April 13, 2006
Report: Beatles To Sell Songs Online
The lawsuit by Apple Corps (The Beatles) against Apple Computer (Steve Jobs) has taken an interesting twist. The trial ended about a week ago with a decision to come some time after Easter. Testimony be Neil Aspinall, one of the road managers for the group and head of the company disclosed as a witness that Apple the label is preparing new masters of the Beatles catalog for sale through online music services. No details as to what "new masters" means or if any deals have been struck. The Beatles have never shown any interest in selling online before. Any music service with serious ambitions would lust for Beatles product. This should shake up the market.
Here's the Reuters report via the Washington Post.
April 11, 2006
Microsoft EU Appeal Starts April 24th
When Microsoft appears before the European Court of First Instance on the 24th of April, it will argue that the EU Commission antitrust order threatens the company's intellectual property rights. The Commission had ordered, among other things, that the company disclose certain protocols to competitors to make their software work better with Windows. The Commission, on the other hand, contends that while Microsoft argues about its trade secrets, these do not constitute intellectual property. The Commission also points to the dominance of Windows and states that not all Microsoft protocols are "innovative." That was a word bandied about a lot during the U.S. trial when Microsoft claimed the need to add features to the operating system in order to innovate.
It will be interesting to see how the CFI deals with this argument compared to U.S. Courts. The Court has been unfriendly to the Commission in past competition rulings, although it did refuse Microsoft's request to suspend the approximately $600 million fine pending the appeal.
It's Patch Tuesday
Microsoft released a patch that fixes 10 count 'em 10 vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer, including some that are being actively exploited. Visit Windows Update to get it or have automatic update turned on in XP.
CNET has details on the fix.
April 10, 2006
Google and Earthlink Team to Build SF Wi-Fi Net
Google and Earthlink are teaming up to build a "free" Wi-Fi network in San Francisco, but not everyone is cheering. Given the old axiom that there is no such thing as a free lunch, Google is proving it by tracking users to within a few hundred feet of businesses and serving up ads to their machines. If that's not scary enough, the company plans to keep the data for up to 180 days before deleting it. Goggle will require a Google login to access the service. Earthlink intends to provide a pay-for version of the service that offers faster and higher bandwidth.
This has set the Electronic Frontier Foundation a bit on edge over the (lack of) privacy implications. Their concern is the cumulative data on user locations will set off a data mining spree on the part of law enforcement and private investigators, and just plain erode the privacy concerns of individuals. San Francisco is known as one of the most liberal cities in America where the rights of the people are valued much higher than the business of corporations. The attitude is so prevalent that it drew a wicked parody in a recent episode of South Park. But that's another story.
The San Francisco Chronicle quotes a citizen or two as not being too concerned over the tracking element of free access. The city's executive director of its technology department said that privacy was a factor in selecting a bidder. The contract has yet to be worked out as to details and has yet to be approved by the Board of Supervisors, the equivalent of a city counsel. Unlike some aldermanic bodies that act as a rubber stamp to city management (are you listening Chicago?), the Board is very active in governing the city. It should be interesting when the Board members get around to the details.
There is some decided contrast to this approach to Internet access compared to the early days. The famous cartoon of a dog in front of a computer with the caption "On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog" should now read "On the Internet, not only do we know you're a dog, we know what kind of dog you are, what's your gender, what you like to eat, who owns you, who you hang out with, where you go for walks, what you do on your stops, what your last 5 addresses are, what your shopping habits are, your eBay and/or PayPal account is about to be suspended, and would you like some Viagra, etc." The things we've grown to put up with for access to the web.
The Chronicle's story is here.