Menu Briefs: Syntegra, Napster, European Union Briefs: Syntegra, Napster, European Union

Syntegra to deliver for magazine distributorsSystems integrator Syntegra last week announced an agreement with XchangeIT - a consortium made up of Network Distribution Company, Gordon and Gotch, Newsagents Direct Delivery and the Australian Newsagents Federation. The agreement regards the development of a Web-based newspaper and magazine distribution system.

The system will enable publications, distribution companies and newsagents to communicate sales information and conduct business via a state-of-the-art Internet portal.

The system's development will be finalised in the third quarter of 2001. XchangeIT will feature the latest in industry standards including XML. Syntegra is responsible for the detailed design and development of the Web portal including managed services, system maintenance, help desk services to all members, database management and hosting.

Napster file sharing down 90 per cent in three monthsThe average number of files being shared on Napster's MP3-swapping service has fallen 90 per cent in the three months since court-mandated filters were installed to block the trading of copyrighted music. This is according to a new study set to be released last Wednesday by digital entertainment research firm Webnoize.

While the average Napster user was offering 220 files in February, Napsterites had only 21 shareable files on their PCs in May, Webnoize found. Along with the huge drop in available files, the total number of files downloaded also declined precipitously according to Webnoize's findings. The total number of files downloaded in May was only 360 million, down from 2.79 billion in February, an 87 per cent decrease. Napster usage, in terms of actual simultaneous users, also dropped by 47 per cent in May, to 840,000 from February's 1.57 million.

UK scuppers latest European e-tax proposalDomestic British politics scuppered the European Union's (EU) latest attempt to fix rules for the payment and collection of value-added tax (VAT) on e-commerce transactions Tuesday.

The objective is to eliminate the competitive disadvantage European firms suffer by having to pay VAT on online transactions. Non-European firms selling to EU residents do not pay the tax at present.

This is precisely the challenge that is being faced by Australian e-business sites, who are finding it hard to compete against overseas sites because of the need to add GST.

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