Did You Hear?

Remember the joke that Windows NT 5.0 may as well be called Windows 2000 since it won’t be available until then? It’s no joke anymore after Microsoft actually renamed what would have been the long-delayed NT 5.0 product line as Windows 2000. So you’ll have it right on next year’s Christmas list, NT Workstation 5.0 becomes Windows 2000 Professional, NT Server 5.0 becomes Windows 2000 Server and NT Server 5.0 Enterprise Edition becomes Windows 2000 Advanced Server, oddly enough matching much of the function of the AS/400 Advanced Server, circa 1994. Microsoft says Windows 2000 is “expected” to ship in 1999, but hedges its bets by saying it will be “deployed throughout the Year 2000.”

While the writing has been on the wall for sometime, the end is drawing ever closer for OfficeVision/400 users. The last update of OV/400 is slated for the first half of 1999 with the release of OS/400 V4R4 and IBM could stop offering support for the product as soon as the year 2000. Not content to let the dominoes fall where they may, IBM is, however, providing the necessary tools to help customers migrate to Lotus’ groupware offering.

Like the speed of your new Pentium 450? Now try to imagine it being more than twice as fast. In as little as two years from now, such a computer may exist. That’s because Intel has a new chip in the works, code-named “Foster,” with a target speed of 1 GHz. Computers with the Foster chips should be available in late 2000, early 2001.

Who’s winning the browser war? It depends who you ask. Zona Research reported last month that Netscape Navigator has about 60 percent of the corporate enterprise market compared to Microsoft Internet Explorer’s 40 percent share. That contradicts a similar study by International Data Corp. in September that indicated that Netscape’s corporate browser market share had dropped to 40 percent by the middle of this year.

While Microsoft’s Internet Explorer may have gained significant market share, the same cannot be said for the Microsoft Network, the once proprietary Internet service that never really got off the ground. Since rebranded and ported to the Web as msn.com, Microsoft is trying to give the site new life as a Web portal, designed to compete against Yahoo and others, including Netscape. Previously known by the codename, “Microsoft Start”, the new msn.com site has been redesigned and given a new search engine.

Amazon.com may be years from profitability, but it’s reportedly found a solution to the IT skills crisis – Wal-Mart. The Seattle-based online book and music retailer has allegedly hired 15 Wal-Mart IT workers in the 14 months since Rick Dalzell joined Amazon.com as CIO. Dalzell had been Wal-Mart’s VP of application systems. Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., hardly a high-tech hub, is suing Amazon.com and its venture capital partner to stop the raids, which it claims are allowing Amazon.com to learn Wal-Mart distribution, data warehousing and merchandise-management strategies.

Government regulators are starting to crack down on Year 2000 laggards. The Securities and Exchange Commission charged 37 brokerage firms with failing to fully report on their computer systems’ Y2K compliance. Brokerage firms had to file a Year 2000 disclosure form with the SEC by Aug. 31. Nineteen of the cited firms have agreed to settlements with the SEC, consisting of a cease and desist order, a censure and civil penalty ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.