The FT’s Paul Taylor examines Microsoft’s Bing search engine, designed to improve on rival offerings:

With Google synonymous with internet search engines, it might seem foolhardy if not futile for a rival to try to outdo it – even if that rival is Microsoft. Never­theless, that is just what the world’s biggest software company is attempting to do with Bing, its new search engine, which was made publicly available on ­Monday. Read more

  • Intel paid $884m in cash for Wind River Systems, a software company that should help the chipmaker’s push into new markets. Wind River, based in the San Francisco Bay area, represents Intel’s biggest acquisition in the four-year tenure of Paul Otellini as chief executive.
  • Data Domain said it would evaluate EMC‘s all cash $30 a share offer, a day after saying it had agreed to an offer of $30 in cash and stock from NetApp. The unusual reversal signaled potential discord within Data Domain’s management. EMC has significantly more free cash than NetApp, and is well-positioned to win the bidding war.

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The FT’s Lex column says that EMC and NetApp are right to be fighting over de-duplication company Data Domain:

The excitement is over software and hardware designed to reduce duplication. Data Domain specialises in identifying and removing multiple copies of files when a back-up copy of data is made . . . As the volume of data that companies must process explodes, Data Domain is growing fast – analysts forecast sales growth of 28 per cent this year. Read more

  • If Carol Bartz is trying to cozy up to Microsoft, she certainly wasn’t showing it on Wednesday. Speaking at a Bank of America investment conference, the Yahoo CEO dismissed the new Bing “decision engine” with faint praise and predicted that it would have no impact on Microsoft’s status as an also-ran in the search business. She also suggested that some estimates of the cost-savings from a search pact with Microsoft had been overstated, and a deal would probably save Yahoo around $500m.
  • Google and Yahoo confirmed that they were among a number of tech companies to have received information requests from the Department of Justice about hiring practices. Following the DoJ’s decision to look into possible collusion arising from overlapping board seats between Google and Apple, the regulatory review was another sign that Washington’s new trust-busters are taking unusual approaches in their scrutiny of the tech industry.

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The FT’s Lex column considers the three-way war for the living room, and concludes that with little console innovation on the horizon, Nintendo’s Wii, the current leader, could be vulnerable:

Microsoft has an opportunity to catch up on Nintendo. The US software giant has the cheapest console on the market at $199 in the US, for something that is more capable than Nintendo’s $250 machine. Read more

  • Bing made an early debut, but Microsoft‘s new search service is about to test new social and legal limits in its presentation of video clips. On Bing, “thumbnail”-sized video clips play automatically when a cursor hovers over them. That might be as far as any major company has gone to test the limits of the “fair use” defence to copyright infringement when it comes to video content.
  • Prime View International, the Taiwanese maker of screens for Amazon’s Kindle e-book readers, aims to consolidate its hold on the nascent “electronic paper” industry by acquiring E Ink, the US company that owns key technology for making the screens.

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The FT’s Lex column says the netbooks segment should not be overhyped just because it is the only area of growth for the PC industry in a recession:

Light and, above all, cheap, netbooks are useful for casual travellers and children who are more likely to break or lose a computer and can live with less processing power. Business users, who buy half the world’s laptops, will still want something more capable. Read more

The FT’s Lex column considers the spin-off of AOL from Time Warner. The separation marks a final admission of defeat in the attempt to join film and television content with the free online world:

Talk about the mourning after. Almost a decade later, one of the worst deals of all time still has little to recommend it. In 1999, at the peak of the dotcom bubble, upstart AOL bought the old media dinosaur Time Warner for $164bn in stock. On Thursday – following the announcement AOL will be spun-out by the year’s end – Time Warner’s market capitalisation stood at $28bn, with the recently split-off Time Warner Cable valued at a further $11bn. Read more

Apple’s MacBook Air, Sony’s Vaio P Series and now Dell’s Adamo belong to an elite category of portable personal computers whose appeal owes as much to design aesthetics as it does to technology, writes Paul Taylor:

Sony and Apple have a reputation for such products. But Dell – outside of its Alienware unit, which builds high-performance PCs for games players – is best known for producing solid mainstream desktops and businesslike laptops targeting corporate buyers and penny-pinched students. Read more