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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Halo 3 to Make Entertainment History on Sept. 25

In a year when Hollywood is launching its biggest blockbusters ever, a video game is set to conquer them all. “Halo® 3,” the final chapter in the groundbreaking “Halo” trilogy, is set to shatter day-one entertainment sales records when it is released worldwide beginning Tuesday, Sept. 25. Created by legendary developer Bungie Studios and exclusive to the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system, “Halo 3” will set a new standard for interactive storytelling and social gaming by engaging consumers worldwide in Master Chief’s epic battle to save humankind. “Halo 3” will be available to audiences around the world starting Sept. 25 and will release in Europe on Sept. 26.

“‘Halo 3’ is much more than a video game release; it’s the biggest entertainment event of the year,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business. “On Sept. 25, we intend to deliver a finale that will go down in entertainment history and leave people around the world with an experience that will be shared and enjoyed for years to come.”

Fueling the early buzz around “Halo 3”, Microsoft unveiled the multiplayer beta on the eve of its release at a star-studded event in Hollywood. Beginning tomorrow, May 16, Microsoft Game Studios will kick off the “Halo 3” multiplayer beta, which provides audiences worldwide with an exclusive, early look at some of the multiplayer elements of “Halo 3” on Xbox LIVE®. Adding to the excitement, Microsoft is also announcing a special edition Zune™ digital media player inspired by the hugely successful “Halo” franchise. On shelves next month, the Zune-Halo 3 edition comes loaded with a collection of “Halo” content, including videos, soundtracks, trailers, ads and artwork.

In November 2004, the world’s view of video games changed forever with the release of “Halo 2,” which generated a record-setting $125 million in sales within the first 24 hours and changed the way people think about interactive entertainment. Three years later, it remains the most-played game on Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE online gaming and entertainment network, with nearly 1 billion hours of online gaming logged to date.

The unveiling of the “Halo 3” launch date comes on the eve of the release of the “Halo 3” multiplayer beta, which will debut to audiences worldwide via Xbox LIVE on May 16 at 5 a.m. PDT and run through June 6 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.* The “Halo 3” multiplayer beta will provide audiences worldwide with an exclusive early look at some of the multiplayer elements of “Halo 3” on Xbox LIVE. Gamers who are interested in experiencing the multiplayer beta of “Halo 3” can still participate through the purchase of the critically acclaimed, Xbox 360-exclusive title “Crackdown™,” which was launched in February. Starting May 16, the specially marked copies of “Crackdown” will act as a key for gamers to participate in the “Halo 3” multiplayer beta. In addition to giving gamers their first opportunity to get their hands on the new levels, weapons, vehicles and game types, the multiplayer beta will also provide valuable data that Bungie will use in continued development.

The “Halo” franchise has expanded beyond video games into The New York Times’ best-selling books, graphic novels, collectible merchandise and now a new, special edition Zune digital media player. Encased in collectible packaging, the Zune-Halo 3 edition digital media player comes pre-loaded with artwork, trailers and music from all three “Halo” games, as well as an exclusive new episode of “Red vs. Blue” from the fan-adored machinima creator Rooster Teeth Productions LLC. The Zune-Halo 3 edition (estimated retail price $249) will be available exclusively at GameStop starting June 15.

About Bungie Studios
Bungie Studios was founded in 1991 with two goals: to develop games that combine brilliant technology, beautiful art, intelligent stories and deep gameplay, and then sell enough of those games to achieve its real goal of total world domination. Over the past 10 years it has produced games such as the “Marathon Trilogy” and the first two “Myth” games, hailed as classics by critics and gamers around the world. Bungie’s “Halo” franchise is an international award-winning action title that has grown into a global entertainment phenomenon, selling more than 14.7 million units worldwide, logging nearly 1 billion hours of multiplayer action on Xbox LIVE, and spawning action figures, books, a graphic novel, apparel and more. Bungie is currently at work on “Halo 3,” which represents the third chapter in this “Halo” trilogy and is slated for release in 2007. More information on Bungie can be found at

About Microsoft Game Studios
Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox® and Xbox 360 video game systems, the Windows® operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (, including such franchises as “Age of Empires®,” “Flight Simulator” and “Zoo Tycoon®”; Xbox and Xbox 360 (, including such games as “Gears of War” and franchises such as “Halo,” “Fable®,” “Project Gotham Racing®” and “Forza Motorsport®”; and MSN® Games (, the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as “Bejeweled” and “Hexic®.”

Monday, May 14, 2007

PC Ecosystem Gears Up for the ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series from AMD

The much anticipated ATI Radeon™ HD 2000 Series of graphics cards is garnering great support from the PC ecosystem, with 26 power supply vendors already signing up for certification of their products by AMD (NYSE: AMD), and more are expected to follow. They are partnering with AMD to launch the next generation of graphics processing units, which give gamers superior DirectX® 10 performance at every price point, as well as the ultimate HD experience. Coolmax, Corsair, Enermax, Enhance, FSP, Hiper, Mushkin, OCZ, PC Power & Cooling Inc., Seasonic, Silverstone, Sintek, Solytech, Tagan, Thermaltake, Topower/ePower, Ultra, Zalman, and others are together now offering 110 certified models of power supplies certified for use with ATI Radeon™ HD 2900 XT products.1

“The ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series is broadening the high end gaming market by making an immersive HD gaming experience accessible to more hardcore gamers”, said Godfrey Cheng, director, Platform Marketing, AMD Graphics Products Group. “With 26 of the world’s top power supply vendors jumping in to develop customized chassis and power supply units, our customers will have tremendous choice when it comes to building their ultimate custom PC.”

Consumers can also enjoy ultra quiet gaming and multimedia systems thanks to the array of acoustic options, including better cooling, insulation and thermal handling. As well, with the option of six or eight pin connectors, the graphics cards provide a greater margin for performance tuning, resulting in a better game playing experience. Partner power supplies, starting at USD $80 (SEP), are now available from online retailers.2

For more information on the ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series, visit For more information on pricing related to the new AMD family of graphics cards, see the relevant press release.

ATI Radeon™ HD 2000 Series Ecosystem Support

PC Power & Cooling Inc.
“PC Power & Cooling Inc. will continue to support AMD’s ability to exhibit outstanding value to the mainstream consumer. Even when AMD’s cutting-edge ATI Radeon HD™ 2000 Series graphics cards are rendering the most demanding graphics, our Silencer 750 Quad power supply never breaks a sweat,” said Doug Dodson, CEO, PC Power & Cooling Inc.

“ENERMAX applauds AMD’s world leading graphics processing platform by providing a broad range of products to accompany this launch”, said Steven Su, founder & CEO, ENERMAX. “As part of our ‘DXX ready’ campaign, all our products 400 Watts or more have been upgraded so consumers around the world can enjoy this unprecedented era of gaming performance assured of the renowned durability of our power supplies.”

“AMD provides some of the most powerful graphics cards in the market and now, with the ATI Radeon™ HD 2900 XT, even more enthusiasts will be able to experience 3D graphics at its best. Silverstone is partnering with AMD to provide power supplies and chassis that support the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT with ease,” said Joe Lee, president, Silverstone Technology.

Thermaltake Technology
“By working side by side with leading graphics and media processing chip manufacturers such as AMD, Thermaltake’s ability to cool this multi graphic card configuration helps create the ultimate gaming platform” said Johnny Hsu, product manager of power supply division, Thermaltake. “Consumers craving both flexibility and energy efficiency will see that the combination of ATI Radeon™ HD 2000 Series with one of our power supply units is the right choice.”

Topower/Epower “The ATI Radeon™ HD 2000 Series is highly stable, and serves as one of the best graphics experiences we’ve seen to date”, said Kent Chou, president, Topower/Epower group. “Epower is welcoming the ATI Radeon HD 2000 family with the launch of ten power supplies that will undoubtedly augment the performance tuning experience for gamers”, said Don Lee, general manager, Epower USA.

“AMD’s new ATI Radeon™ HD 2000 Series redefines digital imaging and graphics beyond imagination. Driven by AMD’s technological achievement, FSP’s Kingcraft 1000W and the ATI Radeon HD 2000 family pair perfectly to deliver the ultimate value package for PC graphic enthusiasts and PC gamers everywhere,” said Joseph Huang, director vice president of operations, FSP.

“Seasonic Electronics is committed to providing our customers with the latest technology and integration solutions,” said Cathy Chang, marketing manager, Seasonic. “We are enthusiastically supporting the ATI Radeon™ HD 2000 Series platform, as we believe these graphics cards deliver strong promise to our consumers.”

“The ATI Radeon™ HD 2000 Series, paired with Tagan’s low noise power supply units, delivers superior value to users. The performance exhibited from the new AMD graphics family compliments our continuous drive for advanced technology,” said Naninni Yu, USA branch manager, Tagan Technology Co.

About AMD
Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) is a leading global provider of innovative processing solutions in the computing, graphics and consumer electronics markets. AMD is dedicated to driving open innovation, choice and industry growth by delivering superior customer-centric solutions that empower consumers and businesses worldwide. For more information, visit

1. For the complete list of AMD certified power supply products, visit
2. SEP stands for suggested e-tail price

Thursday, May 10, 2007

CBS, Viacom, Others Invest $45 Million in Internet TV Service Joost

A group of five prominent media and venture capital companies, including CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc., have invested $45 million in Joost, a company attempting to broadcast television over the Internet, they said Thursday

Joost -- pronounced "juiced" -- was co-founded by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, the entrepreneurs who upset the music industry with the Kazaa file-sharing service and then developed Skype, the Internet telephone system that was bought by eBay Inc. for $2.6 billion in 2005.

"We've carefully selected these investors from a variety of interested parties," Friis said in a statement. They "bring unique assets to Joost that will enable us to significantly accelerate growth and development of the Company."

The other investors were one each from North America, Europe and Asia: Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, Europe's Index Ventures and the Li Ka Shing Foundation, founded by the chairman of Asian conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. All received stakes of an undisclosed size in Joost for their investments, Joost said.

Viacom's participation is especially noteworthy: It struck a deal to supply content from Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures to Joost earlier this month, shortly after it filed suit against Google Inc. for alleged copyright infringement by YouTube, Google's free online video service.

Joost markets itself as a way for media companies to retain control and receive payment for video when they distribute it over the Internet.

Unlike YouTube, Joost does not allow users to upload videos, and it distributes only professional content. While YouTube pulls down videos only when copyright holders complain of infringement, Joost promises to actively fight piracy of the shows on its system.

Like regular TV, Joost is ad-supported and free for viewers.

While not yet fully open to the public, the company has advertising trials with Coca-Cola Co., Nike Inc., Microsoft Corp., Procter & Gamble Co., Sony Corp. and Visa.

Roelof Botha, a partner at Sequoia, said in a statement he was betting on Joost because it offers something to media companies, viewers, and advertisers.

It "allows content owners to reach audiences of any size at any time," he said, while viewers can watch shows whenever they want, for free. Advertisers get "precisely targeted and measurable advertisements."

"This ability poises the company to expand the video distribution business and capture an enormous market opportunity," he said.

To use Joost, viewers have to download and run its software, which is free, but for now only available on invitation from existing members. It appears on the computer's screen as an interface that resembles a TV remote control.

The service increases speeds and saves on bandwidth costs by using a decentralized distribution system that streams videos from user to user over the Internet -- technology similar to that underlying Kazaa and Skype.

Joost is majority-owned by Friis and Zennstrom via their Luxembourg-based Joost Operations SA, but it has offices in New York, London and Leiden, Netherlands, and expects to incorporate under the Joost name globally.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sun Microsystems Announces OpenID Program

Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW) announced a new initiative around support for OpenID, a decentralized, web-friendly single sign-on mechanism that allows consumers to reuse a single login across different websites. Through this initiative, Sun will explore the changes needed to make OpenID applicable to a broader spectrum of business and technical challenges.

This initiative is designed to aid in solving the proliferation of login challenges and expand OpenID beyond low-risk transactions such as blog comments. As part of this program, Sun will invite participation from customers and technology partners interested in combining and converging OpenID with enterprise-ready technologies like SAML and Liberty Alliance's Identity Web Services Framework.

"We're excited about finding ways to augment the use of OpenID with technologies that meet web users' needs for autonomy and convenience while making it easy to meet stringent security and privacy obligations," said Jim McHugh, vice president of software infrastructure marketing, Sun Microsystems. "Sun has been participating actively in the community dialogue around OpenID and related technologies, and sees great potential for OpenID's use alongside enterprise-ready software infrastructure."

In order to explore the boundaries of OpenID as a trust system, Sun is offering an OpenID Provider service to its 34,000 employees. Using Sun-based OpenID identifiers at an OpenID-accepting website can convey in this simple and secure manner that the user is a Sun employee, a piece of information that can enable access to employee discounts and unlock other special services all across the web. Sun will work with partners to extend special services on this basis.

The Sun OpenID Provider is built using OpenSSO, the open-source project that is providing the basis for the Sun Java System Access Manager and Sun Java Federation Manager products, as well as OpenDS, the open-source project that is providing Sun's next-generation directory services. Both of these projects now include OpenID extensions.

Sun will also determine how to OpenID-enable its own websites in an appropriate manner, as well as how best to add valuable OpenID support to additional products and platforms, such as the Sun Web Developer Pack.

To obtain more information on Sun's OpenID initiative, please visit

For more information about Sun's Identity Management offerings, please visit

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sun Unleashes Java Technology Innovations to Accelerate Network Growth, Accessibility and Vibrancy at Annual JavaOne Conference

Today at the 2007 JavaOne conference, Sun Microsystems Inc., (NASDAQ: SUNW) previewed JavaFX, a new family of Java technology-based products. The first of these, JavaFX Mobile, is a complete mobile phone software system available via OEM license to carriers, content owners and consumer electronics manufacturers. JavaFX leverages the security and ubiquity of the Java platform and will support all content and applications currently available across the billions of Java technology-based devices in the world today. Sun today also previewed JavaFX Script, a new scripting language targeted at creative professionals, which will help to radically simplify the process of creating and distributing interactive content that spans all Java technology enabled platforms, from handsets to set tops, laptops to dashboards (see separate announcement). All JavaFX software, like all Java software at Sun, will be available to the free and open source community via the popular GNU General Public License (GPL) license.

"With JavaFX, Sun is leveraging the security and pervasiveness of the world's most widely deployed technology platform to allow creative professionals to easily author and deliver on any device," said Rich Green, executive vice president, Sun Software. "This is a major step towards helping consumers access the best content on the Internet from every device and a significant opportunity for Sun and its partners to deliver a whole new line of products."

With the pervasive distribution of the Java platform and the assets Sun recently acquired from SavaJe Technologies, JavaFX Mobile will be enhanced to provide a unified runtime environment that provides the flexibility and freedom for wireless carriers and mobile device manufacturers to develop innovative consumer electronics featuring rich, dynamic content with the "write once, run anywhere" power of Java technology. More information about JavaFX Mobile can be found at:

"We continue to see remarkable opportunity in delivering compelling content to the hundreds of millions of consumers on Vodafone's global network," said Alan Harper, Vodafone group strategy and new business director. "The Java platform's ubiquity and security have clearly amplified Vodafone's opportunity through our Vodafone live! services, and shoulder to shoulder with Sun Microsystems, we've relied upon open platforms, free markets and competition to drive innovation and value. We are enthusiastic about Sun's new JavaFX product family and the opportunity it presents to Vodafone and the global community to drive deployment of a unified Java solution on mobile devices."

Making a special appearance at JavaOne, Dr. Djibril Diallo, director of the United Nations New York Office of Sport for Development and Peace, and chair of the UN Youth Summit series, offered his support for Sun's technology for developing countries. "Bringing the Internet to people through mobile handsets can greatly expand access, and it is imperative that the technology industry continues to innovate to make that a reality worldwide. The challenge for the entire industry and Sun is in making new technology accessible in developing countries, leveraging its power to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015."

Sun will deliver additional JavaFX products for the manufacturers of set top boxes, navigation devices and automobile dashboards - answering the market's demand for an open, secure, unified platform that drives rich interactivity with consumers wherever they are on the Network.

More information on this week's JavaOne announcements and Sun's eco-responsibility activities at JavaOne, is available at: