Microsoft Corporation

The Three Ring Circus of MP3, CE and SDMI
June 1, 2000

By David Dritsas A good laugh. That's the first thing you'll get when you ask industry insiders what's been happening with MP3 music and the Internet. The news in this industry has been a soap opera of lawsuits, private investigations and name-calling. But as laughable as this comedic melodrama may be, it's leaving consumers confused and unsure about the technology, even with the promises of the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI). Consumer confusion is not what's wanted at a time when Sony, Circuit City, Sharp and Lexar have teamed up to promote Memory Products and when has inked deals with Liquid

April 1, 2000

By Janet Pinkerton I was going to write this column for a Web-zine called "Skirt." But after marking my seven-year anniversary at Dealerscope, I decided to let you have it. Yesterday, at this writing, was March 15, the date I drove an hour and a half through the aftermath of the first big blizzard of 1993 to arrive at Dealerscope for my first day of work. I and another newly hired associate editor were the only people on the Dealerscope staff to make it in. Everyone else had wisely stayed home. Thus began my Dealerscope odyssey. Milestones I remember: • My first major

NAHB Presents a Glimpse of the Future
March 1, 2000

By David Dritsas This year the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Show in Dallas, Texas, did not reveal a large of amount of retail consumer electronics or major appliance exhibitors, but those major appliance companies that did exhibit put on quite a show. And interestingly, even while the main halls of the Dallas Convention Center seemed overrun with windows, bath tubs and woodwork, a number of companies offering builders home networking options circulated in the basement; perhaps suggesting that we are closer to seeing integrated electronics built into the very foundations of our homes. IBM's Home Director systems, OnQ Technologies' home wiring systems and Multiplex Technology's

Raising the Bar...Creating Wealth in CE
February 1, 2000

By Bill Hass Invent a better mousetrap, and people will beat a path to your door! So goes the old saying, and it appears at least partially true in terms of relative wealth creation for manufacturers who supply the consumer electronics products to the U.S. and the world. New technology, with the prospects of tremendous growth, has produced great wealth for some CE suppliers; far in excess of traditional product manufacturers in the more established industries like autos, housing and steel. Dell Computer, Microsoft, Iomega, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq Computer are all familiar names that have produced fortunes from new technologies. Yet new technology invariably is accompanied by

CE Suppliers Get Report Cards
February 1, 2000

When you dig behind the snapshot relative total return numbers, you begin to understand the key drivers of value: margins, asset utilization and growth that eventually generates the net cash receipts investors value. For companies early in their life cycle, such as EchoStar and Gemstar, growth and the expectation of future profits and cash receipts drive value. The HOLT framework reflects this by noting such companies high percent future. Percent futures for the 27 CE suppliers profiled in the DualGrade® table shown in Figure 5 range from a high of 94 percent for Gemstar to a low of -33 percent for Damark. Hewlett-Packard has a

A War of Wires - Digital Cable and Cable Modems
February 1, 2000

by Grant Clauser Apparently, the cable industry (and interested manufacturers) has not been sitting still as satellite TV and DSL Internet access continue their respective assaults on cable's entrenchments. But for the retailer interested in selling consumer-ready cable modems or cable-compatible DTV set-top boxes, there are still major barriers to be breached. To its benefit, cable is one heck of big pipe, up to 100 times faster than standard phoneline modems, and is already installed in the majority of U.S. households. But the cable industry has a bad reputation of poor customer service and poor picture quality to erase, and going digital seems to be

A Total PC Package
December 1, 1999

While processor speeds and memory storage improved on this year's PCs, prices dropped, forcing the PC industry to get creative in the making and marketing of its products. The lower PC prices left some manufacturers with difficult decisions. For example, NEC recently dismantled Packard Bell, after admitting it could not help the brand recover from financial losses. The name will still exist in Europe, but in the U.S. what's left of the company has been absorbed into the NEC name. IBM pulled out of the retail channel, hoping to garner some of the successes Dell and Gateway enjoy by concentrating on a direct sales strategy. A

Comdex '99 Deconstruct the PC
December 1, 1999

By Janet Pinkerton LAS VEGAS—In years past, one could count on a tidy batch of WinTel-oriented Comdex announcements to tell you which way the PC industry was going, what to expect for the coming year, how to plan. Last month in Las Vegas, there was no such luck. The very notion of the "PC" industry was dismantled by the rise of potentially viable Internet appliances, e-mail appliances, interactive set-top boxes, handheld computing devices and web-surfing wireless phones. With this wave of innovation came the opportunity for new business models, new content, new operating systems, such as Linux and BE, and new processor options from companies such as

Focus on - The Upgrade of USB
November 1, 1999

In 1999, the universal serial bus (USB) interface has been the hottest connection for the newest computers and peripherals; recent advances in the technology promise to make it even hotter. Almost every new peripheral out there includes a USB version of itself, if not the only version. According to a report by, a site sponsored by the USB Implementers forum, the top selling peripherals this year have been PC video cameras, followed by scanners, joysticks and inkjet printers. Newer USB peripherals, such as CD-Rs, CD-RWs and storage drives, are appearing everyday. The Present: USB 1.1 USB was created four years ago by a consortium of seven

CEDIA Presents Home Networking Options
November 1, 1999

At the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association's '99 Expo, home networking was a definite undercurrent theme, apparent with the Home of Electronic Lifestyles exhibit. Several companies are providing options for networking home computer systems, entertainment systems and, in some cases, both. • 3Com teamed up with Microsoft to announce three home networking products. The HomeConnect Home Network Ethernet Kit is capable of speeds up to 100Mbps and links household computers, allowing for customized file, Internet and peripheral sharing. By the end of 1999, a standard 10Mbps phone line version will also be available and an 11Mbps wireless version is expected by Q2 of 2000. •