Technology

Hewlett-Packard Weaves a Web

Congress wants a piece of Napster, Compaq unveils a new Alpha, and more.
CFO.com StaffFebruary 14, 2001

HP Jumps into Web Services Fray

Microsoft did it. So did Oracle. The Sun Microsystems did, too. Now you can add Hewlett-Packard to the list.

So what’s “it” all about? Web services. HP became the latest high profile tech supplier to announce software to support corporate clients’ Web services. To support this effort, the company announced two groups of software packages, Netaction and OpenView.

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HP will make its products available on a subscription basis to clients who can download them on the Web.

The Netaction series includes products from Bluestone Software, which HP acquired in January.

Napster on the Hill

Is Napster dead, or isn’t it? Anyway you slice it, if a legal brouhaha gets enough publicity, you can almost bet that Congress will get into the act. In the wake of Monday’s appellate court ruling that threatens to shut down the online music service, several members of Congress have said that they may need to rewrite 1999’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which was intentionally vague on the protection of intellectual property on the Internet.

A lengthy argument in favor of extending the DMCA to cover Napster and other forms of online content distribution can be found at the Progressive Policy Institute’s Web site, www.ppionline.org.

While the authors devote most of their attention to the music industry and Napster, their comment that “markets only operate in the context of rules designed to protect the players” could be applied to almost any form of E-commerce and intellectual property that concerns digital content.

One of the paper’s conclusions is that the DMCA needs to be updated to “force users and companies that commit or encourage copyright violations to accept responsibility for their crimes.” But how to do this in practical terms is another matter. One of the Internet’s hallmarks is the anonymity it affords users, and Web denizens have already proved to be remarkably resourceful at sidestepping threats to their privacy.

It may be possible to protect intellectual property on the Web, but it isn’t going to be easy.

Compaq’s Got an Alpha Chip

Compaq Computer has released a new version of its Alpha processor for servers. According to Cnet News, the marketing outlook for the chip is improving. The chip was originally made by Digital Equipment Corp., which Compaq acquired in 1998.

The Alpha 21264 runs at 833MHz and will be included in Compaq’s AlphaServer ES 40 line of servers. Cnet reported that Compaq is roughly 18 months late delivering the chip, but hardware and semiconductor makers often miss deadlines with high-end products.

What’s more important is that the Alpha is finally gaining some market share after many years of being stuck with a relatively small presence in the server CPU business. The revival can be traced to Compaq’s decision to concentrate its sales effort on a few key markets, including telecommunications, supercomputing, and E-commerce servers running Oracle applications.

Bits and Bytes

  • Lucent Technologies and Agere Systems, the microelectronics group Lucent will spin off this year, said they lowered the prices for the printed circuit cards Agere makers for wireless networks. The Orinoco World Silver card with 64-bit WEP encryption now costs $149, while the 128-bit version costs $169. Lucent says the Orinoco cards are compatible with wireless networks from IBM, Dell Computer, Apple Computer, Sony, and Toshiba.
  • BB&T Corp. of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, hired van Schouwen Associates, a Greensboro marketing agency to design and run a Web site for its factoring and credit collection subsidiary. The site will allow BB&T’s factoring clients, including many furniture and textile makers, to get real-time information on their customers.
  • Shell Oil said it will spin off software company Kalido, which makes products that let large companies manage multiple business transactions. The data warehousing software is directed at global companies looking to link their products and transaction histories across different continents and different currencies. The company will be fully independent but entirely funded by the Shell Group, and it may be spun off through an initial public offering in the next two years.