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'We are not concerned about your patents at all' - Jobs

Plus: 'Not only is this a pain, it's actually losing me wages'

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This was the week when an ex-Microsoftie said that Steve Ballmer was not the man who could lead the company back to its former rival-crushing glory.

Joachim Kempin also claimed that Ballmer held on tight to his seat at the top by tossing out anyone in management who looked like they might replace him:

When you work that directly with Ballmer and Ballmer believes 'maybe this guy could someday take over from me', my God, you will have less air to breathe, that's what it comes down to.

Kempin, who has written a tell-all book about his time at the company, also made it clear that while Ballmer was an OK guy and all that, he wasn't really cut out for chiefhood:

Is he a great CEO? I don't think so. Microsoft's board is a lame duck board, has been forever. They hire people to help them administer the company, but not to lead the company. That's the problem.

They need somebody maybe 35 to 40 years old, a younger person who understands the Facebook Inc generation and this mobile community. They don't need this guy on stage with this fierce, aggressive look, announcing the next version of Windows and thinking he can score with that.

This was also the week when Sky admitted that its broadband service was running reeeeeeealllllly slowly because it had greedily signed up far more Brits than its network could handle.

Subscribers in Doncaster, North Wales and Bristol have been complaining that the once competent service is now seriously letting them down. One user said:

I have had around nine months of continuous good service. Since the end of November I have had this dramatic speed loss during peak periods. This can drop from the usual 13-14Mbps download to as low as 2Mbps.

While another customer in Doncaster was pretty p***ed off:

Internet is completely unusable, so this is the THIRD night in a row that I am unable to fulfil my contractually obligated working from home via the internet, so a third night's overtime lost. Not only is this a pain, it's actually losing me wages.

Sky claimed that the problems were only affecting some parts of the network and then in typical business-speak, admitted it was its own fault:

Following a combination of an underlining increase in network traffic as well as an especially high rate of new customer additions, we are aware of capacity issues in a limited number of exchanges.

In the US, a spokeswoman for the attorney's office responsible for the aggressive prosecution of Aaron Swartz has said that his suicide won't change the way suspects accused of computer fraud are handled. The office said:

Absolutely not. We thought the case was reasonably handled and we would not have done things differently. We're going to continue doing the work of the office and of following our mission.

In a court case over alleged "no-poaching deals" between tech companies in the States, a filing revealed an email exchange in which Steve Jobs appeared to be threatening Palm with a patent slapdown for nicking Apple's workers.

In a sworn statement, former Palm CEO Ed Colligan alleged that he had refused to bow to Jobs' pressure, saying the deal would be "wrong, if not illegal":

Steve, we don't want to hurt Apple. As I said on the phone, Palm is focused on building the best team in the industry, and we know there is a lot of quality talent outside of Apple.

On the other hand, this is a small space, and it's inevitable that we will bump into each other. Threatening Palm with a patent lawsuit in response to a decision by one employee to leave Apple is just out of line.

If you choose the litigation route, we can respond with our own claims… but I don't think litigation is the answer. We will both just end up paying a lot of lawyers a lot of money.

But Jobs continued to push, saying in another email:

Just for the record, when Siemens sold their handset business to BenQ they didn't sell them their essential patents but rather just gave them a license. The patents they did sell to BenQ are not that great. We looked at them ourselves when they were for sale.

I guess you guys felt differently and bought them. We are not concerned about them at all. My advice is to take a look at our patent portfolio before you make a final decision here.

And finally, the original Batmobile from the '60s TV series starring Adam West-starring series has been sold for the first time at auction. The gadget-laden car, built up from a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car by Ford Motor Company, fetched $4.2m from a fan of arguably the campest version of the Caped Crusader.

The awesomely named Rick Champagne said on winning the motor:

I really liked Batman growing up and I came here with the intention of buying the car. Sure enough, I was able to buy it. That was a dream come true.

Somewhat unbelievably, the clear plastic bubble canopy was actually a part of the original Futura, although the smoke emitter, nail-dispensing mechanism and the twin parachutes were added by customiser George Barris. ®

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