by CIO Staff

The Week’s Top IT News Stories; Google and Sun Ink Software Pact

Oct 06, 20055 mins
Enterprise Applications

1. Google, Sun Tout Software Deal, Hint at Services, InfoWorld, 10/4.

Coming together to tackle common foe Microsoft, the heads of Google and Sun unveiled a deal to marry the Google desktop with Sun’s Java technology. Although the pair didn’t announce any plans to bring Sun applications to the Web via Google services as had been widely predicted, that’s a likely future outcome of the relationship, according to analysts.

2. Microsoft to Roll Virus, Spyware Protection into One, InfoWorld, 10/6.

The software giant is set to enter a new market with its first antivirus product, Client Protection, aimed at businesses and also targeting protection against spyware. With several acquisitions under its belt, the company has been able to develop the software. Microsoft also plans an antivirus product for its Exchange groupware, dubbed Antigen. Microsoft officials were hazy on when final versions of both products are likely to ship. The company also launched the SecureIT Alliance consortium of 30 vendors to help improve the security of its software.

3. EU Appoints Microsoft Monitor, Network World, 10/5.

The European Commission appointed a British computer science and cybercrime academic, Professor Neil Barrett, as a watchdog to check up on Microsoft’s compliance with the organization’s antitrust ruling against the software giant. It was key to appoint someone who was both technically savvy, independent of Microsoft and able to provide impartial advice, the commission noted. Barrett may hire expert advisors if he needs to.

4. Standards Adoption Key to Grid Computing Growth, Computerworld, 10/5.

One of the major ways to further move grid computing out of its origins in academia and into corporate enterprises is for both users and vendors to work to develop standards for the  technology. This was a key conclusion to come out of the first GridWorld show taking place in Boston this week. Grid business applications are largely missing at present with most users still creating their own custom software.

5. Researchers: SMS Attacks Could Cripple Cell PhonesComputerworld, 10/6.

Penn State University security researchers released an alarming report that hackers could knock out cellular phone service throughout the United States. Using a medium-sized network of zombie computers, hackers could target vulnerabilities in SMS (short message service) which is used to send and receive text messages, the researchers discovered. They could then flood mobile numbers with spam text messages, eventually jamming up communications. Cellular network providers said they were aware of the problem and had measures in place to protect their networks and their customers.

6. Google Seeks Talks with Taiwan over Maps, InfoWorld, 10/6.

The search company ran into trouble with the island nation over its listing on Google Maps as “Taiwan, Province of China.” One Taiwanese political party encouraged all inhabitants of the country to e-mail Google in protest. China and Taiwan split in 1949. While Taiwan bills itself as an independent nation, China considers the island as part of its country. Google pointed out the nomenclature is a confusing area since international bodies including the United Nations use the province of China designation for Taiwan.

7. EarthLink Selected for Philadelphia Wi-Fi, InfoWorld, 10/4.

Last week, all the talk was about Google’s plans to offer free Wi-Fi in San Francisco, the company is one of 24 companies vying for the contract. This week saw Philadelphia plump for Internet service provider EarthLink. The deployment would be the largest Wi-Fi city network in the United States, covering 135 square miles and should be finished by the fourth quarter of next year. EarthLink said it will fully finance, build and manage the wireless network and share revenue with the city on the sale of bandwidth on the network to other ISPs.

8. Flock, the New Browser on the BlockBusinessWeek, 10/5.

Over the past year, the browser wars had reignited with Microsoft trying to fend off the advances of Firefox and Opera. Now, a new player is joining the battle created by many of the folks behind Firefox. Flock is about to debut what it calls a “social browser” for promoting user online collaboration and simplifying blogging and website bookmarking. The company hopes to have 100 million users within five years and so far is attracting mostly rave reviews from early users.

9. Gee-Whiz Web Firms Sprouting Like It’s 1999, San Jose Mercury News, 10/6.

Internet technologies are hot all over again, but unlike the dot-com era, the offerings being promoted by today’s startups are much more sophisticated, often offering a fresh take on existing applications. Among them are an open-source e-mail application and a search engine for local events along with open-source groupware to facilitate collaboration via wikis.

10. For the Coolest Gizmos, Head East, BusinessWeek, 10/6. Japan’s CEATEC show is the place to check out the weird and wonderful in upcoming technology. There’s a bunny-shaped TV remote control that responds to an individual’s voice, a cell phone with a glowing skin to reflect the time or waiting voicemails and a phone headset you wear as a ring which uses bone-conduction technology–you stick your finger in your ear to answer a call. There were also ecophones, prototypes made of plastic from corn oil which are easily recyclable.

–China Martens