Microsoft gives pirates thumbs up, and open source gets thumbs down

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Back up and archiving sales opportunity

Anyone interested in making a quick buck in the back up and archiving sector should give Intel a call. It may be one of the world's biggest technology companies, but the chip giant has been having trouble with its data retention policy with the chairman, CEO, and sales chief all deleting emails that might be relevant to AMD's anti-trust lawsuit against it. At the very least, you should get some training money out of it.

Lost in space

The strange thing is that with an increase of 48.5 per cent in total storage capacity shipped last year, you would think those Intel execs would be able to find somewhere to save their emails to. Looks like they stored up trouble instead.

Heave ho, me hearties

Some people have a negative view of software pirates. The BSA, for example, recently took action against companies in the US, UK, Germany, and Austria.

But the popularity of pirates is rising on the back of the successful Pirates Of The Carribean franchise and Microsoft business group president Jeff Raikes has adopted a more benevolent approach. He told a recent Morgan Stanley Technology event that pirates were the customers of the future. Talk about opening up new Vistas! A Mr Long John Silver and Mr Blind Pugh are probably buying their Microsoft licences as we speak.

Microsoft phone Bill

But before we get carried away, here's a question for all those planning to hoist the Jolly Roger, buy an eye patch and handkerchief, and sail off into the wild blue yonder: What's the difference between Windows and ET? At least ET told Elliott he was going to phone home. It appears that Windows Genuine Advantage phones Redmond even when the user cancels the installation.

Open source: Tories love it

Seems the Tories will stop at nothing or nobody to win votes for the next election. After running out of voters to woo, it was perhaps inevitable they should go for the beard and sandal vote by supporting open source software.

Speaking at the Royal Society of Arts, shadow chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne said the government should save money by ditching conventional software licences. But why not go the whole hog and just use pirated software now that Microsoft has endorsed it?

Open source: Managers running scared

What the good lord giveth with one hand, he taketh with the other. Just as the Tories come on board, a number of corporate managers are doing their damnedest to stop their developers using open source software even to the extent of banning USB drives and blocking sites like SourceForge.

More hot products from Apple

A few days after a Wall Street analyst claimed Apple was preparing to launch a flash-based sub-notebook in the second half of the year, one of its MacBook users got a little bit more spark than he expected from his notebook when it burst into flames as he lay sleeping.

The fearless Aussie user picked it up, "blew on it and swung it around to put the flames out". Who said Apple's products are too hot to handle?

There's green in them thar hills

There was a lot of green about this week. Supermarket giant Wal-Mart announced plans for a scorecard assessing the "sustainability" of consumer electronics products marking them for hazardous materials, packaging, upgradability and recyclability.

Meanwhile, IBM was busy promoting the green credentials of mainframes to India, Russia, and China as a way of reducing power and cooling costs compared to servers. All very well, but will you be able to get them through the checkout at Wal-Mart Moscow?

How did they manage that?

Swings and roundabouts at Computacenter where improved gross margins on product sales were singled out as contributing to a near 17 per cent increase in UK operating margins last year.

Meanwhile, the managed services arm experienced "a disappointing year for contract renewals" with only a one per cent increase in contractual services revenues.

Further afield, the performance of Computacenter France "remains unsatisfactory". A bit like the rugby team last Sunday.

Private equity trend is so compelling

One of Computacenter's oldest fellow resellers, Compel, is joining the likes of the AA, Booker, and United Biscuits in being acquired by a private equity owned firm. 2e2 has bought the firm for £52.9m. The deal should do wonders for the company's tax bill. Channel veteran chief executive Neville Davis will leave when the acquisition goes through.

End of the world isn't nigh (again)

Daylight Saving Time came three weeks early to the US this year - on Sunday 11 March - and seemed to go off without a hitch. By Tuesday, El Reg was reporting a few problems with Google AdWords and Windows - but nothing major. Our friends in sysadmin are taking a lot of the credit for all their hard work behind the scenes. So what's new?

Fraud allegations put execs in DDS

A former Gateway CFO and financial controller have been found guilty of engaging in a fraudulent revenue and earnings manipulation scheme known to company insiders as the DDS (or deep, deep shit) programme.

Four former officers at Nortel might also end up in the DDS after being accused by the SEC of cooking the books.

You didn't see me, right

If you're going to commit fraud, the best way would seem to not be there when it happens. Although UK credit card fraud was down slightly last year at £428m, and retail card fraud fell 47 per cent because of the introduction of chip and PIN, card-not-present fraud was up 16 per cent to £212.6m. More here

Oil on burning waters

A former sales executive at massive Indian outsourcing firm Wipro is suing the company for what he claims is unpaid commission of at least £1m for helping it win a huge deal with Dutch giant Shell. Wipro refutes his claims, arguing it never offered him commission on the deal. Seems some people can't go well with Shell after all. More here.

You know where you can stick it

Still on matters concerning The Netherlands, the Dutch justice minister has decided not to impose a copyright tax on USB flash drives proposed by Dutch industry group SONT.

Does your bank think you're rubbish?

Some of the biggest names in high street banking in the UK have been told to clean up their act and stop chucking customer information in bins on the pavement outside their branches.

The Information Commissioners Office has told them to get their act together otherwise they risk being dumped by their customers.

Walkers crisps, mediocre football team, and...

Finally, we turn to AXA Insurance which has conducted a survey of SME business claims by region. Firstly, if you don't want your business to go up in flames, it might be best to avoid Glasgow - "the arson capital of the United Kingdom" as AXA dubs it.

But Glasgow's not the top place for business crime. That honour goes to a place which, until now, has been associated with Walkers Crisps and Gary Lineker's cheesy (or should that be cheese and onion) grin: Leicester. More here.

Until next time... ®


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