Original URL: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/03/14/weekly_1402/

Google-Doubleclick clicks as Phorm loses form

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By Robin Lettice

Posted in Business, 14th March 2008 14:40 GMT

Do the job shuffle

In an unexpected move - and that's putting it lightly - Intel hired former Transmeta CEO David Ditzel and put him in its Digital Enterprise Group.

Wannabe head of mobile at Motorola Stu Reed has become the latest exec to jump ship. It seems he took being passed over for the top spot to heart.

Mobile software firm Picsel has ejected 10 per cent of its workforce. It's put plans for an IPO on the back burner, and is focusing on selling interfaces to network operators and handset manufacturers.

Former Secretary of State for Trade and Health Patricia Hewitt is to take up a non-executive directorship at BT. This raises questions about the relationship between government and business, as she had close involvement with BT during her time at Whitehall.

This is not the Windows source you're looking for

Microsoft says you don't want the source code for Windows. "Most of the knowledgeable people" are asking not to be shown the source, it says. Whether that's out of disinterest or dread is not mentioned.

And alongside this, an anti-trust panel is reviewing Windows 7 to see if Microsoft complied with the 2002 federal anti-trust settlement.

Secure as a secure thing

HSBC forgot to renew its security certificate, leading to customers being confronted with a warning when visiting the bank's site. HSBC apologised, but said that despite the warnings the site was "obviously" the real deal.

Meanwhile customers of Equifax were faced with a similar issue. The bank had managed to renew its security licence, but a typo stopped it installing correctly. The bank fixed the problem "as soon as it was prudent to do so".

Mac security site Macvirus.org's forum is full of posts with links to malware targeting Apple computers. The links purport to be to codecs to view Britney Spears porn clips, but are actually to Trojan programs. Be careful out there.

In an announcement to put you right off your prune juice, American researchers have demonstrated the feasibility of using a wireless attack to turn off heart monitors. Thankfully there have been no reported cases of this happening.

An unpatched bug in RealPlayer makes the media player susceptible to drive-by download attacks, in which a hacker tries to get users to visit malicious websites.

The Loads.cc group, which rented out botnets by the hour until they were knocked offline by a rival criminal organisation two months ago, has resurfaced. The group was spotted pushing 3D screensavers that install malware on users' computers.

And more than 10,000 web pages have been compromised and laced with malware in one of the largest such attacks to date. Travel sites, government websites, hobbyist sites and others were modified with a Javascript code that redirects visitors to a hacker-controlled site.

Government messups

The government's handling has been revealed as a shambles. We're as surprised as you. Online identity firm Garlik learned through Freedom of Information act requests that at least 14 government departments lack basic systems for complying with the Data Protection Act.

Yes, the government's record is unenviable. Further credence was given to this when it came out that the Ministry of Defence lost 11,000 military ID cards in the last two years. Given that there are fewer than 200,000 people in the military, this is not particularly good going.

Siemens has been booted from its contract with the Department of Work and Pensions. Under the contract, which was to run until 2010, Siemens was to develop DWP's payments system.

And that very same department's IT projects are over-budget by a total of £315m, with just one project accounting for £169m of that.

Chancellor budgets for slowdown

Chancellor Alistair Darling delivered his first Budget speech this week, and forecast slower economic growth. He blamed turbulence in world financial markets for the slowdown.

Microhoo! technical! challenges!

Microsoft's aggressive takeover of Yahoo!, should it go ahead, will face certain technical problems when it comes to integrating the activities of the two firms. But MS chief software architect Ray Ozzie said there's no rush, and that the pace will be sedate.


Storage colossus EMC has been knocked back by hard drive maker Iomega. The hostile $54.8m takeover bid was rejected for being too small. EMC will instead swallow software company Infracorp.

Capita looks set to buy independent services firm ComputerLand for £28.9m. It's already received irrevocable undertakings to accept the deal from 43.9 per cent of the company's shareholders, so the deal is pretty firm.

Qualcomm has bought data gathering company Xiam for $32m. Like that other big bugbear Phorm, the firm specialises in data gathering and analysis for the supplying of targetted advertising. Only this lot do it on phones.

IBM snared privately-held security software firm Encentuate for an undisclosed sum, and will incorporate the company's products into its Tivoli software line.

Microsoft has purchased desktop virtualization software maker Kidaro for an undisclosed figure. MS plans to shunt Kidaro's software into its Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance.

Disney is the latest company to reject Time Warner's offer to sell AOL, but AOL itself has picked up social networking site Bebo for $850m.

And Irish reseller Horizon has admitted to entering takeover talks. The company says it's been approached by a prospective buyer, which may offer €1.18 a share.

Google-DoubleClick waved through, Nokia squeezed for subsidies

The EU has launched an investigation into unfair trade practices by the USA in the internet gambling industry. This may lead to a formal complaint to the World Trade Organisation.

The EU has also given the go-ahead to Google's proposed acquisition of DoubleClick, having decided that the merger will not stifle competition.

The German state of North-Rhine Westphalia is demanding that Nokia repay all subsidies by 31 March or face legal action. This amounts to €41m provided as aid for Nokia's mobe factory in Bochum, which was to provide 2,800 jobs, but the company is closing the factory and shifting to Romania.

Intel head Paul Otellini is giving evidence in Brussels as part of a hearing into monopoly charges against the company. The chip behemoth is accused of offering rebates to computer makers favouring its chips.

Everyone's doing well but Phorm

Computacenter has reported its first revenue growth in five years. It saw a pre-tax profit rise of nearly 28 per cent over last year.

And computer distributor Northamber has decided that it has too much money, and will return £2.94m, or 10p a share, to shareholders.

Targeted advertising pimp Phorm has been at the heart of a major controversy over privacy and data protection recently. This week saw its shares plummet by 35 per cent and several ISPs distance themselves from the company. Meanwhile security firm Trend Micro has denounced Phorm's targeting cookies as adware.

Sin to win

It may be time to get a bit more pious and roll out that green computing a little faster, for the Vatican has updated its list of mortal sins to include polluters, along with genetic scientists, drug traffickers and the obscenely wealthy. Vatican engineers are reportedly working on a Popemobile that runs on holy water at this very moment. ®