Come late July, Microsoft will release the first Service Pack for Windows 7, the Redmond outfit announced in a blog post on Monday. However, don't expect any major performance enhancements, as was the case when the first Service Pack for Vista significantly improved the overall OS experience.
"While the new features for Windows Server 2008 R2 benefit Windows 7 by providing a richer VDI experience, SP1 will not contain any new features that are specific to Windows 7 itself," Microsoft wrote. "For Windows 7, SP1 will simply be the combination of updates already available through Windows Update and additional hotfixes based on feedback by our customers and partners. In other words, customers can feel confident about deploying Windows 7 now!"
Microsoft said that it has already sold over 100 million license of Windows 7, which is in line with most analysts' figures. And following SP1, Microsoft will likely see a spike in sales, as some businesses often wait for the first Service Pack to debut before migrating to a new OS.
Throughout most of the 1990s, it would be pretty easy to figure out why anyone would want to purchase AOL, then a thriving online entity. But in 2010? We just don't see the draw. That doesn't mean no one else does, and according to Business Insider's Nicholas Carlson, insider sources have been chirping that AOL is in negotiations with Microsoft about a buyout.
This isn't the first time AOL has been mentioned as a potential acquisition target in recent times. In 2008, Yahoo came close to purchasing AOL before talks between the two companies broke down. Could Microsoft realistically be picking up where Yahoo left off?
"While there is strong strategic rationale behind such a deal, [it] doesn't seem likely," said Clayton Moran, an analyst for Benchmark Co., in an interview with Reuters. "We think Time Warner pursued a sale of AOL prior to spinning it out and wasn't able to find an interested enough buyer."
Then again, Microsoft is doing everything it can to improve its position in the search market game, and acquiring AOL would certainly help, even if the $2 billion to $3 billion asking price is a bit steep.
According to a Bloomberg report, networking specialist Cisco plans to hire about 3,000 workers globally. Cisco CEO John Chambers said the hiring will be divided into two periods.
If Cisco goes through with this, it means the company will be making good on Chamber's comments last month, in which the CEO said he plans to accelerate hiring, particularly in sales and new markets. Cisco already added 1,000 new employees in its third quarter, which ended at the beginning of May.
This also represents somewhat of a worker-rebound for Cisco, which slashed about 2,000 jobs at the end of fiscal 2009. At the time, Cisco also halted hiring, closed some offices, and cut back on travel expenses.
The sun shines brightest in the summer time, but dark days loom for more Sun workers. Oracle will make more job cuts related to its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, the company said in a regulatory filing.
Oracle didn't say exactly how many pink slips it plans to hand out, and an Oracle spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the filing. Sun employees have been living on eggshells even before Oracle acquired the company, and according to an InfoWorld report, at least one analyst predicted that Oracle would lay off 50 percent of Sun's workforce to put the company back in the black. At the time, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison vehemently shrugged off the claim.
"The Sun people went through enough angst without having to read this garbage that you're writing," he told reporters and analysts in January. "The truth is, we're actually hiring 2,000 people over the next few months to beef up these businesses, and that's about twice as many people as we'll be laying off. We're not cutting Sun to profitability, we're growing Sun to profitability."
To cover the layoffs, which will mostly be concentrated in Europe and Asia, Oracle will take a charge of up to $650 million this year.
According to the latest list of the world's 500 fastest supercomputers, China is home to two of the top ten machines, including Nebulae, the second fastest supercomputer on the planet.
"China's ambitions to enter the supercomputing arena have become obvious," said the compilers of the list.
In terms of theoretical peak performance, Nebulae leads the pack with 2.98 petaflops, the highest ever on the Top 500 list. Nebulae hasn't actually achieved that level of performance, however, so far topping out at 1.271 PFlop/s. Jaguar, the world's fastest supercomputer, resides in Tennessee and holds the record with 1.75 PFlop/s, though its theoretical peak performance is 2.3 PFlop/s.
China is now home to 24 of the top 500 supercomputers in the world.
Microsoft tomorrow will issue 10 security bulletins to address 34 security vulnerabilities found in Windows, Office, and Internet Explorer, the Redmond outfit announced. Three of the bulletins have been rated as "Critical," which would allow an attacker to take full control of the affected machine, while the remaining seven are listed as "Important," the second-highest rating in Microsoft's four-point scale ("Moderate" and "Low" being the remaining two).
This is a large update that will give IT admins plenty to do this week. All three critical vulnerabilities affect all Windows OS versions, including XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008, as well as several versions of Internet Explorer.
What exactly all these security fixes will address hasn't yet been disclosed, though six of them deal with Remote Code Execution, three with Elevation of Privilege, and one addresses a Tampering vulnerability. Two of the updates -- including one ranked as Critical -- will require a system restart, while the remaining eight may require rebooting, Microsoft said.
Panda on Thursday announced that it has upgraded its Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition online scanner with improved protection. In addition, the company also now offers a fee-based Pro Version with expanded support services and automation capabilities.
"Since the debut of Panda Cloud Antivirus last year, nearly 10 million home users have selected the free service as their antivirus of choice," said Pedro Bustamante, senior research advisor at Panda Security. "With today’s launch, we’ve created two options for users, both featuring major enhancements that make safeguarding your PC even easier and more transparent. The Free Edition gives users the best basic no-cost protection available on the market thanks to Panda’s cloud-based Collective Intelligence malware analysis technology, while the new Pro Edition offers more robust automated security capabilities and services at a very affordable price."
Some of the new features in the freebie version include advanced configuration and exclusions, behavioral blocker, and self-protection of antivirus files. For those who shell out for the Pro version, you'll receive automatic and transparent upgrades, automatic vaccination of USB and hard drives, better behavioral analysis, and 24.7 multilingual tech support.
The Pro Edition runs $30 for a 1-year license, $51 for 2 years, or $66 for 3 years.
Enterprise networking specialist Force10 Networks on Wednesday announced what it claims is the industry's first switch purpose-built for dynamic virtualized datacenter environments.
The new 1RU S60 comes equipped with 48 wire-speed Gigabit Ethernet ports (44 10/100/1000 Base TX and four SFP) and up to four 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks for hooking up with core switches, or for stacking.
Other features include support for packet buffer of 1.25GB, an auto-configuration feature to simplify switch provisioning, and the ability to stack up to 12 S60s to be managed as a single logical switch.
The S60 starts at $10,595 and will be available by the end of the month.
It was widely reported earlier this week that Google had decided to pull Windows from their internal machines over security concerns and instead roll with Apple's Mac OS and Linux. So how did Microsoft take it? Not very well, is the short answer.
"When it comes to security, even hackers admit we're doing a better job making our products more secure than anyone else," Microsoft wrote in a blog post. "And it's not just the hackers; third party influential and industry leaders like Cisco tell us regularly that our focus and investment continues to surpass others."
In the blog post, Microsoft openly acknowledged the reason why Google decided to drop Windows, calling the move ironic since just a few months ago Yale University "halted their to movie to Gmail (and their move to Google's Google Apps for Education pacakge) citing both security and privacy concerns." Microsoft also took a shot at Apple, referencing an article by InfoWorld that discusses how Macs are under attack by high-risk malware.
In order to better compete with IBM, Hewlett-Packard (HP) will slash about 9,000 jobs and overhaul its computer-services businesses, Bloomberg reports.
In addition to the job cuts, HP also plans to take a $1 billion charge, both to help pay for severance packages and to bring the company's data centers up to snuff so that HP can provide more automated services.
"These sets of actions will enable HP to grow better than the market," Ann Livermore, executive vice president for enterprise business, said during a conference call. "This is a substantial opportunity for us and something that we think is a good opportunity for our clients as well."
Just last month HP had raised its 2010 forecast, the third time the company has done so since November. Results have consistently beat out analysts' expectations, however job cuts are nothing new for HP. During Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd's five year reign, HP has handed out some 48,000 pink slips so far.