Microsoft, Intel, Google legal news prevails

And Oracle-Sun edges closer to EU approval, while there was a lot of security news, too

It was a week where competition regulators danced with IT industry behemoths: the U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed an antitrust lawsuit against Intel, while the European Commission gave approval to Microsoft's proposed browser "ballot screen" and pushed the proposed Oracle-Sun Microsystems deal forward. Meanwhile, a French court slapped down Google for what it saw as a copyright grab in a book-scanning case.

1. EU approves Microsoft ballot screen, Microsoft browser antitrust agreement gets cautious backing and With EU browser case dropped, Microsoft seeks trust, interoperability: The European Commission's antitrust investigation into Microsoft ended with the approval of the company's proposal for allowing Windows 7 users a choice of browsers. The agreement received cautious applause, with a reminder from one critic that Microsoft has a history of "inadequate commitments and broken promises."

2. FTC files antitrust lawsuit against Intel and Intel's FTC lawsuit could prove a boon for rivals AMD, Nvidia: The FTC filed antitrust-related charges against Intel in a lawsuit that some observers believe will give a boost to rivals Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia.

3. Paris court rules against Google in book copyright case: A Paris court slapped Google with a fine for breach of copyright in its book-search project and ordered that the company stop distributing digital copies of French books to users in that country without first getting publishers' permission.

4. Oracle, Sun merger gains favor in Europe: The European Commission appears poised to approve Oracle's proposed acquisition of Sun after a review of the latest promises from Oracle about how it will safeguard competition in the database software market.

5. Unencrypted drone video intercepted by militants and Drone incident serves up data encryption lesson: Insurgents in Iran and Afghanistan used $26 eavesdropping software to intercept live video feeds from the U.S. military's predator drone aircraft flying over those countries — news that didn't surprise some observers.

6. Scammers lurk behind Google Doodle: In a further sign that we are approaching a day when it will be unsafe to click on just about anything on the Internet, security researchers found that Tuesday's picture of the day at Google — the "Doodle" — was infected with malware.

7. Heartland pays AmEx $3.6 million over 2008 data breach: Heartland Payment Systems settled charges related to the massive 2008 breach of its network by paying American Express $3.6 million.

8. Microsoft apology for code theft may not do, Plurk says: First, the popular microblogging service Plurk, which is based in Canada, accused Microsoft of ripping off Plurk code for the MSN China microblog service, Juku. Microsoft checked into the allegations and found that they were true, saying that an outside company it hired for Juku development copied Plurk code. Then Plurk said the apology might not be enough and that it is considering "all possibilities," including a lawsuit in light of Microsoft's admission.

9. Apple granted permanent injunction against Psystar: A U.S. District Court judge granted a permanent injunction to Apple against Mac clone-maker Psystar, which has until Dec. 31 to comply with the court ruling. Happy new year.

10. Facebook target of FTC privacy complaint and Facebook privacy complaint ignites war of words: Well, we had a feeling last week we should clear space in the weekly top-news list for ongoing Facebook privacy policy coverage. Sure enough, 10 privacy groups filed a complaint with the FTC this week about the privacy policy changes that were announced last week. The privacy groups, led by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, contend that the policy changes "violate user expectations, diminish user privacy, and contradict Facebook's own representations."

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Nancy Weil

IDG News Service
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