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Is Google the Next Netscape?

The Seattle Times said that it "is unclear whether MSN also plans to release its desktop-search software tomorrow along with its new Internet search engine. The company said yesterday it would not comment on its plans until today." (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer didn't report the search engine preview development, but reported on other tidbits from yesterday's annual shareholder's meeting).

Fickle Cisco

Cisco Systems Inc.'s first-quarter results are getting mixed reviews. The Wall Street Journal said the company's numbers "offered new causes for worry about the strength of the high-tech recovery, with middling fiscal first-quarter results and a tepid outlook for coming months. Cisco of San Jose, Calif., reported first-quarter revenue slightly below analysts' expectations. Orders trailed shipments. A key profit measure declined. And Cisco failed to reduce inventories that had grown rapidly in recent quarters."
The Wall Street Journal: Cisco Adds To High-Tech Worries (Subscription required)

_____About Filter_____
Filter looks at the day's top technology news through snapshots and analysis of what the world's media outlets are covering. Washingtonpost.com's new Mon.-Fri. feature is penned by technology reporter Cynthia L. Webb. If a technology story breaks, a company falters or triumphs, or there's a new trend in technology, Filter wants you to know about it.

_____Filter Archive_____
Techs Can't Find Hangover Cure (washingtonpost.com, Nov 11, 2004)
Microsoft's Legal Cleanup Day (washingtonpost.com, Nov 9, 2004)
Microsoft Plans Heavy Hype for 'Halo 2' (washingtonpost.com, Nov 8, 2004)
'Incredibles' Shows Pixar's Super Powers (washingtonpost.com, Nov 5, 2004)
Tech Investors See Brighter Future (washingtonpost.com, Nov 4, 2004)
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The San Jose Mercury News said analysts weren't happy with Cisco's "tepid sales outlook and its reticence on future technology spending. The San Jose company, a tech bellwether that is the world's leading seller of computer networking equipment, was unusually guarded in commenting on the outlook for tech spending. 'I'd characterize this quarter as just down the middle of the fairway,' Cisco Chief Executive John Chambers said of the company's outlook." But the Associated Press took a rosier look, noting the company's "first-quarter profits jumped 29 percent as the network equipment giant saw growth in its traditional routing markets as well as its emerging technologies like Internet telephone and home networking gear."
The San Jose Mercury News: Cisco Profit Up 29% To Record (Registration required)
The Associated Press via washingtonpost.com: Cisco's Fiscal 1Q Profit Jumps 29 Percent (Registration required)

A bright spot for Cisco? The increasing demand for Internet phone calling services and the gadgets that power VoIP technology. "Cisco fared better in sales of its Internet phones for sending voice calls over the Net. Chambers said the company sold more than 500,000 units in the quarter, bringing in 2% more revenue than in the fourth quarter even though the average price fell. The biggest orders came from Bank of America Corp., which is installing 180,000 of the gadgets, and Ford Motor Co., which plans to use 50,000. Cisco Chief Technology Officer Charles Giancarlo said his company had become one of the four largest U.S. suppliers of private branch exchanges, which route calls inside companies," the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Los Angeles Times: Internet Phone Demand Helps Lift Cisco Profit (Registration required)

Speaking of VoIP...

Thanks to a new FCC decision, Uncle Sam is taking the front seat when it comes to regulating the burgeoning world of 'Net phone service. The move is seen as a boon for Internet phone players who have worried that a host of conflicting state regulations would handicap the industry.

"Federal regulators gave a big boost to Internet phone call providers Tuesday by protecting the rapidly growing service from state regulation. The Federal Communications Commission voted 5 to 0 to give Internet telephony companies the sort of relative regulatory freedom enjoyed by the cellphone industry," the Los Angeles Times said. "The unanimous decision -- rare for the FCC -- is expected to speed the rollout of voice over Internet protocol, or VOIP, which is hailed by many as the next frontier in the $300-billion telecommunications industry."
The Los Angeles Times: FCC Exempts VoIP From State Rules (Registration required)

The Washington Post said the "unanimous ruling in a case involving Vonage Holdings Corp. was a victory for companies offering local and long-distance phone service over high-speed Internet connections. It was a defeat for state utilities regulators who sought to subject the new Internet services to many of the fees and regulations they have long applied to traditional phone providers."
The Washington Post: FCC Asserts Role As Internet Phone Regulator (Registration required)

USA Today said the FCC's ruling is a "step that could help boost the emerging services" and noted the "ruling applies to cable, phone and other companies offering an Internet phone service similar to the one Vonage provides. The decision does not, however, preclude states from imposing some taxes and fees. It also does not address access charges, which are fees paid to local phone companies for completing calls sent via the Internet to conventional phones."
USA Today: FCC Exempts VoIP Phone Service From State Regulation

Spit, Spam's Cousin

Add "spit" to your list of tech jargon. USA Today reports that "'Spit' -- spam over Internet telephony -- is beginning to surface as more people make phone calls over the Internet instead of regular phone lines, security experts say. Spit isn't much of a problem now, 'But it will be,' says Pierce Reid at Qovia, which develops products to manage voice networks. Marketers can program their computers to send 1,000 voice messages a minute over Internet-telephony technology, according to one recent Qovia test, Reid says. The company has filed patents for software products to thwart spit."
USA Today: Irritated By Spam? Get Ready for Spit

Filter is designed for hard-core techies, news junkies and technology professionals alike. Have suggestions, cool links or interesting tales to share? Send your tips and feedback to cindyDOTwebbATwashingtonpost.com.


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