The top 10 stories in IT this week

Steve Jobs was a busy man this week, making a rare appearance on Apple's quarterly earnings call where he availed himself of the opportunity to trash-talk the competition, which seems to be a hobby for him of late, and taking the stage at a company event focused on Mac hardware and software. In other news, Microsoft took to the cloud.

1. Summary: Apple previews OS X Lion, updates iLife and MacBook Air and Say good-bye to the Mac OS, hello to MiOS: Apple offered a peek at its upcoming OS X update (keeping with the big-cat theme, this one is code-named Lion) and showed off updates to iLife and new versions of the MacBook Air, now "affordably" priced (in Apple's universe anyway) at ($1) under US$1,000.

2. Microsoft takes cloud fight to Google: Microsoft gave its Office suite a new name -- Office 365 -- as it officially launched into the cloud market. This is not good news for rival Google.

3. Google to tighten privacy policies after Wi-Fi fiasco: Google confessed that its Street View cars collected passwords and e-mail addresses from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks and said that it is putting more stringent privacy practices into place in the wake of the revelation it collected private information in various countries.

4. HP Slate 500 tablet now available, Dell developing 10-inch Windows and Linux tablets and Tablet battle: HP Slate vs. iPad vs. Galaxy Tab vs. Playbook: The Great Tablet War has started to heat up as the all-important holiday shopping season approaches. Hewlett-Packard's Slate 500 became available and Dell executives talked about their plans for Windows and Linux tablets. Meanwhile, would-be tablet owners are left trying to sort through specs and prices to figure out which tablet best suits their needs.

5. MacBook Air could foretell death of hard drives: The updated MacBook Air has no hard drive, which could kick off an industry trend.

6. FCC: Wireless spectrum shortage coming: The U.S. Federal Communications Commission warned in a paper this week of an acute shortage of wireless spectrum.

7. Wall Street Beat: Apple, IBM, AT&T earnings fuel markets: Tech bellwethers released robust financial results, with Apple yet again leading the pack, which helped to push markets overall.

8. Jobs speaks! The complete transcript and RIM CEO slams Apple 'distortion field': Jobs expanded his repertoire beyond Adobe Systems and ripped into Google and Research In Motion, with the latter's CEO responding to Jobs in kind, suggesting that even Apple fans are going to get tired of Jobs' "distortion field."

9. Ray Ozzie to leave Microsoft: Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie is retiring from Microsoft at some unspecified point in the future and CEO Steve Ballmer has no plans to try to replace him. We will wait with great interest to hear what Ozzie plans to do next.

10. DHS simulates terror attack in subway systems and Slideshow: Images from a Homeland Security experiment: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has simulated terrorist attacks on subway systems as part of a research exercise, complete with photographs.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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