Network: Bytes - Intel CEO steps aside

Andy Grove, Intel's chief executive officer, last week announced that he was handing over the title to the company's president and chief operating officer, Craig Barrett. Grove, 61, will stay on as chairman of the company. The changeover will take effect on 20 May.

Barrett said that little at Intel will radically change as he seeks to keep the company evolving, although he will start to focus more on strategic decisions, including expanding Intel's role in defining how computers are built. "[We will] aggressively look at areas such as networking and graphics, where we have already made inroads, that can add value to the microprocessor," he said.

Grove, one of the founders of Intel in 1968, became president in 1979 and CEO in 1987, adding the title of chairman last year. During the Nineties the company's revenues have grown sevenfold, and stock has appreciated by more than 1,600 per cent. Intel is currently worth an estimated $127.2bn.

Barrett, who has a PhD in materials science from Stanford University, joined Intel in 1974 and became a vice-president 10 years later. He was promoted to senior vice-president in 1987 and executive vice-president in 1990. He was elected to the company's board in 1992 and was named chief operating officer a year later. Barrett became the company's fourth president last year.

Win 98 the last DOS

The death of DOS is now official. Windows 98, which is due in June, will be the last of the DOS-based operating systems as Microsoft shifts its focus to Windows NT, the first consumer version of which will be available in two to three years, said Bill Gates at the WinHEC conference in Orlando, Florida, last week.

The shift to NT promises enhanced reliability as programmers and developers are freed of the need to retain backwards compatibility with Windows' DOS-code legacy. Microsoft envisages that consumers will run their PCs on NT and use Windows CE in set-top boxes and other devices linked to NT computers. "We've decided that improving the user experience is worth dropping some support for legacy systems,'' said Carl Stork, Microsoft general manager of Windows Hardware Strategy.

The operating system is currently more expensive than Windows 95, but prices have not yet been set. Windows NT also requires more memory than Windows 95 or Windows 98. Officials at Microsoft are considering raising minimum PC memory requirements from 32Mb to 64Mb.

With Windows 98 already seen by many outside of Microsoft as a relatively minor upgrade to Windows 95, analysts wonder what effect the announcement of the short life expectancy will have on sales.

Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Orrin Hatch, sent a letter to Bill Gates indicating that it would extend its ongoing investigation of alleged anti-trust practices to include Windows 98. It was the first time that the Senate committee has outlined the scope of its inquiry that mirrors investigations being conducted by the Justice Department and numerous states.

"We are interested in Microsoft's relationship with major original equipment manufacturers; Internet/ online service providers who participate in Windows referral programs or otherwise have prominent placement within the Windows boot-up sequence and/ or environment; and Internet content providers who appear either on the Internet Explorer 4.0/ Windows 98 `channel bar' or within one of the channels," the letter said.

Netscape's Web

Netscape last week said it was forming a Web division based on its popular Netcenter website that will grow to compete with Web-based services such as Microsoft Network, Yahoo, AOL and Excite by providing one-stop access to content, computing, commerce and community services.

The effort to become the premier port of call for Web surfers reflects the changing shape of Netscape's business now that it is offering its Internet browser for free. The website accounts for a large part of Netscape's revenue. "We recognise the tremendous business opportunity Internet hub sites represent and we intend to grow our leadership with Netcenter," said Jim Barksdale, Netscape's president and CEO.

Games competition

Around 50,000 university students in the UK last week were invited through e-mail to present their most creative ideas to a panel of international games experts as part of the launch of the Games Developer UK `98 competition. The contest is aimed at encouraging creativity in the games industry, and has several categories.

Winners will share a pool of pounds 10,000 in prize money. The competition is open to open to all UK games enthusiasts not currently employed by a commercial games developer. Details online at http://www.gduk.co.uk

Andy Oldfield

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