• United States

Senators object to Internet tax bill, RealNetworks promotes online music

Nov 11, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMicrosoft

* News about Internet tax bill, RealNetworks, FTC and Microsoft exploit

Editor’s Note: Sandra Gittlen is out this week. In place of her usual column, we bring you some breaking Web business news. Enjoy!

* Senators object to Internet tax bill

The U.S. Senate last week failed to vote on the Internet Tax Non-discrimination Act of 2003, which would permanently ban Internet-only taxes, after several senators raised questions about whether the bill would take current tax revenues away from states and local governments. A group of senators objected to the bill’s definition of Internet access for fear it could prevent states and local authorities from collecting taxes on services such as IP voice telephony.

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* Get Real about online music

RealNetworks is promoting its Rhapsody online music service through a deal with broadband provider Comcast. It is also working with device makers to allow users to listen to online music on their home stereo systems.

Comcast will promote Rhapsody on its Web site and offer its almost 5 million broadband customers a seven-day free Rhapsody trial and 10 free songs that can be recorded to a CD, if they subscribe.

Rhapsody offers access to more than 30, 000 CDs from all five major record labels as well as more than 200 independent labels. Subscribers pay $9.95 a month for unlimited streaming music. More than 325,000 tracks can be recorded to a CD for 79 cents per track. Licensing restrictions limits Rhapsody’s availability to U.S. residents only.

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* Company charged with using Windows to spam pop-up ads

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has filed a suit against a company that allegedly exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft’s Windows system to barrage users with pop-up ads using a feature intended for administrative alerts.

The feature proved problematic as external parties figured out how hijack the Messenger Service (which differs from Microsoft’s MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger intant-messaging applications) and use it to send unsolicited information like ads to Internet-connected computers. The company targeted by the FTC, San Diego-based D Squared Solutions, used Messenger Service to flash ads touting its pop-up blocking software, which it sold for $25 to $30, according to the FTC’s complaint.

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