Stories by Peter Wayner
Gathering competitive intelligence over the Internet is a deadly serious game that can be played in many ways. There's a wealth of information readily available, and it can offer a surprising amount of insight into the competition's next move. Savvy companies are keeping close tabs on competitors in a variety of ways.
For many people in the computing industry, the fight card for the next several years is dominated by one colossal battle for supremacy: Windows vs. Linux. At first glance, the issues seem simple. Microsoft Corp. will offer software compatibility and stability, while Linux will counter with low cost and full access to everything under the hood. Some see it as a battle between being coddled (or regulated) and being free.
Elizabeth Osder designs Web sites for companies like the Financial Times in London, and she has a problem. A vice president at iXL Enterprises Inc. in New York, she knows that the sites she designs must deliver readers and revenue. Many readers can bring in lots of revenue. But this revenue can be cut dramatically if someone steals the sites' content -- text, images and layout. And digital content is easy to cut and paste.