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Microsoft Takes Baby 'Open' Steps

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In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Microsoft Takes Baby 'Open' Steps
2. Today's Top Story
    - Microsoft, Washington State Sue Spyware Company
    Related Stories:
    - Google, Sun, Others Out To Shame Spyware
    - Spyware Makers Aiming For Enterprises
3. Breaking News
    - Medical Center And IT Vendor Revamp Health-Care Industry Purchasing Models
    - 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 customers' privacy.

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.

What do you think? Leave a comment on the InformationWeek Blog.

Johanna Ambrosio
jambrosio@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Microsoft, Washington State Sue Spyware Company
The suits against Secure Computer were the first filed under Washington state's 2005 Computer Spyware Act.

Related Stories:

Google, Sun, Others Out To Shame Spyware
A jointly run site will initially act as a clearinghouse for information about so-called badware, but the group also promised a more proactive role.

Spyware Makers Aiming For Enterprises
Hackers are aiming straight at corporate data and getting much more sophisticated and much stealthier, according to a report.


3. Breaking News

Medical Center And IT Vendor Revamp Health-Care Industry Purchasing Models
New CombineMed joint venture will provide computerized sourcing services for the health-care sector.

Firefox Auto-Upgrade Users Become Surprise Beta Testers
Users who signed up for the beta of version 1.5 a few months ago are automatically receiving upgrades to the 1.5.0.1 beta. The rest of us get it later this month.

Most IT Pros Want A New Job And A New Employer, Survey Says
Six in 10 want a new job, and 80% of those looking for a new job want a new employer, according to a study by the Computing Technology Industry Association.

Analysis: Pixar's Steve Jobs To Join Disney Board
With Pixar Animation Studios now officially a part of Walt Disney, which paid $7.6 billion for the animated film creator Tuesday, a major question is just where does Steve Jobs go?

Getting Started With Business Blogging
Is it time for your company to begin blogging? We show you how.

A Changing CA Reports Improved Revenue And Earnings
The new management team says net income was $50 million in the quarter, compared with $31 million a year ago.

Hyatt Merges Financial, Ops Data
Hyatt Hotels puts its business-intelligence data into a common dashboard.

Prepare Your Company For WiMax
Here's what you need to know and do to prepare your network for the next wave in wireless networking.

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.

VCs Invest Less In IT, Sort Of
But other types of ventures receiving investors' money heavily depend on technology to exist.

AT&T, Avaya Partner On Enterprise VoIP Solution
AT&T and Avaya have joined forces to offer a comprehensive managed VoIP solution intended to simplify enterprise migrations to VoIP.

All our latest news

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John Soat With 'Wired, Wired World'
Firefox hits 20 million-download milestone, hot-spots are on the rise, and is Bill Gates wrong about the end of spam?

Larry Greenemeier With 'VoIP Security'
As VoIP grows into a multibillion-dollar industry, so does the need to increase security.

Alex Wolfe With 'Striking The Right Chords'
An electronic musician examines Billboard's Top 40 using spectral analysis.


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4. Grab Bag: News You Need From Around The Web

Google Agrees To Censor Results In China (The Associated Press)
Google launched in China on Wednesday a search engine that censors material about human rights, Tibet, and other topics sensitive to Beijing--defending the move as a trade-off that will allow Chinese citizens greater access to other information.

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.

It's Payback Time For IBM (USA Today)
Rank-and-file employees sue to get overtime compensation.


5. In Depth: Privacy

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.

Cybercrime Feared 3 Times More Than Physical Crime
Recent poll data indicating that data breaches and identity theft are changing consumer behavior has been confirmed by a report released Wednesday by IBM.

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 cell-phone companies.

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.

Analysis: Search Engines' Trustworthiness Shaken By Government Data Gathering
When major search engines hand over anonymous search results to government officials, it makes one wonder: Can Internet businesses be trusted with people's private information?


6. Voice Of Authority

Privacy: Three Cheers For Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo For Doing The Right Thing
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.


7. White Papers

Automating Network Management And Compliance
This guide explores the ways in which a more efficient, more automated network can lend significant value to the business in a number of different areas.


8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek

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