> MICROSOFT LOSES BID TO DUMP SPECIAL MASTER
> U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has refused Microsoft's
> request to remove Lawrence Lessig, an expert on Internet law from
> Harvard University. Microsoft had charged that Lessig was biased
> against the company, but Jackson's written remarks called those charges
> "defamatory." A Microsoft spokesman said the company was disappointed,
> but "will continue to work with Prof. Lessig as we have." In further
> developments, a Microsoft witness said the company's response to a
> December order -- to remove all Internet Explorer files from Windows
> operating software, thereby disabling the program -- was devised by a
> small group of lawyers and software developers, along with Chairman
> Bill Gates. That's not unusual, according to Microsoft's chief
> operating officer: "Bill makes all the important decisions here."
> (Wall Street Journal 15 Jan 98)
So who makes all the unimportant decisions at Microsoft?
> CALIFORNIA STATE POSTPONES INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIP
> California State University System officials have put a controversial
> partnership deal on hold until spring, citing a longer-than-expected
> negotiation process and a need to give incoming chancellor Charles
> Reed more time to acquaint himself with the details. The California
> Education Technology Initiative would affiliate the system with four
> corporate partners -- Fujitsu, GTE, Hughes Electronics and Microsoft
> -- who would contribute some $300 million in funds for upgrading
> computers, network equipment and support services in exchange for a
> role in overseeing the system's software and hardware purchases. The
> plan, which has met with opposition from some students, faculty and
> consumer groups, also calls for selling some excess Internet capacity
> to off-campus customers. (Chronicle of Higher Education 16 Jan 98)
Coming soon: Gates Hall of Computer Science at UCI, Berkeley, UCLA, and
UCSD to match the one at Stanford...
> SLATE TRIES SUBSCRIPTION MODEL
> Slate, Microsoft's online periodical, is planning a move to a
> subscription-based business model, at somewhere between $20 to $30 a
> pop. "We don't believe that the advertising-only approach is
> sustainable for us," says Slate's publisher. Slate joins a growing
> number of publications that have found it impossible to generate
> enough revenue through Web-based advertising alone -- the Wall Street
> Journal is the most successful of the bunch, largely on the strength
> of its print reputation and the content differentiation available in
> the online version. "If you have something that isn't available
> somewhere else, that's how you assign value," says a Time New Media
> spokesman. Slate's original plan was to charge $19.95 a year for the
> weekly e-publication, but its publisher now says the price could be a
> bit higher, based on the number of top-notch writers it hopes to hire.
> Other publications experimenting with subscription pricing include The
> Economist, Business Week and Money.com. The New York Times has been
> charging overseas users for access to its electronic version, and
> eventually plans to charge everyone for online access. (Broadcasting
> & Cable 5 Jan 98)
Much as I like Slate, I feel spoiled. I cannot bring myself to pay for
it, even at a mere $30 a pop. Just like I still cannot bring myself to
pay for the New York Times online. I think it's a psychological problem
more than an economic one: after 10+ years on the Internet, I still
expect not to pay for things unless the value added is very clear.
> HIGH-TECH DREAM HOUSE
> Microsoft, Intel, Softbank Holdings and a venture-capital fund started
> by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen are backing a small start-up
> company that's developing wireless technology to coordinate various
> household functions and appliances. ShareWare's system uses wireless
> radio with a common PC as the hub. The system would enable the
> homeowner to access the Internet from anywhere in the house using a
> handheld PC, and enable seamless transition from conventional
> television to program-related Web sites, all on the same appliance.
> (Business Week 19 Jan 98)
Is there anything Microsoft ISN'T doing? I really need to fork that
Mother Jones article.
> RETAILERS HAPPY WITH ONLINE SALES
> Cyberstores racked up record sales over the holidays, with $800
> million worth of goods sold to consumers over the Web between
> Thanksgiving Day and New Year's, says the Yankee Group. That figure
> is more than double the $300 million sold during the same period in
> '96. "People don't have to deal with parking or going to a mall,"
> says a Forrester Research analyst. And you never get put on hold.
> (Investor's Business Daily 14 Jan 98)
Wow, then they'll certainly hit $1 billion this year...
> FORGET PUSH TECHNOLOGY -- NOW IT'S "PULL-CASTING"
> Advertisers are still debating over how to make the maximum impact on
> the Web -- banner ads have fallen out of favor because they are too
> easy for the reader to skip over, and cookie technology, which was
> touted as the ultimate Web surfer tracking device, can't tell "whether
> one person requests a page five times or five people request it one
> time." Meanwhile, a former IBM advertising executive says online
> advertising will require an entirely marketing approach: "The consumer
> will be in total control. We're moving from the era when the
> advertiser controlled everything through broadcasting to what I call
> 'pull-casting' -- where the consumer decides what he wants to see and
> when he wants to see it." (Los Angeles Times 15 Jan 98)
Pullcasting. Talk about your nonword. I expect no different from the
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Maybe we can get together and eat caramels. When you think about it,
it's as arbitrary as drinking coffee.
-- Good Will Hunting