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A Dell/VMware acqui-merge? Good luck landing that, big Mike

The Wall Street rumour mill has recently spun out scenarios in which Dell will either allow itself to be acquired by VMware as a shortcut to its own return to public ownership, or buy back the bits of VMware that are public. Both may be clever financial gymnastics that help the company pay down debt now that it can no longer …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jan 2018

Dodgy parking firms to be denied access to Brit driver database

Rogue private parking firms are to be stripped of the ability to access the UK government's driver database. Private parking firms can buy vehicle-keeper records from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for £2.50 a pop, which they use to slap tickets on car owners for parking violations on private land. The number …
Rebecca Hill, 29 Jan 2018

PC not dead, Apple single-handedly propping up mobe market, says Gartner

PC shipments will continue sliding south, reckon Gartner’s mystic mages – but, like Monty Python’s Black Knight, they still refuse to lie down and die. Figures from everyone’s favourite analyst haus suggest that shipments of desktop computers will decline from 220 million worldwide in 2016 to 187 million units by 2019. …
Gareth Corfield, 29 Jan 2018
Green space alien with sombrero and drink on a sun lounger

Sysadmin crashed computer recording data from active space probe

Who, me? Welcome again to Who, Me? The Register’s new column* in which readers confess to times they performed sub-optimally and broke important stuff. This week, meet “Fred”, who begged us “Oh God, please don't use my real name or contact info.” Fred’s desire for anonymity stems from the fact that in the late 1970s he worked for a …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jan 2018
man relaxes on couch in socks

Julian Assange to UK court: Put an end to my unwarranted Ecuadorean couch-surf

WikiLeaker-in-chief Julian Assange has asked a British court to withdraw an arrest warrant against him, hoping that this would finally allow him to stop his unending Ecuadorean couch-surf. His defence counsel, extradition law specialist Mark Summers QC, told Westminster Magistrates' Court today that the British bail arrest …
Richard Priday, 26 Jan 2018
Larry Ellison on stage at Oracle's cloud pricing announcement

Larry's steely grip on Oracle led to 'conflicts of interest' in NetSuite buy-out, court told

Oracle's acquisition of NetSuite was a "stage-managed" process rife with conflict of interest, lawyers for one of Big Red's shareholders have argued in a case alleging the biz overpaid for the cloudy ERP firm. NetSuite was snapped up by Oracle in 2016 for $9.3bn, which equated to $109 per share – about 60 per cent more than …
Rebecca Hill, 26 Jan 2018

Dell board meeting: What've we got on the table? Sparkling, still, sarnies... and oh, IPO?

Analysis Four years after Michael Dell took his company private, he is considering whether Dell should make a stock market comeback, or so "familiar sources" have told a slew of newsfolk. "People familiar with the matter" told Bloomberg – and later blabbed to WSJ, Reuters, FT and others – that an upcoming Dell board meeting was going …
Chris Mellor, 26 Jan 2018

Ex-staffer sues UK's DWP, claims superior blabbed confidential medical info

A Manchester man is suing his former employer, the UK's largest government department, claiming "highly private" information was divulged to his workmates. Aftab Marchant is reportedly seeking £50,000 in damages from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for distress and personal injury caused by what he describes as a …
Rebecca Hill, 26 Jan 2018

Hey – cute tweaks to snoop regime. Your EU law reading needs work

The government's attempt to bring the UK's data retention regime in line with European Union laws have been slammed by privacy campaigners, which has accused politicians of trying to avoid making necessary changes. A landmark ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union deemed indiscriminate data retention illegal, …
Rebecca Hill, 26 Jan 2018
A grandmother gives cash to grandson. Photo by Shutterstock

User stepped on mouse, complained pedal wasn’t making PC go faster

On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, The Register’s weekly column in which we provide a little therapy by letting readers share their stories of horror tech support entanglements. This week, met “Vince”, who “during 2002, unwittingly took on a contract with my local council to setup and operate a community cyber cafés.” Vince told us he …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Jan 2018
Ajit Pai

If you've ever wondered whether the FCC boss is a Big Cable stooge – well, wonder no more

Analysis Fresh from being mocked by Burger King, Ajit Pai – chairman of America's broadband watchdog, the Federal Communications Commission – has further undermined his authority by attacking a key advisory committee to his own regulator. And all because he didn't like being criticized by it. A figure of hate – someone who behaves …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Jan 2018
Snail on a leaf... looking surprised (yes, that's possible). Photo by SHUTTERSTOCK

EU bods up GDPR ante: Threatens legislative laggards with ‘infringement procedure’

The European Commission has admitted readiness for incoming data protection rules is very varied across the bloc, with just two countries having adapted their national laws. With just four months to go before the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect, the Commission has pushed out a mass of information, online …
Rebecca Hill, 25 Jan 2018

Who's going to gobble Microsemi? Chip flinger looks for suitors

Microsemi, flogger of military and aerospace semiconductors, is reportedly looking for buyers after it was propositioned by an unnamed company. The firm has hired investment bank Qatalyst Partners to advise it on the best course of action, including a possible sale, according to Reuters. Neither the company nor the bank …
Kat Hall, 25 Jan 2018
Meg Whitman

WhitTVman to head mobile-first media platform

Outgoing Hewlett Packard Enterprise chief Meg Whitman is stepping out of tech and into the big chair at a "mobile-first media platform" startup. Whitman, who spent the past six-and-a-bit years dismantling HP, will grab the controls at NewTV from 1 March, a business started by Dreamworks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg. "Meg is …
Paul Kunert, 25 Jan 2018

Rimini Street attempts to claw back more cash in Oracle copyright dispute

Oracle botherer Rimini Street has filed a court petition to recover another $32m from Big Red in the long-running copyright case. Fresh from its victory in clawing back $50m from Oracle earlier this month, the software support biz has filed a petition for a rehearing before all the judges of the Court of Appeals. The …
Rebecca Hill, 25 Jan 2018
Game of Thrones

New Sky thinking: Media giant makes dish-swerving move on Netflix territory

Brit broadcaster Sky has signaled the end of the satellite dish with plans to make all its channels and content available online. In its half-year results, the pay-TV and broadband business said it will launch Sky without a satellite dish and stream all its channels and on-demand content over IP. "This is a major development …
Kat Hall, 25 Jan 2018

Schrems can't throw collective sueball at Facebook but individual action OK

Max Schrems can sue Facebook in Vienna as an individual, but can’t bring a class action suit, in a ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union without a knock-out blow for either side. The decision, handed down this morning, relates to a case the Austrian activist and lawyer brought as a consumer in the Austrian …
Rebecca Hill, 25 Jan 2018

Trans-Pacific Partnership returns, without Trump but more 'comprehensive'

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has been successfully been defibrillated by eleven nations that decided they could still do a deal even though United States president Donald Trump pulled his nation out of the trade pact. It's emerged with a new name, the Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, CPTPP. As was the case …

Biggest Washington DC lobbyist is now a tech giant (yes, it's Google)

For the first time, an internet company has become the largest lobbyist in Washington DC. With the release of fourth quarter lobbying figures – a legal requirement – it has been revealed that Google (well, Alphabet) spent no less than $18m in 2017 to lobby lawmakers in the US capital: a 17 per cent increase on the previous …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Jan 2018

France gives les citoyens the right to cock up official paperwork

France has reportedly passed a law to allow hapless citizens the right to make admin screwups in their dealings with the state – and not have those mistakes held against them. The new law, part of French president Emmanuel Macron’s manifesto, will allow Frenchmen and women to make mistakes when dealing with the authorities. It …
Gareth Corfield, 24 Jan 2018
Man eats toast while looking at watch, clearly late for something. Photo by Shutterstock

What is.GDPR? Survey suggests smaller firms living under rocks as EU privacy regs loom

The European Union's incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has still not registered with more than half of small companies and a third of medium-sized firms, according to a UK government survey. The rules, which come into effect on May 25 this year, will affect all companies – not just EU ones – processing …
Rebecca Hill, 24 Jan 2018

H-1B visa hopefuls, green card holders are feeling the wrath of 'America first' Trump

Following President Donald Trump's demands for a crackdown on H-1B visas, there has been a radical shift in how US immigration officials handle applications for the program. Every year, Uncle Sam allocates 65,000 H-1B visas for highly skilled foreigners keen to work in the Land of the Free™, with an additional 20,000 reserved …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jan 2018
Chap riding unicorn while using a smartphone and throwing away money

Cold calling director struck off for ‘flagrant’ breach of duties

The cash-splashing director of a nuisance call biz has been struck off for 12 years after breaking telemarketing rules and trading while insolvent. Tony Abbott was the sole director of Reactiv Media, based in England, which used its large database of UK customers to make unsolicited direct marketing calls for a range of …
Rebecca Hill, 24 Jan 2018

£60m, five years late... Tag criminal tagging as a 'catastrophic waste' of taxpayers' cash

The UK's Ministry of Justice's system of monitoring criminals with electronic tags has been blasted as a "catastrophic waste of public money" in a damning report by MPs.. The scheme was due to be completed in 2013 but is now running five years late at a cost of £60m to the taxpayer with further delays expected. It has incurred …
Kat Hall, 24 Jan 2018

Thorn leaves CGI UK's side: Prez exit 'to pursue other interests'

The UK president of Canadian outsourcing biz CGI, Steve Thorn, has stepped down to "to pursue different career opportunities" after 25 years with the firm. Thorn started at Logica in 1992, which was snapped up by CGI for £1.7bn in 2012. He was made CGI UK president in 2016. Tara McGeehan, senior veep of UK Energy, Utilities …
Kat Hall, 24 Jan 2018
Elon Musk sketch image via Shutterstock

Elon Musk offered no salary, $55bn bonus to run Tesla for a decade

“Vertically integrated sustainable energy" company Tesla – more on that description later – has revealed a new compensation plan for CEO and founder Elon Musk that will see him work for nothing but could see him earn US$55 billion over the next decade. Musk will not draw a salary and can’t earn bonuses for time served over the …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jan 2018

Death notice: Moore’s Law. 19 April 1965 – 2 January 2018

DEATH NOTICE Long beloved by both engineers and computer scientists because of ongoing performance benefits ceaselessly and seemingly effortlessly achieved. From the age of fifty, Moore’s Law began to age rapidly, passing into senescence and then, at the beginning of this month, into oblivion. Moore’s Law leaves a thriving …
Mark Pesce, 24 Jan 2018
Group of young people yawning/looking bored. Photo by shutterstock

I thought there'd be more Instagram: ICT apprenticeships down 20% in five years

The number of youngsters taking up ICT apprenticeships has fallen by nearly 20 per cent over the last five years, according to the UK's Education and Skills Funding Agency. Some 15,010 people started ICT apprenticeships in Blighty in 2016/17, down from 16,020 the previous year and a fall of 3,510 since 2011/12, the government …
Kat Hall, 23 Jan 2018
Shouting match

Sack the Xerox CEO 'immediately', yell activist investors

Activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deacon are linking arms to force Xerox to “explore strategic alternatives” for the business and squeeze out the “old guard” manning the fort should they resist change. Icahn and Darwin collectively own 40 million shares in photocopier and print giant Xerox - equating to a 15 per cent …
Paul Kunert, 23 Jan 2018
rupert murdoch

UK competition watchdog: Fox's takeover of Sky 'not in public interest'

Fox's proposed £11.7bn take over of Sky has been deemed not to be in the public interest, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally ruled today. The regulator ruled against 21st Century Fox's bid to take control of the remaining 61 per cent of Sky due to media plurality concerns. It found that if the deal …
Kat Hall, 23 Jan 2018
Flick man firing employment

IBM UK's pre-Xmas GTS head-chop: THWACK! Is that it?

IBM's Global Technology Services says it is finally edging closer to a proposed target to base 60 per cent of the workforce in offshore locations, one fifth in nearshore and another fifth onshore. The 60-20-20 rule, as it is known within the company, replaces the previous model in which Big Blue intended to have eight in 10 …
Paul Kunert, 23 Jan 2018

Australian Senate vote-counting-ware contract a complete shambles

The Australian Electoral Commission's (AEC's) handling of the nation's 2016 election was deeply flawed, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has found. The auditor's investigation was kicked off after the 2016 double-dissolution election, which introduced at short notice optional preferential voting for Australia's …

Murdoch to Zuckerberg: Cough up cash, nerd

News Corp executive chairman and internationally despised publisher Rupert Murdoch has waded into the fake news debate – and demanded that internet giants pay journalists for their work. "Facebook and Google have popularized scurrilous news sources through algorithms that are profitable for these platforms but inherently …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Jan 2018

Facebook grows a conscience, admits it corroded democracy

Facebook has admitted it was "far too slow" to recognize that its systems were being used to "spread misinformation and corrode democracy." In a blog post today by its manager of civic engagement Samidh Chakrabarti, the social media giant appears to have become self-aware following a year in which countless researchers, …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Jan 2018

Blockchain rebrand sends Stapleton Capital's shares soaring

Another company has discovered the secret of how to send shares soaring overnight: simply add "Blockchain" to your name. Telecoms investor Stapleton Capital changed its name to Blockchain Worldwide, more than doubling the value of its shares since yesterday by 130 per cent. Did someone say bubble? The Brit biz will now switch …
Kat Hall, 22 Jan 2018

Tax Google and Facebook for a job subsidy scheme? Sigh

Comment As British politicians are urged to target Facebook and Google with a new tax and pour the profits into a scheme for funding public interest journalism, it’s worth taking a close look at the vested interests demanding this course of action. At a Society of Editors conference held last week, former Minister of Fun* John …
Gareth Corfield, 22 Jan 2018

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