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Supreme Court ruling makes “obvious” patents harder to defend

In a decision issued today, the US Supreme Court reinvigorated the "obviousness test" used to determine whether a patent should be issued. Ruling in the case of KSR v. Teleflex, the Court found that the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which handles patent appeals, had not been using a stringent-enough standard to determine whether a patent was infringing. HangZhou Night Net

At issue in KSR v. Teleflex is a gas pedal manufactured by KSR. The pedal has an electronic sensor that automatically adjusts its height to the height of the driver. Teleflex claimed that KSR's products infringed on a patent it held. KSR said that Teleflex's patent combining a sensor and a gas pedal was one that failed the obviousness test, and as such, should not have been granted.

Patent law appeared to be on KSR's side: 1952 legislation mandated that an invention could not be patented if a "person having ordinary skill in the art" would consider it obvious. KSR argued that the US Patent and Trademark Office should have denied Teleflex's patent, as it only combines components performing functions they were previously known to do. However, the Federal Circuit had adopted a higher standard, ruling that those challenging a patent had to show that there was a "teaching, suggestion, or motivation" tying the earlier inventions together.

KSR had plenty of support from the likes of Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, and GM, while Teleflex's supporters included GE, 3M, DuPont, and a number of other companies concerned that some of their patent holdings would be harmed should the Court side with KSR.

SCOTUS found KSR's arguments convincing, ruling that the Federal Circuit had failed to apply the obviousness test. "The results of ordinary innovation are not the subject of exclusive rights under the patent laws," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the Court. "Were it otherwise, patents might stifle rather than promote the progress of useful arts."

The Supreme Court also said that the Federal Circuit's conception of a patent's obviousness was too narrow. "The Circuit first erred in holding that courts and patent examiners should look only to the problem the patentee was trying to solve," according to Justice Kennedy's opinion. "Second, the appeals court erred in assuming that a person of ordinary skill in the art attempting to solve a problem will be led only to those prior art elements designed to solve the same problem."

The end result is that Teleflex's patent has been invalidated and more importantly, the Federal Circuit will now have to pay closer attention to a patent's obviousness. That may be good news for Vonage in its appeal of a court's decision that its VoIP service infringes on three Verizon patents. Our analysis of the patents indicates that they, too, may fail the obviousness test.

More importantly, the Supreme Court ruling is good news for a patent system in dire need of fixing. New legislation introduced to Congress a couple of weeks ago is another attempt at a fix. The bill would streamline the patent appeal process while switching the US patent system from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system. It would also cap the amount of damages that could be awarded for infringing patents.

Talk to the hand: chimps, bonobos and the development of language

Regardless of one's feelings regarding zoos, it doesn't take much time spent in the primate house to come away with a feeling of kinship to our closest living relatives. Although not human, we recognize in chimpanzees and bonobos some of the same traits we display. HangZhou Night Net

It's not an observation that escapes biologists, either. Researchers are often interested in the common behaviors and traits we share with other higher primates to give us clues as to the evolutionary origins of human intelligence. A new study published this week in PNAS from scientists at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center has looked at the use of hand gestures by chimpanzees and bonobos as a form of communication. The idea behind this study is to gain a better understanding of the roots of human language development.

Although both species of primate use vocalizations and facial expressions to communicate, they also use hand gestures. Unlike the vocalizations and facial expressions, however, hand gestures don't mean the same things to both chimpanzees and bonobos. They stem from, and are interpreted by, different parts of the brain.

The study involved looking at the different facial/vocal and manual displays from two groups of bonobos and two groups of chimpanzees. The researchers identified 31 different manual gestures, and 18 facial/vocal displays that related to a range of different behavioral activities such as grooming, feeding, playing, and so on. It turns out that the facial/vocal displays could be recognized regardless of whether the viewer belonged to the same group or even species.

But when it came to hand gestures, most interpretations were specific to individual groups; a chimpanzee from one group would not be expected to know that a certain hand signal used by group A meant "please groom me." Hand signals were also found to be context dependent: "A good example of a shared gesture is the open-hand begging gesture, used by both apes and humans. This gesture can be used for food, if there is food around, but it also can be used to beg for help, for support, for money and so on. It's meaning is context-dependent,"said Frans de Waal, one of the authors of the paper.

I'm most interested by the commonality of certain hand gestures between these ape species and ourselves; the begging example given above, for one. It seems that some aspects of our behavior have been hard-wired in since before the human race could have been said to exist.

For developers, Windows Live now means business

Microsoft wants to be a part of the next great web startup. This week at MIX07, the company modified the terms of its Windows Live application programming interface (API) license so that small businesses could freely use the services. HangZhou Night Net

The overview of the new license is as follows:

Microsoft is enabling access to a broad set of Windows Live Platform services with a single, easy-to-understand pricing model based on the number of unique users (UUs) accessing your site or Web application. These terms are intended to remove costs associated with many Web applications and provide predictable costs for larger Web applications. There are some exceptions to the UU-based model: (1) Search: free up to 750,000 search queries/month, (2) Virtual Earth: free up to 3 million map tiles/month; and (3) Silverlight Streaming: free up to 4GB storage and unlimited outbound streaming, and no limit on the number of users that can view those streams.

According to the terms of use, if a site has over 1 million unique users, it will be charged US$0.25 per unique user per year or it must share a portion of its advertising revenue with Microsoft. Search and Virtual Earth do not apply to in this scenario as commercial agreements are necessary when the limits of the two services are reached.

According to Microsoft, the license restructuring has been done to show that the company can and does support small businesses. Whitney Burk, a spokesperson for Microsoft's Online Services Group, said that Microsoft wants to be there when the next great startup company emerges. "We're saying to all those small guys out there, bet your business on Microsoft. If you become the next YouTube, great news for you and great news for us."

Because some of the underlying services provided by the APIs are still in beta, Microsoft is currently not enforcing the new pricing schema. However, even with the fee, the APIs are still a bargain. The two that I've used the most, Search and Virtual Earth, have clear documentation, excellent examples, and are straightforward to use.

With the new terms of use in place, businesses will be able to create and profit from their Windows Live mashups, and I wouldn't doubt that companies will create applications far more powerful than anything available in Windows Live right now. As a matter of fact, I'm predicting that Windows Live will almost solely be made of APIs in two years.

Controversial copyright directive passes European Parliament

The Second Intellectual Property Enforcement Directive (IPRED2), which we last covered earlier this month, came another step closer to passage yesterday, as it was approved by the European Parliament. The final version of the legislation removed some of the most controversial provisions, but critics still questioned why it was necessary to criminalize an area of law that has long been handled by the civil court system. The new directive mandates that those violating copyrights, trademarks, or certain other rights "on a commercial scale" or "inciting such infringements" be subject to fines up to €300,000 and up to a four years in jail. HangZhou Night Net

"Today, 'inciting' is only criminal in some member states, and in exceptional cases such as hate speech. Elevating IPRs to the same level is a scary development," noted Jonas Maebe, an analyst with the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure, in the wake of the vote. "The inciting clause is also reminiscent of the US 'Induce Act', which threatened to make MP3 players such as the iPod illegal."

The directive is ostensibly designed to crack down on commercial piracy and counterfeiting operations, but critics warned that, thanks to the vague terminology of the directive, it could apply much more widely. They note that no definitions are offered for the terms "incitement" or "commercial scale," opening the possibility that the courts could interpret them to include innovators building new media products. Those terms could be interpreted, for example, to hold ISPs liable for the infringing activities of their users.

Critics did succeed in removing some of the original proposal's most egregious problems. The final directive excluded patent infringement from criminal penalties. Given the murky and inconsistent state of European patent law, critics worried that entrepreneurs could find themselves facing jail time for accidentally infringing upon an obscure patent. An amendment was also adopted ensuring that fair use of copyrighted works would not be considered a criminal offense.

However, most other intellectual property rights in Europe would be enforced with criminal penalties. For example, the penalties could be applied to violators of geographic indication rights. That would seem to mean that a winemaker from outside the Champagne region of France could not only be sued but thrown in jail for selling his sparkling wine as "champagne."

Ren Bucholz of the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that the relatively close vote—374 to 278—points to growing opposition to the directive across Europe. The directive will now go to the Council of the European Union, which is made up of representatives of the governments of each of the EU's member countries. Several member countries, led by the UK and the Netherlands, have expressed concerns about the directive. Bucholz notes that if the Council disagrees with the Parliament's decision, IPRED2 would go back to the European Parliament for further consideration.

Net neutrality advocates thank AT&T CEO for shooting off his mouth

The SavetheInternet coalition turned one year old this week and celebrated with… a press conference. While not the single most exciting approach to birthday parties the world has ever seen, a press conference provided an opportunity to reflect on all that has happened regarding network neutrality in only a year. It also provided a powerful reminder of why CEOs like AT&T's Ed Whitacre need to watch their mouths. HangZhou Night Net

Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), one of the driving forces behind the Senate's Dorgan/Snowe Net neutrality bill, joined the call to offer his thoughts on why a bill is needed. He recalled reading a quote last year from Ed Whitacre in BusinessWeek in which Whitacre complained about companies that used "his pipes" and did so "for free." That moment was illuminating for Dorgan. Even though he was raised in a small town (cue standard politician story about hardscrabble upbringing here), Dorgan said that "I can understand a pretty significant threat to the open architecture of the Internet." He thanked the coalition for its work, and said that he would seek hearings on the issue in the Senate Commerce Committee in the next few months.

Craig Newmark, who identified himself as the "customer service" person for Craigslist, took the microphone next. "The Internet has always been about playing fair," he said, adding that he hears from plenty of telecom employees who don't support what their bosses have said. Pretty much everyone is for net neutrality, Newmark said, except people running "fake grassroots campaigns and that sort of thing."

Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia who has been heavily involved in this issue, pointed out how much progress had been made in a year. We're now seeing a "sea change in telecom policy," he said, pointing out that Net neutrality has become an issue that people truly care about. It's become one of the first "third rails" in telecom policy, he said—any politician who comes near it gets "shocked by the electric reaction they receive from the public."

But perhaps most surprising was Michele Combs of the Christian Coalition, who claimed that Net neutrality had become a "true family issue." Who would have thought that standing up for traditional marriage and for unfettered access to Google would be two of the Christian Coalition's main issues in the upcoming presidential race? But that's exactly what's happening. Combs said that neutrality is "number two on our agenda" now, in large part because her group represents 100,000 churches, most of whom now use the web for everything from posting sermons to hosting online calendars to running e-mail lists. The churches fear that, without Net neutrality, it could get harder to access and distribute certain kinds of content.

The conference illustrated one of the movement's biggest successes, which has been its ability to assemble a truly diverse coalition that includes both the Christian Coalition and MoveOn.org, Craigslist and US senators. With Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) set to introduce a neutrality bill in the House shortly, the issue promises to get a thorough hearing during this session of Congress.

Adobe liberates Flex source code

Adobe revealed plans today to release the source code of the Flex SDK and compiler under the Mozilla Public License (MPL). Flex—a cross-platform compatible framework for developing interactive Flash applications with XML and ActionScript—allows developers to construct Flash programs using idioms that are less overtly media-oriented and better suited for conventional software development. HangZhou Night Net

Availability of the source code, which will make it possible for independent developers to modify and improve Flex, could potentially cause a community of third-party contributors to emerge around the platform. Source code availability will also make it easier for third parties to incorporate Flex support into existing development tools or build new tools based on Flex components.

David Mendels, senior vice president of Adobe's Enterprise and Developer Business unit, believes that allowing the open source community to participate in Flex development will promote innovation. "The definition and evolution of Flex has been influenced by our incredibly talented developer community from day one," says Mendel. "The decision to open source Flex was a completely natural next step. I am incredibly excited to deeply collaborate with the developer community on Flex, and further fuel its momentum and innovation."

This is yet another positive sign of Adobe's willingness to work with the open-source community in the service of common goals and interests. Last year, Adobe began to collaborate with Mozilla developers to create an open-source ECMAScript 4 implementation for Firefox based on the newly-opened source code of Flash's high-performance ActionScript Virtual Machine, described by Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich as "the largest contribution to the Mozilla Foundation since its inception."

Although the availability of the Flex SDK source code is a big win for users and developers who are already using Flex, it isn't guaranteed to attract the interest of the broader open-source community. Flex applications run on top of Flash or Apollo, which are both still proprietary runtime components. Many in the open-source community are already committed to XUL, which facilitates standards-oriented development with XML and Javascript and uses cross-platform compatible Mozilla technologies.

Some source code is already included in the Flex 2.0 SDK, but the process of completely opening the SDK, compilers, debugger, and other relevant components will continue gradually through the rest of the year.

Mozy beta for Mac OS X

Mac Mozy UI

Berkeley Data Systems is now offering online backup for Mac users with the Mac Mozy beta. The application and service provide 2GBs of free storage and the security of 128-bit SSL and 448-bit Blowfish encryption, with an unlimited option for $5 a month. Participation in the beta program requires name and e-mail, and a couple of survey questions you can lie about, but you really shouldn't. As someone who just signed up, I'm already impressed. The beta of Mac Mozy is what .Mac Backup could have been, if it hadn't been developed by the Punishment Group at Apple. HangZhou Night Net

Using Mac Mozy is pretty easy. After installing the client, the Setup Assistant guides you through the initial configuration, including choosing the encryption key. From there, it's simply a matter of choosing files, folders, and backup sets. Backup sets include items such as mail messages, contacts, bookmarks, keychains, and so on. Once you do that, it's just a matter of scheduling, which is pretty lean at this point, either an automatic setting based upon how long the computer is inactive, or daily at a set time. The application works in the background to perform incremental backups. A Menubar icon provides you with status of the update.

While Mac Mozy "just works," there are a couple of issues to be aware. First, the service only keeps a 30-day version archive, which may be an issue for the anal retentive. Second, you need to log into the website to restore files, which is kind of annoying. Access through the client would be nice. Finally, the Windows version has bandwidth throttling for uploads, something that will hopefully be coming to Mac Mozy.

Even with these caveats, Mac Mozy is nice, especially considering it's a beta. While it's probably not a good idea to do away with manual backups—especially with beta software—Mac Mozy has a lot of potential. As a beta, Mac Mozy is a free backup solution that puts .Mac and Backup to shame. Bring on the RC.

Jobs puts the kibosh on iTunes subscriptions

Before I say anything else about the possibility of an iTunes subscription service, keep in mind that for the purposes of this post, "subscription service" is referring to a subscription service for music only. A movie rental or subscription service for the Apple TV would be a massive selling point, so I suspect Apple is trying to cook one of those up. Music subscriptions are quite a different story, however. HangZhou Night Net

As you may or may not know, Apple will be renewing its iTunes contracts with the major music labels over the next few months. The music companies, always anxious for extra revenue, are hoping that iTunes will introduce a subscription model similar to that of Rhapsody or Napster. This would allow them to "rent" music for a monthly fee, and would lead to revenue boost due to the recurring subscription charges.

Despite recent rumors, Steve Jobs isn't having it. He has said that "the subscription model has failed so far," and has suggested that customers generally prefer the iTunes sale model to any type of subscription service. I'm probably not qualified to speculate on whether or not iTunes users would prefer a subscription service, but given the strong sales on the iTunes Store over the past few years, I don't see why Apple would want to offer more than one type of pricing. Two pricing schemes would dilute the user experience (which as we all know, Apple is a big fan of) and make it less consistent, which is one more reason we won't see music subscription any time soon.

The big reason, though, is that a music subscription service is against most of what Steve Jobs has been preaching lately. Apple already has a contract with EMi to distribute DRM-free music, so a change to any type of subscription service would be a regression in many ways. It also wouldn't make much sense for Jobs to push his anti-DRM agenda and then allow users to enter into a music delivery scheme that is in many ways more restrictive.

I'm hopeful that we'll see more record companies agree to sell their music without DRM as a result of the upcoming negotiations. Sales on the iTunes Store have been good and EMI has already succumbed to the Apple's pressuring, so I suspect Steve will be tightening the thumbscrews to try and achieve his stated goal of having "half the songs on iTunes" available as DRM-free. If what some music industry execs said recently regarding Amazon's rumored music store is to be believed, that day could be coming sooner than later.

Xbox 360 losses shrink, but so do shipments

The 360 hardware is a loss leader for Microsoft: they lose money with every console shipped out and hope to make it back via game sales and downloads in the Live Marketplace. While Microsoft's gaming division has always lost money, the company has said that it hopes to break even on the hardware sometime later this year. That could get harder now that there are plenty of signs that sales are slowing down. HangZhou Night Net

Microsoft has released their quarterly earnings, and of note is the $315 million in losses the Entertainment and Devices Division reports for this quarter. Last year at this time they lost $415 million, and they clearly state why the loss has been lessened:

EDD operating loss decreased during the three months ended March 31, 2007 primarily due to decreased products costs from lower sales of Xbox 360 consoles and increased Mobile and Embedded Devices revenue, partially offset by expenses related to the launch of Zune and increased Xbox 360 console warranty expenses. EDD operating loss decreased during the nine months ended March 31, 2007 primarily due to increased Xbox 360 platform sales and improved Xbox 360 console margins, partially offset by expenses related to the launch of Zune and increased Xbox 360 console warranty expenses.

The demand for the system has slackened as time moves on. Microsoft sold 1.1 million units in the US in December, which isn't surprising in the holiday season. However there were only 228,000 units sold in February, and that further decreased to 199,000 systems in March. Microsoft has stated they're hoping to sell 12 million units by June of this year, and with their claims of shipping 11 million units since the system's launch that number could be attainable. Of course, with the shell game of shipped vs. sold that most console manufacturers play, actual sales could be hard to quantify.

We expect Microsoft to post an even smaller loss for the next quarter, as stocked supplies of the Xbox 360 should satiate the market and greatly reduce Microsoft's needs to ship more systems, if sales should stay mild.

Web administrators rejoice, IIS7 will make your life easier

Your life as a web admin is about to get easier, assuming you are using Windows as your platform of choice. IIS7 in the newly released Longhorn Beta 3 is chock full of updated and upgraded goodness. A few specific features look like they will save a lot of time and effort for admins: HangZhou Night Net

Shared Configuration: This will let you share a configuration across multiple servers. This is a great tool; set up your system how you like it and then deploy it across all your boxes. No more messing around with the metabase.FastCGI for PHP. Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP are still powering the majority of websites out there, but it's obvious that Microsoft is taking the web server market seriously with built in support for PHP or Ruby on Rails, something that Mac OS X will support with Leopard.Remote administration: You can now administer your web servers remotely
as well as delegating the ability to "site managers" with the upgraded
management tool, as well as accessing more options via the GUI instead
of cryptic command line settings.Extensibility: IIS is now much easier to expand. Developers can hook into and expand IIS functionality with familiar tools.FTP over SSL: Written with the new extensibility tools mentioned above this is something you'd have to use third party software before. Because it's using HTTPS it will be usable behind most firewalls while maintaining a decent level of security.

Microsoft has not announced a pricing model yet for Longhorn, but we believe that they'll have something similar to Windows Server 2003 Web Edition to try and keep Linux at bay. If the new features in IIS7 work reliably and securely, they may be able to accomplish that goal.

Microsoft releases Longhorn Server Beta 3 to the public

Longhorn Server, the server counterpart to Windows Vista, is now up to Beta 3, and Microsoft has made it available as a free public download, in order to get as much feedback from testers as possible before release. HangZhou Night Net

Eight different downloads are available:

Windows Server "Longhorn" Web x86 – EnglishWindows Server "Longhorn" Web x64 – English Windows Server "Longhorn" Standard x86 – English Windows Server "Longhorn" Standard x64 – English Windows Server "Longhorn" Enterprise x86 – English Windows Server "Longhorn" Enterprise x64 – English Windows Server "Longhorn" Datacenter x86 – English Windows Server "Longhorn" Datacenter x64 – English

The beta will work until April 7, 2008, after which it will expire. This gives testers plenty of time to kick the tires before the operating system stops being functional and ensures that the deadline won't kick in until after the release version of Longhorn Server is ready, currently estimated as some time in the latter half of this year. Downloaders are required to fill out a form to receive a key via e-mail in order to install the operating system.

The operating system's bare minimum requirements to run are a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and 8GB of hard drive space. The "Web" version of Longhorn Server, as one could expect, is aimed at basic web server installs; this is Microsoft's "don't use Apache" product. As with previous versions of Windows Server, the "Enterprise" and "Datacenter" versions add more high-end features such as failover clustering. The Datacenter Edition also comes with a license for unlimited use of virtual images, which are becoming increasingly common in server farms because of the savings in computer hardware they provide.

Longhorn Server aims to increase the security and power of Windows on the server. It uses the Intel Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip, if present, to provide new features such as Secure Install, which prevents the OS from being assaulted during installation, and Full Volume Encryption (FVE), which adds extra strength to Windows' existing encryption options. Installation is also simplified, with a standard Server Core install happening automatically with the user only having to input a product key, and all configuration of the server happening after the install process has finished. The configuration and management options have also received major overhauls. In terms of performance, Microsoft is promising some gains in the 32-bit space, but says that the largest improvements will be found when running the 64-bit version. You need 4GB+ of RAM these days anyway, so 64-bit is the way to go for most serving needs besides front-ending a web site or file serving in a small/medium-sized business environment.

Vista, Office 2007 drive record profits for Microsoft

Some may question the future of Microsoft, but up in Redmond they just continue to rake in the dough. Microsoft's fiscal third-quarter profits were up 65 percent to $4.9 billion, or 50¢ a share. Revenue for the quarter was $14.4 billion, thanks mostly to Vista and Office 2007. Ok maybe the accountants hedged their bets a little by pushing—excuse me "deferring"—$1.2 billion in revenue from holiday season Vista upgrade coupons into the third quarter, which ended March 31. HangZhou Night Net

Drop the deferred income from the picture and it's still an impressive quarter—client revenue was up 30 percent over last year, at $4.1 billion. Revenues from Vista and Office even outperformed Microsoft's internal forecasts. Vista revenues were $300 million to $400 million higher than expected, while Office 2007 sales figures were $200 million above Microsoft's internal targets.

Microsoft is also changing how it reports revenue from operating system sales. In previous years, Microsoft would recognize as much as a quarter of Windows revenues over a three-and-a-half-year period to reflect the costs of add-ons and upgrades provided by the company. That has changed with Vista, as the software giant will record all revenues from an OS sale during the quarter the sale takes place.

The only bit of bad news for Microsoft during the quarter came from the entertainment and devices division, which is the home of the Zune and Xbox, and the online group. Revenues in entertainment and devices dropped 21 percent and Microsoft attributed the drop to lower Xbox 360 sales. The online group reported a $200 million loss, although revenues were up 11 percent. The loss was due in part to investments in online services as well as other cost increases. Online advertising revenue grew 23 percent for the quarter.

Naturally, Microsoft officials are upbeat. "I am extremely pleased that we delivered a quarter of strong double-digit growth," said CFO Chris Liddell. "And I am looking forward to a very good finish to this fiscal year with strength continuing into fiscal 2008." With that, Microsoft predicts revenues cooling somewhat to $13.1 billion to $13.4 billion and earnings per share around 37¢ to 39¢ for its next fiscal quarter, which ends June 30. For the full fiscal year, Microsoft is predicting profits of $1.48 to $1.50 a share on sales of as much as $51.2 billion.

Blizzard to announce new title at Worldwide Invitational

My very first post here at Opposable Thumbs was a hopeful plea for some kind of successor to the StarCraft throne. Though I've enjoyed my time with the Warcraft series over the years—including numerous trips through the ranks of WoW—I've been hankering for some kind of extension, expansion, or evolution to the RTS game that easily captured the genre's fans for almost a decade. HangZhou Night Net

Now, it seems, my prayers have been answered. Kotaku spotted a claim on a Korean web site stating that StarCraft 2 has already been in development for a while, including state-of-the-art graphics, a new race, and a plethora of changes to the old balancing. The site also claimed that details of the new game would be announced during Blizzard's Seoul-based Worldwide Invitational in Korea on May 19.

After polling Blizzard adamantly about the ever-persisting rumor, they received back the following response:

We do intend to announce a new product at the Worldwide Invitational next month in Korea, and we appreciate the enthusiasm and interest in getting an advance look at what that will be, but players will have to wait until May 19th to find out more. Also, we have a very strong connection with the characters and settings of StarCraft, and we do plan to revisit that universe at some point in the future, but we don't have anything new to announce in that regard at present.

The announcement could pertain to any number of things: the StarCraft series, the Diablo series or even just another WoW expansion. Given the success of WoW, a successor to Diablo could be just about the only thing that could perhaps outdo the WarCraft MMO in popularity. Who knows? We'll be sure to explore the answer when it arrives on May 19.

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