article appeared in Wired at http://www.wired.com/news/news/technology/story/16617.html
3:00 a.m. 4.Dec.98.PST
your PC screen's desktop image: down past the browser window,
beyond the familiar task bar, and into the glassy darkness below.
There, where the Windows desktop ends, is exactly where The Pixel
Company's business plan begins.
its Windows-independent software, called MySpace, the Seattle
company wants to let PC manufacturers stake out screen space of
their own -- Microsoft be damned.
[PC manufacturers] are very interested in having a piece of real
estate that they can use to send their users a message and
communicate with them," said CEO Tom O'Rourke. "That's
what [MySpace] is designed to do."
shipping a trial version to PC vendors in June, The Pixel Company this week
made the software available to the public with free downloads
from its Web site.
plastic that holds the screen is a piece of real estate,"
O'Rourke said. "If you could provide access to AOL there,
[for example], AOL would be very happy. That's, in effect, what
we're doing. We're creating a virtual hardware frame for
appears as a rotating cylinder at the bottom of the computer that
is always visible to the user. By clicking on buttons and
rotating the cylinder, users can link to Web sites, view
scrolling tickers, and open applications.
resides in a space the size of the Windows task bar called the
overscan area. MySpace works independently of the operating
system by working directly with a monitor's video driver.
company's business will rely mainly on adoption of MySpace by PC
manufacturers who would use the utility to beckon users,
communicate with them, and draw them to their Web sites in much
the same way Microsoft and its Windows operating system do now.
with Internet banner ads, The Pixel Company would receive
royalties when users click on a vendor's MySpace button.
Placement on MySpace by content providers would provide secondary
software comes with nine pre-loaded directories -- including
finance, news, sports, and entertainment -- and features Internet
content companies such as Amazon.com, eBay, GoTo.com, Merriam-Webster, and Nasdaq-Amex.com.
appeal of the software was more obvious before the US Justice
Department's antitrust suit against Microsoft, said Giga Information Group analyst Rob
Enderle. Once the case is resolved, he said it may be easier for
other companies to achieve placement on the Windows desktop, and
that could undercut MySpace.
have a lot more flexibility with what they can do with the
initial Windows screen than they had in the past. So, they'll be
looking at [MySpace] to provide some level of
differentiation," Enderle said.
vendor Packard Bell NEC, The Pixel Company's former corporate
parent, is the only vendor officially planning to distribute and
use MySpace on its PCs. But O'Rourke said The Pixel Company
expects to have two more PC vendors signed by the end of the
first quarter of 1999.
of the top manufacturers have shown interest in MySpace,
according to O'Rourke. But Enderle said computer makers were
unlikely to seriously begin evaluating the software for another