News Schmooze: HP sharpens its blades

Hewlett-Packard prepared to cut itself down to size, the Communications Bill left broadband out, and Sony freed Aibo

A few HP and Compaq managers must be shaking in their boots now that the merged company is ready for action. The first order of business: thinning out doubled-up product lines. An exec explains that the "adopt-and-go" policy is Darwinian at heart, with bigger market share ensuring survival while the weaker counterpart vanishes into the ether, along with many of the staff who kept it going. After all, got to make those $1bn in staff cuts or the whole exercise will have been a waste of time, right? Unfortunately, killing off a large number of PC brands could give competitors a golden opportunity to fill the vacuum.
HP-Compaq: Both PC brands will stay
HPQ: The new Hewlett-Packard is go The Communications Bill, a draft of which came out this week, has a conspicuous stance on broadband -- namely that it doesn't have a stance. All those broadband wannabes who were hoping that the proposed OFCOM regulator would nudge BT toward a telephone-like universal service requirement are out of luck. Well, there's always that satellite broadband technology that BT keeps going on about...
Communications Bill ignores broadband Sony doesn't seem to see the irony in releasing a kit that lets you reprogram the Aibo robot dog, after consistently hassling people who did so on their own. Consumers don't seem to mind the company's Pavlovian training, though. Sony takes great pains to keep people from modifying the PlayStation2 to do nasty things like play Region 1 DVDs, but has sold 30 million of the consoles.
Sony lets Aibo off the lead
PlayStation2 sales hit 30 million IBM and Butterfly.net announced a worldwide gaming network that will let more than a million gamers go online at once, using supercomputer networking technology. This sounds like a good idea on the face of it, but given the well-known addictive qualities of some online games, we may never see any of them again.
Start-up launches gaming 'grid' Now here's a really useful gadget: a service that tells you via text message the lengths of the queues for different theme park rides. Too bad all the queues will be equally long for the next couple of months. Oh, and while you're gathering valuable information on your handset, don't let any shady characters get too close -- crooks can now apparently clone your SIM card in a minute or two by analysing its power fluctuations.
'Mobile Maximiser' aims to reduce UK theme park queues
IBM report cites mobile phone hacking risks Mac OS 9 is dead, according to Steve Jobs. Well, no it isn't really, but it should be, sort of. Actually, the Schmoozer isn't completely sure what the significance of Jobs' speech earlier this week was, but it had smoke and funeral music and a copy of OS 9 rising out of the ground in a coffin, like something out of a Pink Floyd concert. Cool.
Jobs: Mac OS 9 is dead The News Schmooze is ZDNet UK's irreverent take on the week's news. Send your tip-offs to: mailroomuk@zdnet.com.


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