Intel Does Security, US Broadband Not So Fast

Intel surprised the IT community this week with its plans to buy McAfee. Intel justified the multibillion-dollar purchase price by citing the importance of securing mobile devices, a growing need. Facebook users can now share even more information thanks to the site's Places service, which allows people to publish their location on their profiles. U.S. broadband user complaints about slow service could be valid, according to a government study that says service providers are skimping on bandwidth. This week brought more private network neutrality talks, further frustrating open Internet advocates who were already miffed by Google and Verizon Communication's negotiations.

1. Intel to buy security vendor McAfee for $7.68 billion and Intel-McAfee deal baffles security analysts: Intel entered the security market by purchasing software company McAfee for US$7.68 billion. Intel CEO Paul Otellini said security needs to be incorporated into hardware in order to combat future threats. An Intel executive echoed this sentiment, saying that current security models fail to protect all vulnerable devices, such as televisions and cars. Intel and McAfee may hold a more enlightened view on security, but the chip vendor's move surprised analysts who wondered how a traditional hardware company could incorporate security software. Other analysts said the merger will help Intel overcome its struggles to break into the mobile market.

2. Experts give preliminary OK to Facebook Places: Facebook users can now share their location with others on the social-networking site with its new Places service. People "check in" at a venue when they arrive and Places posts their whereabouts to their profile. While Facebook's attempts at rolling out services tend to draw controversy, analysts concur that, so far, this introduction is going smoothly. Places looks to help Facebook garner more local business ads, the service comes as more people visit the site on their mobile devices and the privacy settings are well-balanced, they said.

3. Fusion Apps questions Oracle should answer: The details surrounding Oracle's Fusion applications, which combine the best features from the company's software lines into one suite, may finally come to light at September's OpenWorld conference. While most information on Fusion remains unknown, analysts shared their views on what Oracle should reveal about its long-awaited product. Fusion's price, a practical question, came to mind while other analysts pondered the deployment strategy, including if Oracle will offer a software-as-a-service model.

4. Dell buying 3PAR for $1.15 billion: Dell also went shopping for a company this week. The hardware manufacturer purchased virtualized storage provider 3PAR for $1.15 billion, a move that will bolster Dell's public and private cloud computing offerings.

5. NSS Labs: Testing shows most AV suites fail against exploits: Updating security software may not protect PCs from being compromised by known vulnerabilities if new variants of old exploits aren't addressed, a security software testing company found. NSS Labs tested 10 popular security suites to see how they protected against known client-side exploits, which target Web browsers and desktop applications. The research found that 75 percent of the security programs caught the first exploit, but that figure dropped to 58 percent when measuring protection against variants of the original exploit.

6. FCC: Consumers get half of advertised broadband speed: U.S. broadband users who complain about slow Internet connections may have good reason to gripe according to a report from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The government report found that broadband users receive half of the download speed promised by ISPs (Internet service providers). Broadband providers advertise the maximum speed while the actual speed is much slower after factoring in network congestion and subpar PCs, the FCC said.

7. Choice domain names pitched as investments: During the dot-com days the Internet made people wealthy, and a domain name brokerage firm believes the Web still holds the same get-rich ability, assuming you own the right domain name. This week Oversee.net offered bidders the opportunity to own potentially lucrative domain names when it auctioned off 934 prime addresses. The firm's CEO likened the domain names to investments, saying that buyers could purchase the name, hold on to the property and eventually resell it for a profit.

8. Judge's order narrows damages in Oracle-SAP suit: Oracle will not receive the billions of dollars that it seeks from SAP over alleged intellectual-property theft. A U.S. District Court judge ruled that Oracle cannot seek large monetary sums for damages, including one claim for $3.5 billion. Oracle sued a former SAP software services subsidiary claiming that it illegally downloaded Oracle software support material. SAP admitted that the division engaged in some questionable business practices, but objected to Oracle's demand for billions of dollars.

9. Consumer Groups Protest Industry Net Neutrality Talks: This week brought more network neutrality talks between private companies. A spokeswoman for the Information Technology Industry Council confirmed the negotiations but would not disclose the participants or a meeting agenda. Microsoft and a cable and telecom trade group confirmed they attended the talks but declined to offer additional information. Two groups that support network neutrality objected to the talks and called on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, not IT trade groups or corporations, to develop formal traffic management rules.

10. Apple manager arrested over $1 million in kickbacks and Laptop e-mail cache tipped Apple to kickbacks scheme: Apple made headlines this week, but for corporate espionage instead of releasing a sleek laptop. An Apple supply manager on Monday pleaded not guilty to charges of taking more than $1 million in kickbacks from Asian suppliers of iPod and iPad accessories. Paul Shin Devine took the money in exchange for giving the companies confidential information that helped them win Apple's business. E-mails found on Devine's work laptop helped investigators build their case against him.

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