Robert Acker, a longtime 12 volt industry executive who spent time at XM, RealNetworks, Aha Mobile and Harman International, passed away this week at the age of 49. A San Jose Mercury News report said a man found unresponsive near a jogging trail in Redwood City, Calif. was identified Thursday as Acker.
Best Buy’s digital music unit, Napster, will soon be acquired by Rhapsody International, an Internet music service provider. In the proposed deal, Rhapsody will acquire the subscribers and other assets of Napster and in return Best Buy will get a minority share in the business. In 2008, Best Buy bought Napster for $121 million, and this acquisition enabled Best Buy to enter the online music sector. We believe Best Buy initially hoped to challenge Apple’s iTunes service, but this fell short as Best Buy lacks the device and software support of the Apple ecosystem.
Seeing Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer at Research in Motion's Blackberry World conference in Orlando today prompted some wags to wonder if Lucifer was donning a down coat. The new partnership between once fierce rivals, which calls for Microsoft's Bing Search and Bing Maps to be built into the operating system of future RIM devices, would have seemed unfathomable just a few years ago. But it's hardly an unusual strategy for Microsoft, though. For years, it's competed fiercely against companies, only to embrace them when their fortunes sag. The list is long. It made peace with America Online
For anyone who followed Microsoft's testy battles with competition regulators 10 years ago, Google's current antitrust problems may provoke more than a little sense of deja vu. Google dominates the Internet search advertising business and has allegedly used that hegemony to thwart rivals in adjacent markets. Regulators in the United States and Europe are looking into claims by smaller niche search companies, such as 1plusV, which runs the Ejustice.fr site in France and MyTriggers.com in Columbus, Ohio, that Google is manually altering search results, demoting where rivals show up in its ranking, making it harder for customers to find
A federal magistrate judge ordered Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs to answer questions in an antitrust dispute alleging the company operated a music-downloading monopoly. Lawyers for consumers who filed the 2005 complaint won permission to conduct limited questioning of Jobs, under an order issued yesterday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd in San Jose, California. The deposition cant exceed two hours and the only topic allowed is changes Apple made to its software in October 2004 that rendered digital music files engineered by RealNetworks Inc. inoperable with Apples iPod music player.
Following a decision in October to uphold a temporary ban on RealNetwork's DVD copying software RealDVD, hearings began Friday in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to determine the legality of the program, according to PC Magazine. RealDVD allows users to burn one copy of a DVD onto a harddrive. The MPAA, who filed the initial suit against RealNetworks, contends that the software violates the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which states that any software bypasses DVD copy protection is illegal. RealNetwork's claims that the software does not bypass the encryption and, in fact, increases the encryption in a way that prevents the burned DVD content from being played on any other PC.
A judge this week upheld the decision barring RealDVD, the DVD-copying software released last week by RealNetworks but immediately challenged by movie studios. According to Wired, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel upheld her decision from last week, after reviewing documents related to the case. She concluded that there is sufficient evidence that the technology violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Patel is the same judge who presided over the Napster litigation in the late 1990s.