1. Apple Goes Video, New York Times. Hoping its success in the music business translates to television, Apple is adding video content to iTunes — and rolling out a new video iPod. Via a deal with ABC it will sell episodes of five TV shows, including the hit “Desperate Housewives”, the day after they are broadcast for $1.99 each. The new video player iPod will be available in two models. Apple also unveiled a new generation of iMac desktops and took a stand against Microsoft’s effort to dominate the home media center with new media management software called Front Row.
2. Microsoft, RealNetworks Settle. ComputerWorld. Microsoft and RealNetworks have finally settled their antitrust case and struck a partnership to promote digital music and games. The settlement marks the resolution of the last major private antitrust case against Microsoft in the U.S. RealNetworks is also withdrawing its pending case in Europe. Microsoft will pay Real Networks $460 million to resolve all damages and claims in the suit. The new deal between the companies gives RealNetworks long-term access to Windows Media technologies. The two old rivals in media player software now have a common enemy in Apple Computer and its very successful iTunes software.
3. Comcast, Google Court AOL. BusinessWeek. Just last month, word was that Microsoft was in talks with Time Warner for a stake in AOL and a partnership deal for its MSN unit. Now, sources say that cable and broadband giant Comcast has teamed with search heavyweight Google to bid for a piece of AOL’s portal business. Not so long ago AOL was the whipping boy for a mega-merger gone bad, but now the explosion in Internet advertising has made its broad subscriber database a prize. Which companies win access to it remains an open question.
4. WiFi Deadlock May Get a Break. InfoWorld. Twenty-seven manufacturers of wireless LAN equipment have formed an industry coalition aimed at breaking a deadlock in efforts to establish a new, faster Wi-Fi standard. The Enhanced Wireless Consortium hopes to speed ratification of a standard by introducing its own specification with widespread industry support. The members represent the two camps that have argued bitterly over a standard, failing to achieve the majority support required by IEEE. The new specification should benefit users by ensuring interoperability of next-generation wireless products across a range of brands and platforms.
5. Mobile data security gets lost in mobile phone virus hysteria. Computerworld. Enterprises may be getting distracted by scary tales of mobile phone viruses, when what should really concern them is security of corporate data accessed from mobile devices. Speakers at the Smartphone Show in London this week point out that very few mobile viruses have actually proliferated in the market, and it may be that mobile operators are overstating the problem. What IT departments should focus on is doing a better job of securing data that is stored on mobile devices.
6. U.S. remains the world’s top spammer. Infoworld. The U.S. is still the world’s top spammer, but the percentage of unsolicited commercial email it’s generating is dropping, from 42 percent last year to 26 percent this year. Security vendor Sophos, which did the study, credits antispam task forces and ISPs in North America with getting much better at stopping spam. However, as spam drops in the US, the increasing broadband capacity of South Korea and China has made these countries more attractive to spammers. #2 spammer South Korea now has 20 percent share, while spam from third-place China rose to 16 percent. Some good news? Spam, isn’t getting worse: The total amount of spam being sent worldwide remains about the same.
7. Intel speeds up dual-core launch, driven by AMD. Infoworld. The success of rival AMD with its dual-core Opteron pushed Intel to accelerate its plans for a dual-core Xeon server processors. On Monday it took the wraps off its first dual-core Xeon chips for two-processor and four-processor servers. Previously known by the Paxville code name, the processors are around 50 percent more powerful than their single-core predecessors, but it will cost around 40 percent more. The version for two-chip servers is available immediately at 2.8GHz. The Dual-Core Xeon 7000 processor for multichip servers is expected within the next 60 days and will run at up to 3GHz.
8. Hotels moving away from Internet access fees. Wall Street Journal. That bane of business travel, the $9.95 daily Internet access charge from your hotel, is on its way out at some chains, The Wall Street Journal reports. Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts, Howard Johnson, InterContinental Hotels and Choice Hotels have all recently announced plans to offer some free Net access. Still, other chains are maintaining the fees, which are a lucrative bright spot in otherwise declining telecommunications revenues for the hospitality industry.
9. Samsung agrees to $300 million in DRAM price-fixing scheme. Infoworld.
Samsung Electronics has agreed to pay the second largest criminal antitrust fine in US history, $300 million, as part of its guilty plea for being part of an “international conspiracy” to fix prices on D-RAM. Between 1999 and 2002, the South Korean company conspired with other memory chip manufacturers to set prices of D-RAM sold to PC and server manufacturers, the US department of justice charged. Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, IBM and Gateway were all affected by the scheme. Samsung has agreed to cooperate with the government in its continuing investigation of other D-RAM producers.
10. Microsoft and Yahoo link up IM networks. NetworkWorld. Microsoft and Yahoo have agreed to make their instant-messaging networks partly interoperable by the second quarter of next year. Communication between MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger users will be limited to exchanging text messages, PC-to-PC voice chatting, and sharing contacts. The two services combined will have an estimated 275 million users. The two companies may be eyeing higher advertising revenue based on the larger pool of users, says John Delaney, an Ovum analyst. They may also be shoring up their positions against Google, which recently entered the IM space.