Microsoft, Sony & BMG in Trouble in Europe – The European Union has found Microsoft to be in violation of a 2004 antitrust order and fined them $357 million. And the Court of First Instance, in Luxemburg, has overturned approval of the merger of Sony Music and BMG, which happened two years ago.
XM Radio Asks Copyright Suit to be Thrown Out – A federal judge has been asked by XM Satellite Radio to throw out a copyright lawsuit launched by the RIAA – trade group for the major record labels – which sought $150,000 in damages for every song copied by XM customers using their new “Inno” iPod-like device that can record, store, and automatically organize up to 50 hours of music. Music recorded on the Inno often includes DJ chatter and noise if reception fades while recording. It is similar to time-shifting radio programs. Songs stored on the Inno (which costs $400) cannot be copied and only be played back as long as the customer subscribes to the XM service. XM says they play 160,000 different songs every month. Both the CEA and The Home Recording Rights Coalition have sided with XM Satellite in related court filings.
Big Brand Names Influence Shoppers Less – A home electronics study by Vertis Customer Focus found that consumer electronics shoppers have become less impressed by big brands. Only 29% called brand name the “most important” factor aside from price. When this survey was done two years ago 40% of respondents considered brand name the most important, and in 1998 50% thought it was most important. One retailer suggested this is less a matter of brand names losing ground than of many different brands gaining ground – the range of brands keeps expanding.
New Single-Speaker Surround Solution – Chinese company GGEC has announced that their new All-in-One Flat Panel Speaker System provides enveloping surround sound audio from a single central device using SRS TruSurround XT and SRS WOW technologies, both from SRS Labs. Using a minimal number of compounded speakers in the space-saving unit, the patented technologies deliver a broad sweet spot and shape a maximum bass response while rendering a solid center channel to ensure dialog clarity. For music TruSurround processes an immersive musical experience.