1. “HP Execs Face Angry Congress on Boardroom Scandal,”
Computerworld, 9/28. Hewlett-Packard’s top management got a real grilling from members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee this week over the methods the company and third parties employed to investigate leaks of board-level confidential information. The HP executives either struggled to defend their actions or opted to keep silent by invoking Fifth Amendment rights. One of those declining to testify was Ann Baskins, HP’s general counsel, whose resignation was announced just prior to the committee hearing. HP’s former chairwoman, Patricia Dunn, said she believed the company was acting legally, while Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd admitted he should have kept a closer eye on the internal probes into the leaks. See the CIO.com HP Spying Scandal page.
2. “Lenovo Recalls 526,000 ThinkPad Batteries,”
InfoWorld, 9/28. Ever since reports surfaced earlier this month of a ThinkPad laptop catching fire at a Los Angeles airport, analysts have been predicting that Lenovo would become the latest notebook vendors to have to issue a battery recall. That forecast came true this week as Lenovo and IBM issued a voluntary recall for batteries that were sold with ThinkPad machines between February 2005 and September 2006. Lenovo will provide free replacements. Like the much larger recent Dell and Apple recalls, at fault are batteries made by Sony. Sony is now planning to offer its own battery replacement program to address the overheating problems.
3. “IBM Kicks Off Major Revamp of Its Services Biz,”
CIO.com, 9/26. Big Blue has rethought the way it packages and sells global services. Instead of the company’s previous focus on providing customized, one-off services to individual users, IBM has begun rolling out what it terms “service products” or standardized offerings to be used by any IBM customer anywhere. Although IBM’s services business is a huge multibillion-dollar revenue generator, its growth rate has appeared somewhat stagnant over recent quarters. The vendor is hoping the new approach to services will reinvigorate its business.
4. “Intel to Ship Quad-Core Chips in November,”
PC World, 9/26. As part of its ongoing moves to regain its momentum in the chip market, Intel plans to ship quad-core processors in November for use in both servers and gaming PCs. As dual-core computers are becoming more commonplace, vendors are moving to the next big thing: quad-core. The addition of extra cores to a processor enables the computer using that chip to split up workloads, raising its computing speed. Intel is also hoping the new chips will help it recover some ground lost to bitter rival Advanced Micro Devices.
5. “AMD Dealt a Blow in Case Against Intel,”
CIO.com, 9/27. AMD suffered a blow in its broad antitrust action against Intel this week. In June 2005, AMD filed suit alleging Intel maintained a monopoly in the PC processor market by illegally coercing customers including Dell and IBM into using its products. A U.S. district court judge in Delaware has dismissed some of AMD’s claims that center on Intel’s business practices, which AMD claims have hurt sales of its own chips. AMD didn’t demonstrate that Intel’s alleged foreign conduct had a direct effect on AMD’s U.S. operations, the judge ruled. AMD didn’t see the ruling as a setback, and plans to appeal the judge’s decision and proceed with the lawsuit.
6. “AOL Members Sue Over Search Data Release,”
PC World, 9/26. After AOL disclosed last month that it had posted 20 million search records from 658,000 of its members on its research website, it was only a matter of time before angry members filed lawsuits. This week, three AOL members charged the company with privacy violation, false advertising and unjust enrichment. The plaintiffs are seeking monetary relief for all affected AOL members in the United States whose search data was revealed without their consent. They also want the court to tell AOL not to store or maintain users’ Web search records and to destroy any such records it has currently. In the wake of the disclosure of members’ search results, AOL plans to hire its first-ever chief privacy officer and set up a business whose main remit will be the protection of AOL consumers.
7. “Wikipedia to Fight Vandals in Germany,”
CIO.com, 9/26. The online encyclopedia that anyone can edit is working on a new system initially at its German website to try to keep pranksters from vandalizing the content of its articles. The idea is that once Wikipedia users have been registered for four days or more, they will be able to flag a recent entry as being correct and unvandalized, effectively locking it for a period of time. Other people will be able to update the entry with new material, but that content won’t be visible as part of the main entry until another trusted contributor has flagged the updates as being accurate. The plan is that the four-day waiting period would deter any would-be troublemakers out to deface the website on a whim.
8. “Microsoft Research, at 15, Looks Ahead to More Innovations,” Computerworld, 9/28. As Microsoft’s research laboratories turn 15 years old, the software giant was keen to show off some of the inventions its 750-strong staff in the United States, China, India and the United Kingdom have been working on. There’s the Touchlight 3-D holographic display that enables users to choose and move data using their hands, and the SuperFetch feature built into the vendor’s upcoming Windows Vista operating system, allowing programs to better manage their use of systems resources.
9. Skype Preps Enterprise-Friendly VoIP Software,”
CIO.com, 9/25. The Internet telephony provider is working on ways to make its service more appealing to enterprises, with a beta version of its software that includes more management functions due to appear in a few weeks. The company estimates that 30 percent of its 113 million registered users run the service in their businesses, according to the company. However, Skype still needs to allay security concerns around its peer-to-peer communications system, and has already worked with Intel to have its software meet the chip giant’s security requirements.
10. “Jajah’s Mobile Ambitions,”BusinessWeek, 9/26. Jajah, a U.S. startup, has an ambitious goal of becoming the Skype of the cell phone world. The company has just unveiled Jajah Mobile, a service that allows registered users who have one of about 80 phone models to make calls using the technology for free to other registered users in countries including the United States and Canada. Jajah aims to support all cell phone models by the end of this year, and the service may well lead to an increase in international calls made via cell phones. The startup is also looking to embed its calling technology into social networking websites and portals, with announcements on that front due out next month.
-China Martens, IDG News Service (Boston Bureau)
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