1.”Deal Keeps EDS As GM’s Top IT Services Provider,” Computerworld, 2/2. In one of the most keenly anticipated outsourcing deals in recent years General Motors awarded IT contracts worth around US$7 billion over five years to six companies, with the bulk of the agreements going to services giant Electronic Data Systems. The deal means EDS, a one-time GM subsidiary, has less of the auto maker’s business than before, but still the lion’s share. GM’s move to work with a number of vendors is part of a growing trend towards multisourcing. The company’s ultimate aim to globalize and better standardize its IT processes as well as fostering innovation.
2. “Security Snafu at Boston Globe Exposes Subscriber Data,” Computerworld, 2/1. The latest compromise of consumer data involved the accidental disclosure of credit card and bank routing data of over 240,000 subscribers of the Boston Globe and Worcester Telegram & Gazette. The culprit this time was recycled paper. Discarded internal reports containing subscribers’ financial information turned up on the bank of routing slips used to label bundles of the Worcester Sunday Telegram. More proof that companies need to have an all-embracing security policy that includes data in non-electronic form, according to analysts.
3. “Mass. Hands OpenDocument Reins To New CIO,” CNET News.com, 1/31. Sticking with Massachusetts, the state has named a permanent replacement for former chief information officer Peter Quinn who recently resigned citing political pressure. After proposing plans to migrate off Microsoft’s software in favor of the OpenDocument file format, Quinn found himself under intense local and international scrutiny. The new CIO, Louis Gutierrez, is set to continue Quinn’s plans of beginning the move over to OpenDocument in Jan. 2007. However, the state’s current governor is stepping down at the end of this year and the next incumbent would have the option to name a new CIO in 2007.
4. “IBM Frees DB2 Express,” Computerworld, 1/30. Arriving a little late at the party, Big Blue released a free version of its database. Oracle and Microsoft already have free offerings available to compete with open-source databases like MySQL and Ingres. IBM’s DB2 Universal Database Express-C can run on Linux and Windows and on dual-core processors servers. The Big Blue database is less restrictive than the free databases from IBM and Oracle since it doesn’t impose limits on the number of users or database size.
5. “Hackers Lurk In AMD Web Site,” PC World, 1/31. Purveyors of malicious software continue to exploit more and more areas of the Web. This time around hackers compromised customer support discussion forums on chip maker Advanced Micro Devices’ Web site. Security experts said the attackers exploited a widely reported flaw in the way Microsoft’s Windows operating system renders images and were then able to deliver images encoded with malware to visitors to AMD’s forums.
6. “Government Wary Of Partial BlackBerry Shutdown,” PC World, 2/2. The U.S. government added its voice to those concerned over the fate of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry wireless e-mail device. Government lawyers filed a brief in the ongoing patent infringement case brought by NTP against RIM arguing that a court-ordered partial shutdown of the BlackBerry service isn’t a feasible solution. The judge in the case is to hold a hearing Feb. 24 to consider whether or not to impose the injunction. Read CIO’s coverage and ongoing commentary at BlackBerry on the Edge.
7. “Microsoft Revamps Blogging Policy,” Network World, 1/31. Gates Inc. has come up with a new policy on how to handle requests from governments objecting to blogs running on Microsoft software. The software giant provoked outrage from around the world and from some of its own staff last month after abruptly censoring Chinese blogger Zhao Jing. In future, Microsoft will require proper legal notice to remove a blog and will only block access to the blog’s content within the country whose government deems it unlawful. The blog would still be accessible outside of that nation.
8. “Tech Groups Praise Bush’s State Of The Union,” InfoWorld, 2/1. While U.S. President George Bush’s State of the Union address grew mixed responses depending on the listener’s political persuasion, one group — technology trade organizations — applauded loudly. The groups welcomed the president’s focus on U.S. competitiveness, his proposal to train 70,000 new U.S. math and science teachers and his call for a permanent extension of a research and development tax credit for U.S. businesses.
9. “Cranky Salesforce.com Users Want Updates, SLAs,” Network World, 2/1. Perhaps it’s just growing pains for a newer player on the block, but some users of hosted customer relationship management (CRM) software vendor Salesforce.com are getting fed up with system outages and poor feedback from the company on service problems. Users would also appreciate service level agreement (SLA) guarantees in their contracts with Salesforce.com, the company only has a few in place with a small number of its 351,000 subscribers.
10. “SAP Launches Long-Awaited On-Demand CRM,” InfoWorld, 2/2. Meanwhile, SAP made its debut into hosted CRM, launching a new software service. The enterprise applications giant won’t be going head-to-head with Salesforce.com just yet, since the SAP system carries a 100-user minimum, excluding the small to midsize businesses Salesforce.com serves. IBM is SAP’s hosting services provider and will run the service’s data centers and offer consulting services to users of the new service.
–China Martens, IDG News Service