RICO Suit Against Microsoft To Continue
- By Peter Varhol
The Supreme Court on Monday rejected
by Microsoft and Best Buy in a lawsuit alleging the two companies
fraudulently signed up customers for Microsoft's online service.
As with most appeals to the Supreme Court, this one didn't deal with the facts
of the case, but whether the companies could be sued under the Racketeer Influenced
and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. This act, originally passed to give law
enforcement more tools to address organized crime, is increasingly being used
against businesses accused of intentionally organizing a criminal activity.
Because the Supreme Court rejected the appeal, the companies are bound by the
appeals court ruling, which allowed the lawsuit to go forward under the RICO
Are tech company lawsuits a necessary evil or just plain evil? Tell me your
opinion at [email protected].
Discovery Channel Invests in Web Property
Discovery Communications, owner of the Discovery Channel, announced
its acquisition of the Web site HowStuffWorks.com. HowStuffWorks.com is
exactly what its name implies -- a site devoted to explaining how things work
in the world around us. A visit to the site today features articles on how lightning,
roller coasters and submarines work.
Discovery said it will create a complementary TV series called "How Stuff
Works," which will air on the Discovery Channel beginning the following
Who said synergy is dead? Have you visited HowStuffWorks.com? Do you have a
fascination with understanding how the world around you works? Tell me what
interests you most at [email protected].
BEA Declines Oracle's Offer
BEA Systems has rejected
a cash bid for the company from Oracle, an action that appeared to signal
the start of a bidding war for the company. The speculation among industry analysts
is that this rejection will soon lead to rival offers for BEA from both Oracle
and German software company SAP.
BEA, a maker of Java application servers and development tools, has long been
rumored to be an acquisition candidate. Speculation is that as the enterprise
software industry continues to consolidate, BEA might make an attractive addition
to one of those companies, or to another large enterprise software vendor.
Will any Java company become powerful enough to take on Microsoft head-to-head?
Send me your thoughts to [email protected].
EA To Acquire Game Maker
Electronic Arts said last Thursday that the company is buying
VG Holding Corp. for $860 million. VG Holding is a video game maker that
owns both BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios. These two video game makers specialize
in action, adventure and role-playing games, and have 10 games under development,
including six wholly owned games.
This acquisition demonstrates once again both the complexity of video game
development and the money to be made from making and selling successful games.
Successful companies with promising games in the pipeline have a high valuation
because of the expectation that any good game can be a billion-dollar seller.
Peter Varhol is the executive editor,
reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software
developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees
in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university