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 Your Mileage May Vary: Tapping the Zeitgeist of the Information Age.


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Friday Afternoon, May 15, 1998 

Saturday Flash: Microsoft Talks Break Down
We normally take a break from posting news over the weekend, but this item is too significant to wait, so we're adding it to the page on Saturday. According to Reuters, talks between Microsoft and the DoJ have broken down over what seemed like a relatively easy concession for Microsoft to make: Allowing vendors to display the image(s) of their choice when the computer starts up. Which begs the question: Was Microsoft serious when it came to the table? Was it seeking more publicity? Or was it stalling as it shipped disks to vendors? We don't know, but we'll doubtless find out more on Monday.

Microsoft/DoJ Negotiations Continue Through Weekend
Microsoft and the DoJ are continuing to talk through the weekend, and the outcome will not likely be known until Monday. We'll keep you posted when and if we hear more.
CMP TechWeb
According to the Seattle Times, the hiatus was the result of frantic last minute calls from Redmond to Washington, perhaps made by Gates himself. Attorneys were moments away from filing suit when the postponement was announced.
Seattle Times
At the same time, Texas Attorney General Dan Morales was speaking with Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Computers, about antitrust issues. Morales announced Wednesday that he would not participate in the state AGs' planned lawsuit, but did join them in negotiations with Microsoft while the suit was postponed. This hints that the Texas AG could actually go to the negotiating table as a proponent of Microsoft.
CMP TechWeb
Qwest Aligns With Ameritech
On the heels of an announcement that it will allow US West to resell its long distance services, Qwest has announced a similar deal with Ameritech.
Both arrangements seem designed to bypass 42 USC 271, the portion of the 1996 Telecomm Act that requires local carriers to open their markets to competition before offering long distance service. (Interestingly, at the same time that it's pursuing the arrangement with Qwest, US West is also applying to the FCC to offer long distance itself. It claims that it has opened local markets, but in fact, there is little or no competition in most of its territory.)
In a press release on its Web site, Qwest points out several things that the alliance will offer. But it fails to mention that these same services are available when one uses most other long distance carriers, too.
San Jose Mercury News

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Pro-Encryption Group Offers Ultimatum
Americans for Computer Privacy, a well financed lobbying group, is giving the White House a choice: abandon restraints on encryption or face a major media blitz.
Amiga Resurrected
Gateway has announced plans to revive the Amiga, which has been passed around from company to company like a hot potato. In the future: new CPUs, better graphics, and maybe even a UNIX-based OS.
Xerox Sues HP Over Ink Jet Patents
Xerox is suing neighbor HP over several patents related to ink jet printer technology. The suit may be retaliation for an earlier one in which HP sought to prevent Xerox from selling HP-compatible laser printer cartridges.
CMP TechWeb
Court to Intel: Sorry, No Rush
Intel is antsy to have a potentially damaging ruling, which stated that its CPUs and information about them were an "essential facility," overturned. But the company will have to wait its turn to get its day in court. In the meantime, Intel is enjoined from treating computer maker Intergraph prejudicially, which seems fair to us. Intel shouldn't be allowed to run other companies out of business on a whim.
Japanese Embrace Electronic Matchmaking Devices
A Japanese company has come up with gadgets that signal singles when a potential mate is nearby. The devices, called "Lovegetys," respond to other similar devices and allow the ground rules of an initial meeting to be negotiated before the first word is spoken. Given the exceedingly strong revulsion with which most Japanese greet same-sex alliances, it's not surprising that the devices cannot be set to make matches with units of the same "sex."  (No word on whether foreign versions of the product will have an "AC/DC" option.)
Wired News


Avoiding Another Bad Deal
Dan Gillmor of the Merc warns that if the DoJ, the states, and Microsoft settle out of court, the result could be as ineffectual as the 1995 Consent Decree which the DoJ signed over a prophetic judge's objections.
San Jose Mercury News
Big, Brash Bullies
Tom Steinert-Threlkeld captures the economic Zeitgeist of the late 1990s with this biting commentary on what he perceives -- although he doesn't say it in so many words -- as the dawn of a new Gilded Age.
Inter@ctive Week Online

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