Top 10: Intel antitrust redux, AMD change, network woes

This week's roundup of the top tech news stories includes Intel's EC woes, AMD's new CEO, San Francisco's network issues, the ongoing MS-Yahoo saga, and more

The European Commission amended its antitrust charges against Intel that were filed a year ago to include three new claims. While that news was expected, word that Hector Ruiz has been replaced as head of Intel rival AMD was not. That news broke on Thursday, which was a hopping-busy day for IT headlines, including the arraignment of a San Francisco IT administrator who authorities say is holding the city's network hostage by allegedly refusing to hand over passwords.

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1. EU levels new antitrust charges against Intel: The European Commission sent a new set of antitrust charges to Intel as it seeks to bolster charges initially filed last July that involve claims Intel has practiced anticompetitive business practices to hurt rival Advanced Micro Devices. The Commission, which is Europe's top regulator, said that Intel paid big rebates to a European PC retailer on the condition that the retailer sell only Intel-based PCs and that Intel also paid a leading original equipment manufacturer to put off a launch of products with rival Advanced Micro Devices' CPUs. The third new charge is that Intel paid rebates to that OEM on the condition that it would get all of its laptop CPUs from Intel. Intel responded that the new charges are just the same claims AMD has been making for years and that Intel has always conducted business lawfully. The company is "confident that the worldwide microprocessor market is functioning normally and is highly competitive," it said.

2. AMD appoints new CEO as losses continue: Dirk Meyer replaced Hector Ruiz as CEO of financially struggling AMD. Ruiz will continue as executive chairman of the company and chairman of the AMD board of directors, the company said as it reported its seventh-consecutive quarter of financial losses. The company, which must contend with Intel as a rival, also is divesting its handheld and digital TV businesses. The personnel move could be just what AMD needs to get it back on track, analysts say.

3. IT administrator pleads not guilty to network tampering: Terry Childs, the 43-year-old San Francisco city IT administrator accused of holding the city's Fibre WAN hostage, pleaded not guilty to charges of computer tampering during his arraignment Thursday. Childs is accused of setting up an unauthorized access system, resetting administrative passwords to city network's switches and routers, and then refusing to hand over the passwords. Other administrators at the city's Department of Telecommunication Information Services have struggled to regain administrative control of the network. Childs is being held on $5 million bail, an unusually high amount for such a case. His next scheduled court appearance is a July 23 bail hearing.

4. Yahoo rejects MS proposal, seeks bid for entire company , Yahoo letter to shareholders slams Microsoft, Icahn and AOL a less challenging buy than Yahoo for Microsoft: One of the latest chapters in this ongoing saga actually happened last week, but missed the Top 10 and has spilled over into this week -- Yahoo last Saturday night released word that it rejected a proposal from Microsoft and investor Carl Icahn to restructure Yahoo and sell its search business to Microsoft. This week, news reports said that Microsoft is talking to AOL's parent Time Warner about possibly buying AOL. Absorbing AOL could be easier for Microsoft than bringing Yahoo into its corporate fold, analysts say, even though AOL wouldn't bring the search oomph that Yahoo would. All we can say at this point is stay tuned.

5. Apple sues Mac clone maker Psystar for copyright infringement and Apple's recall demand would probably kill Psystar, says IP attorney: Apple filed a lawsuit against Mac clone maker Psystar, claiming that the Florida company violated Apple copyright and licensing agreements by installing Mac OS X on its computers. Apple allows its operating system to be installed only on Apple computers. Defending itself against the lawsuit could drive Psystar out of business, according to one intellectual property attorney.

6. Huge rise in malware this year: Web-based malware increased by -- sit down for this one -- 278 percent in the first half of this year, according to the ScanSafe Global Net Report, which studied more than 60 billion Web requests the company has scanned, along with 600 million Web threats it blocked from January to June. The huge rise owes partly to a rash of infected sites at the hands of SQL injection attacks last month. But that's not even the worst news. ScanSafe warns that the malware plague will grow, and that a surge is likely after the planned August release by security researcher Dan Kaminsky of details on a long-standing DNS vulnerability. Which leads us to....

7. New worm transcodes MP3s to try to infect PCs: Windows users who download music files on peer-to-peer networks beware. New malware puts links to malicious Web sites in ASF (Advanced Systems Format) files. Opening an infected music file will cause Internet Explorer to launch and load a malicious site where the unsuspecting music fan will be asked if they want to download a codec. But the downloaded file is actually a Trojan horse program that has worm-like characteristics.

8.New Eclipse member looks to rival Visual Studio: Sonatype, one of the newest members of the Eclipse Foundation,.plans to offer a Java environment that can compete with Visual Studio. The company will lead development of the m2eclipse project, which is an Eclipse plug-in combining Maven and Eclipse. Also joining the Foundation was Excelsior, which is the first Russian company to join.

9. Google offers Android updates only to contest winners: Whoops! A Google employee meaning to send a note to winners of a developer's contest inadvertently sent the message to a wider group and honked off a lot of the unintended recipients. The note suggested that only certain developers have been quietly receiving updates to the Android software development kit, while the larger group of developers working on the mobile platform have been shut out of receiving the updates. Needless to say, this left a lot of developers unhappy. So much so that they say they've had it with Google and will turn their attentions to Apple's iPhone.

10. A tech tourist's guide to Beijing: Even if you aren't going to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing Aug. 2-24, you may be curious about technology in the capital of the People's Republic of China. Beijing is home to the world's largest mobile-phone and Internet-user markets, but has yet to be on par with other Asian cities such as Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul when it comes to Internet and telecom technology. Of course, putting on the Olympic Games is a huge technological endeavor in its own right.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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