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Week in review: Old faces in new places

A cable giant becomes an entertainment star, while a search giant gets into the DNS business and a software titan becomes map maker.

A cable giant becomes an entertainment star, while a search giant gets into the DNS business and a software titan becomes map maker.

Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, is buying a controlling stake in the TV network and movie studio NBC Universal in a deal valued at $37 billion. The deal will make Comcast a major media player with several very profitable cable channels, including USA, CNBC, MSNBC, and Bravo. It will also have control over NBC's broadcast networks and TV stations, its film studio, and its amusement parks.

The deal is likely to be scrutinized by government regulators, namely the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. A marriage between the nation's largest cable and Internet service provider and one of the nation's three broadcast TV stations could ignite old fights over media ownership, a la carte billing, retransmission consent, and cable prices.
•  Can Comcast-NBC play nice with Hulu?

Google wants to unclog Net's DNS plumbing

The Net giant, ever eager for a faster Internet, debuts its Google Public DNS service. With it, Google could become even more central to the Net.
Now playing: Watch this: Microsoft's new mapping tricks

Microsoft Bing Maps Beta adds much richer images

New enhancements for Bing Maps include a Silverlight-powered Web application that brings very detailed satellite and street-level imagery to Bing, along with other tweaks.
• Bing Maps Beta: Cool, but limited
• Google Earth peers into California's eco-future

More headlines

ComScore: So far, online holiday sales are up

Company releases metrics for Cyber Monday and the holiday season to date. And like statistics from other research firms, the numbers are heartening for retailers.
• Study: Cyber Monday sees strong gains
• Cyber Monday bargain hunters out earlier
• Tools for creating holiday-shopping lists
• Study: Sites to bring in billions in holiday donations

In nod to media, Google News policy limited

Google's "First Click Free" policy allowed Google News and search users to discover news articles behind paywalls, but it was easy to abuse. Now, there are limits.

Fake CDC vaccine e-mail leads to malware

AppRiver warns of scammers preying on public interest in the H1N1 vaccine through an e-mail purporting to come from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
• Microsoft: November security updates are fine

AT&T gives up on Verizon ad lawsuit

AT&T has dismissed its lawsuit against Verizon Wireless for running advertisements it claimed confused customers about its 3G network.
• Verizon nixes holiday ads to continue AT&T-bashing

Microsoft actively urges IE 6 users to upgrade

A shopping video and eBay promotion are part of Microsoft's effort to give IE 6 users a reason to upgrade. The company also is trying to move corporate customers away.
• Dell brings Chrome OS to its Netbook
• Latest Firefox beta gets file-handling feature

Barnes & Noble Nook to hit stores later than expected

B&N says it will have the e-readers in some stores on December 7, a week later than expected, because the company is prioritizing delivery to customers who preordered.
• Spring Design Nook injunction denied, but battle's still on

Psystar ceases sales of Mac clones

Following a settlement agreement with Apple, Psystar's Mac OS-loaded hardware is no longer available on its site.

Michael Jackson tops Google, Yahoo search in 2009

That No. 1 ranking should come as no surprise. Web traffic surged on word of the singer's death in June--so much that Google initially suspected an attack.

Google hosts energy experts amid climate talks

Next week, the international community plans to discuss climate change and green energy, and U.S. energy experts kicked things off at Google's offices.

Also of note

• Google runs a fade pattern on home page
• Mark Zuckerberg's grand missive: The translation
• Defense Dept. pulls software over privacy issues