This is not the normal tech news, it is sort of an off the wall story that I found funny.
In Texas a judge has banned Microsoft from Selling, Demonstrating or otherwise advertising Word. This is a permanent injunction put in over a patent dispute between MS and I4I.
I4I claims that MS ran off with their code and has been using this in Word 2003 and 2007. The code they are talking about has to do with XML and the way that Word uses it.
I am not going to go into major technical details, but it is sort of funny to hear that MS cannot even demo the products, this means that they are in violation of the order if they send updates, show it on their office.com website.
Now what makes this funny is that apparently other applications use this functionality. It is just MS that is in the hot seat. Apparently there is no money in going after Sun, or Apple. The injunction "prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML,"
This is on top of a $200 Million fine from May, an additional $40 Million and just for good measure $37 Mill in interest.
Microsoft says they will appeal
Yesterday we covered a tale of Apple and the Dictionary. This is a harrowing tale of an intrepid developer against the mongering troll.
Nah not really, it is a story about a developer getting the shaft from Apple and after the internet press got a hold the story Apple back peddling.
The complete story is very long and can be found at Daring Fireball as can the follow on part of this particular drama.
After the press splashed this all over the internet Phil Schiller from Apple has written to explain that this was all a misunderstanding.
Apparently Apple did not ask Ninjawords to censor the dictionary because of the words F&(k and S^&t but because there are even MORE vulgar urban slang terms that can be found through Ninjawords.
Ninjawords could not be submitted to the App store as it was at the time since there were not parental controls at all. The developers of Ninjawords chose to edit the dictionary and resubmit. This is when all the fun started; it ended with someone thinking that Apple was requiring both the censorship AND a 17+ Rating.
I am not sure what is the truth in this one, both stories sound a little odd to be perfectly honest with you. For example in one of the actual letters about the rejection they specifically mention F*(k and Sh*& but you can find them in "Dictionary!" which is free on the iTunes store and has a rating of 4+.
Wow I am not sure what Apple is doing at this point with their recent rash of rejections. Either they want to see how far they can push people or they truly are clueless.
According to reports around the web Apple has rejected a dictionary called Ninjawords for containing "objectionable words". Some of the words they found to be too horrible for iPhone/iPod users eyes were Screw and Snatch. Wow, I wonder if they have a certain movie in their iTunes Store…. Guess what? They do.
But the app was not completely rejected. They were allowed to submit the application after removing a few additional horrible words in common usage. They were then slapped with a 17+ rating even after all the words had been removed.
These words can be found in other dictionary applications in the App Store. But I guess they cannot be in this one, this is arbitrary to the last syllable. Maybe they removed that word from their own dictionaries so they do not know what that means.
You know, maybe they are going for an insanity defense with the FTC and FCC. After all what they are doing is rather crazy.
Well the big news this morning is that Google's Eric Schmidt is resigning from the Board of Directors for Apple.
This is not a very big surprise, although it comes at an interesting time. The issue at hand is section 8 of the Clayton Anti Trust act that covers shared directors between companies with competing products.
Google and Apple compete on a number of products, they each have a browser, they each have a smart phone OS, and soon they will each have both a Desktop OS and a cloud based document application.
The resignation will probably cause the current investigation to be withdrawn but that is not always the case. This is especially true with the FCC looking into the issue over Google Voice.
There is nothing like someone accidentally putting sensitive information into a folder that is linked to your P2P share. But this is what happens again and again and again.
This time is was motorcade routes, the Presidential Family safe house and some nice documents covering details of every nuclear facility on the US.
So we have a couple of issues here, the first is simple user ignorance. It is beyond me how and why anyone would have a P2P file sharing application on any work related computer system but on top of that how can they not know that the folder the P2P apps use for sharing are pretty much open to everyone. Anything dropped in there is available on the P2P network you are using.
The next is how the supposedly tech savvy White House staff can allow something like this to happen.
You know, I see why P2P is bad, it is not because of the possibility of illegal file sharing, it is because once again, we see ignorance on the part of individual users and the companies and organizations they work for.
Microsoft and Yahoo! have reached and accord. This accord will benefit both in some interesting ways. Yahoo will use Microsoft servers for their search functions and Yahoo! will handle the display ads.
This combination should have some excellent benefits for both of these companies as they try to catch up with Google.
Originally the idea was for Yahoo to be purchased by Microsoft. However, due to some bad management decisions by the CEO at the time the acquisition never took place. Instead there is just the agreement to work closely together.
Of course, there is always the possibility that someone will try to claim that MS and Yahoo are anti-competitive after all; it is only Apple and Google that are allowed to behave like that.
GlobalFoundries has announced it first customer that is not AMD. Although the news had leaked out that they had a new customer earlier in the week no one was quite sure who the new customer was.
There was talk that it might be nVidia, Samsung, one of the other ARM manufacturers etc. In the end it turns out to be STMicroelectronics.
Right now GF is being asked to make 40nm low power chips, but the exact type has not been disclosed. If GF can make this one work it could open the door to many other customers. This is especially true in the 40nm space where TSMC, GlobalFoundries' largest competitor, is having yield issues with their 40nm process.
All eyes will be on this new relationship to see if the relatively new GF can meet the demands of multiple customers.
Foxconn is trying very hard to dig itself out of a hole. The hole is not a financial hole; it is not a manufacturing hole. No this hole is a potential disaster for the large OEM manufacturer.
The problem started when a 25 year old technician committed suicide over the report of a missing fourth generation iPhone prototype.
According to the time line that is generally accepted on July 9th 16 fourth generation iPhone prototypes were delivered to Young Sun Dan. Young was responsible for packaging, sealing and shipping these to Apple.
There are differing reports about whether Young reported the missing phone before or after Apple received them but either way Foxconn began an investigation.
On July 16th Young jumped from a 12th floor window and fell to his death.
In between the 9th and the 16th there are reports of physical interrogation, unlawful searches, solitary confinement and worse. Foxconn began by denying the accusations but saying the event was sad. Apple followed suit.
The hole began when the suspended the director for Central Security, the turned him over to local police. Then released a statement that Young had a history of losing items (you would think after the first he would not be handling them again). Then they paid the family $44,000 and gave them a Mac PowerBook laptop.
Now they are increasing the payment amount to the family and including a yearly payment. Over in the US that would be called something like "hush money" but in the US the amounts are usually significantly larger.
Either way Foxconn is now, more than ever, under the microscope as all eyes turn to them to see how they handle or fail to handle the situation.
The outcome could affect their relationship with Apple, as Apple will continue to try and distance themselves from the event.
There are rumors of another AIB (add-in-board) maker getting out of the video card business.
This time we hear the GeCube is swearing off making video cards for life. They are moving in another direction and will concentrate on a non-graphics card related business in the future.
The rumor mentions that GeCude has a new partner but not who this is. It also claims that Gigabyte has released its 61.5% stake in GeCube officially signaling the toll of the final bell.
We contacted Gigabyte for confirmation but have not received a reply at the time of writing.
Once again the news of Vision Tek's demise was greatly over rated.
According to an article at Bright Side of News Vision Tek has recently secured some serious capital funding from a "Major International Bank" additionally they have invested in a distribution center in Chicago in the US.
It looks like the original rumor may have been one of those things that happen when one company loses out at the expense of another and on a slow news day like today it is something to write about.
In the end Vision Tek admits being hit hard by the same economic problems that hit everyone else in the computer industry. But they had a plan and were already looking for funding to expand while others were cutting back.
Read more here
Ah the ugly rumor mill is at it again, last year it was that Foxconn would be leaving the channel business as part of an agreement to buy Pegatron (Megatron's little sister). However, this turned out not to be the case.
I hope that the new rumor I am hearing is the same. According to the word on the "Net" VisionTek is heading for bankruptcy. If the rumors are true this would mean that another player in the graphics market would go down.
Back in 2002 the same rumor was floating around but was quickly denied by the company. We can only hope that we hear some good news very soon and that this is just another rumor.
Ah those clever taunters over at The Pirate Bay may have all their fun taken away by the new corporate "suit".
The Pirate Bay usually greats the RIAA and MPAA with scorn, disdain and more than a little ridicule and humor. However, all that is going to change.
In a very stomach churning statement by newcomer Wayne Rosso we hear that the new man in charge has "gotten friendly with a lot of these guys,". This is a 180 degree turn around from the belligerent behavior of the past.
Of course this is a direction the Pirate Bay will have to take if they really want to go legitimate.
The Pirate Bay is in the works of being bought out by Global Gaming Factory. The potential new owners see money and advantage in the power of the bittorrent networking structure. They want to move away from copyright violating content and move to more honest wares.
In the future TPB will offer paid subscriptions to users with each users subscription discounted based on the amount of computer power they contribute to the community. This discount can extend all the way to 100% theoretically.
No one likes a laugh more than I do, (insert long Monty Python skit here). I really did have a clever intro, but in the end what one person thinks is clever ends up being just plain stupid.
However, one person's stupidity is usually great humor for the rest of us.
The UK flavor of GameSpy has a great read posted that I could not resist sharing with everyone. They took the time to cover the best PR Blunders in the world of gaming. I suppose that in some way this could have been inspired by the recent announcement of the inclusion of a pair of working night vision goggles in Modern Warfare 2 Prestige Edition. After all when presented with an example of how to do something right I imagine that you think about how not to do something.
Take a break and give these a read. I think my favorite is still the beheaded goat by Sony.
Have a good laugh here.
Ah the days of hanging in the Mall, with nothing to do but get free refills at the food court. Just you and your friend Brodie...Um wait no that was a movie. Ok never mind.
No matter the Mall will not be the same as now there will be opposing boutique stores. Microsoft has announced that they will open their answer to the Apple store starting this fall.
The announcement was made at the Worldwide Partner Conference (seems like a lot of interesting things are happening there) by Kevin Turner Microsoft Chief Operating Officer.
Tuner said that some stores would open this fall with more to open in 2010. Tuner is a former Wall Mart Exec and has more than a few years of retail experience under his belt.
Turner even made the statment "And stay tuned, because we're going to have some retail stores opened up that are opened up right next door to Apple stores this fall," he said. "Stay tuned, just stay tuned."
Them's fightin words I think
While checking the news tonight I found something both interesting and highly entertaining.
Despite running a very dirty and misleading ad campaign against Microsoft and the PC in general Apple may have quietly asked for the Laptop Hunters ads to be discontinued.
According to Ars Technia, Kevin Turner told the Wolrdwide Partner Conference that Apple's Lawyers called him and stated that Microsoft needed to stop running the Laptop Hunter Ads because Apple had reduced prices on the Mac Books.
Now bear in mind that this is coming from an MSFT exec at a "pep-rally" but if this is true it is one of the funnier stories I have heard.
I do think that the ad campaign has Apple a tad worried as their recent commercials are leaning pretty far over the credibility line as it is. Add to that the success of the netbook and nettop and things can get worrisome.
More information here.
In a surprising case of Anti-Microsoft FUD there are reports on a survey conducted by ScriptLogic that people are using to claim 60% of businesses will not be upgrading to Windows 7.
The Survey is interesting. Here are some of the facts behind it. ScriptLogic sent out 20,650 questionnaires. Out of this 20,650 they received 1,100 back. This represents about 5.3% of the sampling.
Out of this 5.3% 59.3% said they had no plans to migrate to Windows 7. Now this is a misleading result as the question was:
"Which below represents the most accurate statement about your plans to deploy Windows 7?"
Possible responses were:
We have no plans to deploy Windows 7
We will likely deploy Windows 7 by the end of 2010
We plan on deploying Windows 7 by the end of 2009
We have already deployed Windows 7
Looking at the responses, if you are undecided you get lumped into the "We have no Plans" category and are part of an inaccurate data sampling.
A portion of the 59% may change their minds in the next month, we cannot know. As such this survey gives a misleading impression that a majority do not want to move to the new OS.
The very next question asked what was the biggest barrier to deploying Windows 7 with 42.7% saying Time and Resources, while 39.1% said application compatibility.
Now I am sure you would think these are very telling, but if you asked the same question about ANY upgrade you would get the same answers. This is where the survey fails. To make it valid they would need to ask if the companies in question have any planned upgrades and what are the reasons for/ for not doing them. If they correspond to the same reasons for not upgrading to Windows 7 it is likely that the cause is not the OS but maybe the fact that many companies are on spending holds. In thin economic times it is usually the IT budget that is the first thing to get cut. This could account for more than a few companies not upgrading anything at all in the next few years.
In the final analysis, the ScriptLogic Survey is misleading to say the least and is being used by many websites to show a lack of desire to use Windows 7 in the business community. It is further being spun to show a lack of confidence in MS products in general. Yet these articles often fail to point out that 39.4% plan on upgrading to Windows 7 within the next two years and that pre-sales of Windows 7 were sold out in many areas the same day they were made available.
Check out the survey here
After the announcement of Chrome the US FTC (Federal Trade Commission) began looking even harder at the relationship between Apple and Google.
As it stands it is possible that Google and Apple are in violation of Section 8 of the Sherman Anti Trust Act. This section covers shared directors and notes that it any companies that shares directors and have competing products that account for more than 2% or their revenue will be in violation of this section.
Apple and Google compete on many levels but most people do not realize it. They compete in the internet media market (YouTube and iTunes) the Phone OS market, the browser market and now the OS market.
This has sparked new concerns and has even opened up an investigation into whether or not they are in violation of Section 5 for unfair marketing practices.
Today Eric Schmidt has announced that he plans on talking to Apple's board about his role. This is a very timely announcement indeed because if Schmidt leaves the investigation gets dropped and no one gets in trouble.
There is a slight chance that the Section 5 investigation would continue but that is very doubtful.
First it was Norton now CA is having issues where their latest AV profiles are targeting Windows system files as malicious code.
It is simply not a good thing when your Anti-Virus starts listing off system files and says they are quarantined. It can really ruin your day.
According to posts at CA's Forum many people were receiving these false positives and causing systems to crash.
File infection: C:\WINDOWS\system32\net.exe is Win32/AMalum.ZZNPB infection. Quarantined
CA users we certainly upset and were told that a fix was on its way when they contacted technical support. Unfortunately the "fix seemed to make things worse.
CA has posted an official statement apologizing for the incident and says that they are working to fix the issue caused by an errant file.
CA's statement can be found here
During our visit to the Foxconn headquarters in Taipei today, besides looking at new products which the Taiwanese company has been busy developing in recent times, we had to ask a couple hard hitting questions.
We spoke with Andrew D. Ouyang and Sidney Tsai from the channel sales team - that's the folk who are responsible for marketing and selling its range of retail motherboards and othe products.
We asked Foxconn about the rumors floating around that Foxconn is going to quit the channel business of Foxconn branded and marketed products - and the question wasn't met with surprise. The answer we got that was that Foxconn are not quitting the channel business and that "we're still here", from Sidney Tsai.
And indeed they are still here - we had troubles believing the rumors when they first started a couple months ago or so. If Foxconn was quitting the channel business, why would they still be developing and selling new motherboards? Wouldn't they just fire all of their sales, marketing, product managers, engineers and so on, and be done with it?
The Foxconn channel sales group is purely focusing more on sales than marketing at this stage. More effort is being placed into direct sales, and as a result, it might appear as if Foxconn is going under from the outside. Foxconn had a surprisingly small presence at the large Computex Taipei trade show and according to Andrew and Sidney from Foxconn, it was because the head honchos decided to cut down on expenses and only personally invite its customers (distributors) to its private suite at the Grand Hyatt for a more targeted showing, while also keeping some of its upcoming technologies under its belt.
The channel sales group are also in the process of moving from their current office in Tucheng City to Nei Hu City in the next couple of weeks. And yes folks, they will keep making new products there. How about we rest these rumours?
Those seeking to make hi-def backups of their Blu-ray videos will have to wait a little while longer, but the option is in fact coming.
Last week the final specification for the AACS (Advanced Access Content System) for Blu-Ray was released, bringing provisions for making legal copies of Blu-ray content. While many have been waiting for the spec to be finalized, they are going to have to wait a little longer for the hardware that supports it.
In order for everything to work, three pieces of the puzzle need to fall into place. First is that the AACS center needs to get their authorization severs fully functional. Every copy that is made will have to receive authorization, making sure that only one copy of each individual Blu-ray is permitted.
Second, you will need the software to make this happen. Expect the big names like Ahead and Roxio to be on top of this ASAP and either make it available as a free update or include it with their next version of their software.
Finally you will need a BD play that supports Managed Copy. These aren't expected until mid-2010 and Managed-Copy enable hardware is not something the hardware industry will be forced to incorporate. It is optional for them to include the feature so expect some manufacturers to ignore it completely while others will more than likely only enable it on higher end hardware.
Gaming developer 3D Realms has closed up shop, following news that publisher Take-Two will no longer fund the development of Duke Nukem Forever.
Many remember 3D Reams for the FPS hits Wolfenstein 3D and Duke Nukem, two games that can arguably be marked as laying the foundation of first-person shooters. In 1997, the company announced that it was working on a third installment for the Duke Nukem series.
Many have criticized the aptly named Duke Nukem Forever as its 12 year development left most skeptical that it would ever reach the market. As sad as it may be, it appears the skeptics were correct.
All hope hasn't been lost quite yet however. Take-Two says that while they have pulled funding for the game they still hold the rights to the title, leaving the possibility of another developer letting the title see the light at the end of the tunnel.