In an effort to protect its mainframe business and keep those dollars rolling in, IBM has been bad mouthing the compeition to its mainframe customers, and it will now have to defend some of those remarks in court. Neon Enterprise Software, a privately held company who makes a software tool called zPrime, has slapped IBM with a lawsuit accusing the company of unfair and unlawful competition.
The problem arose when IBM told its mainframe customers in a letter that "the use of zPrime will cause Neon's customers to become obligated -- contrary to IBM's original promises to customers that purchased SPs -- to pay software license fees for workloads shifted to SPs," Neon said in its lawsuit.
Neon denies the claim, further accusing IBM of selling additional SPs to customers only if they agree not to use Neon's products. So what did IBM have to say?
"Neon's software deliberately subverts the way IBM mainframe computers process data," IBM said. "This is akin to a homeowner tampering with his electrical meter to save money. IBM has invested billions of dollars in the mainframe this decade, and we vigorously protect our investment."
Neon is seeking damages and a permanent injunction to prevent IBM from making the same claims.
Who knows how much artificially inflated LCD panel pricing ended up costing consumers in the long run, but for Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO), the company's alleged involvement in the antitrust case brought on by the U.S. Department of Justice will cost it $220 million, the amount of the plea agreement.
Under terms of the agreement, CMO will pay the fine in installments over a period of five years. In addition to forking over $220 million, the panel maker has also agreed to cooperate with the DOJ's ongoing investigation
Allegations of price fixing in the LCD industry have received a fair amount of attention the past couple of years. In 2008, several LCD makers were charged with artificially inflating panel prices, which ultimately led to LG, Sharp, and Chungwa agreeing to plead guilty and pay a total of $585 million in fines. And more recently, Nokia called shenanigans on Samsung, LG, AU Optronics, and other LCD manufacturers, all of which Nokia is suing for allegedly colluding to fix prices.
Upholding the law and agreeing with the law in principal are two different things, and sometimes they conflict. Just ask District Court Judge Nancy Gertner, who approved a $675,000 fine against a Boston student for illegal file sharing, but made clear that she was concerned about the fairness of current copyright laws, TGDaily reports.
The judge took issue with the "astronomical" penalties available to music companies, and though she ultimately ruled in their favor, she offered up some legal advice that may be applicable to the next file sharer who lands in court.
"The Court was prepared to consider a more expansive fair use argument than other courts have credited - perhaps one supported by facts specific to this individual and this unique period of rapid technological change," Gertner said in her ruling. But she went on to say that the defense took it too far by attempting to apply fair use to pretty much any circumstance.
Joel Tenenbaum, a Boston University student, was found guilty earlier this year of illegally sharing 800 copyrighted songs and ordered to pay $22,500 for each. The law actually allows for up to $150,000 per track.
The two Kansas-area men -- Christopher Myers, 40, and Timothy Weatherly, 27 -- are facing a single count of conspiracy, 30 counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods, and a single count of trafficking counterfeit labels, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release.
Legal documents allege that Myers and Weatherly would buy counterfeit Cisco-branded hardware built in China and Hong Kong, slap counterfeit labels on it, and then packet it in counterfeit Cisco boxes. They would even include counterfeit Cisco manuals, according to the Attorney General's Office in Kansas.
The two men may have netted about $1 million from their alleged fraudulent activities. If convicted, they would each face five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the conspiracy charges, and an additional 10 years and $2 million fine on each trafficking count., eWeek.com reports.
For obvious reasons, Microsoft has never held a soft spot for software pirates, and according to TGDaily, the Redmond company has opened fire with a number of lawsuits aimed at companies allegedly distributing counterfeit software.
The cases are pretty widespread, including one against Kiev Camera USA and Mikhail Fourman, an individual accused of selling illegal software in Atlanta, Georgia and on the Internet.
Similar cases have been filed against BC Tech Gear, Dallas Computer Parts, The Computer Shop (aka mycomputerlady.net), Seifelden Electronics, Royal Distribution, and Viosoftware Corporation, TGDaily reports.
In addition to going on a legal rampage, Microsoft has also just launched an education and enforcement campaign in over 70 countries. Microsoft claims over 150,000 voluntary reports have come in over the past two years from victims who unknowingly purchased counterfeit software, which Microsoft says often comes "riddled with viruses or malware."
More info here. Oh, and pat yourself on the back if you identified the disc on the right as the counterfeit.
The LCD price fixing shenanigans continue, at least according to Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker who has filed suit against Samsung, LG, AU Optronics, and other LCD manufacturers over allegedly colluding to fix prices, Bloomberg reports.
Filed on November 25, the lawsuit is based on both federal and state antitrust claims and makes essentially the same arguments as AT&T did last month when it filed a suit in the same court, also against LCD manufacturers. According to Nokia, Samsung and more than six other LCD makers conspired to raise the price of displays.
"The liquid-crystal displays were incorporated into Nokia mobile wireless handsets," according to the complaint. The conspiracy "artificially inflated the price of liquid crystal displays ultimately incorporated into LCD products purchased by Nokia, causing Nokia to pay higher prices."
Each of the suits direct the court's attention to a U.S. Justice Department investigation of display price fixing. Hitachi, who pleaded guilty in March in the inquiry, is one of the defendants named in Nokia's suit, but not AT&T's.
There have been a number of data flubs in the past year that serve to underscore the risks associated with cloud computing. For Microsoft, they've also presented an opportunity to add to its patent portfolio. Specifically, the software giant has a filed a patent that appears to cover moving data to a new cloud under a number of scenarios. These include situations in which the existing service has failed, the provider has gone out of business, or if the user is able to find a better deal elsewhere.
In the filing, Microsoft outlines an architecture that involves executor, detection, organizer, and summary components that will receive and verify notices that a cloud service is going to be terminated, find the applicable data and service, prioritize it all, and finally give a summary, The Register reports.
Microsoft's well-timed filing coincides with increasing concerns over the need to make applications portable, as well as data between different clouds.
Cisco on Monday moved one step closer to acquiring Starent Network Corp. for a cool $2.9 billion. The deal, which was originally expected to close during the first half of 2010, hit a roadblock when Starent shareholders filed a class action lawsuit to block the acquisition. But that suit was settled yesterday.
Hurdles still remain, however, the first of which requires that the court accept the settlement, at which point the case would be dismissed. But even if that happens (and all indications are that it will), other suits have been filed that could potentially block the acquisition. One such suit includes a case filed by an Illinois stockholder who claims that the acquisition would deprive Starent shareholders of "the opportunity for substantial gains which the compay may realize."
The feds have dethroned another "spam king," who, like the ones before him, will spend a little bit of time behind bars. Alan Ralsky, 63, pleaded guilty to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and to violating the federal CAN-SPAM Act.
What landed Ralsky in hot water was allegedly sending out unsolicited email to jack up the price of penny stock in Chinese companies to artificially high prices, and then selling it. Ralksy's Internet stock scheme netted him $2.7 million, as well as the attention of the feds and ultimately a 4-year prison sentence.
"With today's sentence of the self-proclaimed 'Godfather of Spam,' Alan Ralsky, and three others who played central roles in a complicated stock spam pump and dump scheme, the court has made it clear that advancing fraud through abuse of the Internet will lead to several years in prison," said U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg. "I commend the FBI, the Postal Inspection Service, and the IRS Criminal Investigative Division for their determined and careful investigation in this case which led to today's result."
Ralsky, who pleaded guilty back in June of this year, may have gotten off a little light, as he faced up to 7 years in prison.
We know exactly how popular Twitter has grown, but never did we consider that anyone could be arrested for not using the microblogging service. Apparently that's a real possibility, as teenager singer Justin Bieber and his entourage found out.
Bieber was supposed to appear at the Roosevelt Field mall on Friday, but decided to keep his distance because the crowd was getting a bit too rowdy. When the police showed up, they asked James A. Roppo, a record label exec, to help clear out the crowd by sending a Twitter message, and then arrested him after claiming he didn't cooperate, Newsday reports.
"We asked for his help in getting the crowd to go away by sending out a Twitter message," said Kevin Smith, Nassau County Police Det. Lt. "By not cooperating with us we feel he put lives in danger and the public at risk."
In a radio interview, Bieber said the scene was "so crazy" that he couldn't make his way into the building, adding that the authorities had threatened to put in him handcuffs and haul him off to jail.
Roppo could face charges that include criminal nuisance, endangering the welfare of a minor, and obstructing government administration, Smith said.