News in brief

Sort takes from this week's news

Sort takes from this week's news

Microsoft's new handheld to run XP

Microsoft is due to unveil a new handheld device later this week at the CeBit trade show in Hanover, which will run the Windows XP operating system. Codenamed "Origami", it is expected to have a 7-inch touchscreen and support wireless web access. Significantly, the device is expected to be more like a mini-version of the company's TabletPC than its handheld computers, which run Windows Mobile 5.0 rather than XP.

ITP signs services contract with Amadeus

ITP-International Travel Partnership, a UK-headquartered global consortium of 400 travel agencies, has signed up travel technology supplier Amadeus to provide services to its members. Amadeus' software includes a browser-based Epos platform and a self-booking portal to allow corporations to manage their travel programmes electronically with agency partners.

Proof-of-concept trojan developed by hackers

Hackers have developed a proof-of-concept trojan capable of infecting advanced mobile phones, said anti-virus company McAfee. The trojan, which has not been distributed, sends large numbers of SMS messages to premium rate numbers in Russia. It is designed to infect mobile phones programmed in Java. The software attempts to trick users into downloading it by posing as a mobile web browser, said McAfee. Hundreds of millions of phones would potentially be at risk were the virus released.

Carrefour signs RFID contract to tag products

Carrefour, the world's second largest supermarket, has signed a deal worth tens of millions of pounds with RFID supplier Checkpoint Systems to tag its most high-value products. The first electronic article surveillance RFID tags will arrive in Carrefour stores in September. The tags will be inserted into products by Carrefour's suppliers.

BT ready to launch high speed broadband

BT is about to launch higher-speed wholesale broadband services available across the UK at speeds of up to 8Mbps. Available from 31 March, BT estimates that 78% of BT phone lines should support broadband at line rates of 4Mbps and above, with 6Mbps and above available to more than 40%.

Oracle releases critical patch ahead of schedule

Oracle has released a critical security patch to fix a number of vulnerabilities in its E-Business Suite software. The patch has been released two months ahead of Oracle's scheduled quarterly security patching cycle. The patch fixes a number of vulnerabilities in the Oracle Diagnostics troubleshooting component of the firm's E-Business Suite 11i platform.

BT withdraws bid from DCA contract race

BT has withdrawn its bid for a major infrastructure contract to run the Department for Constitutional Affairs' development, innovation and support contracts programme. According to the DCA, BT has decided to concentrate on supporting Atos Origin's bid for the contract. There are five remaining bidders left in the race for the infrastructure contract and for one applications contract, which between them are worth £1bn.

UK worst at enforcing data protection laws

The UK is at the bottom of the league for enforcing data protection laws on commercial e-mail, according to a survey by law firm Osborne Clarke. The UK has brought only one civil legal action against an e-mail marketer for breaching European law that gives people the right to opt out of receiving mass e-mails. This compares with more than 500 cases in Austria, over 70 in Greece and at least 50 in Spain.

Audit Commission gives Walsall seal of approval

Local government watchdog the Audit Commission has approved Walsall Council's decision to terminate partnership talks with Fujitsu Services in January. The commission's annual inspection of the council found that front-line services had improved without the help of Fujitsu. Had the deal gone ahead at the proposed value of £500m it would have been the largest deal in local government.

Councils launch open source information site

A consortium of public bodies led by Birmingham City Council has launched a website to improve local authority decision making about adopting open source software. The Open Source Academy site aims to provide a growing resource of information and guidance on open source, including case studies of councils that have migrated to open source software and technical papers.


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