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Windows 7 sans IE in EU

Windows 7 will ship without Internet Explorer in Europe, in an effort by Microsoft to offer the product on time and without running afoul of competitive regulations in Europe.  Microsoft on Thursday confirmed a Cnet story quoting from a memo that the software giant sent this week to PC makers. The move stems from a complaint that Web browser developer Opera filed with the European Commission last year saying that Microsoft gets an unfair advantage by tying IE with Windows. Mozilla has joined Opera in the suit. By shipping Windows 7 without the browser, Microsoft may avoid potential requirements to delay shipment or other sanctions.

Rambus reaches deal on “patent ambush”

High-speed memory developer Rambus is close to settling a complaint brought against it by the European Commission in 2007. The European Commission originally accused Rambus of a “patent ambush” whereby the EC said Rambus failed to declare it owned relevant patents for DRAM chips while the standard was being finalized and then went on to claim licensing fees from companies making the chips. DRAM is the main type of memory used in all personal computers. Under the terms of a tentative deal reached between the two, Rambus will cap licensing fees for five-year licenses of its patents at 1.5 percent for several types of DRAM, including DDR2, DDR3, GDDR3 and GDDR4. The deal would also mean the European Commission makes no finding of liability against Rambus and does not levy a fine on the company.

Google simplifies databases

Google has released an early version of a new type of database whose approach to data management will be revolutionary, according to an analyst who has studied the technology behind it. On Tuesday, Google quietly announced in its research team blog a new online database called Fusion Tables designed to sidestep the limitations of conventional relational databases. Specifically, Fusion Tables has been built to simplify a number of operations that are notoriously difficult in relational databases, including the integration of data from multiple, heterogenous sources and the ability to collaborate on large data sets, according to Google.

IBM chugs ahead on railroad management

IBM pushed further into the market for railroad management systems as it opened a base in Beijing for work on train maintenance and surveillance products. Products displayed at the event included applications that monitor aging train parts and set off alerts when they need repair, or that reduce traffic jams by tracking the positions and delays of all trains on a network. Other products the center will help carry forward include a surveillance system that can track multiple people on a camera screen and ring an alarm when it spots suspicious behavior, such as someone setting a bag down and walking away. Another product controls ticket sales according to how many seats in each class are open at each point along a route.

…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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