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Silly iPhone pricing

As promised, AT&T will begin selling iPhones without requiring a two-year contract, but the devices will be so expensive that few people are likely to want to buy them.  Starting March 26, existing AT&T customers will be able to buy the 8GB iPhone for US$599 and the 16GB iPhone for $699, AT&T said. The price works out to be more expensive than buying a subsidized iPhone with a two-year contract, paying the subscription for a month, canceling the plan and paying the early termination fee. Including the activation fee, that would come to $476 for the 8GB iPhone.

Palm sales drop

Palm’s revenue plunged in its most recent quarter as the struggling company, preparing for the release of its next-generation device, sold 42 percent fewer smartphones than in the same period last year. The 72 percent fall in smartphone revenue, to US$77.5 million, underscores the importance of the upcoming Palm Pre and WebOS to the company’s future. Palm announced the Pre and its brand-new operating system at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and has said the current Centro phone will be the last device to run the original Palm OS. The Pre will begin shipping on an undisclosed date later this year.

Vista Capable case goes to trial

A U.S. judge denied a request for judgment in the Microsoft Vista Capable suit, instead sending the case along to trial with a ruling Wednesday.  Dianne Kelley, the plaintiff who continues to argue for class status for the case, had asked the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington to rule that Microsoft deceived customers by saying that Vista would work on certain computers that weren’t capable of running some features. But Judge Marsha Pechman said that the court needed additional proof, despite the discovery of internal Microsoft communications from executives expressing concern about a decision to call certain computers “Vista Capable” even though they wouldn’t be able to support some important Vista capabilities.

TomTom claims patent infringement against Microsoft

GPS device maker TomTom has shot back at Microsoft with a claim of patent infringement, after the software giant raised concerns in the Linux community with a recent lawsuit against TomTom. In a suit filed earlier this week, TomTom alleges that Microsoft infringes on four patents in Microsoft Streets and Trips. The product is mapping software that runs on computers and can be used with a small GPS receiver that connects to a laptop. TomTom is asking for triple damages for willful infringement, since it says it had notified Microsoft about its alleged infringement.  Microsoft said it was reviewing TomTom’s filing and that it remains committed to a licensing solution and has been for more than a year.

…And those are the top stories from the IDG Global IT News Update, brought to you by the IDG News Service. I’m Sumner Lemon in Singapore. Join us again later for more news from the world of technology.

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