Step away from the stuffed animal machine. It’s news time.
Steve Jobs’ Macworld Expo keynote kicks off this morning. People have been lining up since 4am. We’ll have the details on Call for Help as soon as Steve stops talking.
Happy birthday, Mr. Bean. Rowan Atkinson is 49. Pan Am’s Pacific Clipper completed the first around the world flight on this day in 1942. Gibson patented the flying V guitar in 1958. Schoolhouse Rock debuted in 1973 with “Multiplication Rock.” (hum along now)
- The FCC has teeth. The agency fined Fax.com $5.4 million yesterday for sending unsolicited fax spam.
- Courts have filed a preliminary injunction against WhenU — a company that pops up ads for competitors when you surf to an e-commerce site. Don’t get too excited. WhenU has beat similar challenges in the past.
- Picketers are expected outside Macworld Expo today protesting flaws in Apple’s iBook laptops. Several hundred petitioners are complaining about unpublicized flaws in the iBook logic board that’s causing machines to drop like flies. Others are proposing a class action lawsuit. We’ve had all three of our iBooks die due to faulty logic boards so maybe there’s something to this.
- Bloomberg says the Google IPO is on track for April. This is the one everyone’s waiting for – the 21st century equivalent of 1995’s Netscape offering. The company is expected to be valued at somewhere between $4 and 10 billion.
- Meanwhile Yahoo is dumping Google and is about to launch a search engine war. CEO Terry Semel says, “we woke up in time.” Maybe but Mountain View is no Helm’s Deep.
- Microsoft afraid of Linux? You bet. With another couple of years yet before the next version of Windows the company seems a little worried about inroads Linux might make into its desktop market. Perhaps that explains the new “fact based” ad campaign that says Windows costs less to run than Linux.
- Online shoppers spent a record $18.5 billion during the holiday season, a 35% increase over 2002.
- If you weren’t one of them, here’s your reward. Dell has announced 0% financing on its consumer electronics for 12 months on purchases over $500.
- One thing you won’t see at CES this year: the Microsoft Smart Display. Launched at last year’s show inside a house custom built in the parking lot at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Wi-Fi enabled tablet never took off and according to c|net, Microsoft is dumping the product.
- Microsoft is expected to launch an iPod killer, the Portable Media Center, at CES. I’ll take a look this weekend on the radio show. Will Steve launch a preemptive attack today at Macworld?
- Intel’s new Celeron M will offer Pentium M power savings to low cost laptops.
- SCO sent out 6,000 letters last week asking companies that use Linux to “prove” that there’s no infringing UNIX code in there. Novell is fighting back by filing for copyright on much of SCO’s code saying SCO has failed to meet conditions required by the transfer of rights back in 1996. SCO says Novell’s filings are fraudulent. Ooo. Penguin fight!
- Tivo says the DISH DVR infringes its patents. The company is suing EchoStar.
- America Online is adding a spyware killer to upcoming versions of AOL 9.0.
- DVD Jon has followed his death defying act in the Norwegian courts with a new hack that allows anyone to play protected iTunes Music Store songs using VideoLAN. “We’re about to find out what Apple really thinks about Fair Use,” says the plucky Scandinavian hacker.