users since launching September 22. A "beta," or more polished trial version, is due "soon," according to ICQ.

    ICQ has 44 million registrations, according to AOL. One person can register multiple names, however, so the number of people using ICQ is probably only a fraction of the 44 million total.

  • Sun beefs up software push with NetBeans buy
    Time: 04:05 EDT/09:05 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Sun snapped up NetBeans, a Java development tool firm based in the Czech Republic. Sun also launched a $200 million investment fund to entice programmers to build Web applications using its "write-once, run-anywhere" Java technology.

    Sun follows in the footsteps of Oracle and other firms in creating its $200 million investment fund. Sun plans to invest in start-ups that will promote Java technology, Sun executives said.

    Sun has been in the market for additional software development tool makers for some time now. Sun said today's acquisition fills a hole in its product portfolio; it's Sun's second tools acquisition in the past two months.

    In August, the company purchased Forte Software for $540 million. That acquisition was completed today. Combined, the purchases give Sun the software tools that programmers need to develop e-commerce applications, Sun executives said today. NetBeans will be targeted at developers who are creating and experimenting with small-scale Web applications, and Forte's software tools will be aimed at large-scale applications that use application servers.

    With today's move, Sun is also in a better position to compete against Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and dozens of others in the burgeoning e-commerce software market, said analysts. Before, through the Sun-Netscape Alliance, the company sold application servers that run the software and perform the transactions in an e-commerce Web site. But the company didn't have the tools to build the software.

  • Small bookstores plan to fight Goliaths
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Gearing up for holiday shopping, a coalition of independent bookstores plans to launch an online bookstore next month, but observers wonder whether the site will be too little, too late., sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, will provide links to independent bookstores across the nation, allowing many of them to establish a much-needed Web presence.

    The site, however, will be hard pressed to make a dent in a market that's dominated by the likes of,, and Borders, many industry observers say. E-commerce giant Amazon has established dominance in the online book business since launching in 1995. Barnes & Noble's Web store also has become one of the largest sellers online--even though the company is still criticized for setting up shop late, opening in 1997.

    The president of the American Booksellers Association, Richard Howorth, acknowledged that will face tough competition.

    "We are extremely late coming to the game," Howorth said. "But we're not really playing the same game Amazon is playing."

    Unlike Amazon, plans to implement a "clicks-and-mortar" strategy, where users can interact with booksellers either online or in their physical stores. It also intends to become a source of online marketing for the independent bookstores, helping them retain customers and draw in new ones.

News Date: Wednesday 20th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
AOL - Encryption Export Rules
  • AOL and Gateway in far-ranging pact
    Time: 18:40 EDT/23:40 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    America Online will invest $800 million in PC maker Gateway as part of a far-ranging deal to jointly market products and services.

    The pact, a first between the two companies, calls for the development of a cobranded online software store. In addition, the companies will jointly market high-speed Internet services and information appliances, among other initiatives

    In turn, AOL service will be marketed alongside, Gateway's Internet access service. AOL will also "share in the economics of," the companies said in a joint statement.

    As part of the agreement, America Online said it will invest $800 million in Gateway over the next two years, in a combination of cash and equity securities. Gateway will receive $180 million in AOL stock and has agreed to spend $85 million to market Gateway products and services with America Online's brands.

    "We look forward to working with Gateway across a full range of initiatives, including the joint development of next-generation devices and other products and services, including broadband, that will make the medium more accessible and more valuable to consumers," said Bob Pittman, America Online's president and chief operating officer.

    The deal will open significant opportunities for both companies. AOL has not directly participated in the wildly popular "PC-ISP" deals under which consumers buy bundled computers and Internet service, typically for a substantial discount. Instead, these deals have involved Prodigy, UUNet, Earthlink, and CompuServe, which is owned by AOL.

  • AOL posts record revenues
    Time: 17:49 EDT/22:49 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    America Online today reported earnings that beat Wall Street estimates after a quarter marked by strong subscriber growth and robust revenue.

    The online giant earned $184 million in net income, or 15 cents per diluted share, compared with a profit of $50 million, or 4 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Financial analysts expected the company to earn 13 cents a share, according to First Call consensus estimates.

    AOL added 1.1 million new subscribers worldwide during the quarter, as well as 378,000 new CompuServe subscribers. That gives AOL 18.7 million proprietary members and 2.2 million CompuServe members worldwide.

    Total revenue reached $1.5 billion for the quarter, swelling 47 percent since the same period last year. Of the total, $350 million came from advertising, commerce, and "other" revenue.

    AOL also reported that members spend an average of 55 minutes online every day.

  • crippled by user volume
    Time: 17:40 EDT/22:40 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Encyclopaedia Britannica is learning how to be an Internet company the hard way.

    Its Web site,, which launched yesterday, has been suffering from a network lag that began yesterday afternoon. Users trying to enter the site have been greeted with a "no response" message, with only brief windows available to enter the site after repeated tries. released a statement this morning explaining the outage. It claimed its servers have been on the fritz because of the flood of new users trying to access the site.

    "The tremendous response to has created a tidal wave of activity on our site, and we are working hard to make the site available as quickly as possible," Don Yannias, chief executive of, said in a statement.

    The company yesterday announced it would place its entire 32-volume set, which sells for $1,250 in print, on the Internet for free. The site would also include news feeds from newspapers, articles from magazines, and a Web search directory compiled by its editors.

    Web site outages have become all-too-common problems. Internet heavyweights such as America Online and eBay have both suffered high-profile outages that have incensed users and caused both companies to invest heavily in upgrading their network.

  • New cyber attack method surfaces
    Time: 04:05 EDT/09:05 GMT Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt

    Over the past six weeks, U.S. network servers have come under assault by a fundamentally new style of computer attack, said experts here at the National Information Systems Security Conference.

    Known as "distributed coordinated attacks," this new style is particularly good at defeating present-day defenses against those intent on stopping Internet traffic to a particular company or Internet service -- a result known as denial of service.

    "It's possible to detect the attack, but it is very hard to block it" using current software, said Thomas Longstaff, senior technical researcher for Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, during a panel presentation Tuesday.

    A garden-variety denial-of-service attack uses a single server to attempt to tie up a network's connection, denying its users access to or from the Internet. Distributed coordinated attacks, however, use hundreds or thousands of servers co-opted by a malicious programmer to tag-team a single server. Because so many servers are used, each attack can be camouflaged as a legitimate connection attempt, making it difficult for the victim's intrusion software to identify that it is under attack and impossible to identify just who is attacking.

  • U.S. encryption export rules may be revised
    Time: 04:04 EDT/09:04 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    The Clinton administration is considering relaxing export limits on computer source code for data scrambling programs, in a possible move acknowledging the growing importance of Linux, a top export official said today.

    Undersecretary of Commerce William Reinsch said the administration had originally intended to maintain current export limits on source code, or instructions written by a computer programmer that can be compiled into a computer program.

    But after the administration announced it would significantly relax many of its limits on already compiled computer encryption programs, high-tech companies complained that retaining the source code limit was unworkable, Reinsch said in a telephone interview.

    "We are now reviewing that," Reinsch said. "It's on the table as area where we might make a revision."

    Revised encryption export rules will be released by December 15, he said, with any possible changes for source code export likely included at that time.

    Encryption, which uses mathematical formulas to scramble information and protect it from prying eyes, is now included in everything from Web browsers and email programs to cable television set-top boxes and handheld computers.

News Date: Tuesday 19th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Gateway - E*Trade - Blue Mountain - AOL
  • IBM confirms Aptiva exodus
    Time: 18:38 EDT/23:38 GMT Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt

    IBM Aptiva Model D1NBig Blue says it will take Aptivas off the retail shelves and sell them online only -- until it figures out how to make them profitable.

    "Once we come up with a formula, we will be back," said Guarino, the spokeswoman for the company's Personal Systems Group, which oversees sales of IBM personal computers and includes business PCs, ThinkPad notebooks and more-powerful PC servers.

    Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM is trying to differentiate its products from other low-priced consumer models in the United States and shift a greater percentage of its business to direct sales over the Web, as rival PC maker Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq:DELL) has done.

    Guarino stressed that Aptivas continue to sell well through retail outlets internationally, where pricing dynamics differ.

    IBM, the world's largest supplier of computer hardware, software and services, has struggled in recent years to turn a profit in the PC business that it helped to pioneer two decades ago. In 1998 its PC business lost about $1 billion, and in the first half of 1999, it lost $239 million.

  • Gateway to broaden small-business services
    Time: 17:36 EDT/22:36 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Gateway will today announce a series of services designed to appeal to small businesses, reflecting the industry's growing need to maximize "after-sale" revenues.

    The PC manufacturer will begin offering more flexible support for growing companies, according to Gateway's executives. The new initiatives include loaner programs, assistance in designing corporate computer networks, and implementing software throughout client computers on a network.

    The moves would place Gateway in the middle of the PC industry's effort to boost services and support programs as a means of attracting small and medium-sized businesses. The huge--and largely untapped--market is estimated at about $50 billion in the United States and close to $140 billion worldwide, and sales to small and medium-sized businesses are growing faster than the overall information technology market, according to market research firm International Data Corporation.

    Support is traditionally a low-profit business because of the high cost of paying service personnel to answer calls. But online support is increasingly embraced by PC companies since it is relatively inexpensive.

    Rival PC makers are also hopping on the bandwagon. Dell, for example, recently introduced a support plan which uses Internet-based system diagnostic tools to detect and fix computers without phone support. The company has also added natural language search technology to its online support database.

  • E*Trade to give away $1 million
    Time: 04:06 EDT/09:06 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Apart from whatever Y2K might bring, the New Year may hail a fortune for one lucky person.

    E*Trade will announce tomorrow that the online brokerage house plans to give away $1 million to the person who accurately guesses what the Dow Jones Industrial Average close will be on New Year's Eve 1999.

    A growing number of investors are turning to the Internet to conduct research and gather financial data before placing trades through their online trading accounts. The online trading sector has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years.

    The winning entry must name the closest price to the actual closing price of the blue chip index within the one-hundredth decimal place.

    The company said its new eMillionMania promotion is aimed at giving individual investors an opportunity to show up Wall Street analysts.

    E*Trade said the contest is open from now through November 28 or until 10 million entries are received, whichever comes sooner. People can enter to win regardless of whether they are E*Trade account holders, and no purchase is necessary. Entries can be submitted at, and only one entry per person will be accepted.

  • Blue Mountain in talks to sell site
    Time: 04:04 EDT/09:04 GMT Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt

    The company that owns one of the most highly trafficked sites on the Internet -- a free greeting-card service called -- is in talks with a number of companies to sell the Web site for about $1 billion.

    According to people close to the situation, the leading candidate to acquire closely held Blue Mountain Arts Inc.'s Web site is likely to be eToys Inc. (Nasdaq:ETYS) Currently, eToys, Pasadena, Calif., has a market capitalization of about $8 billion. Others who have looked at the site, according to these people, include CMGI Inc. (Nasdaq:CMGI), Andover, Mass., and Excite@Home Corp. (Nasdaq:ATHM), Redwood City, Calif. The deal is likely to be an all-stock transaction. While the talks are advanced, there is no certainty that a deal will be reached, according to the people.

    People familiar with eToys' thinking said the company is very interested in the potential of the Blue Mountain Arts site, which could expose its other products to a broader range of customers. eToys has mostly been focused on selling a range of gifts to families, and Blue Mountain Arts fits that demographic with a folksy image. But the people said eToys officials are worried about recently intensified competition in the greeting-card sector, which has hurt Blue Mountain's traffic, and could be an impediment to any deal.

  • AOL Plans Major Digital City Expansion
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT Source: InternetNews Posted By: Matt

    The success of its city guides in 60 metro areas around the country prompted America Online Inc. Monday to extend its Digital City local content sites to more than 200 cities over the next few months.

    The markets have not yet been determined, the company said, but will be chosen based on population size and rankings as travel destinations. The new sites are slated to launch in spring 2000.

    Like the current Digital City properties, content will include entertainment and tourism information, personal ads, auctions, yellow pages, classified ads and local news, as well as a guide to the area's dining spots, movie times, sporting events and children's activities.

    "Local is one of the fastest-growing uses of the Internet," said Ted Leonsis, president of AOL (AOL) Interactive Properties, which oversees Digital City. "Our expansion into 200 markets nationwide will bring Digital City's award-winning local content and services to more people than ever before -- helping them save time and get the most out of the communities they live in, visit and are passionate about."

    Digital City goes up against some heavy hitters in the local content sector. Microsoft's (MSFT) Sidewalk hosts localized content for a variety of cities, as does CitySearch, which last year merged with Ticketmaster (TMCS) to be a power player in the industry.

News Date: Monday 18th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Palm - Y2K - Internet
  • Palm sets sights on corporate customers
    Time: 17:58 EDT/22:58 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    On the eve of the first day of its annual developer's conference, Palm Computing today announced several new products geared at attracting large corporate customers.

    The news comes as the company prepares for its PalmSource developer's conference, which kicks off tomorrow in Santa Clara, California. At the event, new licensees like TRG and Handspring will show off their new Palm clones, and third party software developers will demonstrate new security and connectivity products.

    At the top of the list is Palm Computing's suite of "enterprise" or business-focused software and products designed to make it simple for companies to purchase and support PalmPilot handhelds for their employees.

    Toward that end, Palm today announced Palm HotSync server software, the Palm ethernet cradle, and new classes and services to help companies implement the products.

    PalmPilots share information with the desktop PC using the HotSync software and cradle, which connects the computer to the handheld. Palm has expanded the concept to fit larger companies with a client-server network.

  • One Third Of UK Firms Already Hit By Y2K -Report
    Time: 06:09 EDT/11:09 GMT Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt

    Almost one in three large companies in Britain has already experienced millennium bug problems, a survey published Monday showed.

    Campaigning group Taskforce 2000, in a joint report with disaster recovery company Adam Associates, said 31 percent of Britain's top 1,000 companies by turnover had already been hit by Y2K-related problems.

    Of the 1,000 firms surveyed, 84 percent are preparing for possible power failures, 86 percent for loss of telecoms links and 97 percent for systems failures.

    "This is a clear indication that the possibility of infrastructure failure is a major concern and that companies are taking action to offset it," said Robin Guenier, executive director of Taskforce 2000.

  • Prix fixe? Not on the Net
    Time: 05:50 EDT/10:50 GMT Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt

    Shopping online and don't like the price you see? Don't worry -- on today's Internet, a fixed price is a thing of the past.

    Fixed prices, which have been the mainstay of consumer purchasing for at least 100 years, have been giving way online to all manners of dynamic pricing schemes. Auctions, reverse auctions, group buying, even bartering are all options available to consumers who want to have more control over how much they pay.

    "The Internet enables what were previously isolated consumers to either band together or have much better information than they ever had before," said Dan Schulman, president and COO of Inc, (Nasdaq:PCLN), whose company lets consumers name the price they're willing to pay for things like airline tickets. "What you're seeing is the pricing system being turned upside down, with more and more power being transferred to the consumers."

  • Community Updates
    Time: 04:04 EDT/09:04 GMT Source: ActiveWindows Posted By: Matt

    Just another reminder about signing up for our ActiveWindows Community on MSN. It allows you to chat with us in our chat room or via our message board, it also lets you post your own screensavers and backgrounds for other ActiveWindows readers to download. We are currently the largest Windows site on the MSN community list.

  • Olympic committee files cybersquatter lawsuit
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    The Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) for the 2002 Winter Olympics sued to bar others from using Internet domain names that include the committee's title.

    In papers filed in the U.S. District Court in Delaware, the SLOC said that unauthorized use of its trademarked names robs it of part of the games' $1.34 billion budget. Accused in the cybersquatting suit are Branjack Incorporated, Brandon Walker, Regina Cephas, Afro-American Inner City Youth, and four Internet domain names, including

    According to the lawsuit, investigators for the SLOC found vacant offices, dead telephones, and lapsed or nonexistent incorporation records at addresses listed by defendants in Delaware, Nevada, and Georgia.

    The domain names were registered by the defendants with Network Solutions, which requires that names not be used that "interfere with or infringe upon the rights of any third party," court papers say.

    The Committee alleges that the defendants engaged in cybersquatting by registering "the Salt Lake Domain Names with the specific intent of selling those names either to the SLOC or the highest third-party bidder."

News Date: Friday 15th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Volkswagen - Intel - AOL
  • Net ad spending rises 80 percent
    Time: 19:58 EDT/00:58 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Advertising spending on 300 Web sites rose 80 percent to $359 million in the first quarter of the year, according to a report issued today. Computer makers, software makers, and online and Internet services companies led the charge.

    Microsoft and IBM were the leading advertisers, said Intermedia Advertising Solutions (IAS), a unit of VNU Marketing Information. But the remaining three companies among the top five advertisers were not computer- or software-related.

    Credit card giant First USA, in the No. 3 spot, boosted its ad spending by 614 percent to $4.3 million, followed by General Motors, up 159 percent at $4.1 million, and AT&T, up 140.3 percent at $4 million.

    Dell Computer, in the tenth spot, registered the largest percentage increase in the three months with spending at $2.6 million, up 2,787 percent from the 1998 period.

    "The numbers clearly indicate that the Internet has become a viable advertising medium," Joe Philport, president of IAS, said in a statement accompanying the findings. "Over the past year, this has been increasingly supported by the consumer products and service industries aggressively incorporating the Internet into their overall marketing mix."

  • Volkswagen Sues for Domain Name
    Time: 19:35 EDT/00:35 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    The company known for creating the "love bug" is currently involved in a heated domain name dispute and this week took its case into court, countersuing the owner of to gain control of the domain after he sued to keep it.

    Virtual Works Inc. is a Virginia network service provider and Web site designer that registered the domain in 1996. Upon learning of the domain in January, Volkswagen of America Inc. and its parent German company, Volkswagen SA, tried to implement a cease and desist order, claiming that Virtual Works President James Anderson is a cybersquatter and violated Volkswagen's trademark.

    Volkswagen filed suit this week its countersuit in Virginia federal district court, alleging that Virtual Networks tried to extort the company and commit cyberpiracy by threatening to sell the domain "to the highest bidder."

    Virtual Works argued that it is not violating any laws by registering the domain name, and said that its claim to the domain is justified.

  • U.S. Lags in Mobile World
    Time: 04:59 EDT/09:59 GMT Source: PC World Posted By: Matt

    The big news at the Telecom 99 show here this week is that the Internet is going wireless. The bad news for U.S. Net-surfers is that they will be the last to notice.

    Amid a flood of new, advanced wireless data-access products and services announced here, it became clear that U.S. computer and communications companies are playing catch-up while their European and Japanese counterparts show the way. Over the past few years, Asian and European markets for digital mobile-phone service have taken off while the U.S. market lags.

    "First comes Europe, then Asia--the U.S. will be dead last with this technology," says Larry Ellison, Oracle's chairman and chief executive officer, speaking at Telecom 99.

  • Government now Net "clockwatchers"
    Time: 04:31 EDT/09:31 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    You can set your watch by the Internet using a new Web site linked to two atomic clocks unveiled today by the top two U.S. government timekeepers.

    The site--with an easy-to-remember address--is a joint effort by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology and its military counterpart, the U.S. Naval Observatory.

    The Institute and Naval Observatory contribute time from their respective atomic clocks to an international pool that is used to define coordinated universal time--the official world time--they said in a news release. The two clocks are not supposed to differ at any time by more than one ten-millionth of a second.

    Web surfers can expect a reading from the two clocks that is accurate to one second, the agencies said.

  • Intel to buy wireless chipmaker for $1.6 billion
    Time: 04:05 EDT/09:05 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    In its continuting effort to move beyond the PC-chip arena, Intel will buy DSP Communications, a designer of chips for wireless phones and other devices, for $1.6 billion.

    With DSP Communications (DSPC), Intel will begin to sell and develop digital signal processors, the complicated chips that capture the digital impulses and translate them into cell phone conversations. Intel already sells two other key elements of wireless devices: flash memory and StrongARM microprocessors..

    "You should look at this as a beachhead into the wireless communications market in a variety of devices," said Craig Barrett, Intel chief executive, on a conference call. "We want to be the building-block supplier to all of the devices that access the Internet in a wireless fashion."

    The purchase of DSPC is the latest stop on a spending spree for the company. Since the second half of 1998, Intel has purchased eight different companies, including DSPC, for more than $5.2 billion dollars.

  • AOL may slash prices to cut competition
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    America Online may consider lowering the price of its CompuServe service to remain competitive as other access providers cut prices and offer free service.

    "We can have the cheapest value service out there," AOL president Bob Pittman said at a J.P. Morgan Securities conference. "We commit to having the cheapest [service] in any market that we have to compete in."

    AOL charges $21.95 a month for unlimited Internet access on its flagship service. Its CompuServe service charges $9.95 a month for 20 hours of access. Investors have been concerned that AOL could see a repeat of its troubles in the United Kingdom, where it has been battling free Internet service providers such as Dixons Group's Freeserve. NetZero and CMGI's AltaVista service offer free Internet access in the United States.

    "CompuServe will continue to lead in the value segment while maintaining our premium service, which is AOL," Pittman said. He didn't comment on whether the company would cut prices.

    AOL, with more than 20 million subscribers, will compete with lower-priced services through CompuServe in the United States or Netscape Online in Europe, he said.

News Date: Thursday 14th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Apple - Trojan Virus - High Speed Internet
  • Apple's chip shuffle upsets some customers
    Time: 18:07 EDT/23:07 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Apple's earnings report yesterday is sparking a schizophrenic reaction today, with thumbs up from Wall Street and thumbs down from many customers angry about what amounts to a price increase on some Mac computers.

    The good news for Apple was that the company managed to beat lowered analysts' estimates, posting earnings from operations of 51 cents per share.

    What really cheered Wall Street, though, were Apple's moves to make sure the company can reduce a $700 million backlog in orders. The company said it will resolve a delay surrounding new versions of its Power Mac G4 systems by using processors that are slightly slower than originally planned. The 500-MHz system, for example, now will contain a 450-MHz chip, but sell at the same price.

    The company only shipped 64,000 G4 systems during the quarter, less than half the number Apple had predicted, because of Motorola's inability to make enough of the fast versions of the processor. Apple also is enduring a shortage of iBook notebooks.

    A number of financial analysts reiterated their optimistic view that Apple will be able to fulfill demand in the next quarter. As a result, Apple's stock has shot up seven points to 71.06 in afternoon trading, a gain of almost 11 percent.

    Customers who already ordered G4 systems shortly after the products were first announced, however, are steamed.

  • Gateway's all-in-one PC to echo iMac concept
    Time: 04:37 EDT/09:37 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Gateway said it will offer an all-in-one PC similar in concept to the iMac computer, which for $799 will include a 15-inch monitor, a 400-MHz Intel Celeron processor, and 64 megabytes of memory. The system is priced $152 less than an equivalently equipped desktop PC from the company.

    More than the design or price of the system, Gateway's new "Astro" PC will resemble the iMac in the company's pitch to users: The system easily connects to the Net.

    "We've created the Gateway Astro computer to be very easy to set up and connect to the Internet. You literally just plug in the power cord, connect in a phone line, connect the keyboard, and turn it on," said Todd Bradley, senior vice president, Gateway Consumer, in a statement.

  • Experts Fear Trojan Proxy Server Virus
    Time: 04:03 EDT/09:03 GMT Source: TechWeb Posted By: Matt

    Security experts are trying to track down the perpetrators of a huge Internet surveillance operation that they say could presage an attack on websites around the world.

    Members of the Bethesda, Md.-based System Administration, Networking, and Security (SANS) Institute have already identified over 200 copies of a Trojan virus called RingZero that scans Web proxy servers and relays its findings back to remote computers across the Internet.

    That means information, including credit card numbers, and other private transaction information could be stolen.

    Since SANS warned its 64,000 members to check for the Trojan after the first was discovered two weeks ago, its researchers have slowly pieced together frightening evidence of a systematic attempt to gather information from commercial proxy servers. Proxy servers are widely used by business to handle Web access on office networks. They host intranet websites, let administrators restrict the websites staff may visit and cut bandwidth costs.

    Once installed on a network, RingZero's pst.exe file randomly scans for proxy servers and makes them send their own Internet address and port number to what appears to be a data collection script running on a machine at

  • FCC: Hands off the high-speed Net
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    U.S. regulators should maintain a hands-off approach to overseeing the high-speed Internet business to encourage the fledgling technology's growth, a new Federal Communications Commission staff report concluded.

    America Online is leading a campaign to make cable companies such as AT&T open their high-speed systems to unaffiliated Internet service providers. While the FCC has opted not to impose such a requirement, several local governments have voted to require so-called open access.

    Today's report found about 1 million out of 40 million residential Internet subscribers use the Net over high-speed connections. The report is aimed at discouraging more local governments from taking action because the technology is still in its infancy.

    "I hope that this will be a useful source of information for local authorities," said FCC chairman William Kennard, who hoped that they'd "come to the conclusion that the best policy for now is watchful restraint."

News Date: Wednesday 14th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
  • AOL, Motorola team for wireless instant messaging
    Time: 18:09 EDT/23:09 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Soon your Buddy List will be able to go mobile.

    America Online and Motorola announced today that they are preparing a version of the popular AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) application for use on Motorola's advanced wireless communications devices.

    The companies only have a prototype application ready but expect to offer the service early next year--provided they agree on final terms of the partnership.

    Based on the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), a standard for optimizing Internet content and sending data to wireless devices, the AOL service will be available on Motorola's Timeport line of "smart phones" and two-way wireless communicators.

    "A key part of our AOL Anywhere strategy is to bring our most popular services to different devices and platforms, including wireless communications," AOL president of interactive services Barry Schuler said in a statement.

  • Y2K cars mistaken for 'horseless carriages'
    Time: 05:23 EDT/10:23 GMT Source: USA Today Posted By: Matt

    Maine State government got its first Y2K surprise months early when owners of 2000 model cars and trucks received titles identifying their new vehicles as ''horseless carriages.''

    Despite millions of dollars spent to ensure state computers are ready for the year 2000, computers in the secretary of state's office got confused over the 2000 model year designation.

    As a result, some new vehicle owners or lien holders got titles to ''horseless carriages'' instead of cars or trucks in April.

    The case demonstrates the problems that can occur when computers misread the year 2000 as the year 1900, which is what happened in the secretary of state's office.

  • Lucent announces the development of 'e-paper'
    Time: 05:09 EDT/10:09 GMT Source: Computerworld Posted By: Matt

    Lucent Technologies and E Ink Corp. are collaborating on a futuristic product that the two companies describe as electronic paper, which could become a new format for the printing and distribution of newspapers and books.

    The electronic paper would actually be flexible plastic sheets made through a process similar to ink-on-paper printing, Lucent said in a statement today. The plastic sheets would be covered by plastic transistors developed at Lucent's Bell Labs. These transistors would have the same properties as conventional silicon chips, but are flexible and can be printed onto plastic.

    E Ink's electronic ink, the other key component of electronic paper, is made of millions of tiny microcapsules filled with dark dye and light pigment that change color to form images when charged by the electric field created by the plastic transistors.

    The electronic paper could be instantaneously updated with the latest edition of a newspaper or other traditionally printed media through a computer link, Lucent officials said. The same technology could also be used to create wafer-thin screen displays for digital products such as cellular phones and personal digital assistants.

  • E-Mail That Self-Destructs
    Time: 04:29 EDT/09:29 GMT Source: New York Times Posted By: Matt

    Fans of the television show "Mission: Impossible" know that at the start of each episode, the show's principals received their top-secret orders from a tape-recorded message, one that would always end with the words, "This tape will self-destruct in five seconds."

    Now anyone who sends e-mail can conceal his tracks in the same way.

    Several companies are exploring ways to control the copying and dissemination of electronic documents with their own versions of self-destructing e-mail. They aim to make it possible to send a message or document that will become unreadable after a predetermined period so that companies and individuals can keep their information on a short leash.

    Keeping control of sensitive data in the age of the Internet has been a notoriously difficult job, because computers and their operating systems have been designed to make copying information as easy as possible. The computer manufacturers wanted to make tools for creating many documents, and so they made duplication simple.

    All of the companies selling the new tools acknowledge that their solutions are far from perfect, but they say that they expect companies to buy the tools despite the flaws. They say that they are trying to answer the concerns of many corporations grappling with ways to control casual office e-mail messages that may be used against a company in litigation.

  • Find AOL thrills at theme park
    Time: 04:05 EDT/09:05 GMT Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt

    It's official: E-mail never takes a vacation.

    Seagram Co.'s Universal Studios Inc. has struck a marketing deal with America Online Inc. that will result in AOL (NYSE:AOL) kiosks at Universal's new Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Fla. The kiosks will provide computer terminals enabling users to access AOL while visiting the park, letting them check and send e-mail, use instant messaging and the like.

    For AOL, the program is an extension of the company's effort to reach its members even when they aren't sitting at their home or business computers. It recently made a deal with 3Com Corp. to make AOL e-mail available on PalmPilot handheld computers. "As we try to extend the AOL service to be more integrated into people's lives, we look outside the home," said Joe Redling, senior vice president of brand marketing for AOL.

News Date: Tuesday 13th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Y2K - NetObjects - Internet
  • Study shows U.S. firms not ready for Y2K
    Time: 19:14 EDT/00:14 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Despite widespread confidence that the new year will come and go without a hitch, a study released this week claims that many large companies in vital U.S. industries are far from prepared for the millennium.

    Companies in industries like telecommunications, pipelines, and airlines rank "low" or "below average" in their Y2K preparedness, based on a study of their publicly disclosed Y2K budgets and expenditures conducted by Weiss Ratings, a Florida-based provider of Y2K readiness ratings.

    Although not intended to be an exact evaluation, the Weiss Y2K ratings are believed to provide an approximate indication of each company's relative progress.

    Overall, among the 552 Fortune 1000 companies making complete disclosure on Y2K budgets and costs in their second quarter 1999 filings with the SEC, the aggregate budget estimate is $30.5 billion. But only $19.6 billion of those budgeted funds had been allocated to actual expenditures, according to the firm.

    All other factors being equal, a company should have spent at least 70 percent of its budget by mid-year in order to qualify for a Weiss Y2K rating of "average" according to the firm.

  • Excite lands key real estate on new IBM Aptivas
    Time: 04:45 EDT/09:45 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Hoping to attract new PC buyers to Excite@Home's Web portal service, new IBM Aptiva PCs will feature a button on their keyboards that will automatically launch Excite's home page.

    Aptiva users will launch Excite's home page when they press the "Internet" button on IBM's Rapid Access II Keyboard. The idea is to sell real estate on PCs to Web services looking for ways to reach Web consumers.

    Other PC manufacturers such as Compaq Computer have introduced similar methods. Compaq's keyboards have buttons that automatically launch sites such as AltaVista,, and Zip2. Compaq sold AltaVista to CMGI in July for $2.3 billion in stock.

    "Distribution continues to be key for the Excite portal and this relationship extends that strategy to a new audience," said Mark Stevens, Excite@Home's executive vice president for business development, in a statement.

    "We continue forging new relationships with companies like Excite to enhance the service we provide to individuals with their Aptivas", said John Yengo, IBM vice president of consumer marketing, in a statement.

  • Big retailers proving less than adept at getting online
    Time: 04:18 EDT/09:18 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    A series of botched efforts shows it may be harder than it looks to take a traditional business online.

    In two recent examples, leading retailers Wal-Mart and Walgreens announced delays in their online plans. Wal-Mart, expected to relaunch its site this fall, said the new site won't appear until early next year. And Walgreens, the nation's leading pharmacy, said its new site has been delayed by a month and won't be up until later this month.

    Earlier this year, Best Buy and Home Depot announced delays in their newly renovated Web stores. Amway sister site Quixtar debuted to near-complete site failure after a heavily touted opening, and Toys "R" Us saw its Internet strategy unravel.

    In some cases the setbacks could be considered temporary glitches that will have little long-term impact. But for others the missteps mean the retailers will miss out on what is expected to be a huge online holiday season.

    The reasons for the bumbles vary, but in many cases they can be traced to a common denominator: underestimating the difficulty of building a strong online presence.

  • NetObjects taps small businesses
    Time: 04:05 EDT/09:05 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    NetObjects is thinking small--as in small businesses.

    The four-year-old Silicon Valley company is on the acquisition trail, attempting to make its mark in the crowded Web development market. After chasing both consumers and businesses of all sizes, NetObjects now wants to become a one-stop shop for small businesses' Web needs.

    To further its efforts, the Web authoring toolmaker last week spent $15 million to buy Sitematic, a Web site for small businesses that offers easy-to-use software to design Web sites online, Web site hosting, and marketing resources, such as search engine registration. It also lets companies easily put up their goods for sale on auction sites, such as eBay.

    The firm not only wants to provide design software, it also wants to offer Web hosting services to get small businesses online and a Web community where they can network and get the advice and resources they need to become e-businesses.

    "We want to become a GeoCities for small businesses," said NetObjects' chief executive Samir Arora, referring to the thriving, Yahoo-owned online Web site community for consumers. "Our goal is to help you build a Web site and e-commerce store and be successful."

News Date: Monday 11th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
AOL - Internet
  • E-commerce security standard in works
    Time: 18:29 EDT/23:29 GMT Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt

    Citing safety in numbers, a new consortium, the Trusted Computing Alliance, is seeking to develop a universal standard for PC security.

    Alliance members, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq:INTC), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT), Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE:CPQ), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE:HWP) and IBM Corp. (NYSE:IBM) will work to help develop a specification, called the Trusted Computing Alliance Specification, which will aim to develop basic hardware and software security standards for PC desktops, notebooks and servers.

    While many PC vendors ave made individual strides towards increasing security by adding "smart cards" or embedded security chips to their new models, as a group, the Trusted Computing Alliance feels it can accelerate adoption of security technology and, as a result, electronic commerce. The alliance will develop and propose a standard that adopts hardware and software technologies like a hardware random-number generator -- allowing a PC to take better advantage of such security technologies as the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security technology present in a Web browser.

    "The idea is to define an architecture that is easily implemented, that would provide what we think are the basic security features people will need for the activities they may engage in," said Phil Hester, chief technology office IBM Personal Systems Group. Those activities, he said, could be business or personal, but they would likely involve e-commerce.

  • Amazon, Onebox launch audio e-mail
    Time: 18:15 EDT/23:15 GMT Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt

    Onebox will announce a partnership with this Thursday that lets consumers record audio messages for electronic greetings.

    Users who want to send a card through Amazon (Nasdaq:AMZN) will be directed to an 800 number where they can record a message. Onebox converts the message to an audio file which is played when the recipient of the greeting goes to the Web site.

    Onebox officials said the service will be free, and will not require any special technology by the recipient. Users who are not able to listen to recordings through their PCs (for example, those without speakers) will be able to call an 800 number to hear the tape.

  • America Online Targets Businesses
    Time: 04:59 EDT/09:59 GMT Source: News Page Posted By: Matt

    America Online Inc. [NYSE:AOL], the leading Internet provider for consumers, is about to have another go at the business market. Early next year, AOL plans to roll out a new service aimed at users from small businesses and home offices, Ted Leonsis, president of AOL's interactive properties group, said Friday.

    Leonsis said the still-unnamed offering will be a new AOL "brand" -much like its regional Digital City guides-that will be available across all of AOL's properties, including its fee-based online services and its free Web sites such as

    The project, code-named Free Agent Nation, will offer a place for business owners to meet and buy products and services from one another, as well as to find information helpful to running their companies, AOL officials said.

    Free Agent Nation is the first toe in the water for AOL in what many consider to be an enormously lucrative business-to-business Internet market. If successful, other related initiatives are expected to be launched soon after, although AOL would not give specifics.

    "It's yet another way to monetize their audience," said William Whyman of Legg Mason Wood Walker in Washington.

    Some analysts suggest that AOL's next step could be changing Netcenter-the general-interest gateway site of Netscape Communications Corp., the Internet company AOL bought earlier this year-into one that focuses on small businesses. AOL could overlay electronic-commerce applications on customized business sites it builds for Netcenter clients, they say.

    AOL in November plans to relaunch Netcenter, spokeswoman Ann Brackbill said, although she would not provide details.

  • Are you ready for the $200 PC?
    Time: 04:50 EDT/09:50 GMT Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt

    Just when big PC makers are dropping prices below $500, a few small guys are readying stripped-down PCs for as little as $200. And consumers might buy them.

    While PCs from eMachines Inc. and others now sell for less than $400, ZDNN has reviewed documents for new, more eye-pleasing designs aimed at even lower price levels. Some analysts think that the availability of these lower-cost models is not far off.

    "Probably toward the end of next year, (the $200 PC) will represent a significant portion of the retail space," said Matt Sargent, an analyst at ZDNet (NYSE:ZDZ) affiliate InfoBeads Inc.

    Right now, that market is limited to smaller companies, but Sargent expects that eventually, "people like eMachines and HP -- these guys who are the leaders in the low-end retail space -- are going to get into this market."

  • Online Industry Seizes the Initiative on Privacy
    Time: 04:48 EDT/09:48 GMT Source: New York Times Posted By: Matt

    By the stilted linguistic standards of government reports, the Federal Trade Commission gave the online industry a pistol whipping in June 1998. After reviewing the privacy practices of World Wide Web sites, the commission told Congress that the industry had "fallen far short of what is needed to protect consumers."

    Only a tiny fraction of Web sites, the FTC noted, told people what the sites did with the personal information they collected -- names, e-mail addresses, credit card numbers. Even fewer sites offered consumers any choice about how their personal data were used, allowed them to access the data or gave assurances of its security.

    Industry self-regulation, the FTC concluded, was not working.

    Its scathing report increased the chances that Congress would enact sweeping Internet privacy legislation. And the findings hardened resolve in Europe to reject the American self-regulatory approach to privacy online, a dispute that threatened to escalate into the first Internet trade war.

    Christine Varney, the commission's Internet activist until she left in August 1997, had long warned the industry that if it did not move to shoulder responsibility on privacy, the government would surely step in. Suddenly, that threat seemed imminent.

News Date: Friday 8th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Visor - IBM - Internet
  • AltaVista plans huge ad blitz, relaunch
    Time: 19:21 EDT/00:21 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Internet investment firm CMGI plans to spend more than $100 million on a 12-month advertising campaign that trumpets major changes aimed at transforming its AltaVista Web directory into a top-tier portal player, sources say.

    AltaVista is redesigning the look and feel of its Web site as part of the relaunch, according to people familiar with the plans, and is even working on a new logo and slogan. The site will add local guides powered by Zip2, which CMGI acquired this year, as well as a commerce section featuring, a news section called AltaVista Live, and a new search page.

    The company expects to launch the new site this month at a gala event in New York, CNET has learned. Sources said the overall marketing drive could cost as much as $120 million, though a representative for the company said that figure was "exaggerated."

    "Get ready for the TOTALLY NEW AltaVista--dynamic new media offerings, unmatched new commerce offerings and our legendary AltaVista Search with industry-leading relevance and a far more powerful interface," read an electronic version of an invitation to the gala party, which carried AltaVista chief executive Rod Schrock's tagline.

    A member of the ad team working on the campaign confirmed that the event is planned for October 25, as stated in the invitation.

  • Visor Closing In on Palm
    Time: 05:25 EDT/10:25 GMT Source: Wired News Posted By: Matt

    Watch out Palm and CE, the Visor is close at hand.

    The Visor, a sleek palm-sized device from Handspring, is drawing raves from consumers and developers at Internet World and is threatening to steal the limelight from Palm and Windows CE devices.

    Handspring’s large booth has been swamped with anxious onlookers, and ringed by more than 20 companies displaying a range of add-on products. Developers love working with the company, and fans, intrigued by its flexibility, are leaving the Palm fold.

    "The Palm is pretty good, but it is too expensive for the average person," said Marsha Russell, a consultant who was eager to try out the Visor. Standing at the edge of the Handspring booth, she whipped out her PalmPilot and compared it to an orange-colored Visor.

    "This is thinner, and you can upgrade and get more memory without having to open it," she said. "The software is easily transferable. The expansion slot is the thing, plus, it’s a nice funky color."

    Palm, which decided not to exhibit at Internet World, seems to be standing still or even losing ground in many eyes. Developers said the Palm will remain a sexy status symbol for executives, but that Visor could attract a mass audience.

  • IBM to cut up to 1,000 jobs
    Time: 04:10 EDT/09:10 GMT Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt

    Reassignments and layoffs will eliminate 5 to 10 percent of workforce in 10,000-person PC group, as IBM's consumer business continues to lose money.

    In an effort to finally turn a profit, IBM Corp.'s Personal Systems Group is shaving 5 to 10 percent of its 10,000-person workforce, according to a memo sent to PSG employees Wednesday by Executive Vice President Dave Thomas.

    The company is also seriously considering pulling out of many retail outlets next year in favor of a major new Web sales push, sources said. IBM's (NYSE:IBM) consumer business continues to lose money for the company.

    "There will be increased online sales, especially to consumers," said one source.

    Sources added that the currently separate consumer manufacturing and marketing efforts will be merged into the rest of PSG.

  • Cyberattacks Against U.S. Are A Matter Of Time
    Time: 04:04 EDT/09:04 GMT Source: TechWeb Posted By: Matt

    As cracking incidents accelerate, it is only a matter of time before a malicious attack against the U.S. critical infrastructure does major damage, the nation's top cyberlaw enforcement official has told lawmakers.

    "Foreign nations are developing information-warfare programs because they see that they cannot defeat the United States in a head-to-head military encounter," said Michael Vatis, director of the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center. "They believe that information operations are a way to strike at what they perceive as America's Achilles Heel -- our reliance on information technology to control critical government and private-sector systems."

    Damages in the first half of 1999 from viruses alone topped $7 billion, Vatis said, citing a report by Computer Economics. The FBI has over 800 pending investigations of hacking and network intrusion.

    Increasing U.S. vulnerability has been the lack of a national plan to handle cyberattacks and respond to incidents. The Clinton administration is expected to release a plan addressing intrusions at federal systems by the end of the month or early November, Vatis told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "If we're going to ask the private sector to get engaged in protecting the critical infrastructure, the government has to get its own house in order first," he said.

    Central to that plan will be the Federal Intrusion Detection Network, which generated concern when it was first announced. "FIDNET will be run by the General Services Administration, not the FBI, will not monitor any private networks or e-mail traffic, will confer no new authorities on any government agency, and will be fully consistent with privacy law and practice," said John Tritak, director of the administration's Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office.

    Audits show 22 of the largest federal agencies have significant computer-security weaknesses, said Jack Brock Jr., director of the accounting and information-management division at the General Accounting Office, the government's investigative arm. Vulnerability was found in national defense, law enforcement, air-traffic control, and benefit payments, Brock said in releasing the GAO's report, "Critical Infrastructure Protection: Fundamental Improvements Needed to Assure Security of Federal Operations." The Defense Department experiences up to 100 hacker attacks daily, Vatis said.

  • Network Solutions Beefs Up Dot Com Directory
    Time: 04:02 EDT/09:02 GMT Source: TechWeb Posted By: Matt

    Network Solutions will introduce local versions of its dot com directory for the United Kingdom and for Australia, the company said Thursday.

    The Herndon, Va.-based company is marketing the new services free to business that register domain names with it. The enhancements are part of the company's strategy to compete with new Internet registration companies. Previously, it was the sole registrar for Internet domain address ending in .com, .net, and .org.

    "It is the third reason for registering a domain name," David Wolford, general manger for registration and value-added services, said at the Internet World trade show. Previously, people registered domains to retain the address for a site or to make use of the domain as an e-mail address, he said.

    The company calls the directory the Internet's first "find engine," making it easier for people to find businesses.

    Wolford said NSI plans to build Swedish, German, Chinese, and Korean language versions and will add a transaction capability early next year.

News Date: Thursday 7th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
  • Tribal Voice in new challenge to AOL
    Time: 18:21 EDT/23:21 GMT Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt

    Joining the fray in an escalating competition, Alta Vista has signed a deal to use Tribal Voice's instant messaging software.

    Alta Vista joins AT&T's WorldNet and FreeServe in using the Tribal Voice client. Tribal Voice is one of the few competitors to America Online Inc. (NYSE:AOL) which dominates the space with more than 45 million users.

    Yesterday, AOL signed a deal with Lycos Inc., to license its software to Lycos (Nasdaq:LCOS) users. That followed deals with Internet service providers Earthlink Network Inc. (Nasdaq:ELNK) and MindSpring Enterprises Inc. (Nasdaq:MSPG).

    AOL dominates the instant messaging market. But it faces criticism for its refusal to open its service to competitors who want their customers to be able to communicate with AOL's users. After making some of the code public, allowing individuals to develop applications, AOL pulled the code after competitors began using it to link their customers to the company's online service.

    Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT), which has released its protocols allowing outsiders to link to its system, sparked the fight when it devised a way to tap into the AOL service. AOL has since repeatedly blocked Microsoft's attempts as the two companies engaged in an ongoing tit-for-tat.

    Tribal Voice says the new version of its software, code-named Chameleon, will be able to communicate with both Microsoft and AOL. But AOL maintains it will attempt to block the Tribal Voice service as well.

  • CompuServe revamps software, PC rebate program
    Time: 18:08 EDT/23:08 GMT Source: CNET Posted By: Matt

    America Online said its CompuServe unit upgraded its software and is giving $400 instant rebates on personal computers purchased at CompUSA in exchange for a three-year contract.

    CompuServe's upgraded software includes a revamped shopping channel, new content for children and teenagers, and seven email names per subscriber, compared with the five offered previously. The CompUSA rebate follows a mail-in program that CompuServe began in July.

    CompuServe is increasing its subscriber base for the first time since America Online bought it in early 1998. Once geared to the technologically savvy, it's now targeting people who want to spend less on Internet connections. The rebate has helped CompuServe add more than 300,000 subscribers during AOL's first quarter ended September 30.

    "CompuServe is in the midst of a dramatic turnaround," said Audrey Weil, CompuServe's general manager, at the Internet World conference in New York City. "We are finally in the black and are growing members, revenue, and profits."

    The $400 rebate is available to people who agree to use the service for at least three years and pay $21.95 a month. CompuServe also offers a monthly rate of $9.95 for 20 hours of service.

  • Chief Weather Computer Fries
    Time: 04:09 EDT/09:09 GMT Source: Wired news Posted By: Matt

    If a hurricane whips up in the Atlantic this week, we may not notice right away.

    The nation is receiving fewer and less reliable weather forecasts, the result of a late September fire in a supercomputer that feeds data to the National Weather Service and many parts of the world.

    Late last month, the Cray C90 supercomputer at the National Weather Service in Suitland, Maryland caught fire and burned.

    The computer generates numerical weather forecast models -- the raw data and programs used to forecast weather -- for the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP).

    Firefighters used dry chemicals to extinguish the blaze, but the chemicals damaged critical components. Silicon Graphics, which owns computer-builder Cray Research, subsequently pronounced the machine dead.

    While it waits for a replacement -- expected to take about five weeks -- the center will run on borrowed cycles from other national weather centers, such as those from the Air Force and Navy. That is sufficient to continue critical weather tracking, NCEP officials say.

  • AOL 5.0 May Be Harmful to Net Connections
    Time: 04:07 EDT/09:07 GMT Source: InternetNews Posted By: Matt

    Internet users who downloaded and installed the latest version of America Online's client software, AOL 5.0, have found that they've gained some spiffy new features. But in the process some have found they've also lost their ability to connect to the Internet.

    A message board at the online service devoted to AOL 5.0 upgrade questions was full of reports Wednesday from users who've run into problems accessing Web sites or other network content since installing the new version of the software, which was officially released Tuesday.

    The bug appears particularly to affect AOL users who also have dial-up accounts with other Internet service providers, or who connect to AOL from a LAN or corporate network.

    AOL (AOL) offers subscribers a "Bring Your Own Access" pricing plan with reduced rates if users connect over an existing TCP/IP account with another ISP. According to Usenet newsgroup postings, also affected were non-AOL subscribers who had downloaded and installed a demo version of AOL 5.0 and lost their access to their ISP as a result.

    The culprit appears to be the AOL TCP/IP adapter installed by AOL 5.0. In some instances, it may establish itself as the default network adapter and disable any DNS settings required to connect to an ISP.

  • AT&T Seeks to Deflect Internet Criticism
    Time: 04:02 EDT/09:02 GMT Source: The New York Times Posted By: Matt

    The AT&T Corporation, facing persistent criticism for not giving independent Internet service providers direct access to its far-flung cable television systems, has decided to offer such access within a few years and is trying to find concrete ways to demonstrate that commitment, executives close to the company said Tuesday.

    With such a step, AT&T could hope to deflect potentially onerous conditions that could be placed on its cable operations by municipal and perhaps Federal regulators.

    AT&T's move to assuage its critics, which could be announced soon, comes as mounting consolidation in the communications industry is prompting some regulators to wonder whether the business interests of big companies -- be it AT&T or MCI Worldcom -- can be balanced with the public's interest in having a competitive marketplace.

    AT&T has said that it cannot move more quickly to open its cable networks because of a contract that obligates it to give exclusive cable access until 2002 to the Excite@Home Corporation. Excite@Home was formed by the merger of the Excite Web portal and the At Home cable modem venture, and like its would-be competitors, it uses cable systems to offer consumers high-speed access to the Internet.

    AT&T inherited the exclusive contract with Excite@Home when it acquired the cable systems of Tele-Communications Inc. earlier this year. That relationship has prompted America Online Inc. and other Internet providers to undertake a major lobbying campaign in Washington and around the country to force what is called "open access" to AT&T's cable lines.

News Date: Wednesday 6th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
AOL - Disney - Reuters
  • Barnes & Noble acquires software, game company
    Time: 19:29 EDT/00:29 GMT Source: CNET Posted By: Matt

    Barnes & Noble agreed to buy closely held Babbage's Etc. for $215 million in cash and assumed debt, expanding its sales of video games and entertainment software.

    Babbage's Etc. is one of the largest U.S. sellers of video games and entertainment software. Barnes & Noble will get 495 stores run under the names Babbage's, Software Etc., and GameStop, as well as the retail Web site. Barnes & Noble said it expects the acquisition to add 10 cents a share to earnings in its fourth quarter ending in January.

    The purchase fits Barnes & Noble's strategy of investing in complementary businesses that are growing rapidly. It also wants to solidify its position as a leading retailer of books, music, video, and related items.

    Babbage's principal owner is Leonard Riggio, Barnes & Noble's chief executive. The transaction was examined and recommended by a special board committee, the company said.

    The purchase is subject to regulatory approvals and will be financed through Barnes & Noble's existing $850 million senior credit line.

  • AOL taps Lycos in instant messaging war
    Time: 19:25 EDT/00:25 GMT Source: CNET Posted By: Matt

    Packing more firepower into its raging battle against Microsoft, America Online today said it will help develop a custom version of AOL Instant Messenger for Lycos.

    AOL Instant Messenger is expected to be available for Lycos's 32 million registered users in December, allowing them to communicate with each other as well as with the 45 million registered AIM users.

    The recruitment of Lycos will likely intensify the battle over instant messaging on at least two fronts. For AOL, Lycos is an important ally in its fight against Microsoft and, to a lesser degree, Yahoo, over which version of the important communications software is used. For Lycos, the move allows the portal to catch up with Yahoo by adding a critical feature in a market where all rivals must match each other's services to stay competitive.

  • AOL users warned of spam scam
    Time: 04:40 EDT/09:40 GMT Source: MSNBC Posted By: Matt

    Scam artists are using official-looking Web sites and the lure of free gifts to obtain the names and passwords of America Online subscribers, then sending a flood of unsolicited email using the pilfered accounts, an anti-spam consumer group warned Tuesday.

    SAYING IT had received approximately 1,300 complaints from AOL subscribers, the Spam Recycling Center issued its first-ever consumer alert to warn other users about the ruse.

    The center said the account information was obtained through phony offers of free Internet access or other free gifts. The offers contain hyperlinks to Web sites bearing AOL logos that request the user’s screen name and password, ostensibly so they can receive the gift.

    One AOL subscriber, Gregory Walter of South Holland, Ill., told the center that AOL froze his account two days after he responded to the offer, after it was used to bombard other AOL subscribers with unsolicited commercial e-mail, commonly called spam.

    “When I called AOL customer service, they told me my screen name and account had been used to send 7,000 spams,” Walter said.

    AOL spokesman Rich D’Amato confirmed that the world’s largest Internet-online service had been plagued by a series of “password fishing” scams and had warned subscribers not to provide account information in response to unsolicited offers. He said he had no information regarding the specific cases cited by the recycling center.

    Bogus offers
    used to obtain
    account data
      Screen Grab: Bogus offer to AOL members
    A screen grab of one bogus offer used to obtain AOL members' account information.
  • Disney's Go Network bids on auctions
    Time: 04:10 EDT/09:10 GMT Source: CNET Posted By: Matt

    Going where other portals have gone before, Disney's Go Network will announce tomorrow that it is jumping into the auction business.

    The site offers free auction listings until next year, but it charges transaction fees of up to 5 percent.

    Athough the auction site will be announced tomorrow, it already had been launched by this afternoon.

    Go's move comes on the heels of last month's announcement that portal sites such as Excite, MSN, and Lycos were forming a network to share auction listings. Portal leader Yahoo entered the auction space last year and is the next largest after eBay, with some 750,000 simultaneuous listings. eBay has about 2.9 million simultaneous listings.

    The Go site has about 1,300 auction listings, but more listings will be added tomorrow, said Andrew Hamel, vice president and general manager of Go Network Auction.

  • Reuters beefs up online information services
    Time: 04:05 EDT/09:05 GMT Source: CNET Posted By: Matt

    Reuters Group, the world's largest financial information provider, introduced a set of products to deliver live stock exchange quotations and news over the Internet as it seeks to reach more customers and cut costs.

    The "Reuters Inform" products initially will offer market prices, news, and other information to traders, utilities, farmers, and others interested in agriculture and the commodities and energy markets. The company, which already provides some delayed price and information services online, declined to say how much it has spent on developing the real-time product.

    Growth in Reuters's sales of terminals to the financial services industry, its biggest source of income, has slowed as clients merged, cut costs, and closed offices in weaker markets. Reuters has responded by finding ways to deliver its products to a wider range of users at a lower cost through the Internet.

    The company, which will advertise in trade magazines and on Web sites, expects to attract "thousands or tens of thousands" of customers to the Reuters Inform service, John Parcell, chief executive of Reuters Information, said in an interview. He declined to estimate the size of the potential market.

    Users will be able to download the service and upgrades from the Internet and pay to get customer service online.

News Date: Tuesday 5th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Travelocity - Y2K - IRS - Internet
  • RealNames to open source code
    Time: 18:36 EDT/23:36 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    In a bid to win broader acceptance for its simplified Net addressing system, RealNames tomorrow will unveil plans to give away its technology and develop it under the open-source model.

    Like a growing list of companies and independent software developers, RealNames (formerly called Centraal) is betting that by making its software freely available, it can hasten the technology's adoption.

    Its success could have a dramatic impact on the way Web users find Web pages and how companies market their online properties, by allowing ordinary words to stand in for complex URLs, which point browsers to specific Web pages. The company's software is already featured on Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser but has faced hurdles in getting universally accepted.

    In RealNames' example, a user can enter the RealNames keywords "Ford Explorer" in his or her browser instead of having to type in the URL ""

    Unlike domain name registrar Network Solutions (NSI), which registers Net addresses with generic terms like "car," RealNames said it will not register a generic term.

  • UPS Delivers the Net for Free
    Time: 06:47 EDT/11:47 GMT Source: Wired News Posted By: Matt

    UPS, the parcel delivery service with plans to go public, said it will offer free access to its online network for customers who don't already have Internet service.

    The company on Monday announced plans to launch UPS OnLine World Link, a service that will let all of its customers track packages and delivery schedules or place orders online.

    The company said it designed the service after determining that not enough of the customers placing orders for deliveries had Internet access. Although most companies that UPS does business with have Internet access, the employees in the shipping departments that actually place the orders didn't necessarily have access.

    UPS said it plans to give employees free "fenced" access to the Internet, meaning that they'll only be able to access UPS sites. To carry out the plan, it has signed agreements with Microsoft to provide browsing applications and with AT&T to provide Internet access.

    The announcement comes as UPS is preparing an initial public stock offering, which, if all goes as planned, would take place before end of the year. The huge IPO is expected to raise a whopping $3 billion for the well-established parcel delivery company.

  • You've Got AOL 5.0
    Time: 04:47 EDT/09:47 GMT Source: PC World Posted By: Matt

    AOL updates client with better search and custom functions, and readies for broadband and wireless boom.

    America Online debuts on Tuesday a 5.0 version of its software, stressing ease-of-use and offering a host of new features. This release also addresses questions about how AOL will adopt broadband and wireless technology into its software and network.

    AOL adds a calendar, personalization, and a channel bar on its welcome screen, providing one-click access to popular AOL destinations. AOL also made a major overhaul of its search engine, so you can hunt through both Web content and AOL's proprietary offerings.

    The upgrades keep AOL up to snuff with features offered by competing Web destinations like Yahoo and Lycos. Additionally, new robust search options reduce the chance of users traveling beyond AOL for Web content and services.

    Analysts don't consider 5.0 a major upgrade.

  • IRS e-sharing raises privacy fears
    Time: 04:07 EDT/09:07 GMT Source: USA TODAY Posted By: Matt

    Privacy experts are howling over a little-known proposal by the IRS to electronically release taxpayers' records to third parties such as credit bureaus and mortgage brokers.

    An all-electronic system would "turn a trickle into a flood" of requests for sensitive tax records, warns Evan Hendricks, editor of Privacy Times.

    By the Internal Revenue System's own estimate, annual requests for tax records to be sent to third parties could jump to more than 50 million from the current 6 million, says Sherrill Fields, director for electronic program enhancement.

    Much of that increase would come from a handful of government agencies, such as the Department of Education, which uses tax records to process student loans.

    Tax information released to third parties must be requested by the taxpayer. After the IRS receives the request, it mails or hand-delivers the records directly to the third party. The process can take two weeks.

    But under the electronic system, which will be tested in California next year, the process will take just 24 hours.

  • Spam hits the House from within
    Time: 04:05 EDT/09:05 GMT Source: MSNBC Posted By: Matt

    Aide’s message sets off hail of replies, bogging down system

    Congress was treated to a real-world demonstration of e-mail’s potential evils last week when a congressional aide sent out a mass mailing that touted a weight loss pill. That one slice of spam touched off a torrent of replies that bogged down the U.S. House of Representatives’ e-mail system — and generated new support for anti-spam legislation.

    THE EPISODE, as related Monday by the Capitol Hill publication Roll Call, began Thursday when a press aide to Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., sent a message recommending a weight loss pill to colleagues on the House e-mail system. The problem was that the message went out to hundreds, perhaps thousands of people via an e-mail distribution list, said Jason Poblete, a spokesman for the House Administration Committee, which is in charge of the chamber’s computer network.

    Roll Call identified the aide as Cher Castillo, a recent addition to Hastings’ staff. In a telephone conversation with MSNBC on Monday, Castillo said she was not authorized to discuss the episode. Other inquiries were referred to press secretary Lillian German, who was unavailable for immediate comment.

    Poblete said the message sparked e-mail protests, such as “get me off this list” and “don’t send any more e-mail like this.” But when the messages were sent as “reply all,” they went to every recipient of the original e-mail, literally compounding the problem.

  • Y2K's Silver Lining
    Time: 04:04 EDT/09:04 GMT Source: Wired News Posted By: Matt

    Something good may come out of these Y2K fears after all.

    A US government report says that attention to fixing the calendar rollover on older computer systems may provide an excellent test of the nation's ability to protect its critical networks from terrorists and hostile nations.

    Monday's General Accounting Office report, "Critical Infrastructure Protection -- Comprehensive Strategy Can Draw on Year 2000 Experiences," urges government and industry to parlay their Y2K debugging tactics into dealing with more worrisome threats.

    "The challenges associated with the Year 2000 date conversion problem are examples of the broader and longer term challenges that our nation faces in protecting our computer-supported critical infrastructure from hostile attacks," the report said. "While differences exist, many of the efforts that have been undertaken to manage and remedy the Year 2000 problem can also be applied to these longer term challenges."

  • Preview Travel Rides with Travelocity
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT Source: Internet News Posted By: Matt

    Travel site Travelocity Monday acquired a majority stake in fellow travel firm Preview Travel Inc. and will incorporate Preview Travel's operations under the Travelocity name.

    Under terms of the deal, Travelocity, a division of Sabre Holdings Corp. (TSG), will pay $50 million in cash for a 70 percent stake in Preview Travel (PTVL), and the two companies will combine services under the Travelocity name.

    Terrell B. Jones, president of, will be the president and CEO of the new company, and James Hornthal, founder and chairman of Preview Travel, Inc., will serve as vice chairman.

    The merger combines two leaders in the online travel industry, said Krista Pappas, senior analyst for Gomez Advisors. has approximately 8.7 million members, while Preview Travel currently has 9 million members.

    "It's been pretty clear that Preview, Travelocity and Expedia have been the major players in the online travel space," she said. "Now I think with new deals with AOL & Yahoo for Preview and Travelocity through this merger, it clearly gives them a lead in the travel space. And we'll start seeing a lot more consolidation going on with the smaller players. . ."

    Pappas referred to the five-year, $200 million agreement announced Monday with America Online, Inc. (AOL) in which will be the exclusive reservations engine for all travel-related services within the AOL service,, CompuServe, Digital City and Netscape. Also, Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) extended its existing contract with and will invest in the combined company.

News Date: Monday 4th October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Amazon - Internet - ICQ
  • CBS, Medscape launch online health site
    Time: 15:36 EDT/20:36 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Broadcast giant CBS and health Web site Medscape today said they have launched a consumer health Web site.

    The launch follows a July deal in which CBS bought a 35 percent stake in the online health and medical information Web site.

    The new site will offer a broad range of information, from tips on how to prepare for medical tests to peer-reviewed articles. The site also will allow members to create and monitor personal health calendars.

    CBS bought its stake in Medscape under a deal in which CBS said it would license its trademark and logo to Medscape. CBS also agreed to provide promotion and branding for Medscape across CBS media properties, a deal worth $150 million over seven years.

  • Net2Phone, ICQ to offer Net phone card
    Time: 13:05 EDT/18:05 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Net2Phone and America Online's ICQ unit said today that they have reached a deal to offer a prepaid "virtual calling card" that will route telephone calls over Net2Phone's Internet protocol network.

    The companies said the card will be available at ICQ's Web site and can initially be used to make telephone calls from the United States to anywhere in the world at rates the companies said are up to 70 percent less than traditional phone cards.

    The companies plan to make the cards available to ICQ users in 19 additional countries in the coming months. ICQ offers Internet-based communication services.

    The announcement is the first in a series of initiatives under a four-year agreement between Net2Phone and ICQ to provide a suite of Internet telephony services to ICQ customers.

  • Amazon goes anywhere with wireless pact
    Time: 07:34 EDT/12:34 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    Beginning today, customers won't have to be in front of their computers in order to purchase a book or CD from the online shopping site.

    Using 3Com's new Palm VII handheld wireless computer, Amazon customers will be able to buy items from any of the company's five stores, as well as monitor auctions from the company's auction site. Palm VII customers will need to download a program from Amazon or Palm.Net in order to begin shopping at the leading e-commerce site. The service goes online today as 3Com begins to sell the Palm VII and its Internet service nationwide.

    The announcement comes less than a week after Amazon announced that it would allow other merchants to set up shop on its site, and with the holiday shopping season fast approaching. Amazon spokesman Paul Capelli said the company was trying to make it easy for customers to be able to buy products from its site.

    "Not only can you find anything on Amazon, but you can access it from anywhere," Capelli said.

    Capelli said enabling Palm VII users to access its site was the first step toward allowing customers to purchase items on Amazon from anywhere they want. In the near future, the company plans to allow customers to access its stores via Internet-enabled mobile phones and other wireless handheld devices, Capelli said.

  • Focus of Online Sales Switches from Consumers to Businesses
    Time: 04:48 EDT/09:48 GMT Source: News Page Posted By: Matt

    Feb. 29--Instead of shaking hands when a business purchase is completed, many companies may now be clicking a "buy now" button on their computers.

    The number of business-to-business transactions over the Internet has grown steadily in the past year.

    Unlike business-to-consumer transactions, which have received a lot of public attention, B-to-B, as it is known, has quietly increased in size with the launch of several vertical industry Web sites and online trading communities.

    And it's expected to explode to $1.3 trillion by 2003, according to a report by Forrester Research, a market research firm in Cambridge, Mass.

  • The holidays could gift wrap nice gains for investors
    Time: 04:03 EDT/09:03 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    A surge in e-commerce is expected to be the dominant story for investors during the final quarter of the 20th century, tempered by fears of the Y2K bug and a possible hike in interest rates.

    Last year, many Internet stocks--especially those with an e-commerce component--blasted higher as the holiday shopping season approached. While most analysts expect the same surge to occur this year, they do caution that worries lurk in the back of investors' minds about an interest rate hike and unforeseen Y2K glitches.

    "Y2K and interest rates are secondary factors," said Phil Leigh, an equities analyst at Raymond James. "I really think what you'll see this holiday season is that e-commerce gains a lot of traction."

  • Enonymous offers free online privacy protection
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT Source: ZDNet Posted By: Matt, a closely-held San Diego startup, plans to unveil a free online privacy utility that protects the identities of shoppers on the Web from marketers. The company's program, which will be available at, protects consumer privacy by segregating information about a person's identity from their characteristics, such as age, gender, interests and appetites.

    The software, which works with any Web browser, responds to the growing outcry from consumer advocates and government regulators over the misuse of Web surfers' personal data for unsolicited mass-marketing via e-mail.

News Date: Friday 1st October 1999
Today's Top Business Headlines:
Internet - AT&T - NBCi
  • Business Site News
    Time: 04:42 EDT/09:42 GMT Source: Active Windows Posted By: Matt

    Just a quick reminder to all of you out there that if you see any stories or content that you would like posted then feel free to drop me a line.

    I also look forward to seeing you all at our Active Windows Community Site. It allows you to chat with us in our chat room or via our message board, it also lets you post your own screensavers and backgrounds for other ActiveWindows readers to download.

    Our ActiveSci-Fi site is up and running so if you are a Science Fiction fan we have the ultimate site for you.

  • NBCi to go public in November
    Time: 04:07 EDT/09:07 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    General Electric's NBC Internet (NBCi), a new online business that will include and, will begin trading as a separate company in early November, said Chris Kitze, NBCi's chief executive.

    NBCi will combine some Internet holdings of the NBC broadcast network, including, with, an online direct-marketing company, and, the online directory that NBC owns with CNET, publisher of Shares of the new company won't be sold to the public. Instead, NBCi will trade using's existing shares.

    NBCi is "close to getting approval" from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and will be trading in U.S. markets by early November, said Kitze, who is currently chairman of

    NBCi will operate a Web site under the brand name, which NBC has said will be the seventh-largest Internet site. NBCi also will be the first publicly traded Internet company integrated with a major TV broadcaster.

  • ITAA Awarded Funding for Cybercitizen Partnership
    Time: 04:04 EDT/09:04 GMT Source: News Page Posted By: Matt

    The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) today announced it has entered into a Cooperative Agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and has been awarded $300,000 to support the Cybercitizen Partnership, an alliance between the high tech industry represented by ITAA and the United States government dedicated to promoting computer ethics and civic responsibility in the cyber age.

    The cooperative agreement will support the development of a major national public awareness campaign directed at children and young adults to educate, raise awareness and teach responsible, lawful on-line behavior. Additional funding from ITAA member companies and non-member sources such as foundations and vertical industries will be solicited to implement the awareness campaign, and industry and government officials will work together to oversee the direction and message of the campaign.

    "Read the headlines. Cyber crime is a growing concern of both industry and government, as both are vulnerable to attacks," said Harris Miller, President of ITAA. "Industry can't afford to just sit back and watch the crime volume increase, and we believe this solution will help weed out some of the less meaningful system violations by curious children so that law enforcement can focus on the true criminals."

    "This public awareness campaign should be a priority for every company not just IT companies - that owns an information infrastructure," Miller added. "We are delighted to play a leadership role by collaborating with the Justice Department on the Cybercitizen Partnership."

    The Cybercitizen Partnership was mentioned in an August 1999 report by the Attorney General to the Vice President of the United States on Cyberstalking. The AG's report highlighted the Partnership as an "industry effort" to educate on cybercrime and boost cooperation between industry and government, expand public awareness of computer crime issues among children and adolescents, and provide resources for government to draw upon in addressing computer crime. The report is available at:

  • Self-Maintaining PCs Come Closer
    Time: 04:00 EDT/09:00 GMT Source: PC World Posted By: Matt

    Compaq, Dell, and Gateway announce new services to automatically diagnose, troubleshoot, and repair PCs.

    You've heard about PC troubleshooting packages that can run a series of tests on a PC, spot many problems, and automatically fix them. But that's just the start of system maintenance and repair programs from a small company called Motive.

    Motive's technology, licensed under the same name as the company, really kicks in when software alone isn't enough to solve a problem. Motive's program can reach out across the Internet to a major support database and run through even more possible fixes before finally calling in a real live technician to help. It all works well enough that Dell, Gateway, and now Compaq have all signed on to offer the service to their customers.

    The stand-alone program, which runs locally, repairs about 30 percent of problems--that is, the type of problems that have automated fixes and do not need human intervention. When problems can't be fixed this way, the program goes to the Web to find software updates, patches, and fixes to avoid potential problems. As a last resort, it can be set to call in the next phase of the solution if Motive can't manage alone.

    A collaborative section of the program sets up support communities for an organization. It will automatically route a problem to a qualified technician, along with a database of all the information it has already gathered while looking for a solution to the problem.

  • AT&T considers deals for Excite@Home stake
    Time: 03:56 EDT/08:56 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    AT&T confirmed today that it is considering possible business deals involving its interest in cable Internet company Excite@Home.

    The statement follows days of rumors that AT&T was negotiating to sell all or part of its Excite@Home stake.

    "We have periodically explored, and we continue to explore, many alternatives with respect to our Internet strategy and our ownership interest in Excite@Home," the company said in its statement today.

    These alternatives include "internal options" as well as "discussions with third parties," the company added.

    "The exploration of alternatives remains at the very preliminary stage, and at this time, AT&T has not made any decision to pursue any particular alternative or transaction. There is no assurance that any transaction will occur," it said.

    A statement released by Excite@Home echoed AT&T's comments. "Like all companies in the Internet industry, we are continuously assessing various forms of strategic relationships," the Net-over-cable firm said. "There is no certainty that any transaction will occur."

  • Net giants make room for little guy
    Time: 03:50 EDT/08:50 GMT Source: Posted By: Matt

    The race is on to get small businesses online, with deals being announced almost daily.

    Excite@Home today launched, a Web portal for businesses. It will offer online tools to help entrepreneurs manage their small businesses and interact with other companies.

    Excite@Home's announcement comes one day after said it would rent space to other merchants online. The area on Amazon's Web site, dubbed zShops, will allow small merchants to get online and tap the Net retailer's surging customer base.

    As Don Hutchison, general manager of Excite@Home's @Work division put it: "The business-to-business marketplace is exploding."

    In addition, portals such as Yahoo and Infospace are hosting merchant Web sites. Yahoo has some 6,000 shops.

Read more of the past months news in our News Archive for August and September News.

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