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Microsoft's misery

As ever, it has been a busy week for the boys and girls of Redmond, as Microsoft found itself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

To start the week, the software firm woke up to the nasty realisation that all its dirty laundry from the Comes class action lawsuit was being hung out to dry on BitTorrent. Ouch.

Next, it found itself in the firing line from VMware. The EMC subsidiary published a white paper accusing Redmond's finest of restrictive support policies and limiting customer choice. Microsoft's response was a little lightweight for our reporter's tastes.

And finally, the European Commission warned Microsoft it could face further penalties over what it calls "unreasonable pricing" of interoperability information. Microsoft has four weeks to respond, then faces a hearing, and a definitive ruling from the commission.

Lock up that Fox

We've become accustomed to Microsoft's regular patching, but this week it was Firefox users who needed to repair browser holes. Mozilla issued a patch for flaws that could be exploited to bypass security restrictions, conduct cross-site scripting or spoofing attacks, pinch sensitive information, or even gain control of vulnerable systems.

Shopping tips for Michael Dell

Analysts at Sanford Bernstein suggest Dell should buy Acer. Available for a mere $4bn, the firm could expand Dell's horizons, the analysts say, giving it access to Asia and Europe. But that cherished direct sales business model would have to go.

However likely or unlikely that prospect seems, the firm is busy broadening its offering. This week saw news that it plans to offer Linux on desktops for its corporate customers.

Symantec boss quits

Symantec's president of its key security and data management business Jeremy Burton has quit the firm to become CEO of business process software firm Serena Software.

The buffer overfloweth

Flaws in an ActiveX component incorporated in many technical support support packages create a risk of hacking attacks, security watchers warn. The code in question, part of SupportSoft's ActiveX controls, is subject to multiple buffer overflow vulnerabilities, which create a means for hackers to inject malware onto vulnerable systems.

Insider hacking?

The Securities and Exchange Commission claims that accountancy firm Blue Bottle hacked into corporate servers to gain early access to news releases, which it then used to guide its trades. The SEC is suing the firm for insider trading.

Europe vs USofA

Swift (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) claims Safe Harbour in the US over transfer of banking data to US anti-terror authorities. The EU had ruled that the organisation is obliged by EU law to protect the privacy of the data it handles, and that sending information to the US is illegal. Swift says it interprets the law differently, giving fresh legs to an already long running argument.

Europe vs Europe

Plans to tighten up European intellectual property laws are still just that, plans. MEPs have again postponed a vote on the proposals, saying they need to thrash out exactly what will constitute a commercial scale infringement.

Rethinking contractual inking

Selling your software as service? Time to rethink your service level agreement, argues the Software & Information Industry Association. Setting realistic expectations now will save tears at bedtime.

VirginMedia's cloudy day

Post NTL, Sky, and VirginMedia just can't agree about anything. Negotiations over access to Sky One ended when Sky TV picked up its channel and went home. Newly named VirginMedia is instead providing access to some of the channel's must-see content on an on-demand basis.

Yoof culture

Good and bad news for the young 'uns. The government has scrapped plans for a young person's ID card, but cases of repetitive strain injury are on the rise, especially among the young.

Let me entertain you

Chinese scientists announce they can remotely control pigeons, thanks to brain-implanted electrodes; Jesus backs phone masts, and Sharon Stone sweeps the board at the Razzies. ®

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