News Schmooze: Record companies smack Net users

The RIAA considered suing song-swapping users, Microsoft's choice of code names was questioned, and Ebone said farewell

"Unnamed sources" have been leaking the record companies' latest dastardly plan to a variety of media outlets this week. This involves the use of two new weapons in the battle against peer-to-peer song trading: hiring third parties to distribute fake songs across the Net, and threatening lawsuits against individual users. The RIAA spokesman gets this week's award for most annoying quote, for his jibe that the association's tactics will "confirm the adage 'you get what you pay for'".
The record labels' new target: users
Music labels plant online decoys Many have remarked on the reports seeded by Microsoft over the past few days about its digital rights management initiative, Palladium, and its future Xbox hypothesis, called Freon. What do those name say about Microsoft's plans? Some may recall that Troy's famous Palladium -- the protective statue of Athena -- failed to keep the city from being sacked, and that Freon was banned in the US in 1996 as an ozone-depleting chloroflurocarbon.
Microsoft teases 'Trustworthy Computing' Hutchison Whampoa reminded us this week that in the West, new wireless technologies are mainly seen as an opportunity to present the public with a new acronym to remember. This was the case with WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), and several carriers are now trying to imbue GPRS (general packet radio service) with a ring of excitement. Where it comes to 3G, Japan's DoCoMo is at least using a name that describes something to ordinary consumers -- FOMA, or Freedom Of Mobile Access. But in the UK, it seems that 3G will be known as -- well, 3G, the generation after 2G. Thus Hutchison's choice of name for its upcoming service, "3". Let's hope the company has put more thought into the services.
Hutchison reveals name of 3G service One of the few pieces of solid information about the ongoing KPNQwest nightmare popped up on Wednesday: Ebone, one of the network's acquisitions, has now begun the process of shutting down. Graham Kinsey, staff convenor at Ebone's Belgium network centre, was plain about his reaction. "Ebone was the first backbone of Europe. I am disgusted," he said. In the mean time, WorldCom customers were advised to hang on, although they should have a backup plan, if they can find a provider that isn't already in danger of imminent collapse.
Ebone network shutdown strands customers
WorldCom customers urged to hang on This report must have reassured Bill Gates amid his worries over Linux competition, the Justice Department ruling and Xbox hacking: the one billionth PC has been sold. While the first billion ran on a variety of operating systems, including the ones that powered the Altair and the Amstrad in the 1970s and 1980s, most of the next billion appear likely to run one version or another of Windows, the Big Mac of the computing world.
PCs: More than one billion served
Xbox Linux project gets $200,000 developer lure
Judge clears way to antitrust verdict
The News Schmooze is ZDNet UK's irreverent take on the week's news. Send your tip-offs to: mailroomuk@zdnet.com.


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