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To: M CAHILL who started this subject7/28/2001 10:58:53 PM
From: ms.smartest.person
   of 493
 
Tech Center: Sony Cuts Its Fiscal-Year Outlook, Says Second-Quarter Profit Fell 90%
July 27, 2001

By ROBERT A. GUTH
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREETJOURNAL

TOKYO -- The global economic slowdown slammed Sony Corp.'s results in the quarter ended June 30, signaling deeper-than-expected troubles at Japan's electronics manufacturers, who are struggling with falling demand for their goods and severe price competition.

Sony posted a consolidated loss of 30 billion yen ($242.7 million), compared with a loss of 92.4 billion yen a year earlier. In a surprise to analysts, Sony said its operating profit for the quarter fell 90% to three billion yen, on revenue that grew 4.6% to 1.6 trillion yen.

Sony also lowered its forecast for the full year, ending March 31, saying operating income will reach 250 billion yen, compared with Sony's earlier forecast of 300 billion yen.

"There will be a major decline in the profitability of electronics," in large part due to falling prices, said Sony's chief operating officer, Teruhisa Tokunaka. "The current difficult market environment won't recover by the end of the current fiscal year."

Broader Concerns
The results are a sign of far broader troubles in Japan's electronics industry. An across-the-board slowdown in demand for many of the products that have helped sustain Japanese electronics makers -- and indeed Japan's economy as a whole -- is pounding the country's biggest makers of chips, cellular phones, camcorders and an array of electronics goods.

On Wednesday, Matsushita Communication Industrial Co. said slumping sales of mobile phones and an expensive phone recall were behind its first quarterly loss since listing its stock 33 years ago. On Friday, NEC Corp. is expected to announce disappointing results as it struggles with one of the worst-ever slumps in global demand for semiconductors.

The electronics slowdown is particularly worrisome for Sony. The company has relied on its core electronics business to pull it through one of the most difficult periods in its history. Increased sales of PCs and digital still cameras had helped offset losses at its video-game business due to expenses launching the PlayStation 2 game machine last year. Sony relied on electronics to offset falling profits from its large movie and music units, and to help fuel investment into new areas like Internet banking.

But that cash cow is drying up, at least for now. Mr. Tokunaka said Sony's electronics unit posted an operating loss of 807 million yen for the quarter, compared with an operating profit of 53.4 billion yen a year earlier. He said electronics demand in the quarter was particularly slack in Europe and the U.S. In addition, he said profit was hit by costs associated with the recall of 1.1 million faulty cellular phones and by financial aid Sony extended to an ailing subsidiary, Aiwa Co.

Crucial Game
Despite the trouble, Sony expects to post a more than fivefold rise in net income, to 90 billion yen, for the full year, a result that will be helped by a 25% cut in capital expenses and carryover contributions from movies in the previous year. Revenue for the year is forecast to increase 5% to 7.7 trillion yen.

The critical issue for Sony in coming months will be the performance of PlayStation 2. Sony's game business was its biggest profit generator in the mid-1990s. But the business fell into unprofitability as Sony incurred huge expenses to launch the PlayStation 2 last year. Now, it is racing to sell consoles and game software before Microsoft Corp. launches its X-box game terminal later this year. If Microsoft's new machine beats out the PlayStation 2 in the crucial holiday selling season, Sony's long-term earnings could suffer.

Although PlayStation 2 shipments in the quarter just ended were below forecasts, Mr. Tokunaka said Sony stands by its original plan to ship 20 million PlayStation 2 consoles this fiscal year. "The nature of the games business is that sales in the autumn to year end account for half of a year's sales," he said. "This segment [games] will become profitable in the middle of this fiscal year.

Write to Robert A. Guth at robert.guth@awsj.com1.
URL for this Article:
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Copyright © 2001 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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To: M CAHILL who started this subject8/1/2001 1:11:08 AM
From: ms.smartest.person
   of 493
 
Yahoo inks multi-year deal with Sony


NEW YORK
YAHOO! and Sony of America have penned a multiyear partnership that involves developing a co-branded site, an e-commerce initiative and cross-promotional endeavors. The terms of the agreement, announced on Tuesday, were not disclosed.

Under the agreement, Sony and Yahoo will develop Sony on My Yahoo!, a co-branded website that is personalised for fans of Sony products and services. The site will also become the default start page for Sony Style Connect, Sony's recently launched internet access service.

Yahoo! will also consult Sony on the development of its US Group Portal, which will offer users access to Sony's content, product and services.

SonyStyle.com, Sony's e-commerce site, will also be featured prominently on Yahoo! Shopping. And Yahoo also plans to promote several films from Sony Pictures Entertainment.

For its part, Sony's Vaio laptop computers will be preloaded with software that will enable consumers to quickly register for personalised Sony and Yahoo! content and services.

"It's a step in the right direction for Yahoo!, but it is a modest step," said John Corcoran, an analyst at CIBC World Markets. "Yahoo needs to go out and sign up 15 more of these deals, and then it will be meaningful. AOL started earlier on this."

Corcoran added that the big question remains how much revenue will be generated from the deal, noting that company officials declined to offer any specific figures during a conference call on Tuesday.

Shares of Yahoo were up 25 cents to $18.05 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Shares of Sony were up a little more than 7 percent, or $3.35, reaching $49.75 on the New York Stock Exchange. (AP)

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To: M CAHILL who started this subject8/19/2001 2:26:33 AM
From: ms.smartest.person
   of 493
 
SONY-YAHOO! DEAL COULD BE PRELUDE TO CLOSER TIES

By JOSEPH GALLIVAN
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




August 1, 2001 -- Sony and Yahoo! moved closer yesterday to a joint marketing deal that could spark a scramble between the remaining media and tech companies to pair up in the style of AOL and Time Warner.
Sony America boss Howard Stringer told a press conference, "We've been dating a long time, now we're not quite married, but at least we're holding hands."

This summer Sony announced that Yahoo! would promote its music service with EMI called PressPlay.

Yahoo! and Sony will promote each other in four areas: development and distribution of a co-branded Web site, e-commerce, enterprise advisory services and content integration and promotion.

The deal is the first at Yahoo! under ex-Hollywood studio mogul Terry Semel, who is charged with boosting Yahoo!'s flagging ad revenues and finding new content partners.

Sony has massive film, music and electronics units but no successful online outlet for them. It will use Yahoo! to push its ISP, SonyStyle.com, as well as to market its other online services.

These include the popular online game, "Everquest," for which fantasists pay a monthly fee of $10, "PressPlay," and the upcoming video-editing service, ScreenBlast.

"We're getting into the digital services business - just like Microsoft!" said Rob Wiesenthal, executive vice president and chief strategy officer for Sony Broadband Entertainment.

Part of Sony's problem is that customers buy Sony hardware and go elsewhere for their software, accessories, content and services. The corporation believes it can better keep them in the fold by letting Yahoo! create a joint online identity, or "co-branded portal."

For Yahoo!, it's a giant consulting gig - which may one day lead to the company being acquired.

Stringer and Semel cemented the deal two weeks ago at the annual mogulfest in Sun Valley, although the two companies have flirted with each other for the last two years.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Wiesenthal said, "Value flows both ways in this deal."

nypost.com

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To: ms.smartest.person who wrote (414)8/19/2001 2:30:42 AM
From: ms.smartest.person
   of 493
 
Forbes Global :The Vaguest Deal Of The Century
Betsy Schiffman,
forbes.com

This morning Sony and Yahoo! begged for the world's attention to announce a big bold "relationship." But after cutting to the meat of the deal, there was no meat--only a colorless, flavorless meat substitute.

The conference call--so short you'd miss it if you sneezed twice--was held to announce a "multiyear, multifaceted relationship." But beneath all the talk, the deal basically amounts to some cross-promotion, some mutual admiration and very little money.

Yahoo! (nasdaq: YHOO - news - people) will get a customized version of its software preloaded on the desktop of Sony (nyse: SNE - news - people) Vaio laptops--a minor win for Yahoo!. While ISPs such as AOL (nyse: AOL - news - people) are scrambling to get proprietary software preloaded onto as many PCs as possible, the deal announced today means Yahoo! will become the friendly interface for Sony Internet service provider customers. It sounds great on paper, but the fact is that Sony just re-launched its ISP and its customer base is probably miniscule at best (although Sony would not disclose the exact number of customers).

Sony, an electronics and media company long-speculated to be a possible Yahoo! acquirer, firmly denied that it is taking--or will take--an equity interest in the dried-up Web portal. Sony is, however, using Yahoo! for several initiatives: Yahoo! will help Sony develop a co-branded Web site; Sony will market a couple upcoming movies over Yahoo! properties; Sony electronics will be featured over Yahoo! Shopping and Sony will call on Yahoo! to consult for the Sony portal.

But when all is said and done, Sony is still not committing much--even if Yahoo! Chief Executive Terry Semel giddily repeated promises that the deal announced today was only the beginning of a long and prosperous relationship.

As Semel was promising bigger and better things to come, the CEO of the Sony Corporation of America, Howard Stringer, essentially said Sony wasn't interested in buying the cow when it can get the milk for close to free.

"We've gotten what we've wanted out of this relationship." Stringer said during the conference call.

The financial terms of today's deal weren't disclosed, but Semel said that the financials were "solid" as it relates to Yahoo!--and he said it twice to make sure nobody missed it the first time. Analysts remained skeptical of the solidity.

"There's so much back-scratching in both directions that I doubt the deal is very big financially," says Salomon Smith Barney analyst Lanny Baker. "

Financially, the deal is probably insignificant; strategically, it's just a glorified marketing deal--but Yahoo! is playing the mighty grim odds that together with Sony the two can become a media superpower to reckon with AOL.

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To: M CAHILL who started this subject8/28/2001 9:25:39 AM
From: ms.smartest.person
   of 493
 
Ericsson and Sony in mobile tie-up
Tuesday, 28 August, 2001, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
news.bbc.co.uk


Ericsson: Making phones few people want to buy

Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson and Sony have confirmed they are to merge their mobile businesses in a joint venture.
The move - first announced earlier this year - can be seen as an attempt to gain a march on mobile giants Nokia and Motorola.

Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications sold about 50 million mobile phones last year, with pro forma revenues of $7.2bn (£4.9bn).

Both companies are expected to continue selling their phones under their current brand names, with a new brand name expected in the second half of next year.

There are clear advantages to both companies of a merger, David Clevely, managing director of Analysys, told the BBC's World Business Report.

Unpopular phones

"Ericsson have produced some extremely good mobile phones, but they don't sell very well because the consumers don't like them very much...Sony has has failed to get into what other would otherwise be a natural consumer gadget market for them," he said.

"Sony has got a very major market in Europe...in broadcasting and consumer goods," he said. "In mobile products, it has been pretty bad at making any inroads."

"The mobile market is dominated by Nokia, it is very difficult for other smaller manufacturers to get in and grab a slice of the cake," he said.

"They have a good chance of overcoming what would otherwise be a pretty difficult trick to pull off," he said.

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To: M CAHILL who started this subject10/2/2001 4:26:18 AM
From: ms.smartest.person
   of 493
 
Sony sees games making profit in 2001-02


TOKYO, Japan (CNN) --Sony said its PlayStation 2 was already turning a profit and its games division would likely be profitable in the year to next March, despite economic woes.

"So far, Sony management has no reason to make any revision in sales targets for the PlayStation," Sony chief executive Nobuyuki Idei told reporters on Monday.

"We're confident regarding sales of the PlayStation in the current season despite the impact of the (U.S. air attack) incident."

Idei cited delays in the launch of rival next-generation game consoles and recent price cuts in Europe as factors likely to bolster PlayStation sales, while falling chip and component prices were helping to cut costs.

The world's largest audio and video equipment maker kept its target of shipping 20 million of the game consoles this business year when it announced last Friday a cut in its forecasts for 2001-02 consolidated sales and profits.

That downward revision, reflecting the grim outlook for the consumer electronics market that was made worse by last month's air attacks in Washington D.C. and New York, spurred a tumble in Sony's stock price on Monday.

Sony shares slipped further on Tuesday in Tokyo, losing almost 2 percent by midday to 4020 yen.

Sony-Ericsson handset hopes
Idei also said he was upbeat about the prospects for his company's wireless handset joint venture with Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson, which was launched on Monday.

He doubted the joint venture's first product, set for release in the third quarter of next year, would be for high-speed third generation (3G) wireless technology, which made its global debut in commercial service in Japan on Monday.

Rather, he expected it would be for the interim "2.5G" general packet radio service due for launch in Europe by the end of this year.

"Both companies will keep their (own) products for a while and will make their line-up, and then there will be integration," he said.

Idei reiterated that the company's earnings forecast revisions last Friday took into account the potential effects of last month's attacks on U.S. targets, although he stressed the difficulty of gauging the impact.

"We really feel consumer demand shrank since April," he added. "This is probably bigger than the impact of the terrorism in America."

Still, he also expressed worries that the attacks could spur a flow of funds from the U.S. to Japan, further strengthening the yen and undermining yen-based profits for multinational companies such as Sony.

He added the company would keep all of its options open with regard to Aiwa, an ailing audio equipment manufacturing subsidiary that last week said it expected to post a $334.5 million net loss this year.

Sony has sent a management team to restructure and "stop the bleeding" at Aiwa, and Idei said the next phase could involve any of a number of options, including the sale of the subsidiary.

Reuters contributed to this report.



cnn.com

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To: M CAHILL who started this subject11/1/2001 3:19:21 PM
From: ms.smartest.person
   of 493
 
Sony's robot-dog gets hacked
By Graeme Wearden, ZDNet (UK)
November 1, 2001 10:53 AM PT
URL: zdnet.com
Sony has forced a programmer to remove from his Web site code that changed the behavior of its Aibo robot dog.

According to a report in New Scientist, the programs gave Aibo new functionality. One, called Disco Aibo, made the robotic canine dance to music.

Sony protested, saying that the applications used proprietary and encrypted code. The Japanese company demanded the removal of the programs, along with details of Aibo's software protection.

The anonymous enthusiast has complied but insists that he never published any specific details of how to break the security of Sony's Memory Stick storage media, which stores the programs that define Aibo's behavior.

New Scientist reported that some figures in the robotics community are unhappy that Sony clamped down on efforts to customize Aibo. They believe that the community of Aibo hackers would have benefited from knowing how to successfully modify the dog's behavior.

Sony launched the original Aibo robot dog in 1999 and sold over 45,000 models. An updated, and cheaper, version hit Japanese shops in November 2000.

Two new models were launched this autumn. "Latte" and "Macaron" are described by the company as "cute, cuddly and intelligent," and Sony has predicted they will be popular items during the holiday shopping season.

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To: M CAHILL who started this subject11/13/2001 10:52:07 AM
From: ms.smartest.person
   of 493
 
AOL Time Warner, Sony in New Alliance

By Alec Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 13, 2001; Page E01


AOL Time Warner Inc. and Sony Corp. said yesterday that they will jointly develop an array of online consumer products to pave the way for the day when people's homes and the electronic devices in them become tied together in a common communications network.

The alliance, which has been in the works for more than a year, is a potentially powerful marriage of AOL Time Warner, the world's largest Internet and media company, and Sony, the world's largest consumer electronics maker. It brings together the online market leader with more than 31 million subscribers, with the Japanese company's stable of entertainment content and expertise in consumer hardware, more than 100 million units of which are sold annually.

AOL Time Warner Chairman Steve Case said the alliance aims to capitalize on the growth of high-speed Internet connections and home networks over the next decade, and he compared it to the early partnership between Microsoft Corp. and chipmaker Intel Corp. that drove the development of the personal computer.

Case offered few details yesterday about the terms of the alliance, including what both parties are investing in it, what devices will be developed and how they will be connected to each other. The companies' vision, however, is to create a broad technology platform that brings together a host of consumer devices, from televisions to stereos to computers, allowing people to simultaneously view movies, listen to music and share other entertainment content over multiple devices. The devices would be connected to the Web through high-speed connections, including cable or telephone lines, or satellite or wireless networks.

"It should be everything connected to everything, a seamless integration into people's lives," Case said in an interview.

For all his enthusiasm, some ballyhooed AOL Time Warner announcements involving consumer hardware have fallen short of expectations, including AOLTV, the company's interactive television offering. Indeed, Case said, "We don't believe hardware is our forte."

Case said the alliance will be headed up from AOL Time Warner's side by William J. Raduchel, chief technology officer, who reports directly to the chairman.

The two sides said they would explore the idea of AOL Time Warner providing Internet access service for Sony's networked devices in the United States, but officials said it was too early to elaborate on those plans. AOL Time Warner, however, said the home networks potentially would be available to subscribers of other online services.

"These are two major players in their respective spaces trying to ensure they support each other with future growth opportunities," said analyst John Corcoran of CIBC World Markets. "AOL does not want to get stuck with dial-up [telephone Internet] access to the desktop [computer]. It wants to make sure its content and services are available over every access device and every transmission infrastructure."

For Sony, the alliance gives it access to the New York media giant's expertise in the online world and its huge base of Time Warner media content. "We'd like to make our products network-ready in the broadband network era," said Mack Araki, a spokesman for Sony Electronics.

The two sides already are partners in other ventures. Earlier this year, for example, AOL Time Warner said its Netscape browser to access Web sites is being developed for use in Sony's PlayStation 2 video-game console.

As part of their new alliance, the two companies said they will jointly develop an Internet browser for networked consumer electronic devices. The browser is aimed not only at future Sony products, but at the devices of other consumer electronics manufacturers. Asked whether the new browser was a challenge to Microsoft's dominant Internet Explorer, Case demurred, saying it was a "small part" of his company's arrangement with Sony.

Case declined to say whether the browser would be based on Netscape, saying only it would be built on "existing technologies." He said the browser would be designed for consumer electronics devices, but not the personal computer.

AOL Time Warner has made other forays into the browser market. It recently introduced a new version of its software, Netscape 6.1, and last year, Netscape browser technology was incorporated into a Gateway Inc. computer appliance.

Microsoft, which dominates the PC browser market with its Internet Explorer, looked askance at AOL Time Warner's latest effort to expand its own browser business.

"To some degree, I think this is about playing catch-up," said Microsoft spokesman Matt Pilla. "The reality is, we provide a turnkey solution for consumers today."



washingtonpost.com

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To: M CAHILL who started this subject11/26/2001 4:17:52 AM
From: ms.smartest.person
   of 493
 
WSJ/Boom Town: Sony's Reticence in Boom Times Puts It in Position to Step Ahead
November 19, 2001

By KARA SWISHER
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last year, Sony Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Nobuyuki Idei pondered the future of the world's largest consumer-electronics company caught in the maelstrom of the heady Internet age.

What technology or online company, he wondered, would be the ideal partner that would allow Sony to take full advantage of its many assets in the digital arena? And how should Sony use its famed brand name, rich content, high-quality hardware and strong consumer relationships to become a key Internet player?

He tossed out some partner possibilities: Yahoo, AOL Time Warner and Microsoft. He didn't let on what he considered best for Sony.

Last week, at the giant Comdex show in Las Vegas, Sony's thinking became clearer. Sony announced a series of deals, including an ambitious, if vague, plan to work with AOL on developing easy-to-use high-speed home networks, innovative online content and devices, and even a new Internet browser. It also announced new initiatives related to cellphones and unveiled several new Net-enabled electronic products.

More important, in his keynote speech at the show, Sony's president and chief operating officer Kunitake Ando made the company's firmest declaration yet that it intends to become a "ubiquitous value network," providing a range of consumer-friendly interactive services to any device anywhere.

It's about time.

Despite its enviable digital assets, Sony has been the Hamlet of the interactive stage -- unable to decide "to be" -- largely due to an internal culture that kept its many independent fiefdoms from working together as a powerful whole.

The company has promised to fix the problem before. Last year, after the merger of AOL and Time Warner was announced, Sony said it was reorganizing management to better take advantage of the rapid convergence that was going on. "If they ever accomplish this, Sony could really make a big difference in the power dynamics of the industry," said one Silicon Valley player last week. "The problem is, we have all gotten tired of waiting for it to happen."

Sony execs claim things are different now that Internet mania has calmed and the world is on the cusp of a broadband future perfectly suited for their company. "We have taken a lot of heat ... but we seem to be getting beyond the issues of how to cooperate among ourselves," said Howard Stringer, chairman and CEO of Sony's U.S. holding company, in an interview last week. "There is no one at the company -- in Toyko or here -- who does not understand now how this all has to be interrelated."

It certainly is a tough time for Sony to step up its profile. The weak economy world-wide is limiting. Sony itself has felt the impact, especially in its flagship consumer-electronics area, reporting a $107 million loss for its recent quarter and forecasting that profits for the full year will be cut in half from the year before.

Do you think Sony can become a major leader in the interactive space or not? Write me at kara.swisher@wsj.com1 and come see the debate Friday at WSJ.com/BoomTown2.

Still, it may not be such a bad time to begin striking out. Since the Internet bust leaves huge opportunities for stable players, companies like Sony may be in the best position to benefit when the next chapter of the interactive revolution begins.

To its credit, the company never jumped heedlessly into the frothy period, as other large media conglomerates, like Walt Disney Co., did. Now Sony's conservatism has turned out to look pretty smart.

"While we are not entirely blameless, we definitely didn't go charging in," said Mr. Stringer, who credits managers in Japan for Sony's restraint. "They were rightly suspicious of the business plans and found the bubble to be a bubble."

While it considered a range of moves, such as investing heavily in both the Excite and Yahoo portals in their heyday, it didn't do most of them in the end. "I definitely was nervous since everyone was getting rich but us," recalled Mr. Stringer. "But we held back and as a result did not get as burned."

Now that the interactive space has been "whittled down to make sense," Mr. Stringer thinks Sony has the right stuff to prevail. He may be right, given that Sony holds many impressive and wide-ranging interactive assets.

In hardware, it offers well-made digital cameras, music players, hand-helds, computers and the leading game-player unit, the PlayStation 2, that has many other interactive possibilities. It is developing potentially promising interactive subscription services in music, games and movies, and holds licenses for interactive television applications. And its media unit holds important parcels of entertainment content.

What it doesn't have is distribution, an impetus behind its push into broadband with AOL, and the reason for an earlier marketing deal with Yahoo to hawk its products, content and services online.

Indeed, the AOL broadband alliance, if done correctly, holds a lot of potential, especially since it will help ward off challenges from Microsoft, which is battling both companies in a number of consumer and home entertainment markets. The software company is spending prodigiously to launch a game-player competitor to PS2, called Xbox. Both products have aspirations well beyond games, hoping to use such devices to deliver a range of online offerings over high-speed lines in the future.

That's why Sony is developing technologies such as Feel, which aims to join all kinds of devices in a high-speed wireless home network. With open standards and the link with the popular AOL, Mr. Stringer thinks Sony is "traveling at the right pace with the right partners." He doesn't believe the company needs to make many major acquisitions to realize its goals.

Of course, Sony's success here depends on the rapid rollout of broadband and getting consumers to pay for more interactive subscription services -- a dream still not realized. It would also help if the economy turned around, too.

When it does, Mr. Stringer thinks Sony will be ready. "After all this talk about the promises of synergy," he said, "we hope to begin to see the advantages."

Or, in more literary terms: To be or not to be, that is the question.


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Copyright © 2001 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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To: ms.smartest.person who wrote (420)12/4/2001 3:18:49 AM
From: Charles Tutt
   of 493
 
Seen on the Web; no comment:

theregister.co.uk

Charles Tutt (TM)

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