WinInfo Daily UPDATE, September 9, 2003

This Issue Sponsored By

Argent Software


1. In the News
- Microsoft Cries Foul Over Far East OS Efforts
- Microsoft Promotes WMV as Industry Standard
- Recording Industry Launches 261 Lawsuits Against Individuals
- Correction: Be Settlement

2. Announcements
- Find Your Next Job at Our IT Career Center
- Are You Ready for Exchange 2003?

3. Event
- New--Mobile & Wireless Road Show!

4. Contact Us
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

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==== 1. In the News ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Cries Foul Over Far East OS Efforts
The governments of China, Japan, and South Korea are banding together to create an open-source OS (likely to be based on Linux) that will challenge Windows, the dominant--and proprietary--OS that currently owns about 95 percent of the market. The countries announced the plan this week, with Japan earmarking more than $85.5 million for the project. The countries' ministers of trade will meet in late September to work out details of the plan, which will address the needs of Japanese consumer electronics companies such as Fujitsu, Hitachi, Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic), and NEC.
"Japan does not have the intention of rejecting a certain product," a spokesman for the Japanese Minister of Trade said. "However, Microsoft Windows dominates everywhere, although people also want to test different products. Therefore it is important to work on alternatives."
Predictably, Microsoft isn't terribly excited about the news. "We'd like to see the market decide who the winners are in the software industry," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "Governments should not be in the position to decide who the winners are." The company said that it's communicating with the Japanese government about the project. However, in the wake of this year's MSBlaster and SoBig.F Internet attacks, Microsoft doesn't find itself bargaining from a position of power. The company's software is widely viewed as less secure than Linux, despite much evidence to the contrary. That Windows is attacked more often than Linux is indisputable, however, and this fact, combined with the economic realties of such attacks, might have helped these countries reach their decision.

Microsoft Promotes WMV as Industry Standard
Microsoft announced yesterday that it will offer its Windows Media Video (WMV) 9 video-compression technologies as an industry standard to provide third parties with its superior video format at a lower cost. The company says that yesterday it presented WMV 9, which launched in January, to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), an international standards body, for review. If adopted as a standard, WMV 9 would be more accessible to third parties because its specifications would be open.
"We really wanted to think of a way for companies to use Windows Media 9 without ever having to contact Microsoft," Jonathan Usher, director of the Windows Digital Media Division, said. "I am optimistic \[WMV 9 will be accepted as standard\]. I think this is technology that has been proven in the industry." Usher noted that a standardized WMV 9 would make it easier for companies to create applications that use the technology. Already, WMV 9 is less expensive and confusing to license than competing formats such as MPEG-4.
WMV 9 is the linchpin of Windows Media Player (WMP) 9, a multimedia player, and Windows Movie Maker 2, a video-editing application. Both applications take advantage of improvements in the WMV 9 format to provide consumers with seamless video experiences. You can read my lengthy reviews of various Windows Media 9 Series technologies on the SuperSite for Windows.

Windows Media 9 Series reviewed

Windows Movie Maker 2 Review

Recording Industry Launches 261 Lawsuits Against Individuals
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a trade group that represents the major recording labels, announced its largest-ever set of lawsuits against individuals it says have stolen and traded music online. The RIAA filed 261 separate lawsuits yesterday, all against individuals who use Internet file-sharing programs such as Grokster and KaZaA. The RIAA also promised to launch thousands of similar lawsuits in the days ahead. Originally, the organization had hoped to sue the file-sharing services, but a court ruling made that action more difficult. Instead, the RIAA is now attacking the people who share the most music online.
"Nobody likes playing the heavy and resorting to litigation, but when you're being victimized by illegal activity there is a time you have to stand up and take action," an RIAA spokesperson said without irony. But the notion of the recording industry being a victim is ludicrous: Instead of dropping audio CD prices throughout the years as the industry promised in the late 1980s, RIAA members instead raised prices significantly during the ensuing decade and a half. After 2 years of steadily declining sales, one recording label, Universal Music Group (UMG), finally announced that it would drop the price of its CDs by 30 percent, effective October 1. Arguably, this move should have occurred long ago--well before Internet file-sharing services were even technically feasible. The other major record labels should also announce similar prices.
Meanwhile, earlier cases against individuals are winding their way through the courts. The RIAA is settling each case at an average cost of $3000 per individual, although some people have received much heavier fines, including a $15,000 settlement against a college student who illegally shared thousands of songs. The RIAA says that future settlement costs will be higher, as will any court verdicts.
How such actions will affect the CD-buying public is unclear. CD sales are projected to fall 50 percent this year when compared with CD sales in 2000, and revenues are down 14 percent. "The lawsuits and the new pricing policy address the same issue," Zach Horowitz, UMG's president and chief operating officer (COO), said. "Our industry is being ravaged by piracy. The lawsuits will help to deter illegal file sharing. Our new prices will help stimulate retail sales. At the same time, we're offering our music through a host of legitimate and compelling online services. The combination of all these efforts is aimed at reinvigorating the music business."

Correction: Be Settlement
Be President Dan S. Johnston sent me a correction yesterday. In the article titled "Be Settled: Microsoft Settles Antitrust Case," I stated that Microsoft announced that it reached a settlement with Be back in February. That statement was incorrect. The settlement occurred this week. My apologies for the error.

==== 2. Announcements ====
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Find Your Next Job at Our IT Career Center
Check out our new online career center in which you can browse current job openings, post your resume, and create automated notifications to notify you when a job is posted that meets your specifications. It's effective, it's private, and there's no charge. Visit today!

Are You Ready for Exchange 2003?
With enhanced performance and security and an improved infrastructure, Exchange 2003 is poised for takeoff. Join Windows & .NET Magazine and NetIQ for this free Web seminar, and discover which migration method makes the most sense, the best security and management practices, and much more. Register today!

==== 3. Event ====
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4. ==== CONTACT US ====

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