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InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors

January 16-23 2002

About News and Rumors. InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors is a daily column. It features news coverage of new PC and Mac computer hardware and software, Internet news, and other technical news items.
Every Sunday, News and Rumors features "Sunday Shopping Watch", which is a comparison and analysis of Sunday computer store advertisements.
The Computer News and Rumors is an archived column, so feel free to review previous week's or month's computer news by clicking on the link below. Previous computer news articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the top and bottom menu bar.

InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Jan 23 AMD Forms Global Consumer Advisory Board
Jan 23 Yahoo! and Amtrak Unveil Internet-Enabled Trains
Jan 23 EA ships Sid Meier's SimGolf
Jan 23 MouseMattress.com Introduces Innovative Mouse Pad
Jan 22 Plextor Announces CD-RW With 40X CD Recording Speed
Jan 22 Flash Memory Market to Slightly Rebound in 2002
Jan 22 Browse3D Releases Next Generation Browser
Jan 21 AMD Announces 1.3 GHz Duron Processor
Jan 21 Toshiba Introduces World's Thinnest Ultraportable Notebook
Jan 21 Samsung Announces DDR SDRAM Supply Agreement for Xbox
Jan 21 Fujitsu and Toshiba Announce Second-Generation FCRAM
Jan 20 Sunday Shopping Watch
Jan 18 Nextel and IBM Announce Strategic Wireless Alliance
Jan 18 European Consumers Are Not Using Interactive TV
Jan 18 Number of Female Web Surfers on the Rise
Jan 17 AMD Reports Fourth Quarter Processors Sales Up 24 Percent
Jan 17 Capital Spending in Semiconductor Industry Shows Positive Signs
Jan 17 Afilias Starts Challenge of .INFO Names
Jan 17 Cooler States Warmed Up Online Holiday Shopping
Jan 16 Toshiba Introduces World's Highest Capacity 1.8-Inch Hard Disk Drives
Jan 16 COMPAQ signs on as cornerstone sponsor of Linuxworld
Jan 16 Wireless LANs Have Profound Impact on Growing Public Area Access
Jan 16 Sonic Foundry Takes Movies Online for 2002 Sundance Film Festival

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Jan 23 - AMD Forms Global Consumer Advisory Board. AMD (NYSE:AMD) today announced the formation of its Global Consumer Advisory Board (GCAB) to evaluate and improve the quality of the home and small business computing technology experience. Leading consumer and small business advocates from Asia, Europe, North America and South America will identify and seek to resolve key challenges in computing technology facing home and small business users.

"Consumers and small businesses have not felt the need to completely embrace existing technologies despite the tremendous benefits they bring to our professional and personal lives," said Pat Moorhead, vice president of Customer Advocacy and chairman of the GCAB. "Through the GCAB, AMD is bringing together consumer and small business advocates who are passionate about making technology more relevant to users."

"Consumers often find it very time consuming and extremely confusing to determine what technology suits their needs," said Ken McEldowney, executive director of Consumer Action. "I look forward to engaging in a dialogue on technology issues with AMD and the GCAB members from other parts of the world."

"Technology can have a substantial impact on a small business by increasing efficiency and profitability. However, it can also be intimidating," said Don Wilson, president and CEO for the Association of Small Business Development Centers.

"The GCAB will study these issues and work together to develop ideas so that everyone can take full advantage of the innovation that technology brings."

The GCAB members announced today represent five U.S. members and one Canadian. AMD will announce representatives from Asia, Europe, Mexico and South America in the near future.

The GCAB is the second customer advocacy initiative announced by AMD in recent months. In October 2001, AMD announced the True Performance Initiative (TPI), through which AMD will assist customers in understanding the benefits of PC performance. TPI also will help define a new, more accurate measure of processor performance for standard applications.

The GCAB plans to meet four times annually. If consumers or small businesses have questions or would like to provide information to the GCAB, they can e-mail amd.gcab@amd.com.

Jan 23 - Yahoo! and Amtrak Unveil Internet-Enabled Trains. Ever yahooed on a train? Now, you can! Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) and Amtrak today rolled out the United States' first Internet-enabled passenger trains.
The three interactive trains will operate on Amtrak services, the Acela Regional in the Northeast, Capitols in Northern California and Hiawatha in the Midwest, for up to six months.
With cars wrapped in Yahoo!'s(R) signature purple and yellow colors, the interactive trains are now in service and offer guests access to Yahoo! content and services while on-the-go. The award-winning Compaq iPAQ(TM) Pocket PCs, provided by Compaq Computer Corporation (NYSE:CPQ), put the power of a desktop PC in a to-go device. Complete with wireless modems and Internet service, the Pocket PCs mounted in the cafe cars or coaches, give Amtrak guests the ability to surf the Web free-of-charge as they travel for business or pleasure.
"From Amtrak trains, to commuter planes in Japan, and wired taxis in New York, our latest program is a visible extension of Yahoo!'s commitment to distribute Yahoo! services through a range of traditional and non-traditional vehicles and give consumers everything they need to communicate and organize their lives everywhere they go," said Christopher Wu, Wireless Yahoo, Yahoo! Inc. "Amtrak trains connect their guests on the go with the nation's top destinations, and now Yahoo! can go with them. We are thrilled to be working with Amtrak and Compaq to help millions of Yahoo! users stay on top of their business and personal lives while traveling in the comfort of a train."
"Joining with Yahoo! is a perfect match for Amtrak," said Cyndi Darlington, Amtrak's Assistant Vice President for Sales and Marketing. "More and more people are choosing to travel by train, and by combining the experience with the latest technology we are making the train an even more productive and stress-free way to travel."
For more information, including schedules, fares and reservations, visit Amtrak's Web site at www.amtrak.com.

Jan 23 - EA ships Sid Meier's SimGolf. Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:ERTS) today announced the release of Sid Meier's SimGolf(TM). From legendary game designer Sid Meier, and his team at Firaxis Games, and Maxis(TM), the creators of the hit PC games The Sims(TM) and SimCity(TM), Sid Meier's SimGolf puts players in charge of their very own golf resorts. As course designer, CEO and resident pro, players are challenged to grow a business from a small, public pitch-and-putt to a global network of five-star resorts.
"I'm thrilled with SimGolf. In all my years of making games, SimGolf has been the most fun to create," said Sid Meier, chairman and director of Creative Development at Firaxis Games and creator of such PC hits as Railroad Tycoon, Sid Meier's Civilization and Sid Meier's Gettysburg! "In SimGolf we allow players to create their own paths and to choose their own style of play. You can build an endless variety of courses, customize your golfers, create a world class pro, play your course and hold tournaments at your resort. The fun goes on and on! We hope gamers around the world will have as much fun playing SimGolf as we did making it."
Create the world's most beautiful, challenging and outrageous golf courses in environments that include sunny desert, lush tropics, scenic woodlands, and historic Scottish links. Players can build the course of their dreams by constructing rolling fairways, challenging greens, strategically placed water hazards and annoying sand traps.
Everything from ball washers and pro shops to luxury hotels and casinos are available for resort development. Players can choose from over a dozen different landmarks to further personalize the grounds. As the resort facilities are upgraded and enhanced, guests are happier on the course and celebrities are enticed to buy homes at the resort.
Once the course is designed, players can create their own SimGolf pro and play a round. All SimGolfers are fully customizable, with an array of outfits and a variety of personality types to choose from. Players also have the ability to dabble in the personal lives of their members with fully customizable dialogue. Listen to their sagas unfold as they birdie, par and bogey over eighteen holes. The outcome of the guests' individual stories depends greatly on the success of the individual hole and course.
Sid Meier's SimGolf requires Windows(R) 95 or greater and a 300 MHz Intel Pentium II or an AMD K6-2 processor or greater, a 8 MB video card with DirectX 8.0 compatible driver and a DirectX 8.0 compatible sound card. Sid Meier's SimGolf is available in stores now for a suggested retail price of US $39.99 or by direct order from the EA Store(SM) at http://www.ea.com

Jan 23 - MouseMattress.com Introduces Innovative Mouse Pad. The launch of the innovative new product, MouseMattress(R), is inspiring Human Resource and computer experts to embrace greater comfort and reduced risk of injury -- all through the use of this ergonomic mouse pad.
The MouseMattress(R) is a unique foam mouse pad contoured to sit on a person's thigh to prevent and alleviate stretch and repetitive motion injuries by allowing natural movement with proper body positioning. The MouseMattress works with computer mice, Joysticks, trackballs, PDAs, e-books and laptops. It is also the perfect computer solution for wheelchair-bound users with limited mobility.
Designer Craig Collins is a quadriplegic who devotes his time seeking ways to develop products to make our lives safer. Collins has been wheelchair-bound and attached to a life support ventilator for 25 years -- ever since high school. He noticed the increasing trend toward mouse-related injuries and set a goal to address it. Collins' determination and dedication to safety resulted in the development of the MouseMattress product, a patent protecting it, GSA approval from the U.S. government and recommendations by doctors, therapists and chiropractors. Design specifications, color and fabric choices are all available at the company's Web site -- www.MouseMattress.com.

Jan 22 - Plextor Announces CD-RW With 40X CD Recording Speed. Plextor(R) Corp., a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance CD-related equipment and software, today announced the immediate release of the PlexWriter(TM) 40/12/40A CD-RW optical disk drive.
The internal drive delivers industry leading performance with 40X CD-Recording, 12X CD-ReWriting, and 40X-max Read speeds, making it the fastest CD-RW drive available on the market today. Recording at 40X speed, the new drive is capable of burning a 650 MB disc in just over three minutes while maintaining the highest quality and stability.

The PlexWriter 40/12/40A includes several new features designed to increase recording quality. For the first time ever, the PlexWriter drive features a black CD-holder tray, which Plextor lab tests found reduces C1 error rates. Optimized PCB circuits near the power supply help decrease noise and provide clean power to the drive, improving both jitter and deviation levels. A new diagnostic function empowers users by helping them determine whether write errors are caused by the drive, the media, or the system.

"Achieving high-quality 40X recording speeds is a significant milestone, proving that Plextor continues to lead the market in performance and reliability," said Howard Wing, vice president of sales and marketing for Plextor. "We have also developed a host of exciting new features that debut with this new PlexWriter drive making the recording process more reliable. We know that many users will appreciate the Hi Speed CD-ReWrite speed of 12X making the Plextor 40/12/40A ideal for backup data applications."

The internal PlexWriter 40/12/40A CD-RW drive with E-IDE (ATAPI) interface is scheduled for shipment to distributors and resellers immediately. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $209 U.S. All retail packages include unlimited toll-free technical support and one-year full warranty.
Plextor can be found on the Web at www.plextor.com.

Jan 22 - Flash Memory Market to Slightly Rebound in 2002. Web-Feet Research has released the 2001 version of the "Supply and Demand Flash Application-Based Five Year Forecast 2001-2006." The report finds Flash memory will slightly rebound to $8.5 billion this year, recovering from the worst drop in Flash revenues of $7.9 billion in 2001. The $11.3 billion in 2000 represented the peak year for Flash.

Specific Findings of the Report:

In 2000, Flash memory revenue grew 148% to $11.3 billion, easily doubling from the previous year. Once the dot.com bubble burst along with its perceived opulence, demand withered leaving 2001 with an estimated revenue of $7.9 billion, a decline of 30% from 2000.
The projected growth rate for 2002 is forecast to be a mild 7.7%, or $8.5 billion in revenues. This will be driven by consumer demand gradually returning, as the economy recovers from the 2001 recession. By 2003, the boom cycle for semiconductors should return, pushing Flash growth to 36%, or $11.6 billion in revenues. Growth rates for the following three years should be in the 20%+ range, producing revenues of $22.8 billion by 2006.

This return to growth is fuelled by a series of applications, among which the most important are cell phones, PC BIOS, Set Top Boxes, digital cameras, Solid State Flash Drives, and GPS systems. In addition, the report analyzes over 50 individual end-user markets, including new applications like MP3 cell phones, Bluetooth, Internet Appliances, and digital camcorders/movies. These applications form the `bottoms-up' demand forecast of the report that generates Flash revenue, Mbits and units.
Web-Feet Research can be found on the Internet at www.web-feetresearch.com.

Jan 22 - Browse3D Releases Next Generation Browser. Browse3D Corporation, a developer of products for finding, organizing, saving, and exchanging Web-based content, announces the availability of the Browse3D Browser.

The beta version of this desktop product debuted at COMDEX in November 2001 where it was named "Best Internet Software" and generated interest from thousands of potential customers. The browser uses reverse-plug-in(TM) technology to transform a standard two-dimensional browser into a highly functional three-dimensional tool.

The Browse3D Browser allows users to:

-- View up to 16 Web pages at one time and then 16 more with the

click of the mouse

-- View their entire back history visually

-- Select a page from the back history and return there instantly

(even if they were there 20 Web pages ago)

-- Select links and fetch new Web pages without interrupting the

current page view

-- Speed up Web searches by pre-fetching user-selected Web pages

from the search list

-- Save multiple active and static pages by making them "sticky"

to create rooms of current research

-- Save rooms containing many Web pages into one compact file

that can be shared with colleagues

-- Eliminate pop-up windows

-- Compare multiple items from different Web sites in one view

while shopping

-- Save and track multiple auction items as they progress through

the sale process

Browse3D integrates with a standard browser to offer a three-walled display of any Web site. The center wall is the current active page. The right wall displays thumbnail images of forward links from the active page and the left wall shows thumbnail images of backward links.

Pricing and Availability

The Browse3D Browser is currently available for $29.95 at www.browse3d.com. A free trial version is also available at the site.

Jan 21 - AMD Announces 1.3GHz Duron Processor. AMD (NYSE:AMD) today announced a new desktop processor for the mainstream PC market, the 1.3GHz AMD Duron(TM) processor, offering best-in-class performance on digital photo, audio and Internet applications.

As with all AMD processors, the 1.3GHz AMD Duron processor is optimized for the Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Home and Professional operating systems and supports Double Data Rate, or DDR, memory.

"With the 1.3GHz AMD Duron processor, AMD delivers tremendous performance to mainstream PC users. DDR memory taps into the processor's performance potential even further. In tandem, AMD Duron processor-based systems with DDR memory can offer cost-conscious purchasers better performing, more cost-effective PCs than widely available competitive products," said Ed Ellett, vice president of Marketing for AMD's Computation Products Group.

Currently, more than 100 motherboard solutions are available on the market supporting the AMD Duron processor and DDR memory, offering purchasers flexibility of choice. These include offerings by Asus, Gigabyte and MSI. These motherboards are all based on our Socket A infrastructure, and offer unmatched platform stability for our AMD Duron processor commercial customers.

AMD expects worldwide availability of the 1.3GHz AMD Duron processor through the system builder and direct channels. The 1.3GHz AMD Duron processor is priced at $118 in 1,000-unit quantities. AMD Duron processors are manufactured on AMD's 0.18 micron process technology in Fab 25, Austin, Texas.
For more information, visit: http://www.amd.com.

Jan 21 - Toshiba Introduces World's Thinnest Ultraportable Notebook. Leading the industry in mobile computing technology, the Computer Systems Group (CSG) of Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. (TAIS), today announced the world's thinnest notebook computer.
At 2.6 pounds and .6-inches thin, the Portege 2000 is the consummate ultraportable productivity tool. With the Toshiba-designed, industry first 1.8-inch, 20GB hard disk drive that is 49 percent smaller than any main hard drive on the market, the new Portege 2000 enables highly powerful features in a sleek and compact design.
The Portege 2000 includes integrated Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) technology, enabling true mobility without the restraint of wires or cables. Regardless of the connection need, the slim Portege 2000 comes well equipped. With an Ethernet port and modem, users have quick network and Internet connection in the office and can plug in whether at home or while traveling.
The Portege 2000 also provides an industry-standard RGB port for connection to a monitor, two USB ports for additional peripherals and IR, making it the complete computing solution to fit your needs wherever you are.

For road warriors, the Portege 2000 is built with a sleek yet strong magnesium alloy casing that is 25 percent thinner than that of a standard notebook, yet is highly durable to withstand the rigors of constant travel. Ensuring that comfort is not sacrificed due to the notebook's compact size, the 12-inch diagonal poly-silicon TFT display provides increased clarity for easy viewing of online images and a comfortable, full-width keyboard.

Expandability Options are Limitless

For enhanced multimedia storage needs, the Portege 2000 includes a Secure Digital(TM) (SD) Media slot, which, for example, can hold a 256MB SD Memory Card with storage capacity up to four hours of music or 80 minutes of video. The flash-memory-based removable storage card has cryptographic security, protection of copyrighted data and a high-data transfer rate for fast copy/download with devices such as PDAs, digital/still video cameras and MP3 players.
For added functionality, the optional Slim Port Replicator(R) has four USB ports for a variety of added peripherals, an RGB port for connection to an external monitor, Ethernet connection and AC-in. To complete the package, a DVD or CD-ROM drive can be connected via either a USB port or the PC card slot.
For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.shoptoshiba.com.

Jan 21 - Samsung Announces Strategic DDR SDRAM Supply Agreement for Xbox. Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. today announced a strategic supply agreement with Microsoft Corp under which Samsung will continue to play a significant role in supplying DDR SDRAM memory used in the Xbox(tm) video game system.
The agreement highlights Samsung's strength as the leader in the semiconductor memory arena and as a key member of the impressive team of technology suppliers supporting Xbox. By working with Samsung, Microsoft will have access to the most advanced DDR SDRAM memory technology available from a company with a proven record of producing high-volume components on time.
"Samsung prides itself on its ability to deliver advanced technology products ahead of the competition," said Tom Quinn, Vice President Marketing, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. "Gamers will continue to be the real winners as they are getting incredible performance from this extraordinarily powerful video game system."
Each Xbox contains four 128Mb (4Mx32) DDR SDRAM devices, optimized for graphics applications, providing a total of 64 Megabytes of system memory. The high-speed graphics memory devices supplied by Samsung deliver an impressive 6.4 Gigabytes per second of bandwidth, which helps create the stunning graphics and smooth gameplay that is winning rave reviews for Xbox games.
"Samsung provides great technology and top-notch customer service," said Todd Holmdahl, General Manager, Xbox hardware. "We value Samsung's support in helping to make Xbox a successful product."
For more information, visit : http://www.samsungusa.com/semiconductors/.

Jan 21 - Fujitsu and Toshiba Announce Second-Generation FCRAM. Further demonstrating their leadership in high-performance DRAM technology, Fujitsu Microelectronics America, Inc. (FMA) and Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC) today introduced second-generation Fast Cycle Random Access Memory (FCRAM(TM)) for high-speed networking, network server and Internet server applications.
This new generation of FCRAMs offers significant performance enhancements over the previous generation, achieving fast performance up to 200 megahertz (MHz), a random cycle time of 25 nanoseconds (ns) and bandwidth of 400 megabits per second (Mbps).

FCRAM technology combines DRAM densities with random cycle performance approaching Static Random Access Memory (SRAM) speeds. The FCRAM architecture offers fast random access and cycle times, and high bandwidth combined with a conventional Double Data Rate (DDR) interface using more cost-effective DRAM technology. In contrast to these enhanced second-generation FCRAM devices, the first-generation FCRAMs offer a random cycle time of 30ns and a bandwidth of 308Mbps.

"Fujitsu and Toshiba worked on the original FCRAM development together, after Fujitsu created the very first FCRAM designs," said Keith Horn, vice president of marketing at FMA. "Now we are taking the technology to the next performance level. A rapidly growing number of customers in the networking and communications markets are adopting the FCRAM technology to support their advanced memory requirements. We are pleased to be working with Toshiba to deliver the performance these users require."

For product information, visit www.fma.fujitsu.com and http://chips.toshiba.com.

Jan 20 - Sunday Shopping Watch. After New Year's pricing of new computer laptops and desktops has not significantly changed, but deals can be found by the informed shopper.

Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Desktops. Many lower priced Celeron desktops made by almost all computer manufacturers should be carefully investigated before purchase.
Most of these low priced desktops have no AGP video expansion slot, no onboard dedicated video RAM, no CD-RW drive, and very few empty PCI expansion slots. These computers will be very difficult to upgrade, and they have poorer performance than other desktops that do not have integrated audio and video chips on the motherboard.
Often by spending $200-$400 more dollars for a Pentium 4 or Athlon XP based system, you can get twice the performance, more features, and you will have an upgradeable computer that will serve you well for another 3 years.
If you choose the $700 Celeron system to save a few bucks, keep in mind that in a year or two you will probably want to replace it.

About Windows XP. It has been a little over 3 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25th. For more information on Windows XP visit Microsoft's Windows XP home page.

This Sunday's Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week.
Best Buy
is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering 12 months or longer interest free financing on all computer purchases over $298. Additionally, they are giving $100 mail-in rebates on all desktop complete packages.
Circuit City is advertising $100 mail-in rebates and 12 month no interest financing on all desktop packages.
Office Depot is offering no interest, no payment financing for 6 months on purchases over $298.
CompUSA is having a special 2 day sale and they are offering 3 months of free AOL with any computer purchase.
Staples has no ad this Sunday.

Internet Rebates. Most stores are no longer advertising 3 year Internet rebates. Check with your local store before you buy. Please see our article, What You Need to Know About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in-depth discussion of Internet Rebates.

Definitions. A complete system/package is defined as a computer with monitor and printer or scanner.
A build-to-order system is customized at the retailer and then ordered from a vendor's store. In addition to the computer's stated price, you still pay sales tax and shipping charges (if you order direct from the vendor without going through the chain store, you may not have to pay sales tax and you could get a better warranty).

* Prices discussed in this article. Advertisers typically deduct the $400 Internet rebate from an items true price. We report all prices without subtracting the $400 Internet rebate, however all other rebates and discounts are usually subtracted.
Caution about advertised prices. When reading advertisements, read the fine print of the ad to make sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example, many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor, and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.

Best Deals this Sunday
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Store
Best Celeron Deal
HP 1.1 GHz complete system
$599
Circuit City, CompUSA, Best Buy
Best Low-cost Pentium 4
HP 1.6 GHz complete system
$1249
Circuit City, Best Buy, Office Depot
Best High-end Pentium 4 System
Compaq 1.8 GHz complete system
$1399
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
Compaq 1700+ complete system
$1099
Best Buy, CompUSA
Best High-end Athlon XP System
Compaq 1900 + build-to-order system
$1789
CompUSA
Best Low-cost Notebook
Toshiba Celeron 1.06 GHz with DVD
$999
Office Depot
Best High-end Notebook
Compaq AMD Athlon 4, 1.2 GHz with combo DVD/CD-RW
$1399
Circuit City

Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.
About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article should help you to make informed buying decisions.

Jan 18 - Nextel and IBM Announce Strategic Wireless Alliance. Nextel Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:NXTL) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) have announced a strategic alliance covering the development, marketing and deployment of mobile e-business solutions to enterprise customers in the U.S., as well as an eight-year, $1.2 billion customer relationship management (CRM) outsourcing initiative to manage and enhance Nextel's customer care capabilities.
IBM Global Services will partner with TeleTech (NASDAQ: TTEC) -- a world leader in CRM solutions -- to manage Nextel's customer care centers. These agreements are expected to reduce Nextel's future costs by more than $1 billion over the eight-year term and enhance Nextel's revenues through the deployment of new wireless data services.
"Nextel's core competency is creating and delivering the highest quality, most advanced wireless services for business users in the nation," said Tim Donahue, president and CEO of Nextel. "IBM is the world leader in developing and integrating technology-based solutions that help businesses to be more effective and efficient. Together, Nextel and IBM expect to deliver productivity enhancing mobile applications for businesses that need to access, manage and use their information and data on the go."
"Nextel's key priorities are to drive greater operating efficiencies while continuing to provide our customers with superior customer care," said Jim Mooney, chief operating officer of Nextel. "This strategic alliance positions Nextel to achieve both goals. We are excited to be able to leverage IBM and TeleTech's expertise in these crucial areas of our business, and expect the relationship to add value through both cost savings and incremental revenue."
"This relationship is a win for everyone involved," said Doug Elix, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Global Services. "By selecting IBM and TeleTech to manage its customer care operations, Nextel can continue delivering first class wireless services to businesses across the U.S. while reducing its operational costs. And for IBM, this relationship represents a unique opportunity to team up with an industry leader to provide wireless solutions for enterprise customers."
For more information, visit: www.ibm.com/services.

Jan 18 - European Consumers Are Not Using Interactive TV. A new survey from GartnerG2 (NYSE: IT and ITB), a business research service from Gartner, shows that the penetration of digital TV in European households is increasing.

The UK leads the way where 35 percent of households now have interactive digital TV, up from 27 percent last year. By the end of 2002 this will rise to almost 40 percent. In France, Sweden and Spain, the penetration is currently more than 12 percent. However, GartnerG2 said that despite the sales opportunities this presents retailers to sell to customers in the comfort of their own homes, such sales are not taking off. According to GartnerG2, the root cause is that many consumers either don't realise they have interactive TV or know how to use it.

The survey found that digital TV subscribers are unaware that interactive TV is already included in their subscription. 50 percent of British and 75 percent of French adults who have interactive TV access do not realise that they can use their TV remote control to buy products on their sets. Of those UK consumers who knew they had interactive TV services, 35 percent said they had not used them, citing they were not interested in the services offered. Furthermore, over 40 percent said they just haven't got round to figuring it out.

The 6 percent of subscribers who have purchased via interactive TV have primarily bought low value items (between (pound)10 - (pound)50) that are part of the immediate TV viewing experience, such as ordering pizzas during films.

Davnet Cassidy, an analyst for GartnerG2, commented, "The reason for the lack of success with television-based commerce (`T-commerce') is that retailers have not linked their interactive TV presence to TV programming. They need to realise that consumers will not use the TV like they use the Internet, to purposefully seek out products for sale."

"Retailers urgently need to move away from the `build it and they will come' attitude and work hard to focus on a clearly defined sales proposition for a defined target audience. "Television is a very powerful marketing medium, retailers need to use interactive advertising intelligently to seduce consumers to buy through interactive television" Cassidy said. Cassidy also warned both retailers and operators that nothing will be achieved unless consumer awareness sees a dramatic improvement, and urged Digital TV operators to embark on an educational campaign immediately.

GartnerG2 recommendations to retailers:

-- Go beyond a standalone interactive TV commercial and sponsor

TV shows or form partnerships with existing programmes related

to your market.

-- Use interactive TV to reach consumers the traditional PC

Internet can't reach. Half of interactive TV users don't use
the PC Internet - typically less educated, blue collar workers
on average incomes.

-- Draw attention to your TV shopping site with interactive
advertisements. TV viewing relaxes people and makes them
receptive to new ideas, take advantage of this.

Recommendations to Digital TV operators:

-- Lack of awareness is the main reason consumers don't use
interactive television. Operators should get creative and use
the medium itself to educate customers on how to use these
services.

-- Train those who install your digital TV service to show
customers how easy it is to use interactive TV services.

-- Offer compelling and useful content such as games and
information services. Although they may not bring in revenue
directly, they will lead consumers to use and become more
familiar with interactive TV services.

GartnerG2 is a new research service from Gartner that helps business strategists guide and grow their businesses. For more information on the report visit www.GartnerG2.com.

Jan 18 - Number of Female Web Surfers on the Rise. The Internet ratings report for the month of December 2001 from Nielsen//NetRatings, a leading Internet audience measurement service, revealed that the number of female Internet users at home grew at a faster clip than the overall Internet population, jumping nine percent in December 2001 from a year ago . The total Internet population grew at a rate of six percent year-over-year.
Females accounted for 52 percent or 55.0 million Internet users at home. Males comprised the remaining 48 percent of the total surfing population, rising three percent from 48.2 million to 49.8 million surfers.
Web usage by male surfers at home exceeded the usage patterns of females, as males spent more time on the Internet and accessed more content than their female counterparts. In December, males spent 24 percent more time online at home than women, averaging 11 hours, rising 17 percent from a year ago. By comparison, females spent 9 hours online, posting an 18 percent increase.
Men logged onto the Internet 24 percent more times than women, averaging 21 sessions during the month, posting a 17 percent increase. Female surfers accessed the Internet 17 times this past December, rising 13 percent from the year prior. Male surfers also viewed 40 percent more pages than women. On average, men viewed 801 pages, while women viewed 573.
"Men spent more time online, logged on more often, and accessed more content than women, despite being out-numbered by the female Internet population by more than 5.2 million surfers," said Dawn Brozek, senior Internet analyst, NetRatings. "Generally speaking, women shoulder a majority of the household responsibilities and therefore, face a `time poverty' at home, with less leisure time than men to spend on activities such as surfing the Internet."
For more information, please visit www.nielsen-netratings.com.

Jan 17 - AMD Reports Fourth Quarter Processors Sales Up 24 Percent. AMD today reported that net sales for the quarter ended December 30, 2001 grew by 24 percent sequentially.
Led by record unit and record dollar sales of PC processors, AMD reported fourth quarter net sales of $951,873,000, which resulted in a net loss of $15,842,000, or $0.05 per share.
Net sales for the third quarter of 2001 were $765,870,000, which resulted in a pro forma net loss of $97,424,000, or a pro forma net loss of $0.28 per share, (excluding the effects of restructuring and other special charges amounting to $89.3 million, impaired investments of $22 million, and additional inventory provisions amounting to $6.9 million.)
In the fourth quarter of 2000, AMD reported net sales of $1,175,172,000 and net income of $177,968,000, or $0.53 per diluted share.
For the full year ended December 30, 2001, AMD reported net sales of $3,891,754,000, a decline of 16 percent as compared to 2000, resulting in net income of $28,924,000, or $0.09 per diluted share on a pro forma basis. When the effects of restructuring and other special charges are included, the company incurred a net loss in 2001 of $60,581,000, or $0.18 per share.

In 2000 AMD reported net sales of $4,644,187,000 and net income of $983,026,000, or $2.89 per diluted share. Results for 2000 included a one-time net gain of $189,202,000 from the sale of the company's voice communications business and the retirement of senior secured notes. Net income for 2000 excluding the one-time net gain above was $793,824,000, or $2.35 per diluted share.

"Excellent market acceptance of the newly introduced AMD Athlon(TM) XP processor, the world's highest-performance PC processor, enabled AMD to turn in a strong quarter," said W.J. Sanders III, chairman and chief executive officer. "AMD PC processor revenues surged more than 50 percent sequentially, as we posted new records in both units and dollars. Average selling prices for AMD processors increased dramatically to $90 as the company rapidly ramped production and sales of the AMD Athlon XP processor, which was introduced in October. Overall, AMD achieved sequential sales growth of more than 24 percent.

"In tough markets, superior products make the difference," said Sanders. "The superior performance of the AMD Athlon processor family enabled AMD to increase both units and revenues and gain market share in both units and dollars in a declining market. We believe AMD gained four points of unit market share in 2001 even as the worldwide personal computer industry experienced its first year-to-year unit sales decline. We believe total industry PC processor revenues declined by more than 20 percent last year. In this very tough environment, AMD PC processor revenues in 2001 grew by 3.5 percent over the prior year, and unit sales of AMD processors grew by 16 percent to nearly 31 million units."

The company reported that fourth quarter unit sales of AMD processors for mobile PC applications increased by more than 50 percent sequentially.

The company also reported that it commenced production of AMD Athlon processors on 130-nanometer (0.13-micron) technology in Fab 30 in Dresden, Germany during the quarter.

"AMD continues to enjoy a substantial manufacturing cost advantage compared to our competitor," said Sanders. "We believe that advantage will widen as we migrate production to 130-nanometer technology." Sanders noted that the AMD Athlon XP processor die manufactured on 180-nanometer technology is 12 percent smaller than the recently introduced `Northwood' version of the Intel Pentium 4 processor produced on 130-nanometer technology.
"The AMD Athlon XP processor on 130-nanometer technology is just over half of the size - 45 percent smaller - of the Northwood die." Shipments to customers of AMD Athlon processors produced on 130-nanometer technology will begin in the current quarter. AMD expects that all AMD Athlon processors will be produced on 130-nanometer technology by the end of 2002.

AMD reported that Memory Group sales -- principally flash memory products -- declined by approximately 7 percent sequentially in the face of continued weak demand from the networking and communications sector.

"In 2001, AMD substantially outperformed the worldwide semiconductor industry," said Sanders. "In a very difficult year for the industry that saw worldwide sales of semiconductors decline by more than 31 percent, AMD sales declined by approximately half that amount, reflecting the desirability and competitiveness of AMD products. Achieving pro forma profitability during the worst recession in the history of the semiconductor industry was a significant accomplishment," Sanders concluded.

Current Outlook

The company's outlook statements are based on current expectations. The following statements are forward-looking, and actual results could differ materially. The company's current outlook is based on the following projections:

The company expects that PC processor unit shipments in the first quarter will remain at or near the record level of 7.8 million units with average selling prices at or near the $90 level of the fourth quarter of 2001.

Demand for flash memory devices continues to be soft due to continuing weakness and an inventory overhang in the networking and communications sector. Consequently, the company expects continuing pricing pressures and a sequential decline in revenues from flash memory devices in the first quarter.

Assuming normal seasonal patterns in sales of PC processors and continued weakness in the flash memory product market, the company expects a sequential revenue decline in the first quarter of 2002 to approximately $900 million, which would result in a small net loss for the quarter.

The company remains on track to return to profitability in the second quarter of 2002 and to achieve solid profitability for the year as a whole.
AMD will provide a real-time audio broadcast teleconference on the Investor Relations page of its web site at www.amd.com.

Jan 17 - Capital Spending for the Semiconductor Industry Shows Positive Signs. An advisory from Industrialinfo.com (Industrial Information Resources Incorporated; Houston). Despite worldwide employment losses in the semiconductor industry, new economic data may suggest an upturn in the industry during the second quarter of 2002. According to the recently released Semiconductor Billings Report produced by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) association, November 2001 global chip sales increased by 1.5%.
Typically, fourth quarter sales are normally high inline with the holiday season and though 2001 fourth quarter sales may still lag behind historical figures, any consecutive rise in semiconductor sales may indicate that a bottom has formed and a recovery may be near. Over the next few months, consumer demand will dictate whether or not the upswing in sales will continue.
Currently, the two biggest consumers of tech products relative to semiconductors are multinational corporations and telecommunications companies. It is estimated that global spending for hardware and software by consumers will reach $600 billion in 2002. Any further investments will be dictated by the future state of the economy.
During 2001, most semiconductor manufacturers scaled back production to reduce inventory levels while demand remained weak. Many companies announced employee layoffs that will continue through 2002.
For example, one of the largest employment losses came from Motorola. The company announced in December yet another layoff of 9,400 employees. By mid 2002, total losses for the company will account for over 150,000 jobs since August 2000. NEC announced plans to suspend chip production in Scotland and lay off 1,260 employees by April of 2002. Several domestic production plants of NEC have also been scaled back because of the economic downturn. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Applied Materials Inc. recently announced that approximately 450 positions at their Silicon Valley fab facility and roughly 600 positions at their Austin campus would be cut.
Although the list continues, employment data always lags behind other indicators. These manufacturers are simply reducing costs during a period of uncertainty.
As the year unfolds, semiconductor sales still remain in question. Capital spending for the industry is expected to be down. Some semiconductor manufacturers may continue to invest in process automations to stay ahead of the competition. The next wave of production technology automation will come from the transition to 300mm silicon wafer production. Semiconductor equipment vendors are pushing hard for manufacturers to modernize into new processes. This could come soon. Industry experts are forecasting a recovery by mid year 2002 spurred by consumer confidence. If so, semiconductor manufacturers may increase 2002 capital investments.
With inflation under control, combined with eleven consecutive interest rate cuts that have made borrowing more attractive, corporations have the right formula to move forward with automation and technology investments that will drive semiconductor manufacturers to expand. Industrialinfo.com is a leading provider of information in the industrial markets, including the semiconductors industry.
For more information visit www.industrialinfo.com.

Jan 17 - Afilias Starts Challenge of .INFO Names. Afilias announced Thursday that it has submitted its first set of challenges against names that may have been inappropriately registered during the .INFO Sunrise period.
Through the Sunrise Challenge process, managed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the registrants of these names will now need to produce proof of their valid trademark in order to maintain the registration of the domain name.
"Our Sunrise Process was designed to enable trademark holders to protect their intellectual property during the launch of the .INFO domain," said Roland LaPlante, Chief Marketing Officer of Afilias. " We have believed from the outset that the challenge provisions built into the process would enable us to eliminate names that might be inappropriately registered. Those provisions will now be put to work by our Challenge Task Force, which will execute a series of bulk challenges against names that may have been inappropriately registered."
Afilias' Challenge Task Force is currently finalizing a review of all Sunrise names. In doing so, it is working closely with the United States Patent and Trademark Office trademark database, the U.K. Patent Office, intellectual property counsel in Germany, concerned Internet citizens, and other resources around the world. As a result of this work, Afilias will submit additional challenges to WIPO over the coming weeks.
"Afilias is committed to returning ineligible Sunrise names to the general public", said LaPlante. "Our task force will continue its review and expects to challenge thousands of additional names in the coming weeks."
Interested parties with concerns or input may send information to challenge@afilias.info.

About Afilias

Afilias - the registry for .INFO, the first new, unrestricted top-level domain - seeks to create the most direct and intuitive path to knowledge on the Web. Afilias is a consortium of 18 of the world's leading domain name registrars, with operations across 10 countries. Afilias maintains international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland with U.S. headquarters in Newtown, PA. For more information please visit www.afilias.info.

Jan 17 - Cooler States Warmed Up Online Holiday Shopping.Where the weather was very frightful, online shopping was delightful. The 2001 Holiday Season (November 19th to December 25th) saw Americans from cold weather markets like Alaska, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts, stay warm at home and shop online, according to BizRate.com, the No. 1 comparison shopping site and tracker of 2,000 ecommerce sites.
These cold weather-dwellers let their finger do the walking during a holiday season that saw the industry reach an all-time high of $6.4 billion, up 36% compared to the same period last year. The fourth quarter in general saw ecommerce ring up $12.4 billion in sales -- a 35% increase over last year.
BizRate.com (www.bizrate.com) is a leading comparison shopping site on the Web.

Jan 16 - Toshiba Introduces World's Highest Capacity 1.8-Inch Hard Disk Drives. Toshiba Storage Device Division (SDD) continues its leadership in the hard drive industry by today announcing its newest family of 1.8-inch embedded hard disk drives (HDDs) available in 10GB and 20GB capacities.
The new mini drives offer consumer electronics and PC manufacturers the right combination of high-capacity storage with a compact, lightweight footprint for design into a wide variety of mobile and handheld products that require reliable storage solutions.
The tiny storage giants measure 54mm wide and 78.5mm deep, and weigh 51 and 62 grams respectively. Toshiba's new 10GB (MK1003GAL) and 20GB (MK2003GAH) HDDs are smaller than a credit card and lighter than a traditional pager. The low-profile, lightweight drives offer data transfer rates of 100MB/sec, providing high-speed performance for both consumer electronics devices and notebook PCs.
"Our latest 1.8-inch HDD technology is enabling some of today's most exciting, new small form factor mobile devices," said Amy Dalphy, manager, HDD business unit, Toshiba SDD.
"Toshiba's 1.8-inch HDDs have the right mix of power consumption, shock tolerance and compact size for today's capacity-hungry `biz-sumer' mobile computing and digital gadgets -- such as music players, handheld PCs, PDAs, wearable computers and laptops."
Built on Toshiba's proven 2.5-inch HDD technology platform, the rugged design and reliability of Toshiba's new 1.8-inch HDDs meets today's increasingly diverse range of storage needs for a variety of new applications and environments.
For additional information visit www.harddrives.toshiba.com.

Jan 16 - COMPAQ signs on as cornerstone sponsor of Linuxworld. – IDG World Expo, the leading producer of world-class tradeshows, conferences and events for IT markets, announced today that Compaq Computer Corporation (NYSE: CPQ) continues to build on its commitment to the Open Source community by securing the cornerstone sponsor position at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo. Compaq plans to announce several different Linux solutions at the next LinuxWorld Conference & Expo scheduled for January 29 – February 1, 2002 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.

To further demonstrate its current and future commitment to providing the best solutions for customers deploying Linux, Compaq has signed on as the new Cornerstone Sponsor at LinuxWorld through the end of 2003.

“Compaq is committed to offering our Linux customers a wide variety of solutions that best meet the demands of their individual businesses,” said Rick Becker, vice president of operating systems marketing and business development, Compaq Industry Standard Servers Group. “LinuxWorld allows Compaq to showcase our broad array of Linux offerings, including enterprise solutions, clustering expertise and iPaq’s, Compaq’s industry leading handheld devices.”

Compaq provides Linux solutions from the edge of the network to the heart of the IT infrastructure. From Compaq iPAQ handheld devices to market-leading industry-standard ProLiant servers and high-performance AlphaServer systems, Compaq offers the platforms more customers choose for their Linux-based solutions. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), Compaq ProLiantTM servers are the industry-leading server platform for Linux, with 25.5% percent market share for the third quarter of 2001.

“Compaq continues to have impressive success in the Linux arena,” said Rob Scheschareg, vice president of sales, marketing and product development for IDG World Expo. “As a Cornerstone Sponsor, the company gains a significant, high-profile platform to launch and demonstrate its products to qualified enterprise buyers at the bellweather open source industry event.”

Jan 16 - Wireless LANs Have Profound Impact on Growing Public Area Access. The emergence of wireless connectivity to public area access has largely altered the structure of, and brought renewed attention to, the public area access market, according to Cahners In-Stat/MDR (http://www.instat.com).

The research firm reports that wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) connectivity has changed the public access market in two principal ways; focus has shifted to the business traveler and delivery of services has evolved into a subscription-based model.

"While cell phone use has become principally a consumer-oriented product/service, public broadband connectivity, aside from kiosk-based access, continues to be corporate-driven and is targeted to meet the needs of the business traveler," said Amy Cravens, an industry analyst with In-Stat/MDR.

"Service providers and hardware manufacturers in this space are intently focused on enabling those applications that are most demanded by business travelers and ensuring a level of network security appropriate for the confidential corporate content that will flow over them.

"Furthermore, while kiosk access is, principally, a pay-as-you-go service, WLAN providers base their revenue model on pre-paid subscription plans."

Among the drivers most critical to the success of public area WLANs is the corporate adoption of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), corporate conversion to notebooks, and wireless roaming agreements. In-Stat/MDR believes that while there are barriers that have impeded the success of wireless public access to date, the events of 2001 and 2002 have, and will, move this market toward maturity.

In-Stat/MDR has also found that:

-- At present, the primary public area access market of interest,

for wireless connectivity, is the airport. Convention centers
are also being targeted as prime locations for public area
access. Other locations, notably cafes, train stations and
airplanes, have received considerable attention as emerging
wireless locations, yet these arenas are not as fully
developed in terms of technology and business models as the
airport environment.

-- North America, despite certain regulations and disputes, will
remain the predominant public area access market throughout
the forecast period. The strength of the North American
wireless public access market is largely derived from its
corporate culture.

-- Wireless public area access service revenue is expected to
grow from $3.9 million in 2001 to $224.7 million in 2005.

Jan 16 - Sonic Foundry Takes Movies Online for 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Sonic Foundry(R) Inc. (NASDAQ: SOFO), a leading provider of rich media software, systems and services, today announced its Media Services division has encoded high quality streaming media versions of the films being showcased at the 2002 Sundance Online Film Festival (www.sundanceonlinefilmfestival.com) as part of the Sundance Digital Initiative. By pre-processing and capturing images using Sonic Foundry's proprietary PureStream(TM) technology, the Sundance Film Festival is ensuring that over 1.6 million visitors to the Sundance Online Film Festival website are viewing the best quality streams over the Internet.
PureStream(TM) is a capture and preprocessing solution specifically designed for film-originated content that dramatically reduces the judder, interpolation and macroblocking typically associated with encoding of 24 fps film content that's destined for the Internet. PureStream(TM) also improves the quality and playback of video-originated animation and live action - representing a significant number of the submitted entries to the 2002 Sundance Online Film Festival.
"Sonic Foundry has proven themselves to be a leading technology partner. Their skills and expertise have helped to make the SOFF a first rate experience," stated Ian Calderon, Director of Digital Initiatives for the Sundance Institute.

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