Tech news from around the web:

  • James Gosling, the programmer who founded Java at Sun Microsystems, has joined Google, Cnet reports. The online search giant is currently suing Oracle, which bought Sun Microsystems last year, over how the Java technology is used in Android.

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Real Network’s GameHouse online gaming division is playing its social cards en route to being spun off by its parent by the end of this year.

GameHouse has announced a Facebook-based social gaming service at this week’s Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco and plans to release other social gaming applications in the coming months. Read more

RealNetworks’ founder Rob Glaser stepped down as chief executive in January as the company went on to announce the spin-offs of its games business and Rhapsody music service in response to falling revenues in 2009.

RealPlayer , the audio streaming product that defined the company when it was launched 15 years ago, is now once again the focus, with a new version unveiled today. Read more

Microsoft, Yahoo and RealNetworks were hit this week with a copyright infringement suit filed on behalf of the composers of 950 songs offered by the companies through on-demand streaming or downloads that last only for the duration of a subscription.
While the amount of damages available under the law if the composers win is very large—as much as $150,000 per violation deemed to be “willful”—a more likely outcome is a settlement for less than the penny-per-play right recently established for streaming royalties.
The details of the case show why lawyers are among the precious few groups of people earning money in the music business these days. Read more

RealNetworks is piling on the functionality of its RealPlayer software in the face of strong competition for its well known video and audio player.

Apple announced Quicktime X this month, adding editing capabilities to its player. Mozilla’s Firefox 3.5 browser now has the same ability as RealPlayer to download web video. Meanwhile Apple, Mozilla and Google are pursing HTML5 standards that can do away with the need for separate video-playing software and plug-ins. Read more

  • A seven-year battle between the US Federal Trade Commission and Rambus, the memory-chip specialist, has ended in defeat for the FTC. The regulator had  ruled that Rambus plotted to get secretly patented technology it developed included in industry standards, but an appeal court had thrown out its ruling and, on Thursday, the FTC dropped the rest of its case.
  • Nintendo was the big winner in April in the US video game market. According to the NPD research firm’s monthly figures, it sold 1.08m units of its dual-screen handheld console following the introduction of the new DSi model on April 5. That was nearly double unit sales of 563,000 in March.

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The major movie studios told a US federal judge in San Francisco today that new software from RealNetworks threatens serious harm to the DVD sales that are a major source of their profits.

The $30 RealDVD program allows users to make backup copies of commercial DVDs and store them on their hard drives, which on the surface is the type of activity that courts have determined to be “fair use.” Read more