Top 10: Oracle snags Sun, Microsoft earnings dip

Also in this week's roundup of tech news: VMware makes big cloud promises, MySpace gets a new CEO, RSA draws headlines, and more

Oracle kicked off a busy week in IT news, announcing plans to buy Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion. We'd quip that Oracle will put Sun out of its misery, but it's a good guess that the misery for some Sun employees is still to come given Oracle's penchant for big layoffs after big acquisitions. Speaking of misery, Microsoft's revenue was down from a year ago, which had until now been unheard of. The week also brought cloud news, netbook slamming, and changes at MySpace and Facebook, among other things.

1. The downfall of Sun Microsystems, Oracle expected to axe jobs -- perhaps 10,000 -- after Sun deal, and Is Java as we know it doomed?: Far more interesting than the actual terms of Oracle's offer to buy Sun are all of the questions that the deal raises -- what happens to Java? What happens to MySQL? And Sun employees certainly have the biggest questions given that Oracle will undoubtedly trim Sun jobs, with analysts saying that the total could hit 10,000. Then there is the retrospective of what happened to the once high-flying Sun.

[ Slideshow: The rise and fall of Sun Microsystems . ]

2. Microsoft earnings down over last year: So, we know the economy is in the toilet, but even so, it was jarring to hear that Microsoft missed analyst forecasts for its third fiscal quarter and its quarterly revenue dropped for the first time in its history as a public company. Special charges sent net income down, too.

3. VMware vows to overhaul datacenter with 'cloud operating system' and Virtualization is the new mainframe, VMware says: VMware's vSphere was unveiled to corporate fanfare seven months after the company started to create buzz about what it now calls a "cloud operating system." Whatever it calls vSphere, the launch was indeed viewed as a big one for VMware, which aims to keep its leadership status in the virtualization market.

4. Apple dismisses netbook trend and Apple doesn't get netbooks? Too bad: Apple COO Tim Cook trash-talked netbooks during the company's quarterly conference call with financial analysts. "I see cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens," he said. But he also sure made it sound as if Apple may be thinking about creating its own kind of product that is something like a netbook, only better in that uniquely Apple sort of way.

5. With MySpace CEO out, it's time to reinvent the company and MySpace's new CEO is former Facebook executive: MySpace owner News Corp. said late Wednesday that the social-networking site's co-founder and CEO Chris DeWolfe would be leaving his job in the "near future," which prompted analysts to suggest now is a good time for the site to be reinvented so it can pick up ground on hot rival Facebook. Turns out that when News Corp. says "near future," it means it -- the next day it announced that former Facebook Chief Revenue Officer Owen Van Natta would be taking over as MySpace CEO immediately.

6. Cisco CEO: Cloud computing a security nightmare, RSA conference kicks off on somber note, and Has RSA jumped the shark?: Cisco Systems Chairman and CEO John Chambers provided one of the more attention-grabbing stories out of the RSA conference, calling cloud computing "a security nightmare." There was a smattering of other news out of the show, which was smaller than in past years, what with the recession in full throttle. CSO's Bill Brenner found that even though the breaking news was slim, there was still plenty to write and podcast about, with more ideas brewing for future stories.

7. Update: US judge to extend Microsoft consent decree: U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly extended for 18 months, until May 2011, parts of the antitrust decree governing Microsoft. The extended portions involve technical documentation for Windows communications protocols and middleware distribution. The company has made progress dealing with problems in technical documentation, but will not be finished with that work by November when the judgment had been set to expire.

8. Facebook moves ahead with new terms of use and Facebook to adopt new governing documents: Facebook will implement revised rules for its operation (technically called the Facebook Principles and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities) after changes it tried to make provoked user backlash earlier this year. Facebook had said its new rules would be binding if 30 percent of its users approved them, but only about 600,000 of 200 million registered users voted. Instead of sticking with the 30 percent goal, the company said that if an outside auditor confirms the vote tally it would follow the time-honored (if not entirely honorable) tradition of just implementing the new rules anyway.

9. With six-core chips and a road map, AMD preps for stimulus money fight: AMD released an aggressive chip road map and is undoubtedly going to be angling for a piece of the U.S. economic stimulus money that will be handed out to technology companies. But AMD had better move fast -- rival Intel's CTO Justin Rattner has been making the rounds in Washington, D.C., drumming up interest in his company's wares.

10. Criminals pay top money for hackable Nokia phone and Nokia: We don't know why criminals want our old phones: This week's eyebrow-raising story comes from the Netherlands, where a fraud investigator finds that criminals will pay a lot of money for a particular discontinued Nokia mobile phone with a software problem that can be used to hack into online bank accounts. Nokia says it has not identified any such software problem and it does not know why anyone would offer up to €25,000 ($32,413) for a Nokia 1100 phone that originally cost less than €100.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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