"People float rumors...it works its way into the mainstream press and they try to make me prove a negative." -- George W. Bush in USA Today, when asked to discuss rumors of drug use in his youthEdited by Joan OleckReturn to top
Shield Those Digital Documents
Once you start selling content on the Web, you're bound to lose control: Your expensive reports go whizzing around the globe in the form of E-mail attachments; graphics pop up on others' Web pages without so much as a source line. No wonder publishers hesitate to put valuable material online.
But Xerox has an answer: On Aug. 30, the company will introduce ContentGuard, software that uses Xerox' new Digital Property Rights Language to embed copyright protections within any type of digital document. The upshot? Viewers can't distribute bootleg copies without first asking--and presumably paying. Even publishers who circulate free content can benefit from the software's ability to track distribution.
Already on board is Thomson Learning in Stamford, Conn. Thomson will use the software to let professors build their own textbooks by selecting content from the company's database and tallying the cost to students. Instead of buying several books per class, students will pay only for what they need. "People think publishers should make everything on the Web free," complains Andrew Clowes, a Thomson vice-president. "If that happened, publishers would go out of business."By Janet Rae-Dupree; Edited by Joan OleckReturn to top
The Chip Giant Is an E-Commerce Giant
Until recently, Cisco Systems and Dell Computer were the poster children for product sales on the Net. Now, Intel has quietly assumed that role. Over the past year, the chip giant has become the world's largest E-commerce company, logging more than $1 billion per month in Net sales. Analysts figure that half of its revenues this year--or $15 billion--will be E-bookings. By yearend, CEO Craig Barrett predicts, up to three-quarters of orders will arrive electronically.
Those aren't incremental sales, though: Intel has merely swapped Web forms for fax and phone-call order-entry systems. Benefits are accruing instead in the expense column. For instance, Intel now gets 45,000 fewer faxes per quarter from Asian buyers, and later this year, all Taiwanese orders will be electronic. Best of all, the clerks who transcribed orders now concentrate on customer relations.
Intel hasn't yet calculated its savings. But the move helps counteract sagging processor prices. Analysts expect spending on sales and administration to fall one percentage point in 2000--saving more than $250 million. Intel's next step: using E-commerce to goose sales growth. By Andy Reinhardt; Edited by Joan OleckReturn to top
Groovin' to an IPO
When they go public, dot.com IPOs--just like their mainstream peers--typically reserve low-price shares for management and venture backers. Not MP3. Com, whose IPO was July 26. The San Diego company, which offers digitized recordings over the Web, spread the wealth.
Beneficiaries included the musicians who play on MP3.Com's Web site and the people who buy its products. Roughly 3.3 million of the 12.3 million shares available were offered to 18,000 such artists and customers. The opening price: 28, with a limit of 500 shares.
Good vibes resulted. "We've heard everything, from artists saying, `I've started a college fund for my kid,' to `I got out of debt,"' reports MP3.Com CEO Michael Robertson. That brings us to Peter Clough of Baltimore. He bought an MP3.com T-shirt, then was surprised at his chance to buy stock at its IPO price. He bought 500 shares for $14,000 and watched the price hit 95. He then sold 400 shares at $80 apiece to gain $18,050. As the market zapped Net stocks, he sold the remaining shares at 56, bringing in a further $5,600. Not bad. "Plus," says Clough, "it was a cool T-shirt." By Roy Furchgott; Edited by Joan OleckReturn to top