Supreme Court might hear UNE case; PC demand to rise; pop-up purveyor gets hit with lawsuitCompetitive local exchange carriers last week continued to joust with the regional Bell operating companies over what unbundled network elements the RBOCs must provide to CLEC competitors. The latest salvo is a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, filed by AT&T, WorldCom and Covad Communications, seeking to overturn a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decision that ordered the Federal Communications Commission to come up with unbundled network element (UNE) lists that were more favorable to the RBOCs.Because the appeals court didn't specify any UNEs that should be dropped from the list, the decision could affect line sharing. Line sharing is crucial for CLECs because it lets them provide high-speed data services over the same line a customer uses for voice, even if the customer does not use the CLEC for voice service.Forty percent of senior telecom executives interviewed at a recent industry trade show said they believe users will be willing to pay more for telecom services in the future. Only 12% of the executives said they believe telecom prices will continue to drop. Telephone company wholesaler Alliance Group Services conducted the interviews at the Ascent Fall Conference. Other responses included 28% of the executives believing that new technology will create new demand and 20% believing that new services will generate higher prices.An Internet company that allegedly duped millions of computer users into visiting its Web site by causing fake error messages to pop up on their screens has been slapped with a class-action lawsuit seeking millions of dollars in damages. The complaint accuses Internet portal Bonzi.com of tricking users into visiting its Web site by creating pop-up banner advertisements disguised as security alerts or other computer system warnings. When users click on the advertisements, they unwittingly are directed to Bonzi's Web site, where the company hopes to sell them software and other products, the suit charges.Although Bonzi did not respond to calls seeking comment, the firm has defended its advertising strategy in the past. "All we are trying to do is grab your attention the same way the employee outside Wal-Mart does by telling you what's on sale as you walk in," Bonzi spokesman John Epstein said at the time.Demand for PCs will pick up in 2003 and accelerate in 2004, fueled in part by wireless and broadband networks, according to new market research that IDC published last week. Worldwide shipments of computers based on PC architectures, such as desktops and notebooks, will increase by 8.3% to 147.5 million units in 2003 and by 11% to 163.8 million units in 2004, IDC says. The market research group expects PC shipments in 2002 to rise 1.6% over the previous year to 136.2 million, a figure still 2.6% below the market's peak of 139.9 million units in 2000. IDC sees several market drivers, including the rising popularity of wireless and broadband networks, new computer designs and media convergence.A federal judge last week heard closing arguments in a preliminary phase of a private antitrust case in which Sun is suing Microsoft, ending three days of testimony in a case that ultimately could affect the distribution of Sun's Java technology. Sun is asking the Baltimore court for a preliminary injunction to keep Microsoft from distributing the Java technology it ships with Windows and force it instead to ship a Sun-authorized version with the operating system and the Internet Explorer Web browser. It argues that Microsoft is scuttling the success of Java by shipping outdated technology with its products. U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz said Thursday he would attempt to make a decision on the preliminary injunction within the next 10 days, although it could take longer, representatives of Sun and Microsoft said. Lawyers for Microsoft have attempted to prove that any failure of Java is Sun's own doing, calling on its own technology and economic experts.