Did You Hear

Microsoft suffered an embarrassing blow in its instant messaging battle against America Online, when the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant admitted that a glitch in its chat software allows non-authorized users to see a person's e-mail password, according to a report by the Associated Press. The report states Microsoft was alerted to the programming bug during the week of August 16, and promised to have it fixed by August 20, the day the report was published. The flaw in its MSN Messenger Software allows anyone with access to another person's computer to read and send e-mail from that person's Hotmail account without their knowledge. Hotmail is Microsoft's free, Web-based e-mail service. The bug can be exploited by stopping the Hotmail e-mail page from loading and viewing the underlying HTML software code, exposing the user's e-mail name and password, according to the report.
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As the Internet continues to grow, so does online advertising. Three reports-one on the current state of online advertising and two on the future of online advertising-all point to large growth. New York-based Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) reports that online advertising spending hit $693 million for the first quarter of 1999, nearly doubling the $351 million recorded in the first quarter of 1998. The IAB expects the 1999 online advertising totals to greatly exceed last year's total of $2.8 billion. Jupiter Communications (New York) predicts ad spending will hit the $11.5 billion mark by 2003. Forrester Research (Cambridge, Mass.) predicts online advertising will hit the $22 billion mark by 2004. Forrester also predicts that within five years, Internet advertising will represent eight percent of the advertising pie, up from less than one percent last year, and will exceed magazine, yellow pages, radio and outdoor spending.

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A survey of information technology executives at 161 companies and government agencies shows 75 percent have already experienced Y2K failures. The report by Cap Gemini America Inc. (Morristown, N.J.) and Rubin Systems Inc. (Pound Ridge, N.Y.) adds, however, that only two percent of those companies suffered business disruptions because of the glitches. The study reports that, of the failures that occurred, 92 percent involved financial miscalculations, 84 percent caused processing disruptions, 38 percent were customer service related and 34 percent were supply-chain or logistics breakdowns. The survey also found some disturbing news--only 48 percent of the participants expect to have their mission-critical systems prepared. Furthermore, 16 percent of the participants do not expect half of their high-priority systems to be ready.
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A recent report by New York-based eMarketer says another 35.2 million people around the world will use the Internet this year, bringing the total number of active users to approximately 130.6 million worldwide. The report predicts that the number of active Internet users will climb to 350 million by the 2003. The study also indicates that more than 75 percent of the world's Web sites are in English.

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