1.”EU Says Microsoft Offer May Be Insufficient,”, PC World, 1/26. Gates Inc.’s offer to license part of its Windows source code to its competitors may not necessarily be enough to head off daily fines of over US$2 million for the software giant, according to the European Commission. Microsoft and the Commission are locking horns over how well they each consider the company has complied with the Commission’s March 2004 antitrust ruling. The debate centers on the quality of the information Microsoft has given the Commission as regards server interoperability.
2. “BlackBerry Users ’Wiggin’ Out’ Over RIM/NTP Patent Battle,” Computerworld, 1/25. The U.S. Supreme Court refused this week to intervene in the ongoing legal battle between Research In Motion and NTP, bringing a shutdown of RIM’s BlackBerry wireless e-mail and voice system another step closer. See CIO’s coverage and ongoing commentary.
3. “State CIOs Need More IT Security Support From DHS,” CIO, 1/25. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security must improve support for U.S. state and local governments to help them better protect their IT infrastructures against attackers. In particular, local CIOs want the DHS to become more responsive, work more closely with them and provide more training, according to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) and the Metropolitan Information Exchange (MIX).
4. “ChoicePoint To Pay $15 Million For 2005 Data Breach,” CIO 1/26. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has imposed its largest ever civil fine, US$10 million, on data broker CheckPoint for lax security standards. The company has also agreed to establish a $5 million fund to aid victims of identity theft as a result of the data breach. CheckPoint revealed a majority security breach in February 2005 that enabled scammers to access the personal information of as many as 163,000 U.S. residents, with about 800 people so far identified as victims of ID theft-related crimes.
5. “Ameriprise Notifying 226,000 Customers, Advisors Of Data Theft,” Computerworld, 1/26. CheckPoint aside, security breaches are still ongoing. Financial services company Ameriprise had to inform 158,000 customers and 68,000 financial advisors this week that their personal information may be at risk after a laptop containing that data was stolen from an employee’s locked car. Although the laptop had password protection, the data files containing the personal data weren’t encrypted as required by company policies
6. “Steve Jobs’s Magic Kingdom,” , BusinessWeek, 1/26. The news drawing the most speculation this week had nothing to do with latest technology, but how one of the IT industry’s charismatic and temperamental billionaire executives may fare at Disney. Steve Jobs wears two hats, he’s head of Apple, but he’s also top dog at animation company Pixar which is being bought by Disney. As part of the deal, Jobs will become Disney’s largest shareholder and get a seat on the board. He and Disney CEO Robert Iger seem best of pals so far, but some analysts wonder how long Jobs will be happy to play second fiddle to Iger.
7. “The Bug In Microsoft’s Ear,” BusinessWeek, 1/26. It seems as though Microsoft would like a piece of all that attention and success Apple has attracted with its iPod music player. Reports are suggesting that Gates Inc. is working on plans to develop its own iPod rival. Building on its expertise with its Xbox gaming console, Microsoft’s potential take on a media device wouldn’t be a slavish iPod copy but would include games, according to a company executive, and would use the Xbox brand.
8. “Harvard, Oxford Team With Consumer Reports On ’Badware,’” (Network World, 1/25. The two universities and the consumer organization are getting together to launch an online ’hall of shame’ to throw a spotlight on companies they consider to be trafficking in spyware or questionable forms of adware. The StopBadware.org Web site is receiving multi-year, multi-million dollar financial backing from Google, Sun and Lenovo. The decision to spotlight a company will be made by a coalition of academics and members of advocacy groups who fear consumers might be driven away from the Web by the increasing amount of spyware.
9. “Livedoor Horie’s House Begins To Fall,” InfoWorld, 1/24. The future of once high-flying Japanese Internet portal company Livedoor is in doubt following the arrest of its CEO Takafumi Horie this week on suspicion of securities law violations. At the same time, the company’s business deals are beginning to fall apart and its stock heading towards delisting. A massive rush to dump Livedoor stock last week revealed problems in the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s computer system when officials had to halt trading to forestall a potential system overload.
10.”Owners Sad Toy Robots Canned As Firm Focuses On Core Products,” San Jose Mercury News, 1/27. So, take a last bow, Aibo. After seven years, Sony’s pulled the plug on its lively robot dog, as the company concentrates on its core businesses. More than 150,000 Aibos found homes since Sony launched the dog in 1999 and teams of the canines had even got together to play robo-soccer and dance.
–China Martens, IDG News Service