Murph's VAPORWARE Column for August 1991

Murph's VAPORWARE Column for August 1991

Post by Murph Sewa » Tue, 30 Jul 1991 03:49:07



                         VAPORWARE
                       Murphy Sewall
               From the August 1991 APPLE PULP
       H.U.G.E. Apple Club (E. Hartford) News Letter
                          $24/year
                       P.O. Box 18027
                  East Hartford, CT 06118
            Call the "Bit Bucket" (203) 257-9588 <NEW!>
 Permission granted to redistribute with the above citation

                  These are rumors folks;
           we reserve the right to be dead wrong!

Pink and Blue Fireworks.
Well the seers were wrong when they opined (as reported in last month's
column that it might take some time before Apple and IBM would be ready
to announce a deal.  The two firms celebrated fourth of July week by
announcing a joint venture for a cross-platform operating system.  The
implications of this announcement appear sufficient to warrant a
temporary change in the usual format of this column in order to consider
the issues.

Are They For Real?
Even if the planned products from the joint Apple-IBM venture don't fall
behind schedule (this is vaporware after all), there won't be anything
for ordinary users to buy for at least two years.  Many analysts feel
there's just cause for skepticism.  As Fred Davis said in his 15 July PC
Week column "Even deals IBM made with gusto have finished with so much
foam."  Remember, in 1988 IBM paid a considerable license fee for the
NeXTStep user interface for the RS/6000 PowerStation; whatever happened
to that?  There are also a series of pacts with Borland, Lotus, Novell,
Wang, Go, and Siemens.  A prominent corporate manager of end-user
services noted "IBM has a history of making interesting announcements,
but they then have a hard time bringing those plans to fruition."  At
this rate the industry is going to need a new "buzz word" -
"evaporatedware."  - PC Week 15 July

So, What's the Deal?
The long range idea is for Apple and IBM to jointly create an
object-oriented operating system (Apple's "Pink," see last month's
column) capable of running on Intel's x86 family, Motorola's 680x0
family, and a new single chip implementation (currently referred to as
the "Power PC" CPU) of IBM's current five-chip RS/6000 RISC
architecture.  The dreamers promise, with a straight face, that this
operating system will run existing Macintosh, AIX, and OS/2 (perhaps
even Windows) applications.  Not only that, Apple says it will deliver a
Power PC-based Macintosh in less than three years with a price tag under
$3,000. - InfoWorld and PC Week 15 July

Seriously.
The interim plan is to enhance IBM's Unix-based system, AIX, to run
Macintosh applications.  "AIX is the future of A/Ux."
- InfoWorld 15 July

Motorola and IBM jointly will design and manufacture a family of Power
PC chips.  A low power CPU for notebook and other portable systems, a
mid-range processor for high-end PCs and entry-level workstations, and a
high end version for super-servers or mid-range workstations.  Details
about the specifications of these chips should be available by the
beginning of October.  - InfoWorld 15 July

Apple is now planning to base the next generation of Macintoshes on the
proposed Power PC architecture rather than the Motorola 88110 or MIPS
R3000 CPUs even though some of Apple's best engineers are convinced that
the Motorola chip is a better RISC choice.  - PC Week 1 July

                      Among the Routine Rumors

Borland Buys Ashton-Tate.
The month's other big deal is Borland's acquisition of Ashton-Tate.
Even before the merger became final Borland publicly demonstrated its
own Object dBase compiler for Windows.  It is now clear that the future
of dBase is Borland technology.  Borland has announced that Paradox for
Windows and Object dBase will share the same forms, reports, database
schema, and query-by-example functions.  Meanwhile, Microrim plans to
stay in the game by purchasing another firm's Windows database product
and renaming it "RBase for Windows."  One problem is that the acquired
product isn't RBase compatible  - InfoWorld 1 and 15 July

Low End PowerStation.
IBM isn't going to wait for Apple to introduce a single RISC chip Power
PC by Motorola.  Big Blue will introduce a three chip implementation
RS/6000 PowerStation rated at 30 SPECmarks for about $7,000 this fall.
That's 73% of the computing power of the current PowerStation 320H for
about 60% of the cost.  - PC Week 8 July

OS/2 NT Becomes Windows NT.
Microsoft now says that its initial release of its New Technology
operating system will not run OS/2 applications.  The product, now
planned for next year, will be called Windows NT.  Microsoft eventually
will release OS/2 3.0 which will add OS/2 applications to NT.  It's
possible, given IBM's announced deal with Apple, that there could be two
OS/2s with incompatible interfaces and possibly incompatible
applications as well.  Meanwhile, Microsoft officials acknowledge the
next release (Windows 3.1) may not ship until next year.  Before Windows
NT, Microsoft plans to offer a 32-bit DOS version, Windows-32, which
will require DOS 6.0 (under development).  Win32 will include the next
generation of Microsoft's Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) technology.
OLE 2.0 will include a scripting language, more direct editing, and
sophisticated page layout features.  Either it's going to be a very busy
1992 for Windows or a continuation of the longest running vaporware saga
on record. - InfoWorld 8 July and PC Week 15 July

Dial Up Networking.
Apple's engineers are busy working on a technology called 976 that
allows a Mac to call another Mac via modem and operate as though the two
were on the same AppleTalk network.  Apparently it is usable at 2400 bps
and quite nice at 9600 or 19200 bps. Until recently, 976 wasn't
Communications Toolbox compatible and could have caused a lot of
problems.  However, with the help of Cayman, Cisco, Shiva, and Farallon,
along with some Apple insiders, 976 has been brought into line with the
AURP  protocol workgroup.  A guess is that Apple may be ready to sell
this technology in the fourth quarter.
- TidBITS 15 July and an item found in my electronic mailbox

Floptical Drive at Last?
The promise of 20 MByte, 3.5 inch "floptical" disks is nearly four years
old (see the September and October 1988 Vaporware columns).  Now it
appears actual product my soon be forthcoming.  Maxell, 3M and Iomega
have announced the formation of the Floptical Technology Association and
adopted the Insight Peripherals drive which is downward compatible with
720K and 1.44 MByte drives.  Iomega plans to ship a drive later this
year based on a 1989 license from Insight.  Maxell and 3M have each
purchased a five percent stake in Insight and will manufacture the
disks.  - PC Week 1 July

Software Benchmarks Inc.
A number of brand-name vendors, including IBM, Intel, Microsoft,
Hewlett-Packard, NCR, and Dell, have founded the Business Applications
Performance Corporation (BAPC) which will develop and distribute
benchmarking methodology.  Real-world tests are planned for word
processors, spreadsheets, databases, desktop publishing, desktop
graphics, development tools, and CAD software.  BAPC plans to make these
standard suites of tests available on floppy disks to both vendors and
consumers for a nominal fee.  - InfoWorld 15 July

NCR Pen Computer.
NCR's 3125 Notepad which supports either Pen Windows or Go's PenOS is
one of the first pieces of actual hardware to enter beta test (see last
September, October, November, January, February, and April columns).
The model shown at June's PC Expo was running a beta copy of Microsoft's
Pen Windows which requires Windows 3.1 (also in beta).  The NCR hardware
could be available as early as this month, but neither Pen Windows nor
PenOS is expected to ship before the end of the year at the earliest.
When it is ready forJsale, the NCR 3125 will cost $4,765 (with 2 MBytes
of "flash" EPROM) or $4,795 with a 20 MByte hard disk.  - PC Week and
InfoWorld 1 July

PostScript by FAX.
Adobe is coming out with an Emerald RIP (Raster Image Processor) to sell
to makers of faxmodems.  The Emerald RIP is a particularly nice
68030-based processor that Adobe sells to vendors like Linotype.  The
FAX RIP will compete with Castelle's FaxPress network fax machine, which
has been beta testing a PostScript rastering-capable model for several
months.  - found in my electronic mailbox

SAS for Windows.
SAS Institute's Windows implementation of its statistical and data
exploration software is scheduled for beta testing in September.  SAS is
licensed on an annual basis with fees depending on the number of
workstations using the product.  SAS for Windows currently is scheduled
to retail in December.  - InfoWorld 1 July

Electronic Licensing.
Softmart Inc. is expected to announce an electronic software licensing
service this month.  Purchasers of a single copy of software from one of
seven major vendors, including Lotus, Microsoft, Central Point, and
Borland, will be able to place orders for additional licenses for copies
to run on other workstations.  Softmart's electronic system will
generate additional serial numbers (and warranty cards which can be
faxed) within seconds.  - PC Week 15 July

Mysteryware.
A mailing from Beagle Bros says that at August's MacWorld they'll
introduce a technology breakthrough for the Macintosh that will "change
how information is created and processes on the Mac" (this announcement
couldn't be hyperbole could it?).  One rumor says Beagle's
"breakthrough" is an integrated applications package that will compete
with Microsoft Works.  Along those lines, Symantec has purchased Leonard
Development's SmartWorks changed the name to GreatWorks and added
publish, subscribe, and other System 7 features.  If you happen to be at
MacWorld, stop by booth #1844 and tell Beagle you didn't get the
flier, but you'd like to receive the "special gift" anyway.
- TidBITS 15 July and InfoWorld 24 June

LAN Manager Upgrade.
Rumors of the demise of Microsoft's LAN Manager are premature.  The
company plans to introduce an update with three enhancements by the end
of this year.  LAN Manager will gain TCP/IP, Macintosh client support,
and NetWare interoperability.  Directory service and store-and-forward
message service is planned for a further upgrade in 1992.
- InfoWorld 15 July

New Word for Macintosh.
Word 5.0 for the Mac which is in the early stages of beta testing has an
interface that resembles Word for Windows.  Naturally, Word 5.0 supports
System 7 publish and subscribe, TrueType, and balloon help.
- InfoWorld 8 July

Small Business Software.
Microsoft is beta testing a package of three Windows 3.0 programs
targeted at the needs of small businesses.  The desktop publisher,
personal financial planner, and a new version of Works will be announced
as the "Solutions Series" this fall (probably for $199 each).
- PC Week 8 July

Clones by a Familiar Manufacturer.
As a consequence of slipping sales, IBM finds itself with excess
production capacity and is responding the same way any self-respecting
appliance maker would.  Big Blue is offering everything from Token-Ring
cards to mainframes for sale under other companies brand names.  The
next clone you buy may be manufactured by the originator.
- PC Week 8 July

Appleshare 3.0
Apple's next version of Appleshare will resemble true networking
software more than earlier versions.  Appleshare 3.0 which is scheduled
for next year will support concurrent operations.  - InfoWorld 1 July
-------------
TidBITS from Penguin Things Software is a weekly Macintosh HyperCard
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