Network: Bytes

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The Independent Culture
USE OF e-mail in the UK is the most highly developed in Europe, according to a study published by BMRB International last week. Drawing on a sample of 12,000 adults in 12 European countries, it found that a larger proportion of the UK's Internet users employ

e-mail to keep in contact with work colleagues and friends than any other nation in Europe - more than 50 per cent, compared with a European average of just 34 per cent.

Overall, Internet use was dominated by Scandinavia. More than half of all Swedes, nearly 50 per cent of Finns and 46 per cent of Danes have used the Internet. This contrasts with just under a third of people inthe UK, Holland, Ireland and Austria, 25 per cent in France and Belgium and 20 per cent in Germany and Spain. Only 19 per cent of Italians have used the Net.

In most countries, including the UK, more people access the Net at work than at home. The exceptions are Sweden, Denmark and Germany, where home use is higher, and Belgium and Spain, where home and work use are at similar levels. French, Irish and Austrian users are more likely to have connected at school or university than at home.

INTEL'S NEXT-GENERATION chip, code-named Katmai, will be called Pentium III when it is released in the spring in 450MHz and 500MHz versions. By the end of the year, 600MHz versions are expected to be shipping. The new chip will be the standard processor for desktop machines. It is based on the Pentium II but contains 70 new instructions to boost multimedia performances.

On the server chip front, Intel last week unveiled the 450MHz version of its high-performance Xeon processor, which comes with up to 2Mb of secondary (L2) cache. Up to four of the processors can be used in a single server to allow PC hardware to compete with servers using more advanced Reduced Instruction Computing Set (RISC) chips.

HAYES, THE pioneering company that introduced the modem for PCs in 1981 and set the standards for modem protocols, laid off all but a few of its workers last week after it failed to find a buyer to rescue it from bankruptcy for a second time. In October, Hayes for the second time in three years filed for Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy code to gain protection from creditors. The company, which once employed 1,200, laid off hundreds of workers before Christmas. The final cuts came after continuing management disputes and falling sales.

"The bank said it would only fund a liquidation, and not our ongoing operations," said Ron Howard, the former chief executive officer. "The bank's approach will not realise substantial value unless they change course quickly. There are ways to liquidate a company and still produce substantial value."

IN WASHINGTON, the Microsoft anti-trust trial resumed after the Christmas recess. William Harris, president of Intuit, testified that his company evaluated Web browsers from both Microsoft and Netscape and on merit would have chosen Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) to use with its Quicken money management software. He also said that Intuit wanted to carry on doing business with Netscape but decided to stop in return for an offer by Microsoft of a place on the Windows desktop. Bill Gates has denied knowledge of any such deal.

The US government's final witness, the MIT economics professor Franklin Fisher, said that unless the courts intervened, Microsoft would establish a monopoly in the Web browser market. He accused Microsoft of lowering the price of IE to zero to put Netscape out of business and halt the possible evolution of Navigator into a programming platform that could challenge Windows. Microsoft chose "predation to protect the operating system".

When Microsoft's lawyer Michael Lacovara suggested that PC makers might have an easier task because they get IE integrated with the Windows operating system, Fisher responded: "If Microsoft forced upon the world a single browser, that would make things simpler, but that's not what choice is about. We're going to live in a Microsoft world."