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

Never rains but it pours, mused The Luncher as he slumped redux at the bar of his favourite pub. What with line of press parties as long as your proverbial, and story tips starting to dribble through once again, it had been a long but profitable week.

Never rains but it pours, mused The Luncher as he slumped redux at the bar of his favourite pub. What with line of press parties as long as your proverbial, and story tips starting to dribble through once again, it had been a long but profitable week.

First up, there was the scandal re. Intel's 'Tillamook' (it's a river, stoopid), or Pentium MMX for mobile PCs. Word is the UK arm was unimpressed with a couple of notebook makers who shipped a little premature.

Number two, how bad can bad blood get? Answer: Pretty bad when it's those old, sparring partners McAfee, Symantec and Dr Solomon's. The first two were at it again this week with a $1b lawsuit at stake. Unlike Compaq and Dell UK subsidiaries who once played a friendly football match the same week their parent companies were in court, the strange thing is the anti-virus folk really, really don't like each other - something in the air, perhaps. As one of them told The Luncher recently, "Yeah, it's true: they don't like us, we don't like them."

More juice at this week's Canon party at the Mecca for pampered female panjandrums, The Sanctuary in Covent Garden at the heart of London's seething, bitchy West End. But surely this rumour couldn't be true: SMI, the media company that recently sold its PR division to Cohn & Wolfe, to shortly sell out?

Next night was the time to find out. A mystery bug seemed to have rendered The Luncher tired and emotional - a drink called Jagermeister had been passed around the previous evening - but tech news waits for no man and, by a strange quirk, Wednesday hosted SMI's party at London's glittering crypt, the Royal Society of Arts.

Same night was Creative Labs at Planet Hollywood, the tourists' favourite nightspot. Nice food, plentiful cocktails but nul points for the lamentable chicken-in-a-basket music supplied by Creative staffers. Rumour of the evening linked Creative with Diamond Multimedia, and this one came from the horse's mouth. Creative has $450m cash in its coffers and if it's serious about graphics, shopping for a diamond could be a sound move.

Later in the week found The Luncher on terra incognito - the attractive and interestingly populated Shepherd's Market in London's Mayfair where ladies of the night roam and restaurants can name an even higher price, but you can still buy the lot for £400. When the highly priced ales take their natural effect it's impossible to say whether these things are true but the chat was of Fin-Fin, the $17 million Fujitsu-developed artificial life half-dolphin, half-bird. You'd think that any bright spark would like to get their hands on the gig but apparently several prospects turned down the opportunity to dress up in the costume for an ECTS promotion.

Speaking of duds, it seems Sharp, Compaq and Lucky Goldstar are all 'waiting for Windows CE 2' - the word is that Windows CE has been a mega-flop on these shores, hence the rallying Psion shares.