Future shock: Cross-fertilization in Hollywood while Redmond rages

Summary:Studio moguls will take another stab at rubbing shoulders with the Web heads but Coop wonders whether MS dreams about rubbing AOL out.

Hollywood bigwigs will once again attempt to cross-fertilize with Silicon Valley -- this time at a conference on entertainment and technology sponsored by Red Herring magazine. Talk about an interesting idea that's never come to fruition. Yours truly still recalls the froth and excitement at a similar confab in 1994, just as Jim Clark was drumming up interest for his newest gig (Netscape). Big question back then was whether the two corporate cultures could mesh. That question still hangs in the air.

Here's a propeller head development they should take note of: 3dfx plans to show off a new T-buffer technology that allows anti-aliasing and motion blurring effects. Anti-aliasing is the biggie -- say goodbye to the jagged edges in games.

Speaking of cross-fertilization, the spear carriers for the moneyed class have reserved space in San Francisco's posh Stanford hotel, where they'll be kicking the tires on about 70 Internet and e-commerce companies.

More Linux fever from IBM which is wrapping itself in the Penguin flag. Look for Big Blue to roll out a new line of low-priced servers specifically designed for the Linux operating system.

Speed merchants will glom onto the announcement of the next performance bump for Pentium III and Celeron processors when Intel rolls out chips that reach 600Mhz and 500Mhz, respectively. That's more bad news in bells for Col. Sanders over at AMD, who must wonder how much longer the torture can last.

Waiting for the "finding of fact" stage in the Microsoft antitrust trial, I'm sure that both sides are going to begin leaking like sieves in coming days. Stay tuned.

Next time you think you've got problems, just think of Michael Capellas. He just got through announcing a huge Q2 loss and plans to whack between 6,000 to 8,000 employees and Wall Street's in no mood to grant him a honeymoon. It'll be interesting to see the reaction when Compaq announces a major initiative to jump-start its services business. That's where the money is -- which is why all of Compaq's major rivals are in it as well.

And there's a new flak at AOL called Charlie Cooper. I swear it ain't me.

The week that was
What with America Online and Microsoft each wrapping themselves in the flag last week, the treacle got a little thick. The best bit came Thursday with the publication of that self-serving "Open Letter" urging Steve Case to see the light. The small print forgot to include one detail: This is competition by other means and both cyber giants are looking to make a pure land grab.

Just when you thought that the hired help in Washington had sunk to a new low, they outdo themselves. Senator Fritz Hollings, the spitting image of Foghorn Leghorn, wants to slap a 5 percent tax on Internet sales. Forget for a moment that Hollings' proposal contradicts the provisions of the Internet Tax Freedom Act -- it's just a possum piece of political grandstanding.

For sheer pandering, Hollings has strong competition from Rep. Thomas Bliley, the Republican from Virginia who this past week suggested the Dept. of Justice was in cahoots with ICANN to persecute poor Network Solutions. Bliley, who came to the job with lots of experience in the undertaking business, is dead wrong about all this. But that's not stopped him from burping out whatever his state lobbyists suggest. Too bad: If the privatization of Internet registries becomes a political football, woe to all of us.

Does anyone believe Paul Maritz when he says he plans to remain engaged at Microsoft? Following in the footsteps of esteemed present and former colleagues -- Brad Silverberg, Bob Muglia, Nathan Myhrvold (and that's just for starters) -- he's heading out the door as the Redmond brain drain continues.

Poor Tom Ammiano. He has ambitions to be San Francisco's next mayor. But the current inhabitant of that office was that much slicker than the hapless Board of Supervisors president, who would up with mud on his face after losing -- at least the first round -- his crusade to force AT&T to open its cable system to Internet service providers.

In the news
AOL vs. MS: Instant mess
New five percent Net tax proposed
Congressman questions NSI probe
Microsoft's Maritz to step back
SF declines to force AT&T to open cable

Topics: Microsoft, AT&T, E-Commerce, Hardware, IBM, Intel, Linux, Operating Systems, Processors, Servers

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