THE BROWSER: Truth and rumors from the tech world
Apple may embrace file-sharing
Rumor has it that file-swapping tech could speed iTunes movie downloads on Macs. Plus: Truce proposed in Xbox-PlayStation war.
By Owen Thomas, Business 2.0 Magazine online editor and Oliver Ryan, Fortune reporter

SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0 Magazine) - Since 1999, Apple has been a loyal customer of Akamai, the Cambridge, Mass.-based technology outfit whose content-delivery services speeds Apple's software and music downloads. As Apple (Research) preps an online movie store, however, it's looking at even heftier bandwidth bills. So rumor has it that it's looking at putting file-sharing technology into an upcoming version of its Mac OS X operating system. If Mac OS Rumors' report pans out, Apple would have Mac users download files from other Macs rather than from Apple's servers, saving Apple money. To encourage users to participate, the proposed scheme could reward them with credit towards iTunes purchases.

Truce proposed in Xbox-PlayStation war finds new search partner
Microsoft has displaced Google as the source for Amazon's Web-search results. Plus: Digital cameras get a Wi-Fi upgrade. (more)

Microsoft (Research) and Sony (Research) are set to duke it out in videogame consoles when Sony's PS3 arrives on store shelves later this year. But one videogame publisher is suggesting that they should play nice together, with Sony licensing Microsoft's Xbox videogame operating system. In an interview with Next-Generation, Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford says an alliance would help Sony gain traction in online gaming, where Microsoft's Xbox Live service dominates, while giving Microsoft access to Sony's Japanese market. Kotaku calls Pitchford's prediction "completely bizarre," but it could make sense for Microsoft, which loses money on every Xbox sold and might be glad to have a lucrative software-licensing deal.

New blog search engine launched

Tuesday morning saw the launch of Sphere, yet another search engine for blogs. The San Francisco-based startup is taking its place alongside Technorati, Feedster, and Icerocket, not to mention Google (Research) and Yahoo (Research). We may soon need a search engine just to find all the blog search engines. Following TechCrunch's detailed and mainly positive review, one reader comments that the arrival of Sphere reminds him of "the whole HotBot/AltaVista/Excite/etc. search wars of 2000."

Spyware, or just an attentive sales rep?

SalesGenius, a web sales tool launched yesterday, is already drawing controversy. Made by Genius, a San Mateo-based software company, SalesGenius shows sales reps when a client has opened one of their emails. Should the client then follow a link in the email to a website, the rep can watch in real time as the would-be customer peruses the site. Predictably, the software is being warmly welcomed by some in the sales community, even as it raises privacy concerns among others. Genius founder David Thompson, for his part, argues that real-time Web tracking marks a "fundamental" shift: "You have a whole new generation of sales reps -- call it the MySpace generation -- who are always online, always interacting with customers over the Web." So SalesGenius's future comes down to an age-old question for salespeople: Will the kids buy it? Top of page

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