News in brief

XML Schema gets initial OK

The World Wide Web Consortium has issued an XML specification called XML Schema as a so-called candidate recommendation, which means the proposed standard is considered sufficiently stable to be widely deployed. XML Schema defines structure, content and semantics in XML documents so applications based on XML can more easily share information in a uniform way. Dave Hollander, co-chair of the W3C XML Schema Working Group, said XML Schema is a big plus for business-to-business e-commerce applications because it provides a way to automatically validate XML information.

Microsoft talks investment

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is in talks with Microsoft over a deal that could result in the software giant investing about $US1 billion in Global Networks. If the companies end up shaking hands on the deal, Microsoft's investment would represent about 3.5 per cent of Global Networks, the company News Corp created earlier this year to consolidate all its global satellite TV assets and investments, the Wall Street Journal said. Microsoft and News Corp have collaborated in the past. Last March, Microsoft and News Corp company NDS Group formed an alliance to develop software supporting digital television.

Microsoft tests service

Working with Microsoft, the international chain of easyEverything Internet cafes will begin hosting Office 2000, Works 2001 and Encarta 2001 for a rental fee of about $US2 an hour. London-based easyEverything Ltd has hundreds of seats in each cafe with thin-client computers and Internet access. There are cafes throughout Europe and another will open in New York on November 28.

IBM upgrades reader

IBM has released the latest version of its talking Web browser software in the hope of giving visually impaired individuals greater access to e-commerce operations and improved Internet surfing options. With Version 3.0 of the Home Page Reader, IBM added JavaScript support to give visually impaired users a smoother ride when cruising the Web. The JavaScript functions should lead to more consistent transactions.

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