The IT press is beginning to get the jitters about the financial crisis in Asia and refused to be steadied by an upbeat speech from Bill Gates in Taiwan last week, who predicted solid growth in the PC industry despite deepening worries of contagion from the East spreading westward. Meanwhile, the Internet continues to dominate IT coverage in the national press. The Times reports on a revolutionary 'virtual' call centre technology, The Telegraph says traditional booksellers can still win in the Web Wars, while The Economist reports on a new search engine that may become the next "Big Thing" on the Net.
Book browsing in a real shop still appeals - Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph reports on how apocalyptic predictions about the book industry being ripped apart by the collapse of the Net Book Agreement and foreign online competitors have been over blown. Shops can still thrive if they "carve out a niche" - "with the continued love of browsing" still a major plus for the real shop over virtual ones.
Daily Telegraph, June 15 1998.
Motorola failed "to spot the potential of digital technology," says chairman - Financial Times
In a frank admission, Motorola chairman Robert Galvin, said the firm's two key mistakes were failure to "expand capacity to produce semicondutors, and to fail to spot the potential of digital technology to change the market for mobile telephones". Arch rivals Ericsson and Nokia did not make the same mistakes and with hindsight Motorola were "just plain lacking in judgement" he told an academic audience, adding that the Motorola case was "a significant lesson which you people can teach".
Financial Times, June 17, 1998.
Call centres go 'virtual' - The Times
A new call centre technology from Ericsson will enable employees to receive calls anywhere in the world, reducing the cost of call centre set-up for smaller enterprises - though The Times describes this a little more graphically: "They could be working from a flat in North London or a squat in northern France." Another advantage of the technology is that temporary call centres can be quickly strung together.
The Times, June 18 1998.
"Communities" may replace keywords in search technology - The Economist
The Economist reports on a new search engine technology which "analyses the Web's natural organisation to discover communities' of pages devoted to a particular topic". The system is called HITS (Hyperlink-Induced Topic Search) and is being developed by Cornell University's Dr Kleinberg in collaboration with IBM. "If it works, it might therefore become the next Big Thing on the Internet."
The Economist, 20 - 26/6/98.
DTI to back British invention with £190m fund - The Sunday Times
"Government grants to inventors are helping rewrite the historic pattern: invented in Britain, developed in America, exploited in Japan," says an article in the Sunday Times. Reporting on a DTI initiative called SMART - an award scheme giving grants of up to £45,000 for studies into innovative technologies - the Sunday Times quotes a Japanese report that found "of all the commercially valuable inventions exploited in Japan since 1945, 55% were dreamt up in Britain."
The Sunday Times, 21/6/98.
PC sales boom in Europe but prices collapse and the shakeout has started - Business Week
PC sales are up by 26% in the first quarter according to figures from Dataquest but Business Week says "the price wars are sparking a shakeout among PC makers and retailers - as they did in the U.S., where cheap PCs took off last year". Business Week quote Fujitsu Europe CEO Winfried Hoffman who says "before this is over, there'll be a lot of blood on the table".
Business Week, June 29/6/98.