Saturday, May 31, 2008

Apple releases OS X 10.5.3, users report problems

The update to Apple's operating system fixes a multitude of its security vulnerabilities, but some users are reporting issues with graphics and Adobe CS3 after upgrading.

Along with fixing issues with incorrect fonts, video and audio playback, and wireless network connectivity, at least two dozen security issues were patched.

Mac OS X's Web server, based on Apache, has been updated. This was done by upgrading the version shipped with Mac OS X from 2.0.55 to 2.0.63, which addresses several issues, including a cross-site scripting vulnerability.

Microsoft gives in, will share scanning service spec with working group

In one more demonstration that it's taking a different stance with regard to the intellectual property it uses, Microsoft has dropped its objection to an IEEE working group making use of a Web services protocol it developed for Vista.

Removing a roadblock that might have continued to prevent an alliance of printer and tools manufacturers from implementing a Web services-based specification for document scanning devices, Microsoft announced yesterday it will go ahead and provide its Scan Service Definition 1.0 for Web Services on Devices, to the IEEE's Printer Working Group.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Dell comeback is under way with better sales, earnings

Led by a 43 percent boom in PC notebooks, Dell's sales of products and services climbed to $16.08 billion over the company's most recent quarter.

At this time last year, analysts were talking about the greatness of Dell, Inc. in the past tense. Yesterday, what's past is present again, as the company's sales growth has exceeded industry averages across servers, storage and PC desktops, according to Dell CEO Michael Dell.

Dell's overall year-over-year growth in product sales amounted to nine percent, the CEO said yesterday, during a conference call detailing the company's financial results for the first quarter of its 2008 fiscal year, which ended May 2.

Novell credits Microsoft, SAP, and HP for Linux sales leap

Giving credit to industry deals with Microsoft, SAP, and Hewlett-Packard, Novell reported a year-over-year sales jump of 31 percent for its Linux software in its quarterly financial results yesterday.

"Overall, product revenue was up 7 percent year over year, driven by our three growth businesses: Linux, identity, and systems management," said Novell CEO Ronald Hovsepian, in a conference call held with financial analysts to discuss Novell's results for its second fiscal quarter of 2008, which ended on April 30.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mozilla aims for record downloads with Firefox 3

Firefox 3's upcoming release is quite literally being hyped up to record-setting levels, as Mozilla aims for the final release to set a Guinness World Record, as the most downloaded single product within a 24-hour span.

To coincide with the still-unspecified June release date of Firefox 3, Mozilla has launched its "World Download Day" campaign to get as many users as possible to download the browser on its first day available.

There is currently no record for this feat yet, so the company is hoping to set the bar high.

Dell offers a new peek at an old UMPC prototype

It's cute, it's red, it has a Dell logo, and for many, it's enough. The buzz machine has been reignited, after Michael Dell gave a prominent Gizmodo writer another peek at something small it's been cooking up in its laboratories.

It would appear that Carlsbad, California, is the place for big companies to break technology news, and that the D: conference could be the new COMDEX. There, in a move reminiscent of the Dell of old, Michael Dell gave a Gizmodo correspondent a peek at a little red laptop that has the industry abuzz this morning.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Will Verizon's FiOS TV in NY dent US cable monopolies?

Although fuller implementation of FiOS won't be easy, Verizon might soon be giving Time-Warner and Cablevision some real cable TV competition in New York City, now that a committee has given its okay to a sweeping franchise plan.

By June 30, 2014, all residents of all five boroughs of New York City will have access to FiOS cable TV, as a result of a vote taken yesterday by the city's Franchise and Concession Review Committee.

Right now, Verizon is only reaching about 20 percent of New York City households with FiOS, and most of those households are located in Manhattan or Staten Island. Furthermore, Verizon's current FiOS coverage in New York City includes Internet access coverage only, not cable TV.

HP's newest power conserving ProLiant crams two servers in each blade

The newly crowned server king hopes to continue its success over IBM and Dell with a new two-in-one server aimed for the cloud.

After seeing the growing demand for cloud computing, Hewlett-Packard has thrown its hat into the ring with the announcement of the company's first two-in-one blade server, touting power reduction by pairing two servers in each blade.

HP's new ProLiant BL2x220c G5 enclosure features higher server densities the company hopes will make it ideal for cloud computing, Web 2.0, and high-performance computing technologies. The new HP server can scale up to 128 servers, 1,024 CPU cores, and 2 TB of RAM in a 10U blade chassis using four enclosures.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Borders Group reopens its independent online bookstore

Despite the overwhelming dominance of Amazon and Barnes & Noble in the online bookstore space, Borders Group today opened its own independent retail store on the Web.

The launch of the new takes place a little over two months after Borders announced it might put itself up for sale.

Barnes & Noble, Amazon's chief rival, last week confirmed that it's studying the feasibility of a Borders buyout, according to an account by the Associated Press.

Novell in beta with subscription management tool

Novell is now in beta with a subscription management tool for SuSE Linux Enterprise, aimed at helping users of Novell's Linux operating environment to manage their software updates.

In an interview with BetaNews, Michael Applebaum, a senior product marketing manager, described the new tool as a package proxy system designed to accommodate customers' regulatory compliance requirements and corporate firewall policies during the software update process.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Yahoo delays its board meeting again as one director steps down

To give itself more time to prepare for a fight against Carl Icahn and his "dream team" of alternate board directors, Yahoo has apparently indefinitely delayed its shareholders meeting. One director, however, is preparing for something else.

A draft of a proxy statement filed by Yahoo this morning with the US Securities and Exchange Commission omits the date of its upcoming shareholders meeting, which had been scheduled for July 3. The omission -- specifically, its replacement throughout the text with the symbol [1] -- indicates the date is being delayed once again.

A look inside Google's new do-it-yourself intranet creator

What began as paid Wiki hosting service JotSpot, was bought by Google in 2006 and re-launched a year and a half later as Google Sites. Finally, this service is open to the public, not just subscribers.

Google Sites is an addition to the company's suite of online tools, and as such, is intended to be used in tandem with them.

The service differs from Google Page Creator in that the result is not a publicly-facing page, but rather like a corporate intranet site that can only be viewed by users who have been granted access. It is similar to Microsoft Office Live Workspace and WebEx Office, where users can simultaneously work in the same virtual environment.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Twitter's users up in arms over lack of service, policy enforcement

Whether it's Twitter's apparent affinity for being down more than it's up, or "twitterers" claiming the site's not enforcing its terms of service, the site is getting an awful lot of flak lately.

In fact, the criticism is becoming so loud that the company decided this week to tackle the public's concerns head-on. It seems the service's quickly attained reputation for unreliability may actually have become the defining element of the "Twitter experience."

TomTom plans a new $300 midrange GPS

At a holiday CE show in NYC yesterday, BetaNews learned TomTom is readying a mid-range GPS device called the XL 330 that will offer most of the features of its high-end GO 930, at a much lower list price of $299.95.

NEW YORK CITY (BetaNews) -- IQ Routes and European maps are just about the only features of the GO 930 -- which sells for around $500 -- that won't appear in the XL 330, said Tasia Hurt, a TomTom in a meeting with BetaNews at this week's Holiday Gift Guide Show.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Only in New York: 'Wireless' meets 'barbecue'

After first turning heads at CES with gizmos like InstaForecast and Professional Weather Center, Oregon Scientific is heating up fast with devices ranging from the Multi-Room Climate Monitor to the Talking Wireless BBQ/Oven Thermometer.

NEW YORK CITY (BetaNews) -- The InstaForecast i300 and i600 are portable gadgets that display live weather forecasts from all over the globe, syncing up with a PC to to haul in the data from the Web.

Fahrenheit 451: Microsoft burns its Live Search Books effort

Faced with competition, and more likely lack of traffic, Microsoft has stopped scanning books and will shutter is public Live Search Books site next week.

According to Microsoft, it has scanned some 750,000 books and indexed about 80 million journal articles since its launch two years ago. It is not clear what will happen to the content that the company had already scanned.

It did say however that it will remove contractual obligations to its scans, and provide publishers with digital copies of their books. On top of that, the scanning equipment will be made available to partners and libraries so they may continue to scan books if they so desire.

Friday, May 23, 2008

AT&T CFO says no pricing set yet for 3G iPhone

Despite the rumors, AT&T's CFO said Thursday that no pricing has been set for the upcoming 3G iPhone, which is expected to be announced next month at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference. Rick Lindner, speaking at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit in New York, said that no decisions had been made on pricing or availability.

Lindner's comments follow a Gizmodo report on Tuesday that claimed the launch date for the 3G iPhone as June 9. Previous rumors also speculated that pricing of the device would fall from $299 to $199. AT&T has only said that it expects the new model to arrive in the coming months, but Lindner noted it's entirely up to Apple.

Xbox 360 update canceled while Microsoft works on game portability

Xbox Live general manager Marc Whitten says Microsoft is spending time on building out the infrastructure for the service and will skip over its regular bi-annual update.

Typically in the past, Microsoft has pushed an update in the spring and fall. It does not plan to release a comprehensive update this spring, however, because it is preparing a DRM change that would allow users to take their games with them if they change consoles.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Google looks to be more up front on its search algorithms

The company says that the reason why it's been so secretive is competition. However, at the same time, it realizes questions remain over how it is providing search results.

In a post to the official Google blog, search quality chief Udi Manber said that the company has been purposely quiet on its ranking practices to protect its product. On one hand, knowledge of how Google works could allow webmasters to game the system -- while knowledge of search practices could help competitors.

Napster turns its business around with a narrower loss

The music retailer posted a smaller than expected 10 cent-per-share loss as it added about 17,000 new subscribers to its subscription service.

Big strides have been made in efforts to pare losses. The company lost $4.3 million in the three months ending March 31, about half of its $8.5 million loss in the year ago quarter.

At that time, the company was fresh off of settling with EMI over copyright infringement which likely had some downward drag on its financials. Additionally, the company was dealing with abandonment by Microsoft, who had recently turned to its Zune player which is incompatible with Napster.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wyse brings server-based virtualization to more thin client PCs

In an effort to capitalize on the steady popularity of virtualization, the makers of low-power, thin client PCs announced Wyse Thin OS 6.2 has added for virtual desktop environments from VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix Systems.

The official announcement was made during the Citrix Synergy '08 convention in Houston, where companies are meeting to discuss virtualization and application delivery to clients. Wyse is one of Citrix's longstanding and most trusted partners.

Opera seeks a wider platform with release of Widgets SDK beta

With the sad status of being the world's #4 browser settling hard upon it, how does Opera find a niche? This morning, it answered that question by demonstrating itself literally picking up the pieces of an old project, and calling them an SDK.

According to recent statistics from the Web developers' educational site, about 1.4% of the world's browsers last month responded as being Opera. That on the low side of where Opera's share of HTTP requests has been hovering for at least the last five years.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Google looks to organize health records

Search giant Google has launched in beta a site that allows users to organize their health records online.

The service is much like similar offerings from providers such as Revolution Health. Users can gather their health records from doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies, as well as use the site to track the latest information on health issues.

Google will offer the service at no cost, and will not sell information to third parties. The user will have the option to choose which information is available to those accessing his profile.

Napster challenges iTunes by opening its own MP3 store

With six million tracks accrued in its library, Napster's new online retail venture boasts the largest selection of MP3s of any retailer to date, taking a bold step by marketing itself to iPod and iPhone users.

Songs will be made available at 99 cents, with albums generally retailing for $9.95. Encoding is promised to be at a bitrate of 256 kbps, which should be music to many listeners' ears already. While Napster To Go subscriptions would be still encapsulated in DRM, all download sales will be in DRM-free MP3.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Microsoft cobbles together a 'Plan C' for online search

Just as a team of white knights are preparing a new round table of leadership for Yahoo, and riding off to rescue the Microsoft buyout, Microsoft inexplicably sends an intentionally mixed message on Sunday implying it would rather not be rescued.

In a move that could be considered unprecedented, for the most part, due to its being bizarre, Microsoft issued a statement yesterday saying it would be interested in purchasing part of Yahoo, without saying which part it had in mind. While reporters and analysts speculated that Yahoo's search component must be what the company has in mind, an internal memo "leaked" to multiple reporters, including

AOL debuts new version of Web-based IM client

Download AIM Express 2.0 Beta from BetaNews FileForum now.

The company's newest release will employ an all new Flash-based front end and tabbed IMs, though for now, AOL wants to know whether the no-frills direction it's taking with design will be acceptable to users.

AOL told BetaNews this afternoon that, since it is a first beta of its new client, some features will be missing. However, those features will be added back in subsequent betas, and the final product should be released sometime later this year.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Study: BitTorrent blocking common on Comcast, Cox, StarHub

Blocking of BitTorrent traffic is widespread among some ISPs in the US and Singapore, but not in Canada or any other country on the globe, says a new study released this week from German researchers.

The study was conducted between March 18 and May 15 by the German-based Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, with assistance with more than 8,000 users worldwide. Together, they implemented a tool called Glasnost to test whether their BitTorrent traffic was being manipulated.

Sprint eyes 2008 for WiMAX launch, ahead of AT&T and Verizon LTE

Sprint this week unveiled plans for a commercial launch of its WiMAX 4G network by the end of 2008 in the Baltimore and Washington, DC area, capping about a year of testing with Samsung and other wireless vendors.

Yesterday, Sprint announced the latest battery of tests of its Xohm network in the Baltimore/Washington, DC area launched last month, show it has passed "commercial acceptance" criteria, including overall performance, handoff performance, and handoff delay. That milestone having been passed, the company can now concentrate on its first commercial service rollouts.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Yahoo chairman's response to Icahn leaves possibilities open

Roy Bostock had every opportunity to simply just say no to Carl Icahn, whose open letter yesterday launched his hostile takeover strategy. But instead the Yahoo chairman wrote a candid, curiously unsolicited history of Microsoft's walkout.

It was not an emphatic denial of Yahoo's wish to be acquired that its chairman, Roy Bostock, transmitted to investor Carl Icahn this morning, by way of the rest of the world. It was a rejection of being acquired by Microsoft, certainly, though Bostock's response to Icahn's suggestion yesterday of nominating a powerhouse team of alternate directors was, at best, tepid.

iPhone's reach expands further into Middle East, Africa

Cellular operator Orange announced Friday that it will sell the iPhone in most of the markets it serves sometime later of this year.

Two of the countries, Portugal and Egypt, will also see the iPhone available from another carrier, Vodafone. This continues Apple's apparent strategy of choosing broader deployment over exclusive deals.

Other countries listed in the announcement were Austria, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Jordan, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, and African markets. In Belgium and Romania, Apple has granted Orange exclusive rights to the phone.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Yahoo's SearchScan irks some Web site owners

False positives and errors have some developers seeing red over Yahoo's new security feature.

Released in beta earlier this month, SearchScan culls search results to find possible malicious sites. Users can either choose to have the sites flagged as such or left out of the results altogether.

The feature is powered by McAfee's SiteAdvisor product. However, since the launch of the beta, there have been a few cases where the feature has made some embarrassing misdetections.

Backup feature surprisingly removed from Windows Home Server refresh

Testers of a forthcoming service pack for Windows Home Server were the first to discover that a feature they'd come to rely upon had been removed from the product -- as it turns out, intentionally.

One of Windows Home Server's key features is the ability to perform manual or automatic backups of the entire contents of hard drives of PCs in a home network -- a consumer-centric version of the same backup engine used in Windows Server 2003 and 2008. WHS stores the backups from each of those drives in a special database; and for safety, many users have found it convenient enough to manually back up the backup database, sometimes onto separate drives in case of a server crash.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Air Force attorney suggests chaining old PCs in a counter-offensive botnet

A US Air Force staff judge advocate has published a treatise suggesting the US government should build a botnet of thousands of virus-infected personal computers it can control to counter-attack foreign-based computer networks.

In an opinion piece published in the May edition of Armed Forces Journal, Col. Charles W. Williamson, III compares America's current defense against cyber threats to that of Troy when it fell after ten years of warfare, after its leaders accepted the Greek's Trojan horse inside its own walls.

EU agency is 'confident' Google Maps will alter Street View

Google's all-seeing eye may bother US citizens, but the search company faces repeated difficulty even getting its technology adopted by other nations. This time, the European Union is skeptical about Street View.

Though a development in Google Street View identity obfuscation was announced only this week, the European Union's data protection agency is still hesitant to let Google's ominous-sounding Street View vans comb European streets.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Google now offers real estate listings through Google Maps

In an effort to stay competitive against similar services used by map providers and real estate agents, Google today more easily added a new Real Estate search function for Google Maps.

A user now can go to Google Maps ( to retrieve information for real estate listings within the visible area. To do this, the user enters a city name in the "Search the map" field, then selects the "Real Estate" tab under "Show more search options."

Outcry over BitTorrent blocking stretches to Canada

Canadians are joining Americans in their outcry over ISPs allegedly blocking BitTorrent and other P2P applications. Now, two Canadian groups have now asked the privacy commissioner to investigate the activities of Bell Canada.

The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Internet Clinic (CIPPIC) is accusing Bell Canada of failing to obtain consent from its Internet customers around the use of deep-packet inspection (DPI), a technology capable of reporting on how subscribers are using their Internet connections.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Are Microsoft's newest webcams the last of a dying breed?

Microsoft today has announced the pricing and upcoming availability of its LifeCam VX-5000 Windows Live-optimized webcam.

Expected to reach the market in June, the VX-5000 features a dedicated Windows Live Call button, which allows Windows Live Messenger users one-touch access to their "Contact Picker" (i.e. buddy list.) The included LifeCam Dashboard acts within Windows Live Messenger, allowing pan, tilt, 3x digital zoom, face tracking, and video effects to be used in-call.

$13.9 B buyout will create 'EDS: An HP Company'

Hewlett-Packard plans to buy technology services giant EDS for $13.9 billion, officials confirmed today, potentially bolstering its position versus IBM in the business services arena, particularly with government and health care.

During a Webcast for reporters this morning, HP CEO Mark Hurd estimated that the resulting HP business unit -- to be known as "EDS: An HP Company" -- will double the size of HP's current services business to $38 billion. "Today's announcement is compelling financially," according to the HP CEO.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Apple stops selling current iPhone, as 3G speculation grows

Many signs have long pointed to a 3G iPhone launch next month, and the speculation grew even louder over the weekend as Apple stopped selling the current 8GB and 16GB models from its online store.

The iPhone becoming "Currently Unavailable" from Apple followed UK wireless carrier O2 posting a message saying that it was temporarily no longer offering the device either. However, O2 later put back on sale the 16GB iPhone without further explanation.

Google's Picasa sends its last 'Hello' on May 15

Obsolescence comes in many forms, one being the natural kind, the other planned. Then there's the suddenly, unexpectedly enforced kind, which is rarer but which reared its ugly head today with one of Google's more innovative, but old, ideas.

Of the dozens of Google experiments over the years, some in "beta" and some in "release" form, not all survive to adolescence. One that is due to expire next week is Hello, an interesting take on person-to-person photo sharing that, on its face, sounded like a good idea.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Yahoo beta tests new search results concepts in India

Yahoo beta tests new search results concepts in India

When a query is entered on Yahoo's Glue Pages, search results -- whether text, image, or video -- all turn up on an organized single page. It's an idea that's turning heads, and it's showing up first on Yahoo's Indian domain.

Currently, topics related to health and medicine, sports and entertainment, travel, technology, and finance yield results on these Glue Pages, which entered beta earlier this week.

House bill would enforce ESRB game rating system

House bill would enforce ESRB game rating system

A bipartisan bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives Wednesday aimed at forcing stores to card minors attempting to purchase video games rated "Adults Only" or "Mature." It's not the first time such legislation has been tried.

"Too many children are spending too much time playing inappropriate video games that most parents would find shocking and objectionable," reads a statement from the bill's principal sponsor, Rep. Lee Terry (R - Neb.), on behalf of co-sponsor Rep. Jim Matheson (D - Utah). "As a parent, I know that I'm the first line of defense against my kids playing Mature-rated video games. But parents can't be everywhere monitoring everything and some reasonable, common sense rules ought to be in place to back parents up."

.MOBI registrar rescues mobile Web technology firm Mowser

.MOBI registrar rescues mobile Web technology firm Mowser

The company responsible for the .mobi mobile phone Internet domain, dotMobi, has bought out a mobile browsing company that was on the verge of death just one month ago. DotMobi will immediately integrate Mowser's directory, search, and listings into the service.

"The original strategy around Mowser was pretty simple: provide a service which helps Web sites go mobile, helps mobile sites connect to the regular Web, and helps users access the Web from any handset," said Russell Beattie, a Mowser founder. By adapting every Web site on the planet, theoretically Mowser has an unlimited amount of content to serve up; and though none of that content is directly monetizable, the plan was to capture enough ancillary traffic to make it worthwhile."

Now part of CBS, will get exclusive video

Now part of CBS, will get exclusive video

It's been almost one year since social music network was acquired by CBS, and the site has opened "," offering original video content from prominent artists. says this is its first attempt at providing original content altogether, and has launched with exclusive interviews with Moby, Santogold, Spoon, and Joshua Radin. A following series of "high profile musicians" is being prepared for online broadcast.

Nokia: Mobile phone leader or 'Internet company?'

Nokia: Mobile phone leader or 'Internet company?'

At Nokia's annual meeting yesterday, CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo vowed to change the business model of the world's leading mobile phone maker, to make it, in his words, "more like an Internet company."

"Our goal is to act less like a traditional manufacturer, and more like an Internet company," Kallasvuo told Nokia shareholders yesterday. "Companies such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft are not our traditional competitors, but they are major forces that must be reckoned with. Make no mistake. We are taking on these challenges seriously and aggressively."

Microsoft: Don't expect a Yahoo deal, at least for now

Microsoft: Don't expect a Yahoo deal, at least for now

A Microsoft executive has thrown cold water on hopes that the company would try again with Yahoo, and sources indicate the company has released its proxy slate of would-be Yahoo directors.

During a tour of company executives in Jakarta, Indonesia on Thursday, Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie told Reuters that Microsoft considers its efforts to acquire Yahoo over, and that the company had moved on to what he termed as "Plan B."

Online pizza ordering becomes a billion-dollar industry

Online pizza ordering becomes a billion-dollar industry

In another sign of the changing nature of communications in the US economy, Papa John's, America's third-largest pizza chain, has recently passed $1 billion in completed online transactions.

At the risk of editorializing an otherwise fluffy story for the approaching weekend, it's worth noting that some of us at BetaNews have a soft spot for lighthearted examples of modernity. Take for example, the coverage we have given to the trend of pizza delivery franchises embracing technology to improve business.

NBC appears to be courting Apple once again

NBC appears to be courting Apple once again

With Apple now streaming NBC shows to iPhones through its dedicated portal, and the network's properties appearing on the iTunes UK store, are the two sides ready to settle their differences?

Several shows are now available for download through the NBC iPhone portal, including Heroes, Eureka, The Incredible Hulk, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and House, shown in America on Fox.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Iomega gets ready for war with its rugged, quarter-terabyte Camo

Iomega gets ready for war with its rugged, quarter-terabyte Camo

Adding another product to the ever-growing mix of portable hard drives, Iomega Corporation today introduced its new eGo USB 2.0 Camo, designed with a military camouflage theme and a promise of withstanding punishment.

The 250 GB 2.5-inch HDD measures .91" x 3.84" x 5.56", weighs just 0.6 lbs., and is compatible with Windows 2000 and later, and Mac OS X 10.1.5 and later. Iomega chose to make the HDD powered by USB only, so no power supply is required, thus radically increasing portability -- you don't have to lug around a power adapter.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sprint's new pact with Google stresses openness

Sprint's new pact with Google stresses openness

In addition to Google investing in the Clearwire joint venture upon which the future of Sprint's communications plans may rest, today Sprint says Google will be its valued partner for mobile services as well.

Sprint and Google today announced the two companies will share their properties with one another, mentioning numerous times the value of openness. The Mountain View search company becomes Sprint's default mobile search provider, and new Sprint handsets will offer Google's local search (for GPS-enabled devices), Google Maps Mobile, and YouTube accessibility.

GTA IV earns half a billion for Take-Two in one week

GTA IV earns half a billion for Take-Two in one week

Grand Theft Auto IV, Take-Two Interactive's crown jewel of the sandbox game series, reportedly sold over 6 million copies of the game for Xbox 360 and PS3, earning the company over $500 million dollars in the first week alone.

Sales of the Grand Theft Auto games have historically been very swift, with composite NPD and VGcharts sales data ranking GTA: San Andreas and GTA: Vice City

Microsoft extends the lifespan of Outlook Express, Hotmail anyway

Microsoft extends the lifespan of Outlook Express, Hotmail anyway

The Windows Live Mail team recently announced the phase-out of the legacy DAV protocol would draw to a close on June 30. That date, however, has now been postponed.

Like the extension of XP's lifespan, Microsoft says the extended date to the Outlook Express DAV Deprecation has been the result of customer feedback. The transition away from the protocol would end Outlook Express' access to a user's Hotmail inbox, and customers were originally encouraged to switch to Windows Live Mail. Instead of using the Distributed Authoring and Versioning protocol, Live Mail uses Deltasynch, which is ultimately more efficient.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Nokia updates Sun's Java gaming SDK for its cell phones

Nokia updates Sun's Java gaming SDK for its cell phones

Nokia used the JavaOne Conference as the launch pad for the SDK 2.0 of its Scalable Network Application Package (SNAP) Mobile end-to-end Java gaming SDK, which offers development tools, support, service hosting, and community management.

SNAP Mobile SDK 2.0 (available through registration from Nokia) lets developers build mobile Java-based games on the Java Micro Edition (ME) platform, using technologies such as the SNAP Mobile Client API libraries, Emulation Environment software, and sample applications and various documentation.

Qwest to resell Verizon Wireless services

Qwest to resell Verizon Wireless services

Qwest previously had a deal with Sprint, however it had indicated that it was looking for a new wireless partnership.

Qwest announced the Verizon deal, which has a term of five years, on Monday without disclosure of financial terms. While it is a regional carrier, it is the only one not to own its own wireless business.

The Sprint deal had allowed Qwest to offer its own branded wireless service, but was hampered by the terms of its agreement, which prevented Qwest from offering the latest handsets to customers, and forced it to buy minutes for its customers through a wholesale agreement.

Yahoo minus Microsoft: Ballmer slams the door on his way out

Yahoo minus Microsoft: Ballmer slams the door on his way out

It is perhaps the biggest "no-go" in the history of the Internet industry. So in the absence of any Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Redmond, did Microsoft manage to move the needle in its direction in its fight to avoid becoming the #4 player?

Whether the idea was made popular by the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tse in the sixth century B.C., or by Michael Douglas' portrayal of "Gordon Gekko" in the classic 1980s movie "Wall Street," there's a notion that warriors don't enter into battles they haven't already won in advance. Maybe Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hasn't read up on his philosophy or hasn't watched much AMC lately; in either case, he's the one holding an empty basket today, after shutting almost every door behind him on the way out of the Yahoo negotiations.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Steve Ballmer's letter to Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang

Steve Ballmer's letter to Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang

Late Saturday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sent a detailed letter to Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang regarding his decision to drop his company's bid to acquire Yahoo. Here is the text of that letter in its entirety:

Dear Jerry:

After over three months, we have reached the conclusion of the process regarding a possible combination of Microsoft and Yahoo!.

I first want to convey my personal thanks to you, your management team, and Yahoo!'s Board of Directors for your consideration of our proposal. I appreciate the time and attention all of you have given to this matter, and I especially appreciate the time that you have invested personally. I feel that our discussions this week have been particularly useful, providing me for the first time with real clarity on what is and is not possible.

Microsoft drops $50 billion bid to acquire Yahoo

Microsoft drops $50 billion bid to acquire Yahoo

In a statement issued late Saturday, Microsoft announced it has withdrawn its proposal to acquire Yahoo. Speculation surrounding the status of the $50 billion deal has escalated since Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell's deadline of last weekend passed.

"We continue to believe that our proposed acquisition made sense for Microsoft, Yahoo! and the market as a whole. Our goal in pursuing a combination with Yahoo! was to provide greater choice and innovation in the marketplace and create real value for our respective stockholders and employees," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in the statement.

iSuppli: 1Q 2008 DRAM revenues fall 39 percent

iSuppli: 1Q 2008 DRAM revenues fall 39 percent

Research firm iSuppli says the high stakes game of "chicken" between memory chip manufacturers is continuing the sharp decline in revenues overall.

While revenues only dropped 7.4 percent sequentially, year-over-year they plummeted 39 percent. Top DRAM producer Samsung padded its market share lead during the quarter, ending at 30.6 percent of the market, but it came at the expense of making a profit.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Microsoft snags key Photoshop developer from Adobe

Microsoft snags key Photoshop developer from Adobe

Microsoft has hired Mark Hamburg, a 17-year-veteran of Adobe's Photoshop product and most recently its new Lightroom product.

Although Microsoft did not confirm independently to BetaNews at press time, news reports indicate that Hamburg's likely new job is the "Future of OS User Experience" group at the company.

His last day at Adobe was April 23, and there is no word as to when his work would begin at Microsoft.

Dell tries again with its XPS 730 high-end desktop gaming system

Dell tries again with its XPS 730 high-end desktop gaming system

After one of the worst starts in the history of PCs two years ago, Dell's XPS desktop series has come crawling back, but not without scrapes and bruises along the way. Yesterday it revealed a new 730 model it hopes can recapture Dell's glory.

Dell tries again with its XPS 730 high-end desktop gaming system

Surprising loss for Sun shows the heavy costs of MySQL

Surprising loss for Sun shows the heavy costs of MySQL

Despite his company racking up a $34 million loss this last quarter due entirely to its $1 billion buyout of MySQL, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz voiced optimism yesterday that its ownership of the open source database will start paying off.

During a fiscal third quarter that cost Sun's stockholders four cents per share, Sun closed the acquisitions of both MySQL and Innotek, maker of desktop virtualization products used mainly by crossplatform software developers.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Twitter co-founder refutes rumors of ditching Ruby on Rails

Twitter co-founder refutes rumors of ditching Ruby on Rails

Twitter, Inc. Co-Founder Biz Stone today refuted published rumors that Twitter is dropping Ruby on Rails as an application development environment for the social networking site.

The controversy got started with a report published in TechCrunch yesterday, which was then reiterated in some other online publications and ultimately linked to in Slashdot.

"We're hearing this from multiple sources. After nearly two years of high profile scaling problems, Twitter is planing to abandon Ruby on Rails as [its] Web framework and start from scratch with PHP or Java," according to the post in TechCrunch.

Analysts: Ad-supported mobile games are on the way

Analysts: Ad-supported mobile games are on the way

According to analysts Screen Digest, advertising will account for more than 20 percent of all mobile TV revenues on a worldwide basis by 2012. So get ready for the ad-funded games, especially after mobile TV becomes universally available.

Four years from now, more than 60 million ad-funded mobile games will be downloaded each year worldwide, according to results of of a new survey by analyst group Screen Digest.

Yahoo Buzz social news service receives update

Yahoo Buzz social news service receives update

Yahoo's social news service Yahoo Buzz, which launched in beta in February, has upgraded its service, adding a widget and expaned RSS feeds.

Principal among the updates is the "Top Buzz" embeddable widget. The 240-700 pixel window can display between one and ten Buzz stories from a chosen subject and be placed in Web sites or blogs.

The service also now offers RSS feeds for the top stories overall on Buzz and the top stories within each individual category and for the Buzz Log. Feeds can be grabbed and used in any third-party RSS news reader source.

Top Democrats ask for restrictions on XM + Sirius

Top Democrats ask for restrictions on XM + Sirius

Two leading Democrats in the US House, who both chair committees overseeing the FCC, are asking for the Commission to place conditions upon its final approval of any merger between the nation's only two satellite radio providers.

Rep. John Dingell (D - Mich.) chairs the Committee on Energy and Commerce, while Rep. Edward Markey (D - Mass.) chairs the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, part of the Commerce Committee.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Prime real estate on MySpace apps gallery comes with a price

Prime real estate on MySpace apps gallery comes with a price

Last week, MySpace opened its Application gallery to the public, allowing third-party developers' apps to be discovered and embedded in users' profiles. Those now highlighted as "featured applications" have reportedly earned that position by paying for it.

The most downloaded applications typically enjoy a place on the first page of MySpace's applications gallery, which premiered last week. Now, however, the gallery has a "featured applications" section that encompasses the top half of the splash page, the prime real estate formerly showing off the most popular gadgets.

Expression Studio 2 released to retail

Expression Studio 2 released to retail

Microsoft's principal challenge to Adobe's creative suite now officially enters the second stage of its life cycle, with the release this afternoon of Expression Studio 2.

On the one hand, Microsoft is moving its Expression suite for Web developers towards more generally adopted Web standards with a more genuine embrace of PHP in addition to ASP.NET, with the final release today of version 2. On the other hand, it adds complete support for its Silverlight platform, showing it still has intentions to build a platform for the Web -- just not the same one it was building before.

Google Analytics will finally integrate blog tracking

Google Analytics will finally integrate blog tracking

With all that Google has had on its plate over the past two years, you can imagine some projects have been shoved to the very back of the back burner. But only now is a February 2006 acquisition starting to heat up.

Over two years ago already, Google purchased the developer of an innovative set of blog traffic measurement tools called MeasureMap. Its key feature was providing blog proprietors with a near-real-time geographical plot of where its readers originated from, along with key data as to what readers were interested in and what they responded to.

AOL, Real, Yahoo must pay millions in outstanding music royalties

AOL, Real, Yahoo must pay millions in outstanding music royalties

The artists' rights organization ASCAP will be receiving tens of millions in back royalties from 2006, from the leading Web radio broadcasters. But it's much less than what it had proposed, and way less than what royalties groups wanted last year.

A long-standing dispute over how much Internet streaming radio services owe in composers' royalties dating back to 2006 was settled yesterday in US District Court in New York. There, Judge William C. Conner issued a decision whose intricate formulas had their data, sadly, redacted from the public copy of the decision (PDF available here, black marks and all), although the end result is that AOL Radio, RealNetworks, and Yahoo will probably find themselves collectively owing more several million in back royalties.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Creative settles over MP3 player capacities

Creative settles over MP3 player capacities

Creative becomes the second company behind Seagate to settle with consumers over exaggerated drive capacity.

Creative was accused of misrepresenting the number of files and hours of songs that players could hold, as well as inflating capacities by as much as seven percent.

While Seagate's settlements dealt with its hard drives, Creative's deals with its MP3 players. Any consumer who bought a player between May 5, 2001 and April 30, 2008 is eligible to receive a settlement.

Xobni gets cold feet over Microsoft acquisition

Xobni gets cold feet over Microsoft acquisition

Less than two weeks after it had agreed to be acquired by the Redmond giant, the small e-mail startup has walked away from the deal.

Negotiations had been ongoing between the two companies over the past few weeks, with an agreement reached in mid-April. Xobni distributes a plug-in for Outlook that shows how contacts are linked to one another.

The deal would have been worth about $20 million for the two-year-old company, which would have been a nice return on the $5 million in venture capital Xobni had raised from several sources.

Judge reverses himself, finds placing MP3s in a public folder isn't 'sharing'

Judge reverses himself, finds placing MP3s in a public folder isn't 'sharing'

An August 2007 ruling from an Arizona district court says that placing files in a folder shared over a P2P network constitutes "dissemination." Today, the same judge, in the same trial, reversed his own reasoning.

In a complete 180-degree backtrack from his own decision last August, and a clear victory for the defendants in the near term, an Arizona district court judge today dismissed record labels' motion for summary judgment against a man who claims certain music tracks were shared with others through the KaZaA network by accident.

Tax evasion count gives new weight to spamming conviction

Tax evasion count gives new weight to spamming conviction

How does law enforcement solve the problem of holding spammers accountable, when federal anti-spam laws are still in their formative stages? In the case of a Colorado man, the answer was to leverage some help from the IRS.

A Colorado man was sentenced yesterday to 21 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty last December to charges of tax evasion and falsifying e-mail headers.