- Microsoft Delivers Internet Explorer 7.0 RC1
- Bitterly, Apple Settles with Creative

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==== IN THE NEWS

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- Microsoft Delivers Internet Explorer 7.0 RC1
- Bitterly, Apple Settles with Creative

by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@windowsitpro.com

Microsoft Delivers Internet Explorer 7.0 RC1

On Thursday, Microsoft released Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 7.0 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) for Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, and XP Professional x64 Edition. This final development milestone doesn't include any major new features but improves the fit, finish, and overall quality of the product. It's available to the public for free.

"IE 7.0 RC1 is a more polished and refined product," Tony Chor, a group program manager on the IE team, told me during a recent briefing. "We're still on track for Q4 2006 release."

RC1 does incorporate feedback Microsoft received in the wake of the Beta 3 release by automatically uninstalling previous versions of the IE 7.0 beta so users don't have to do so manually. It also includes some small UI changes and other fit and finish improvements and provides better performance than its predecessors.

Microsoft has also been working to improve IE 7.0's compatibility. The browser works in two modes, Chor told me. The first, dubbed Quirks Mode, is the default: This mode emulates the rendering engine from IE 5.0 and 6.0 and provides the best compatibility with existing Web sites. The second, called Standards Mode, or Strict, is Microsoft's best standards-based implementation, Chor said. Web sites can add code to their sites to ensure that visitors using IE 7.0 view the site using Standards Mode. Microsoft has also been working with Web site designers to ensure that their sites are compatible with IE 7.0.

Interested users can find out more about IE 7.0 RC1 and download it from http://www.microsoft.com/ie/ie7.

Bitterly, Apple Settles with Creative

Faced with the possibility of a withering court loss that could have cost the company billions of dollars, Apple Computer announced today that it would settle with Creative Technology, which sued Apple earlier this year for violating patents when it created the iPod UI. Apple will pay $100 million to Creative to license the technology it stole, including a system for "navigating, organizing, and accessing music through software user interfaces on portable audio players."

As we've come to expect from Apple, the company was as charming as ever in defeat. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement that Creative was "fortunate" to have been granted its "early" patent, implying that Creative's right to the technology was simply a matter of applying for a patent before Apple did. But as anyone who's used an early Creative NOMAD MP3 player can attest, those devices featured UIs that were startlingly similar to what Apple later used in its iPod.

Although the $100 million settlement is "chump change" for Apple, as one analyst put it, Creative's motivation to settle is clear: The company can now seek similar settlements from other manufacturers of MP3 players. Furthermore, Creative will now participate in Apple's "Made for iPod" program and will sell a slew of iPod-compatible add-ons to the millions of people using iPods worldwide. That's a smart move because Creative's devices have failed to dent the iPod's dominance.

An Apple spokesperson suggested that Apple's market successes were more important than Creative's pioneering work in the MP3 market. "Apple's been the primary innovator in the digital music revolution," the spokesperson said. "We just wanted to move beyond and get back to innovating without several years of protracted litigation that would have cost as much as settlement."

Meanwhile, Creative Chairman and CEO Sim Wong Hoo called the settlement "amicable." Someone should alert Apple of that fact.

Editor's Note:

Roadshow Targets Oracle/SQL Server Interoperability
Cross-platform experts from Scalability Experts and Solid Quality Learning will present interoperability tips to IT professionals and DBAs who work with Oracle or SQL Server in a one-day roadshow that kicks off September 7 in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by Oracle Magazine, Windows IT Pro, HP, Intel, and Microsoft, the show will feature information about the Windows 64-bit platform for database computing, an under-the-hood tour of Oracle and SQL Server, an overview of deploying highly available Oracle and SQL Server databases, guidelines for using SQL Server business intelligence on the Oracle platform, and a research-based session about how IT professionals can prepare for the changing database job market.

The roadshow will visit 12 cities between September 7 and October 24: Washington, D.C.; Boston; Columbus, Ohio; Chicago; St. Louis; Houston; Irvine, Calif.; San Francisco; Phoenix; New York; Atlanta; and Seattle. Attendees who register before August 25 will enter a drawing for a free iPod nano sponsored by Windows IT Pro. For complete agenda and speaker information, go to the Web site below.

http://www.windowsitpro.com/roadshows/sqloracle

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