1. “Cold Realities For Novell,” BusinessWeek, 10/24. There’s been a steady trickle of top executives quitting the software company and that’s not the only thing concerning investors. Novell’s third-quarter was a nasty surprise, with a 90 percent plummet in revenue and since then investors have been demanding that heads roll and the company spin off some of its businesses and significantly cut costs. Novell is heeding some of those calls for reform and is expected to announce a 20 percent cut in headcount on Oct. 31 with CEO Jack Messman rebuffing criticism of his role by countering his planned two-year bid to turn the company around doesn’t expire until January.
2. “Shareholders Rebuke Sun,”San Jose Mercury News, 10/28. Scott McNealy is another beleaguered man at the top. He faced plenty of irate shareholders this week at Sun’s annual meeting. The shareholders voted in favor of overturning the company’s poison pill, Sun’s defense against any possible hostile takeover bid. They’re also upset about the firm’s sub-$4 share price. In other news, Sun’s CFO is due to retire in June 2006 and the company has already starting looking for a replacement.
3. “Big Waves from ’Google Base,’” BusinessWeek, 10/26. Where’s the search company going next? Speculation was rife this week that Google plans to compete with Internet auction house eBay and online classifieds from the likes of Craigslist and major newspapers. Web surfers stumbled across Google Base, an experimental site the company’s just put up to encourage people to post content on its site. For its part, Google says it has nothing to announce right now, though the company is working on an online payment system to compete with PayPal.
4.”Dell May Have To Reboot In China,” BusinessWeek, 10/27. The direct computer seller’s latest missteps after disappointing financials and poor results in customer satisfaction surveys involve its Asian strategy where the most recent analyst figures show the company is losing market share. Dell has focused its attentions on enterprise and government contracts in China’s largest cities, ignoring demand elsewhere in the country’s urban areas. Not having retail outlets is proving Dell’s downfall as companies that sell through such facilities including Lenovo and HP are racking up customers.
5. “Microsoft Could Pull Windows From S. Korea,” InfoWorld, 10/28. Gates Inc. is also feeling the heat in Asia. Should South Korean regulators investing allegations of unfair competition against Microsoft order the company to take out code or redesign Windows, the vendor may decide to remove the operating system from the market altogether or hold back introducing new releases. A decision from the South Korean authorities may come within a few weeks.
6. “MSN Plans Book-Searching Service In 2006,” InfoWorld, 10/26. It was a busy week for Gates Inc. on many fronts with the company engaging in further executive reshuffling, losing a few key personnel, readying the next releases of its Visual Studio developer tools and SQL Server database, as well as stating not too shabby financial results. In the midst of all this activity, Microsoft also found time to announce MSN Book Search, a plan to digitize non-copyrighted books initially, then add in copyright books after discussions with libraries and publishers. Microsoft’s hoping not to incur the ire of publishers as Google has with one elements of its Google Print program.
7. “Analysts: Skype Could Pose Security Problems,” Computerworld, 10/27. The free telephony software is likely to present the same security issues companies are facing with other peer-to-peer technologies, according to experts. This week, two critical flaws in Skype’s software were revealed, one that could crash the system and the other potentially exploitable by hackers. Skype, now owned by eBay, has over 61 million registered users, 30 percent of whom are using the software for business purposes, according to the company. Analysts recommend avoiding corporate use of the Internet telephony service for the time being.
8. “Federal Rules Adopted For Electronic U.S. Passports,” Computerworld, 10/27. Those RFID chips are popping up everywhere. The U.S. State Department has approved new rules that should see radio frequency identity-equipped passports coming into use from December for some government workers. By October, the new passports will be rolled out to all U.S. citizens as they replace their old passports. Security measures will be included to protect against data theft and these RFID chips aren’t the same as those in use in warehouses inventory so they can’t be used to track individuals, the department noted.
9. “GAO Questions Progress On E-Voting Standards,” Computerworld, 10/24. It ain’t over until it’s over. Questions about electronic voting systems aren’t going away anytime soon and indeed are likely to carry over into next year’s U.S. elections, according to the U.S. auditing agency the Government Accountability Office. The Election Assistance Commission needs to define security policies and establish a machine-certification program, according to the GAO.
10. “Chip-Enabled Ball At 2006 World Cut Soccer Games?” PC World, 10/25. Yes, it’s true, IT technology is set to infiltrate the beautiful game. Engineers in Germany are working on a radio-based tracking system that could determine one and for all when a football was out of bounds. But authorities have yet to decide whether the e-ball will make an appearance in next year’s World Cup tournament.