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Windows on the Web
- Germany's Daimler-Benz has developed a prototype "cyber Mercedes" that lets you access the Internet while driving. The car, undergoing tests in California, has a "smart card" slot in the armrest, infrared ports for laptop networking, a wireless keyboard built into the dash, multimedia screens in the headrests and a voice-activation system so you can control the system without taking your hands off the wheel.
- Concerned about spam's costs to both ISPs and users, the Internet Service Providers' Consortium is fighting the unsolicited commercial e-mail. The group plans a major lobbying effort to restrict the practice.
- Apparently acting on private complaints, the Justice Department began looking into Microsoft's proposed $425 million acquisition of WebTV. A similar investigation in 1995 forced Microsoft to drop its bid to buy personal-finance software leader Intuit. This time, however, there's less fear of antitrust charges because the market for TV-type Internet devices is so new.
- The proposed Internet Tax Freedom Act has begun gathering steam, particularly in California. The bill, now in Congress, would prevent state and local governments from imposing new taxes on Internet transactions.
- Sun Microsystems has unveiled Java Studio, a new flavor of the programming language designed for consumers. Users with little or no programming background can create small executable files.