WinInfo Short Takes, December 21, 2007

An often irreverent look at some of the week's other news, including the mother of all winters, the FTC’s approval of the Google/DoubleClick deal, Apple shuts down a fan site, Microsoft opens up SMB, Internet gambling is bad, Bink's 2008 list, and much, much more... WinInfo Blog
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow: We've now had three major snowstorms in the past week, making last winter's global warming-esque warmness a distant memory. As I type this commentary, there's about two feet of snow outside, and, thanks to the plows, we're pretty much stuck in the house. It certainly is pretty--all the tree branches are covered in a nice white coating--but the shoveling is getting a bit tiresome. That said, there's nothing like a white Christmas, if you celebrate that particular holiday. And given how often it’s been all brown and gray around here for the holidays, maybe I should stop complaining. Maybe. Speaking of the holidays, we won’t be publishing WinInfo on Monday, December 24, 2007, and Tuesday, December 25, 2007. We’ll see you again on Wednesday. Leo is off traveling, but we did recently record an interim episode with Ward Ralston of Microsoft's Windows Server group for the Windows Weekly podcast. That said, I'm not sure when it's going live. I'll keep an ear out for it. Also, I should leave a regular note here about Paul's SuperSite blog: It's still in "beta" in that it's slower than molasses and looks nothing like the rest of the SuperSite for Windows, but we'll get that corrected over time. But even in this nascent state, it's still something I update every day. So if you enjoy Short Takes and are looking for something a little more timely, there you go. Short Takes
- The FTC Approves the Google/DoubleClick Deal
- Finally, Microsoft Agrees to Dance with Samba
- Google-Hating Viacom Signs Online Ad Deal with Microsoft
- Apple Shuts Down Fan Web Site
- Microsoft Fined $21 Million for Internet Gambling
- Bink: What to Expect from Microsoft in 2008 The FTC Approves the Google/DoubleClick Deal
I have to admit, I didn't see this one coming. Last night, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it has cleared Google's hotly contested purchase of online ad giant DoubleClick. The FTC noted that, despite complaints from virtually every other company in the online ad space, the deal was "unlikely to substantially lessen competition." But fear not, privacy buffs: FTC approval isn't the end of this fight. Google still faces a legal hurdle in the European Union (EU), where the European Commission (EC) is currently analyzing the deal. The EC says it will rule on the Google/DoubleClick deal by April 2, an extension that came about after an earlier analysis unveiled some competitive concerns. Go EU. Finally, Microsoft Agrees to Dance with Samba
In a deal that should have been made about eight years ago, Microsoft this week agreed to open up its networking protocols to the open-source Samba project, which had been trying to reverse engineer the small-to-midsized business (SMB) technology in Windows with varying levels of success. "The agreement allows us to keep Samba up to date with recent changes in Microsoft Windows, and also helps other Free Software projects that need to interoperate with Windows," said Samba Creator Andrew Tridgell. Microsoft was required to open up this information more than three years ago, but only this week agreed to actually make it happen. So I find it somewhat disingenuous that Microsoft is now acting like its some big benevolent benefactor of the computer industry. "If you're surprised, you're not paying attention," Microsoft's Sam Ramji wrote in the Port 25 blog. Either that or we just fell asleep waiting for it to happen. Google-Hating Viacom Signs Online Ad Deal with Microsoft
This week, media conglomerate Viacom signed a five-year, $500 million advertising deal with Microsoft. The deal, which is clearly a virtual middle finger extended in the general direction of Google, involves Microsoft buying airtime on Viacom's TV networks and Web sites and displaying Viacom content on its MSN Web properties. Google, not coincidentally, owns two video Web sites, YouTube and Google Video, which Viacom has accused of illegally stealing its content. From what I can tell, Microsoft and Viacom are essentially just exchanging money at Google's expense. Cute, but pointless. Apple Shuts Down Fan Web Site
After a years-long legal battle, Apple has successfully shut down the "Think Secret" blog, an Apple fan site that published one too many posts about internal Apple products before the company was ready to announce them. In 2005, Apple sued site owner Nicholas Ciarelli, who started the site as a 13-year-old Apple fanatic. Now a 22-year-old Apple fanatic, Ciarelli claims he’s "pleased" that Apple shut down his Web site because he didn't have to reveal any of his confidential sources. He would be more pleased, I'm guessing, if he didn't love technology or secrecy-obsessed corporations so much. Just a thought. Microsoft Fined $21 Million for Internet Gambling
And no, it has nothing to do with people still using Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 6.0 to browse the Internet. Microsoft was among three Internet companies (the others being Yahoo! and Google) that have been fined by the US government for channeling Web surfers to offshore gambling Web sites. The fines are part of settlements made by each company, which involved them not admitting to doing anything wrong. Microsoft was fined $21 million, $9 million of which will go toward a Web ad campaign demonstrating that online gambling is illegal under US law. Google was fined $3 million, and Yahoo! was fined $7.5 million. Bink: What to Expect from Microsoft in 2008
And finally, my good friend Steven Bink has published his annual list of what to expect from Microsoft in the coming year. The 2008 edition includes such entries as Windows Server 2008, of course, as well as Windows Home Server R2, Windows 7 Beta, and the possibility of a Zune phone. Good reading as always.

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