Internet and Society News -- 050120

"Losing Our Respect for the Truth for Over 39 Years"


COMPETITION

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Perjury Charged In Antitrust Inquiry




Ex-Department Store Executive Accused of Lying to Investigators. The recently
retired chairman of the company that runs Bloomingdale's and Macy's department
stores was indicted Tuesday on charges that he lied to state antitrust
investigators. James M. Zimmerman, 61, was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to
felony perjury charges in Manhattan state court. He was released on a $50,000
personal recognizance bond. Zimmerman retired last year as chairman of
Cincinnati-based Federated Department Stores Inc., which operates about 450
stores nationwide.










iTunes broke antitrust law, claims lawsuit




An unhappy iTunes online music store customer is suing Apple Computer Inc,
alleging the company broke antitrust laws by only allowing iTunes to work with
its own music player, the iPod, freezing out competitors, court filings showed.
Apple, which opened its online music store in April 2003 after introducing the
iPod in October 2001, uses technology to ensure each digital song bought from
its store only plays on the iPod, a computer or home stereo system.



[I'd like to sue the beer companies too for forcing me to buy their cans to get
their beer.]










Electronic Arts plays hardball




A huge software maker uses its dominant market position and mammoth cash
reserves to lock out some competitors and buy up others. Sound familiar? Except
this time it's not Microsoft or Oracle that's sparking the charges. It's a
company whose specialties include James Bond games and "The Sims." Electronic
Arts, the world's leading publisher of video games, has riled the industry in
recent months with a series of unusually aggressive business moves that could
hamper rivals and close off competition in some areas of the computer game
industry. The company recently bought a nearly 20 percent stake in competitor
Ubisoft Entertainment, one of Europe's biggest game publishers, and it earlier
bought exclusive rights to make NFL-licensed professional football games.



[A very good article for pointing out that there could actually be an antitrust
issue here.]










Sears, Kmart Refile Antitrust Review




Kmart and Sears reported a small hitch in their wedding plans. The companies
said late Wednesday they would withdraw a regulatory filing related to their
proposed merger to allow the Federal Trade Commission more time to review the
terms of the deal. "The FTC staff recently requested certain information, which
the parties provided, and the staff has requested more time to review it in
light of the holiday season," said the companies. They expressed confidence that
the review would be completed without delaying the transaction.










Antitrust Bill Designed to Reduce Hostile M&A Risk: FTC Chief




The government's antitrust bill that has been approved by the National Assembly
will help local companies avoid the possibility of foreign hostile takeover
bids, the chairman of the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said Tuesday. Speaking on
an afternoon radio talk show, Kang Chul-kyu said local companies may face
unwanted merger-and-acquisition attempts as a result of either a weak ownership
structure or bad management by owners.



[Interesting double-speak use of the word "antitrust" in this article.]









Microsoft Seeks To
Derail Novell Antitrust Suit; Accuses Novell of Double Dipping




Microsoft Once Put Its Potential Liability if the Caldera Case Went to Trial at
$1.6 Billion. Microsoft is trying to get the antitrust suit that Novell filed
against it a few days after Microsoft paid Novell $536 million to head off
another antitrust suit thrown out of court on its ear. The suit Microsoft bought
its way out of would have charged Microsoft with unfairly competing against
Novell's flagship network operating system NetWare.










Oracle's plan for PeopleSoft




Ellison touts "Project Fusion" as Oracle moves to absorb PeopleSoft products.
Meanwhile, SAP offers "safe passage."

 








SAP buys PeopleSoft support firm




German software giant says the move gives clients "safe passage away from the
uncertainties" of the Oracle-PeopleSoft deal.





 




VeriSign to battle rivals for .net domain control




Domain registry giant will face competition for first time, as four other
companies vie for spot as operator of .net domain.










Dell expands lead in still-growing PC market




The PC market, long declared dead by some, grew in double-digit figures again in
2004. Dell expands lead as HP slips.









Looking
Forward: Merger and Other Policy Initiatives at the FTC




Deborah Platt Majoras, Remarks before the ABA Antitrust Section Fall Forum,
Washington, DC, November 18, 2004









DOJ Letter to AMC



Suggested Topics for Antitrust Modernization Commission Study - Letter from
Assistant Attorney General R. Hewitt Pate to Deborah A. Garza, Chair, Antitrust
Modernization Commission (01/05/2005)













MARKETS

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Online Music Stores Break Into Mainstream




Online music stores broke into the mainstream in 2004, with more than 200
million tracks sold in the United States and Europe, a tenfold increase from the
previous year, according to data released on Wednesday. Among well-known brands
like iTunes and Napster, the number of online music stores quadrupled to more
than 230 in 2004, according to the report from the International Federation of
the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) trade group. The number of songs available
online has doubled to about 1 million songs.










Legal downloads jumped 900% in 2004




More than 200m songs were downloaded from legal online music stores around the
world last year - a 900 per cent increase over 2003's total, the music industry
organisation IFPI said today. By our estimation, based on Apple's publicly
provided figures, Apple accounted for 90-95 per cent of the market.



[It would have been two billion billion billion percent for the file traders.
Nyah...]










Herald seeks Justice: Complaint: Globe deal violates antitrust laws




The Boston Herald has asked the Justice Department to block The New York Times
Co.'s planned acquisition of 49 percent of Metro Boston, arguing the purchase
violates antitrust laws and could lead to a monopoly in the Boston newspaper
market.  In its complaint, sent to the Justice Department's antitrust
division Tuesday, the Herald argues the $16.5 million purchase would allow the
Times Co. to dominate Boston readership and advertising through its Boston Globe
subsidiary and its ties to the free Metro daily. Specifically, the complaint
says the deal violates the Clayton Act, which forbids stock or asset purchases
that lessen competition in a market.













THE PEQUOD

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State bill could cripple P2P




California proposal would impose jail time for file-swapping developers who
allow copyrighted music, movie trades.










TiVoToGo Could Offer Much More




As a family, our TV viewing is fractured, sporadic and free of network
scheduling. We are Generation TiVo, a subspecies that doesn't sit through
commercials. And we've been waiting it seems like forever for a TiVo service
that has finally arrived. Called TiVoToGo, it unfetters your video recordings
from the hard drive-based box that pioneered television time-shifting. In other
words, you can take your shows on the road.













INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

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'Will this work on my PC?'




Microsoft patent application describes system for determining if a given PC can
run a specific game or other piece of software.













THE COMMONS

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Sun license gets open-source nod




The company has secured a crucial approval in its plan to make Solaris an
open-source project, CNET News.com has learned.













BIG BROTHER

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FBI Tosses Carnivore to the Dogs




The bureau abandons its controversial, customized snooping software in favor of
ISP-initiated internet wiretaps and commercial applications designed to sift
through e-mail and other online communications.













PETE, YOUR CONSUMER PROTECTION PAL

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Worried about Wi-Fi security?




You should be. The complexity of maintaining a wireless network often leads ow









Home
Office tackles ID fraud. By hiring one




The Home Office has gone that extra mile to prove the true costs of identity
fraud to us all - it's been conned, big-time. Confronted with a fake doctor one
would ideally stride smartly off in the other direction, but in the case of
fraudster Barian Baluchi the Home Office opted for funding his clinic, using him
as an asylum-seeker health policy adviser and letting him be an expert witness
in 1,500 immigration appeals tribunal cases.









Google's
No-Google tag blesses the Balkanized Web




Karl Auerbach's prediction that the internet is balkanizing into groups of
people who only accept traffic from each other took another step closer to
reality today. The veteran TCP/IP engineer and ICANN board member has warned of
the effect for years. "The 'Net is balkanizing. There are communities of trust
forming in which traffic is accepted only from known friends," Auerbach told
Wired last year. The trend can be seen at various levels. At the user level,
where we see bloggers repeating each other in an echo chamber and reinforcing
their views; in the middle of the network, where Verizon recently blocking off
inbound email from Europe, and it's happening deep down at the packet level too,
as a result of the net's background radiation. But all these may look like an
innocent prelude. Google said today that its search engine will respect a new
link attribute, "rel=nofollow", which will means its algorithms will not give
weighting to the target URL. MSN, Yahoo! and blog vendors said they'll follow
suit. It's effectively declaring PageRank™ dead for weblogs, in an attempt to
stem the problem.

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