In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Microsoft Takes Baby 'Open' Steps
2. Today's Top Story
- Microsoft, Washington State Sue Spyware Company
- Google, Sun, Others Out To Shame Spyware
- Spyware Makers Aiming For Enterprises
3. Breaking News
- Medical Center And IT Vendor Revamp Health-Care Industry
- Firefox Auto-Upgrade Users Become Surprise Beta Testers
- Most IT Pros Want A New Job And A New Employer, Survey Says
- Analysis: Pixar's Steve Jobs To Join Disney Board
- Getting Started With Business Blogging
- A Changing CA Reports Improved Revenue And Earnings
- Hyatt Merges Financial, Ops Data
- Prepare Your Company For WiMax
- Competitiveness Bill Targets Research, Education
- Ask Jeeves Releases Own Image Search
- VCs Invest Less In IT, Sort Of
- AT&T, Avaya Partner On Enterprise VoIP Solution
4. Grab Bag: News You Need From Around The Web
- Google Agrees To Censor Results In China
- Big U.S. Telecom Contracts Delayed
- It's Payback Time For IBM
5. In Depth: Privacy
- Cyberstalking Law Targets E-Mail, But Could Chill Bloggers
- Cybercrime Feared 3 Times More Than Physical Crime
- They Know Your Every Call
- You're Not As Safe As You Think
- Analysis: Search Engines' Trustworthiness Shaken By
Government Data Gathering
6. Voice Of Authority
- Privacy: Three Cheers For Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo For Doing
The Right Thing
7. White Papers
- Automating Network Management And Compliance
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day:
"To me a job is an invasion of privacy." -- Danny McGoorty
1. Editor's Note: Microsoft Takes Baby 'Open' Steps
Microsoft's announcement that it will provide access to some of its source code was a bit of a
shock, I must admit. If anyone had asked me 10 years ago what the
chances were of this happening, I would have made reference to
pigs flying and other unlikely events.
Thanks to the twin wonders of European intractability and modern
science, here we are.
Make no mistake--Microsoft isn't opening up its entire arsenal of
source code for the world to see. In fact, some observers have
been quoted as saying that it's all just a ploy to keep European
Union lawyers busy while the company figures out another way of
avoiding the hefty fines the EU has promised to levy if the
company didn't satisfactorily respond to antitrust charges.
But still, it's a start, and it's a first. According to some
published reports, Microsoft will--for a fee--allow rivals to see
some source code from Windows server and desktop operating
systems. The code is related to communications among servers and
other specific functions; it's not a free-for-all. People who
want a peek still have to sign nondisclosure forms, and they can
look but not touch. In other words, this isn't license to use the
code; it's a license to inspect it.
Still, for a company that has described its source code as a
"crown jewel," this is a fairly radical concession.
What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, when Microsoft
was sitting on top of the world, then-has-been IBM was investing
heavily in open source and other types of initiatives not
traditionally associated with the Big Blue Behemoth. IBM is now
reaping the rewards of a more open environment, and eventually,
perhaps, Microsoft will, too.
Like IBM did before it, Microsoft has lost a good deal of its
momentum. As with many a wild child, the once-radical Microsoft
has become large and staid and has an installed base to contend
with. There are plenty of people who are fans, but there are also
plenty who dislike the company and its products and its licensing
and support policies.
One way to win back some industry kudos might be to more fully
embrace the world of open-source software that Microsoft has long
been fighting. Perhaps this is one small step in that direction.
Speaking of momentum, the current tech darling, Google, seems to
be speaking out of both sides of its substantial being. On one
hand it's fighting the subpoena from the U.S.
Department of Justice, which wants aggregate search data
regarding a child-pornography law, saying the request
"overreaches" and that the company is concerned about its
On the other hand, Google launched a search engine in China that
blocks search results about human rights, Tibet, and other items
that are "sensitive" to Beijing. Google is defending its actions
by saying it's a trade-off that gives Chinese customers access to
other information--just not the information the Chinese
government finds offensive.
So which is it? Either the company is about customers' rights or
it's about adhering to the law of whatever land in which it's
doing business--even if that means "doing evil," in violation of
its own corporate motto. Something seems fishy to me.
Competitiveness Bill Targets Research, Education
A package of bills to be introduced in the U.S. Senate would
double basic research funding. Also part of the proposals:
funding merit-based scholarships for future math and science
teachers and visa reforms that would keep foreign math and
science students here.
Ask Jeeves Releases Own Image Search
The new tool includes Ask Jeeves' internally created index of Web
images, improvements to its image search ranking algorithms, and
Zoom-related suggestions for image searching.
Protecting The Corporate Network
Examine the security practices of more than 2,500 U.S. companies
in InformationWeek Research's 2005 Global Information Security
Survey report. In addition to spotlighting security best
practices and near-term investment plans, the study also
documents recent security incidents.
Annual InformationWeek Salary Survey
Are you challenged in your job? Are you satisfied with your
current compensation package? We invite you to participate in our
ninth annual National IT Salary survey. We'll compare your salary
and job-satisfaction responses to those of your peers in a
30-plus-page report. It's fast. It's convenient. It's
confidential. And you can win prizes if you respond by Feb. 1.
(Grand prize: Sony 42-inch ED-ready plasma TV valued at $2,500.)
New: Get Your News In A Flash--Literally!
InformationWeek.com's latest service is automated E-mail news
flashes. You pick the topic and the frequency (real time, daily,
or weekly) and we'll do the rest. Sign up by following the link
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Big U.S. Telecom Contracts Delayed (Washington Post)
The General Services Administration told bidders on its estimated
$20 billion, 10-year "Networx" telecommunications contract that
it had postponed the award dates until 2007 but gave no specific
reason for the delay. The telecom contract, the largest ever to
be awarded by the GSA, is the grand prize in federal communications.
Cyberstalking Law Targets E-Mail, But Could Chill Bloggers
A new law prohibits calling people anonymously with the intent to
annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass. A separate provision adds that
same prohibition to Internet use, and free-speech advocates worry
it could have unintended consequences.
They Know Your Every Call
Add cell-phone companies to the group of businesses that have
lost control over customer data. Outfits known as data brokers
sell customer cell-phone records on the Web, in some cases
allegedly posing as customers to get the information from
You're Not As Safe As You Think
Believe you're protected against most forms of computer crime?
Guess again. Nearly nine out of 10 companies experienced a
computer-security incident in 2005, according to a survey of more
than 2,000 businesses released by the FBI last week.
Privacy: Three Cheers For Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo For Doing The
Now that companies have turned over nonidentifying information
about search data to the Justice Department, privacy advocates
are changing their tune, Bob Evans says. It's neither relevant
nor good enough that the vendors upheld without exception their
responsibilities to protect the privacy of their customers.
Instead, these "critics" say, the issue isn't about privacy after
all--it's about trust.
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