Original URL: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/12/weeklywrap_12oct07/

Microsoft, McDonald's and flying cars

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By John Oates

Posted in Business, 12th October 2007 13:02 GMT

Fries with that?

McDonald's in the UK is to start offering free Wi-Fi with its clown meat sandwiches by the end the of the year. McDs already offers free wireless web access in most of its US stores. The chain is currently aiming to move upmarket and presumably hopes the deal will help attract besuited road warriors back to its stores in Blighty.

EC aims for Intel and Google

Intel is asking the European Commission for more time to gets its excuses in order before it goes to court on charges of anti-competitive business practises against rival chip maker AMD. The chip behemoth was due before an oral hearing on Monday but has asked for more time to respond.

Google also heard this week that European regulators are continuing to investigate the company's data retention practises and will come to a decision early next year.

SAP turns back on credit crunch and strategy

SAP, Europe's biggest software company, has a reputation for building its technology rather than buying it in. But this week the German firm spent a whopping £3.3bn for Business Objects, which specialises in deeper analysis of business information.

Also in a buying mood this week was Google, which has bought a Twitter-rival called Jaiku. Twitter, for the over-12s in our audience, is for updating your blog while you're out and about.

Ballmer blathers

Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer was in top chair-chucking form this week putting the boot into Google, open source and even, God help us, Facebook.

Ballmer said anyone using Red Hat has an obligation to pay Microsoft for its patents, Google is reading your email, and Facebook, which Microsoft is rumoured to be buying, may be no more than a fad. He even reckons all open source development would be better done on Windows.

No good news for Nokia

Nokia's move from darling of the mobile industry to pariah continues. T-Mobile is the latest UK operator to shun the Finnish firm's flagship music phone for Christmas. Orange now offers no Nokia phones in its autumn range, while O2 is sticking its money on the iPhone.

Nokia hoped its N81 music phone would kickstart interest in its own music portal - Ovi - a slice of the pie which operators regard as their own.

You really want your flying cars

But our best-read story of the week, by a wide margin, was about a flying car. Not just any flying car, but one that might just work. Some clever people from MIT have come up with the Transition - a light aircraft which can fold its wings up so it can also run on a normal road.

One Laptop Per Child squeeze increases

Nicholas Negroponte's plan to offer kids in developing countries a laptop for $100 has been hit by rising prices, as well as debate as to how worthwhile the project is when compared to basic health or sanitation provision.

But the boxes are also increasingly in range of mainstream suppliers. Veteran UK education supplier RM is the latest - it's offering a kids laptop for £169.

Aussie's giant windmill farm

Australia is building a massive wind farm capable, we're told, of powering 400,000 homes. But Reg readers are deeply suspicious of the maths involved in these "green" projects.

There are a bunch of comments on the story looking at whether the Aussies would be better off sorting out their water, or rather drought, problems and also just how "green" such wind farms are.

Gore a fibbe, says judge

On a similar note, our story this week that a UK judge ruled in favour of British schools showing Al Gore's global warming film garnered a whole load of comments. The judge ruled the film could be show despite finding nine errors of fact. Reg readers are less convinced.

Gore, who also won the Nobel Peace Prize this week, is here, and your comments are here.

Fiorina goes to Fox

HP's ousted boss Carly Fiorina has found herself a new job. She's joining Murdoch's new business channel, which aims to take on CNBC like Fox News took on CNN. Sounds ominous to us.

White House leaks al-Qaeda website

A US group which spends its time digging around corners of the internet to find websites in support of terrorists is far from happy with the White House. The group found a site which was preparing to release a bin Laden video. So they took the trouble of telling spooks at the White House and asked them to keep the info to themselves.

Sadly, the spooks sent the link round like it was a YouTube video to their mates at the CIA, the department of Homeland Security, and finally Fox News. Within hours the video and the site had disappeared as its adminstrators realised they'd been rumbled.

Beijing readies Olympian internet censorship

A report released this week gave us a glimpse into how China censors the internet. Before 2005 there was no real system of censorship, but now there are five different government bodies dedicated to getting the genie back in the bottle.

In two months of 2006 just one of these organisations sent out 74 directives telling media companies what should and should not be reported.

UK gov in hock to MS

Sticking with governments, a UK MP this week complained that British government IT projects are too reliant on Microsoft. Treasury Minister Angela Eagle responded that open source products did not always meet government requirements for security, which presumably means Microsoft products do meet her demands for security and quality... which at least raised a laugh on Reader Comments.

UK ID card empire building begins

An under-reported event this week was the UK Identity and Passport Service making a grab for the birth, marriage, and death records. The group in charge of that register is currently run by the Office of National Statistics but is soon to be subsumed into the Identity Service.

Mashup madness

Mashups are last week's social networks - they're online applications which mix data or information from two sources. This week's favourite is a mixing of YouTube and Google Earth. So you look at Google Earth and included on the map are icons showing places where YouTube vids were filmed, which you can then watch. Let us know if you think of something useful to do with this marvellous new service.

Israelis lose satellite telly

Top conspiracy story of the week is why satellite viewers in northern Israel have lost access to their telly channels. The problem has been around for a month - since Israel's mysterious bombing of Syria in September. Assuming it's not aliens, there are various theories as to what is causing the outage.

Boeing, dumb file-sharers and verbage

Also this week: Boeing admitted it is delaying delivery of Dreamliner - blaming a lack of "aerospace fasteners" - we don't know what they are, but we want some.

The world's dumbest file-sharer is considering an appeal.

And finally, the future's looking bleak for irregular verbs, according to researchers from Harvard. ®