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

The Luncher was building up a sweat, checking that his copy of Microsoft Office was legit.

"These days, you get so much stuff free on magazine cover disks, Web downloads and e-mails that it's hard to keep track," he mused. "And now all my tipsters are talking about Microsoft and FAST coming round soon to raid 150 UK companies they suspect are being bad boys."

Quick as a pirate running hot-foot, he fired up his Nokia Communicator 9000 smart-phone and searched the Web for more data. "Pity this thing costs plenty, weighs like a hardback book and has such a crummy screen," he mulled. "Hope the guy who told me a bout the great new Ericsson PDA was talking sense. Then again, there was a lot of nonsense being talked on Thursday at the Hewlett-Packard press party at The Hempel, a swanky hotel-cum-restaurant in tree-lined Bayswater, W2.

More tips were on hand at the party for a new collection of Oasis photographs in The Roundhouse, Camden on Thursday but surely nobody believes that Olympus's hugely hyped cameras could be made by Sanyo? Well, it's true, but only some of the mid-range ones.

Oh, and Meg was there, but not with the chap who seems to have knitted his eyebrows together.

Even angrier than the startlingly ugly brothers is Gateway 2000. They're mad for STB's nVidia Riva but the graphics card maker gave little Carrera first shot.

Speaking of the Tottenham Court Road-meisters, Carrera's talking to Cyrix about taking on its MediaGX chip for budget desktops. Elonex and Compaq are selling these things in droves so that makes sense.

Still in the direct sales world, watch out for Micron, due here soon and to be managed by Martin Slagter, once the Dell UK MD.