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Welcome to InfoHQ Computer 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 right-hand column.
InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index Date (Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.) Mar 29 Central Command Discovers First Virus That Can Infect Both Windows And Linux Systems Mar 29 KDS Introduces New Radius FireWire Digital Video Editing Kit Mar 29 Mitsubishi Wireless Communications Introduces Trium to North America Mar 29 Ilium Software Releases Free DockWare Software for Handheld PCs Mar 28 IBM Introduces World's Quietest, Highest Capacity Family of Mobile Drives Mar 28 Pocit Labs to Enable a New Generation of Games for Short-Range Wireless Devices Mar 28 TruSecure provides advice to businesses on virus/worm protection Mar 27 Fujitsu PC Corp. to Support Microsoft Tablet PC Initiative Mar 27 I/OMagic Enters MP3 Market With Release of Neo Jukebox 2200 Mar 27 PictureTel's Siren Audio Technology To Be Used in Windows XP Mar 27 Dell Unveils New PowerEdge Rack-Optimized and Workgroup Servers Mar 26 TSMC's 0.15-Micron Technology in Volume Production With NVIDIA's GeForce3 GPU Mar 26 Gartner Dataquest Says PC Industry Braces for Fierce Price War This Year Mar 26 Burst Wireless and LG Electronics to Bring High-Speed Wireless Access to the U.S. Mar 26 Red-M and Fujitsu Siemens Collaborate On Bluetooth Solutions Mar 25 Sunday Shopping Watch Mar 24 Micron Electronics Merges with Interland; Will sell MicronPC Mar 24 Motorola Takes Further Steps to Cut Costs and Improve Performance Mar 24 BellSouth and Dell Enter Agreement to Provide Broadband Computer Solutions
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March 29 - Central Command Discovers First Virus That Can Infect Both Windows And Linux Systems. Central Command, a leading provider of PC anti-virus software and computer security services, and its partners today announced the discovery of W32.Winux, the world's first cross platform virus capable of infecting computers using both the Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems.
"Today with the discovery of W32.Winux, we have received the world's first known virus capable of spreading on both Windows and Linux computer systems. While people do not share executables between these operating systems, this new proof of concept virus represents a technology innovation that may lead to more destructive viruses in the future. Our Emergency Virus Response Team(TM) discovered this new virus and has analyzed it," said Steven Sundermeier, Product Manager at Central Command Inc.
W32.Winux is a non-memory resident virus. It can replicate under Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000 (Win32) and Linux systems and infects PE files (Windows executable) and ELF files (Linux executable). The infection method is basic. It searches for all files located in current folder and its parent folders and opens every file. If a target file is a PE or ELF executable the appropriate infection routine is called:
Win32 infection routine:
Infection is done by overwriting the .reloc section of PE executable. If the .reloc section size is not large enough to hold the virus body, the file is not infected. It uses the following API functions to infect other files: FindFirstFileA, FindNextFileA, FindClose, CreateFileA, CreateFileMappingA, MapViewOfFile, UnmapViewOfFile, CloseHandle, VirtualAlloc, VirtualFree, WriteFile, SetFilePointer, GetCurrentDirectoryA, SetCurrentDirectoryA
Linux infection routine:
ELF executables are infected by the overwriting instructions at the entry point. The original code is then stored at the end of ELF executable. When an infected ELF application is executed, the virus code takes control, spreads further and then passes control to the host file.
"It is believed to have originated out of the Czech Republic and does not have a destructive payload." concluded Sundermeier.
W32.Winux contains internal text strings. It also contains the following text: "(Win32/Linux.Winux) multi-platform virus by Benny/29A" and "This GNU program is covered by GPL."
Visit Central Command at www.avx.com for a complete virus description.
March 29 - KDS Introduces New Radius FireWire Digital Video Editing Kit. KDS, a giant global manufacturer of color monitors, notebooks and consumer electronics, today unveiled the Radius FireWire(R) Digital Video Editing Kit, a three-component set that includes all the necessary tools for home users to create professional quality movies with a digital video camcorder.
KDS' new editing kit package, which comes with a FireWire PCI interface card, a complete line of software titles and FireWire cable, now makes professional editing capabilities affordable for home users. Suggested retail price is set for $49.99.
"The Radius FireWire Digital Video Editing Kit contains everything users need to change their regular home movies into professional, high quality digital videos with impressive effects and sound," said Erin Rippee, vice president of marketing for KDS. "With numerous features and quality components, the kit readily offers outstanding value at a low price, making it available to the general public."
The FireWire PCI interface card is Mac and PC compatible, and works with Sony, JVC, Panasonic, Canon and other digital video camcorders. The card, which is an OHCI based IEEE 1394/FireWire design, enables data transfers up to 400 Megabits per second, about 30 times faster than USB. In addition, two external 1394 ports make it easy for hot-swap or plug and play capabilities with any external FireWire device -- up to 63 FireWire devices can be daisy chained. The PCI card is also FCC Part 15 and 68 and DOC compliant.
The software package includes five titles: Digital Origin's EditDV Unplugged; TeVeo's VIDiO Clipstore; TeVeo Live; Terran's Media Cleaner; and Digital Origin's EasyDV.
Audio and video can be edited together or individually in real time. More than 40 quality professional transitions can be created with proper aspect ratio thanks to non-square pixel rendering. NTSC, PAL, and Apple DV Codec formats are fully supported by this software.
Required for operation on PCs: Windows 98 Second Edition or higher; a 200 MHz or faster processor; 32 MB of RAM; one available PCI slot; and a CD-ROM drive. System requirements on Macs: Mac blue and white G3 or higher; Mac OS 8.6 or greater; FireWire 2.3.3 or later; 32 MB of RAM; one available PCI slot; and a CD-ROM drive.
Additional information on the Radius FireWire Digital Video Editing Kit is available at www.kdsusa.com.
March 29 - Mitsubishi Wireless Communications Introduces Trium to North America. Mitsubishi Wireless Communications Inc. (MWCI), a recognized leader in telecommunications, introduced its Trium(TM) brand of mobile and 3G phones to North America at the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association's Wireless 2001 Show in Las Vegas on March 20.
Trium, one of the most recognized and popular brands of mobile phones in Europe, will be the brand name for all Mitsubishi Wireless Communications devices sold and distributed in North America.
The move reflects Mitsubishi Wireless' commitment to mobile telecommunications design and leading edge technology, and will enable the company to leverage Trium's consumer confidence and brand awareness in the North American marketplace.
"Since its launch in 1999, the Trium name has been tremendously successful," said Yoshihiko Shimonaga, CEO of Mitsubishi Wireless Communications. "Our line of Trium 3G phones and PDAs represent the future of mobile communications, both in design and functionality. We think it's fitting that they have a stand-alone identity that has already been embraced by millions of people."
In conjunction with the brand roll-out, MWCI introduced four Trium phones that will be available later this year: the G320, G360 GSM phones, and the T300 and T330 models which use TDMA technology. Five Trium concept models, ranging from camera phones that are worn on the wrist and fingers to high-fashion bracelet and pendant phones were also displayed at CTIA show.
For additional information about MWCI, visit www.triumusa.com.
March 29 - Ilium Software Releases Free DockWare Software for Handheld PCs. Ilium Software(TM) today announced the release of DockWare(TM) for Handheld PC 2000 and Handheld PC Professional mobile devices including the new HP Jornada 720 Handheld PC.
DockWare is a personalized desk clock and calendar for the Handheld PC. The application will show photos in the background, cycling through them at a preset interval. The product includes several images and users can add additional pictures simply by dragging them to the DockWare folder. DockWare's auto-start feature will launch the product whenever the Handheld PC is idle and running on external power. DockWare works with all the screen sizes and resolutions available for Handheld PCs including the 640 by 240 size made popular by HP and found on the new Jornada 720.
"HP is very pleased with DockWare's innovative use of the Handheld PC," said Kok-Khoon Lim, General Manager for the Asia Pacific Personal Computing Division, "it's great to see companies, like Ilium Software, that allow mobile professionals to personalize their Handheld PCs."
DockWare for the Handheld PC follows the successful release of DockWare for the Pocket PC. "We are committed to continuing our support for the Handheld PC user base," said Kenneth Morse, President and CEO of Ilium Software. "All of our key software is available for Handheld PCs as well as the other mobile device form factors."
DockWare is available at no charge from Ilium Software. DockWare Pro, which adds additional configuration options and password protection, is available for $9.95 from Ilium Software and selected retailers and distributors worldwide. More information can be found on Ilium Software's website, www.iliumsoft.com.
March 28 - IBM Introduces World's Quietest, Highest Capacity Family of Mobile Drives. IBM today announced the world's quietest family of mobile hard disk drives including the industry's highest capacity notebook drive. With reduced noise levels, faster speeds and higher performance, IBM's new Travelstar family provides the optimal storage solution for data, music, video, digital photo and streaming media.
Incorporating IBM's Drive Noise Suppression System (DNSS) across its entire product line, the new Travelstar drives offer significantly reduced noise levels that enhance the user's experience while enjoying music and video on the notebook computers. DNSS replaces the traditional ball bearing design with the fluid dynamic bearing spindle motor technology and voice coil motor dampening enhancements. These efforts result in acoustical noise reduction, improved shock tolerance and superior reliability.
Featuring the industry's highest capacity notebook drive at 48 GB, the Travelstar 48GH, allows individuals to store 48,000 high-resolution photographs, 74 musical CDs, 48,000 paperback novels or 12 DVD movies. The Travelstar 48GH stores five times as much data as today's average notebook hard drive and 50 percent more than IBM's previous largest mobile drive, the Travelstar 32GH, the industry's current capacity leader.
While most mobile drives spin at 4,200 rotations per minute (rpm), the Travelstar 48GH spins at 5,400 rpm, making it the fastest mobile hard disk drive on the market. Additionally, with media transfer rates up to 241 megabits per second (Mbits/sec), the Travelstar 48GH combines spindle speed and improved processing speed to boost its overall performance. The new drives also are more power efficient, increasing capacity and speed while maintaining the energy requirements of the previous product generation.
The new family of mobile drives are Travelstar 48GH, 30GN (available in 30 and 20 GB capacities) and 15GN (available in 15, 10 and 6 GB capacities) models. The 30GN and 15GN offer improvements in both performance and acoustics. In fact, the Travelstar 15GN is quieter during its read/write operation than its predecessor is while idling.
IBM holds the market leadership in the mobile hard disk drive business with 41 percent of volume shipments worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2000, according to a recent International Data Corporation report. IBM can be found on the Web at www.ibm.com.
March 28 - Pocit Labs to Enable a New Generation of Games for Short-Range Wireless Devices. Pocit Labs today announced a solution that makes it possible to create a new generation of computer games for PDAs and handheld gaming devices such as Game Boy.
The solution, BlueTalk Game Engine, is the first network gaming API for the emerging short-range wireless network P2P market. BlueTalk Game Engine is an integral part of BlueTalktm, Pocit Labs' network client for local wireless P2P (peer-to-peer) communication. The first version of the product is scheduled for prerelease in June at the BluetoothTM Congress in Monte Carlo.
BlueTalk Game Engine makes it possible to develop a new generation of computer games that utilize the benefits of local ad hoc P2P networking. Regardless of whether they use handheld gaming devices, PDAs or Smartphones, users can meet and seamlessly create a wireless virtual playground without any external infrastructure. Participants can compete in teams, and individual players can join or drop out at any time.
"As game developers, we had an idea of creating network games that combine the enjoyment of meeting friends and competing in teams. But when we used existing techniques, it became too complicated-there were too many obstacles," says Stefan Gadnell. "Using the BlueTalk framework enables us to create a unique gaming platform for a whole range of new team-based games.
"The unique solution is based on Pocit Labs BlueTalk, the world's first true P2P network client for handheld devices. By using BlueTalk, developers can easily develop and deploy short-range P2P applications for handhelds, Smartphones and embedded devices, without having to access the underlying support for creating dynamic wireless P2P ad hoc networks.
"Since entertainment applications drive and develop the use of new technologies, we believe that entertainment applications will play an important role in the deployment of our products and Bluetooth wireless technology. Therefore, it is important for us to be able to support new gaming possibilities with our products," says Per Karlsson, Pocit Labs.
Pocit Labs can be found on the Web at www.pocitlabs.com.
March 28 - TruSecure provides advice to businesses on virus/worm protection. With more than two thousand new computer viruses rearing their ugly heads each month, it's the worms among them that keep "hacker trackers" up at night.
Unlike simple viruses, which spread from file to file in one computer, worms live short but spectacular lives, inflicting major damage quickly because they use the network to spread from computer to computer.
Now that network operating systems have been available for some time, there is mounting concern among Internet security experts that the ever-increasing availability of information on the "guts" of network operating systems gives hackers clues to break in and compromise a network's security.
In fact, some experts, including TruSecure technical director of malicious code research Roger Thompson - who specializes in securing WinTel platforms - feels the industry has taken a step back to the early 1990s, when virus writers first began to truly understand, dissect and attack the innards of the DOS platform. Today, virus writers are feverishly working to crack the Windows code, once a fortress that virtually made the 15,000 DOS-based viruses a moot point.
Most worms and viruses go unnoticed to most of the world because they only infect one computer or one company. But every now and then worms with seductive names like Anna and Naked Wife "get away" because unsuspecting PC users "let them in." And when a mass mailer worm infects a system, it can clog businesses' email systems, and depending on its "payload" or damage capability, it can rapidly wipe out all the data on computers.
A recently discovered two-part worm illustrates the growing sophistication. The first part of the worm set Internet Explorer's start page to a web site in Italy and reduced its security settings to low. The next time a user launched Internet Explorer, they were directed to the web site in Italy instead of their expected home page. The mass mailing part of the code was embedded in the web page and fired as soon as the browser reached it, because IE's security settings were now set to low. An outbreak was averted on this occasion because the web page was removed almost as soon as the first part of the worm was discovered.
But there are ways to stay ahead of the game. "It would be really nice if individuals would take a little personal responsibility," said Thompson. "People simply need to stop believing that they're getting pictures of naked women. There are actually people who ran the Anna worm twice, because they didn't get to see the picture the first time."
Thompson added, however, that a better approach was for corporations to systematically harden their computers. "Corporations have to stop relying on their anti-virus software as their primary line of defense," said Thompson. TruSecure offers businesses the following pointers:
-- Block exe and vbs attachments at the network perimeter. Right now, some companies do this and some don't. Many haven't adopted this habit, and even when they do, some people go to great lengths to retrieve mail from their personal email service.
-- Restrict the ability for individuals to access their personal email systems from work. Since these are not protected by corporate gateways, users may unknowingly download a mass mailer that has the ability to infect an entire corporate network. Businesses can lower the risk by investing in software that detects the presence of internal modems and by procuring network cards instead of modems.
-- Integrate the protective tools you do have, including firewalls, anti-virus software and Virtual Private networks. Many companies use these protective measures from different vendors but unless they are operating together properly, "gaps" are left that leave their networks vulnerable.
TruSecure can be found on the Web at www.trusecure.com.
March 27 - Fujitsu PC Corp. to Support Microsoft Tablet PC Initiative. Fujitsu PC Corp. (FPC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu, Ltd., today announced it will be a strategic partner with Microsoft Corp. in the evolution of the Tablet PC market.
The two industry leaders made the announcement at this year's Windows Hardware Engineering (WinHEC) 2001 Conference in Anaheim, Calif. This agreement is seen as a significant opportunity to expand the Tablet PC market by taking advantage of FPC's hardware and product development expertise and Microsoft's software leadership, including the new Windows' XP operating system.
"Pen tablets have been at the forefront of the mobile computing industry for 10 years, and were validated when Microsoft identified the mobile solution as the next evolutionary step in personal computing during last year's COMDEX keynote address," said Sara Nelson, vice president of marketing for FPC. "As the market leader in pen tablet computing, Fujitsu PC Corp. is able to combine its individual hardware talents with Microsoft's software expertise in order to extend and validate the power of pen tablet computing, allowing for the migration into exciting new areas."
FPC's pen tablets incorporate industry standard and leading-edge technologies to create highly functional, mobile computing solutions that can easily be integrated into a variety of enterprise environments. The company's solutions are available today through value-added resellers and are predominately found in sales force automation, health care, inspections, insurance claim handlers and merchandising. Manufacturing pen tablet computing solutions for more than a decade, FPC has established itself as the leader in this innovative industry. A recent market study published by International Data Corp. (IDC) reported FPC held a 70 percent worldwide share of the pen tablet market, validating the company's position as the undisputed market leader.
"Establishing a strategic relationship with Fujitsu PC Corp., with its industry expertise, affords Microsoft valuable insight into the Tablet PC opportunity and its requirements," said Jeff Raikes, group vice president, Microsoft. "We look forward to integrating that insight into our future software solutions to enhance the functionality of the Tablet PC, especially for business computer users."
Both corporations view the Tablet PC initiative as the evolution of the notebook computing concept, optimized for mobility and designed to be convenient, light and ergonomic. This initiative enables any Windows-based application to take advantage of pen-based input.
With software developed and optimized by Microsoft for the Windows XP Pro operating system, Tablet PC solutions developed by vendors like Fujitsu PC Corp. can function as a sheet of paper.
Utilizing the pen for input across a wide range of Windows-based applications will give users new ways in which to collaborate, communicate and bring their PCs to bear on new tasks (e.g., annotating and updating documents on the fly and then wirelessly transmitting the finished version). The solution's high-resolution display makes it ideal for immersive reading and rich multimedia applications.
Fujitsu PC Corp. currently boasts a full suite of pen tablet solutions in the Stylistic 3400 and Stylistic LT C-500. These products exhibit many of the features outlined during last year's COMDEX activities.
For more information on Fujitsu PC Corp.'s pen tablet and notebook computers, go to www.fujitsupc.com.
March 27 - PictureTel's Siren Audio Technology To Be Used in Windows XP. PictureTel(R) Corporation (NASDAQ:PCTL), the world leader in integrated collaboration, today announced its agreement with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), to license its patented Siren(TM) wideband audio technology for use in the upcoming Windows XP and future versions of Windows.
PictureTel's Siren technology is the international standard endorsed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for wideband audio compression. The technology will enable Microsoft Corp. to provide the highest quality audio experience to Windows XP users who are connected to the Internet via even modest bandwidth speeds.
Siren technology will be part of the Windows operating system platform. Microsoft has announced that the Windows operating system will include support for IETF standard Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and other real time communications capabilities. As a result, third party developers will be able to easily integrate high-quality Siren sound into a wide variety of services and applications. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
"The PC has become a powerful platform enabling a variety of experiences beyond personal productivity to include music, digital photos, interpersonal communications and more, and Windows XP will play a vital role in making these new user experiences more accessible and more compelling to more people than ever," said John Frederiksen, general manager of Windows XP Marketing at Microsoft. "We believe PictureTel's Siren represents best-in-class technology that will play an important role in making the voice communications experience with Windows XP simply outstanding for our customers."
"Microsoft's commitment to PictureTel's ITU-endorsed Siren high-fidelity technology underscores our market leadership position," said Lewis Jaffe, president and chief operating officer, PictureTel Corporation. "Poor audio quality has traditionally proved to be videoconferencing's Achilles heel. We have maintained a deep commitment to research and development throughout our history - and today are very proud to announce that Microsoft has selected the PictureTel-developed Siren as its audio backbone for Windows XP. Windows XP is a bold step into enabling simple and cost-effective universal collaboration capabilities and we are excited to be a part of this very significant advancement."
March 27 - I/OMagic Enters MP3 Market With Release of Neo Jukebox 2200. I/OMagic Corporation (OTCBB:IOMC), a leading developer and marketer of peripheral PC products, today announced that it will launch the first product in its new series of MP3 players with the I/OMagic Neo Jukebox 2200 -- an MP3 player with the ability to hold up to 600 CDs (20 GB of capacity).
"The I/OMagic Neo Jukebox 2200 gives you thousands of songs at your fingertips," said Tony Andrews, vice president of Engineering and Product Development for I/OMagic Corporation. "It is also very versatile. Not only does it play music, but it can hold a massive amount of files for easy transportation and be used as an external hard drive if needed."
The I/OMagic Neo Jukebox 2200 features MusicMatch(TM) Jukebox software to play and rip CDs. It has built-in USB support, is compatible with both a PC and a MAC, and is easily upgradeable via downloadable firmware. The unit runs off a lithium-ion rechargeable battery or an AC adapter and supports MP2 and MP3 at 8-320 Kbps (including VBR). The I/OMagic Neo Jukebox 2200 is slim in size, yet features a big LCD display (128x68 pixels) for easy navigation. It also accepts custom playlists and features a digital anti-shock mechanism (music is played from digital buffer).
The I/OMagic Neo Jukebox 2200 is expected to have an MSRP of $499.00 and will begin shipping in April 2001. Visit the I/OMagic web site at www.iomagic.com.
March 27 - Dell Unveils New PowerEdge Rack-Optimized and Workgroup Servers. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today announced the next generation of its most popular and fastest growing PowerEdge(R) servers for customers deploying Internet and intranet infrastructures, hosted applications and traditional applications, such as mail and file/print services.
The PowerEdge 2550, a 2U (3.5 inch) server designed for use in racked environments, such as corporate data centers, introduces enterprise-class technology features to the fastest growing segment of the server market. The PowerEdge 2500 is a tower-based server that offers additional expansion options for use in departments and work groups.
The servers incorporate technology previously reserved for the high end of the marketplace, such as a new chipset for increased performance and embedded RAID for greater data redundancy. The PowerEdge 2550 is the first server in the industry to feature embedded Gigabit Ethernet for the fastest network performance available in any class server today.
The PowerEdge 2550 succeeds the PowerEdge 2450, which helped redefine the server market by delivering the performance and reliability found in much larger servers to a small form factor. Dell is the No. 2 provider of standard Intel architecture servers worldwide and the PowerEdge 2450 was so well received by the company's customers that it showed the fastest sales growth among Dell's server products. The new PowerEdge 2550 provides the highest degrees of availability and expandability in a 2U form factor and is ideally suited for use as an application or Web server in tiered, datacenter infrastructures that are space conscious, but require availability and expansion capabilities.
The new PowerEdge 2550 and PowerEdge 2500 servers support dual Intel (R) Pentium(R) III processors -- up to 1GHz; feature a new chipset that supports three PCI buses -- two 64 bit and one 32-bit --for faster throughput; up to 4 GB of RAM; and embedded dual channel RAID with battery backup for improved availability. In the PowerEdge 2550, this effectively delivers seven I/O connectivity outputs from the server within a small 2U form factor.
The PowerEdge 2550 offers up to five hot-plug, one-inch SCSI hard drives for up to 180GB of storage and an optional hot-plug redundant power supply, support for external Fibre Channel and SCSI storage expansion, high-availability clustering and an easy access chassis. The PowerEdge 2500 offers additional features including up to 8 hot-plug, one inch SCSI hard drives for up to 288GB storage and redundant hot-plug cooling fans, an optional hot-plug redundant power supply, and a new, smaller chassis designed for easy access and maximum aesthetic effect.
The PowerEdge 2550 and 2500 are scheduled to be available in April 2001; prices start at $2,399. The servers can be factory installed with Microsoft(R) Windows(R) NT 4.0, Windows 2000 Server or Advanced Server operating systems, Novell(R) NetWare(R) 5.1 or Red Hat(R) Linux(R) 7.
For more information on Dell PowerEdge servers, go to www.dell.com/poweredge.
March 26 - TSMC's 0.15-Micron Technology in Volume Production With NVIDIA's GeForce3 GPU. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (NYSE:TSM), the world's largest dedicated semiconductor foundry, today announced that it has successfully ramped the foundry industry leading 0.15-micron process to full production status.
TSMC has delivered the highly-anticipated GeForce3 GPU, in addition to the key processors for the Xbox(TM) video game console, to NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq:NVDA) using the high-performance version of TSMC's 0.15-micron process (CL015LV). Several other customer products, using diverse 0.15-micron process variations, are also in volume production stage.
"We are delighted to be among the first to make use of TSMC's advanced 0.15-micron process technology," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO for NVIDIA. "This new process has enabled us to create more sophisticated processors for advanced graphics and multimedia applications. TSMC has clearly demonstrated that it is ahead of the curve with its state-of-the-art process technology."
TSMC's 0.15-micron process targets leading-edge computer, communications, and consumer applications for high speed and low power consumption. The process provides significant performance advantages over 0.18-micron processes while, at the same time, significantly reducing die cost.
NVIDIA Corporation, a global leader in advanced graphics and multimedia processing technology, is among the first companies to implement 0.15-micron designs for the superior performance. NVIDIA has used this new process for the recently announced GeForce3 GPU, the Xbox Graphics Processing Unit (XGPU) and Xbox Media Communications Processor (MCPX).
More information about TSMC is available through the World Wide Web at www.tsmc.com.
March 26 - Gartner Dataquest Says PC Industry Braces for Fierce Price War This Year. Personal computer manufacturers are preparing for an intense battle for market share in 2001, as some PC vendors reduce profit margin gains to increase market penetration, according to Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT and ITB).
"We anticipate a price war in the United States in 2001, as direct vendors, Dell and Gateway, endeavor to gain market share from Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and IBM," said Martin Reynolds, group vice president and research fellow for Gartner. "The direct vendors will lower margins to do this, which will cause others to give serious thought about how they run their PC business. The price erosion will make other regions of the world buy more PCs, so the global vendors might also choose to shift their share from the United States to maintain profitability. U.S. national vendors do not have that choice."
Worldwide PC shipments (excluding PC servers) are expected to total 144.5 million units in 2001, an increase of 10.7 percent over 2000 shipments. While PC vendors must deal with a price war, they will also have the challenge of selling PCs as the U.S. economy slows.
"We're generally expecting an across-the-board slowdown in market growth this year on account of the global economic situation," Shiffler said.
"The industry may be able to stimulate some added unit growth during 2001 in less saturated markets like Latin America through judicious price cutting and shrewd marketing campaigns, but those efforts could well be undercut by poor economic circumstances."
Gartner Dataquest analysts do not see market conditions improving until 2002. But even then, the industry faces some significant challenges from market saturation. Gartner Dataquest analysts said the U.S. PC market is nearly saturated, and Canada and Western Europe are not that far behind.
For more information about Gartner Dataquest visit them on the Web at www.gartner.com.
March 26 - Burst Wireless and LG Electronics to Bring High-Speed Wireless Access to the U.S. Burst Wireless, Inc., a company providing mobile, high-speed Internet access today announced an agreement with LG Electronics, Inc. ("LGE"), a leading telecommunication equipment manufacturer.
According to the agreement, LGE will provide Burst with CDMA infrastructure equipment to support Burst's Midwest deployment of its wireless network optimized for high-speed data transmission.
Burst is deploying a data-centric network that utilizes cdma2000 technology, a third-generation (3G) wireless standard. Burst's service will initially rely upon a 1xRTT platform that supports data transmission speeds up to 144 kbps, three to five times faster than current dial-up speeds. The network will be upgraded to 1xEV-DO, which will support access speeds up to 2.4 Mbps, significantly enhancing data throughput rates for wireless Internet users.
"This is a significant step to bring our wireless Internet solution to market. Burst is building the most advanced packet data network in the industry and will continue to be an innovative leader in the wireless data space," said Richard Kingston, president and chief operating officer, Burst Wireless. "We are very pleased to have the opportunity to work with LGE in our initial markets and to benefit from LGE's global experience building 3G wireless networks."
For more information about the companies, visit www.burstwireless.com and www.lge.com.
March 26 - Red-M and Fujitsu Siemens Collaborate On Bluetooth Solutions. Red-M(TM), a pioneering developer of Bluetooth network solutions and subsidiary of Madge Networks N.V. (NASDAQ NM: MADGF), today announces that Fujitsu Siemens Computers has joined Red-M's successful m-dev program to enable the development of advanced Bluetooth networking solutions and enable interoperability between the companies' product ranges.
Red-M is a developer of Bluetooth networking product solutions that provide rapid and secure mobile access to the Internet and Intranet from a wide range of Bluetooth-enabled devices. As a member of the m-dev program, Fujitsu Siemens Computers joins a partner community focused on developing Bluetooth applications and solutions based on Red-M's technology. The aim of the program is to provide customers with a complete Bluetooth networking solution by fully leveraging high quality partnerships.
At CeBIT, Red-M and Fujitsu Siemens Computers will be demonstrating potential Bluetooth applications using the latest Fujitsu Siemens Computers notebooks, the B-series with integrated Bluetooth technology, and Red-M's award winning Bluetooth networking technology. Visitors to the show will be able to access the Internet wirelessly via the Fujitsu Siemens Computers notebooks over a Bluetooth network, enabled by the Red-M 3000AS access server and 1000AP access points.
Rami Raulas, Vice President Mobile Business at Fujitsu Siemens Computers comments, "Our relationship with Red-M will allow Fujitsu Siemens Computers to offer customers all the advantages associated with this emergent technology. We are set to benefit tremendously from Red-M's leading market position and expertise in this area. Red-M is helping to lead the way in making the Bluetooth vision a reality and we are pleased to be part of it."
Simon Gawne, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Red-M, adds, "Through our m-dev program, we will support Fujitsu Siemens Computers in creating innovative solutions for Bluetooth and support the company in bringing its solutions to market rapidly. We were first to market with our ground-breaking Bluetooth networking solutions and we are now delighted to announce our involvement with this prestigious technology company."
Information on the companies can be found at www.red-m.com and www.red-m.com.
March 25 - Sunday Shopping Watch.
Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this weekend.
Best Buy is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering a $100 instant savings on in-store Intel Pentium processor computer packages, and 1 year no interest financing on all build-to-order PCs and notebooks.
Circuit City has a $100 mail-in rebate on any desktop computer package with a 17 inch monitor.
Office Depot has no special store-wide sales this weekend.
CompUSA doesn't have an ad this Sunday.
Staples is also giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase.
Internet Rebates. All stores continue to offer 3 year, $400 Internet Rebates. 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 built-to-order system is customized at eh 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 700 MHz complete system $699 Staples Best Pentium III System Sony 866 MHz with monitor $1299 Best Buy Best Pentium 4 System Compaq 1.4 GHz build-to-order system with monitor $1929 Best Buy Best Duron System Compaq 750 MHz Duron complete system $799 Best Buy Best High End Athlon System HP 1.2 GHz complete system $1699 Best Buy Best Low Cost Notebook Compaq 600 MHz Celeron $899 Staples Best High End Notebook Compaq 1 GHz Pentium III build-to-order with DVD/CD-RW $2599 Best Buy
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 the highlights of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store have the same items, this article should help you to make informed buying decisions.
March 24 - Micron Electronics Merges with Interland; Will sell MicronPC. Micron Electronics, Inc. (Nasdaq:MUEI) and Interland, Inc. (Nasdaq:ILND) today announced that the boards of directors for both companies have approved a definitive merger agreement.
The combination of Interland and Micron Electronics' web hosting subsidiary, HostPro, creates a leading provider of business-class hosting solutions to the small and medium enterprise (SME) market, with the broadest portfolio of managed hosting and value-added services in the industry.
Micron Electronics to Sell Non-Hosting Businesses
Micron Electronics today unveiled plans to sell both its non-hosting businesses, positioning the company as a pure-play hosting company. "We've been in a transformation process for two years, and have discussed for some time our belief that our best opportunity for returning shareholder value is in our hosting business," said Kocher. "With the recent drastic downturn in the economy and the PC industry, we have decided to focus our resources exclusively on growth opportunities in the hosting business."
As a result, the company announced it has signed a non-binding letter of intent to sell its PC business to a large, private, technology-equity-investment firm. The agreement, when completed, would provide the funding and resources required for MicronPC to become an even stronger solutions provider, according to Mike Adkins, MicronPC Direct Division President.
"As Micron Electronics directs its corporate focus solely on its hosting business, the sale of the PC business gives MicronPC an opportunity to sharpen our focus as well," said Adkins. "The MicronPC management team remains totally committed to providing the best products, services and support with customized solutions for our customers, and will do everything we can to vigorously compete in the marketplace."
Finally, Micron Electronics today announced that pursuant to the terms of its component recovery agreement with Micron Technology, Inc. (NYSE:MU), MTI has exercised its right to purchase the assets of SpecTek. The business will be transferred to MTI effective April 6. In addition, MTI will acquire certain real estate and intellectual property. The net result of the combined deal gives Micron Electronics approximately $42 million dollars after paying existing SpecTek profit sharing obligations to MTI.
The combined hosting company will be named Interland, and will be headquartered in Atlanta. Together, the companies currently have six data centers, 112,000 customers, and more than 227,000 paid hosted Web sites.
"Today's announcement marks a major step toward completion of a process we began more than two years ago to transform Micron Electronics from a traditional PC manufacturer to an Internet-centric computing company with hosting as a core strategic business," said Micron Electronics Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joel J. Kocher. "Hosting will serve as the foundation for many opportunities as SMEs increasingly outsource IT. This merger strategically positions us to take advantage of all the aspects of the Third Wave of computing, as the real power of computing moves from the desktop to the network."
Micron Electronics, Inc. can be found on the Web at www.micronpc.com.
March 24 - Motorola Takes Further Steps to Cut Costs and Improve Performance. Motorola, Inc. (NYSE:MOT) today announced additional efforts to reduce costs and position the company for long-term growth.
The company will reduce its workforce worldwide by approximately 4,000 positions within its Networks Sector across its three businesses: the Commercial, Government and Industrial Solutions Sector (CGISS); the Global Telecommunications Solutions Sector (GTSS); and the Broadband Communications Sector (BCS).
Motorola expects to record a charge against first- and second-quarter earnings, reflected as a special item, as appropriate according to generally accepted accounting practices.
"Motorola is making tough but deliberate and strategic business decisions in order to remain competitive in the slowing economy. Unfortunately, reductions have been necessary for us to improve financial performance, and this is something that we will have to continually evaluate as we monitor market and economic conditions," said Edward D. Breen, president of Motorola's Networks Sector. "The Networks Sector is committed to strengthening its position as a global leader in communication and information solutions and to providing customers with compelling new products and technologies that make things smarter and life better."
Since December, Motorola has announced plans to eliminate 22,000 positions through a combination of internal restructurings and divestitures of some operations, including today's announcement, from a global workforce of 147,000.
For more information, visit the Motorola web site at www.motorola.com.
March 24 - BellSouth and Dell Enter Agreement to Provide Broadband Computer Solutions. BellSouth (NYSE: BLS) has announced an agreement with Dell to jointly market and sell broadband enabled computer systems and BellSouth(R) FastAccess(R) Internet Service to residential customers in the BellSouth region.
Both companies will launch sales and marketing initiatives to promote BellSouth FastAccess and DSL-enabled computer systems. The offering will include a pre-installed DSL modem and pre-loaded software to support a connection to BellSouth FastAccess Internet Service and enable DSL high-speed Internet access service on a qualified telephone line. This joint offer is expected to be available sometime in the second quarter of this year.
"There are natural synergies between the computer system and DSL industries," said Ralph delaVega, President of broadband services for BellSouth. "BellSouth and Dell are taking advantage of a unique opportunity to join our respective technologies to make the customer's broadband experience simpler and more convenient. Through this alliance, we essentially are streamlining the modem installation and service registration process for our customers by offering a one-device, plug-and-play broadband solution," delaVega said.
"Consumers and businesses increasingly are buying computers specifically to go online, and this agreement will make it easier for BellSouth customers to get to the Internet within minutes of setting up their new Dell computer," said John Hamlin, vice president and general manager of Dell's U.S. Consumer business.
The alliance includes other projects planned by the two companies. Dell will become a provider of computer systems for commercial use to BellSouth, as well as provide Dell servers to BellSouth. The companies can be found on the Web at www.bellsouth.com and www.dell.com.
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