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Wikileaks stays afloat

A court decision against Wikileaks, a website for whistleblowers to publish info exposing unethical practices, has been reversed. US District Judge Jeffrey S White has rescinded his orders to shut down Wikileaks after its operators raised two fingers in his direction by setting up on a "bulletproof" server run by the folks at The Pirate Bay.

iPhone? It's MyPhone

Inventor Romek Figa is taking Apple to court over the iPhone's use of caller ID. He claims the device infringes a patent he obtained in 1990.

Also before the beak

A Chinese music industry group is suing search engine Baidu.com for alleged violation of copyright. The Music Copyright Society of China is accusing Baidu of using 50 songs illegally.

Ofcom is appealing an order by the Information Commissioner to provide the British public with a list of every mobile phone mast in the UK. Ofcom contends that this would be a breach of network operators' privacy.

Nokia has scored another victory in its war with Qualcomm, and will be able to sell handsets in the UK after two of Qualcomm's patents were ruled invalid. The two companies have been squabbling over patent fees since April, and while they're showing no signs of slowing down, Nokia's position looks good.

BlackBerry inventor Research In Motion will not have to pay patent fees to Visto after the latter's patent was ruled invalid. RIM is itself currently seeking to patent its sliding keyboard for the BlackBerry.

And the Japan-based Suruga Bank is suing IBM over a systems contract it dropped for being too difficult to carry out. The bank wants 11.1bn yen ($107m).

MS dumbs down Vista...

It has emerged that Microsoft lowered Widows Vista's minimum hardware requirements just so that Intel could sell more graphics chipsets. An email from MS general manager John Kalkman revealed that the company had reduced the requirements to ridiculous levels.

...and opens the online Office door

And Microsoft has opened its beta of Office Live Workspaces, a free online version of its Office suite of programs.

Be careful out there

Tools to test malware before release have been cropping up on underground forums and web pages. These work by imitating the scanning processes of leading security products, so that a malware author can check whether his creation can slip by the scanners before unleashing it onto the web.

Hot on the heels of 7,000 leap year babies complaining about Microsoft Excel's 25-year-old bug that prevents it from recognising leap years, it has emerged that the very same bug has been coded into the latest version of the company's Exchange 2007 server software. To ensure compatibility, no doubt.

A ransomware Trojan for mobile phones has popped up in China. The program causes infected phones to display a message demanding RMB 50 ($7) to unlock it.

A number of sysadmins are leaving their networks open to attack by allowing Simple Network Management Protocol configurations to be read across the internet. Scans can prompt a range of devices to give up username credentials and passwords.

An adware program has topped the malware charts for the first time. The Virtumonde-gen adware package showed up in Kaspersky scans more times than any other form of malware in February.

Deal or no deal?

Bain and Huawei are back at the table, hoping to buy out 3Com for $2.2bn. The firms intend to resubmit their application with the crucial difference that Huawei will have only restricted access to 3Com's security products. The US government had previously raised concerns about a Chinese company getting a peek at the intrusion prevention tech 3Com provides it.

The EU will next week give Google's acquisition of Doubleclick the go-ahead. Concerns over privacy are to be swept aside.

Motorola is to pump £55m into Malaysia after its recent threat to pull out of the country scared the goverment into offering a £150m contract for upgraded police radios. Motorola's departure could have caused 10,000 job losses.

Results roundup

IT equipment distributor Northamber PLC saw a pre-tax profit and revenue upswing in the first half of the financial year. Nothing major; revenue rose £1.7m to £97.3m compared to H1 2006.

And global distie Tech Data describes itself as "cautiously optimistic" as its shares rose more than three per cent on the back of healthy fourth quarter results.

Intel's Q1 forecast has dipped because of low flash memory prices. The ubiquity of NAND flash memory kit is blamed for the company's profits dropping two percentage points to 54 per cent.

And Acer beat out Dell to secure second place for laptop sales in the fourth quarter. HP still leads the market, and newcomer Asus saw a 50 per cent rise in sales to a still-modest 1.56 million units.

Pirates would surrender if asked, apparently

A survey shows that most British filesharers would stop if they received a termination warning from their ISP. This makes a certain amount of sense, since they'd have to stop if they actually were cut off. But are some people simply addicted to filesharing?

Nine Icelanders have been convicted of filesharing and given probation and, in one case, a 30-day suspended sentence. A pretty light punishment, but they were also hit by legal bills of ISK 2.6 million ($39,000).

You've got a call. But, it'll cost you

The EU is considering scrapping mobile phone termination fees after a report it commissioned recommended the move. But will Europeans be willing to start paying for incoming calls?

Green computing not so green, say greenies

Greenpeace thinks the computer industry just ain't green enough. Its latest report shows that a paltry three products had attained the half-way mark in reducing their environmental impact.

Yahoo! cancels! election!

The battle between Microsoft and Yahoo! still rages. Yahoo! has cancelled a board election amid fears that Microsoft would use the opportunity to fill the board with friendly faces to aid the buyout.

Lampposts and vacuum cleaners need loving too

A Polish building contractor has been sacked for having intimate relations with a Henry Hoover in London's Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. And that's a vacuum cleaner, for those of you not up on cheekily-smiling cleaning appliances. Look at the picture, he was obviously asking for it.

But it's not just vacuum cleaners that are at risk from perverts getting their jollies. A man was arrested last month for an indecent act involving a lamppost. He is alleged to have been simulating sex with it, and was arrested "on suspicion of outraging public decency".

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

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