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MacEdition ProNews Notes - Updates on News and Events Shaping the Macintosh Professional Scene

By MacEdition Staff

Thursday, May 25, 2000

Golden Convergence Trickle-Down

If there was any doubt that streaming media would eventually become a mainstream consumer delivery system, it’s starting to be erased. The benefits of adding “try before you buy” and “tantalize the customer” streaming media technologies to an e-commerce site have long been recognized. But QuickTime streaming technology, despite its promise of increased buying interest and website “stickiness,” has been generally too costly and complex to be useful to small and medium-sized businesses.

Enter Toronto-based guideCast, whose free broadband streaming service allows entertainment- and movie-oriented e-commerce sites to offer high-quality QuickTime-based streaming trailers and previews. The company claims that its new ASP-style offering will allow e-tailers selling movies and movie-related services to offer previews and "no longer have to worry about hosting costs, streaming fees, content acquisition and integration."

The (Streaming) Empire Strikes Back

Meanwhile from the other major software company based in the Pacific Northwest, we hear of a new RealPlayer version entitled RealSystem 8. The company claims that its latest server and player technology (co-developed with silicon uber-giant Intel) offers near-DVD-quality playback over high-bandwidth networks.

A $29.99 beta player download is currently available at Real Networks’ website. Real also offers links to what it calls near-DVD-quality sample video and audio clips with the RealPlayer 8 beta download.

Splitsville USA?

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Microsoft’s antitrust saga proceeds ever onward, with a double whammy having been delivered yesterday. Presiding Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson announced that Microsoft would not be granted any further time to prepare its defense (the company had hoped to have until December to assemble a counterargument). Not content to deliver one surprise to litigants in the fabled trial, Jackson declared that he didn’t believe the Justice Department proposal to break Microsoft into two companies was sufficient. His preferred route? A three-way breakup that would result in a Windows company, an applications company, and an Internet software and services company - all based on an industry-group memo that Microsoft characterized as a group of UNIX vendors and Microsoft competitors “running scared.”

Microsoft’s chief counsel, of course, vowed to appeal any verdict that called for a breakup of the company.

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