News in brief

Short takes from this week's news

Short takes from this week's news

Computer users warned of bird flu Trojan

Users have been warned about a Trojan that claims to offer details of bird flu in an attempt to entice PC users to open an e-mail attachment containing a computer virus. Once opened, the attachment unleashes a virus that can automatically modify, create and delete files on the user's computer and allow hackers to take control of the system remotely.

Olympus consolidates accounts with Hyperion

Electronics manufacturer Olympus is to use software from Hyperion to consolidate financial data across its operations. The system, which replaces Hyperion Enterprise, will create monthly and annual budgets for executive teams, help Olympus to comply with legal and managerial accounting requirements, and integrate its financial reports into its existing SAP R/3 system.

Low profits mean 'good deals from suppliers'

IT departments may be in a good position to secure deals from suppliers as they come under increased financial pressure, according to accounting firm Ernst & Young. The number of profit warnings issued by UK-quoted tech firms in the three months to September 2005 rose from seven to 12 in the second quarter. "Sophisticated purchasers have a good understanding of the pressures on their suppliers and will time their purchases to coincide with the end of a significant accounting period in the knowledge this may enable them to secure a better price," said Chris Harrison, European technology leader at Ernst & Young.

Microsoft releases public beta of CRM 3.0

Microsoft has released the public beta of CRM 3.0. The supplier said its customer relationship management product was integrated more tightly with Microsoft Office. It also includes an improved range of customisation tools. Microsoft has skipped version 2.0 and gone straight to 3.0 after its upgrade plans were delayed.

Hounslow outsources to Liberata in £50m deal

The London Borough of Hounslow has signed a 10-year, £50m contract with IT supplier Liberata to outsource its revenue and benefits services. The deal will involve 100 staff at the council transferring to Liberata.

Microsoft and Nokia in security collaboration

Microsoft and Nokia are jointly developing a unified threat management appliance. The device will handle traffic running over both fixed and mobile networks and will include virtual private network protection to smartphones linking with the Exchange e-mail server.

HSBC deploys Fraud Predictor technology

HSBC bank has implemented Fraud Predictor technology from Fair Isaac in a bid to cut card fraud levels. It is using the Fraud Predictor with its merchant profiles system to generate transaction information and a fraud history for millions of merchants. Merchant profiles will be updated and provided to HSBC on a weekly basis.

Sun's develops RFID for non-networked items

Sun is planning a radio frequency identification system that will combine the abilities of its existing IT asset management platforms with RFID to track non-networked items such as hospital equipment and office furniture. Sun and its partners have named the technology, which is still under development, Sun RFID Industry Solution for Physical Asset Tracking.

HP releases Itanium 2 blade server system

Hewlett-Packard is offering Itanium 2 versions of its Bladesystem and Integrity servers running the HP-UX Unix operating system that it said could cut datacentre running costs. The HP Integrity BL60p is the company's first blade server to support the HP-UX 11i operating system and Intel's Itanium processors.

Dual-core processors way forward, says Intel

Intel has projected that by the end of next year more than 70% of desktop and mobile Pentium processors and 85% of server processors shipped will be dual-core. The company has also confirmed it will no longer ship two planned add-ons to the Xeon processor family: the Reidland platform will not now ship in 2007, and it is cancelling the Whitefield processor.

£10m warehouse for Tesco's e-shoppers

Tesco is planning a £10m warehouse to supply its online customers in the South East. Tesco will use the warehouse rather than individual stores to supply goods to online shoppers.

Old Baily deploys text and online system

The Old Bailey is running a system to provide information on hearings online and by text message. The London court is using the Xhibit court information system to give police, prosecutors and witness groups access to case updates. 

Former HP chief joins Cybertrust

Former HP chief executive Carly Fiorina is joining the board of computer security company Cybertrust. Fiorina was ousted from HP at the beginning of this year after losing the confidence of the board over her strategies for the business.

All US passports to have RFID chips next year

All US passports will contain radio frequency identification chips from October 2006. The Bush administration believes such a move will help improve air travel security, although the decision has angered privacy advocates. The 64Kbyte chips will allow officials to electronically read the name, date, place of birth and a digital photo of the passport holder.

Unisys to build Intel-based mainframes

Unisys is to produce mainframe systems that run on Intel processors following a deal with NEC. The high-end server development alliance, which covers extensive research and development, includes a potential migration away from Unisys' mainframe Clearpath CMos processor to Intel-based systems.

Road pricing schemes to use proven ITsystems

The government will use proven technology for road pricing schemes, according to transport secretary Alistair Darling. It is to consider "piggy-backing" on IT systems already used by the private sector in its efforts to set up national congestion charging schemes. These include by pay-as-you-go insurance systems and navigation systems.

Staffordshire signs Microsoft licensing deal

Staffordshire Council aims to save £1m with a three-year Microsoft licensing deal covering 5,000 desktops. The council will standardise PCs, which currently run systems from Windows 98 onwards, onto Windows XP. The first project will see 500 PCs in social services upgraded before the end of 2005.

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