Top 10 IT News Stories of the Week: Google Buys YouTube

1. "Google to Pick Up YouTube in $1.65B Stock Deal,"

CIO.com, 10/10. It’s a done deal, as earlier rumors that the search engine giant planned to scoop up video-sharing website YouTube turned out to be true. With the purchase set to close later this year, Google plans to operate YouTube independently and to retain its own rival service Google Video. Even if the US$1.65 billion price tag appears hefty for a startup that’s yet to turn a profit, the sum represents only about 1 percent of Google’s current market capitalization. The purchase is a quick way for the search giant to tap into YouTube’s popularity and look to merge Google’s search expertise with the startup’s video know-how.

2. "Big Changes at McAfee in Wake of Stock Options Scandal,"

CIO.com, 10/11. As IT companies continue to delve into their past stock-option granting practices, they’re unearthing a whole mess of issues. This week, security software vendor McAfee chose to fire Kevin Weiss, its president, while at the same time, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George Samenuk retired, as a result of a stock-options investigation. So far, McAfee estimates it will have to restate financial results over a 10-year period to record pretax non-cash charges of up to US$150 million for stock-based compensation. The vendor is also cooperating with a subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for its stock options data.

3. "What Carly Doesn’t Say," 

BusinessWeek, 10/12. Hewlett-Packard’s former CEO Carly Fiorina couldn’t have picked a better time to put out her memoir, "Tough Choices." Her former employer, HP, is mired in a high-profile scandal over the way its board of directors conducted investigations into leaks of confidential data, and many readers will be scouring Fiorina’s musings to see if her volume contains any juicy morsels on that front. Not surprisingly, Fiorina in her book refuses to acknowledge some of the major performance problems HP went through under her watch, notably the painful, protracted subsuming of Compaq.

For more, see our HP Spying Scandal page. 4. "HP Hires Ethics and Compliance Officer,"

CIO.com, 10/13. HP has appointed a chief ethics and compliance officer to try to ensure that the company doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the recent past in relation to its boardroom spying scandal. Jon Hoak, previously a legal counsel for NCR, takes on the role and will focus on HP’s adherence to the company’s standards of business conduct. He will work alongside of Bart Schwartz, an outside counsel, who’s carrying out an independent assessment of HP’s current investigative practices in order to help develop future best practices.

5. "Gartner: Age, Attitude Matter in IT,"

Computerworld, 10/9. Analysts at research company Gartner claim that now, more than ever, youth matters in IT given the more interactive and collaborative nature of many of today’s technologies. With the number of chief information officers leaving their jobs doubling this year, the analysts encouraged middle-management IT professionals to start nurturing their successors. The next generation of IT managers will be "versatilists," at home in a variety of skills and disciplines, Gartner said.

6. "Google Gives Writely and Spreadsheets a Common Platform,"

Macworld, 10/11. Google has integrated its formerly separate hosted word processor and spreadsheet applications so they have both a similar user interface and a unified document repository. The joint product, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, is in beta testing, and the company is likely to add more offerings alongside the combined software in future. Analysts predict the search giant will end up with a complete suite of hosted desktop applications to compete with Microsoft’s long-standing, mostly PC-based Office application suite.

7. "Nortel CTO Mixed on Divested Products,"

Network World, 10/6. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If John Roese, Nortel’s chief technology officer, had been on board the networking equipment company prior to joining a few months ago, he wouldn’t have made all the same decisions on product offloading. Nortel rushed to divest itself of many products as a way to return to profitability. Where the company erred was in aggressively ridding itself of its network management assets, Roese believes, a mistake he’s trying to rectify by rebuilding and developing new management technology. On the plus side, starting with a clean sheet of paper is helpful given the new emphasis on service-oriented architecture and Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem frameworks.

8. "Transmeta Sues Intel over Chip Design Patents,"

San Jose Mercury News, 10/12. It’s a real case of David taking on Goliath as technology licensing company Transmeta filed suit against Intel this week, alleging the chip giant has infringed on 10 of its patents for low-power microprocessor design. Since the patent violation claims include prominent Intel chips that have generated more than US$100 billion in revenue so far, should Transmeta’s suit be successful, the firm stands to collect huge royalties and damages from Intel. At the very least, the move is another legal headache for Intel, which is already dealing with an antitrust lawsuit filed by its bitter rival, Advanced Micro Devices.

9. "Spamhaus Case Could Cause ICANN Crisis,"

Computerworld, 10/12. Internet experts are expressing alarm over the potential ramifications of a U.S. court decision against the U.K.-based antispam blacklister Spamhaus Project. After the U.K. project refused to comply with a U.S. judge’s ruling that Spamhaus remove an e-mail marketer from its database of spammers, the judge proposed that the governing body of the Internet, ICANN, pull the project’s domain name, effectively shutting down the Spamhaus website. Experts worry that any attempt by U.S. courts to exert control over ICANN adds fuel to the fire of critics of the body that it’s too U.S.-centric. For its part, ICANN doesn’t see a way that it could enforce the proposed court order.

10. "IBM Translation Software to Be Tested by U.S. Military in Iraq,"

CIO.com, 10/12. The organization in charge of developing and testing new technologies for the U.S. military plans to deploy IBM’s speech-to-speech translation software on a limited basis in Iraq. Facing a lack of military linguists proficient in Iraqi Arabic, the U.S. Joint Forces Command is looking to Big Blue and other companies for technology to translate natural speech in real-time. IBM Research’s Multilingual Automatic Speech-to-Speech Translator system, also known as Mastor, acts as an automated bidirectional, English-to-Iraqi Arabic translator capable of translating more than 50,000 English words and 100,000 Iraqi Arabic words.

By China Martens, IDG News Service (Boston Bureau)

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