Category: Business

Microsoft wants tougher cloud laws

Software king Microsoft has called on governments throughout the world to come up with some tough laws on cloud based computer systems.

The Mighty Microsoft Machine (MMM) says that security on such systems was an issue of utmost importance and is urging the US Congress to enact legislation that will protect consumers and provide the government with the ability to deal with cloud computing data privacy and security.

Microsoft senior vice president Brad Smith said in prepared remarks to the Brookings Institution’s policy forum, Cloud Computing for Business and Society that laws needed to be modernised and adapted to the cloud. New new measures needed to be adopted to protect privacy and promote security.

He said that there was no doubt that the future holds even more opportunities, but it also contains critical challenges that we must address now if the world wants to take full advantage of the potential of cloud computing.

MMM has called for improvements in privacy protection and data access rules to ensure users’ privacy. This includes the modernisation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act so law enforcement can go after malicious hackers. It also wants truth-in-cloud-computing principles to ensure that consumers and businesses will know whether and how their information will be accessed and used by service providers, as well as how it will be protected.

Ballmer defaces fanboy's mac book

Shy and retiring Microsoft CEO Steve “Chair Chucking” Ballmer has appeared on video defacing an Apple fan’s laptop.

It is the latest in a line of anti-Apple antics which certainly amuse the unwashed. At a company event in Seattle in September last year he snatched the device and pretending to stomp on it while slagging off the hallowed Apple phone.

When Ballmer was visiting  Trevecca Nazarene University in Tennessee, a student handed him an Apple MacBook and asked him to sign it. The student promised the Mac had Windows installed on it.

Ballmer said “oh yeah” in a sarcastic tone before letting out a mischievous laugh and scribbling his name and the words “Need a new one?”

The whole event was filmed for YouTube by Gaines Kergosien.  Oddly, rather than the smug Apple fanboy winning, it strikes us that Uncle Fester comes off better out of it.

Ballmer is starting to become a cult icon for doing strange things in public including bouncing across the stage shouting his message while pulling facial expressions.

Associated Press found a shrink – Dr Peter Langford – who analysed Ballmer’s antics and he came to the conclusion that it was all calculated lunacy, and that he is intentionally playing an over-the-top character.

He probably will not reach true iconic status until he actually punches Steve Jobs in the face or makes an Apple fanboi cry. Just throwing you a few hints Steve.

Populist Pope tells priests “keep on blogging”

Hip and with-it “Go daddio”  Pope Benedict told priests that they must start blogging to spread the gospel message.

The 82 year old pontiff apparently read from an address that he wrote in his best German handwriting and then had a computer whiz at the Vatican type it out.

In his message for the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Communications, the pope, who is 82, said the church must make the most of the “rich menu of options” offered by new technology.

He said priests have to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources, powerpoint, images, videos, animated features, blogs, and Web sites. All this could open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelicalism and catechesis.

Priests, he said, had to respond to the challenge of “today’s cultural shifts” if they wanted to reach young people. We guess fumbling with a choir boy in the vestry is a thing of the past, you have to go to Facebook these days.

However, he warned priests not to strive to become stars of new media. He said that priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart.

IT market to show modest growth this year

The IT industry is growing again, and will return to modest growth during 2010, according to a report from market research firm Gartner.

Spending on IT will grow to $3.4 trillion this year – that’s a 4.6 percent rise on spending in 2009.

All major segments are expected to grow this year, said Richard Gordon, research VP at Gartner.

“Our updated forecast for IT spending to reach $3.4 trillion in 2010 is actually a year earlier than we expected,” he said. “While this forecast might seem bullish at first, it’s important to factor in the impact that exchange rates will have on the markets. Much of the increase in our revised 2010 forecast can be attributed to a projected decline in the value of the US dollar compared to 2009,” he said.

The table below shows Gartner’s forecast for worldwide IT spending, expressed in billions of US dollars.

 
2009 spend
2009 growth
2010 spend
2010 growth
Hardware
362.4
-13.9%
331.7
1.6%
Software
220.7
-2.1%
231.5
4.9%
IT Services
780.9
-3.5%
842.2
5.6%
Telecom
1,887.7
-3.6%
1,976.6
4.7%
Telco Services
1,524.1
-2.9%
1,588.5
4.2%
All IT
3,215.7
-4.6%
3,364.1
4.6%

Gartner surveyed 1,586 chief information officers (CIOs) and that indicated that worldwide budgets in 2010 will grow by a weighted global average of 1.3 percent in nominal terms.

Spending growth will be greatest in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa and in Asia Pacific. Recovery in Western Europe, the US and Japan will be slower.

Bookies take bets on Apple tablet's name

A bookmaker these days will take bets on practically anything, so it’s no surprise that British turf accountant Paddy Power has opened a book on what Apple‘s tablet is to be called.

Steve JobsAccording to the blurb: “Everybody is eagerly anticipating Apple’s new creation – and while there seems to be a question mark over its name, it could also be a clever ploy by Apple to get people talking ahead of next week.”

Well, we don’t know if everyone is eagerly awaiting the no doubt rather expensive slab of tin that Apple will reveal next week.

But we’re sure the bookies at Paddy Power are eagerly awaiting you dipping into your pocket and betting on the result.

Here are the odds on names that the bookie has conjured out of thin air.

4/5 iSlate
7/4 iPad
6/1 Tablet
8/1 iPage
9/1 iPaper
12/1 iRead
16/1 iProd
20/1 iCan
20/1 iBoard
25/1 iCon
33/1 Magic Slate
50/1 The Apple Core
100/1 The Googlebuster
100/1 The Microsoftener
100/1 The Apple Peeler
200/1 iCan’t believe it’s not a paper
500/1 Etch-a-Sketch

Any Apple executives in the know could probably make a fortune given the odds, by betting on a sure certainty.

Dirk Meyer delighted with himself over AMD financials

It was all “moving parts,” “sweet spots,” “game changing,” and “traction” on the AMD analyst call today, as a very self-satisfied Dirk Meyer pronounced that AMD employees had got their mojo back and were ready to “springboard” the company forward in the year ahead.

“We promised to lower our breakeven point, and we did. We promised to increase our focus on our core business – X86 microprocessors and graphics – and we have. We promised to execute on our roadmaps on time and on budget, and we did,” Meyer gushed.

“We promised to expose the truth about the monopolistic environment in which we were operating, and we did,” the pumped up AMD premiere said in a dig at rival Intel, with which the firm recently settled all outstanding legal disputes for the princely sum of $1.25 billion.

“We promised to execute our asset smart strategy and transform ourselves into a fabless company, and we did, and we made significant progress in improving our balance sheet and reducing overall debt by $2.2 billion with the creation of GlobalFoundries and other debt transactions,” Meyer mused.

“In short, we delivered on every major milestone to which we’ve committed in the past year, placing ourselves in a much stronger position in the quarters ahead,” he said, concluding with the old cliché that “good enough computing simply isn’t good enough.”

Meanwhile, analyst Jim McGregor from In-Stat told TechEye that while AMD was no doubt seeing  benefits from the increased health of the high-tech market, which is leading the economic recovery; as well as from seasonal increases and the popularity of its new products (particularly in graphics) the firm still had a way to go. 

“AMD did struggle a bit with meeting demand for graphics products and they are facing increasing competition from Intel in both PCs and servers,” said McGregor.

He added that in his opinion, AMD was “still behind the competitive 8 ball and still needs to increase the rate at which it brings new products and technologies to market, especially if it wants to make long-term gains in market share without sacrificing margins.”

Then again, who needs margins when you’re in a game changing sweet spot full of spark and traction, eh?

Amazon backs down and settles antitrust case

Mighty bookseller Amazon has backed down from its demand that print on demand (POD) publishers have to start paying it money to print books.

Amazon said that if the POD people didn’t pay to print the books, it would remove the buy it now buttons from its website.

That caused an online revolt among some publishers, although others bit the Amazon bullet and signed on the Amazon/Booksurge bottom line.

The case went to court and while Amazon failed to dismiss the litigation, Amazon has finally settled.

The final settlement is here – Amazon has buckled under. It’s a big victory for independent publishers.

Amazon will pay Boocklocker’s costs of $300,000. There’s comment on the case, here.

European Union approves Oracle-Sun takeover

Oracle will be allowed to take over Sun Microsystems, the European Commission said today.

Neelie Kroes, the antitrust commissioner gave complete clearance to the deal – Oracle bought Sun for $7.4 billion.

She said she is satisfied that competition will be preserved by the takeover. But that’s come after months of investigation into the deal. Part of the worry was that the open source database MySQL would turn into a shadow of its former self, seeing that Oracle is primarily a database company.

American authorities had already cleared the deal, and late last year Oracle helped the EU process by saying that it would continue to develop MySQL and to keep it free.

That’s obviously allayed a lot of Ms Kroes’ fears.

Bill Gates defines unbiased news

Not only is Bill Gates active on Twitter, he’s also opened a website where he gives his musings on life, the universe, and the media.

Bill Gates courtesy WikCoGates Notes includes questions from readers that Bill might care to answer. One asks Bill where he or she can find unbiased news. A “UK based media executive” asks him what mass media outlets he reads.

Bill doesn’t watch much TV, but his taste in journalism is pretty conventional. He likes the Economist, Scientific American, New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the New York Times.

You may not be surprised to learn that he likes Slate too. He doesn’t proffer any opinion on online rags like ours. Maybe he just doesn’t want to say.

Right now he thinks we need innovation, not insulation. You can find Bill Gates’ Notes, right here.

Tim Berners-Lee opens government data to world

The man responsible for inventing the world wide web has opened a web site today that gives access to government data.

The site, www.data.gov.uk, is intended to open UK government data up to people, and is being advised by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt. The site does not identify people or provide ways to identify people.

Tim Berners-Lee, courtesy WikiCommsIt’s been under development for several months and opens today to allow people accessing it to help towards making it better.

The government, the site says, is opening data for other people to re-use, and includes information like a list of schools, crime rates and the performance of  councils. It has government sanction.

On the front page are a number of applications including historic house price data from the Land Registry, ways to find your nearest chemist using GPS built into the iPhone, and finding NHS dentists.

The last is not easy, certainly in many parts of the country.

Other ideas proposed include distribution and expenditure of council tax.