Last March, the European Union’s Antitrust Regulators slapped Microsoft with a whopping $624,000,000.00 fine (that’s 624 million United States Dollars – and that ain’t chump change!) for using their market-dominating Windows software “abusively” to lock out competition in the EU. Additionally, the Redmond, WA based software giant was forced to share their source code selectively with rivals to encourage competition.
EU antitrust chief Neelie Kroes said last week she wants to take stock of the situation by Wednesday and could move to impose sanctions on noncompliance soon afterward if she is not satisfied with the concessions. The EU has within its rights the possibility to fine Microsoft up to 5 percent of its daily global sales for each day that a decision is not applied to its satisfaction.
In other words, Microsoft will be subject to huge fines and penalties if, by Wednesday, 01 June 2005, there aren’t more concessions made in favor of the competition in Europe. Microsoft has yet to reach a compromise as the deadline looms nearer, and the EU threatens sanctions and punishment that could be as steep as 5% of Microsoft’s global daily sales for each day that passes after the deadline, before an agreement is reached. And that really isn’t chump change.
Microsoft EU Antitrust Case | KOMO
Recently I purchased a 5GB Zen Micro, made by Creative Labs - the same company that practically birthed the sound card industry. While not an avid fan of Apple’s iPod, I have to appreciate the simplicity of it’s software. Create playlists, download music, etc. and just plug it in and you’re done.
The complete opposite exists for the Zen Micro. You plug it in, load up the software, and slowly sort its contents using the “Zen Micro Media Explorer” or “Creative Mediasource.” The player itself is incredibly simple and user-friendly. An adjustable touchpad, simple interface, numerous ways to sort music, and customizable menus.
The same can’t be said for their software. Slow, tedious, and just plain inefficient are words I use to describe either program you can use for the Zen Micro. I only criticize because I know they should be able to do better than this. Take the Nomad Explorer for instance, it has far more features and is faster and easier to use than Creative’s software. I love the player, but Creative needs to step up their game if they want to seriously compete with the iPod lines.
We all hate it. We know how damaging it can be. Spyware causes the average computer user to despise getting on the internet. In some cases, it gets as severe as being the cause of identity theft. The House is trying to eliminate these malicious programs and the people that distribute them. Violators of the House’s new bill are looking at 2 years minimum for breaking these laws and more if identity theft is involved.
Read More | CNN.com
Earlier at the D: All Things Digital Conference, Steve Jobs made it known that the next version of iTunes will include built-in support for podcasts. To make that a bit clearer - iTunes 4.9 will have an option that will allow you to plug in the RSS feed URL of your favorite podcasts, which it will then use to fetch them out and download them directly to your library. No need for any third party software to do this for you any longer. What’s more, iTunes will provide a directory of podcasts in which producers can submit their work. Finally, Steve is even considering developing a model where content producers could sell their podcasts through iTunes. This is similar to what Google wants to do with video, but on the audio front. We can expect to see this new version of iTunes within the next 60 days.
Read More | O’Reilly Radar
If you are a current Windows XP user and want to try out Mac OS X but don’t feel like spending the cash on a new system then give this theme package a download. After downloading the install package and patching your UXTheme.dll file, then you will be able to experience Mac OS X on your Windows computer – at least the visual part. No need for a Mac emulator here. This is also great for people that love the Mac OS X interface and absolutely have to use a Windows based system.
Read More | FlyakiteOSX
For all you Linux gurus, SUSE Linux Professional 9.3 is now available for download via FTP. Just head on over to the SUSE mirror list and download from a nearby server. I recommend you download the mini install instead of the whole DVD. Usually you will only install a handful of applications rather than need a full DVD of applications.
Read More | SUSE FTP List
Dashboard is quickly becoming my favorite feature of Mac OSX 10.4. The explosion of widgets coming out lately blows my mind, but these are the ones that I loved so much that I had to share, because no Mac user should be without them. Read on to find out which they are.
Microsoft is testing out a new subscription PC Tune Up service with the help of their employees. They have distributed copies of the software to all their employees this past week and will be launching an invitation only test this summer. This software will be similar to Symantec’s large array of titles, as it aims to protect it’s users from viruses, spam, and also provide tools to help your computer perform better. There is no estimated price for the subscription or launch date, but the testing is expected to be in full force by the end of the year.
Read More | Silicon Valley Report
The Google search engine is a powerful force. We have all heard of the different ways you can manipulate the search field to find things that people would rather keep private. Now it appears that someone has uncovered another security flaw, this time concerning iCal. Now, after talking to Joel it was made clear to me that the user needs to do something in order to get their information out there. Apparently, if you publish your iCal, anyone can view it if they know what to plug in to Google. Check it out for yourself. Click on a result to view the calendar, addresses, appointments, and all. Unfortunately, many users will publish a calendar on the web to share with friends, family, or co-workers, not knowing that it would become available for all to see. Perusing through the search results, you can find personal addresses and phone numbers - things I am sure the users probably didn’t mean to broadcast across the interweb.
Yahoo! has made a very bold move in the digital audio download arena. Yahoo! Music Unlimited will bring its users music downloads, similar to services provided by Napster and Rhapsody, for the extremely low price of $7 per month. If you purchase one year all at once, it costs just $60 - that is $5 a month! The music is your standard DRM protected WMA format and can be transferred to portable devices, same thing offered by all the other music stores that aren’t called iTunes. It even allows you to share music via Yahoo! Messenger. Comparatively, NapsterToGo costs $15 per month. I have been messing around with the interface for a bit, and it is honestly just a bit buggy. My guess is that they will have their programmers working on a new build throughout the day in preparation for launch tomorrow. $60for one year’s worth of music? That just may be too hard to pass up.
Read More | Yahoo! Music Unlimited