1. “Is Steve Jobs Untouchable?”BusinessWeek, Jan. 4
In a story that carried over from the old year, attention this week stayed on Apple and what the fallout will be from the ongoing stock-options backdating scandal at the company. During the news-slow holiday week, Apple released its annual report, which included revelations regarding its internal investigation of stock-options practices at the company. CEO Steve Jobs was aware of procedural irregularities, but did not personally benefit from them or, in fact, understand their implications, according to Apple. The feds are still investigating, and time will tell if they agree with that assessment—the blogosphere, pundits and various news analysts are all weighing in on whether Jobs will escape unscathed. We don’t expect the scandal to dampen enthusiasm of the attendees at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco next week.
2. “Patch Issued for OpenOffice.Org WMF Vulnerability,”CIO.com, Jan. 4
“Microsoft to Kick Off 2007 with 8 Security Updates,”Network World, Jan. 4
Well, it wouldn’t be a new week without patch news, would it? A patch was released for a vulnerability in the OpenOffice.org productivity suite. The flaw can be exploited to create a malicious file that runs unauthorized code if it’s not patched. And in other patch news, Microsoft posted a statement on its website to let system administrators know that they will have to deal with eight sets of security patches covering Windows, Office and Visual Studio on “patch Tuesday” next week. Happy new year, eh?
3. “Acrobat Reader Plugin Vulnerable to Attacks,”InfoWorld, Jan. 3
“Adobe to Issue Patches for Reader Vulnerability”
CIO.com, Jan. 5
4. “As Democrats Take Control of Congress, a New H-1B Fight Looms,”
Computerworld, Jan. 4
As Democrats took control of Congress for the first time in 12 years, consultants and others involved in immigration issues and policy recommended that companies wanting to hire H-1B visa holders waste no time trying to lure them to take jobs. With the cap on H-1B visas at 65,000, the limit last year was reached less than two months after the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services bureau started to take applications. The next round of applications will begin in April for visas issued in October when the federal fiscal year begins. Meanwhile, it is widely expected that the new Congress, which went into session Thursday, will take up the contentious issue before long.
5. “Study: Most Info Searches are Useless,”
InfoWorld, Jan. 4
Accenture harshed the happy holiday vibe with word that a survey of 1,000 middle managers at large U.S. and U.K. companies found they waste hours each day searching for information that is largely useless. Managers spend as much as two hours daily looking for information, with more than half of what they find having no use to them. Those surveyed said they have to go, on average, to three different sources in their information searches. Perhaps more distressing is the finding that 40 percent of those surveyed said that other parts of their companies don’t willingly share information. Then again, managers admitted they often don’t save information in a place that can be accessed by others; they keep most of their information on their computers or in their e-mail. Just 16 percent of them store data in places such as intranet portals.
6. “Google Upgrades Enterprise Search Engine,”
InfoWorld, Jan. 4
There was more pleasant search news of a different sort, with Google saying that two new features will be added to its Enterprise Search Appliance by the end of January. One feature will cluster or categorize search results by information type, and the other will allow administrators of the search system to give weight or bias to results that come from a specific part of the enterprise network.
7. “Cisco to Purchase IronPort Security for $830M,”CIO.com, Jan. 4
Cisco spent $256 million last year in cash and stock for acquisitions, which at least one analyst referred to as “chump change” compared to 2005, when the company ended the year with word it would buy Scientific Atlanta for $6.7 billion on top of all of the other deals it had made. Judging by the first few days of 2007, it could be another year like ’05: Cisco is buying IronPort Systems, which develops e-mail and Web security products, for $830 million. The deal is expected to close in July, when IronPort’s 408 employees will become a business unit in Cisco’s security and technology group
8. “Disk Producers Team to Push Flash-Embedded Drives,”
CIO.com, Jan. 4
Hitachi, Seagate, Fujitsu, Samsung and Toshiba have created the Hybrid Storage Alliance, and the rivals will work together to promote a new hybrid technology that will improve hard-drive system performance. They expect the hybrid technology to be on the market later in the first quarter. The hybrid disks include flash memory that serves as a buffer between the computer system and the hard disk. The alliance members, which are the five largest hard-drive makers, say the hybrid disks will decrease power consumption and improve performance because reading and writing data from flash is a lot faster than from a disk.
9. “New SpectraLink Wi-Fi Phones Support 802.11a, b and g Standards,”
CIO.com, Jan. 3
Although IT products are a dime a dozen, SpectraLink’s announcement caught our attention. Its Wi-Fi phones will allow companies more flexible use with handsets that work on all of the major standard wireless LAN systems. The phones will ship this quarter and will support the IEEE 802.11a, b and g standards and will work with enterprise-class WLANs from all of the major vendors.
10. “AT&T Pledges Net Neutrality to Seal BellSouth Deal,”
“Deciphering the Details of AT&T’s BellSouth Concessions,”
Network World, Jan. 3
In another hold-over story from ’06 that continued to be scrutinized this week, AT&T wrapped up its $86 billion acquisition of BellSouth after the FCC finally gave approval as last year came to a close. With many telecom watchers on holiday—along with the rest of us—figuring out the acquisition and what it means for enterprise customers and others was largely delayed until this week. AT&T voluntarily made concessions, including those related to net neutrality, to seal the deal. The telecoms monolith won’t charge content providers such as eBay, Google or Amazon a premium to carry their content and also said it won’t treat packets traveling to or from certain websites any differently from other packets carried on its network. And so, 2007 starts with net neutrality, yet again, in the headlines …
-Nancy Weil, IDG News Service
Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.