Froogle shopping, musty software and smutty bankers

News Schmooze: Google took shoppers into the dark corners of the Web, Dell choked and OS/2 is not dead yet.

Around this time of year, it's natural to wonder whether the whole Christmas-shopping thing can be somehow avoided or made less excruciating. This no doubt has something to do with the 22 percent increase in online sales in November, which should go even higher in December. Google is launching its own take on this trend with a Web site for searching prices on even the smallest and most obscure e-commerce sites, although actually buying from some of these virtual holes-in-the-wall may not be advisable.
Google launches Froogle shopping site One would have expected that companies would expect e-commerce to escalate near Christmas, but Dell has become the latest to fall victim to its own online sales success. The site suffered an outage that people in the know chalked up to excessive demand. Maybe Dell was cutting costs in the server department?
Dell site outage during Christmas rush Similarly unlucky in the Christmas sales department appears to be Sony Ericsson. A few months back, the company took the wraps off what should have been the gadget of the year, its P800 mobile phone. It has a built-in camera, a large colour screen, and lots of nifty functions. It is even used by the bad guy in the new James Bond movie -- a villain with a collection of sports cars that show he has good taste. We waited for the P800 all year, thinking that surely it would arrive in time for Christmas. We laughed at Nokia's 7650, which launched earlier but was comparatively clunky and had software bugs. The P800 would show the world how things should be done, we thought. But we waited in vain. The P800 doesn't look like it will arrive any time soon. What with Sony Ericsson threatening to pull out of the market entirely, perhaps it will not arrive at all. Nokia has had bad luck of its own, though. It has provided lots of high-end phones, but the ones people are buying are the cheap ones. Prices may go up because of this.
Sony Ericsson delays camera phone again
Nokia: Handset prices could rise Microsoft, on the other hand, may benefit from the Christmas rush for its video games. This is surprising, because Bill loses money for every console sold. Games, however, cost next to nothing to manufacture, and are sold at significantly more than their weight in gold.
Xbox may boost Microsoft earnings IBM, unlike Microsoft, believes in keeping its old operating systems on the market. In this case, the old OS/2 doesn't have any direct modern competition from the IBM stables, so there is little point in discontinuing it. Fans of this venerable software, which competed with Windows many years ago, had feared that OS/2 might soon disappear forever, but IBM disabused them: it is only getting rid of its printed OS/2 manuals, shrink-wrapped OS/2 and some OS/2 products. People will continue to be able to buy the operating system, which is saying a lot for a 15-year-old product.
IBM: OS/2 still sold here By now, stories of high-powered financial types being sacked for sending sex emails have become as familiar as bread-and-butter pudding. Now we have been given some insight into the background for these cases. A man sacked from Lehman Brothers for sending smutty photographs by company email has successfully claimed that he thought his behaviour would be tolerated, since his employers seemed to think nothing of hiring strippers to entertain the staff. The tribunal handed the man a few thousand pounds, but noted that the incident was still his fault.
Smutty banker awarded compensation The News Schmooze is ZDNet UK's irreverent take on the week's news. Send your tip-offs to: mailroomuk@zdnet.com.


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