| HOME |

IBM joining other computer makers with online cyberstore


The company that set the standard for computers -- IBM -- is joining other computer makers by expanding its presence on the Internet.

IBM has maintained a Web presence for years, but their new "shop" will offer the complete product line.

The company is aiming at small businesses and consumers who may want IBM products, but prefer to shop and compare on the Web. Other computer makers -- Dell, Gateway and Compag -- also offer their product lines for sale on the Web.

IBM has been making money via their existing site -- an estimated $3.3 billion last year. According to a recent Associated Press story, only 7 percent of those sales were to small businesses and consumers -- mainly because Big Blue's image is that their products are aimed at large corporate customers.

Will Big Blue's moves earn Big Bucks? That's anyone's guess, but there's no doubt that we'll be seeing more of IBmdll...........

PROFITABLE HOAX. I've written in past columns about the dangers of hoax messages that circulate on the Internet via electronic mail.

But who would've figured that a hoax would proven profitable?

A bogus story about small California technology company sent the firm's stock price soaring 31 percent last week -- and investors scrambling to get a piece of the action.

A financial news page sponsored by Yahoo! included a link to a bogus Bloomberg financial news story about Pairgain Technologies Inc.

The story stated that the company was being acquired by an Israeli-owned company for $1.35 billion in cash and other compensation.

More than 13.7 million shares of the company's stock changed hands last Wednesday, sending the price skyrocketing.

Bloomberg later published its own story, denying the bogus story -- including quotes from the spokesmen from both the Israeli company and Pairgain. As a result, by the end of the day, the stock's value had return to near-normal levels.

Yahoo dropped the story link once it was uncovered as false. But as an executive at Yahoo pointed out, the responsibility for confirming online news ultimately lies with the investor. The company "doesn't encourage people to trade based on any one message on a board," the executive said.

The Securities Exchange Commission was investigating the matter. The individual perpetrating the hoax could find himself charged with securities fraud and wire fraud, and face prison time and fines up to $1 million.

In the meantime, remember the advice your grandfather gave you: Let the buyer (or investor) beware.

NO WINDOWS 95/NT MERGER. Microsoft Corporation's plans to merge its consumer-targeted Windows 95/98 operating system into the business-oriented Windows NT have been scrapped.

Microsoft will instead release a new version of Windows based on the 95/98 operating system, according to company president Steve Ballmer in an Associated Press story this week.

The company's next "big" operating system project is Windows NT 5.0 (now to be called Windows 2000), and the Microsoft has struggled to get it on the market on time.

Windows NT 5.0 was originally expected to be on the market last year, but won't be available until later this year, the company says.

Ballmer said a new consumer-oriented Windows version would be aimed at making using a computer a simpler process.

The so-far-unnamed operating system would be designed to better handle digital images, 3D and sound and be easier to operate than existing Windows 95/98 products.

GOOD TRICK. One of the biggest songs on Top 40 radio during the summer of 1979 was by the group Cheap Trick. The song title, anyone?

"I Want You To Want Me," recorded live on tour in Japan, spent 13 weeks in the Billboard Top 40.

The band hasn't had a song that huge since, but it isn't because they've quit trying -- and the group has now turned to the Internet to reach new, younger fans.

The band's next record -- er, CD -- will be released first to sales via the World Wide Web exclusively for the first two months at Amazon.com beginning April 20.

The CD -- recorded live last year in concert -- will be available in stores after June 15.

Why the Internet?

A release from the band stated they hoped to avoid being tagged an oldies act, and they have younger -- and hipper online -- audiences in mind.

For information on the band (and a trip back to the 70s for others who remember them) visit their cool Web site at www.cheaptrick.com.

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

| HOME |