7/29/2008

Yahoo Music to offer refunds, what about MSN?

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo Music is offering refunds to anyone who bought songs from the service. Is it time for MSN Music follow Yahoo’s lead?

Yahoo announced last week that it would no longer issue authorization keys for the digital rights management, or DRM, software on its songs. This meant that anyone who bought songs from the service would still be able to hear their songs through its service but would be unable to move them to other devices or computers.

This did not play well with Web users. Now Yahoo Music plans to issue refunds and is trying to go one step further. If a customer would prefer music over a refund, Yahoo is looking for a way to give the customer copies of the purchased songs in the DRM-free MP3 format, according to a Yahoo representative.

Yahoo Music is transferring customers of Yahoo Music Unlimited to RealNetworks’ Rhapsody service. These are both subscription music services, so Yahoo users who choose to make the move are unaffected. But those who purchased songs would be out of luck after September 30.

The question now is, has Yahoo Music raised the bar? Is it time for Microsoft to pony up with a refund for MSN users?

Oracle touts proof SAP stole software

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Business software giant Oracle claimed Monday that it has new proof that its German rival SAP looted its software libraries for competitive advantage.

Oracle formally amended the civil suit it filed against SAP in the US District Court in San Francisco in March of 2007, enhancing its accusations with information gleaned during the case’s evidentiary phase.

“Oracle has now obtained SAP’s internal records, which confirm that SAP spent years systematically taking unauthorized support materials from Oracle’s systems,” lawyers for the California firm said in the revised complaint.

Oracle says in court documents that SAP used a customized software tool dubbed “Titan” to plunder Oracle’s website of patches, updates, fixes and other programs crafted for Oracle’s paying customers.

Titan and other tools were used to pack SAP data vaults with more than five terabytes of proprietary Oracle software, according to the revised complaint.

Oracle says it found nearly eight million Oracle programs on just one SAP computer. Oracle says it has proof that SAP executives not only knew of the online theft but endorsed the tactic.

Sunday Night Football to be streamed on Web

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

NBC and the NFL will stream online the complete “Sunday Night Football” season, the first time a complete NFL game has ever been available on the Web in the United States.

“Sunday Night Football Extra,” as it’s being called, will offer the Al Michaels/John Madden audio stream as well as additional camera angles, the ability to watch multiple video streams and in-game highlights. It will begin with the Thursday night opening night, which will be televised on NBC.

Virgin Galactic shows off mothership aircraft

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The space tourism race marked a milestone Monday as British mogul Sir Richard Branson and American aerospace designer Burt Rutan waved to a crowd from inside the cabin of an exotic jet that will carry a passenger spaceship to launch altitude.

The photo-op was the public unveiling of the White Knight Two mothership before a crowd of engineers, dignitaries and space enthusiasts at the Mojave Air & Space Port in the high desert north of Los Angeles.

The four-engine jet, with its 140-foot single wing, is an engineering marvel. The space between its twin fuselages is where SpaceShipTwo, the passenger rocket being built for Branson’s Virgin Galactic, will be mounted.

White Knight Two, billed as the world’s largest all-carbon-composite airplane, is “one of the most beautiful and extraordinary aviation vehicles ever developed,” Branson proclaimed.

White Knight Two is the brainchild of Rutan, who made history in 2004 when his SpaceShipOne became the first private, manned craft to reach space. SpaceShipOne accomplished it with help from White Knight Two’s smaller predecessor, White Knight. After winning $10 million for the feat, Rutan partnered with Branson, chairman of Virgin Group, to commercialize the prototype.

White Knight Two’s long-awaited rollout, a year after a deadly explosion rocked Rutan’s test site, is the first tangible sign of progress toward making space tourism a reality. Despite the glitz surrounding the event, significant hurdles remain.

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