October 20, 2006 10:54 AM PDT
Week in review: Vista furor
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Interestingly, Yahoo beat Microsoft the punch by releasing a Yahoo-optimized version of the Web browser. The browser is essentially the IE 7 browser with a number of tweaks, such as Yahoo home pages, Yahoo as the default search engine and a Yahoo toolbar.
A Microsoft representative declined to comment on the fact that IE 7 was available from Yahoo before it was available from the software giant. Microsoft has touted Yahoo's work as an example of the way other companies can customize the new browser.
Fixing a hole
Microsoft also wormed its way into iPod's fifth-birthday celebration with the revelation that some of the latest versions of the digital music player have shipped with a Windows virus. Apple Computer said that a small number of video iPods made after Sept. 12 included the RavMonE virus.
The company said it has seen fewer than 25 reports of the problem, which it said does not affect other models of the media player, nor does it affect Macs. Apple apologized on its Web site for the problem, but also used the opportunity to jab at Microsoft, its operating-system rival.
In a twist on phishing, cybercrooks are hijacking instant-messaging accounts to lure people to their information-thieving Web sites. These sites try to trick people into giving up sensitive information, such as credit card details, Social Security numbers or login credentials for online services.
In a tactic that includes an arsenal of online weapons, scammers are now also commandeering IM accounts to spread their bait. The barrage of attacks used includes account hijacking, phishing and SPIM, or spam via instant messaging.
Netflix has fixed weaknesses in its Web site that could have let outsiders change a user's address, add movies to their rental queue, and potentially hijack their account. The problems were repaired before they became publicly known.
An attacker could have taken advantage of the weaknesses by crafting a Web site that includes some simple HTML code, one security expert said. A Netflix user would have to be tricked into visiting the nefarious Web site for the attack to succeed.
Earnings season is heating up again, and some of Silicon Valley's biggest names reported healthy growth.
Google's third-quarter profit nearly doubled from a year ago as sales of keyword-related advertising continued to grow for the world's top Web search engine. The news sent Google's stock up shares rising nearly 8 percent to $459.51 in after-hours trading, after closing at $426.06, and the stock continued its climb in early trading on Friday, when it approached an all-time high.
Buoyed by greater than 30 percent growth in both Mac and iPod sales, Apple reported preliminary fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that easily topped analysts' expectations, but warned that its results could change once the company completes a probe into past stock option granting practices.
Intel finally provided some decent news for investors in 2006, beating lowered expectations for its third quarter despite coming in way short of last year's figures. During the third quarter, the world's largest chipmaker recorded revenue of $8.7 billion and net income of $1.3 billion, slightly exceeding analyst expectations and Intel's own guidance for the third quarter.
Also of note
FBI Director Robert Mueller called on Internet service providers to record their customers' online activities, a move likely to prompt fierce debate over privacy and law enforcement in Washington next year...A co-founder of Wikipedia and the site's former editor-in-chief is launching a rival site called Citizendium...Hewlett-Packard leapfrogged over Dell to recapture the lead as the No. 1 PC maker worldwide for the first time in almost three years.
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