by CIO Staff

Top 10 IT News Stories of the Week; HP’s Dunn, Keyworth to Step Down

Sep 15, 20067 mins
IT Leadership

1. “HP’s Dunn, Keyworth to Step Down,”IT World, 9/12. Just how does a leading IT company try to recover from a boardroom-level scandal, the ramifications of which are ever-widening? In Hewlett-Packard’s case by bidding farewell to Patricia Dunn, its chairwoman, and George Keyworth, the board member who leaked information about board-level discussions to the media. Dunn is shouldering the blame for the manner in which third parties carried out investigations into the information leaks. While Keyworth resigned from the HP board immediately, Dunn will remain in situ until January when Mark Hurd, HP’s chief executive officer and president, is set to add the chairman title to his existing roles.

2. “Calif. Says It Has Evidence to Charge HP Officials,”, 9/13. Just a day after Dunn announced she’d step down, the California attorney general said publicly he had sufficient evidence to indict people within HP and its external private investigators over their conduct in the information leak investigations. Not only that, but state officials are working with their counterparts in Massachusetts on the case since HP hired a Boston-based investigations firm to investigate the leaks. At issue is the use of pretexting, whereby an investigator contacts a phone company and pretends to be someone else in order to access that person’s phone records. California officials consider that behavior to be equivalent to identity theft and therefore criminal, and may bring charges within the next week or two.

3. “Analysts: iTunes, iTV Form Complete Package,”Macworld, 9/12. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is famous for saving up a key announcement for the end of most major product presentations he makes. This week at Apple’s Showtime event was no exception, but this time Jobs unveiled a prototype, not a finished offering. With the working name of iTV, he showed off a set-top box device due to ship early next year designed to bridge the gap between iTunes movies, iPods and regular television sets so that users can wirelessly stream video content from their iPod players and watch it on their TVs. Analysts say the design and the expected US$299 price tag for the set-top box should make it a hit with consumers and place Apple squarely in competition with Microsoft’s home entertainment offerings.

4. “Microsoft Zune iPod Rival to Hit U.S. by Holidays,”, 9/14. Not to be outdone, the software giant is looking to stomp all over Apple’s iPod turf, with plans to release the first version of its Zune media player and its Zune Marketplace online download service in time for Christmas. To avoid being labeled an iPod me-too product, Zune will include a few built-in features Apple’s player lacks, notably an FM radio tuner and wireless technology. The wireless capabilities will enable users to share songs, playlists and photos between Zune devices, Microsoft said. Unlike the iPod which ships blank, Zune devices will come preloaded with content from a number of record labels.

5. “SAP’s ERP 2005 ‘Stable Core’ for Five Years,”Network World, 9/12. Applications vendor SAP this week announced a major change in the way it delivers its ERP software to customers. Instead of issuing general-purpose upgrades containing hundreds of new features every 12 to 18 months, the vendor committed to sticking with the current version of its offering, mySAP ERP 2005, through 2010, providing new functionality through regularly released optional, focused enhancement packages. SAP made the move in response to customers’ demands, and plans to ship the first enhancement package in December centered on new talent management and financial collaboration features.

6. ” ‘Dell 2.0’ Will Focus on PC Design, Overseas Plants,”, 9/14. The computer maker had its work cut out for it at its annual technology day meeting this week. Dell sought to try and reassure investors made nervous over its recent missteps including a substantial battery recall and a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into its revenue recognition and accounting practices. The answer? “Dell 2.0,” a major overhaul of the vendor’s operations concentrating on improving the design and usability of its products and on building factories closer to emerging markets in Brazil, India and Central Europe. According to Dell CEO Kevin Rollins, the company is re-evaluating every single piece of its business model from its supply chain to customer service and support. Dell is also lessening its reliance on chip maker Intel by gradually increasing the number of processors it uses from rival vendor Advanced Micro Devices, so over time Dell will become more of a two-processor company.

7. “Sun CEO Schwartz Reaches Out To Customers,”, 9/13. Sun is steadily making a comeback to recover ground it lost to competitors during the dot-com boom and subsequent crash, according to Jonathan Schwartz, who took over from Scott McNealy as company CEO just over 100 days ago. Schwartz believes Sun, which has been stuck in a loss-making rut for many quarters, may even achieve sustainable profitability by the middle of next year. One important announcement he made was Sun’s renewal and expansion of a relationship with a key partner management consultancy Accenture, with the pair focused on joint development work around identity-enabled service-oriented architecture technologies. Working closely with Accenture is one way for Sun to try and garner new business and revenue, according to analysts.

8. “Grids Help eBay Do Big Business,”

InfoWorld, 9/12. EBay’s use of a massive computing grid has helped the company makes changes to its website on the fly while maintaining a 99.94 percent uptime, according to Paul Strong, a leading researcher at the online auctioneer. EBay is keen to improve its uptime to get closer to 99.99 percent over time and to be able to update the site with new features almost instantaneously rather than the 20 minutes it takes today, he said. The company designed much of its own grid infrastructure, but is hopeful that the new combined Open Grid Forum standards body will help promote interoperability efforts so that future users won’t have to spend as much time trying to get different vendors’ grid offerings to work with each other.

9. “Social Networks: Execs Use Them Too,”BusinessWeek, 9/11. When trying to identify potential new mid-level executive hires, some companies are turning to social networking websites like the LinkedIn online business network as new recruitment areas to mine. Such sites can be potential goldmines of what are termed “passive candidates,” staff happy in their existing positions, but who might be amenable to a new job offer. Other firms are using social networks as a way to keep in touch with former employees and potentially lure them back to fill open positions.

10. “From Elvis’ Hips to Spinning Disk: 50 Years of Innovation,”Computerworld, 9/13. Well-wishers gathered this week to salute the computer hard disk as it turned 50. Researchers at IBM created the first hard-disk drive back in 1956, at that time calling the device RAMAC, the random access method for accounting control. Since that time, companies have made tremendous strides in increasing the storage capacity of hard disks while substantially shrinking both their size and price. Although there have been competing technologies emerging over the past half-century, researchers have yet to come up with a real replacement for the drive. The hard disk’s future looks secure for a while yet, with scientists at Hitachi saying they expect to release 2-terabyte desktop and 400GB notebook drives by 2009.

-China Martens, IDG News Service (Boston Bureau)

Related Links:

  • Top 10 IT News Stories of the Week (week beginning Sept. 4)

  • Top 10 IT News Stories of the Week (week beginning Aug. 28)

Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.