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Volume 1, Issue 8: Friday, December 17, 1999
- "Windows 2000 Set to Launch"
Financial Times (12/16/99) P. 17; Kehoe, Louise
Microsoft yesterday announced it has finished work on Windows
2000 and sent the operating systems to manufacturers. The
company worked on Windows 2000 for three and a half years, and
says the OS is its most complex and thoroughly tested product to
date. Windows 2000 is a critical aspect of Microsoft's plan to
remain the market leader as computing moves from PCs to the
Internet. The Internet has allowed all types of systems to share
data regardless of operating systems, and Windows is increasingly
threatened by alternatives such as Linux and Unix. Microsoft has
given manufacturers three versions of Windows 2000 for office
PCs, small business or departmental servers, and large business
or Internet servers. Retailers will start selling the new OS on
Feb. 17, and PC makers at the same time will release systems with
Windows 2000 preinstalled. Yesterday, Microsoft began a
multimillion dollar ad campaign for Windows 2000. The success of
Windows 2000 in the Internet and business markets for
mission-critical applications will depend largely on reliability.
Microsoft says it waited to release the OS until it was sure the
product met its promised level of performance.
- "Oracle Turns Its Gaze to the Web"
Computer Reseller News Online (12/16/99); Taft, Darryl K.
Oracle on Thursday announced that it is cutting prices on its
Oracle8i database, and moving to a business model of conducting
most sales over the Internet. The moves are part of Oracle's
effort to gain market share and expand the market for database
products. Oracle8i Standard Edition will now cost $15 per power
unit, marking a 40 percent cut from the previous $25 per power
unit. Meanwhile, the price of the Oracle8i Enterprise Edition
will be reduced 50 percent from $200 per power unit to $100 per
power unit. "Our customers say they would buy a lot more of
Oracle and put more into our database if we lower the cost," says
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. However, Oracle plans to minimize its
practice of negotiating lower-priced deals, so the net discount
on Oracle8i products will be closer to 30 percent, says Ellison.
Beyond the price cuts, Oracle announced that it will start
conducting most of its sales through its online store as of
Monday. "Going forward, by the end of 2000, we expect to have
virtually all of our business coming off our Web store," Ellison
says. By going after the low end of the database market, Oracle
expects to compete more heavily with Microsoft, especially with
regard to the Windows NT/Windows 2000 file system.
- "NetWare 5.1 Hopes for Web-Savvy Customers"
TechWeb (12/13/99); Glascock, Stuart
Novell on Monday announced that NetWare 5.1, which manages
enterprise-level e-business applications, will be released as
planned in the middle of January. The new server operating
system features directory-based networking products and will
function as a Web server rather than a file and print server.
NetWare 5.1 includes IBM WebSphere 3.0 Standard Edition, IBM
WebSphere Studio 3.0 Entry Edition, and a five-user edition of
Oracle 8i. The new product includes Novell's NDS eDirectory,
which provides central administration of user/group profiles and
helps tailor a site to specific customers based on personal data.
In addition, NetWare 5.1 includes a NetWare Management Portal
that allows administrators to monitor several areas of the
network. Novell aims to appeal to a new audience that will use
NetWare 5.1 for Web application delivery, especially with
WebSphere products, says analyst Phil Schacter. Version 5.1 will
improve users' ability to use open, Web-based applications and
Web-based network management, Novell says. By shipping NetWare
5.1 in mid January, Novell gains a one-month lead on Microsoft's
release of Windows 2000, which is scheduled for Feb. 17.
- "Y2K and Viruses Could Be an Explosive Mix"
Wall Street Journal (12/16/99) P. B6; Takahashi, Dean
More than two dozen viruses have already been discovered that are
designed to take effect as 1999 gives way to 2000, and more,
possibly much more, are expected. The Anti-Virus Emergency
Response Team (Avert), part of Network Associates, and others are
preparing for this viral onslaught in an effort to track and fix
problems as quickly as possible. Symantec chief researcher Carey
Nachenburg says, "This is an opportunity for people to scare
novice users, and clearly there will be a lot of activity in this
area." Experts say viruses could be disguised as Y2K fixes or
even as manifestations of the Y2K problem itself, or they could
be designed to attack systems that are not Y2K compliant. Email
is the main avenue for a virus to spread and many large companies
are planning to shut down their email systems during the date
changeover. Avert director Vincent Gulloto says, "A lot of
companies I've spoken to are going into lockdown." The major
virus fighting companies, including Network Associates, Symantec,
and Trend Micro, are planning to be fully staffed during the date
changeover to handle the expected large volume of calls and to
deal with any emergencies.
- "Year 2000 Preparations Were Costly, Officials Say"
New York Times (12/17/99) P. A25; Wald, Matthew L.
Federal agencies yesterday assured the public that they were
prepared for the year 2000 computer bug, but admitted repairs and
upgrades had been an expensive effort. The Pentagon said it had
spent about $3.6 billion to protect its computers from the
millennium bug; while the DOE said that all of the nation's
utilities, which had spent a total of about $2.5 million, were
ready for the rollover into the new year. The remaining seven
utilities--out of more than 3,000--that had not been ready
recently reported their preparedness to the department. However,
oil supplies could face a problem if exporting countries are not
Y2K ready; and FERC Chairman James J. Hoecker said gasoline
supply problems could persist if consumers begin hoarding for
fear of a shortage. Meanwhile, the natural gas industry
announced its final Y2K state of preparedness at a Potomac
Electric Power meeting in Maryland. The Office of Management and
Budget estimated that total federal Y2K expenditures would reach
about $8.38 billion over a five-year period ending in September.
- "Q&A: Steve Ballmer Discusses Microsoft's New Mission Statement"
San Jose Mercury News (12/16/99)
Microsoft President Steve Ballmer recently spoke with the San
Jose Mercury News on a range of topics, including Microsoft's
plans for the future, Windows 2000, and the antitrust trial.
Asked where Microsoft is headed in the future, Ballmer points to
the next-generation Web platform, which he calls "i-Windows,"
that consists of a client, server, and set of services that exist
online. Around this Web platform, Microsoft wants to provide
tools for business knowledge workers, consumers, and small
businesses, Ballmer says. Addressing Windows 2000, Ballmer says
users will not have a problem with the complexity of the new
operating system, although he believes Microsoft will have to
improve usability in some ways for systems administrators. He
says software makers cannot take away existing functionality, and
therefore software should get bigger every year. Noting that
some companies will wait to adopt Windows 2000, Ballmer says,
"Companies don't really orient their business cycles around our
product releases." In terms of Microsoft's competition, Ballmer
cites Linux, Windows middleware, thin clients, and Java as
threats. Addressing the antitrust trial, Ballmer says the
company acted lawfully and in the best interest of consumers.
Microsoft was disappointed in the negative way in which Judge
Jackson portrayed the company's relationships with other firms,
Ballmer says. Although Microsoft would prefer to settle the suit
rather than to resolve the case in court, Ballmer says the
company will not compromise on its freedom to add capabilities to
its products that consumers want.
- "Which E-Tailers Will Survive the Holiday Test?"
E-Commerce Times (12/15/99); Greenberg, Paul A.
Online companies with something unique to offer consumers have a
greater likelihood of longevity, while companies that offer
mundane products may not survive after the holiday e-commerce
boom. To survive, e-businesses could begin positioning
themselves in the market to match consumer demand; some companies
will focus on corporate sales and others will concentrate on
selling to consumers. After the holidays many analysts expect
merger and acquisition activity to increase among those companies
that met their fulfillment and delivery obstacles. For support
from venture capitalists, returns will have to justify output,
and with little increase in returns among e-businesses, more
merger and acquisition activity is likely. Toys, music, computer
software, books, videos, and DVDs have great potential for online
selling, while flowers, cards, home and garden supplies, sporting
goods, and vehicles do not sell so well online, according to
statistics from Goldman Sachs and PC Data.
- "The Web: New Ticket to a Pink Slip"
New York Times (12/16/99) P. E1; Guernsey, Lisa
Employees caught surfing forbidden Web sites are increasingly
being fired. At Xerox, for example, 40 employees were fired
after software recorded them visiting Web sites pertaining to
shopping or pornography and spending inordinate amounts of their
work day online. Overall, the company monitors the online
activities of all of its 92,000 employees worldwide. In 1999, 45
percent of employers admitted they monitor employees' phone
calls, computer files, or email messages. The issue of privacy
is therefore arising, but employers claim monitoring is needed to
see if workers are sending hate email or wasting too much time
online. As home life and work life join for many workers, it
becomes unreasonable for privacy to be taken away. Employers can
record and view everything done on a computer, which makes
privacy obsolete in the workplace. The fear of sexual-harassment
lawsuits makes companies feel the need to monitor its employees,
along with the desire to make sure employees are getting their
work finished. Many employees could be caught browsing unrelated
Web sites with new software available. The consequences for
misusing the Internet are great, and employees may not find any
help in a court of law, since the judges usually handling the
cases do not often rule in favor of employees. Mark Simons' case
tried to use an unlawful search of his computer as a defense, but
Judge James Cacheris did not agree. Privacy advocates feel that
electronic surveillance is going to change the lives of
employees, who may fear they have no privacy at all. Lawyers
argue that employers should warn that they may read workers'
email and review their Web use. Gov. Gray Davis of California
disagrees about having a warning, feeling it could burden
companies too much.
- "Will Euro Taxes Hinder Net Growth?"
ZDNet (12/14/99); Cooper, Charles
The U.S. Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce, a 19-person
panel studying the impact of domestic and foreign taxes on the
Internet for Congress, heard debates from the Organization for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European
Commission about Internet taxes and whether they stunt the growth
of e-commerce. Andrew Marsland, head of an electronic working
group at the OECD, believes an online consumption tax should be
applied in the country where the product is consumed; that
location is tracked through a buyer's email address. However,
arguments for Internet taxes meet resistance in the U.S. because
taxes could limit the growth of online business and many people
oppose the regulation of the Internet. American Internet
companies are concerned that European methods of taxation would
force them to pay a premium as the U.S. economy moves from a
focus on goods to a focus on services. Fred Smith, a policy
advisor at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, believes Europe
should redefine its current tax system to meet the demands of the
future. Two more meetings will take place before the commission
decides whether to propose an Internet taxation plan. However,
it is unlikely that such a plan would appeal to two-thirds of the
commission, which is what is needed to get a tax proposal
started, says Virginia House of Delegates member Paul Harris.
- "NetObjects Releases Authoring Server for Java Server Pages"
InternetNews.com (12/14/99); Clark, Scott
NetObjects on Tuesday introduced a new collaborative Web
development and content management platform called NetObjects
Authoring Server for Java Server Pages. The offering, which uses
JSP and Java server technology from Sun Microsystems, provides an
integrated rapid application development platform for creating
enterprise Web applications. NAS for JSP lets users administer
applications centrally and facilitates several major aspects of
Web application design, including collaboration, control, rapid
design and development, easy administration, flexibility, and
connectivity. Applications designed on the program are
compatible with Java Application Servers such as IBM WebSphere
and BEA WebLogic.
- "Internet Privacy Eroding, Study Says"
Washington Post (12/17/99) P. E4; Schwartz, John
Each and every one of the top 100 e-commerce sites on the Web
fails to live up to all of the "fair information practices" of
privacy protection, according to a new study from the Electronic
Privacy Information Center (EPIC). The study, known as Surfer
Beware III: Privacy Policies Without Privacy Protection, shows
that online privacy risks to consumers are greater today than
they were in 1997, says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of
EPIC. "Companies are posting privacy policies, but these
policies are not the same thing as fair information practices,"
Rotenberg says. Rotenberg is calling upon lawmakers to produce
legislation to enforce the practices. Although the FTC has
established guidelines to protect the online privacy of children,
no such rules exist for adults. The study finds that only 18 of
the policies were often confusing, incomplete, and inconsistent.
The sites also failed in other respects. Thirty-five percent of
the sites make use of online profiles in their advertisements and
87 percent use information-collecting cookies, according to the
study. The FTC's associate director for financial practices,
David Medine, says that the FTC plans a major privacy study in
- "Siemens and Casio to Build Palm Device"
Financial Times (12/16/99) P. 20; Rahman, Bayan
Casio of Japan and Siemens of Germany have agreed to jointly
develop a handheld computer with multimedia features, mobile
phone capabilities, and Internet access. A number of
partnerships have recently formed as the mobile communications
market grows. For example, Microsoft and Ericsson teamed earlier
this month in an effort to develop mobile phones and handhelds
with Web browser and email capabilities. Mobile Internet
communication is growing rapidly in Japan, with electronics
makers such as Sharp and Citizen producing wireless Internet
devices. Casio and Siemens plan to gain 20 percent of the global
wireless Internet device market. The partnership provides Casio
with a tie to Europe, and gives Siemens the technology it needs
to make wireless devices. The new device will run Microsoft's
Windows CE and will initially be available in Europe.
- "Privacy Concerns May Ground Pentium III in Europe"
Newsbytes (12/15/99); Dennis, Sylvia
Intel's Pentium III chip could be banned in Europe due to privacy
concerns over its personal serial number (PSN) technology, say
legal specialists at the Nabarro Nathanson law firm. The PSN
technology, which allows users' movements across the Internet to
be tracked, may violate the European Union's Privacy Directive,
according to Nabarro Nathanson. The Science and Technology
Options Assessment Panel has advised the European Parliament to
initiate an independent review of the chip and consider
legislation to prevent such chips from being placed in European
computers, says Nabarro Nathanson's Dai Davis. The Pentium's
tracking capability leaves open the possibility of data abuse by
U.S. law enforcement agencies or the chip's manufacturer, Davis
adds. After U.S. privacy advocates criticized the Pentium III's
PSN technology earlier in the year, Intel decided to release a
software patch allowing the serial number technology to be shut
- "Survey Traces Huge Growth in Data Warehouse"
PC Week Online (12/13/99); Hammond, Mark
The data warehousing market is growing tremendously, with
worldwide spending expected to rise from $37.4 billion this year
to $148.5 billion by 2003, marking a 43 percent yearly growth
rate, according to a Survey.com report. Also by 2003, the
average amount of data that can be used for warehousing is
expected to increase to 1.1 TB, up from today's 393 GB. In
addition, the number of warehousing users will grow to an
estimated 2,718 users per organization by 2003, up from the
current 626. Fueling the warehousing growth is a rise in
analyzing ERP data and Web-enabling this data for
business-to-business e-commerce, says Survey.com's Peter
Auditore. The adoption of CRM systems, especially customer
profile analysis, is also driving the warehousing trend, Auditore
says. In addition, Microsoft is contributing to data warehousing
growth by offering useful and affordable products such as Windows
NT, the SQL Server database, and related software, Auditore says.
Small and midsize businesses are particularly attracted to SQL
Server 7.0's built-in online analytical processing engine, OLAP
Services, and data transformation and movement tool, says
Auditore. In the survey most respondents listed Oracle as the
data-warehousing leader, followed by Cognos, Microsoft, and IBM.
- "GE Handles Medical-Parts Needs Online"
Journal of Commerce (12/17/99) P. 14; Ogier, Thierry
General Electric's medical equipment unit has established five
depots that are electronically connected and can respond to
equipment requests from hospitals throughout the world. One of
the depots, located in Sao Paulo, Brazil, must be ready to
dispatch 50,000 pieces of medical equipment and the facility
typically receives about 2,000 orders each month. Only 5 percent
of the medical parts are ordered on a regular basis, while more
than 50 percent of the inventory is ordered less than once a
year. Because a bulk of the medical equipment is ordered
infrequently, it is not cost-effective to keep each depot fully
stocked; therefore, the facilities are electronically linked and
equipment requests can be transmitted online. GE, which does not
charge customers for freight, said prices are the same for all
countries before taxes.
- "The Bazaar Touts Open Source"
VARBusiness Online (12/16/99); Caponi, Joe
While the E-Business Expo roared on downstairs at the Jacob K.
Javits Convention Center in New York, a more intimate gathering
was being held upstairs. The Bazaar, hosted by Earthweb,
displayed free, open source technologies to a small group of open
source enthusiasts and curious Expo attendees. Linux was the
main attraction of this show, with Linux vendors as well as more
versatile IT firms displaying their newest technologies. IBM,
for example, demonstrated its Netfinity 4000R servers, which come
preloaded with a choice of four Linux brands, training programs,
and its application software for Linux, including DB2, WebSphere,
and Domino. "Linux is a tier 1 OS for us," says IBM's Jim
Weiper. "It's what our customers are asking for, and we see it
as a huge revenue opportunity."
- "IBM Introduces New Storage Area Network Packages"
PC Week Online (12/15/99); Lelii, Sonia R.
IBM enhanced its storage area network (SAN) offerings on
Wednesday, unveiling several new hardware and software solutions.
IBM has released five new SAN solutions: Netfinity Disk and Tape
Pooling, which allows various servers to share storage devices;
Netfinity Server and Storage Consolidation, which allows
nonclustered devices to share storage; Microsoft Cluster Service
Extension and Netfinity Advanced Cluster Enabler for Oracle
Parallel Server, to provide eight-node clustering; and Microsoft
Distance Cluster with Remote Mirroring, which enables data
mirroring among two nodes up to six miles apart. IBM has also
upgraded its Netfinity Fibre Channel Storage Manager, adding
automated device discovery and one-button configuration, and a
new management console and GUI and storage partitioning, which
allows storage from multiple Netfinity servers to be consolidated
into a single RAID storage subsystem. Netfinity Fibre Channel
Storage Manager 7.0 will be released as part of Netfinity Fibre
Channel Storage Subsystems. IBM also unveiled a new
interoperability lab to test SAN configurations. The lab will
support 40 TB of data storage and 5,000 miles of Fibre Channel
cable. It features processor, disk, and networking technology
from vendors such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, EMC, and Cisco, as
well as Fibre Channel equipment from IBM, McData, and Crossroads
- "Take on a New E-dentity"
InternetWeek (12/13/99) No. 793, P. 51; Higgins, Kelly Jackson
Digital certificates could solve the problems of security and
authentication that are making corporations apprehensive about
embracing emerging Internet applications. The next-generation ID
card is designed to hold the electronic credentials of the user,
and serves as the user's proof of identity as well. More secure
than having to remember a password and other access methods,
digital certificates, which are software-based IDs, will be able
to give the financial industry the confidence it needs to rely
more on the Internet to conduct business. For example, VPNs and
extranets are in place for corporations to offer Internet
applications to their business partners, employees, and
customers. Some companies, through public key infrastructure
(PKI) implementation and pilots, are already giving digital
certificates a try. One of the reasons why companies are moving
ahead with digital certificates is because Microsoft plans to
imbed the technology into the Windows 2000 operating system. And
users of the software giant's Office 2000 also will be able
encrypt and digitally sign their email messages and Word
documents because the application will be certificate ready.
Still, the technology will be slow to catch on if issues such as
cost and interoperability are not addressed. Nevertheless,
digital certificates is the kind of technology that can generate
a boom in e-commerce as well as interest in other competitive
advantages that the Internet offers. "If you're talking to eBay
or buying a book, then passwords and PINS are fine for now," says
CyberTrust's Mike Yaffe. "But if you're talking about people's
medical records, or bank-to-bank transactions of tens of millions
of dollars, you want to know who's on the receiving end." Giga
Information Groups expects more than 245 million digital
certificates will be available between 2000 and 2002, up from 25
- "The Fast Track to Becoming an E-Business"
InformationWeek (12/13/99) No. 765, P. 42; Wilder, Clinton
E-business became a top business priority in 1999, and companies
are choosing between two main approaches to e-business. The
first model, called immersion, involves the gradual
implementation of e-business initiatives and applications
throughout a company. A recent InformationWeek Research survey
found that 46 percent of responding firms have already widely
implemented e-business, while 34 percent intend to deploy
e-business widely within 12 months. The second common approach
to e-business is teaming with an Internet startup. In the
survey, 34 percent of respondents say they have already joined
with a Web-only company. Among large firms, 49 percent have
already teamed with a Web-oriented partner. One company
following the immersion model is Twentieth Century Fox, which is
rolling out Web initiatives and applications in a range of
business divisions. The company's Atlas project is a suite of
applications that provides overseas video distribution licensees
access to release schedules and business results by country or
product. Atlas, one of company's early Web projects, encouraged
other business units to start their own e-business projects.
Meanwhile, Consolidated Stores, the parent company of KB Toys,
chose to partner with a Web firm rather than implement Web
strategies on its own. Consolidated realized that its KBToys.com
Web site would not come out on top this holiday season in the
highly competitive market for online toys. Since it lacked the
Internet skills to make the site successful on its own,
Consolidated partnered with BrainPlay.com, whose main business is
selling games on the Web. By combining KB's respected brand with
BrainPlay's Web expertise, the companies built a site superior to
what either could have established alone. In partnering with a
Web firm, large companies must provide financial and strategic
commitment while also allowing the Web company sufficient
- "Ready to Pounce on the Y2K Bug"
National Journal (12/11/99) Vol. 31, No. 50, P. 3542; Murray, Mark
Thousands of federal workers will spend New Year's weekend
monitoring the nation's computer systems for Y2K failures. The
Energy Department will have almost 1,000 employees working over
the weekend to watch nuclear plants and weapons, electric
utilities, and gasoline filling stations. Energy Secretary Bill
Richardson says monitoring other countries, especially Russia
with its many nuclear facilities, is a large part of the
department's task. The Commerce Department will monitor weather
satellites, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's systems, and
census surveys and statistics. Meanwhile, the Environmental
Protection Agency will watch drinking-water systems and
wastewater treatment facilities, and the Defense Department will
monitor overseas military bases. Federal Y2K efforts will be
coordinated by the Information Coordination Center, which will
determine Y2K's effects on the federal government and the nation
as a whole. The center will be open 24 hours a day from Dec. 28
to early January, and will remain in operation until March.
Since many Y2K problems are likely to occur after Jan. 1, federal
agencies should not end monitoring efforts after New Year's, says
Norman Dean, executive director of the Center for Y2K & Society.