1. “Ballmer: Microsoft Aimed at Advertising, Not Google,”CIO.com, 5/12. Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer sought to downplay Gates Inc.’s rivalry with the search company this week, echoing earlier comments by Larry Page, Google’s cofounder. Both companies stressed their focus on building up their own businesses, not looking over their shoulders at what the other is doing. However, Microsoft’s goal of becoming the number-one generator of Internet advertising revenue as stated by Ballmer puts the vendor on a collision course with Google, which currently occupies that coveted position. Realistically, it could take Gates Inc. five years to unseat Google, Ballmer admitted.
2. “Google Dives Deeper into Vertical, Social Search,”Macworld, 5/11. As Google continually appears to extend its tentacles into another new market, it was refreshing to hear the company talk up plans to expand vertical and social networking capabilities in its core search market. Google’s Co-op service will allow users to mark up webpages about subjects that they’re experts in, a labeling procedure that should also help the company’s search engine deliver more relevant results to those users. Notebook is a browser tool that lets users clip content from webpages and then save it in a virtual repository, which they can later access and share with other people.
3. “Dell: Burned by a Fire Sale,”BusinessWeek, 5/9. Selling PCs at rock-bottom prices is hurting Dell’s bottom line. The direct computer seller issued a profit warning this week about its upcoming first-quarter fiscal results due out May 18. Dell blamed its recent aggressive price cutting for the expected shortfall in revenue and earnings per share, but vowed to continue the strategy, which it claims will eventually have a positive impact on profits. The profit warning caps a yearlong string of financial missteps for the company. Dell is starting to lose a little of its hold on the global PC market as rivals such as Hewlett-Packard and Acer step up to the plate on pricing, according to analysts.
4. “SGI Declares Bankruptcy Amid Ongoing Reorganization,”
Computerworld, 5/8. It’s business as usual at high-performance computing vendor Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI), according to the management team, despite the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week. The company is also restructuring its operations as it struggles to regain profitability. Filing for bankruptcy was a necessary action to return SGI to financial health, according to the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, Dennis McKenna. SGI hopes to exit Chapter 11 within six months.
5. “Apple Computer Wins Apple V. Apple Case,”PC World, 5/8. Steve Jobs’ outfit won out in the latest trademark dispute between his company, Apple Computer, and the music label of The Beatles, Apple Corps. The case centered on whether using the Apple logo for the iTunes music service violated a 1991 agreement between the two Apples. A U.K. high court judge ruled in Apple Computer’s favor, determining that iTunes is a music transmission service, not a record label. Jobs, a Beatles fan, is now hoping that the band’s music might finally become available on iTunes. However, his company is seeking at least US$1.2 million from Apple Corps to cover legal fees, and Apple Corps has vowed to appeal the judge’s decision.
6. “Amended French Copyright Bill Gives Apple a Break,”CIO.com, 5/11. More good news for Apple this week as the French Senate softened a key provision about digital rights management (DRM) before approving a new copyright bill. A previous draft of the bill had required digital music vendors including Apple to open up their DRM technologies to competitors so that different services would be interoperable. That move drew Apple’s ire, with the company accusing the French National Assembly of “state-sponsored piracy.” The new bill has a loophole that would allow companies to keep their DRM technologies secret.
7. “U.K. Judge Approves U.S. Request for Hacker’s Extradition,”
CIO.com, 5/10. A British judge acquiesced to a request from the U.S. government to extradite Gary McKinnon, an employed systems administrator who allegedly caused US$700,000 in damage by hacking into U.S. military and government computers. McKinnon is accused of deleting data and illegally accessing information on U.S. government computers between February 2001 and March 2002. McKinnon, who used the name “Solo” during his alleged hacking, maintains he didn’t damage any computers and was researching UFOs.
8. “CA Loses its CTO,”InfoWorld, 5/10. One of the software vendor’s most visible top executives announced his surprise resignation this week. CA Chief Technology Officer Mark Barrenechea will quit the company and join private equity firm Garnett & Helfrich come June 19. The VC firm is already home to the Ingres open-source database that CA spun off last year. Barrenechea will help Garnett & Helfrich identify other non-core IT assets in IT companies that can then be rebuilt as new firms. CA is currently looking for a new CTO.
9. “Microsoft Tests Windows CE 6, Speech Server 2007,”Network World, 5/9. Microsoft released beta versions of two upcoming pieces of software that will ship later this year. Windows CE 6 is the latest version of the company’s operating system for handheld devices, while Speech Server 2007 is aimed at developers looking to create voice-recognition applications. The Speech Server beta includes native support for voice over IP.
10. “MPAA Trains Dogs to Sniff Out Pirate DVDs in the U.K.”CIO.com, 5/11. The Motion Picture Association of America has added a couple of new four-footed recruits to its fight against illegally copied CDs and DVDs in the United Kingdom. The movie industry group has funded the eight-month training of Lucky and Flo, two black Labradors, so that the dogs can sniff out the chemicals used in the manufacture of optical discs. While the dogs can identify luggage or packages containing discs, it’ll still be up to human inspectors to distinguish between genuine and pirated discs.
-China Martens, IDG News Service
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