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Suits and suits

A former contract worker is suing Google for $25m. He claims that the search giant stole his idea for Google Sky, an addition to Google Earth that allows users to browse the night sky.

But at least Google can take heart in the fact that it has not been convicted of crimes against humanity. Pennsylvanian Dylan Stephen Jayne took the company to court in September because his social security number, when turned upside down, spelled Google. Spooky stuff.

Meanwhile, a federal judge has taken whistleblower helper site Wikileaks down. The ruling follows a lawsuit brought by the parent company of a bank accused on the site of money laundering in the Cayman Islands.

But the site remains online and is keeping the objectionable pages available. It is hosted by a Sweden-based firm run by two of the founders of The Pirate Bay, which has faced similar legal challenges.

The Economist has failed in its attempt to win theeconomist.com, after the economist who owns it claimed that he had not heard of the magazine when he bought it.

Microsoft is still being investigated by the EC despite throwing open its software APIs and protocols this week. The EC wants to see whether the software giant is really all about interoperability, as it's been claiming.

Microhoo! cares? We care

Microsoft continues to circle Yahoo!, and despite the prey's adamant wish not to be engulfed, it looks like those holding shares in both companies might swing the deal.

Meanwhile, Bill Gates says Microsoft's offer is fair and that Yahoo! "should take a hard look at it". And perhaps it should, for Microsoft's apparent next step would be to launch a proxy attack, possibly deposing key members of Yahoo!'s board.

But this is all mere background noise to the really important business. We asked you what the resultant company should be called, and the results are in.

Scams, bugs and cons

The Office of Fair Trading has been sending out scam text messages and following up with a second message pointing out that the first was false. It hopes to educate young people about the dangers of such scams.

Spanish police have arrested 10 Nigerians who are suspected of using a neighbour's Wi-Fi connection to run a lottery scam. The ploy pulled in €19,000 from unsuspecting victims.

A woman has been fined £500 plus £60 costs after admitting to going through her old employer's emails while working for a competing nanny agency.

Opera threw a tantrum over Mozilla's handling of the disclosure of a security bug that affects both companies' browsers. Opera said it had been informed of the flaw only a day before Mozilla published a security advisory, and that this left insufficient time to respond to the threat.

O2 has quelled a bug in its Bluebook application, which saves SMS messages for viewing online. The bug allowed users to view text messages saved online by other users.

Microsoft has suspended distribution of a key component of Vista's SP1 update after complaints that it caused computers to fail to boot properly. KB937287 is a servicing stack update and is crucial for SP1 to function.

Meanwhile, the House of Lords is to hold a new inquiry into internet security. The Lords said they were "disappointed" with the government's response to the recommendations of their previous report.

And Canadian police have broken a massive botnet ring, arresting 16 men and a woman. The suspects have been charged with hacking offences.

Sandler and Austin leave

Non-executive chair of Computacenter Ron Sandler has quit in order to focus on chairing Northern Rock while it is under public ownership.

And Evesham co-founder and chairman Richard Austin has left the company. The Evesham Technology Ltd brand is now up for sale.

Pirate Bay sued, pirate radio stations shut down

The Village People have joined Prince in suing The Pirate Bay over lost earnings due to illegal downloads. Web Sheriff, a body aiming to uphold copyrights online, has taken on plans to sue the BitTorrent tracker in both the US and Sweden.

And Ofcom has shut down 22 pirate radio stations in a bid to clear the London airwaves. The regulator claimed the stations were broadcasting on bands that could interfere with emergency services communications, although the numbers make that seem a little iffy.

Purchases completed and quelled

US electronics contract manufacturing company Sanmina-SCI has sold its PC business to Foxconn and its PC plant in Mexico to Lenovo.

Phones 4u has closed a deal to purchase Dial-a-phone. Dial-a-phone's brands will continue to operate, and no major round of layoffs is planned.

National security fears have scuppered the proposed takeover of 3Com by US private equity firm Bain Capital and Chinese rival Huawei Technologies. The US government didn't like the idea of a Chinese company having access to 3Com's TippingPoint unit, which provides their intrusion prevention technology.

Sky is to take legal action against a ruling forcing it to give up its stake in ITV. Sky currently owns 17.9 per cent of ITV, and the Competition Commission said in January that the investment would reduce competition between the two firms.

HP has rosy quarter

HP has enjoyed a bountiful first quarter, reporting a 13 per cent revenue rise to $28.5bn. Shares rose on the news and the company has raised its 2008 revenue prediction accordingly.

Dell likes the channel

Dell is keen to sign up channel resellers to the certification part of its two-tier programme. The firm wishes to focus more on the channel, saying that it is no longer just "something on the side".

Northern Rock secrecy 'unacceptable'

The Tories have declared Northern Rock's exemption from the Freedom of Information act unacceptable. The exemption has been slipped into the bill to nationalise the troubled bank, and Tory shadow chancellor George Osbourne claims Alistair Darling is "trying to cover his tracks".

No front running

ICANN, the body responsible for assigning domain names and IP addresses, has found no evidence of front running - buying up searched domain names and selling them for a profit - by domain name registration companies. An ICANN committee investigated 120 supposed examples of the practice and found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Dogged by misfortune

A hungry South Korean man managed to set himself on fire while attempting to cook his landlady's dog. The drunken man kidnapped the pooch while his landlady was in the bathroom and killed and then "tried to scorch the dog". Neighbours alerted by the smoke called the fire brigade. The abortive chef was arrested and charged with theft.

We'll be back next week with more of the news that matters. ®

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