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IT Channel News Briefs, June 27

Staff
News for the week of June 23-27, 2008 -- in brief, updated daily, on topics important to the information technology (IT) channel.

Friday, June 27

Oracle to SAP: You owe us $1B

Oracle claimed in court this week that SAP owes it at least $1 billion in damages for

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copyright infringement, according to SearchSAP.com. Oracle, which filed an infringement lawsuit against the ERP giant in March, claims that TomorrowNow Inc. illegally downloaded support materials to sell them at half price to Oracle customers. SAP bought TomorrowNow, a provider of third-party support for Oracle applications, in July 2005.

Microsoft to buy MobiComp

Microsoft may or may not be buying Yahoo but will acquire MobiComp, a specialist in backup and restoration of mobile data and mobile content posting to websites. The acquisition, terms of which were not disclosed, was positioned as a boost to Microsoft's cloud computing initiative. It would "combine MobiComp's expertise building innovative mobile data protection and sharing services with Microsoft's vision to provide compelling experiences that span work and play across mobile phones, the Web and PCs," Microsoft said in a statement.

Companies grapple with personal problems of unified communications

Unified communications (UC) has made employees ever available at any location, so companies are finding the need to better manage use of the technology to stop it from disrupting users' lives, SearchUnifiedCommunications.com reported Thursday. In response to workers feeling constantly interrupted, some companies, including Intel, have begun instituting "communication-free" times where email, IM and even phones are turned off. The concern is that employees will be so buried by the short-term productivity gains created by UC that they will lose family time and destroy their concentration.

Brocade host bus adapters feature partner support

Brocade released its second generation of server host bus adapters (HBAs) with better throughput performance between virtual servers and storage. Brocade now has both 4 Gbps and 8 Gbps HBAs. The adapters are accompanied by new training and sales tools for channel partners.

The adapters can support servers for Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2008, including Standard, Datacenter and Enterprise; enterprise Linux servers, including Novel SUSE; enterprise Unix servers, including Sun Solaris; and VMWare environments. Brocade said partners will receive education, sales tools and joint marketing campaigns to support the introduction of the new devices.

Thursday, June 26

Report: Microsoft Hyper-V out today

Microsoft Hyper-V, the long-awaited virtualization hypervisor, is expected to hit the market today, according to SearchWinIT.com. The software will first be available only through certain Windows Server 2008 licenses, and later this year a standalone version will be available for $28. The release candidate of Hyper-V has been out since March.

Hyper-V should provide big-name competition to VMware in the server virtualization market, as long as the technology works well. One analyst told SearchWinIT.com that Hyper-V's performance in beta has been solid, but it remains to be seen how the hypervisor will run in full release.

BlackBerry doubles sales and revenue, still disappoints Wall Street

Research in Motion (RIM) -- maker of the BlackBerry -- fell short of analyst expectations in its first-quarter earnings report Wednesday, even though the company doubled its revenue and sales from the same period last year. Analysts are wary of how BlackBerry will fare with the new, much cheaper iPhone coming on the market and pushing its way into the enterprise.

RIM reported $482.5 million in earnings, or 84 cents a share, but that fell one penny short of analyst expectations. Earnings from the same period last year were $223.2 million. RIM's sales also more than doubled from the same period last year to $2.24 billion, but analysts were expecting $2.27 billion.

RIM forecasted revenue of $2.55 to $2.65 billion in the second quarter, and Wall Street is expecting $2.44 billion. Stocks fell 8% immediately after the earnings call, which shook up investors who have seen those shares soar over the last year.

IBM goes green with energy efficiency credits

IBM recently announced expanded energy efficiency credits as part of its Project Big Green, as reported by SearchCIO.com. The program now includes office lighting and cooling systems in IBM data centers and distributed facilities. By earning credits through a certified measurement and verification program, customers receive certificates usable toward energy bills. Credits range in value from $5 per megawatt-hour to $28 per megawatt-hour. Consolidated Edison Inc. will work with IBM to monitor energy reductions, and Neuwing Energy Ventures LLC will issue certificates. IBM also plans to educate its CIOs and IT managers to further lower energy costs.

Cisco releases security advisory and patches

Cisco Systems issued an advisory Wednesday warning customers about security vulnerabilities in its Unified Communications Manager that could interrupt voice services and disclose information to an attacker, SearchSecurity.com reported. So far Nortel and Avaya have not released the same advisories, although all three companies were found to have security glitches during testing by VoIPshield Laboratories.

Cisco released software updates to fix the flaws in the call processing component of the Cisco IP Telephony system. VoIP Laboratories found glitches in the VoIP, PBX and softphone software of Nortel, Avaya and Cisco, but the testing organization didn't release specific details about the problems -- leaving that up to the companies and giving them time to come up with patches. Users should expect to see advisories and fixes coming from Nortel and Avaya as well.

Red Hat's new hypervisor may be more complicated than advertised

Red Hat's new Linux-based bare-metal hypervisor may not be as easy as advertised, according to SearchServerVirtualization.com. The technology is based on the Kernel-Based Virtual Machine (KVM) project, but the ease of KVM deployment on Linux may come at a cost, according to some debating the value of KVM versus XenSource. They say that while Red Hat's hypervisor may be easier to install alongside Linux, Xen may be a sounder virtualization offering because its paravirtualized model separates the hypervisor from the operating system.

Progress to buy IONA

Progress Software is buying IONA Technologies in a deal valued at about $106 million. Progress, based in Bedford, Mass., said Wednesday it is offering $4.05 per share in cash for Dublin-based IONA. That represents about a 16% premium over IONA's share value over the past six months.

Progress, which makes an array of software development tools and specializes in integrating legacy applications and technologies, will get IONA's expertise in Web services and service-oriented architecture (SOA). There is considerable overlap in some of their SOA wares. IONA's board has approved the measure, Progress said. The transaction is expected to finalize in September, pending regulatory approval.

Wednesday, June 25

Microsoft-Yahoo talks on again

Various news outlets are reporting that a Microsoft-Yahoo deal may not be dead after all. CNET reports that the two companies are continuing to talk about a limited deal short of an acquisition, while TechCrunch says Microsoft still is interested in all of Yahoo -- but at a price short of the $33 per share it originally offered.

IP heavy hitters release security patches today

Cisco, Nortel and Avaya are all expected to releases patches today to correct security glitches found in Voice over IP (VoIP) PBXs and softphone software, Network World reported this morning. VoIPshield Laboratories discovered the security vulnerabilities and reported them to the three companies without leaking the problem, so the vendors would have time to come up with patches. VoIPshield tested equipment from Avaya, Cisco and Nortel because they dominate market sales in these products. Microsoft will be included in the next round of testing.

SAP Business ByDesign report card

Early adopters of SAP's hosted Business ByDesign ERP are supported and cushioned by SAP resources, which helps atone for the lack of some key features, according to SearchSAP.com. Solution providers hope that the hosted offering will leave room for partner involvement.

Business intelligence software market grows

The business intelligence (BI) software market grew 13% worldwide last year, reaching $5.1 billion, according to Gartner Inc. and reported by SearchDataManagement.com. However, as the United States faced a potential recession and weak dollar, U.S. BI spending dropped 5% in 2007. IBM, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and other large vendors grew the most, with a combined increase from 20% in 2006 to 66% in 2007. Acquisitions helped this upswing, as IBM acquired Cognos, Oracle acquired Hyperion and SAP bought Business Objects.

IBM and Cognos controlled 14.7% of the BI market share, falling slightly behind SAP and Business Objects, which accounted for 26.3% globally. Oracle and Hyperion tied Microsoft for fourth, at 10.6% each. Gartner predicts that independent vendors will account for greater market share in the future, as smaller vendors dominated over a quarter of the 2007 BI market.

Symantec adds SQL scanning to DLP suite

Symantec yesterday released a new version of its Vontu Data Loss Prevention software. The update supports scanning of native SQL databases, including Oracle, SQL Server and DB2. Symantec also enhanced the management capabilities for the DLP software, which is the second release since Symantec acquired Vontu in December 2007.

AT&T pushes digital media into enterprise

Digital media is no longer just for the home consumer. AT&T announced a suite of content delivery and digital media applications for the enterprise Tuesday. The company joins a list of network operators and equipment vendors, including Cisco Systems, that are aiming to get video on demand and other content applications into the business arena.

The goal is to help enterprises package and deliver video and other Web content to PCs, televisions and mobile computing devices. AT&T's Digital Media Solutions include content distribution and management applications, as well as broadcast video and digital signage services. The solutions are targeted at a range of companies, from small businesses to multinationals, and range across industries from financial and retail to education and healthcare.

Sage Software updates Sage Pro ERP

Sage Software's new Sage Pro ERP 7.5 expands drilldowns in reports, updates the dashboard and integrates well with Sage Payment Solutions to ease credit card transactions, the company said. The software runs on Windows and Linux. Both editions -- Sage Pro 100 and 200 -- are available now. Sage Pro 100 starts at $995 per module and $1,195 per user. Sage Pro 200 is $1,995 per module and $1,295 per user.

Tuesday, June 24

Nokia acquires Symbian, has open source plans

Nokia is buying the 52% of mobile operating system Symbian that it doesn't already own. The price tag is about $410.1 million, and Nokia plans to make the software platform open source so that other handset makers and developers will jump on board. Nokia is buying out fellow shareholders Sony Ericsson, Siemens and Samsung, which together own the rest of Symbian's equity.

The acquisition is meant to place Nokia squarely ahead of its mobile industry competitors and will put it in competition with Google's Android, the Linux-based LiMo and other rival platforms. Both Android and LiMo are already open source, but the Symbian platform dominates the smartphone market.

Nokia also announced it will form the Symbian Foundation to guide application development for the open source platform. Nokia is forming the organization with AT&T, LG Electronics, Motorola, NTT DOCOMO, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone.

Google and Salesforce.com offer developer tools

Google and Salesforce.com expanded their partnership yesterday by announcing new developer tools. The Force.com Toolkit for Google Data APIs lets developers come up with new ways to integrate Google Apps data with the Force.com development platform. The announcement follows April's news that Salesforce.com will integrate Google Apps with its own online CRM services.

BT Americas and SAP America sign joint marketing agreement

BT Americas Inc. and SAP America Inc. said Monday they have signed a joint marketing agreement to bolster the promotion of BT telecommunications and SAP software. BT Americas provides customers with communications services in 170 countries, while SAP America supplies business software applications. The two companies unite in an effort to produce "next-generation products" and develop a fresh system of intelligence with SAP applications and BT's Software Development Kit.

Michael Boustridge, president of BT Americas, said, "Bringing together BT's and SAP's complementary technologies offers our joint customers more effective enterprise-wide solutions, helping them utilize IT to meet their business goals."

Oracle acquires another insurance industry vendor

Oracle will acquire insurance software company Skywire Software in an attempt to flesh out its insurance industry strategy. The companies did not disclose specific financial details.

Skywire's software manages insurance policies from creation through management, and it includes an information exchange application. The Skywire deal fits well with Oracle's pending acquisition of policy management application developer AdminServer. Applications from the two companies will go hand in hand with Oracle's Siebel Claims, Siebel CRM and Insure, as well as the company's database and middleware. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2008.

Survey says: Enterprise search stinks

A large majority of business tech consumers say finding the relevant factoid they need is easier on the wild, wild Web than it is in their corporate environment. The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) surveyed more than 500 business users for its AIIM Market IQ on Findability report and found that a whopping 82% agreed or strongly agreed that their experience on consumer Web sites has driven them to want more from their own organization's search. Nearly half of respondents (49%) had no formal goal for enterprise "findability," however.

"The publishing revolution has taken hold in enterprises, but while tools abound to create information, adoption of smarter approaches to finding and using information has lagged," AIIM vice president Carl Frappaolo said in a statement.

Corporate search is a holy grail not only for Google, which hopes to parlay its Internet search strength inside firewalls, but for Microsoft, which hopes it can do better inside-business search than Google. IBM and Oracle also have corporate search efforts underway.

Monday, June 23

Google's Android-based handsets delayed

Mobile devices based on Google's Android software, which Google and 30 partners planned to introduce by the second half of this year, face availability delays, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. Google expects Android to be available in the year's fourth quarter.

Google announced the software in November, but some companies, such as China Mobile and Sprint Nextel, must now delay the release of Android. Among complaints of delays, software developers have also found it difficult to create programs that work with Android, as Google continuously alters the product. Wireless carriers and handset makers are encountering problems with the integration and customization of Android to fit their services. Taiwan's High Tech Computer Corp. and Samsung Electronics are also developing Android-based handsets.

Worldwide security software revenue grows 20%

Worldwide security software revenue hit $10.4 billion in 2007, up 19.8% from the previous year's $8.7 billion figure, according to Gartner. A breakdown of the numbers shows a customer shift toward appliance-based offerings, especially in the email security and secure Web gateway markets, Gartner analysts said.

For the year, Symantec and McAfee retained their leads, holding 26.6% and 11.8% of the market, respectively. And EMC more than tripled its revenue, primarily because of acquisitions. Meanwhile, Microsoft's move into consumer security will further erode prices in this segment -- which should concern VARs, as that price pressure will find its way into business markets, Gartner said.

Ballmer still talking search after Yahoo

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer still thinks online search is where it's at for his company. In an interview with the Financial Times, Ballmer said Microsoft's attempted Yahoo buyout was an admission that Microsoft had to do something drastic in search.

"We thought we could accelerate the upside in a way that was value-creating," he said. "At the end of the day, Yahoo was not an online strategy. It was a way for us to accelerate our own online strategy. They didn't want to sell."

Ballmer also said he faulted Microsoft for getting to search late, "primarily because we didn't see the business model. And I give Google credit for innovating in the business model around search. They did a nice job on that, and that's why they won."

Businesses look to next-generation WAN technology

Most U.S. businesses are still using legacy wide area network (WAN) services, but they are steadily migrating to MPLS, Ethernet VPN and other next-generation technologies, according to new research from analyst firm In-Stat, as reported by SearchNetworking.com.

In-Stat surveyed 810 businesses and found that 62% are still using frame relay, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) networks and other legacy WAN services. The majority of those companies are planning to switch at least part of their networks to newer technology. Survey respondents identified business direct Internet (37%), Ethernet VPN (36%) and MPLS (30%) as the services to which they plan to migrate over the next year. Most WAN migration tends to be gradual, according to In-Stat, and companies with multiple locations are moving their smaller sites first, because those are more manageable.

Networking vendor in shareholder squabble

IP networking company Sonus Networks is in talks to resolve a beef with its largest shareholder, Lagatum Capital, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. Legatum, which holds 25% of Sonus, withheld its votes for the Sonus board of directors at a June 20 meeting. Legatum said it was protesting poor management at Sonus, pointing out that Sonus' stock price was at a five-year low and saying the company lacked transparency. Legatum also said the company's board had been unresponsive to shareholder concerns.

Meanwhile, Sonus filed a letter with the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying that Legatum had at one time listed various companies as stockholders of Sonus --and then later listed only one person and one entity as holders. Sonus executives said part of its business touches on the national security telecom infrastructure in the United States, and therefore it needed clearer information about who exactly was behind Legatum. In another letter to Legatum, Sonus asked, "Why are you refusing to provide us with the information we need to assure our customers that your new role will not jeopardize their interests?"


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