1st > September > 2004 Archive

Samsung phones to double as wallets

Samsung mobile phones look set to double as m-wallets as the mobile phone manufacturer signs a Near Field Communication chip deal with Philips. Through the use of Near Field Communication (NFC), Samsung mobile phones will be transformed into multi-functional devices from which users can conduct secure m-payment transactions, gain access to public transport and buildings or download event tickets, the company claims. "Joining forces with Philips for the further development of NFC-enabled devices is part of Samsung's commitment to change the way information and services are paid for, distributed and accessed by all consumers," said JK Shin, senior vice president of the research and development team at Samsung. NFC is a type of wireless technology that allows devices to exchange small amounts of data across short distances - approximately four inches. Devices with in-built NFC can facilitate m-payments, simply by holding the devices close to each other. Users with multiple NFC-enabled devices, such as laptops, handheld computers, digital cameras, or mobile phones, can store personal payment details on each machine and all NFC-enabled devices are able to interact, allowing for quick and easy exchanges of money between individuals. Samsung is the second major mobile manufacturer to sign up with Philips; Nokia is aiming to release its range of NFC-enabled mobile phones by the end of 2004. By 2009, around half of the world's mobile phones will feature NFC chips, according to analysts. Mobile phones will be the first of many consumer products to embrace NFC technology. It is likely that consumers will soon see TVs and PCs equipped with NFC chips, enabling consumers to view images on from their mobile phones on their TVs, for example. In September 2002 Philips formed a strategic alliance with Sony to co-ordinate on the development of NFC technology. Philips uses NFC in its Mifare contactless smartcard and Sony has its own FeliCa contactless NFC smartcard. Together, the companies are better able to deal with issues such as security and future product development. In March 2004 Philips, Sony and Nokia linked up to form the NFC Forum with the aim of promoting common standards of the technology and ensuring compatibility between devices and services. The forum will also encourage other companies to adopt the technology. © ENN Related stories Simpay eyes €1bn m-commerce bounty Park and pay by mobile comes to London Vodafone Live Shopping goes live EC drafts m-payments blueprint
ElectricNews.net, 01 Sep 2004

PDA security still dismal

Worker apathy about PDA security is putting corporate data in jeopardy. The storage of the names and addresses of corporate customers on PDAs is now common - but security practices are struggling to keep up with technology usage. Two thirds of users do not use any kind of encryption to protect confidential data on mobile devices, according to a survey commissioned by Pointsec Mobile Technologies and Infosecurity Europe. The Mobile Vulnerability Survey 2004 found that a third of users do not even use password protection on their devices, leaving the information vulnerable to opportunists, hackers or competitors. Security awareness remains as low as that recorded by Pointsec in a similar study last year. Since then, the diversity of applications run on PDAs has blossomed, making them an even more attractive target for would-be data thieves. PDAs are now firmly entrenched as corporate communication tools, with almost half being used to receive and view corporate emails, and a third now doubling as a phone. Three in ten are used to store corporate information. The survey findings show that one of the fastest and easiest ways to access corporate data is through unprotected PDAs that are lost or stolen, as they contain business names and addresses, spreadsheets and other corporate documents. As well as using their PDAs to store company information, many users store valuable personal information such as PIN numbers, bank account details, social security numbers and even lists of passwords, many of which can be accessed - ironically - without a password. One in eight (13 per cent) of respondents to the survey have lost their mobile device, possibly in a taxi (30 per cent), or a car (20 per cent), or home (20 per cent), at an airport (10 per cent) or in a restaurant (10 per cent). More companies than ever have introduced a specific mobile security policy - over 50 per cent have a policy, compared with 27 per cent last year. But very little has changed in practice. For three years in a row, the number of people who are encrypting their data or using passwords to secure their PDAs has remained roughly static, in spite of the efforts of companies in introducing mobile security policies. The survey was conducted among 68 IT managers, with 38 per cent coming from companies employing over 1,000 employees. ® Related stories PDA security slackers, the lot of you PDAs make easy pickings for data thieves 62,000 mobiles lost in London's black cabs
John Leyden, 01 Sep 2004

Botched migration hits Bulldog users

Bulldog is in the doghouse after leaving customers without broadband access over the last couple of days. The matter appears to have been made worse still after the company bungled a migration of customers onto a new server. The ISP - which was recently acquired by Cable & Wireless - said one in ten of its customers was involved in the botched migration last night. The ISP declined to say exactly how many customers have been hit. One reader told us he's been without broadband for five days and has been unable to contact tech support for any help. Another user who has been without Net access all day told us: "I've made at least 20 calls to Bulldog today but I haven't got through once. It's pathetic. It wouldn't be so bad if we knew what was going on. But there's nothing. And this from a company that brags about being the 'Best Consumer Broadband ISP 2004'. Bet they didn't get it for customer service." Bulldog today apologised for the "performance issues experienced by some customers over the last few days". In a statement Bulldog said: "The company is aware of these issues and is currently working to resolve them. These issues were caused by the attempted migration to a broadband server with a greater customer capacity. This migration was part of a continuing drive to enlarge the Bulldog network, in response to customer take-up of Bulldog services in recent months. "Unfortunately, in spite of three weeks of testing of the equipment before the migration, we encountered some problems and some customers were unable to access their accounts for a time. As a result, the migration was terminated and services were re-migrated to the initial server. "Bulldog apologises to any customers who have experienced service issues or who have had problems contacting us." Although Bulldog reckons it's got this latest problem licked, a number of punters are still without access. ® Related stories Bulldog targets SMEs with unbundled SDSL C&W buys Bulldog Bulldog employee sorry for rude postings
Tim Richardson, 01 Sep 2004

Frontbridge buys archiving firm MessageRite

In brief:In brief: Email security firm FrontBridge is beefing up its email and instant messaging technology through the acquisition of archiving firm MessageRite for an undisclosed sum. California-based FrontBridge yesterday launched a managed service offering desktop-to-desktop email encryption. The FrontBridge Secure Email service is based on encryption technology from security firm Voltage Security. Frontbridge is touting ease of deployment and ease of use as key differentiators. ® Related stories Veritas buys (email archiving firm ) KVS for $225m Shackling the email content beast netReplay is watching you UK firms must monitor staff IMs
John Leyden, 01 Sep 2004

Brits bet on gravity wave discovery

The Great British Public is so sure that scientists will discover gravity waves within the next six years that Ladbrokes, the bookies, has had to slash the odds it is prepared to offer anyone wanting to bet on it. The betting firm offered odds on five scientific breakthroughs being made by 2010. It reportedly offered 10,000/1 against life being found on Saturn's moon Titan, although the site does not show this as an available bet at the moment, and originally set the odds of discovering gravitational waves at 500/1. The odds looked too good to the punters, though, and the company has had to shorten the odds to 10-1 as a result, according to Warren Lush, a Ladbrokes spokesman, speaking on the BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "We had to shorten odds to 10/1, but when I was asking experts, physicists about this they were very very divided and 80 per cent of those I spoke to thought it had no chance of being discovered by 2010." Since that broadcast, the odds have shortened further and are now just 6/1. Gravitational waves are distortions in space time predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity. He predicted that two stars in orbit around one another would gradually lose energy from their orbits in the form of gravitational radiation. The orbits would gradually collapse, resulting in shorter and shorter orbital periods. There is some observational evidence that supports the theory: two astronomers (Taylor and Weisberg) have recorded a shortening of the orbital period of a binary pulsar, but that comes under the heading of 'circumstantial evidence'. For the bookies to pay out, the waves must be conclusively identified. Lush says that since the odds have been made available, he has been inundated with calls from scientists explaining to him how wrong (and right) his odds are, a reaction we at El Reg are most used to. Bets will be settled on the basis of reports published in New Scientist magazine, the bookies say. ® Those odds in full: Understanding the origin of cosmic rays by 2010: 4/1 The ATLAS experiment at CERN finding the Higgs Boson by 2010: 6/1 The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) detecting gravitational waves by 2010: 6/1 Building a fusion power station by 2010: 50/1 Read more about gravity waves here (pdf). Related stories 11 year-old-kids free to gamble online Cybercops seize Russian extortion masterminds European betting sites brace for attack
Lucy Sherriff, 01 Sep 2004

Phishers suspected of eBay Germany domain hijack

eBay Germany and German domain registry organisation DeNIC are to investigate a partly successful domain hijacking scam that remained unnoticed for at least a couple of hours. On Saturday, visitors to eBay Germany were redirected to a scam site hosted by IIntergenia AG. The German internet provider says criminals requested a DNS (domain name server) transfer for several high profile sites, including Google.com, Web.de, Amazon.com and eBay Germany. While most of the DNS transfers were denied, somehow eBay slipped through the net. How the domain could have been transferred without the consent of the existing holder remains unclear. When a website decides to move its site to a new server it has to tell the DNS service its new IP address. Although this is largely an automated process, several measures are taken to prevent hijacking attempts. Experts believe the goal of the hijacking was to fool users into divulging personal financial data such as credit card numbers and account usernames and passwords. Normally, these phishing attacks use spoofed emails to lure victims to fraudulent websites. The bogus site, which several visitors claimed to have seen, may also have tried to read login names and passwords of visitors from cookies on their PCs. Although DeNIC corrected the transfer, eBay wants to know who's to blame. The immensely popular internet auctioneer and its users may have lost substantial revenue because the original site was unavailable for several hours. The scam site officially belonged to a man from Niedersachsen, but he denies any involvement. The German state criminal police agency (Landeskriminalamt) is now starting an investigation too. Related stories eBay denies South Africa 419 hacking report Estonian plasma TVs: Phishers fingered eBay and PayPal go after auction fraudsters Cracking down on cyberspace land grabs
Jan Libbenga, 01 Sep 2004

eBay ups Korean stake

In briefIn brief eBay is spending $325m to increase its stake in South Korean online trading company Internet Auction. The purchases from institutional investors will see eBay increase its stake in Internet Auction from 62 per cent to 86 per cent. eBay intends to buy the rest of the company in coming days. In coming weeks, it will make a tender offer for all remaining outstanding shares at the same price of 125,000 Korean Won per share ($108) as offered to the instititutions. It does not expect the deal to have an impact on third quarter earnings. ® Related stories eBay answers craigslist's investor request eBay UK goes mobile eBay denies South Africa 419 hacking report
John Oates, 01 Sep 2004

Neuros to open source MP3 player blueprints

Neuros Audio, the company behind the Neuros II "digital audio computer", has released the source code that underlies the hard drive-based music player's firmware to the open source community and has pledged to open up the device's hardware schematics later this month. "We're willing to support the community in a way that not many HW companies are, including releasing documentation and even schematics in addition to source code," said NA president Joe Born. NA has offered the Visual Basic .NET source code for its Neuros Sync Manager application for some time. NA's willingness to work with the open source world - not to mention the player's Ogg Vorbis support - has won it not a few customers from the Linux world. As we noted in our recent review of the Neuros II, the player doesn't ship with Linux, Mac OS X or other Unix-derived OS-compatible software out of the box. However, as a number of Reg readers have pointed out, that hasn't prevented enterprising coders from developing a range of apps for these platforms that will interface with the otherwise Windows-only player. The Neuros Database Manipulator, for example, runs on any is a Java 1.4-compatible platform and allows music files to be copied over to the device once mounted. Other such apps include Sorune and Positron, which are based on Perl and Python, respectively. Like NDBM, Sorune is a GUI app, while Positron runs from the command line. The latter doesn't offer full Mac OS X support yet, due to USB protocol issues. After our review, NA posted a firmware update that provides support for European FM frequency bands. The update is available here. NA warns that it's a manual update - essentially, you copy it over to the device and force a reboot - and "not for the fainthearted", but it does open up the device's FM radio and its MyFi short-range music broadcast facility to UK and European users. With the firmware source code release, Born said he hopes the open source community will begin work on the support code needed make the release "really useful... We need to get the GCC compiler working, and we need a program loader", he said. "Open source software isn't much good without a community of developers," he added. "We need your help to fully realise the vision of the digital audio computer." ® Related stories Neuros II 20GB HDD music player Visit The Reg's Review Channel for more hardware coverage.
Tony Smith, 01 Sep 2004

Intel Q3 sales to barely meet guidance - report

When Intel updates its Q3 financial performance tomorrow, it will revise its revenue forecast toward the bottom end of the range it announced in July. So reckons investment house SG Cowen Securities (SGCS) in a report issued to investors yesterday: "We believe the consensus estimates for Q3 could be trimmed following a potentially disappointing mid-quarter update." In July, Intel expected Q3 revenues to fall somewhere between $8.6bn and $9.2bn. But slow notebook sales and an inventory build-up will push revenues down to the lower figure, SGCS believes. It puts Intel's sales at $8.59bn, still up seven per cent on Q2's $8.05bn and 10.1 per cent on the $7.8bn it reported for Q3 2003. "We expect Intel to lower the midpoint of it revenue range and possibly lower its gross margin guidance," the report says. "Our view is based on recent channel checks that suggests demand for notebook PCs remains tepid and that Intel is aggressively reducing prices to reduce excess inventories." Intel cut prices on 22 August, but further cuts are anticipated in the Autumn to boost demand for its i915 chipset family, Grantsdale. ® Related stories Intel takes axe to Pentium 4 prices Intel Itanic prices chopped Price cuts to boost 'lukewarm' Grantsdale demand - report Intel flashes investors with Q2 revenue jump
Tony Smith, 01 Sep 2004

Mobo prices fall ahead of Grantsdale cuts

Taiwanese mobo makers have reduced what they charge for i915P and i915G-based boards, lending credence to claims that Intel will next month cut the price of its mainstream desktop chipsets. Last month, sources from among Taiwan's motherboard makers alleged Intel would trim $1-2 off its 'Grantsdale' prices in a bid to boost demand for both the chipsets and the 775-pin Socket T Pentium 4 processors they support. According to DigiTimes, the latest mobo price cuts have been made in anticipation of Intel's own. Around $10 has been knocked off i915G and i915P-based mobos, taking average prices down to $100 and $90, respectively. The site's sources also said mobo makers will release "aggressively priced" low-cost 915-based boards later this month. This may be further evidence for the rumoured upcoming availability of a line of low-end Grantsdale chipsets Intel is currently preparing. Intel is expected to offer the i915GV, a i915G minus the ability to operate with an external PCI Express x16 graphics card. It will features Intel's Media Graphics Accelerator 900 integrated 3D engine. The GV will support all Socket-T LGA-775 CPUs across either a 533MHz or 800MHz frontside bus. It can take DDR SDRAM clocked at 33MHz or 400MHz, or DDR 2 memory clocked at 400MHz or 533MHz, all in dual-channel configuration. It will be accompanied by the i910GL which will provide only dual-channel DDR 333/400 support. It too will lack PCI Express x16, but will be able operate with 478-pin processors. Intel's launches and price cuts will also help it compete with rival chipset vendors SiS, VIA and ULi, which are ramping up their own Socket T chipsets. ® Related stories Price cuts to boost 'lukewarm' Grantsdale demand - report Intel to debut low-end Grantsdales soon SiS samples second Socket T chipset Elitegroup preps 'transition' Socket T mobos Intel grows Socket T Celeron line-up Intel adds 90nm Celeron M mobiles Intel readies 3.73GHz P4 Extreme Edition for Q4
Tony Smith, 01 Sep 2004

Creative unveils iPod Mini-coloured MuVo2 update

If you can't beat 'em, copy 'em. Creative Technology today began selling an updated version of its MuVo2 hard drive-based music player in five alternative colours reminiscent of Apple's iPod Mini. The MuVo2 FM contains a 5GB hard drive, up from the current MuVo2's 4GB unit. With a removeable, rechargeable battery that Creative claims can provide up to 14 hours' playback, the device can output WMA, MP3 and WAV audio through a four-band equaliser with four pre-sets and a custom EQ option. The player operates at a signal-noise level of 98dB. As the name suggests, the player now comes equipped with a built-in FM radio. There's a voice recording feature in there, too, which can also save radio programming. Each player sports a 132 x 32 pixel display with a blue backlight. The five colours on offer are white, black, pink, blue and green. The devices measure 6.7 x 6.6 x 2cm and weigh 103g. They use USB 2.0 for data transfer to a host Windows machine. Creative isn't alone in attempting to take on the iPod Mini. Fellow MP3 player maker Rio Audio this week began shipping its 5GB Rio Carbon, and European PC provider Packard Bell is preparing a 5GB model of its own. The last two are one-colour models - so far Creative appears to be the first music player company to follow Apple's lead down the multi-colour route. However, Kyocera recently began shipping a line of digital cameras decked out in iPod Mini hues. In Japan, the players will retail for around ¥26,800 (£136/$245) a pop. There's no word yet on UK or US availability. ® Related stories Rio pitches Carbon player at iPod Mini Packard Bell preps iPod Mini clone Creative MuVo 2 4GB MP3 Player Kyocera offers iPod Mini-matching digicams
Tony Smith, 01 Sep 2004

BT cuts landline to mobe charges, again

BT is cutting charges for calls made from residential landlines to mobile phones. The "CallMobile" package, which costs £1.50 a month is available from today, 1 September. The cost of a daytime call to an Orange mobile will fall from 13.60 pence to 10.20 pence - a 25 per cent cut. An evening call to an O2 number will go from 11.81 pence per minute to 8.86 pence a 25 per cent fall. Gavin Patterson, BT group managing director, Consumer and Ventures, said: "The introduction of CallMobile, which represents the next round of price cuts for customers calling mobile numbers makes BT’s rates among the lowest in the UK. These changes will make a real difference to some callers’ monthly bills. For example, those BT customers who take advantage of the reduced call rates, nominate a frequently called mobile number as a Best Friend number and subscribe to CallMobile could end up paying forty per cent less on what they might have been paying prior to September 1." ® Related stories BT cuts cost of calling mobiles BT launches fixed-line SMS BT replaces 'red bill' with Indian call centre nag
John Oates, 01 Sep 2004

Blu-ray group mandates Microsoft codec for BD-ROM

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BRDA) has selected Microsoft's VC-9 video codec for future BD-ROM content, the organisation said today. The decision follows the release of the BD-ROM physical specifications early last month. The BRDA is pitching BD-ROM as the alternative to HD-DVD, which is likewise being groomed as the next generation of the DVD format. The choice of VC-9 doesn't force content providers to offer movies and so on encoded using Microsoft technology - the BRDA said it was committed to offering "a variety of compression codecs to suit their various needs", according to Maureen Weber, general manager of Blu-ray member HP's optical storage solutions business. The BD-ROM spec. also includes MPEG 2 and MPEG 4 support. However, it does force hardware vendors to license the codec if they wish to ship Blu-ray branded players. They will also have to license it if they intend to offer HD-DVD hardware, since VC-9 is also part of the DVD Forum's next-generation disc spec. VC-9 is also known as VC-1, by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). ® Related stories Blu-ray movie disc format unveiled Sony selects Blu-ray for PlayStation 3 Microsoft supporting Blue Laser? What about Blu-Ray? Err, maybe Blu-ray founders rename, open group to new members Japanese boffins perfect paper Blu-ray disc DVD Forum punts blue laser HD-DVD
Tony Smith, 01 Sep 2004

Ofcom gives BT its right to reply

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has given BT a chance to respond to allegations to that its residential broadband pricing breaks the Competition Act. Ofcom has sent the telco a "Statement of Objections" outlining the facts of the case, what it objects to, and the actions it wants taken. BT has time to make "written or oral representations" before the regulator makes a final decision. BT has eight weeks to respond to the complaint. The investigation was started after complaints from Freeserve (now Wanadoo) in May 2002. The original complaint was rejected. BT said in a statement: "This is a long running case that has already been going on for over two years and in which BT has already been cleared twice. We remain confident of our position. The case involves complex legal issues which will take time to resolve and we will continue to work with Ofcom over the coming months to bring this matter to an equitable conclusion." In a statement Wanadoo said: "We were confident in this case and have no further comment to make." ® Related stories Ofcom appoints Last Mile adjudicator Thus ADSL - the price cuts with a funny echo BT to slash LLU costs
John Oates, 01 Sep 2004

New Bagle worm drops in and downloads

A new Bagle dropper and downloader, Bagle-AQ, was bulk mailed to numerous internet users yesterday. The malware arrives in email with subject and email body "foto" and attachment called foto.zip that poses as a file containing photographs. This zip file contains a HTML file and an executable called foto1.exe. The executable is a dropper. If activated it will kill DLL files related to the updating components of various anti-virus programs. It also attempts download an updated payload every six hours from one of more than 130 separate websites. This payload contains a mass-mailing worm that uses its own SMTP engine to spread. It also opens backdoors on TCP port 80 and UDP port 80, allowing infected computers to be used as email relays. Only Windows machines are affected. The mode of infection of Bagle-AQ (Trojan downloader) shares more in common with the Download.Ject worm than with previous variants of the Bagle worm. AV firms have confusingly taken to calling it a variety of names from Glieder-H to the BagleDl-A Trojan. Each refers to the same piece of malware. ® Related stories UK police issue 'vicious' Trojan alert Bagle copycat builds Zombie attack network Bagle source code unleashed Latest Bagle worms spread on auto-pilot Say hello to the Bagle Worm
John Leyden, 01 Sep 2004

UK gov extends mobe procurement deal

The UK government is extending its procurement deal with Orange and Vodafone and claims half a million civil servants are already signed up to the scheme. Customers will get reduced line rental as part of the deal. The agreement will now run until August 2006. The deal is run by OGCbuying.solutions, the trading arm of the Office of Government Commerce, part of the Treasury. The OGC estimates it will have saved the taxpayer £100m by the end of the contract. Hugh Barrett, chief executive of OGCbuying.solutions, said the agreement helped half a million people work more efficiently. He said: "Mobile ’phones now play an increasingly important role in our day-to-day lives and we are delighted to have been able to negotiate value for money deals with both Orange and Vodafone. This will deliver significant savings to the public purse for reinvestment in front-line services". ® Related stories Gov.UK and MS upgrade licensing deal Newham and Microsoft sign 10-yr deal OGC streamlines purchasing portals
John Oates, 01 Sep 2004

Happy birthday, the internet

It was 35 years ago today that ARPANET, the military network widely regarded as the progenitor of the internet, was switched on. The Advanced Research Project Agency Network was a wide area network run by the US department of defense. It was used to test new networking technologies - notably large scale packet switching, a then pioneering method of sending data across a network. ARPANET's protocol suite was known as the Network Control Program (NCP). This wasn't a communications protocol, as such, but made it possible for users to send and receive messages to and from the Interface Message Processor (IMP) subnetwork. The initial network had four nodes based at UCLA, the Stanford Research Institute, UCSB, and University of Utah. The first link between the nodes was established 21 November 1969, and by 5 December the same year, all four of the nodes were connected. There are those who claim that the internet was born with ARPANET, arguing that the Net is defined by the kind of large scale packet switching that ARPANET pioneered. Others say that the Internet was born on the day ARPANET switched to the TCP/IP protocol, on 1 January 1983. They argue that the defining characteristic of the internet is that it shares information between many, dissimilar, networks. No doubt both camps have valid arguments, but there is little doubt about the importance of the role ARPANET played in the development of what came next. By 1973, there were packet-switching networks springing up in other countries, and work began on a way of interconnecting them. Robert Kahn and Vint Cerf put forward a protocol to do just that. It was developed, over the next ten years, into TCP/IP and the internet proper was born. ® Related stories Domain names come of age Usenet creator dead Vint Cerf takes ICANN hot seat
Lucy Sherriff, 01 Sep 2004

Apple taunts Napster, Real with iTunes affiliate program

Apple continues to make a mockery of the music downloading scene, kicking off a new program today that allows partners to earn money by hawking iTunes songs. The iTunes affiliate program lets web sites place links to iTunes songs, albums and artists and then earn a 5 percent commission for clicks that turn into sales. This program complements existing iTunes deals for bulk music purchase discounts and free site licenses for iTunes at universities. Apple's unique position in the music download market as owner of the iPod allows it to capitalize on low-margin music sales in ways that companies such as Napster and Real can't. Napster, for example, has been pursuing one of the more crooked avenues in the online market by going after universities. The company has given huge discounts to a handful of schools, allowing students at the institutions to rent as much music as they like for around $2 per student per month. Napster admits this practice has failed to generate any meaningful profits. Companies such as Napster that sell only music and almost no hardware are gated by the music labels. The labels scrape off the majority of the money raised from online music sales, leaving Napster and the like to fight over the copper scraps. Apple, by contrast, can tease these vendors by happily taking losses on music sales and then pulling in bank loads of cash selling iPods. While other flash MP3 players exist, the iPod clearly dominates the market with no slowdown in sight. This leaves Apple embracing the vacuous music market, teasing Napster and Real with things like the new affiliate program. Details on the program are available here. Sites with naughty language, dirty pictures, copyrighted material or less than 1,000 visitors per month need not apply. ® Related stories Phone win for Apple HP iPod to ship 15 September Apple iPod team seeks Wi-Fi engineer Major telcos and device makers go after Induce Act Court tells RIAA and Congress to let P2P software thrive Real halves music prices, widens loss
Ashlee Vance, 01 Sep 2004
Cat 5 cable

Sun sells 80m users worth of software to Deutsche Telekom

Sun Microsystems has nailed down what could be the largest federated management deal to date, signing up Deutsche Telekom for a multi-million dollar software package that covers more than 80m users. Details on the deal are still thin at this point with Sun looking to control a leak in a German paper. Sun did, however, tell The Register that DT has plunked down at least $10m for its Java Systems Access Manager software. DT will be using the software to link up 80m of both its own subscribers and those of partners to offer the fabled single sign-on services. The reports out of Europe incorrectly stated that Sun had sold 80m licenses of its server software, which would have been quite a feat. Sun sold a number of servers in the deal as well but could not say if they were UltraSPARC, Opteron or Xeon boxes. The $10m figure is only for the software portion of the sale. It's likely that Sun beat out IBM for the win, but Ken O'Berry, product line manager for Access Manager at Sun, declined to say whether or not IBM was involved. Sun has been working for some time to promote the Liberty Alliance and the idea of single sign-on services. These types of services let users enter their registration information once and then use numerous products from various vendors. A telco could, for example, team up with music, video or news content providers to sell services on a cell phone. Sun has been busy on other software fronts this week as well. Sun announced a new compensation model for selling the Solaris x86 operating system on non-Sun hardware. "We're now compensating Sun's hardware salesforce for selling Solaris on non-Sun hardware," said Sun's President Jonathan Schwartz in his blog. "So if a sales rep sells Solaris on Dell or IBM, or even HP (Xeon or Nocona), we pay them as if they sold the hardware. This is a huge culture change, obviously. It also focuses everyone on keeping customers happy - and driving hardware choice. (And Fedora upgrades.)" Schwartz also announced that Sun has finally got Solaris x86 up and running on Intel's x86-64-bit Xeon processors. Sun, however, has not said if it will ship servers running on these chips. So far, it has picked AMD's Opteron processor only for the 64-bit x86 market. To promote this Opteron gear, Sun will now give Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) a hardware discount. MCPs can receive up to 35 percent off Sun's Opteron-based workstations and servers if they purchase the systems in the next three months. This promotion is part of Sun's change of heart with regards to Windows. Sun has yet to ship Windows on its boxes but does certify the gear to work with the OS, which allows customers to receive support from Redmond. More info is available here. Last and probably least, Schwartz used his blog to issue a recent attack against Red Hat. "I was heartened to hear a Red Hat executive at a recent Wachovia Securities conference agree with my comments on consolidation in linux - by providing a real life example of how Red Hat's managed to dupe the linux community with their proprietary distro, and erect barriers to switching (according to Red Hat's calculation, the cost of switching is $4M per distro for an ISV - and the guy is bragging about it). Not exactly a pro-open stance to take." Check out Schwartz's blog to find a link to the Wachovia Securities conference audio replay. It is pretty amusing to hear the Red Hat executive laugh about the $4m cost for certifying to Red Hat Linux. ® Related stories Orion delivers first 'personal cluster' workstation IBM Eclipses Linux HP users decry Itanium, SAP issues and bad English HP: The Adaptive Enterprise that can't adapt
Ashlee Vance, 01 Sep 2004

IBM and Intel open some blade server specs

Hoping to create a level of standardization in the blade server market, IBM and Intel plan to announce tomorrow that they have opened some up the specifications for their shared blade designs. IBM has posted information announcing the BladeCenter design platform specifications program. (IBM pulled this link shortly before our story posted, but this will do the trick.) These documents show that IBM and Intel are trying to attract switch, adapter card, chipset and other component makers by handing out the inner-workings of the BladeCenter product. In 2002, IBM and Intel announced their plans to codevelop blade servers. IDG News Service was the first to report on the new spec program. IBM and Intel likely have other reporters trapped under NDAs until tomorrow. The spec program is a bit underwhelming. IBM and Intel have long been looking for other server makers, namely HP and Dell, to pick up their designs. They hoped there would be some kind of standard blade design in the industry and that it would be theirs. Our reports from the field, however, suggest that HP's blade design has been more popular than IBM's. Our sources say that IBM has been forced to upgrade its power supply three times to deal with heat issues caused by BladeCenter, while HP's kit runs nice and cool. Dell has never been a major blade player and ships unimpressive gear. It's rumored to be working with Fujitsu on new designs. IBM and Intel clearly hope the spec program will help remedy some of these standardization losses. If you get enough component makers delivering product for the BladeCenter first, it could put some pressure on HP. The agreement presented on IBM's site opens up most of the component specs but keeps the chassis and management module secret. ® Related stories Orion delivers first 'personal cluster' workstation HP boots ServerWorks with new Xeon kit Egenera and its amazing technicolor IPO HP gets vague about Opteron and Itanium blades
Ashlee Vance, 01 Sep 2004