Hurd out at HP, Oracle goes after Android

Plus Microsoft's patch release may ruin some beach plans, Dell's tablet PC and phone hybrid debuts, and Skype goes public

The reign of Hewlett-Packard's former CEO Mark Hurd was bookended by scandal -- only where the first one, in which the HP board was caught spying on journalists and others, allowed Hurd to consolidate power and nab the chairman's job, the second has sent him packing. Meanwhile, Oracle has sued Google, claiming that the Android mobile OS infringes on patents it acquired from Sun Microsystems.

1. Actress in HP scandal sorry Hurd lost his job: The actress who brought sexual harassment charges against former Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd said she was surprised that the allegations cost him his job. Jodie Fisher, an actress and reality television contestant, released a statement on Sunday in which she came out as the person who brought the claims against Hurd. Fisher worked for HP as a contractor and attended executive summits and major client meetings. Late last Friday HP announced that Hurd had resigned from the company, saying that he did not violate HP's sexual harassment policy but did violate its standards of business conduct. Hurd filed inaccurate expense reports to conceal his personal, nonsexual relationship with Fisher and paid her for work she did not perform, according to statements from HP.

2. Google, Verizon make net neutrality proposal: Last week's rumors of network neutrality talks between Google and Verizon turned out to be true. But contrary to media reports, neither company wants to create a business arrangement. Instead, Google and Verizon on Monday released a proposal that would allow the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to enforce some network neutrality rules. The proposal would bar ISPs (Internet service providers) from blocking or slowing Internet traffic and allow the FCC to fine offenders up to US$2 million. Network neutrality fans knocked the proposal, saying the measure does nothing to keep the Web open and is ineffective since it does not cover wireless broadband.

3. Oracle sues Google over Java use in Android: Google's Android mobile-phone OS infringes on Oracle's Java software patents, according to a lawsuit that Oracle filed against the search company. Oracle's lawsuit claims that Google knowingly infringed its Java technology, which Oracle acquired when it bought Sun. An analyst said that Google developed Android without using Sun technology and that the success of Android phones served as a catalyst for the lawsuit.

4. Microsoft's 30-day forecast: Stormy exploits expected: IT administrators may want to rethink summer holiday plans after Microsoft issued its monthly security update on Tuesday. Of the 32 flaws that Microsoft rated on how likely they are to be exploited, 18 of them were labeled as very likely to be exploited. Popular Microsoft products like Office 2007, Internet Explorer, Silverlight and Windows all received patches.

5. Skype files IPO registration with SEC: Internet telephony company Skype looks to raise $100 million through an initial public offering, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company, formerly part of online retailer eBay after an acquisition, will use the funds for "general business purposes" and to grow its user base.

6. New Android malware texts premium-rate numbers: Kaspersky Lab researchers discovered the first malware program that targets the Android mobile OS. The application presents itself as a media player but sends text messages to the number of the hacker who created the software. However, Android phone owners outside of Russia don't need to fret over their phones' security just yet. The application isn't available in the Android Market, and so far the program has only appeared on phones sold in Russia and on mobile networks in that country.

7. Dell's Streak tablet to go on sale Aug. 12: Dell's Streak, a device that the company describes as a tablet PC but has smartphone features, will be available to U.S. consumers on Friday. The device is already available in the U.K. Dell says the device's 5-inch screen will offer better multimedia experiences than smartphones with smaller screens.

8. Twitter launches the Tweet Button: Twitter launched the Tweet Button, which aims to ease the process of posting Web links to the social media site. By installing the button on their sites, Web publishers will allow users to share URLs without leaving the page or switching browser tabs. Clicking the Tweet Button launches a pop-up window that allows users to access their Twitter accounts, presents a shortened URL and permits people to post the information to their accounts.

9. AT&T, Verizon cashing in outside of phones: Data services are contributing more to the bottom line of U.S. mobile carriers thanks to the rash of e-readers, tablet PCs and other consumer electronics devices on the market. In the second quarter U.S. mobile penetration exceeded 100 percent, according to an industry consultant. The increase of iPads, Kindles and other non-phone devices connecting to data networks helped U.S. mobile operators earn 31 percent of their second-quarter revenue from mobile data services.

10. Oracle provides Sparc road map, but questions remain: Oracle this week also discussed plans for another piece of technology it acquired from Sun. Oracle described the five-year plan for updating the processors in its Sparc-based server line. Oracle offered details on the servers to counter customer concerns that it was abandoning their development. Oracle also has plans for Sun's Solaris OS and will ship Solaris 11, the software's next major update, in 2011. However, questions remain over the fate of both lines of Sparc processors since only plans for the overall chip family were discussed.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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