Hulu.com Joins Web Video Competition

NBC and Fox are set to launch an advertising-supported online video site called Hulu.com in an attempt to draw some of the eyeballs away from YouTube. A test version of the Web site went live yesterday, and the permanent site is scheduled to be available early next year.

Hulu.com will host programming from the two networks, as well as TV shows and films from Sony and MGM. It will provide viewers with tools that let them embed full episodes on their own blogs, Web sites or personal profile pages. However, it doesn't look like it will permit users to post home-grown videos.

Do we need another video site? Do you want to watch old TV shows and movies online? Let me know at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

House and Senate Pass Separate Internet Tax Moratorium Extensions
After the U.S. House of Representatives passed a proposed four-year moratorium on Internet taxes earlier in October, the Senate passed legislation that would extend a moratorium on Internet access taxes for seven years.

The proposed moratorium would extend the existing ban on Internet-only taxes, which is set to expire on Nov. 1. The different bills must be reconciled in conference, and signed by President Bush in order to become law.

While we've long taken for granted the lack of a tax on our ISP bills, that would change pretty quickly if the moratorium were discontinued. Federal, state and local governments would be allowed to add taxes, such as access and bit traffic taxes, on information as it travels through a jurisdiction.

I have two ISPs (broadband and a dial-up that includes my hosting service), so any taxes would weigh double on me. How do you feel about taxing Internet access and traffic like we do the telephone? Tell me your thoughts at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Oracle Offer for BEA Expires
Oracle's offer to acquire BEA at a price of $17 a share -- or $6.7 billion -- expired on Sunday, and Oracle has withdrawn the offer. Oracle has also responded to BEA's putative counteroffer of $21 a share, or about $8.3 billion, by saying that it was "impossibly high."

Still, most industry observers believe that a deal will happen sooner or later. BEA continues to perform below expectations, and investor Carl Icahn, who owns about 12 percent of the company, has complained about the board's response to the Oracle offer. And it's telling that no other company has come forward with a competing offer.

Oracle has made a lot of big acquisitions in the past several years. Do you think it's ready for another? Give me your Oracle story at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

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 level.

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