According to research group Forrester, US e-retailers continue to struggle. A recent Forrester report describes recent weeks as a dot-com funeral procession, as Value America, carOrder.com, auctions.com and the Amazon Commerce Network regrouping reported heavy losses.
The Forrester report predicts that to stay in business, retailers will be forced to work together as eBusiness networks. Current trends toward partnerships and mergers are set to continue as e-tailers increasingly depend on pooled infrastructure and resources.
Forrester's analysts also believe that free links will push marketers and merchandisers towards such partnerships and affiliate links, like those run by Be Free and LinkShare, will be the key to the creation of revenue streams.
The report suggests that new cooperative business models will ultimately lead to basic technology and design expertise becoming shared utilities.
According to a report from PCWorld.com, incompatibilities are surfacing with Microsoft's Windows Millennium Edition and certain antivirus and personal firewall programs.
Among the Windows 98 programs that have had problems with Me are: personal security tools such as Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2000, Norton Personal Firewall 2000, Network ICE's BlackICE Defender, and Network Associates' McAfee PGP Personal Privacy.
Microsoft says the Windows 98 versions of these applications might be having problems because of at least two key changes in Windows Me that weren't anticipated by all vendors.
One is that Microsoft no longer supports DOS for Windows Me users. Real Mode DOS is a character-based operating system, and all earlier versions of Windows 9x allowed access to it so users could run non-Windows DOS programs. Also, the new OS uses the Windows 2000 TCP/IP networking stack instead of the one from Windows 98.
Growth in handhelds
Mobile users made a charge toward the Web in recent months, adopting a wide range of Web-enabled handheld devices. A recent study released by Media Metrix showed a surge in the number of US households connecting to the Net via non-PC digital devices.
Market research company Media Metrix said 7.4 million US homes now lay claim to Internet-ready handheld units including cell phones, PDAs (personal digital assistants) and pagers. Since April, the number of device owners grew 12 per cent, representing an annualised growth rate of 48 per cent.