12/3/2005

Lawsuit Accuses AOL of Illegal Billing

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A lawsuit seeking to potentially cover hundreds of thousands of America Online Inc. subscribers accuses the Time Warner Inc. unit of illegally billing customers by creating secondary accounts for them without their consent.

The lawsuit, filed last month in St. Clair County Circuit Court on behalf of 10 AOL customers in six states, claims the company confused and deceived customers about the charges, stalled them from canceling unauthorized accounts and refused to return questioned fees.

“AOL exploits its subscribers’ confidential billing information to unlawfully generate additional revenue by charging subscribers for additional membership accounts that they neither order nor request,” the lawsuit alleges, calling the scheme “common, uniform and continuing.”

The lawsuit, seeking class-action status, mirrors more than a dozen other actions that have been pending in state and federal courts throughout the country, said Stuart Talley, a Sacramento, Calif., attorney representing the plaintiffs in the Illinois lawsuit. All of the federal cases were consolidated in California two years ago, Talley said.

Source: AP

Verizon to Offer Cell Phone TV Service

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Verizon Wireless has signed on as the first cellular carrier that will offer a broadcast TV network for mobile phones that Qualcomm Inc. plans to launch in late 2006.

The companies declined to say Thursday what programming might be featured over the MediaFLO system, which will be broadcast to mobile phones over a different portion of the wireless spectrum than cellular calls and data services.

Source: AP

Governor to Appeal Video Game Ruling

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A federal judge ruled Friday that Illinois’ restrictions on the sale of violent and sexually explicit video games to minors are unconstitutional and barred the state from enforcing the law.

State officials “have come nowhere near” demonstrating that the law passes constitutional muster, said U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly.

Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich and other supporters of the measure argued that children were being harmed by exposure to games in which characters go on killing sprees or sexual escapades.

Opponents declared the law a restriction on free speech and pointed out that similar laws had been struck down in other states.

Source: AP

Microsoft tweaks browser to avoid liability

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft is changing the way its Web browser handles certain controls in an effort to shield itself from liability in an ongoing patent spat with a start-up backed by the University of California.

The software giant is notifying Web developers and other partners on Friday that it is changing the way Internet Explorer handles certain Web programs, known as ActiveX controls and Java applets.

With the change, Web developers will need to slightly modify their pages or consumers will have to make an extra click to get to some content, such as for a Macromedia Flash-based advertisement.

“We think that the user experience impact is relatively modest,” said Michael Wallent, a general manager in Microsoft’s Windows-client unit.

Microsoft will incorporate the new version of Internet Explorer into all new copies of Windows and also into the next version of the browser, IE 7, which will be available for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and as part of Windows Vista. Existing users may also get the new code as part of future security updates, Wallent said.

Source: News.com

Microsoft Works on Comcast E-Mail Problem

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. said Friday that some people who use its Hotmail and MSN e-mail services are not receiving e-mail sent from Comcast Corp. accounts and other Internet service providers.

Brooke Richardson, a group product manager with Microsoft’s MSN online division, said the problem appears to be due to an increase in e-mail volumes, which it is attributed in part to the Sober Internet worm.

She said the high volumes are causing e-mail to either be delayed or not make it to MSN and Hotmail users at all.

Richardson said the problem began earlier this week. She would not name the other Internet service providers besides Comcast whose users were encountering the same problem. She also couldn’t say when the problem would be fixed.

Source: AP

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