January 20, 2006 10:00 AM PST
Week in review: Google, the defiant one
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$67.2 billion a year, according to the FBI. The FBI calculated the price tag by extrapolating results from a survey of 2,066 organizations.
The survey found that 1,324 respondents, or 64 percent, suffered a financial loss from computer security incidents over a 12-month period. The average cost per company was more than $24,000, with the total cost reaching $32 million for those surveyed.
Often survey results can be skewed because poll respondents are more likely to answer when they have experienced a problem. So, when extrapolating the survey results to estimate the national cost, the FBI reduced the estimated number of affected organizations from 64 percent to a more conservative 20 percent.
Microsoft brought a little more focus to its operating systems as it gave developers access to a key piece of Windows Vista, months ahead of the operating system's release.
The company posted near-final versions of two software development technologies that are part of WinFX, the underlying programming model being introduced with Vista, which is slated to ship late this year. The release is a "significant checkpoint" on the road toward delivery of the company's new programming model because it allows developers to build and deploy applications on their core production systems, said Ari Bixhorn, director of Web services strategy at Microsoft.
WinFX combines Microsoft's existing .Net programming model with new tools for more easily linking software over the Internet, displaying data and creating business systems, Microsoft said.
Microsoft also released a security update for preview releases of Windows Vista that fixes the same image-rendering vulnerability found in earlier versions of the operating system. The release is believed to be the first security patch for Windows Vista. Updates are available for Windows Vista beta 1, released in July, and last month's Community Technology Preview release.
The patch fixes a vulnerability in the way the operating system's Graphics Rendering Engine processes Windows Meta File images. That bug was first discovered late last month as it was being exploited by cybercriminals to load spyware, adware and other malicious code onto the PCs of unwitting Windows users.
Aiming to keep its focus on Windows Vista, Microsoft is now targeting 2007 for its next Windows XP service pack update. In a posting to its "life cycle" Web site, Microsoft set a preliminary date of the second half of next year for the release of Windows XP Service Pack 3 for both home and professional editions. That puts its debut well past the arrival of Vista, which is slated for the second half of this year and later than both outsiders and some insiders had originally predicted.
"We will be releasing another service pack for XP over the course of the product life cycle, and we are tentatively targeting the second half of 2007 for release," a Microsoft representative said in an e-mail to CNET News.com. "However, right now our priority is Windows Vista--we'll have more information to share about the next service pack for XP after Windows Vista ships."
Silicon Valley gave mixed messages on the health of the tech industry this week.
Lower prices and lower-than-expected processor shipments dented Intel's earnings and revenue for the fourth quarter. The company also forecast slower growth in 2006.
CEO Paul Otellini said the fourth-quarter shortfall can be attributed in part to a shortage of desktop chipsets. The shortage, which began in the third quarter, prevented PC makers from building as many Intel-based PCs as they might have, he said.
The effects of the shortage will linger in the first quarter because now PC makers have excess supplies of some chips. This will likely dampen Intel's revenue in the current three months.
The same day, Internet bellwether Yahoo posted net income for the fourth quarter that rose from a year ago but was below analyst expectations. Yahoo met its internal guidance and gained market share against other portal rivals, including Google and MSN. However, net income came in lower than analyst expectations.
Advanced Micro Devices seemed unaffected by the kinds of woes that hurt its rival. AMD topped expectations for fourth-quarter revenue on the back of strong processor sales across desktops, notebooks and servers.
The real driver behind AMD's strong revenue growth was its processor unit. The Computation Product Group, which makes the company's Opteron, Athlon 64 and Turion processors, enjoyed a 79 percent increase in revenue compared with the total in the previous year's fourth quarter.
Apple Computer offered a mixed picture. After selling a bundle of iPods over the holidays, Apple reported better-than-expected earnings, but offered an outlook that was below some analysts' forecasts.
For the just-ended quarter, Apple's sales were a record, but they did not come as a surprise. CEO Steve Jobs announced at Macworld Expo last week that the company had about $5.7 billion in revenue for the December quarter. He also announced that the company sold 14 million iPods and 1.25 million Macs.
Also of note
Microsoft confirmed that there is a Wi-Fi security vulnerability in Windows XP, but it may not be fixed for as long as 18 months...With the next Itanium chip, Intel has abandoned the x86 interoperability feature it once banked on but that never proved successful...Following a wave of privacy concerns last week, Apple began prominently notifying customers about a new recommendation feature in its iTunes software, as well as spotlighting a simple way to turn it off.
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