by CIO Staff

Top Ten IT News Stories of the Week; Novell CEO Messman Ousted

Jun 23, 20065 mins
IT Leadership

1. “Novell CEO Messman Ousted By Board,”, 6/22. The ouster of Jack Messman by the Novell board of directors wasn’t completely unexpected. Ever since Ron Hovsepian took over as company president late last year, rumors had circulated that Messman was on his way out. The board said it made the move resulting in the departure of Messman and Chief Financial Officer Joseph Tibbetts to accelerate Novell’s growth. Hovsepian intends to more fully push Novell’s Linux business, which it acquired in 2003 when it purchased Suse.

2. “Nokia, Siemens Combine Telecom Infrastructure,”, 6/19. Ongoing competitive pressure in the telecommunications supplier market led this week to the teaming up of Nokia and Siemens announcing plans to create a new company bringing together their respective telecom infrastructure units. With a combined 2005 revenue of US$19.9 billion, the hope is that the new Nokia Siemens Networks will be better positioned to take on Asian suppliers such as China’s Huawei. The deal is also set to save Nokia and Siemens an estimated US$1.9 billion per year as they reduce head count by 10 to 15 percent.

3. “Google Used By Hackers to Host Trojan,”, 6/19. The search engine’s website hosting service recently drew the unwelcome attentions of hackers, according to security firm Websense. The malware purveyors were hosting a Trojan horse with the same IP address as the main Google Pages website. Trojan horses appear as legitimate programs, but once users open an attachment or click on a Web link, they release the malicious code concealed inside the programs. This time around, the Trojan horse was noticed prior to it causing any harm, Websense said.

4. “Apple’s iTunes Movie Muddle,”BusinessWeek, 6/21. Not content with having established an online store for digital music downloads, Apple’s now seriously considering expanding iTunes to encompass films as well. While Apple had hoped to launch the new service shortly, it’s not a done deal yet. Apple and the Hollywood studios haven’t agreed on the basics, like how much a movie download should cost or the necessary level of piracy protection. Perhaps what’s also needed is a new device for viewing movies, video fare on Apple’s iPod music player having only demonstrated limited appeal to date.

5. “Microsoft Enters the Robotics Market,”, 6/20. The software behemoth is dabbling in a new market, previewing a software toolkit for building robot applications. Microsoft hopes providing such tools will provide the kick start necessary to help the robotics market really take off. In two other efforts, Microsoft is to fund a new robotics center at Carnegie Mellon University as well as partner with toy maker Lego on a combined robot product due out before year’s end. There’s no common software development platform for robots yet, and Microsoft’s robotics plans center on its Windows operating system, which already dominates the PC desktop market.

6. “NHS IT Chief Defends Modernization Program,”, 6/20. Heading up a US$22.9 billion, 10-year project to install next-generation medical IT systems through England’s National Health Service (NHS) is no small challenge. NHS IT Chief Richard Granger has endured plenty of carping in the British press about the project that typically portrays it as an expensive bungle. Speaking publicly, Granger acknowledged some problems due to the immense complexity of the planned project, but also pointed to progress on several fronts, notably the implementation of the New National Network (N3) to transmit health data around the country.

7. “$115 Million Pledge for Health Institute Still Not Fulfilled,”

San Jose Mercury News, 6/22. It was a mixed week for Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison. On the one hand, the company reported strong financials, but on the other hand, reports swirled concerning his apparent tardiness to follow through on a promised US$115 million charitable donation to Harvard. According to university officials, the CEO committed to deliver the funds to establish the Ellison Institute for World Health at Harvard by last fall. No money has been forthcoming, so plans for the research center have been put on hold.

8. “Wi-Fi Hacked in ‘Digital Drive-By,’ “

Computerworld, 6/22. By manipulating buggy code in a laptop’s wireless device driver, security researchers have demonstrated a way to seize control of a computer. Device driver hacking isn’t new, but has proved technically challenging until recently, when the availability of new software tools made attacking wireless cards easier to carry out. Many wireless device drivers haven’t been written with security in mind, opening up potential exploitable vulnerabilities, according to the researchers.

9. “CTO: CA Likely Done With Large-Scale Acquisitions,”

Network World, 6/21. The software vendor engaged in another spot of executive reshuffling this week, appointing the head of its systems management business, Al Nugent, as its new chief technology officer. In his new role, Nugent expects to steer CA more toward the purchase of niche technologies or specific product features rather than large acquisitions. Customers are proving understanding about the vendor’s ongoing plans to transform its operations as well as its recent financial missteps, which resulted in the delayed release of fiscal results, he said.

10. “Vonage: ‘We’re Not Toast,’ “BusinessWeek, 6/22. Fresh from a lackluster public offering, Internet phone startup Vonage faced two more pieces of bad news this week. First, mobile telecom Verizon sued Vonage, alleging that the company was infringing on its patents. Then, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled that Vonage and its Internet phone peers are no longer exempt from payments to the federal Universal Service Fund and must contribute as regular phone companies do. For Vonage, that contribution could be as high as 6.8 percent of its total revenue. Some analysts are starting to question Vonage’s viability, but the company insists it has a healthy business and is working to narrow its losses by attracting more customers to its service.

-China Martens, IDG News Service (Boston Bureau)

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