Just occasionally the papers make you smile and renew your faith in humankind. The Evening Standard's report on the richest man in the world, Bill Gates, being gazumped in his attempt to buy Cliveden, former home of the Astor family, is one such item. Another broad smile this week for home team Psion, who pop up with possibly the smartest deal the computer scene has seen all year -- and winning a rare endorsement from the Lex Column in the FT. But the smile didn't stay in place for long as The Guardian report that over half of the UK's top firms spent zero on R&D last year as the UK slips further down the investment league.
Bill Gates gazumped - Evening Standard
Bill Gates' £43 million bid for Cliveden, the Berkshire mansion beside the Thames made famous by previous occupants the Astor family, and later in the Profumo scandal, may have been topped by a counter bid put together by the merchant bank Kleinwort Benson. It is thought unlikely that richest man in the world, Bill Gates, would have ever lived in Cliveden, as he recently snapped up an £8 million pound Chelsea pad for his London visits. Evening Standard, 22/6/98.
Digital radio "message is not getting through" - Financial Times
The Financial Times report on the luke warm reception by the media industry to the opportunity to bid for an oprating licence. Key reason says the Lex Coumn "is the lack of a clear killer application to justify the current £500-plus cost of a set. The sound is not a radical improvement on FM. Claims that its data functions make it a new medium also seem starry-eyed". Financial Times, Lex Column, 23/6/98.
Microserfs the movie - The Times interview Douglas Coupland
The cult book about life inside the software industry, Microserfs, is to be made into a movie by Universal Pictures. The author, Douglas Coupland, talked to Sarah Johnstone of The Times about the film and his new book, 'Girlfriend in a Coma', which he claims "will get a lot of people buying The Smiths CD backlist". The Times,Inter//face//, 24/6/98.
Hackers take on paedophiles - The Times
The Times reported on the vigilante activities of clandestine hackers, the Internet Combat Group, who have taken the law into thier own hands to fight paedophiles on the Web. Activist StRyKe told Adam Barnard of The Times "I'll do anything if I think it will ultimately help to protect children". Tactics inlude "pinging" and "fingering" to trace paedophiles back to their ISP, but the ICG say they will also Net-"bomb" suspects, and hack in and destroy hard drives if they need to. The report says that in the US, the Ethical Hackers Against Paedophilia have the support of the FBI. The Times, Inter//face//,24/6/98.
Financial Times approve of Psion's "ground breaking" deal
Psion's deal with Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola will see the world's leading mobile phone manufacturers base future products on the UK firm's operating system. The FT approve of the deal, as did the city, with Psion's share price rocketing to an all time high. According to the FT's Lex Column, the deal lives up to its ground-breaking billing and "for Microsoft's Windows CE operating system to rival Psion's in wireless technology, Microsoft will have to find partners. And the best ones have just been snapped up.". The Times, Lex Column, 25/6/98.
Over half of UK's top firms invested zero in R&D in 1997 - The Guardian
A report published last week found over half of the UK's top 100 companies invested nothing in research and development last year. The 'R&D Scoreboard, is compiled by Company Reporting for the Department of Trade and Industry. The UK's investment level was 1.8% of overall sales, which is less than half of the industrialised nations average of 4%. The Guardian's David Gow quotes a Company Reporting spokesperson who says "If we are not careful we will slowly fade away."..."We are second rate and the last among the five leading countries". The Guardian, 25/6/98.
EU will limit the export of personal data - The Economist
The Economist reports on an EU directive coming into force in October which will "limit the export of personal data to non-EU countries that do no guarantee an "adequate level of protection". The question is, is America considered to have an "adequate level of protection". American and EU officials are said to be in discussion about this -- but there is clearly evidence that the self regulation favoured in the US is not working, as a recent report found that "60% (of Americans) think legislation is required". The Economist, 27/6/98 - 3/7/98.