Richard Waters

On a day when cyber-attacks are item number one in the tech news, it does not look like the most auspicious moment to launch a long-term alliance around cloud computing.

But for Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, which said they would spend $250m over the next three years to extend their existing partnership deeper into cloud services, the timing makes perfect sense.

Alliances are hardening and battle lines are being drawn around the next computing platform. With Cisco moving steadily onto both companies’ turf, it’s a natural step to deepen one of the tech industry’s longer-standing partnerships. Read more

David Gelles

It is perhaps with good reason that Larry Ellison does not speak in public that often. Whenever he does, the famously bombastic Oracle chief executive seems certain to trash his rivals, make bold predictions about Oracle’s future, and wander off topic.

Last night at a meeting of the Churchill Club, Mr Ellison said that Sun Microsystems was losing $100m a month as European regulators scrutinise Oracle’s proposed takeover of the struggling hardware maker.

On the economy, Mr Ellison said it would be at least another five years before the US begins to recover. He said it would not be a V shaped recovery with a sharp rebound, or a W shaped recovery with a double dip, or a U shaped recovery with a pause before an uptick, but an L shaped recovery — “down and not coming back up.” Read more

David Gelles

William Shatner was all over the web today.

Early this morning a video of his appearance on last night’s episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien went viral, racing around the internet as it was shared via Facebook and Twitter. In the skit, the former Star Trek actor parodied former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin by performing a poetic rendition of excerpts from her farewell speech.

Then Mr Shatner’s voice began coming through on automated phone calls to Hewlett-Packard employees. In a campaign organised by environmental group Greenpeace, Mr Shatner recorded a short message encouraging Hewlett-Packard to phase-out its use of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics. Read more

Joseph Menn

Hewlett-Packard, which is trying multiple ways to get people to keep printing things instead of just posting them online, will roll out something truly novel this fall: a printer that doesn’t need a computer.

The high-end HP Photosmart Premium will sell for about $399 and has its own 4.33-inch touch screen, allowing consumers to select pages to print from a limited number of providers. Read more

As traditional publishers falter, print-on-demand has been one of the few bright spots in the otherwise slumping book industry, writes Joe Menn:

The first serious bid for a print-on-demand bestseller began publishing on Wednesday, as Rick Smolan launched The Obama Time Capsule, as a customisable book which will be printed only after it is ordered. Read more

  • Speculation about Facebook‘s finances has once again been swirling, but chief executive Mark Zuckerberg at least provided a bit of clarity. Over the weekend VentureBeat said Facebook was about to close a $150m round to buy out shares from hundreds of employees. Then TechCrunch chimed in with a report that the company turned down a $200m term sheet that valued the company at $8bn because the investors wanted a board seat. Facebook is notoriously tight-lipped, but today Mr Zuckerberg said that his company is in no immediate need of capital, and that he does hope to take Facebook public, but not for a couple of years.
  • Could the worst be over? Hewlett-Packard said that stronger than expected Chinese and US consumer markets helped it beat Wall Street profit projections for the second quarter, and the world’s leading personal computer company by revenue struck a note of cautious optimism on the economy as a whole.

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  • The US Federal Trade Commission is looking into the close ties between the boards of Apple and Google, according to the New York Times. The regulators are looking at whether the fact that Apple and Google share two directors, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt and former Genentech chief executive Arthur Levinson, while also competing in several areas, falls foul of anti-trust laws, the New York Times said.
  • Amazon is on Wednesday expected to announce a large-format device similar to the Kindle that is optimised for reading textbooks, newspapers and magazines. Amazon has taken the lead in the rapidly emerging market for e-book readers with its Kindle and Kindle 2.

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  • Three months into her stint at the head of Yahoo, Carol Bartz is seeking buyers for the HotJobs employment site. Other ancillary businesses in Yahoo’s portfolio could also be getting prepared for disposal.
  • Twitter is benefiting from all that attention. Visitors to Twitter.com surged 131 per cent in March to 9.3m, suggesting that more than being just a fad, Twitter could in fact be going mainstream.

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  • Google is looking for the next Google. With Google Ventures, a new venture capital arm, the internet search giant hopes to expand its already outsized influence on Silicon Valley and eventually rival established venture firms such as Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital.
  • Facebook is replacing its chief financial officer as it seeks to balance rapid growth against increased capital needs and a closed IPO market. Speculation about Facebook’s financial health has been rampant of late, but today details emerged that suggested the company is in better shape than many thought.

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  • Cisco‘s open secret is a secret no more. After weeks of rumours speculating as much, the networking equipment powerhouse is entering the server market, posing a potential threat to IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Sun. Servers are lower-margin products, but analysts say Cisco will be able to charge more by offering bundled products.
  • Apple is unveiling new iPhone software on Tuesday. Watchers don’t expect multimedia text messaging, but other desired features, including copy and pasting and integrated contact books, seem likely. Don’t expect an appearance from Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, who remains on medical leave, or the debut of Apple’s rumoured 10-inch touchscreen tablet.

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