Microsoft's Unlikely New Ally
Remember the storied battles a few years ago between Microsoft and the Department
of Justice? For a while there, it looked like the DOJ just might carve up the
Redmond juggernaut into smaller pieces, a la the Bell monopoly breakup decades
Now, Justice is singing a different tune. Thomas Barnett, a top antitrust official
at the Justice Department, has been trying his best to persuade state prosecutors
to reject an antitrust complaint filed by none other than Microsoft's current
archrival: Google. The Googlers contend that Redmond designed Vista to discourage
users from using their search engine.
Wait until you hear where Barnett came from, though. He was previously a partner
in the law firm that represented Microsoft during the antitrust debacle. In
all fairness, though, he never actually worked on a Microsoft case, and for
more than a year after going governmental, he kept his distance from anything
Redmond-related. In fact, ethics lawyers have cleared him to lend a hand in
the current legal wrangling between Microsoft and Google.
Still, it sounds like a bit more serious case of switching teams than when
the Pats traded Drew Bledsoe to the Bills.
At the very least, this turnabout in the DOJ's overall stance against Microsoft
seems to recognize the sweeping changes in the marketplace -- that the battles
are taking place on the Web, not on store shelves.
Where do you feel the fair battles are being fought? Is Microsoft still behaving
like a monopolistic megalomaniac? Is Google heading in that direction? File
your thoughts at [email protected].
Google and Intel Go Green
With my deepest apologies to Kermit, it may be easy being green after all: Google
is teaming up with Intel to start
the Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI). The program's intent is
to develop more energy-efficient personal computers
So far, the CSCI has signed up Dell, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Microsoft, the EPA and
a handful of smaller companies and university groups. Sounds like all the major
players agree that the desktop and the server room are the next stages for environmental
awareness and activism.
Basically, the CSCI will set new goals for the efficiency of computers and
power supplies, and how they're managed. It's sort of like the Energy Star standard
from the early 1990s writ large. Early drafts of the CSCI standard call for
90 percent efficiency for power supplies.
When you feel the wave of heat emanating from even a modest-sized server room,
you can get behind the energy savings this could generate.
How do you feel about these energy-saving maneuvers and green computing? What
is your company doing to conserve energy? Let me know at [email protected].
YouTube Tests Blocking System
YouTube has been a veritable free-for-all for posting video clips. Beyond the
home-grown videos, shots of kids pouring Mentos into bottles of Diet Coke and
the obligatory stupid stunts, the Wild West of video clips is ripe for abuse
when it comes to posting copyrighted material.
Up to now, YouTube has frequently been in the crosshairs of film and television
studios and networks for the myriad copyrighted clips that have appeared on
Now, YouTube is testing technology that would block
users from posting unauthorized copyrighted clips on its site, protecting
filmmakers and safeguarding the site against future legal action.
The technology, which has been dubbed video fingerprinting, was developed by
engineers at Google, which bought YouTube last year. YouTube first plans to
test the blocking technology with Disney and Time Warner. Good move to keep
those guys happy.
What are your thoughts on blocking copyrighted material from sites like YouTube?
What do you feel is appropriate sharing? Send me an e-mail or post a video explaining
your thoughts at [email protected].
Lafe Low is the editorial liaison for ECG Events.