Virtualisation all the rage but Peterborough's so real it's dangerous

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There's no doubt about it, we're living in a virtualised world. Anyone disinclined to believe it only needed to look at VMWare's IPO, covered in entertaining detail by El Reg's Ashlee Vance.

On the day, VMWare was planning to place 33 million shares at $29 each, netting $957m in the process and giving it a capitalisation of around $10bn because owner EMC was only selling off a 10 per cent stake. The market went mad and the company ended its first day trading at $51 per share, not quite double, but a hefty enough gain nonetheless.

Citrix puts faith in virtualisation explosion

While the world watched the VMWare IPO - OK, I exaggerate, maybe not the whole world - Citrix was splashing out $500m for server virtualisation start-up XenSource.

Citrix VP Wes Wasson claimed the virtualisation world was set to explode and the XenSource unit would become a $200m business in the next two years. Just as well, given XenSource was projecting sales of $8m this year and $20m next.

CA boss goes to jail, does not pass go

Somebody who probably wished he was living in a virtualised world on Tuesday was former Computer Associates CEO Sanjay Kumar as he started a 12 year prison sentence for his part in a $2.2bn accounting scandal that cost shareholders over $400m. There was some good news for Kumar when it was revealed he would be serving his sentence at a minimum security federal prison camp in Fairton, New Jersey.

VAT's bad news

Virtualisation software isn't the only thing on the up. Carousel fraud is rocketing, accounting for 87 per cent of total fraud cases reported in the UK in the first half of 2007, according to accounting firm BDO Stoy Hayward. The figure of £468m for major VAT and tax frauds in the first six months was £10m more than the amount for the whole of 2006. Simon P Bevan, BDO's national head of fraud, said he was sceptical that the recent crackdown on carousel fraud would "halt this avalanche of huge frauds against the taxpayer". BDO claimed sentencing was too lenient to deter serious criminals whose main motivation was greed.

SCO accentuates the positive

One company struggling to come to grips with reality was SCO Group. In the wake of a judgement which effectively gutted SCO's long-running legal actions against Novell and IBM by ruling Novell owned the copyrights to Unix and Unixware, SCO issued a statement admitting it was "disappointed with the ruling" but highlighting the fact it owned copyrights to the technology it developed after the assets were transferred from Novell in 1995. The market was suitably reassured and SCO's share price dropped more than 70 per cent to 43 cents.

Data protection to be axed by Tories

A lot of you seemed to think the Conservative party was living in a virtual world given El Reg reader responses to its plans to tear up Britain's commitments on data protection and other regulations - including the Working Time Directive that imposes a 48-hour limit on the working week - in a bid to create a more competitive economy.

The proposals are included in a wide-ranging policy review, produced by John Redwood and backed by shadow chancellor George Osborne, due to be published tomorrow. The Tories are also calling for redundancy regulations to be relaxed to make it easier for employers to axe staff.

Non, je regrette rien

Meanwhile, Fujitsu was probably feeling a bit unwanted after investors, management, and staff in French services group GFI rejected its bid for the company.

Only 40.6 per cent of GFI shareholders backed Fujitsu Service's €8.50 per share bid. GFI management, which controls 13 per cent of equity in the firm, rejected the deal, as did private equity group Apax Partners which owns 14.9 per cent.

Fujitsu Services CEO David Courtley put on a brave face: "Our strategy continues to be based on both organic growth and acquisition in the principal European markets, including France," he said. GFI shares rose 3.1 per cent on the news.

It never rains, but it pours...

Qualcomm suffered another setback when a US judge doubled the damages it had to pay rival Broadcom in a patent dispute to over $39m. The judgement comes on top of the resignation of Qualcomm's leading lawyer, general counsel Lou Lupin, and the refusal of the US administration to overturn an import ban on phones carrying Qualcomm chips.

Judge James Selna said the damages of $19.6m - awarded by a jury in the US District Court for the Central District of California in late May for Qualcomm's infringement of three Broadcom patents - should be increased, in part because Qualcomm continued to infringe them throughout the two year case.

Is that a Fujitsu Siemens PDA in your pocket? No, I'm just pleased to see you

Fujitsu Siemens is planning to quit the PDA and GPS business by the end of the year to focus on notebooks and tablets. The company has a range of handhelds which it markets under the Pocket Loox brand, but the products haven't been updated since July 2006.

A spokesman for Fujitsu Siemens confirmed the company planned to quit the PDA market because demand was in decline and smartphones would deliver all the functionality previously provided by wireless handhelds.

Nokia's batteries are hot

On the subject of handhelds, you might be well-advised to be careful the next time you charge your Nokia handset. Batteries used in all kinds of handsets, from the 1100 to the very latest E60, are at risk of overheating during charging.

Of 300 million BL-5C batteries manufactured by Matsushita Battery Industrial Co. for Nokia last year, 46 million are potentially defective. There have been 100 incidents reported so far, but unlike in the virtualisation world, there have been no explosions.

If it's Tuesday, it must be patch day

Microsoft had its usual load of security patches on Tuesday, providing fixes for 14 security holes. Six of the nine bulletins were labelled as "critical", the company's highest severity rating, and covered eight flaws. Three IE flaws permitted the remote execution of code by visiting a maliciously crafted website, and a separate hole in the XML component made it possible to hijack a machine by luring IE users to bad sites. Software containing the security bugs included Windows Vista, IE7 and Office 2007, although in some cases the programmes proved more resilient than their predecessors.

OFT investigates a Game with little competition

The decision by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to refer Game's purchase of Gamestation to the Competition Commission knocked 25p of the company's share price last Friday and led Goldman Sachs to revise its target price for Game's shares down 11p to 219p.

Game bought smaller high street rival Gamestation from movie retail giant Blockbuster earlier this year, but OFT Chief executive John Singleton claimed the merger involved "the loss of competition between two parties" which were each other's closest competitors in some segments.

The OFT could "not confidently rely on new companies entering the market to resolve any issues quickly". There was insufficient evidence of competition from other suppliers in the £1.5bn market to "prevent the merged firm from raising prices or cutting back services in a way that would harm consumers".

Knickers to that!

Two Dutch bloggers are to appear in court in October after filming up women's skirts from an underground carpark. The pair argued they were trying to "warn the public of the intimate views afforded by see-through stairs" and claimed the women knew they were being recorded.

The filming was part of an attempt to "see whether the local council had done anything about the transparent ceiling after the issue was brought to their attention several months before", they said. If found guilty, the subterranean voyeurs could spend two months in prison.

The unspeakable in pursuit of the unattractive

Scotland's Glenalmond College found itself thrust onto the electronic frontier of the class war when some of its pupils posted a "chav-hunting" video on YouTube which showed them hunting a pack of fleeing chavs and blasting them with a shotgun.

The video, entitled Class Wars, was condemned by Scottish Nationalist Party MSP Roseanna Cunningham who said although it was probably intended as humour and irony, it came across as "brash, crass, and arrogant". As such, it was perfectly pitched to toffs and chavs.

Judging by reader responses to the story, many would be more than happy to see a spot of judicious chav culling. Good to see kids in private schools have so much time on their hands when their parents are spending a fortune to send them there.

Peterborough down to a T?

But enough of this silliness. Time to return to reality and the threat posed by Peterborough forklift driver David Pratt who was warned for wearing a t-shirt with the following message: "Don't piss me off! I am running out of places to hide the bodies."

Street wardens confronted Pratt as he and his wife waited for a bus and warned him the t-shirt "could cause offence or incite violence". They issued a verbal warning, adding that if he wore it again he could be issued with an £80 on-the-spot fine from police. You better not wear your "I bought VMWare shares at $29 and sold them at $51" t-shirt the next time you're in Peterborough. ®

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