This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

All Comdex, All the Time
Nov 16 1999 12:00 AM PST

It's an annual rite: the Comdex trade show gridlocks Las Vegas and the industry media rolls out the wall-to-wall coverage. In this tech-saturated year of 1999 the coverage took on an air of carpet bombing.

Both CNET and MSNBC sported Comdex bundle pages. Everybody covered the first days' keynoters: Bill Gates, Linus Torvalds and HP's Carly Fiona. MSNBC gathered them all in a keynote bundle, with links to Webcasts.

As was Grokked yesterday, Bill Gates' opening speech got plenty of coverage. But the media gave the spotlight to Linux and handhelds, the contenders for the post-PC-era throne.

On the Linux front the Wall Street Journal's Lee Gomes headlined Red Hat's announced acquisition of open-source pioneer Cygnus Solutions, with a sidebar on the growing "portalization" strategy among Linux companies. As is its wont, the Journal sniffed at the dot-com practice of announcing endless losses in order to entice (or tweak) Wall Street. CNET noted that VA Linux Systems used the Comdex spotlight to price its long-anticipated IPO. MSNBC was still featuring a Friday Reuters story on Corel's plans to unveil a Linux system for the desktop - big news, because Linux is usually thought of as a server operating system. But as of early this morning MSNBC hadn't updated its coverage after Corel's Monday event.

Microsoft got its palm slapped hard at Comdex. Sony, the 800-lb. gorilla of consumer electronics, picked the Palm OS over Microsoft's Windows CE for its new line of handheld electronics products. The San Jose Mercury News' Deborah Claymon quoted IDG numbers and a Gartner Group VP to argue that Palm's parent, 3Com, has effectively forestalled Windows CE's expected market-share inroads. CNET's Stephanie Miles reported that Everex is abandoning its nonstarter line of Windows CE-based portables. And the Wall Street Journal, in a story on Psion's precarious attempt to create a new market category, noted that both Philips Electronics and South Korea's LG Electronics have recently pulled their Windows CE-based handhelds.

It's enough make the Redmond giant WinCE. - K.D.

Gates, Gadgets Kick off Changing Comdex

Comdex Front Page

Comdex Keynote Lineup

Red Hat to Acquire Cygnus Solutions in $698 Million All-Stock Transaction
Wall Street Journal
[Paid subscription required.]

Linux Firms Turn 'Dot-Com' to Sidestep 'Software Hitch'
Wall Street Journal
[Paid subscription required.]

VA Linux Seeks $66 Million in IPO

Sony Picks Palm OS Over Windows CE
San Jose Mercury news

Everex Abandons Palm-Sized PC Line

Psion Enters a New PC Realm, Filling Palmtop-Notebook Gap
Wall Street Journal
[Paid subscription required.]