Oracle moves closer to owning Siebel

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Oracle moves closer to owning Siebel

US anti-trust regulators have cleared database software giant Oracle`s $5.9 billion purchase of former rival Siebel Systems. reports that although Oracle is one step closer to taking ownership of Siebel, the planned acquisition still requires regulatory clearance from the European Commission and is subject to other conditions.

Despite the remaining hurdles, Oracle says it expects to close the transaction in the first quarter of next year.

Web giants join forces against spyware

Several large Internet companies have grouped together to launch a new program to certify downloads so consumers can get friendly and non-invasive software, reports

Backed by AOL, CA, CNET Networks, Verizon and Yahoo, the Trusted Download Program is set to begin trials early next year, when the Internet partners will get access to a list of applications certified by TRUSTe.

The Trusted Download Program will not blacklist adware or spyware. Instead, makers of the software have to communicate what their product does and allow the user to consent prior to download and again when installing the software.

Microsoft supports HD DVD

Microsoft has reiterated its preference for the HD DVD version of next-generation high-definition optical storage, despite support for the rival Blu-Ray format from several Hollywood studios, reports PC PRO.

According to the report, CEO Steve Ballmer has said Microsoft`s support for HD DVD is based on several reasons, including the way in which it can be integrated with the PC.

Ballmer also said Windows Vista will eventually support HD DVD, although possibly not when it is first released sometime in the next 18 months. HD DVD is expected to make its debut early next year.

Sony withdraws copy-protected CDs

Sony BMG Music Entertainment is withdrawing its copy-protected audio CDs, which InformationWeek reports have caused a firestorm of consumer protest.

The embedded copy protection acts like virus software and hides deep inside a computer where it leaves the backdoor open for other viruses.

In a statement on its Web site, Sony says customers who have already purchased the discs can exchange them for the same CDs that do not contain the copy protection software.

Microsoft to test Office 12

Microsoft has unveiled a test version of its next-generation Office suite, which is expected to launch in the second half of next year.

Reuters says the technical beta release of the program, code-named Office 12, will be made available for testing to a limited number of Microsoft customers.

Microsoft`s Information Worker unit, which includes Office, accounted for $2.7 billion of the company`s $9.7 billion in revenue and $1.9 billion of $4 billion in operating income in the fiscal first quarter ended in September.

UK to monitor vehicle movements

An Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) document leaked to the media in the UK reveals that a national vehicle movement database that logs everything on the UK`s roads and retains the data for at least two years is now being built, reports The Register.

The system will use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), and will be overseen from a control centre in London to extend, enhance and link existing CCTV, ANPR and speedcam systems and databases.

This possibly explains why the sorcerer`s apprentices in ACPO`s tech section don`t seem to have needed any kind of Parliamentary approval to begin the deployment of what promises to be one the most pervasive surveillance systems on earth, states The Register.

Opera makes AJAX mobile

Emerging Web-based programming tools can now be used for cellphones and other mobile devices to enable users to grab only the information they need without having to wait for large files to be reloaded, reports InformationWeek.

The report says browser developer Opera Software has launched a software development kit designed to bring to mobile phones dynamic Web applications using Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX)-based technologies.

Opera says mobile Web applications created on the Opera Platform Software Development Kit give users access to online resources while providing software developers the ability to integrate mobile phone applications with online content.

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