Apple OS X; Palm; Microsoft Xbox
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The Independent Online

Apple Computer has cancelled the trade show that had been due to be held in Paris this week. Steve Jobs, the chief executive, said the decision was taken in the light of terrorist attacks in the US. "We're sorry to disappoint our users and developers," he said, "but their safety is our primary concern." Phil Schiller, vice-president, will still deliver a keynote address at the Seybold Seminars Conference in San Francisco tomorrow.

Jobs had been due to focus on Mac OS X in Paris, a new beta version of the operating system that was delivered last week. He was also expected to announce a release date for the updated OS 10.1, which is designed to address the shortfalls in the original release. Mac testers are reporting that the latest beta offers significant improvements in speed as well as enabling DVD authoring.

The operating system received a further fillip last week when Microsoft said that the OS X version of Microsoft Office was complete and will be available in November with upgrade versions available from $145 and the full version costing $499.


PALM REPORTED a narrower than expected loss last week, with a first-quarter loss of $32.4m compared with a profit of $23.9m in the same period last year. The leader in the hand-held devices market said that increased competition combined with economic slowdowns had hit sales and led to surplus inventory, but it also admitted that it was suffering from its own mistakes, making product announcements too early and then not being able to meet demand because of production problems. The company had planned to launch a wireless hand-held device before the end of the year, but last week said it was pulling the new model, saying that the time was not right for a new product launch.

"We are focusing our marketing dollars [on existing products]," Carl Yankowski, Palm's chief executive, said, "as opposed to deluding ourselves with the launch of another product."

Palm also said it would postpone its annual developers' conference, due next month, until January.


MICROSOFT'S ABILITY to have up to 800,000 Xbox consoles available for the launch in November came under question last week. Video game publishers and analysts suggested that 300,000 units might be a more accurate estimate. This would equal the amount of GameCubes that Nintendo sold in its Japanese launch this month after production difficulties left it short of its shipment goals.

Microsoft said it could not give a precise figure for the Xbox until its production plant in Mexico reaches full capacity. "We won't know real, day one quantities until we're at peak production," a Microsoft spokesman, James Bernards, said. "We're really being cautious about our day one quantities."

Meanwhile, Compaq, Dell and Gateway said that they would start shipping from today PCs sold via the internet and telephone with Microsoft Windows XP pre-installed, a month ahead of the retail launch date. Hewlett-Packard said it will also sell Windows XP machines in its American retail outlets.