Top 10: IBM talks to Sun, IE8 debuts, iPhone 3.0 sneak peek

This week's roundup of tech news includes the proposed IBM-Sun merger, Apple unveiling the iPhone 3.0 OS, Microsoft rolling out IE8, and more

IBM is in talks to buy Sun, according to The Wall Street Journal, leading analysts and industry observers to weigh in on the pros and cons. Steve Ballmer gave it a thumbs up because anything that distracts IBM from the "business" part of its name is fine by him. Speaking of Ballmer, IE8 came out this week. Apple also gave the world a look-see at its forthcoming iPhone 3.0 software.

1.Report: IBM is in talks to buy Sun Microsystems, Ballmer: IBM-Sun deal could help Microsoft and If IBM and Sun merge, watch out Oracle and SAP: IBM wants to buy Sun Microsystems, according to The Wall Street Journal, and the two are in talks aimed at that goal. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer likes the idea, too, saying that his company would take competitive advantage while IBM was occupied with how to incorporate Sun into a merged entity. Such a deal could also alter how Oracle and SAP use Java, analysts said.

[ Special report: IBM looking to buy Sun . ]

2.Microsoft releases IE8, stresses security, Researcher hacks just launched IE8 and Browser showdown: IE8 vs. Firefox: Internet Explorer 8 came out this week, with Microsoft trumpeting it as more secure against malware than Firefox or Chrome. Just before the official launch a German researcher hacked IE8 as part of a contest. Meanwhile, PC World tested IE8 against the latest version of Firefox to see which browser is speedier. We don't want to ruin the conclusion, so if you want to see the result of that test, click the link.

3.Apple unveils the iPhone 3.0 OS : Apple showed off its upcoming iPhone 3.0 software at an event at corporate headquarters in Cupertino, California. Developers expressed cautious optimism about the new OS and it also looks like some of the software features will please business users .

[ Test Center: A guided tour of iPhone 3.0 ]

4. Researchers make wormy Twitter attack: Secure Science researchers posted a new Twitter attack that could spread like a worm via the microblogging site. "You can couple an attack with our code and it would just tear the crap out of Twitter," said Lance James, chief scientist at Secure Science. Twitter users, consider yourselves warned.

5. Search on for Conficker's first victim: University of Michigan researchers, with funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, are on a hunt to determine where the Conficker worm came from. They are trying to determine "patient zero," or the first computer that was infected by the nasty worm.

6. Palm sales plummet as Pre waits in the wings: Palm joined the club of companies that had a rough quarter, with its smartphone revenue plunging 72 percent, with smartphone sales down 42 percent. The rest of the dismal news awaits you at the link if you care to read on. For those who are full up on woeful financial news, read on for a breath of fresher air ...

7. Wall Street Beat: M&A, Oracle stress the positive: Investors were in a better mood for much of the week (although by Friday they seemed to have returned to being panicky and uncertain). But several consecutive days of more upbeat market reactions and a trickle of related positive news from IT vendors did us all a lot of good, because at this point, we will take all of the relatively optimistic economic news we can get, however short-lived it winds up being.

8. TomTom sues Microsoft for patent infringement: We can just hear TomTom saying to Microsoft, "Ha! Ha! Take that!" The GPS device maker sued Microsoft for patent infringement related to four patents in Microsoft Streets and Trips mapping software. Microsoft, you might recall, filed a lawsuit against TomTom last month, accusing the company of infringing eight patents, one of which involves the Linux OS that TomTom uses.

9. Bracing for NCAA tournament traffic: Well, you didn't really think that this week's Top 10 would fail to include a nod to "March Madness," the annual playoff rite of early spring for college basketball fanatics, did you?

10. Flying car takes to the skies and roads: This entry falls under the "too cool to not include" category. Terrafugia showed off its flying car this week. Eat your heart out, George Jetson.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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