Up With Ads, Down With Windows, Off With the Internet?

For the second week in a row, we're bringing you a special late-breaking weekend edition of Breaking News, bringing you a selection of stories we wouldn't want you to miss, and whetting your appetite for the return of our regular edition mañana.

Leading off is a landmark deal between Google and Yahoo that may foreshadow plans to shift Yahoo's advertising to Google. Much talk has circulated about the possibility of Yahoo outsourcing its advertising to Google, but the the decision to hold a two-week test of ad-sharing on Yahoo.com appears to be confirmation that such a shift is in the works. Microsoft, of course, is buys screaming "no fair" and "antitrust violation" — the air is thick with irony — and exploring a purchase-partnership with former rival News Corp., while Yahoo continues efforts to piece together an anti-assimilation alliance with AOL.

Speaking of Big Evil, things aren't looking so rosy for everyone's least-favorite Empire, as analysts from venerable IT-research firm Gartner have begun giving a presentation entitled "Windows is Collapsing." According to the analysts — Gartner Vice Presidents Neil MacDonald and Michael Silver — Windows is too big, too bulky, and too slow to respond to market changes to be able to survive. The emergence of software as a service has cut away much of the need for a large, monolithic OS, they opine, and as a result, Windows will soon be obsolete. Of course, Gartner is also the firm that predicted that Vista would be the last version of Windows, a claim fairly-well refuted by the already-in-development Windows 7.

While Windows Vista may not be the last version of Windows, it may well be the last to be sold in Europe — at least to government organizations — if certain members of the European Parliament have their way. Heidi Rühle, MEP (Greens-EFA, DE), has filed a question with the European Commission asking whether Microsoft can be banned from all public procurement in the EU based on Article 93 of the Financial Regulation, which bars those convicted of a long list of offenses from participating in public contract bidding. Among the offenses for which one can be banned are offenses concerning professional conduct and grave professional misconduct — Ms. Ruhle then points out the Commission's various rulings and fines, which she believes fall within the prerogative of Article 93. The EC has six weeks to research and respond to the question, and presumably will then act on whatever answer it gives. The fact that the Commission is currently investigating several new violations — including the infamous OOXML vote — doesn't bode well for Big Evil.

Things aren't boding well for copyright extremists in Europe either, as the European Parliament — quite possibly our favorite government body — has issued a new report on illegal file sharing, complete with an amendment reiterating the importance of file sharer's "civil liberties and human rights." The report — which sadly has no legal force other than to demonstrate how MEPs are likely to react to anti-file-sharing efforts — stands in opposition to efforts in many European countries to cut file-sharers off a the knees by forcing ISPs to disconnect persistent sharers. For now, the national efforts move forward, but one has to suspect they may run into roadblocks if they aren't careful to consider how the EU may respond.

And that, ladies and gents, is all we have to say about that.

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