Hurd Heads to Oracle, Google Amps up Search
Monday may have been the Labor Day holiday in the U.S., but lawyers for Hewlett-Packard and Oracle most likely toiled away on their day off. On Monday former Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd joined Oracle's executive ranks, and HP sued Hurd the next day, claiming that his new role at the software vendor violates his HP severance agreement. In other news, Google went back to its roots this week and tweaked its search engine in an effort to speed up the search process. Finally, using location services on smartphones may make meeting up with friends easier, but how companies use the wireless data they collect from these services may threaten people's privacy.
1. Hurd joins Oracle as co-president: Former HP CEO Mark Hurd returned to the IT executive realm this week when Oracle announced that he would join the company as co-president. The hire did not surprise some in the technology industry. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison supported Hurd during the recent scandal that led to his ouster from HP. The relationship between Oracle and Charles Phillips, its now-former co-president, also soured over the past few months, generating speculation that the company would soon find a replacement to join Safra Catz as co-president.
2. HP sues Hurd on confidentiality issues: News of Hurd's Oracle gig did not go over well with his former employer. In fact, HP was so miffed at Hurd that the company sued him on Tuesday, alleging that his joining Oracle jeopardizes HP trade secrets. Hurd cannot perform his new job without disclosing confidential HP information, like its business plan, the company said in its lawsuit. Finally, HP asked for an injunction that blocks Hurd from joining a competing company.
3. Nokia names Microsoft's Elop as new CEO: Oracle claimed most of this week's executive reshuffling news, but Nokia also underwent a change of leadership. On Friday the world's largest cell phone maker named Stephen Elop, formerly president of Microsoft's business software group, as CEO. He replaces Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, who never seemed to develop a strategy that made Nokia competitive in the smartphone market. One analyst said the appointment could result in improved Nokia phone software, an area where the company's efforts have been weak.
4. Obama calls for permanent R&D tax credit: Tech trade groups praised U.S. President Barack Obama's call for Congress to make permanent and expand a tax credit for research and development. Obama hopes that the measure will spur job growth and help stimulate the lagging U.S. economy. The technology community has long called for making the credit permanent instead of depending on Congress to renew the measure on an ad hoc basis.
5. ACLU, other groups sue US gov't over border laptop searches: The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups sued the U.S. government over its electronic-devices search policy at U.S. borders. Border agents are allowed to search and seize laptops and other devices without a warrant, probable cause or suspicion of criminal activity. In some instances border agents have copied hard drives or confiscated devices.
6. After Google incident, Wi-Fi data collection goes on: Google created a brouhaha after the public learned that the company mistakenly collected Wi-Fi data when it gathered information for its map service. While Google stopped this instance of wireless data collection, it still continues the practice via its Android phone user base. Other companies, including Apple, also gather Wi-Fi data as people increasingly use location-aware applications and services on their smartphones. As this trend continues, security experts are learning how this information could be misused.
7. Google Instant: big changes for users, publishers, marketers: Google may seem to have interests in a plethora of markets, but search is what made the company. This week Google introduced a search-refining feature that proves it hasn't forsaken its heritage. Google Instant refines search queries as people type information into the search engine. Instant aims to reduce the search-and-refine cycle people undertake to find relevant information on the Web. Analysts praised Instant and said it shows that Google still views search as a key component to it business.
8. Freed journalist tricked captors into Twitter access: Twitter offers people and businesses assorted ways to use its microblogging service. However, alerting the world that you're alive and being detained in an Afghan prison was probably not one of its more common functions. That was until a Japanese journalist used a cell phone tutorial session with his captor to access Twitter and share his location.
9. 'Here you have' e-mail worm spreads quickly: A fast-moving e-mail worm breakout riled IT staffs at major companies on Thursday as workers inadvertently downloaded the buggy file. The worm appeared in an e-mail and contained a link to a supposed PDF file. The link actually connects to a page that attempts to download what is billed as a screensaver. In reality, the download installs a worm that e-mails itself to everyone in a person's address book. The good news is that the worm appears to only send itself to other people. The bad news is that people still haven't learned to delete e-mails containing strange content and awkward wording.
10. Samsung launches Galaxy Tab, For Google TV, a sharp turn away from Apple TV and PlayStation 3 will be ready for 3D by October: Every PC maker plans on entering the tablet PC market, seeing how the devices dominated news coming out of the IFA consumer electronics show, which ended this week. Samsung introduced a tablet PC that runs Google's Android OS, and ViewSonic showed a device that runs Android and Windows 7. Other news from the show included a Google TV demonstration and Sony's announcement that PlayStation 3 owners can soon watch 3D movies on the console.