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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?


APRIL 14, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 14 | SEARCH ASIAWEEK


Asiaweek Pictures

Cutting Edge

Flash
Microsoft Still Swinging
The world's largest software maker may have been found guilty of antitrust practices (see story below), but Microsoft shows no signs of blunting its competitive edge. The latest bunny in its crosshairs: RealNetworks. Real owns the market for playing audio and video on your PC. Its slick RealPlayer application has 90 million users - over twice as many as Microsoft's lightweight Windows Media Player. But now Microsoft is hitting back. The just-unveiled Media Player 7 handles most audio and video formats, is an MP3 jukebox for recording, organizing and playing music, and has enough advanced features to take on the competition - including a 10-band equalizer, a psychedelic light-show that pulses in time to the music, and appearance-changing "skins" that turn the gray box into things like the big green head pictured. What Media Player 7 won't do is play RealNetworks' files. Surprise, surprise, Microsoft is using its new player in an effort to squeaze Real and make its own Windows Media format the standard for digital audio on the Web. Alert the judge.

Piracy
From Pirate To Partner
Spin of the week: MyWeb Inc.com, which runs a portal site and offers Internet access in China via television sets, has pronounced itself "delighted" to be joining forces with the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) to combat online music piracy in the mainland. Both know plenty about the topic: the IFPI because it represents 1,400 record labels in 70 countries - and MyWeb because the IFPI just sued it for illegally offering 20,000 songs for download on its website. Litigation ended with MyWeb agreeing to pay a "symbolic" fine of one renminbi (12 cents) for each tune it pirated and promising to cough up $12,000 per song if it does it again. Sounds like MyWeb is off to a fine start in its bid to "promote awareness" of the price of copyright infringement.

Court Report
It's not over yet
Last week Thomas Penfield Jackson, the presiding judge in the U.S. government's antitrust trial against Microsoft, issued an ultimatum to the software maker: Settle the case, or I'll settle it for you. No settlement was forthcoming and true to his word Jackson ruled. The judge found Microsoft guilty of abusing its monopoly power in PC operating systems, breaking antitrust laws and doing "violence to the competitive process." The G word and the banging gavel may sound final, but the 18-month-old trial is set to run still longer. Not until October will Jackson dole out punishment - anything from restrictions on Microsoft's behavior to its break-up into "Baby Bills." Then Microsoft will appeal, a process that could go all the way to the Supreme Court and last through 2002. By that time, in case you were wondering, consumers will likely have gone through two more versions of Windows. Speed on, wheels of justice.

Gadgets
Seeing Triple
Is it a monitor? A television? A video display? Try all three. Samsung's SyncMaster is the latest thing in convergence, combining a flat-screen PC monitor with built-in TV tuner and picture-in-picture display - so now you can keep an eye on the stock ticker or visit your online broker all without having to hit the pause button during Wall Street. Available now, a 15-inch model costs $1,287, the 17-inch version $2,599.

e-mail: stuart_whitmore@asiaweek.com

Write to Asiaweek at mail@web.asiaweek.com

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  ASIAWEEK'S LATEST
Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

  MAGAZINE

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The Legacy of War
Vietnam and Cambodia are still struggling with peace -- 25 years after the end of hostilities
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A well-connected but small outfit goes public

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All Aboard for the New-Economy Express
Has Brierley missed the train?

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Move over celluloid. Directors are going digital

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