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IT Channel News Briefs, Feb. 4

Today's headlines: For Windows 7, the magic number is 6; Symantec spots bank Trojan

Microsoft plans six versions of Windows 7

Microsoft parsed out its Windows 7 SKU plan on Tuesday, and it's no simpler than the widely panned Vista game plan. Two primary editions, Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional, cover the bulk of the market.

The first is for consumers and promises a "full-function PC experience." The Professional edition is for an IT-managed or business environment where security is at a premium, according to a post to Microsoft's website. Then there's the Enterprise version, mostly for business customers on Software Assurance subscription plans. Windows 7 Enterprise adds more data protection and other IT tools and will not be available via OEMs or for preinstallation on new PCs.

For emerging markets there will be a Home Basic edition. And, finally, there's the Windows Starter edition, which will come only preinstalled by a hardware OEM and be available worldwide. It is limited to lower-end hardware environments. For tech enthusiasts, Microsoft will continue the Ultimate edition that combines enterprise-class security features like BitLocker with consumer perks.

Symantec spots online banking Trojan

A sophisticated online banking Trojan that first surfaced two years ago has hit banks in Denmark and has been detected in the U.S., Symantec researchers said. While it hasn't attacked any U.S. banks, it's worth watching, according to

The Trojan, called Bankpatch, first surfaced in 2007 and its authors continue to distribute it and update plug-in modules that are designed to target specific banks and steal online banking credentials, Eric Chien, a researcher at Symantec Corp., blogged last Friday.

Microsoft's updated unified comms hits as expected

As expected, Microsoft's updated Office Communications Server R2 is now available. Last fall, the company said the update adds collaborative applications that include dial-in audio conferencing and a shared desktop with group document editing. Microsoft said OCS 2007 R2, which also includes persistent chat, would go online in February. Fittingly, Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft's business division, hosted a Web conference Tuesday featuring large customers Intel and Sprint and Dimension Data, a big OCS partner to mark general availability of the product.

Mark Slaga, CTO for Dimension Data Americas, told that his company can help customers do full-scale OCS implementations or fit it into existing infrastructures. Partners like Dimension Data can also help customers more fully utilize software they already have rights to under their Microsoft Enterprise Agreements.

OCS is a good fit for companies of any size with distributed workforces. Dimension Data also partners with Cisco and its unified communications products. Microsoft execs up to and including CEO Steve Ballmer have designated unified communications (UC) as a key growth area for partners and the company itself.

Dell, Cisco to ease data center wiring

Cisco Systems Inc. and Dell Inc.'s decision to pre-install Cisco's Nexus switches into PowerEdge servers and storage racks could simplify data center cabling and other issues, according to
The move helps create a pool of unified networking resources that streamlines a data center infrastructure and reduces costs, according to both companies.

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