Network: Bytes

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The Independent Culture
A FEDERAL JUDGE on Friday ordered that Microsoft give the US government access to databases at its headquarters in Redmond, Washington, in order to allow US Department of Justice authorities to examine the software giant's pricing policies. The US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson also ordered a four-day delay in the start of the anti-trust trial, until 19 October, at the request of both sides.

"I have been shown what you produced and it doesn't make any sense to me," Jackson told the lawyers for Microsoft at a hearing in Washington DC, the last scheduled before the trial begins. "It's gibberish."

Judge Jackson also turned down a request by a group of news organisations to become part of the case, to ensure that their voices are heard when the judge decides whether any testimony will become public or remain secret.

NETWORK SOLUTIONS Inc (NSI) last week reached an agreement with the US government to end its legal monopoly of Internet domain names by 30 September 2000. Under the plan to increase competition and bring down prices for registering names, NSI will continue to register top-level domain names but will negotiate handing over management of addresses to an as-yet- unformed, non-profit-making organisation. NSI also agreed to be subject to the authority of the new organisation and to provide it with databases, software, documentation and technical support to facilitate competition.

NSI will also develop software to allow other companies to register Internet domain names by June next year. Under a 1993 contract that was temporarily extended until details could be finalised, NSI has had exclusive rights to register names in the .com, .org, .net and .edu domains and has built up a database of more than 2.5 million names.


INTEL'S FASTEST Pentium II chip, the Xeon, running at speeds up to 450MHz, started shipping last week. The chips are targeted at the server and workstation market. Major manufacturers including IBM, Compaq, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Gateway are including the chip on their high-end, dual-processor systems. Xeons for servers with four processors will be available in early 1999.


HEWLETT-PACKARD, seen by many as following the Microsoft route and developing a variant of the Java programming language designed to run optimally on its own operating system, last week pledged to support Sun Microsystem's next release of the Java Development Kit - which has been delayed until next month - and a new high-performance HotSpot Java Virtual Machine (JVM) to allow programs written in Java to run under the Unix operating system.

HP said it would deliver software based on the HotSpot JVM early next year and will, under terms of the deal, also deliver a compatible JVM within its operating system upgrade for forthcoming high-end Merced 64- bit chips from Intel.


MICROSOFT BUCKED the trend for slippage in shipping dates last week, when, ahead of schedule, it released an upgraded Windows CE 2.11. Formerly code-named "Jupiter", the "H/PC Pro Edition" software improves remote access and connectivity to corporate networks while providing the familiarity and feel of Windows.