News Schmooze: Tech industry gets re-stated

Accounting scandals mounted, Intel tried again with Itanium, Microsoft made loads of money and penguins invaded the Xbox

Running a business was much easier in the old days. There was a lot of money around, so you could cook the books in any way you liked, and no one minded particularly, since they were all getting £20m bonuses at the end of the month. Nowadays one has to be more careful about those evaporating assets and nonexistent revenues. Financial re-statements are the new black -- even the US government is revising national growth for the last few years in a downward direction, so maybe there wasn't as much money floating around as people thought at the time. In any case, as this sort of thing settled in, and companies such as Qwest were added to the SEC's list of investigations, the markets took a turn for the worse. They didn't need much of a push at this point.
Qwest under investigation
FTSE 100 drops amid accounting 'crisis' Intel bravely soldiered on with its Itanium 2 server processor. This is designed to suck the revenues away from Sun and IBM, if they can ever get software for it, and if corporations manage to find some spare pennies under the sofa cushions.
Itanium 2 partners: Ready, steady...wait?
Itanium 2: Second time lucky? Intel's Gordon Moore thinks his namesake law regarding the increase of processor power is still going strong, which is possibly a veiled plug for Itanium 2. It also seems to describe Microsoft's ambitions for its balance sheet. As most companies are struggling to make a buck, Microsoft will probably beat expectations, largely because of a licensing scheme that punishes companies who don't pay a subscription fee for upgrades, whether they want them or not. You get the feeling that non-Microsoft alternatives, no matter how half-baked, are starting to look awfully attractive about now. A Wal-Mart Lindows OS box, anyone?
There's life in the old law yet, says Moore
Microsoft profits seen up, despite PC slump
Yahoo! earnings back in black In the meantime, the failure rate of dot-coms has slowed somewhat. The main surprise here is that there are still enough dot-coms left for there to be up to 20 failures a month.
Dot-com failure pace slows Microsoft doesn't really have any reason to destroy OpenGL, the cross-platform graphics API used by Doom and Quake, but signs are that it might try to do so anyway -- like the scorpion stinging the frog and then drowning, as the story goes. The company has bought lots of graphics patents and now seems to be interested in using them to alter the way OpenGL works, possibly encouraging hardware makers to scale back support. The same sort of patent mess is happening in the Web standards world.
3D graphics world shaken by patent claims
Patent fight holds up Web standards This could turn out to be Microsoft's Achilles heel: Linux hackers buying up lots of Xboxes for "hardware research". Each box loses Microsoft about $125 (£85), so you can work out the mathematics of it yourself. The key is that Microsoft is planning to make back its cash on software sales, but Linux geeks are just going to be sitting there running kernel debuggers to see if they can get the OS working on Xbox's screwy BIOS. The first step has been made, though: putting a penguin icon on the screen. They even made the LED flash.
Programmer puts penguin on Xbox The movie studios are having a hard time pinning down Film88, which famously offered high-quality streamed movies for $1. The site was shut down in Asia, but reappeared as a company based in Iran, of all places, although the servers had to be based in the Netherlands because, well, they didn't have any in Iran. Now the MPAA is suing Film88's founders and associates in an effort to prevent them from shifting their operations to Papua New Guinea, Tibet, Canada or some other remote locale.
Studios sue defunct $1 movie site Web users were shocked to hear of the apparent suicide of Gene Kan, aged 25, a Gnutella pioneer and one of the most eloquent promoters of peer-to-peer networks. Kan was a soft-spoken man with a talent for coining phrases that cut through technical complexities, and fell into the limelight when peer-to-peer became an industry obsession. He was cremated last week.
Gnutella pioneer Gene Kan dies 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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