Insider Dealings: All The Gossip That's Fit To Read

So if IBM's not going to buy Novell, who might? If you take CEO Eric Schmidt's 'not for sale' announcement with a pinch of sodium chloride, then informed matchmakers suggest another suitor.

So if IBM's not going to buy Novell, who might? If you take CEO Eric Schmidt's 'not for sale' announcement with a pinch of sodium chloride, then informed matchmakers suggest another suitor. Here are some clues: Sun has a mountain of cash, Schmidt was until recently CTO at Sun and at this week's Java Internet Business Exposition said he expects a language called Java to be dominant for the next 15 years. And no, the answer's not Cisco.

Finjan already seems to have the applet inspection and rejection dance in its arms but look out for a couple of new deals that will cement its place at the top of the pile.

Don't expect diagramming software crew Visio to be making any of those applets of the Java variety. Microsoft's best friends will go where they see the money, and that means ActiveX.

Speak of the devil, these are strange days Microsoft where there seems to be strict gag on anybody building up Win 98 expectations. Sources at this week's exceptionally rowdy press conference say that Microsoft's sales trainers insist the corporate focus has to stay on NT where there are plenty of services and added value to be garnered.

Meanwhile, the WebTV move to the UK is also being kept hush-hush despite some early hustling for places when the expected move to London's swinging Covent Garden is completed late this year.

Also visiting these shores, say the rumourmongers, is c|net the US online tech news and software library folks. No competition there then.