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The Buzz

Video-enabled iPod expected to be unveiled Wednesday

Compiled from staff and wire reports
Published October 10, 2005

A new video-enabled iPod is expected to be unveiled by Apple Computer Inc. during a news conference Wednesday, though the company is masterful at foiling such predictions.

Apple e-mailed invitations that included the words "One more thing . . ." printed over a background photo that appears to depict theater curtains. The company, which has pocketed a fortune from the sales of its iPod digital music players, said nothing else in the e-mail, other than that the press event would take place in San Jose, Calif.

"From our checks with industry and channel sources, we believe Apple will release a first-generation video-capable iPod," American Technology Research said in a report Wednesday.

Bank of America analysts also are looking for Apple to launch a new video-playing iPod, saying it would help support iPod's prices and "cause investors and consumers to think about Apple's growing position in the digital home."

A spokesman for the company declined to comment.

Digital music sales soar as CD sales stagger

The digital music market has more than tripled in a year, which has helped offset a continuing decline in sales of CDs and other physical formats.

Spurred by the iPod revolution, digital music sales totaled $790-million in the first half of this year, equivalent to 6 percent of industry sales, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry estimated in a report. That compared with $220-million in the same period last year.

Recorded music sales fell 1.9 percent to a retail value of $13.2-billion in the first half of this year, compared with $13.4-billion in the same period last year.

Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes online music store accounts for 82 percent of legal downloads in the United States. The company has sold more than 500-million songs online and about 22-million iPod digital music players.

Microsoft postpones launch of subscription music service

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have found something on which they can agree: The major music labels want too much money.

Less than two weeks ago, Jobs said the labels were "greedy" in hinting they wanted a bigger share of digital music sales revenues, and last week Microsoft called off plans to launch a subscription music service. Royalty fees of $6 to $8 a month were being demanded by the labels, including Vivendi's Universal Music and Sony BMG, according to the Wall Street Journal. Microsoft has now "indefinitely postponed" its plans to launch a subscription service, according to the newspaper. The Journal quoted sources saying those rates are roughly what other subscription services pay.

FTC says company secretly put spyware on computers

Regulators are trying to shut down a company they say secretly downloaded spyware onto the computers of Internet users, opening them to a flood of pop-up ads, computer crashes and other problems.

The Federal Trade Commission accused Walter Rines of Stratham, N.H., and his company, Odysseus Marketing, of luring computer users with the promise of free software that would make illegal peer-to-peer file sharing anonymous and hard to trace.

The claim was bogus, the FTC said, and the software was bundled with spyware that was secretly downloaded onto computers. Rines disputes the charges and maintains no wrongdoing.

Spyware has been a growing problem, with calls in Congress for legislation and an increase in enforcement by federal regulators.

At a Senate subcommittee hearing Wednesday, FTC chairwoman Deborah Majoras endorsed antispyware legislation sponsored by Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., that would make it easier for the FTC to share information and cooperate with foreign law enforcement.

Much of the spyware is being sent from overseas companies or accounts, Majoras said.

The House has passed antispyware legislation.

Spyware describes a broad category of software that can be installed through unsafe e-mails or Web pages, or can be bundled with software that consumers download to their computers.

Rines said he has done nothing wrong and that users were fully aware of what they were downloading.

Study finds going online has little appeal to many

Despite progress getting Americans online - particularly through high-speed connections - 32 percent of adults remain unconnected, some of them by choice, a new study finds.

While nearly a third of nonusers cite lack of access as the reason for not using the Internet, about the same number say they simply aren't interested in going online, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Furthermore, 15 percent of nonusers live in households with a connection used by a child or someone else.

"There's always going to be a group of people who are nervous about it," said Susannah Fox, an associate director at Pew. "They might read stories about viruses and spyware and feel like they don't want to go online."

Others say they are too busy or find access too difficult or expensive.

The unconnected tend to be older. Seventy-eight percent of those 70 and older are not online, compared with less than half of the 60-69 group and less than a quarter of adults younger than 60.

Other groups that lag in online usage include blacks, those without a high school education and those without a child living at home.

The random telephone survey of 2,001 adults was conducted May 4 to June 7 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Join discussion on Tech Times blog

Join Times personal technology editor Dave Gussow, left, at the Tech Times blog ( for updates on tech news of the day and links to interesting sites. Readers are invited to post comments and questions there, too.

[Last modified October 7, 2005, 09:13:03]

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