12/24/2005

Opera denies Microsoft takeover

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Opera has denied the latest takeover rumor spreading across the Internet, saying that it has not had approaches from Microsoft or anyone else.

Rumors surfaced on Friday that Microsoft is close to completing a takeover offer for the Norwegian browser vendor, having outbid Google.

“Our phones have been ringing off the hook,” a representative for Opera said Friday. “But it’s not true. We have not been bought, and we have not received any offers. It’s just a rumor, like the Google rumor last week.”

If Microsoft were to buy Opera it would effectively reduce the battle for browsers on Windows PCs to two contenders: Microsoft and the Mozilla Foundation.

Source: News.com

Valve Unveils 64-bit Source Gaming for Half-Life 2

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Valve has unveiled 64-bit Source gaming technology developed in conjunction with AMD, available now is Half-Life 2 and Lost Coast 64-bit versions.

Valve, a leading entertainment and technology studio, unveiled a 64-bit version of its Source game engine technology today. The first 64-bit Valve games released will be native 64-bit versions of Half-Life 2 and Lost Coast, and have been developed to take advantage of AMD Athlon(tm) 64 FX processor-based systems - the ultimate 64-bit gaming platform for PC enthusiasts.

The 64-bit versions of these games are being offered to all Half-Life 2 owners via SteamTM, Valve’s online platform for delivering games and digital content directly to users around the world.

“Bringing the Source technology to the AMD64 processor platform is an important step in the evolution of our game content and tools,” said Gabe Newell, Valve’s co-founder and president. “This investment in future processing will allow us, and third party developers working with Source, to push the boundaries of the gaming experience.”

Warner subpoenaed in NY probe of music industry

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Warner Music Group Corp. has been subpoenaed by the New York Attorney General in connection with an anti-trust investigation into pricing of digital music downloads, the company said in a securities filing on Friday.

Warner said it received the request for information on Tuesday.

“As part of an industrywide investigation concerning pricing of digital music downloads, we received a subpoena from Attorney General Spitzer’s office as disclosed in our public filings. We are cooperating fully with the inquiry,” said Warner Music Group spokesman Will Tanous.

The New York Attorney General’s Office could not be reached for comment.

Last month, Warner Music, one of the largest U.S. record companies, agreed to pay $5 million to settle a separate New York state “pay-for-play” probe into how the music industry influences which songs are played on the radio.

Sony BMG paid $10 million and agreed to stop making payments to radio stations for airplay to settle the “payola” probe. Universal Music Group and EMI Group Plc are still under investigation.

A music industry source said the current probe appears to center on the way music companies set wholesale prices for digital downloads.

Source: Reuters

NEC Develops New Flexible, 30 Sec Rechargeable Battery

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

NEC ORBNEC Corporation announced that it has succeeded in the development of an ultra-thin (300 microns), flexible, rechargeable battery capable of super-fast (30-second) charging, which can be embedded into smartcards and intelligent paper. The new battery, organic radical battery (ORB) , uses a type of plastic called organic radical polymer as its cathode.

Organic radical polymer assumes an electrolyte-permeated gel state , and is the reason why the rechargeable battery is so remarkably flexible and pliant. In addition, the organic radical polymer electrode reaction is extremely fast and the supporting salts migrate through gel state polymer very smoothly. This results in little resistance to the charging reaction and an incredibly fast charging time of less than 30 seconds. Not only is this new battery thin, flexible and rechargeable, but it is also environmentally friendly as unlike conventional rechargeable batteries, it does not contain any harmful heavy metals such as mercury, lead or cadmium.

NEC anticipates that its new and unique battery will be used extensively in the future to power all kinds of tiny ubiquitous terminals. The interconnection of networks with battery-powered next generation ubiquitous devices will enable all kinds of objects to become terminals, bringing us closer to a ubiquitous networked society by allowing access to the network anytime, anywhere.

NEC will continue to carry out aggressive R&D in this area toward enhanced performance and reliability of thin, flexible rechargeable ORBs.

Microsoft sheds control of its cable network

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

NBC Universal and Microsoft on Friday announced a deal in which the media conglomerate will purchase a controlling stake in the MSNBC cable channel.

Under the agreement, NBC Universal, a subsidiary of General Electric, will receive an 82 percent stake in the network, with the option of claiming the remaining 18 percent after two years. The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

“Acquiring a controlling interest in MSNBC will allow us to fully integrate the channel into our News operations and our overall cable platform,” said NBC News President Steve Capus.

Microsoft initially invested $220 million ten years ago for a 50 percent stake in the Seacaucus, N.J.-based network, which launched in July 1996. But talks of dropping the venture have reportedly been brewing since at least March, as the channel’s performance wasn’t keeping up with Redmond’s expectations.

The two companies will continue to own equal shares of MSNBC.com, which continues to be a leader in the online news space.

Source: News.com

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