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Paul Taylor

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer was in fine (fighting) form on stage at the annual Gartner Symposium in Orlando today, punching his hands for emphasis and positively bristling at the suggestion that Microsoft should split its consumer and corporate businesses.

He described a recent Goldman Sachs idea to spin-out the consumer unit as “nutty” and  “the second most crazy idea I have ever heard.” Unfortunately he did not tell his audience of about 5,000 senior IT executive what was the craziest. 

Paul Taylor

If Research in Motion had rolled out the Blackberry Torch a year ago when RIM first began serious work on the device, it would have been a showstopper.

As it was when Mike Lazaridis, RIM’s co-chief executive, unveiled the device at a New York event on Tuesday, there were few if any surprises though some eyebrows were raised by the news that AT&T which already boasts the iPhone in its smarphone portfolio, would be the exclusive network partner in the US.  (AT&T’s Ralph de la Vega was on stage at the launch event to say nice things about RIM and the new device.) 

Paul Taylor

The evolution of digital photo frames has followed a familiar pattern in the consumer technology industry.

First generation devices had a fixed amount of internal memory and had to be updated by plugging them into a PC, second generation devices supported expandable memory and were updated using plug-in flash memory cards and the latest generation can be updated wirelessly – using Bluetooth, WiFi or a cellular connection. 

Joseph Menn

The probe of the cyber-attacks on US and South Korean websites last week has turned up a number of suspected command computers, including a possible “master” server in the UK.

But researchers assisting the US government in the unusually intense inquiry still put the odds of an arrest at well under 20 per cent. 

Joseph Menn

Microsoft, Yahoo and RealNetworks were hit this week with a copyright infringement suit filed on behalf of the composers of 950 songs offered by the companies through on-demand streaming or downloads that last only for the duration of a subscription.
While the amount of damages available under the law if the composers win is very large—as much as $150,000 per violation deemed to be “willful”—a more likely outcome is a settlement for less than the penny-per-play right recently established for streaming royalties.
The details of the case show why lawyers are among the precious few groups of people earning money in the music business these days. 

Joseph Menn

Accel Parters’ Jim Breyer, one of the most highly regarded venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, joined the board of Dell today, fueling speculation about new directions for the computer maker.

Mr Breyer’s other boards include top retailer Wal-Mart, which would be an ideal spot from which to sell computers indirectly, and Facebook, which is a part of many conversations about where end-user trends are heading. 

Chris Nuttall

You would have to be a gaming company and it would help if you were Chinese, if planning a successful IPO in these treacherous markets.

Changyou ticked both boxes and closed 25 per cent higher than its $16 placing on its Nasdaq debut on Thursday. It had already been priced at the top end of a $14 to $16 range, such was the demand.