Daily News Brief: The ONE BILLION DOLLAR Edition!

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Microsoft Sued for...ONE BILLION DOLLARS!

Conjuring up memories of Dr. Evil in Austin Powers , the European Union court dismissed Microsoft's antitrust appeal, upholding a $689.9 million fine . The court didn't agree with MS's model of tying new apps into the Windows OS, claiming that such tactics " prevent the market from functioning properly and consumers are entitled to benefit from choice and more innovative products. " The EU hopes that the unprecedented ruling will lead to a decline in Microsoft's 95 percent market share stranglehold and spur competition. Naturally, Microsoft disagrees, calling the ruling disappointing, stating the verdict gives the Commission " quite broad power and quite broad discretion. " Adding to the tally of fines, Microsoft's received an additional 280.5 million euros penalty (that's a tad over $390 million USD ). Despite the enormous penalties, investors remain confident while shares dropped just 1.14 percent after the court's ruling.

Adobe's Revenue Approaches...ONE BILLION DOLLARS!

Continuing our billion dollar news coverage, Adobe announced record revenue of $851.7 million for the fiscal third quarter. That represents quite a jump from this time last year, which saw Adobe recording $602 million, marking a 41 percent year-over-year revenue growth. Adobe attributes the financial fortunes to " outstanding Creative Suite 3 adoption and continued Acrobat momentum. " Why on earth would this be interesting? Well, since times are so good in the Adobe camp, you can now guiltlessly download the leaner, faster, and free PDF reader from Foxit Software and enjoy a healthy clear conscience!

Penryn Before Thanksgiving, Priced Below ONE BILLION DOLLARS!

Everyone knows that Intel's Penryn is just around the corner, and now we have a date to confirm it. Paul Otellini ended speculation by confirming the launch of Penryn based Xeons will take place on November 12. The 45nm architecture brings 410 million transistors to the table, compared to 291 million found on Conroes, along with a whopping 12MB of L2 cache. Speeds will range from 2.0GHz to 3.16GHz at launch, with pricing anywhere from $209 to $1,172.

Real Workers Plan Virtual Strike in Second Life

Looking to send a, um, strong message to IBM, riled up workers of the Italian labor Union RSU (Rappresentenza Sindacale Unitaria) are taking their protests to Second Life in the first ever virtual strike . The tiff started over negotiations to renew IBM's Italian internal collective agreement in which workers sought what they describe as a small salary increase. Instead, IBM cancelled their productive results benefit, worth approximately 1000 Euros, or nearly $1400 USD. With help from the UNI (Union Network International), those wishing to participate in the virtual strike can pick up a strike kit, which includes picket signs and t-shirts . No word yet on whether or not The Sims Online was ever in the running to host the strike.

USB to get Major Speed Boost

Intel announced at IDF (Intel Developer Forum) the formation of the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, a collaborative effort along with Microsoft, HP, NEC, NXP Semiconductors, and Texas Instruments to superspeed the USB interconnect. The new spec promises to deliver over 10 times the speed of today's transfers, and will sport optimizations for lower power consumption and improved protocol efficiency. Like USB 2.0, the new version will be backwards compatible, with the completed 3.0 specification expected in the first half of 2008.

Affordable Blu-ray?

The Blu-ray format holds some distinct advantages over HD-DVD, but pricing has never been one of them. Enter Pioneer and Mitsubishi , who announced the development of a Blu-ray disc using organic dye for the recording layer, significantly cutting into manufacturing costs. Dubbed Low to High (LTH) , the technology can be applied by modifying existing CD-R and DVD-R manufacturing equipment, negating the need for costly new plants. But there's a caveat, and a big one too: The current crop of Blu-ray drives aren't able to read the new BD-R discs, serving as a reminder to early adopters that there's a benefit in waiting for tech to mature and pricing to settle (just ask those with an iPhone ). Future firmware updates could possibly change the current compatibility outlook, but those looking to jump into the Blu-ray camp may want to wait until Spring 2008 when the new LTH drives are expected to ship.

NVidia Releases New Forceware Drivers for Vista

Those waiting for nVidia's newest Forceware drivers to pass WHQL certification need wait no longer. The 163.69 drivers are available now, in both 32-bit and 64- bit Vista flavoring. Release highlights include improved SLI performance and compatibility, HD video post- processing for H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2 HD content on the 8500 and 8600 series GPU, and improved compatibility for The Way It's Meant To Be Played games, such as Crysis, Quake Wars, Bioshock, and others. May the Forceware be with you, and give you better luck than this editor had trying to run the Bioshock demo under a 64 bit version of Vista...

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