Top 10 IT News Stories of the Week

1. "Yahoo CEO Semel Gives Up Title to Cofounder Yang"

June 19, CIO.com

Embattled Yahoo CEO Terry Semel ended his six years at the helm, with the company's board tapping co-founder Jerry Yang to take over. Shareholders at a recent meeting asked sharply critical questions of Semel, who has increasingly been on the hot seat the past couple of years because Yahoo isn't gaining enough inroads, according to investors, into the search-engine advertising market, among other things. It can't be easy when your company is most often compared to Google. While Yang expressed optimism that the company "has all the assets it takes to win," analysts expressed skepticism that calling on Yang is the best strategy, suggesting there are better choices to lead the way.

2. "Apple iPhone: The Device IT Managers Will Love to Hate,"

June 22, CIO.com

"Gartner to IT: Avoid Apple's iPhone,"

June 21, Macworld

With next Friday's release of the Apple iPhone sure to bring this year's hot product into the communications mix at many companies, IT managers are trying to figure out how to support it so that workers can access e-mail and other applications. Industry analysts have been warning about security since word of the iPhone came down from Apple CEO Steve Jobs, but Gartner stepped it up a notch this week saying it's going to tell IT managers they shouldn't allow iPhones to be part of their networks because Apple isn't aiming it at the enterprise market and therefore isn't going to offer the necessary support.

3. "Microsoft to Change Vista Desktop Search by Year End,"

June 20, InfoWorld

In response to an antitrust complaint from Google, Microsoft will change desktop search in Vista by year's end. The change, to be made in Windows Vista Service Pack 1, will allow users and OEMs to select a default desktop search program other than Windows Instant Search, according to court documents. That service pack is due out in beta form by the end of the year. While Google said that's all well and good, it is standing on its position that Microsoft needs to do even more to keep from violating the consent decree in its federal antitrust case.

4. "ITC Denies Stay on Qualcomm Ban,"

June 22, InfoWorld

The U.S. International Trade Commission denied a request by Qualcomm to stay a ban on importation of some of its chips and cell phones into the U.S. while the company continues to appeal a jury verdict against it in a patent infringement case brought by Broadcom. Not long before the ruling was released Thursday, the head of the CTIA cellular industry association sent a letter to President Bush urging him to strike down the ban, saying it will "freeze innovation" for U.S. wireless networks and hurt industry attempts to strengthen emergency 911 services. Presidents aren't inclined to intervene in such matters, so the ban could be appealed in federal court, but that's not significantly more likely to help either.

5. "Toshiba Blames Recalled Battery for Laptop Fire,"

June 19, Network World

It's a good idea to make sure that recalled laptop batteries have actually been returned for replacement -- Toshiba said that eight months after a massive recall a notebook with a faulty battery caught fire in late May. More than 8 million rechargeable lithium-ion batteries were recalled by various manufacturers last year after it was determined that a manufacturing defect made them vulnerable to short circuiting and catching fire. Analysts said then that recalls often don't work so well because people don't make the effort to return the faulty parts for new ones.

6. "Gateway Recalls Notebook Batteries,"

June 19, CIO.com

The same day that Toshiba said a recalled battery that wasn't returned caused a notebook PC to catch on fire, Gateway recalled 14,000 batteries used in its notebook PCs after four customers said their computers had overheated. The batteries aren't the same as the ones made by Sony at the center of last year's huge recall -- the batteries in the Gateway computers are made by Samsung and assembled into battery packs by Simplo Technology. Gateway plans to help along the process of collecting the recalled batteries by contacting customers who bought the notebooks in question through direct channels, so the company has contact information.

7. "House Panel Blasts DHS CIO for Security Failures,"

June 21, Computerworld

It's not likely much comfort to the CIO at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that other CIOs feel his pain. A House subcommittee investigating cybersecurity vulnerabilities at the DHS blasted Scott Charbo, alleging he displays a lack of leadership when it comes to security and questioning his willingness to make what the subcommittee believes are necessary changes. Charbo didn't back down from his critics, arguing in response that much of what they are complaining about is based on old data and that they've ignored the security improvements that have been made. A Government Accountability Office report added fuel to the fire, finding ongoing and systemic security problems throughout the DHS over a one-year review.

8. "Google Plans to Neutralize Carbon Emissions by Year End,"

June 20, PC World

"Climate Change: Motorola Good, Apple Not Great,"

June 21, PC World

First, the good environmental news out of IT this week: Google is determined to be carbon neutral by the end of the year and is taking steps to decrease energy consumption, invest in and use renewable energy sources and buy carbon offsets for emissions that it can't directly reduce. The company also expressed a commitment to finding and developing environmentally friendly technologies and sources of energy. Now the bad news: Apple, which has recently made a big splash with its environmental initiatives, came in close to the bottom of a list of companies rated on efforts to stop climate change. Climate Counts gave Apple a measly 2. Motorola on the other hand, scored 60 out of 100, far better among IT companies but still not terribly high. Amazon got a zero and eBay tied Apple with 2. Microsoft had a score of 31 and Yahoo 36. The assessments were based on how well companies measure their footprint on the environment and what effect they are having on reducing global warming, as well as how they support climate change legislation and disclose climate change actions.

9. "Apple's Leopard Beta Leaks; BitTorrent Downloads Ensue,"

June 21, Computerworld

It probably seemed like a good idea to hand out the beta of the Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month, but the beta has -- inevitably, we suppose -- found its way to the Internet and is being downloaded by users of Swedish torrent tracker Pirate Bay. The beta also was posted at Oink, an invitation-only torrent tracker, but once the leak was publicized, the beta was yanked from Oink, leading to a flood of outraged comments. Some posters at the sites in question wondered if the beta is the "real thing" since sizewise it doesn't match up with what Apple has said about Leopard.

10. "EU Examines Search Engines and Privacy Issues,"

June 21, PC World

An examination of the effect of search engines on privacy is being expanded by European data protection officials. A general assessment of the state of European citizens' privacy relative to their search engine use is expected to be part of a meeting of a working group on data privacy in either October or December. Google was the initial target, but European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx said that it's an obvious next step to go beyond Google. Given that Europe seems to lead the way on privacy issues, the results of the examination could well have a ripple effect.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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