Ed Oswald

NBC pressures Twitter to shutter account of journalist critical of Olympics coverage

As criticism over NBC's coverage of the 2012 Olympics in London grows, the network now finds itself at the center of a controversy surrounding its apparent involvement in the suspension of the Twitter account of an American journalist.

Guy Adams, the Independent's Los Angeles bureau chief, has been extremely critical of NBC's coverage of the games. In a series of tweets, Adams takes on NBC's decision to run almost no major event live, and Matt Lauer's sometimes inane banter during the Opening Ceremony coverage. Adams even went so far as to criticize NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel.

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Apple scoops up security firm AuthenTec for $356 million

Attack key

Apple has agreed to purchase security firm AuthenTec for $356 million, a Thursday SEC filing from the Melbourne, Fla.-based company indicates. Apple is likely looking to bolster the security credentials of its products, and with the recent focus by hackers on Apple's products, that might be a good idea.

AuthenTec produces a variety of software and hardware-based security solutions, including fingerprint sensors. Its VPN security software is already included in smartphones and tablets from Samsung, and its DRM platform is used to protect streaming content within the HBO GO application.

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Google's Kansas City ultra-fast fiber network set to debut

Residents of the Kansas City metropolitan area are close to having access to super-fast Internet as Google unveiled its fiber-to-the-home service on Thursday. For as little as $70 per month, Google will provide 1 Gigabit Internet service to customers in both Kansas City, Mo. and Kansas City, Kan.

The service will also include a television component for an additional $50 per month. Deployment depends on the number of consumers that pre-register in a specific area: Google will only complete runs of fiber-optic cable to where the demand is highest.

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Yes, Twitter was down (And Google Talk was too).

It has not been a good day for messaging services.

Both Twitter and Google Talk experienced service problems Thursday, with Google Talk down for much of the morning and Twitter until early this afternoon. As of press time, neither Twitter nor Google had given specific reasons for the downtime.

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Malware infects three-quarters of the world's top banks

File this story in the "Who do you trust with your money?" category.

Eighteen of the top 24 banks in the world have malware problems, security firm Lookingglass says on Wednesday. Even three-year old worms that have long had patches and fixes to address them continue to infect the PCs of banks, including Conficker, found (gasp) in the IT deployments of 10 of the top 24.

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VMware acquires virtual networking software company Nicira for $1.05 billion

On the same day as reporting strong second-quarter results, virtualization software developer VMware said Monday that it has entered into an agreement to purchase network software Nicira for $1.05 billion. The company's software is used to manage network deployments and create virtualized network infrastructure. VMware expects the deal to close in the second half of the year.

"The acquisition of Nicira adds to our portfolio of networking assets and positions VMware to be the industry leader in software-defined networking", VMware CEO Paul Maritz says. Others called it a major move which positions VMware well in the fast-growing cloud computing sector.

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Is there really 'unprecedented' demand for iPhone 5?

Demand ahead of the launch of Apple's iPhone 5 is "unprecedented", with a third of all potential smartphone buyers planning to purchase the device. The data comes courtesy of a new survey of 4,000 consumers carried out by research firm ChangeWave.

Fourteen percent of those polled say they are "very likely" to purchase an iPhone 5, with an additional 17 percent saying they are "somewhat likely" to do the same. Combined, that represents the highest number for those planning to purchase a new iPhone model.

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DirecTV the apparent winner in new deal with Viacom, 10-day blackout ends

A 10-day dispute between Viacom and satellite provider DirecTV ended Friday as the two sides consented to a new long-term agreement that put Viacom channels back on the air.

DirecTV customers lost access to 26 channels on July 10 after the company walked away from negotiations, claiming Viacom wanted a 30-percent increase in carriage rates. While the two sides did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, both Bloomberg and Reuters report that it is worth about $600 million, or a 20 percent increase over current rates.

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Senator Schumer sides with Apple and publishers in ebook price fixing case

A prominent Senate Democrat sided with Apple this week, and called on the Justice Department to drop its ebook lawsuit against the Cupertino, Calif. company. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote in an opinion piece that appeared in the Wednesday edition of the Wall Street Journal that a victory by the DOJ could be detrimental to the entire publishing industry.

"The suit will restore Amazon to the dominant position atop the e-books market it occupied for years before competition arrived in the form of Apple", Schumer argued. "If that happens, consumers will be forced to accept whatever prices Amazon sets".

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Researchers take down botnet responsible for a fifth of world's spam

If you notice a huge drop in the amount of pharmaceutical spam you're receiving, you're not imagining things. Security researchers say they were able to take down "Grum", the spam server behind about 18 percent of global spam.

The process began when researchers blocked the botnet's command servers in the Netherlands and Panama on Tuesday. Grum's administrators acted quickly to restore the server, and shortly thereafter had set up new command servers in Russia and Ukraine. Researchers were still hot on their trail, and Militpas, Calif.-based security firm FireEye along with UK-based anti-spam group SpamHaus worked with Russian security experts to take down Grum again on Wednesday morning.

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Maritz may be out as VMware's CEO, but now heads EMC's business strategy

EMC and VMware confirmed that Paul Maritz is leaving his position as CEO of VMware late Tuesday, transitioning to chief strategist within parent company EMC. As first reported by CRN Monday, and confirmed by the Wall Street Journal, Pat Gelsinger will move from his current role as EMC President and COO of Information Infrastructure Products to CEO of VMware. Both appointments take effect September 1.

EMC acquired VMware in 2004. Insiders say that while the two companies initially stated their respective management teams would stay separate, many expected an eventual blurring of those lines and a shuffling of executives between the two companies. Maritz has been with EMC since 2008, and Gelsinger joined a year later.

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VMware CEO Paul Maritz reportedly out in executive swap with EMC

VMware CEO Paul Maritz (pictured right) has reportedly been ousted as the company's CEO, with current EMC Information Infrastructure Products division president and chief operating officer Pat Gelsinger taking his place. The news, first reported by CRN on Monday night, has so far gone unconfirmed. The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday cited its own sources saying Maritz will take the position of vice chairman within EMC.

EMC acquired VMware in 2004. Insiders say that while the two companies initially stated its respective management teams would stay separate, many expected an eventual blurring of those lines and a shuffling of executives between the two companies. Maritz has been with EMC since 2008, and Gelsinger joining a year later.

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Microsoft delivers Customer Preview of new Office suite

Microsoft unveiled the latest version of Office on Monday, intended to take advantage of the latest features of Windows 8 including touch, an ARM-based version for Windows RT, and two new Office applications including OneNote and Lync.

"We are taking bold steps at Microsoft", CEO Steve Ballmer said at the press conference in San Francisco. "The new, modern Office will deliver unparalleled productivity and flexibility for both consumers and business customers. It is a cloud service and will fully light-up when paired with Windows 8".

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Microsoft should follow Apple's lead and ditch the disc in Windows 8

Microsoft plans to simplify Windows 8 sales by eliminating the full version of the operating system and focusing on upgrade and "system builder" editions. The change likely means that Windows 8 will be cheaper by and large to obtain the most consumers.

Pundits Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley spoke of the move, citing sources on their weekly Internet radio show "Windows Weekly". The move follows another from April where the company announced Windows 8 would only be available in standard and Pro editions, aimed at making the purchasing process much easier.

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Hack exposes 450,000 Yahoo passwords

Yahoo is investigating a hack that disclosed the usernames and passwords of at least 450,000 users. The attackers are believed to have gotten into the site through Yahoo Voices, the user-generated content site formerly known as Associated Content.

Security Firm TrustedSec found that the passwords were stored unencrypted, and have now been posted online. This means anyone affected by this breach is at immediate risk of an account breach, and so far has only offered publicly that it is "looking into" claims of a breach. The best advice for Yahoo users at this point is to find out for themselves if their account has been breached, and take immediate steps to change their passwords.

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