As if we needed any proof that the MMO experience is here to stay, Blizzard announced that their immensely popular World of Warcraft game can now boast a subscriber base 10 million wide. Asia accounts for more than half of all subscribers at 5.5 million, with North America claiming 2.5 million and Europe adding 2 million. WoW is available in seven languages along with a Russian version expected later this year.
IBM Cutting Base Salaries
IBM may have posted record profits, but thousands of its U.S. employees will soon face a 15 percent base cut. According to The Associated Press, the cuts come as a response to a 2006 lawsuit in which IBM was accused of illegally withholding overtime pay before ultimately settling the case for $65 million. The base pay cut will help compensate for the reclassified overtime eligibility, and at least one union group is considering pickets at IBM sites to protest. Read more here, including what some internal documents had to say.
Update: IBM Responds to Overtime Lawsuits with 15% Salary Cuts - InformationWeek
AT&T Ponders Internet Filtering
Illegal file sharing has caused quite the ruckus, with some ISPs taking 'creative' measures (resulting in at least one creative spoof, this one by Will Smith) against bandwidth hogs. Potentially adding themselves to the list of companies actively combating rising bandwidth concerns, AT&T is currently evaluating whether to examine internet traffic to help halt illegal file sharing. CEO Randall Stephenson equated it to "being in a store and watching someone steal a DVD. Do you act? " When and if AT&T answers that question, we'll be right there to cover it.
China's Fight Against Internet Pornography
In what must be a blow to teens living in China, Chinese state media said they've shut down 44,000 websites and arrested 868 people for internet pornography last year. China forbids pornography and paid sex in nearly all forms, though prostitution remains a problem and the government's internet police fight a continual battle to block porn sites from abroad. According to the China Internet Network Information Center, China's online population jumped to 210 million people and could surpass the U.S. this year.
Sony to Japan: No Skype For You!
At least, not yet. Sony posted a press release today describing problems with the microphone that was to accompany the introduction of Skype on the slim and light PSP models. Sony said "it was found that the microphone did not meet the Skype specifications in parts to obtain certification and SCEJ has determined to postpone the release of the microphone." Because of the microphone issue, Sony is also postponing Skype features and services in Japan. No timeframe was given on a new release date.
MPAA to College Kids: Oops!
Turns out college kids have been given a statistically bad rap. For more than two years, the MPAA held steadfast that college students were responsible for 44 percent of the movie industry's claimed domestic losses as a result of illegal downloading, but we're now learning that number is far less. Just how far was it off? The new estimate has college students accounting for 15 percent of the industry's losses, almost three times less than originally projected. The MPAA blamed the inflated number on "human error," but did not elaborate. Woof!