EU Members OK Draft Ruling Against Microsoft

Representatives of 15 European Commission member governments have given unanimous approval to a draft decision that supports antitrust penalties against Microsoft (Quote, Chart). EU spokeswoman Amelia Torres told that all the member states backed the commission's draft decision. Torres declined to comment further on the details in the draft. The decision is widely believed to include a fine as well as order the company to open up its Windows operating system so that other companies' server software can interoperate with it. Another week of reviews awaits before the ruling. The five-year-old case could be finalized, and the extent of the penalties known, by March 24.... InternetNews

Microsoft Faces Guilty Verdict in Europe

Antitrust regulators from the 15 European Union countries have unanimously backed the European Commission's negative ruling against Microsoft, a Commission spokesperson says. The advisory committee meeting of the 15 national regulators broke up early Monday, spokesperson Amelia Torres says. "The meeting is over. The member states have unanimously backed the Commission's draft decision," she says. In less than two weeks, barring a last-minute settlement, the Commission will declare Microsoft an abusive monopolist, impose a fine anywhere between $100 million and $1 billion and order the company to make fundamental changes to the way it sells software in Europe.... PC World

Microsoft: Yukon Delay Won't Impact Longhorn

The official line out of Microsoft is that delays in the SQL Server roadmap will not affect delivery of the "Longhorn" version of Windows. Since Microsoft's disclosure on Wednesday that SQL Server 2005, formerly known by the code-name "Yukon," would not be released until 2005 instead of late 2004 as previously planned, speculation has been rampant that the delay would throw a monkey wrench into the development cycle for the Windows "Longhorn" operating system. Longhorn is the release that follows Windows XP. Longhorn also contains a storage technology, called Windows Future Storage, or WinFS, that is shared technology with the Yukon database.... ENT News

SQL Server Delays Roil Solution Providers

The slippage of Microsoft SQL Server into 2005 is no trivial matter to solution providers. This database, code-named Yukon, has slipped so much it's becoming "a credibility issue," said one East Coast solution provider who requested anonymity, as did several other interviewed for this story. A West Coast Microsoft partner agreed, and said the continued and serious slippages out of Redmond are casting a favorable light on open source development as an alternative model. That alone is serious a problem for Microsoft, but product delays are also exacerbating volume licensing issues. Companies who sign volume license pacts with Microsoft expect a certain number of upgrades within a pre-set period, and many now feel they are not getting their money's worth....

Thumbs Up for Longhorn Security Lockdown

As software security holds its place as a top priority among enterprise networks, engineers at Microsoft (Quote, Chart) are building proactive PC monitoring capabilities into its next generation Longhorn operating system, a move that's being widely embraced. According to those in the know, Longhorn engineers are packing new technologies into the OS to check against a central patching Web service for security holes on computers. If a user does not have a patch installed, Longhorn's active protection technology will kick in to adjust the firewall or PC settings to block specific attack vectors without having the patch installed.... InternetNews

Microsoft Research Shows Off Tomorrow's Technology Today

Since 2001, Microsoft has held an annual internal event called Microsoft Research TechFest, at which the company's researchers give employees a glimpse into upcoming technology, hoping to excite and inspire them about the future. At this year's TechFest event, Microsoft Research demonstrated technologies ranging from consumer- and programmer-oriented computer tools to an HIV tracking system that might eventually lead to a cure for AIDS. Like earlier TechFest events, the company held this year's gathering at the Microsoft campus in Redmond. This year's TechFest participants included more than 400 researchers from Microsoft Research labs in Beijing; Cambridge, England; Mountain View, California; Redmond; and San Francisco.... WinInfo

Minnesota vs. Microsoft Heads to Court

Microsoft will head to court this week to defend itself against accusations that it overcharged Minnesota consumers for Windows and various Microsoft Office products. The state's antitrust-related charges stem from the guilty verdict in Microsoft's US antitrust trial. Although Microsoft has settled most of the private class-action lawsuits that numerous parties brought against it, the Minnesota case is one of four the company hasn't been able to resolve. The other unresolved cases are in Arizona, Iowa, and New Mexico. The Minnesota case is the first to actually go to trial, however. The Minnesota case is also unique because it involves two classes--one for Windows and one for the Office applications.... WinInfo Exits Benelux in Face of Fine Inc. on Friday stopped selling its products in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg after Microsoft Corp. asked a Dutch court to fine it 100,000 euro ($123,410) a day. A Dutch court in January had temporarily barred, of San Diego, from selling its Linux-based operating system in the three European countries, known as the Benelux countries. But tried a novel approach in February to continue doing business there. It changed its name for those markets to "Lin---s" (Lindash) and launched a new Web site under that name. Microsoft earlier this week fought back when it sought the fine in a court filing, alleging that Lindows.... eWeek

Leaked Code Still Could Bear Malicious Fruit

When news of the leak of a portion of Windows source code broke last month, many in the security community cautioned against overreacting, saying that the leak likely wouldn't lead to a slew of new vulnerability discoveries. But that attitude has changed in recent weeks because researchers said that crackers have uncovered several previously unknown vulnerabilities in the code and appear determined to keep the flaws quiet for their private use. Many in the legitimate security world have shied away from downloading and examining the code, out of fear of legal problems with Microsoft and out of a desire to keep their research unspoiled by what could be corrupt or damaged code.... eWeek

Microsoft Plans Update Release of Windows 2003

Microsoft will release an update to Windows Server 2003 to bundle in some of the add-on components the company has put out since shipping Windows Server 2003 last April, a company official said Friday. "We've shipped a number of technical enhancements such as Windows SharePoint Services that enhance the functionality of the base platform," said Jeff Price, senior director in the Windows Server Group. "In talking with customers, they tell us ? they're happy we're doing that. At the same time they'd like us to do some work to make it easier to consume those things." "It's likely that we will do an update to the Windows 2003 platform to make it easier for customers to take advantage of that stream of value," Price said.... ENT News

Lindows Concedes Name to Microsoft in Europe

Open source operating systems provider Lindows faces a penalty hearing after Microsoft told an Amsterdam court of appeals it hadn't complied with a preliminary injunction. At issue is the Lindows name, which Microsoft (Quote, Chart) claims is too close in name to its own Windows software platform to be anything less than trademark infringement. On March 8, an Amsterdam appeals court ruled that Lindows had infringed. The court ruled that the average computer user might not figure out that LindowsOS wasn't a Microsoft product. It also said that previous legal rulings had established the right of a brand holder to every use of its brand name; therefore, it rejected Lindows' argument that the Web site, Lindows.... InternetNews

EU Committee Backs Strong Action Against Microsoft

The European Union's head office won unanimous backing from national antitrust regulators on Monday for a draft ruling against Microsoft that sources say finds the U.S. software giant abused its Windows monopoly. The draft orders deep changes in the way the company operates. European Commission spokeswoman Amelia Torres said the closed-door session with representatives of the 15 EU governments ended around midday. "The member states have unanimously backed the Commission's draft decision," she said, without elaborating. The draft ruling could be adopted as early as next week _ barring a last-minute settlement....

NEWSFLASH: Microsoft Delays Yukon & Whidbey to 2005

Yesterday, in a stunning move that will likely have ramifications for the next Windows version (code-named Longhorn), Microsoft delayed the next versions of SQL Server (code-named Yukon) and Visual Studio .NET (code-named Whidbey) from late 2004 until the first half of 2005. Both products have been in beta since last fall, and Microsoft issued early releases of both to Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2003 attendees in October. "Microsoft made the decision to delay the delivery of these products to ensure that they meet the high-quality requirements of our customers," a Microsoft representative told me yesterday.... WinInfo

Microsoft says it's not bankrolling Linux opponent

Microsoft Corp. yesterday denied any financial involvement in a deal that provided $50 million to a company battling against users of Linux, the open-source operating system that has emerged as a competitive threat to Microsoft Windows. The statement followed the publication on the Internet of an e-mail that some view as evidence that Microsoft is secretly bankrolling lawsuits filed by the SCO Group against a number of companies, including IBM Corp. SCO alleges that its Unix technology was illegally incorporated into Linux. The SCO Group, based in Lindon, Utah, acknowledged the authenticity of the leaked e-mail, which was sent from an independent contractor to one of its executives in October.... Seattle PI

Show and tell at Microsoft's annual research fest

Office productivity software, sure. Computer operating systems, you bet. But who knew anyone at Microsoft Corp. was working on technology to help in the fight against HIV? Researchers at the company, working with the University of Washington, have come up with a computer program that uses machine learning to create a model showing the different forms that the virus can take. The hope is to help craft an effective AIDS vaccine. A different type of celebrity is on tap today. Scheduled to attend is Mike Rowe, the Canadian teenager whose registration and use of the Web domain, in alleged violation of the Microsoft trademark, drew the attention of Microsoft's lawyers and made international news.... Seattle PI

EU order may specify two versions of Windows

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Going beyond Microsoft Corp.'s settlement of U.S. antitrust charges, the European Union wants to force the software giant to offer computer makers a version of Windows without any multimedia program to give rival companies a better chance at getting their products on consumers' desktops, sources said yesterday. Such an order -- expected this month barring a last-minute settlement -- would be sure to be instantly challenged in European courts by Microsoft. The company insists removing its Media Player program would compromise other parts of its flagship operating system. Taking out Media Player also could undermine Microsoft's long-term strategy of keeping Windows on top by incorporating new functions, which it argues benefits consumers.... Seattle PI

Microsoft, 3 other ISP giants sue spammers

Microsoft Corp. and three other Internet giants opened a new front in the war against unwanted commercial e-mail yesterday, launching a coordinated legal assault under the provisions of a new federal law. In an uncommon display of cooperation, competitors Microsoft, EarthLink, Yahoo! and America Online filed six lawsuits against hundreds of people and companies that they identified as notorious spammers responsible for sending hundreds of millions of messages. "What we're trying to do is hit the biggest, the baddest, the most notorious," said Randall Boe, AOL's general counsel, at a Washington, D.... Seattle PI

BizTalk 2004 Coming, But the Rest of 'Jupiter' is Dead

The availability of Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004 at the beginning of next month will mark the end of Microsoft's once-grand "Jupiter" project. Back in October 2002, Microsoft unveiled a two-part program to roll together three of its enterprise servers -- BizTalk Server, Commerce Server and Content Management Server. At the time, Microsoft said Jupiter would help businesses by bringing the three e-business servers into a unified environment. Publicly, Microsoft always planned to do Jupiter in two steps -- the first step consisting of an overhaul of BizTalk Server and the second step being an integrated product that would include Commerce Server and Content Management Server.... ENT News

Tech Digest

Nagging issues to affect Microsoft's stock price Microsoft Corp. will have limited share-price gains as sales and earnings growth stagnate and as investors remain concerned about security and Linux, Banc of America Securities analyst Robert Stimson said yesterday as he began covering Microsoft with a "neutral" rating on its stock. Microsoft's renewals of long-term contracts missed analysts' estimates in the quarter ended in December, as clients fretted over the security of the company's Windows operating system and bought cheaper Linux operating system programs. Such issues will keep Microsoft's stock price at about 20 to 25 times per-share earnings in the next 12 months, Stimson wrote.... Seattle PI

Microsoft Releases March Monthly Security Updates: None Critical

Yesterday, the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) issued three new security bulletins, none of which is rated critical. One bulletin is rated important; the other two have moderate ratings. The bulletins highlight security flaws in Windows Media Services, Microsoft Office XP, and MSN Messenger, the company noted. The Office security flaw is the only vulnerability that could let malicious attackers run unwanted code on users' systems. The flaw affects systems running Office XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and Microsoft Outlook 2002 SP2. The moderate security flaw for MSN Messenger 6.1 and MSN Messenger 6.... WinInfo

IBM will spend $1 billion to challenge Microsoft

IBM Corp. plans to invest $1 billion this year to help developers create programs for specific industries, in a bid to take market share from Microsoft Corp. IBM, the second-largest software maker, will help sell the new programs and provide companies with technical assistance, including free development tools, the Armonk, N.Y.-based company said yesterday. The software will be geared toward small to medium-size companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. The investment steps up competition between Microsoft and IBM for small and medium-sized customers. IBM also has spent $1 billion to make its hardware and software work with the Linux operating system as a low-cost alternative to Microsoft's Windows.... Seattle PI

Siebel's "New" Windows-Only CRM Software

Siebel Systems substantially repackaged and re-priced a version of its former Midmarket Edition CRM offering, which it calls CRM Professional Edition. Siebel says that CRM Professional Edition is priced and designed specifically for small- and mid-sized organizations. Siebel officials stress that the revamped offering announced last week shares many core features?such as sales, marketing, and service modules?with the company?s flagship enterprise packages. Because it has been especially careful to position CRM Professional Edition as a feature and functional descendent of its enterprise packages, analysts say that Siebel hopes to avoid the packaging and pricing problems which dogged its CRM MidMarket Edition offering.... ENT News

Fix the patch update system

After last summer's Blaster outbreak - which would have been much shorter-lived if users patched more Windows machines - there's been considerable debate about why users are slow to apply necessary security patches. One reason is the time and effort required to determine which machines need patches, test those patches and roll them out across the network. Microsoft is developing new tools that might help automate these processes (see story ), but there are also more elementary reasons why Johnny can't - or doesn't - patch. One is that vendors aren't providing clear-cut information about when, why and how to adopt security updates.... NetworkFusion

US Patent Office Rejects Eolas Browser Patent

In a decision that has sweeping ramifications for the computer industry, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) preliminarily rejected Eolas Technologies' controversial Web browser add-on patent, setting the stage for a reversal of the company's $521 million award in its legal case against Microsoft. On the strength of its now-rejected patent, Eolas had sued Microsoft, accusing the software giant of infringing on Eolas's patented technologies when Microsoft added plug-in capabilities to Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). Eolas allegedly had planned to sue other browser makers if its lawsuit against Microsoft concluded positively.... WinInfo

EU Backs Commission Antitrust Plan Vs Microsoft

European Union states on Monday unanimously threw their weight behind a landmark ruling against Microsoft that would find it broke antitrust law and seek changes in how it sells audiovisual software. Microsoft also faces the prospect of a fine expected to run into hundreds of millions of euros as part of the European Commission's sanctions against the company. Microsoft is certain to appeal any EU decision it does not like. Microsoft shares were down 0.7 percent at $25.20 in morning trading in New York. "I've just been informed that the meeting is over and that the member states have unanimously backed the Commission's draft decision," said Commission competition spokeswoman Amelia Torres.... Reuters

RealNetworks lawsuit will be heard in San Jose

RealNetworks Inc.'s antitrust suit against Microsoft Corp. will be tried in Silicon Valley, not Seattle, a federal judge ruled yesterday.U.S. District Judge James Ware denied Microsoft's motion to move the trial to Seattle from his courtroom in San Jose, Calif., where RealNetworks filed the suit Dec. 18. The action asserts that Microsoft has illegally tied its Windows Media Player to its operating system and has engaged in predatory pricing and exclusionary agreements."A key issue ... is whether Microsoft's conduct has had an unlawful ant-icompetitive effect on the digital-media market," Ware wrote in his nine-page opinion.... Seattle PI

Patent office rules for Microsoft in Eolas case

Microsoft Corp. won a ruling from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that may lead to the reversal of a $521 million jury verdict it lost. The patent office rejected a patent owned by the University of California and licensed to Eolas Technologies Inc. that was the subject of a lawsuit against Microsoft. Eolas can ask the patent office to amend its finding or agree to change the wording of the patent so it passes muster. "The patent office's decision concerning the Eolas patent is just one step in their review process, but clearly a positive step," Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler said. "This decision, while welcome, is not surprising.... Seattle PI

Outage Hits Hotmail, MSN Messenger

Internal technical problems at Microsoft closed down access for many MSN Messenger and Hotmail users, as well as some MSN Internet Access customers, for about eight hours Friday. Microsoft started receiving reports or problems with its instant messaging, Web based e-mail and dial-up Internet services at about 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time Friday, a company spokesperson says. The issue was identified at around 3 p.m. and solved an hour and a half later, she adds. "The outage was pretty significant in terms of the number of customers it affected, but by now the services should be up and running for everybody," the Microsoft spokesperson confirmed late on Friday afternoon.... PC World

Microsoft's next SQL Server delayed till 2005

Microsoft Corp. said its new SQL database server software and Visual Studio tools for building programs will be delayed until the first half of 2005 to ensure they work right.Microsoft wants to be certain that the software, to be named SQL Server 2005, is a "quality release," and will delay the program to issue a third test version in the second half of the year, Tom Rizzo, product management director for SQL, said yesterday.Annual sales from SQL, which competes with programs from Oracle Corp. and International Business Machines Corp., will be $1.8 billion in the year ended June 30, according to estimates from Sanford C.... Seattle PI

UPDATE: Microsoft Hotmail, MSN Outages Reported

Capping an already tough week for Microsoft, the company's MSN and Hotmail sites went down Friday. Outages, which also included other MSN services such as instant messenger, were reported starting Friday morning and as of 5:20 p.m. eastern, the sites were still out. A company spokeswoman acknowledged Friday afternoon that some customers started "experiencing issues" Friday morning eastern time. She said the team is looking into the cause and working on a fix although there is "no ETA yet." It was unclear if the outages resulted from some sort of distributed denial of service (DDoS) or other attack....

Real Sues Major League Baseball Over Windows Media Usage

RealNetworks launched a lawsuit yesterday against the digital-media division of Major League Baseball (MLB), accusing the organization of violating an agreement to carry baseball games in RealNetworks' streaming-multimedia formats. RealNetworks claims that the agreement requires MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) to supply content in the RealAudio and RealVideo formats, even if it chooses to also supply content in competing formats. RealNetworks says that when MLBAM recently started offering preseason baseball games in Windows Media Audio (WMA) and Windows Media Video (WMV) formats instead of RealNetworks formats, MLBAM broke the terms of its nonexclusive contract.... WinInfo

Microsoft gains market share in business-management software

Microsoft Corp. claimed 11 percent of the business-management software market less than five years after beginning to sell the products, figures compiled by market leader SAP AG show. Microsoft is gaining on Oracle Corp. and PeopleSoft Inc. in software used for customer service and accounting, according to SAP. Walldorf, Germany-based SAP says it has a 54 percent share. Oracle has 13 percent, and PeopleSoft has 12 percent. The gains by Microsoft may help buttress claims by SAP and Oracle that the market for these types of programs is more competitive than the U.S. government has found. SAP and Oracle have challenged the Justice Department's view of the market in its decision to fight Oracle's $9.... Seattle PI

Free Reporting for Microsoft SQL Shops

Database administrators and programmers working on the Microsoft SQL Server platform have had to turn to other tools (such as Crystal Reports) for their reporting needs. But with the arrival of Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, Redmond finally has a reporting tool to call its own. With good customizability and a strong enterprise focus for publishing reports to users over the Web, this solution leverages the strengths of the Windows server platform very well. Reporting Services doesn't offer the cross-platform capabilities of the class-leading Crystal Reports, but the price is right: free for SQL Server 2000 users.... PC Magazine

Tech Briefs

NORTHWEST ARCH Venture has raised $350 million ARCH Venture Partners, a Chicago-based venture capital fund with offices and investments in Seattle, said it has raised $350 million. The company said it has closed its $350 million Fund VI, a pool of money that can be used for additional investments in computer technology, biotechnology and advanced materials, ARCH's specialty areas. None of the $350 million has been earmarked for distribution to Seattle-area companies, but a "substantial, unspecified" portion of that money will be invested in local companies, because so many firms focusing on those areas are based here and because of the strength of local institutions, said ARCH co-founder and managing director Robert Nelson.... Seattle PI

New Service Pack for SQLXML 3.0

Microsoft released SQLXML 3.0 Service Pack 2 (SP2), which includes fixes for IDENTITY propagation for XML bulk load and NULL support for Web services. SQLXML enables XML support for SQL Server databases and lets developers bridge the gap between XML and relational data. You can create an XML view of your existing relational data and work with it as if it were an XML file. SQLXML also lets you build Web services with SQL Server 2000, build Web sites to publish data from SQL Server, query relational databases by using XPath, update relational data as if it were XML, load XML into SQL Server, and query SQL Server through URLs, OLE DB or ADO, or .... WinInfo

Congress works on bills affecting Boeing, Microsoft

WASHINGTON -- The Senate began debating a corporate tax bill yesterday that affects The Boeing Co. and Microsoft Corp. The House simultaneously started reworking its corporate tax cut, significantly reducing its cost to the U.S. Treasury, and made tentative plans for debate later this month. The two corporate tax bills would eliminate a tax break that saved Boeing more than $195 million and Microsoft more than $89 million in 2002, among other U.S. companies. It was declared illegal in international trade courts. The United States missed Monday's deadline to remove the tax break or face penalties, and the European Union began imposing sanctions that could total $300 million in key sectors by the end of the year.... Seattle PI

Major Email Providers Sue Spammers

A group of the largest US email providers filed six joint lawsuits against hundreds of spammers yesterday in a rare moment of corporate cooperation. AOL, EarthLink, Microsoft, and Yahoo! filed the suits under the recently enacted Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003, accusing major spammers in California, Virginia, and Washington of misleading consumers and illegally sending unsolicited email. "We are trying to find the biggest, the baddest, and the most notorious [spammers]," Randall Boe, AOL executive vice president and general counsel, said.... WinInfo


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