Tech Talk

March 30, 1998

April 13, 1998

April 20, 1998


Tech Week

Microsoft, faced with having to find newer and ever more creative ways to dominate the Internet browser market, will begin rewarding Internet Service Providers that actively distribute Internet Explorer 4.0 to their subscribers. A few months ago, the decision for ISPs to choose Internet Explorer over Netscape Navigator was an easy one. Netscape wanted not only a deposit from ISPs, but charged them for every copy of Navigator they distributed. Early on, Netscape could get away with that. In one form or another, Netscape Navigator was used by almost everyone viewing the Web. Marc Andreesen, the company's founder, practically invented the World Wide Web. For all intents and purposes, Navigator was the World Wide Web. Microsoft's Internet Explorer, on the other hand, was totally free. And of course, according to the law of economics that states prices are set by what the market will bear (the market in this case being thousands of ISPs who ultimately decide which browser customers get), Netscape began to shed market share like so much ballast. Within eighteen months, Netscape was mired in a sea of red ink. Now, of course, Netscape is totally free, forcing ISPs into the position of actually choosing a product based on merit rather than cost. And while Netscape no longer can claim outright dominance of the browser market, the company still holds the lead, especially when it comes to the 4.0 release. In response, Microsoft is changing the rules. Forced to find another way to manipulate ISPs into distributing IE4 to new customers, Microsoft is offering ISPs an incentive Netscape can't touch. It's called Windows NT 4.0, and Internet Service Providers can have it for free if they demonstrate an honest effort to point new and existing customers in Microsoft's direction. The new plan involves convincing ISPs to use Microsoft's Internet Explorer Administration Kit to customize IE4 by altering the interface, changing default bookmarks and otherwise tailoring the browser to meet customer needs. The only requirement is that Microsoft retain the ability to track new users. ISPs giving away more than 500 of copies of IE4 will receive two free copies of Windows NT SERVER 4.0, two copies of Proxie Server 2.0 and the latest NT Option Pack. Based on the requirements, the promotion appears to be targeted at smaller ISPs with the intention of bringing them onto the Explorer bandwagon while at the same time exposing them to NT. Each of the two software packages is worth about $2,000. Intel to Unveil Three New Processors Last week, as Cyrix announced plans to conquer the low-cost chip market with a processor for computers costing less than $500, Intel was making plans of its own. Wednesday in San Francisco, Intel will commence a roll-out of its own by introducing three new processors, the first of which is Celeron, destined for low-cost PCs and set-top Internet boxes. The Celeron chip, which is rated at 266 MHz, has been criticized widely by analysts, who say the chip won't perform any better than Intel's high-end MMX line of processors, though it will cost more. While several computer manufacturers, Including Dell and Compaq, have committed to delivering systems featuring the Celeron chip, response has been less than overwhelming. On the other hand, Intel also plans to introduce two high-end Pentium IIs that will operate at 350 and 400 MHz. Both processors will offer a marked improvement over current Pentium II processors due to a new 100 MHz system bus. The 333 MHz and older Pentium II processors used a 66 MHz bus to communicate with other system components. Dozens of vendors have erected displays at San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts to coincide with Intel's announcements. The new chips are expected to cost about $600 and $800, respectively.


March 30, 1998

April 13, 1998

April 20, 1998