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Channel Reg Weekly

By | Billy MacInnes 19th April 2007 13:01

XP buried as users roll over, play dead for sex and choccy

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DoubleClick gives Google double whammy against Microsoft

We begin this week with Google which managed to pull off the coup of pissing off Microsoft big time by stealing DoubleClick from under its nose with a $3.1bn offer.

Serial anti-trust defendant Microsoft has got so wound up it's even urged US regulators to probe the deal. But Google chief executive Eric Schmidt dismissed the complaints from Microsoft and AT&T. "They are wrong...give me a break," he said.

In another strike against Microsoft, Schmidt also unveiled a Docs & Spreadsheets add-on for its online applications suite.

RIP XP - Microsoft starts to nail down the coffin

Meanwhile, Microsoft was busy announcing the termination date for Windows XP as it tries to get more people to make the switch to Windows Vista. The company confirmed OEMs and retailers will no longer be able to purchase Windows XP licences from the end of January 2008. This despite a poll by Harris which showed most US adults know very little about Windows Vista and 67 per cent have no plans to upgrade during the next year.

Apple's lesser spotted Leopard

As Microsoft struggled to kill off one of its operating systems, Apple was admitting that the birth of its latest OS was being delayed by four months in order to get the iPhone out on time. Leopard - aka Mac OS X 10.5 - was originally scheduled for June but will now slip until October. Yet another sign of the diminishing importance of "computer" to the maker of iPods perhaps?

What would you do with the chief executive's head anyway?

El Reg reported that irate rebel shareholders were demanding the head of Clarity Commerce Solutions chief executive Graham York after the company warned it would fail to meet market expectations because of "slippage of a number of contracts". Reuters reported shareholders have also complained over York's use of a private plane.

Saverstore super for savastore

In other channel news, the former Savastore.com has reopened for business trading under the name Saverstore.com. Watford Electronics, which ran Savastore.com, was acquired by Globally Ltd in February.

Hitachi seeks to make Impact in Europe

Meanwhile, Hitachi Consulting has broadened its reach into the European services and solutions market with the purchase of UK-based IT consulting firm Impact Plus. It is the company's first acquisition in Europe.

Jim Schuchard, European managing vice president at Hitachi Consulting, said more and more of Hitachi's capital expenditure was likely to be in the services and solutions space.

Not so Swede after all

While Hitachi Consulting was buying, Dimension Data was selling, offloading its Swedish operations (which it described as sub-scale) to Cygate, a subsidiary of TeliaSonera. It has decided to prioritise investments in other markets.

A Lone Star state of mind

With all these changes afoot, Borland got a little piece of the action when it announced plans to move its management and operations team from Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas.

The chief executive, chief financial officer, and senior vice president of human resources will all relocate to the Texan city by the end of the year.

Chief executive Tod Nielsen explained: "In Silicon Valley we are a small fish in a big pond. In Austin we can be a leading software brand that can attract great talent."

Cruel people might observe the best way for Borland to be a leading software brand would be to relocate back to the 1980s.

Kumar's $52m relocation expenses

One former CEO preparing to relocate is Sanjay Kumar who is due to start a 12 year jail term in August. Before he goes inside, Kumar will liquidate his family assets and trusts to pay at least $52m of a planned $798.6m in restitution to victims of the company's $2.2bn accounting fraud. When he comes out, Kumar will pay 20 per cent of his annual income to pay off the remaining $748m. We never realised ex-cons were so well paid these days.

CA is also considering pursuing co-founder Charles Wang for damages in relation to the accounting scandal following a report which alleged Wang "directed and participated" in a scheme to artificially inflate the firm's stock price.

Watch out for those finance guys

How CA shareholders and company officials must have wished they could have read the report from the forensic department of audit firm KPMG which states that company fraudsters often get away with crimes for five years and commit as many as 50 undetected frauds.

According to KPMG, the perpetrators of fraud are most commonly long-serving, trusted managers in the finance department who are motivated by greed and the opportunity presented by their position.

Breaches more expensive than trousers

Meanwhile, Forrester Research tried to put a figure on information security breaches and came up with an estimate of between $90 and $305 per lost record. The company puts a figure of $1.35bn as a "realistic minimum estimate" of the costs for the security breach at TJX that exposed 45.6m credit card details.

We're not sure what figure to put on the cock-up by Lime Pictures, the TV firm responsible for Grange Hill and Hollyoaks, which displayed up to 20,000 filled in applications for several days on the job section of its website, including home addresses and employment history.

Bypass the brain by targeting the groin

It was a busy week in computer security, particularly for people inclined to click on links to pictures of semi-naked women or erotica. It emerged that Skype's instant messaging client was being used to spread the Pyske-A-worm posing as a chat message linking to a website featuring racy pictures of a model wearing black lingerie.

Almost at the same time, security researchers discovered samples of adware posing as ActiveX controls for viewing "erotic pictures" on hacker-controlled websites that pose as repositories of porn.

Chocolate is better than sex

When it comes to security, you can have all the technology you want, but the people will always let you down. If they're not clicking on porn, they're giving away their passwords to complete strangers in a London train station.

A survey of 300 office workers carried out by Infosecurity Europe researchers found that 64 per cent of them would hand over their office computer passwords for a bar of chocolate "and a smile". Disturbingly, it seems that chocolate is better than sex when it comes to getting around computer security measures.

You haven't got mail

BlackBerry users in the US and Canada found themselves holding a rather expensive mobile phone last Tuesday and Wednesday when a "critical infrastructure outage" meant they were unable to send or receive email messages. Calls to Research In Motion's offices were fruitless, but the UK did not appear to be affected. O2 confirmed its service was working as normal.

Orange is not the only fruit

Still on phone matters, Truphone plans to ask Ofcom to intervene to try and prevent mobile networks from disabling the VoIP capability in handsets that are capable of making VoIP calls. Vodafone and Orange have released a version of the Nokia N95 handset with the native VoIP capability disabled. "We're being blocked at the network level and the device level," complained Truphone boss James Tagg.

Things we could have left out

There were loads of announcements from the Intel Developer Forum in China, including the winner of Intel's contest to design the world's coolest Viiv box. Apple's Mac Mini has nothing to fear.

Among other announcements, Intel revealed plans to integrate the HomePlug AV 200Mbps powerline standard in next year's desktop designs. The chip giant also announced a 19 per cent increase in first quarter profits, although revenue was down.

Other companies announcing results were IBM, storage giant EMC, and Google rival Yahoo!.

Things we wish we had time for

A Norfolk businessman has been paid over £35,000 by NatWest after he threatened court action over the charges it levied for bouncing his cheques. The bank sent him the money despite claiming the businessman's challenge "would fail in court". Shareholders ought to be worried if NatWest continues to pay out on cases it is confident it will win. And you can take that to the bank!

And finally, we had to mention the poor plumbing apprentice with a blowtorch who appears to have inadvertently started a fire that ravaged a £5m Georgian mansion. If only he'd had some water to put it out. ®

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