1. “Another Microsoft Word Exploit Released,”
“Microsoft Fixes IE, Windows Media Player Flaws,”CIO.com, 12/12
For the third time in a week, hackers released attack code for a critical vulnerability in Microsoft’s Word software. The most recent (at this writing) proof-of-concept code exploits a previously unreported bug in Word and hit the Web the day after Microsoft’s monthly patch Tuesday. This patch go-around, Microsoft put out seven security patches for 11 bugs, none of them for the two Word flaws that hackers had released attack code for prior to patch Tuesday. Patches did come out for Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Visual Studio 2005, Windows and Outlook Express.
2. “HP’s Hurd Grilled by Congress over Stock Sale,”CIO.com, 12/14
The investigations subcommittee of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee wants Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd to explain why he sold $1.37 million in HP stock on Aug. 25, the day he was briefed by attorneys from an outside law firm about the “pretexting” scandal that has rocked the company. HP executives and outside investigators are accused of using false pretenses to obtain personal telephone records of journalists who reported on the HP board of directors. The timing of Hurd’s stock sale and the public revelations regarding the scandal are too close for comfort as far as John Dingell and Mark Stupak, both Michigan Democrats, are concerned. As ranking members of the subcommittee, they sent a letter to Hurd asking for an explanation by Dec. 21. “We look forward to responding to the committee’s inquiry,” an HP spokeswoman said.
3. “Intel Speeds Intro of New Quad-Core Chip,”
Well, this is different. Intel is pushing up by two months the introduction of its new quad-core chip because of demand from server manufacturers. The Xeon 5335 processor will be out Monday, Intel says. A company official said that manufacturers told Intel it would be helpful to them if there was anything the chip maker could do to get the processors out sooner, so Intel gave it a push.
4. “HP, Microsoft Team Up Against IBM,”
HP and Microsoft will offer a broader portfolio of business software for the enterprise market, which is likely to ding IBM. The two announced a three-year, $300 million deal to sell five different types of enterprise wares, which they say will lead to 30 new products and services in just the next year. Analysts say the partnership will give them leverage over IBM, a shared rival, and that Microsoft looks at IBM as more of a competitor these days.
5. “IBM, Yahoo Launch Free Enterprise Search Tool,”
Meanwhile, IBM announced its own joint effort, this one with Yahoo, to develop a free, entry-level enterprise search application. IBM OmniFind Yahoo Edition was designed to be easy to install and use, indexing up to 500,000 documents from more than 200 file types. The application is aimed at companies that haven’t gotten into enterprise search because of the cost and complexity.
6. “Regulatory Investigation into LCD Market Expands,”
Sharp and Samsung joined the growing list of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT LCD) makers under investigation for possible anticompetitive behavior. Regulators in the United States, South Korea and Japan have served subpoenas on Samsung, while Sharp is being probed by the Japan Fair Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice. The investigation became publicly known on Monday of this week when LG.Philips said it has received subpoenas from regulators in the United States, South Korea and Japan. TFT LCDs are used in a range of electronics products, such as flat-panel TVs, computer monitors, laptops, cell phones and digital music players.
7. “Google Helps Users Search for Patents,”CIO.com, 12/14
Would-be inventors can now more easily find out if their clever creations have already been patented by someone else. Google launched a new site for searching U.S. patents by keyword, patent number, inventor and filing date. The search covers 7 million patents, although not those issued in the past few months. But Google plans to expand the search range.
8. “Why the Chipmakers Are Down for ’07,”Businessweek, 12/14
Semiconductor vendors say 2008 will be a boom year for them, but they’ve got to get past 2007 first, and that might take some doing. The demand for flash memory is leaving them unable to keep up with demand. The IT industry overall is looking toward the release of Windows Vista, and chip makers are among those who are hopeful that the new OS will spur PC sales. Given what analysts and IT administrators are saying about the likely upgrade cycle, that might not be the best approach.
9. “Sony Sure It Will Reach PlayStation 3 Goals,”
The outlook going into the new year might be a bit bleak for chip makers, but gamers can rejoice: Sony says it is confident that it will make its shipment target of 2 million consoles in Japan and the United States by the end of this calendar year and have 6 million shipped by the end of the company’s financial year in March. The relief sweeping the United States and Japan is palpable.
10. “Real or Not, Buzz Around Apple ‘iPhone’ Grows,”
San Jose Mercury News, 12/13
“Apple ‘iPhone’ May Arrive Later Than Predicted,”
It’s not certain this is actually news, nor is it clear that it isn’t news: Apple might be unveiling a music phone at its Macworld conference in San Francisco next month. Apple watchers are confident that the company has such a gizmo in the works, but no one with actual knowledge is talking about the “iPhone,” as it has been dubbed. Stay tuned …
-Nancy Weil, IDG News Service
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