Business Briefs

Deskbound Australians see stars and stripesUS Web sites are twice as popular to Australian Web surfers as their homemade counterparts, says Internet ratings executive David Stewart-Hunter. The regional chief executive of Web ratings company Media Metrix, Stewart-Hunter said the online empire of Telstra attracted significantly less Australian visitors than Microsoft's global Internet dominion during the month of March. More specifically, Media Metrix estimates that Web sites lying under the Telstra umbrella, including, Big Pond and White Pages, attracted 1.5 million Australian visitors in March, whereas Microsoft's sites, including Hotmail and Ninemsn, received 2.2 million of the 4.456 million Australian-based hits in March. Overall, Australian-owned sites attracted only half the number of visitors of their US-owned counterparts. The list of the 10 global Web sites that Australians most visit, which includes Ninemsn, Yahoo, AOL, Telstra and Lycos, has not changed since Media Metrix started publishing monthly global ratings reports earlier this year, Stewart-Hunter added. to spend $10b to meet demandIntel plans to spend $10 billion ($US6 billion) this year to meet burgeoning worldwide demand for computer chips. "We originally thought we would spend $US5 billion this year, but we are spending a lot of money on equipment, and demand [or chips] has been very high this year," Howard High, an Intel spokesman said. "I think $US6 billion is the right number [for yearly spending]." Most of the expenditure will go toward increasing production capacity, while as much as 20 per cent of spending will be earmarked for production of flash memory, executives said. "We are clearly looking to expand capacity as we move forward, with microprocessors, chipsets and flash memory being in demand for devices of all kinds," Paul Otellini, executive vice president for the Intel architecture group, said. Intel recently purchased a manufacturing facility in the US that will be used in part to produce flash memory chips, Otellini said. ‘imminent demise' of dotcom retailersForrester Research has added its voice to the chorus of e-sceptics that have been hammering Internet retailers of late, with a report that predicts the demise of most Internet-only retailers by the end of next year. "The combination of weak financials, increasing competitive pressures and investor flight will drive most of today's dotcom retailers out of business by 2001," according to Forrester. The market researcher is predicting business-to-consumer e-commerce consolidation will come in three waves: first, companies selling products that have been successful online for a while, such as books and software, will start merging by late this year. Second, online merchants selling low-margin "undifferentiated products" such as electronics and toys "will collapse before marketing expenditures ramp up for the next holiday season". Finally, merchants selling heavily branded products such as apparel will be stable until 2002.

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