1. “Ericsson to Pay $2.1B for Redback Networks,”
In the IT acquisition of the week, Ericsson says it is buying carrier edge router maker Redback Networks for $2.1 billion to take a whack at rivals Cisco, Juniper and the recently merged Alcatel-Lucent when it comes to edge routers. Redback’s routers carry IP voice, video and data at the edge of carrier networks. The company boasts robust sales, up 42 percent since 2003, even though it hasn’t reported a profit in three years.
2. “HP Will Tighten Security in HP-UX,”
HP released a free upgrade to its HP-UX 11i v2 operating system that automatically encrypts data as it is stored, and announced other security feature enhancements to HP-UX for its Integrity server line. Network security breaches of late have led customers to express concerns, which HP evidently took to heart.
3. “IBM to End Stock-Option Grants for Non-IBM Directors,”
IBM took a step away from the stock-option era, announcing that as of Jan. 1 it won’t give stock-option grants to the 12 of 13 members of its board of directors who aren’t IBM executives. Chairman and CEO Samuel Palmisano is the only one who will still receive stock options. His compensation package is negotiated separately from the other directors. But don’t feel too badly for the loss of stock-option grants to the other 12—instead of issuing them 4,000 IBM stock-option grants, IBM will double their annual retainers from $100,000 to $200,000 each.
4. “Intel Plans to Launch Core 2 Quad in January,”
Sources say that Intel will launch the third model of its four-core processor during the CES trade show in Las Vegas. The Core 2 Quad chip for high-end desktop PCs will debut during the week of Jan. 8 when all eyes in IT will be on Vegas, if not in Vegas.
5. “Siemens Sets Record for Network Speed,”
The ever-present demand for faster broadband pipes got a boost this week, according to Siemens, which says that it hit a transmission speed of 107Gbps over a single optical fiber. That speed could send the data on two DVDs in a second. Siemens says that’s a record for the electrical processing of data through a fiber-optic cable and that it occurred over a 100-mile fiber-optic route in the United States.
6. “Apple to Join ‘Month of Security Bugs’ Club,”
To prove a point, two security researchers will start the new year by publishing daily details of security vulnerabilities in Apple products. The blitz of vulnerabilities will last through January, according to independent security researcher Kevin Finesterre and “LMH,” a hacker who otherwise declines to be identified. Some of the bugs they plan to reveal could be “a significant risk” to users of Apple products and will include bugs in the Mac OS X kernel and Safari, iTunes, iPhoto and QuickTime software. So much for the notion that Macs are inherently more secure than Windows PCs—the researchers claim that fewer attacks on Macs owes more to the Mac OS X’s more secure Unix kernel and the fact that Macs aren’t as widely used as Windows PCs than to anything Apple does to make its products more secure.
7. “IBM Tames Photons in Optical Chips,”
Although it will take a while to translate into a chip that is actually available (and first for supercomputing), IBM researchers said they’ve gotten closer to building a microprocessor that transfers data with light instead of electricity, a research boon they hailed as a step toward increasing computing speed while saving power. The researchers buffered photonic data by routing light signals through an optical delay line. The research was done with funding from the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Results of the research are published in the current issue of the journal Nature Photonics.
8. “FCC Proposes Public Safety Wireless Band,”
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission wants to set aside radio frequencies in some bands to build a nationwide public safety network in partnership with an as-yet-unspecified private company. The agency wants to use spectrum already set aside for public safety and then implement the network using the public-private venture as a way to overcome the sorts of communications problems that occurred after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and hurricanes Katrina and Rita over the summer of 2005. But that wasn’t all of the news out of the FCC …
9. “Why the New FCC Rules May Bring Lawsuits,”
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission this week voted 3-2 to streamline the franchising process for big broadband providers that want to offer TV services over IP to compete with cable TV. The vote means that local governments are prohibited from “unreasonably” refusing to grant TV franchises to new providers such as AT&T and Verizon and sets time limits on franchise negotiations between those governments and providers. But cable and telecommunications trade groups predicted a legal battle, contending that the FCC does not have the authority to set up “separate regimes” for incumbent providers and providers that want a piece of the market.
10. “eBay to Replace Chinese Auction Site,
In a cautionary tale for Internet companies that want to set up shop in China, eBay is replacing its auction site there with a new joint-venture run by Tom Online starting next year. Rumors had swirled that eBay would abandon China after it lost its online auction market lead and serious market share to Alibaba’s Taobao site. The new site run by Tom Online will be called “Tom Yi Qu,” combining the Tom name with the Chinese name of eBay’s site. Tom Online will have a majority stake in the venture, with eBay contributing its EachNet Chinese subsidiary to the mix along with $40 million.
— IDG News Service
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