Thursday, September 27, 2007

YouTube banned in Turkey second time

One of the world's most popular video websites YouTube has been banned in Turkey for the second time because it allegedly insulted Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey, according to media reports Monday.

On Friday, internet users in Turkey found the website replaced by a notice saying: "Access to this web site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2008/55 of T.R. Ankara 12th Criminal Court of Peace."

It still remains unclear which video exactly is to blame, but some media sources say that a problem video compared Ataturk with a monkey.

It is illegal in Turkey to insult the revered figure, whose portrait still hangs in nearly all government offices nearly 70 years after his death.

It is not clear how long the current ban would last. The state-run Anatolia said YouTube officials issued a statement saying the company hoped access would be re-established quickly.

In March 2007, YouTube was banned for the same reason for two days until offending videos were removed from the website.

Turkey is not the first country to block YouTube however. In 2007, the Thai government blocked access to the popular site for 4 months because of clips the government deemed "offensive" towards the Thai monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Microsoft discloses virtualization move

Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, Monday disclosed its plans to allow more versions of the desktop OS to be virtualized in order to become a major player in a hot field called virtualization.

Microsoft has purchased a start-up called Calista Technologies, which was founded in 2006 and is based in San Jose, California, for an undisclosed sum. It also expanded its partnership with Citrix Systems, according to media reports.

"This is Microsoft coming out and staking the claim that they are serious about virtualization," said Forrester Research analyst Natalie Lambert. "When you think of VMware, you think virtualization. That is going to be a hurdle for Microsoft."

Virtualization is one of the most important developments in the software industry, because it disrupts the traditional business model, which marries one machine to one piece of software, such as an operating system.

The technology allows companies to save on hardware costs by running existing equipment more efficiently, while allowing companies to deploy applications faster without worrying that certain pieces of software will clash with one another.

Microsoft is also relaxing some of its licensing policies to allow use of virtualization software with more versions of its Windows Vista operating system and lowering some fees associated with using the technology.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Yahoo looks to launch free MP3 download service

Yahoo Inc., is continuing discussions with major record labels over offering unprotected MP3s either for sale or for free as part of an ad-supported service, and hopes to launch the service this year, two record company executives familiar with the talks said Wednesday.

The talks, held as recently as last month, were preliminary because Yahoo is still working out the details, said the executives, who requested anonymity because of the discussions were confidential.

Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group Corp., and EMI Group PLC have in recent months begun licensing their music for sale as MP3 files online through retailers like

Unlike music files that come with copy protections embedded, MP3 files are compatible with most portable music devices, including Apple Inc.'s market-leading iPod media players, Microsoft Corp.'s Zune and mobile phones that play music.

Carrie Davis, a spokeswoman for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo, said the company has often said it wants to offer music without copy protections and the subject has been part of its ongoing talks with record labels.

But Davis denied that discussions with record labels on the matter have stepped up in recent weeks or that anything is imminent.

Representatives for the labels declined to comment.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

All YouTube videos available on cellphones

Google-owned YouTube on Thursday began making all of its videos available on the latest-generation cellphones, hoping to widen its sway on pop culture.

YouTube began making videos available to "smart phones" in 2006, but only a small portion of its huge trove of user-contributed material could be viewed on the devices.

YouTube for Mobile lets people view any of the popular website's videos, provided their cellphones can stream the data and are linked to a 3G network that incorporates high-speed internet access.

"Creating the best possible mobile video experience for users involves allowing the community to engage with YouTube whenever they want, wherever they are," YouTube said in a written release.

"The latest enhancements to YouTube for Mobile will give users access to the largest repository of mobile video content available, on over 100 million devices worldwide, and more tools to personalize their experience."

YouTube's mobile service, reachable at, is being offered in 16 other countries and regions besides the United States and 10 other languages besides English.

The other languages are: Japanese, Italian, French, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Chinese, German and Russian.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Google opposes Microsoft's bid to buy Yahoo

Internet search giant Google Inc. Sunday voiced opposition to Microsoft's bid to buy Yahoo Inc.

"Microsoft's hostile bid for Yahoo raises troubling questions," David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer, said in remarks posted online.

Microsoft has offered 44.6 billion U.S. dollars to buy Yahoo Inc. in a bid to gain ground on Google in the Internet's booming search and advertising markets.

If the acquisition materializes, Microsoft and Yahoo would have about 16 percent of the worldwide Internet search market - still far behind Google's 62 percent share, according to comScore Media Metrix.

"This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It's about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation."

This was Google's first official reaction to Microsoft's acquisition bid. Google views the possible acquisition as Microsoft's attempt to gain illegal control over the Internet.

"Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC?" Drummond wrote.

He was referring to Microsoft's previous practice of using Windows to help extend the reach of its web browser and other applications - a strategy that triggered a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit alleging that the software maker illegally used its operating system to stifle competition. The dispute ended with a 2002 settlement that required Microsoft to abandon some of its past practices.

Drummond's remarks underscored the online search leader's worries about its two biggest rivals teaming up.

Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, tried to justify the proposed acquisition, saying that preventing Microsoft from buying Yahoo would undermine competition by allowing Google to become even more dominant than it already is on the Internet.

"Microsoft is committed to openness, innovation, and the protection of privacy on the Internet," Smith said. "We believe that the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo will advance these goals," he said.