March 13, 2008
Steve Ballmer Speaks
For those follow such things, Steve Ballmer's keynote speech at Microsoft's Convergence Conference is online here.
Another Patent Suit Against (Yawn) Apple and iTunes
It covers transport for songs between us and them (cue Pink Floyd). Macworld covers it.
Digital Content is Greater Than Storage Capacity
That's the conclusion of an IDC study sponsored by EMC. We hit about 281 billion Gigabytes in 2007. IDC thinks that only half of digital created content will be stored by 2011. I wonder if they are including the data collected by the government for purposes of defeating terrorism. There may not be any left for the rest of us in 2011 if that's the case.
Ars Technica has the details.
Plaintiff in AT&T Spying Case Profiled
Who is this Hepting fellow, who is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against AT&T for allegedly cooperating with the government illegally in domestic spying. Wired profiles the guy and has a short interview with him. Unlike the government, he doesn't mind talking. His family has a history of government surveillance.
March 12, 2008
Cops Don't Like Rate My Cop
The "Rate My..." trend in web sites can get to be a little ridiculous at times, what with sites such as Rate My Mullet, Rate My Fish Tank, and Rate My Kitten (no wait, kittens are cute). There are even ratings sites related to, ahem, adult matters operating completely without shame. Professionals get their share with teacher sites, lawyer sites, and professor sites, among others.
Now cops are getting the treatment with RateMyCop.com. The bottom line on this one is that cops don't think much of the site. That would be one thing, but GoDaddy, the domain name registrar for the site pulled the plug on the registration and took the site out of the DNS system. They first gave first one excuse, suspicious activity, and then another about exceeding bandwidth. The site disputes both and apparently has found a new registrar because it's back online, albeit with slow loading pages. Is this another form of "bandwidth management" because the content is controversial though legal? It will be interesting to see where this one goes.
YouTube's Big Deal
The big YouTube announcement that everyone anticipated for today was not that Google finally figured out how to make money from the site, or that copyright holders stopped suing the site (not as if that's going to happen soon). Instead, the site announced new APIs that would make it easier for sites to add uploading capability directly to YouTube. In essence, with the right programming, any site that wants to host video and allow its users to interact with videos of their own can use YouTube as the backbone host directly from their site. Everyone gets to be their own YouTube with the YouTube video collection as the source.
Spreading around the access may seem dilute YouTube as a destination, but more may be going on here. Critics have complained that Google hasn't figured out how to make money from YouTube. The user community tends to go nuts when the idea comes up about providing ads along with video. Historically it's been a very touchy issue for the YouTube site, but not necessarily for third party sites using the same content. While it's all free to the sites who want to use it, might there somehow be ad revenue lurking in the background? And if so, how does that stack up with the licensing agreements YouTube and Google struck with various media companies. Google's motto is "don't be evil," and that is obviously not inconsistent with "let's find creative ways to make money." Nothing wrong with either of those.
YouTube's announcement is here.
March 11, 2008
Microsoft Appeals Vista Class Action Certification
Microsoft is appealing the class action certification in the Vista Capable lawsuit. The company is asking the judge to delay the suit until the 9th Circuit can decide whether class plaintiffs from around the country can sue under Washington State consumer protection laws. The company claims proceeding would force it to direct employees to deal with the suit instead of their jobs, thus harming the company. And lurking in the background, of course, is another potential round of damaging emails and other documents that may come out through further discovery. It was hard to put a good face on the last batch. Here they are, courtesy of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which also has the details on this latest move.
EU Clears Google-DoubleClick, Privacy Out In the Cold
The European Union cleared the merger between Google and DoubleClick today without any particular conditions attached. The U.S Department of Justice cleared the deal some months ago. Now all that remains is for Google to take possession and integrate DoubleClick into the vast Google empire. The EU did not address privacy concerns in its statement approving the merger. The concern had been that combining Google's knowledge of users with that of DoubleClick would create a vast database of user habits that no single company should have. Microsoft and Yahoo! were both suitors to DoubleClick and lost out in the bidding, which makes one wonder if they would be better stewards of this information. That is doubtful. The EU looked at market competition in the ad business and stated that Google could not monopolize the ad market as there were credible and substantial alternatives, such as Microsoft, Yahoo!, and AOL, at least until any of those merge. The story is in, appropriately enough, the AP via Google.
While we're on the subject of privacy, tracking web habits, and the like, it's worthwhile to take a look at this story in the New York Times. The Times and comScore have teamed up to produce a study that attempts to quantify just how much Internet users are tracked by various companies. Yahoo! collected the most data with about 110 billion collections per month and Yahoo! pages. And this company thinks that Google owning DoubleClick is a bad idea. Moreover, this company pales in comparison to the amount of money Google makes. It's no wonder that Microsoft wants this company given the treasure trove of untapped revenue from targeted ads.
March 10, 2008
IE 8, Firefox 3 Betas Out
Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 is available here. It passes the Acid2 test. So far. And not to be left out, Firefox 4 beta 4 for Vista is also available, here. Is any of this destined to get market share for Opera. I don't think so.
EMI Keeps Membership in IFPI
EMI has struck a deal withe the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) for reduced membership rates. The organization represents music labels on an international basis. Venture capitalists took over the label some time back and threatened to leave the organization due to a lack of return on the membership fees, estimated at $250 million. Specifically, the cash that was paying for anti-piracy lawsuits was high compared to the result of not stopping piracy. Apparently EMI was not happy with the symbolism given the cost. Other major labels also benefit from the reduced fees which will have the effect of reducing the IFPI budget.