Cyber crime wave as Naomi enjoys second life in England

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Lock 'em up! All of 'em!

Ah, Christmas. A time for conspiracy inquests, serial killings and Prime Ministers being quizzed by the dibble.

A busy week for the global cyberpolice too, who managed to fit in banging up the leader of a Russian ID theft gang for six years, the UBS logic bomber, who deliberately crashed his employer's systems, for an eight stretch, and prepping extradition of UFO fancier Gary McKinnon for basketball practice in Guantanamo Bay.

All in time for coffee, doughnuts and porn in Second Life too – John Reid is considering banning recreations of illegal sexual acts in that particularly not-sad-at-all alternative reality-ville.

This week's ubiquitous MS app security flaw was brought to you by Word on Monday. Too late for a fix to be included in the monthly patch update apparently.

Hasta la Windows?

Speaking of those nice folks over at Redmond, speculation abounds that Vista will be the last traditional iteration of Windows we'll, er, enjoy. Yep, we're talking software as a service, and Microsoft inched further down that road with the launch of Windows Live.

And while Microsoft defends its territory from Google's nascent apps package, they of the coloured balls had better keep half an eye on their collective rear end, as IBM teamed up with Yahoo! to give away OmniFind, an enterprise search product which used to cost getting on for $20k.

MS also unleashed the bombshell that its latest and biggest operative emission, Vista, will create twice as much wealth in the US as in the EU. Given Microsoft is a US company, forgive us if it our jaws only made it halfway to the floor.

Maths is fun!

Given our innately bone idle temperament, one thing which has always irritated us about Windows is that the calculator is tucked away in the Accessories menu by default. Perhaps that's been the problem at Monster too, and they just held an intra-office Sudoku championship to see who gets to do eight years of financials in their head. Whatever happened, the recruitment site got it wrong big time, and exaggerated profits by a total of $272m.

The backdating bandwagon rumbles on then. Dell delayed reporting results this week, but didn't say whether executive share option chicanery was to blame.

HPness is a ceasar called Hurd

HP would probably love stock backdating to be the biggest corporate governance problem it had this year. The former white knight of Silicon Valley sought to further distance itself from the spy scandal by cutting ties to the lawyer who seemed to advise it that pretexting was ok.

He's not the only one for the chop. New chairman Mark Hurd vowed to continue wielding the sword of truth by continuing to cut costs. Anyone who can lend a shield of justice should give the recently-promoted Hurd a bell.

The slashfest doesn't extend to HP's ties to Microsoft though. The pair will spend $300m over three years to push unified communications.

Spectrum for auction – not by Clive Sinclair, not on eBay

Which brings us clumsily nicely to Ofcom, which started talking up the sale of WiMax spectrum licenses. Not even they can expect a repeat of the 3G gold rush though.

The regulator also found time to tell us something we already knew: switching broadband provider is rubbish, as evidenced by the High Court injunction obtained by ISP Biscit on its former wholesaler NetServices the same day. Everything should run supersmooth come February thanks to Ofcom's new rules. Honest.

China roams all over 3

An exciting week in the sexy world of telecoms regulation in fact. An EU meeting this week might just have suggested an end may be in sight to the roaming charges saga. Predictably, it looks like it's going to taste a bit fudgey.

Shame really then that China Mobile didn't railroad Hutchinson into handing over 3 UK earlier. A set of jackboots like those belonging to the People's Republic's largest mobile operator could've put a bit more oomph into proceedings. The deal should go through today, our reporter's sources said.

And he didn't pay anyone for that information, lest we fall foul of the Information Commissioner, who sternly frowned upon the practice from atop a white shire horse this week.

Poison chalice at AOL Europe

We revealed this week that AOL Europe has got yet another pair of hands in charge. Well, it's actually the same pair of hands it started the year with, but we bet Philip Rowley wasn't planning on being responsible for stabilising the firm come year's end. Three others with operational resposibility have deserted.

Apple bobs

A eventfulish week it seems then, but no news would have been good news for Apple. The Reg caused a bit of stir on Monday with a report on research saying iTunes credit card sales are down 65 per cent. However you paint it that can't be good for Apple, non?

The resulting stock slip apparently took Forrester, the analyst outfit responsible for the research, by surprise - as you can tell from its flaptastic response here.

Personally, we reckon all the fuss could have been avoided if everyone agreed to adopt The New York Times' new approach of ignoring analysts under most circumstances if at all possible.

Naomi Campbell: our woman of the year

Reg readers and staff alike are indebted to the world's fightingest supermodel, Ms Naomi Campbell for supplying a never-ending car crash of inhumanity this year. That public service was finally recognised on Wednesday when the Plain English Campaign officially honoured her for an utterance of outstandingly crass thickery. She said: "I love England, especially the food. There's nothing I like more than a lovely bowl of pasta."

Us too Naomi, us too...especially at Christmas. There's nothing more English than settling down with a lovely bowl of pasta and Dolmio to watch the Queen's speech.

Right, that's the lot for week 50 of 2006. If it's your office party next week, don't have nightmares. ®

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