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Monday, August 02, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
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Interesting bits and bytes

By CompiledTimes technology Staff

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Bill Gates said last week that people often come up to him in public and say random things.

"I don't always pay attention," he said, speaking at the company's annual meeting of financial analysts. But he did pay attention recently when people came up to him at a movie theater and said, "Thanks for the $3."

They were referring to the $3-per-share dividend Microsoft is proposing to pay its shareholders. The dividend shows that the software business model has come a long way, he said. Gates didn't say what movie he saw. Ben Affleck's "Paycheck," maybe?

Coming soon

The Xbox team has promised to roll out some stealth marketing campaigns to promote the highly anticipated game "Halo 2" and, sure enough, the movie trailer that's advertising the game shows a brief glimpse of the Web site

The site looks like a page about beekeeping that has been hacked. It links to what appears to be a blog of someone who is trying to fix the hack but is stumped.

There's a pretty obvious hint on the blog that Microsoft is behind it. The blogger refers to the date Aug. 24 — presumably because that's when another marketing stunt will occur — and lists major world events that have taken place on Aug. 24: the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii, the completion of the Gutenberg Bible's printing, and ... the release date of Windows 95?

Speed by cable

The number of subscribers to cable-modem service is expected to grow worldwide to 69.4 million in 2008 from 32.8 million in 2003.

Source: IDC

What a surprise

Nintendo last week announced the official name for the upcoming Nintendo DS handheld console. It will now be called ... the Nintendo DS. The company liked the code name so much it decided to make it the official product name.

In a separate announcement, Nintendo said its net profit nearly doubled for its April, May and June quarter compared with the same period in 2003.

Analyst P.J. McNealy of American Technology Research noted that Nintendo has sold 53 million Game Boy Advance units to date, compared with 71 million PlayStation 2 units shipped by Sony. Nintendo continues to be the dominant player in the handheld market, McNealy said.

It wasn't us

Someone on had quite a bit of fun last week dreaming up headlines for Microsoft's new MSN Newsbot tool, which collects news articles from around the world and personalizes news searches.

A posting on Slashdot listed "current headlines" for the MSN site, including the following:

"Anti-Trust Legislation: Evil or Just Wrong?"

"Office XP: Best Software Ever!"

"Internet Explorer Holes Largely Fiction"

"Child Killed by Linux Installer"

"Jesus Uses XP"

"Spyware Ain't So Bad."

On the record

New book: Rich Tong and John Zagula of Bellevue venture-capital company Ignition Partners have written "The Marketing Playbook: Five Battle-Tested Plays for Capturing and Keeping the Lead in Any Market." The book, not yet available, is about the marketing tactics used by the two former Microsoft employees.

Funding: Seattle-based NetMotion has raised $3 million in an initial close of a third round of funding. Most of the company's previous investors participated. The company has raised $22.4 million total.

New office: Bellevue-based Waggener Edstrom Strategic Communications is announcing the opening of an office in Washington, D.C.

Awards: Frost & Sullivan has given the 2004 Product Leadership Award in Homeland Security and Surveillance to Seattle-based Advanced Interactive Systems.

Download, a column of news bits, observations and miscellany, is gathered by The Seattle Times technology staff. We can be reached at 206-464-2265 or

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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