Microsoft drops Intel Itanium 2 support -- and more news briefs

Short takes from last week's news

Microsoft drops support for Intel Itanium 2

Microsoft will drop support for Intel's high-end Itanium 2 processor in the next version of Windows Server Compute Cluster Edition, which is due for release in the second half of 2005, according to reports. It will instead support mainstream chips such as Intel's Xeon and AMD's Opteron. The move indicates that Itanium may be moving into the niche mainframe-replacement market.

Computacenter traces instant messaging use

Computacenter has announced a service to help companies track the use of online messaging within their companies. The service uses software from specialist supplier IM Logic to detect, control and secure instant messaging usage. Experts have warned that unregulated instant messaging could be a security risk for companies and allow confidential information to leak out more easily.

Half of councils will miss e-gov deadline

More than 50% of councils believe they will miss the government's 2005 deadline for getting their services online, a survey has found. Of the 86 local government officers surveyed last month, 56% predicted that UK councils will fail to meet all the targets for e-government. Of those surveyed by IT services company Capita, 75% felt that councils were generally on track to meet e-government requirements but would not meet the 2005 deadline.

Users unable to access MSN search engine beta

Microsoft's search engine, which launched in test mode last week, encountered some problems on its first day, the software giant said. The search engine returned "temporarily unavailable" messages to some users looking for answers to queries. Microsoft said in a statement, "In the process of making our new MSN Search Beta globally available, we experienced technical difficulties that rendered it unavailable for some consumers for periods of time."

BMC Magic Suite simplifies IT support

BMC Software has released version 8 of its Magic Service Desk Suite, which aims to simplify IT support by using IT Infrastructure Library best practices. The release offers 20 new key management metrics and integrates with Microsoft's Active Directory.

Essex council signs £427m outsourcing deal

Thurrock Council in Essex has awarded a £427m, 15-year business process outsourcing deal to Vertex. The contract will begin in April 2005. Analyst group Ovum said the deal was the largest yet signed in the UK local government sector

Trojan virus targets online banking sites

Anti-virus supplier Sophos has reported a new Trojan virus that targets users of UK online banks. Once installed, the Banker-AJ Trojan captures passwords and takes screenshots, which are relayed to remote hackers who can then use them to access bank accounts, said the firm.

HP and JBoss partner on enterprise users

Hewlett-Packard has extended its partnership with open source application server developer JBoss to provide greater support for enterprise users. Through the agreement HP is expected to offer IT services to help users develop Java-based application server applications using the JBoss technology.

Compuware releases code error checking tool

Compuware has made available a technology preview release of Devpartner Fault Simulator, which provides a development tool to check whether code to handle errors within applications works correctly. According to Compuware, testing such code is notoriously difficult during the application development lifecycle.

Local authorities told to authenticate users

Local authorities must act now to put in place systems to authenticate citizens, businesses, their own employees and partner organisations to be ready with the full range of services by the end of 2005, according to a report from Socitm Insight, a subscription service designed to identify and promote best practice in IT management in the public sector.

Server 2003 update drops features

Microsoft is expected to drop several features from the significant update to Windows Server 2003, termed R2, so that it can release it on time in 2005. Microsoft is expected to hold over the Network Access Protection security capabilities and any Terminal Server updates for Windows Server "Longhorn," the release due in 2007.

Viatel awarded £1m outsourcing contract

Web-based application provider NetDespatch has awarded a five-year, £1m contract to European communications company Viatel. Under the deal NetDespatch will outsource the management and maintenance of its web-based systems and servers to Viatel. The service will be run from servers located in Viatel's managed Egham datacentre via a 100Mbit Ethernet pipe.

SX3 to provide council tax services to Walsall

Walsall Council has signed a £600,000 deal with wireless technology provider Sx3 for web-based revenues and benefits software. Sx3's software will be used to manage council tax collection from 106,000 residential properties and 8,300 businesses. It will also be used to administer and process the 45,000 benefits payments made each month.

NTL to set up mountain rescue comms system

Scottish Mountain Rescue has awarded NTL's Public Safety Group, part of the company's broadcast division, a £500,000 contract to provide the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland with a new communications system to improve its search and rescue radio service.

NDL to supply contact centres for £150,000

Software supplier NDL has secured three new software contracts worth £150,000 with local authorities in the UK. Sefton, Wansbeck, Blyth Valley, Castle Morpeth and Alnwick councils have signed up for its Active Windows Integrator (AWI) product which brings together disparate back-office systems and creates one-stop-shop contact centres. The councils are all using AWI to allow the operation of Northgate Information Solutions Front Office CRM package.

Bury to implement Agresso financials suite

Bury Metropolitan Borough Council has signed a contract to implement Agresso's business information system for a six-figure sum. Bury will replace its in-house mainframe accounting package with the financials suite of Agresso Business World plus a range of other modules including purchasing and web requisitioning. The system will go live in two phases, with financials in April 2005 and e-procurement a year later.

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