Techfile

Richard Waters

  • Google’s unveiling of the new Chrome OS at least a year before consumers will actually be able to buy it brought cries of “vapourware!” from critics.  Yet the prospect of a Google PC operating system to rival Windows created an even bigger splash than the arrival of the Chrome browser last year. Fake Steve had the last laugh - while also successfully puncturing some of the hype that has already built up around the promised software.
  • With both public and private websites in the US and South Korea coming under assault in an unusually powerful cyber-attack, it was not surprising that suspicion fell on North Korea. Yet if this follows the pattern of most other attacks, the true source will never be identified.

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David Gelles

  • Microsoft and Brussels have started a new round of talks over a potential settlement of the software company’s antitrust travails in Europe. The resumption of what one person close to the situation described as the “on again, off again” discussions comes as the regulators move closer to imposing stringent penalties on Microsoft over its practice of “bundling” its Internet Explorer browser with the Windows operating system.
  • Facebook showed off the power of its Connect service today, as about 1m of its users logged into sites like CNN, ABC and MTV to chat about the Michael Jackson memorial service. Some members were wallflowers, but others were chatty, posting upwards of 800,000 status updates through the partner sites. Twitter, no doubt, also experienced a boost during the memorial service, but Facebook clearly proved that it, too, could be a prominent forum for public discussion.

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David Gelles

  • The Department of Justice has started an informal review of the exclusive arrangements that limit handsets such as Apple ’s iPhone to particular wireless communications companies, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • EMC upped the ante in the battle for Data Domain, offering $2.4bn, or $33.50 a share, for the innovative data storage company that had agreed to be purchased by NetApp. The bidding war, rare for the technology industry, reflects the perception that Data Domain’s technology will be especially important as the storage industry evolves.

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David Gelles

Richard Waters

David Gelles

  • Mozilla released the latest version of its Firefox internet browser, warming up a battle between competing browsers that is dramatically increasing the speed with which web pages are viewed. The 3.5 version of the Firefox software was released to the public on Tuesday, with a capability of loading web pages more than twice as fast as its 3.0 predecessor, thanks to advances in JavaScript, the scripting language.
  • The Chinese government backed away from its Wednesday deadline for new computers sold in the country to come equipped with Green Dam/Youth escort, an internet filter ostensibly aimed at pornography sites that also blocks users from reaching some Web pages devoted to politically sensitive topics. While authorities said they would continue to move forward with the initiative, computer companies were encouraged and said strong domestic opposition and international pressure might shelve the harsh controls for good.

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  • The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, better known as ICANN, picked as the nonprofit group’s chief executive Rod Beckstrom, who until earlier this year served as cyber-security czar at the US Department of Homeland Security. Like his predecessors, Mr Beckstrom didn’t accomplish much there, but it later emerged he had a skeleton staff and equivalent funding. ICANN is as close to a governing body as the internet gets, but its core mission is minding the process by which Website names and numeric addresses are assigned.
  • Some early buyers of Windows 7 will get it for the knock-down price of $49.99. Rob Enderle thought the limited-time special offer was a direct response to the $29 Apple is charging for an upgrade to Snow Leopard. Michael Gartenberg called it a “missed opportunity” to give all Vista users the chance to move beyond the much-maligned operating system.

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  • Apple‘s new iPhone 3G S, which costs an unsubsidised $599 to buy in the 16Gb version, costs only $179 to make, according to iSuppli. The research firm took the phone apart to price its parts and found Toshiba provided the most expensive component – the flash memory at $24.
  • Google unveiled a public trial of a key piece of its mobile internet strategy - an extension of the AdSense network to mobile app developers. Developers will be able to include adverts in their apps targeted by keyword, demographics and location. This potentially gives developers access to the entire base of AdSense advertisers, posing a big challenge to specialist mobile ad networks like AdMobs.
  • Seagate Technology, which has cut jobs and salaries and restructured to combat slumping hard-drive sales, may have turned a corner. In a trading update, it raised its sales expectations for the current quarter to between $2.2bn and $2.3bn and predicted the industry would sell 120m hard drives, compared to its earlier estimate of 114m.

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  • A Tennessee hospital has confirmed it carried out a liver transplant on Steve Jobs, Apple chief executive.  The Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis said Mr Jobs was “the sickest patient on the waiting list at the time a donor organ became available. Mr Jobs is now recovering well and has an excellent prognosis.”
  • Intel and Nokia unveiled plans to work together to create a type of mobile computing device beyond today’s smartphones and netbooks. The move takes Intel a step further towards a breakthrough into the highly prized mobile phone market. Nokia typically works with potential suppliers on joint research for several years before deciding to adopt a particular technology.

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