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AJAXWorld Conference Draws Major Sponsors, More Than 800 Delegates Signed Up

Week in Review

RHEL 5 with Xen Hits Beta
Red Hat has put out a public beta version of its next-generation operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5, the first Red Hat release to include Xen virtualization, which it says will work on x86 and x64 architectures and there's a technology preview for the Itanium. Red Hat is behind Novell, which has Xen in shipping product. Red Hat has called Xen immature. RHEL5 is due out this winter.

The Open Invention Network (OIN) formed by IBM and fellow travelers Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony to acquire patents on behalf of the Linux ecosystem and ward off any patent holders who threaten it, has admitted NEC as a dues-paying member, which gives NEC royalty-free rights to the modest amount of IP OIN reportedly holds.

IBM Goes GA with Cell Blades
IBM Tuesday went GA with those Cell-based BladeCenters it's been doling out in beta samples to early adopters. The novel nine-core Cell chip was developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba for game consoles and now IBM is pushing it in the BladeCenter QS20 for high-performance computing and graphic-intensive applications. The blades, which reportedly go for $19k and run Red Hat Linux, are fitted with two 3.2GHz Cell chips.

Linux Networx Raises Another $37m
Linux Networx, the cluster folk, has gotten a $37 million third round to put into product development. Checks are coming from two new investors, Canaccord and Lehman Brothers, as well as existing investors Oak Investment Partners and Tudor Ventures. The latest round brings the amount put into the company to $83 million. The company said the new money would accelerate its software offerings, promising details later this year.

SpikeSource Raises $21m Second Round
SpikeSource, Kim Polese's stack start-up, has raised a $21 million Series B round from existing investors Duff Ackerman & Goodrich, Fidelity Ventures and Kleiner Perkins. Fidelity, Kleiner and Intel were involved in the company's $12 million first round in the spring of last year.

Ex-Novell Chairman Quits Board Early
Ousted Novell chairman and CEO Jack Messman, who was supposed to remain on the Novell board until October 31, has stepped down early, according to an 8-K that the company filed with the SEC on Tuesday.

The filing offers no explanation why Messman is vacating the spot early merely that he notified the board last Friday that he was resigning effective Monday.

Private merchant banker Thomas Plaskett, the head of Fox Run Capital Associates, has been non-executive chairman of the company since Messman was removed from office in June.

Meanwhile, Red Hat, Novell's biggest competitor, has also lost a board member. Edward Kozel, the president and CEO of Skyrider, a P2P search marketing firm, has stepped down reportedly to devote more time to his company.

PUBPAT Launches Patent Watch Site
The open source-committed Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) has launched a new web site called Software Patent Watch that it says is intended to keep the software community abreast of patent issues in general and any specific patent threats that arise. It means to address pending and issued software patents, patent suits involving software, legislation involving software patents and what it calls "software patent disarmament" like Microsoft's new Open Specification Promise. See http://pubpat.org/softwarepatentwatch.

EC & Microsoft Locked in Vista Stalemate
Despite the God awful crisis created by Windows' inherent vulnerabilities - and despite the European Commission's utter failure in designing software - remember the ill-fated "didn't-sell-a-lick" Windows N, when it made Microsoft drop the Media Player from XP? - the European Union's protectionist-minded regulators are back at it, this time telling Microsoft that it shouldn't bundle security upgrades with Vista.

The EC this week suggested that consumers will be hurt if Microsoft forecloses the market to security-selling rivals by bundling.

Microsoft, in return, suggested that European users will be more at risk should the operating system's security features be removed. What exactly we're talking about here has yet to be articulated but it's been suggested it may include Windows Defender, the anti-spam filter, and BitLocker, the data encryption widgetry.

Symantec, which is already suing Microsoft on other grounds related to Symantec's Veritas acquisition, has at least threatened to complain to the EC about stuff like this.

Anyway, late last week Microsoft said that Vista's launch and deployment in Europe could be delayed if the EC didn't come right out and say what it objected to in Vista so it could ship a legal system and avoid any further antitrust trouble, pretty much the same thing it's told the SEC.

The EC replied this week that any delays wouldn't be its fault; it's up to Microsoft as a "near-monopolist" to comply with the EU's antitrust decision; it isn't up to the EC to give it a hall pass before the product comes to market, a reaction that left Microsoft complaining Thursday about the regulators' lack of clarity.

EC antitrust chief Neelie Kroes in a letter exchange with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in March expressed concern over Vista's integrated Internet search, its DRM and its Adobe PDF file viewer. The EC also gave Microsoft a list of concerns about Vista early in July. What's on that list of 79 questions hasn't been disclosed and may belie Microsoft's lack of clarity complaint. Anyway, Microsoft answered them late last month and is still waiting for a reply.

To put pressure on the EC - and to win popularity points - Microsoft Thursday trotted out an IDC study it had run up claiming that Vista will generate a $40 billion economy in Europe and create 100,000 new jobs in Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and the UK next year. If Vista is delayed, job creation could be halved, IDC said.

For every euro Microsoft derives from Vista, the study says, local OEMs, retailers, integrators and ISVs will get 13 euros. According to IDC Vista will be installed on 100 million computers worldwide the first year after release, 30 million of them in the top European markets.

Separately Ovum has calculated that a delay could cost the European supply chain a billion dollars in deferred revenues.

The EC still has yet to decide whether Microsoft has met the 2004 antitrust requirement of making its communications protocols accessible to competitors. Microsoft's alleged failure to provide useable documentation recently cost it an additional fine of $357 million, a decision it is contesting. If the EC doesn't give the current documentation a passing grade, Microsoft could have to pay more, even bigger fines.

Vista is now at what Microsoft is calling a release candidate apropos of supposedly delivering the OS to business in November and the broader market in January. Reviewers report that RC1 is "far from final code" and that a lot of work remains to be done, enough, it seems, that Microsoft could use the EC as an excuse to delay Vista's general rollout yet again.

An RC 2 is expected.

Tech Data Poaches Egenera CEO
A very civilized raiding party from Tech Data has poached Bob Dutkowsky, the president and CEO of Egenera, to replace its own retiring chief Steve Raymund, who will remain chairman of the giant $20 billion-a-year distributor.

Dutkowsky, on the other hand, at the company's request will remain chairman of Egenera and Egenera COO Mike Thompson will replace Dutkowsky as Egenera's boss when the guard changes the first of October.

Before Thompson joined Egenera four-plus years ago he was senior VP, worldwide sales and marketing at Stratus. Before Stratus he was at Tandem.

Dutkowsky, an IBM veteran, had been CEO of JD Edwards and sold it to PeopleSoft before joining Egenera.

Thompson said to expect Egenera to do other OEM deals next year, sort of like the arrangement it has with Fujitsu Siemens, but without Fujitsu Siemens' exclusive. Under a deal signed a year ago Fujitsu Siemens sells Egenera gear exclusively in EMEA in exchange for a $300 million-over-three-years minimum commitment.

Intel Takes in its Belt a Couple More Notches
Intel last Friday sold off another one of its communications product lines in an attempt to right size so it can focus on its core business and tilt more effectively with AMD over market share where Intel has been losing its shirt.

The news followed rapidly on word that Intel is going to lay off another 5,500 people by the middle of next year. Intel will start with managers, marketers and IT folk before going broader-based next year. That would make a total of 10,500, 10% of its workforce, if you include the 4,000 folks it expects to lose to attrition and the 1,000 it has already laid off and the rest that it has arranged to sell off in the few months since it started looking for ways to restructure.

Intel did a lot of hiring last year and is now modestly pruning back to 92,000 people expecting to save itself $2 billion in 2007 and $3 billion in 2008. It figures it will have to pay $200 million in severance. It also expects to sidestep a billion dollars in capital expenses because of manufacturing efficiencies.

The layoff numbers are less than Wall Street hoped for.

Anyway Intel's optical networking components business has gone to Cortina Systems, a five-year-old semiconductor supplier to the carrier infrastructure market, for an undisclosed amount of cash plus a minority piece of Cortina. Intel is reportedly getting about $115 million.

Cortina raised a new $132 million round apparently to pay Intel off and give it an equity position.

Intel said the transaction included a broad selection of its Ethernet Media Access Controllers (MACs) and Physical Layer Devices (PHYs), and all of its transport and service framers, optical transport Forward Error Correction (FEC) framers and T1/E1 line interface products.

The deal includes 120 Intel employees in engineering, operations and marketing. Cortina said it's offering to hire a "substantial" number of them.

Intel picked up the optical networking components when it bought Level One for $2.2 billion back in early 1999.

As part of the business analysis leading to its modest restructuring, Intel has also dumped its cell phone chip unit on Marvell Technology for $600 million and a media and signaling line on Eicon Networks for an undisclosed sum.

EC To Expand its Intel Antitrust Probe
The European Commission is going to expand its ongoing investigation of Intel's business practices and look into charges that Intel paid German retail Metro AG millions in incentives to sell only Intel-based machines through its Media Markt subsidiary, the largest chain of electronics retail stores in Europe.

As previously reported, AMD complained to German antitrust regulators over the summer.

The Germans took a look and turned the case over the EC, which has been investigating Intel since 2001.

The EU's regulators were supposed to decide soon whether to drop the investigation or issue an indictment.

The Media Markt charge is already part of AMD's private antitrust suit against Intel.

Backdating Watch
Both Wind River and Novell said the other day that their 10-Qs would be late as a result of ongoing internal stock-compensation inquiries. Both previously announced ongoing internal reviews that have yet to determine whether they will have to restate. Novell has still only posted preliminary results for its latest quarter, ended July 31. Meanwhile, Marvell Technology, the outfit buying Intel's communications chips for $600 million, is in danger of getting delisted from the Nasdaq because a review of its stock option policies has held up its financial filings with the SEC.

Intel's Dike May Have Sprung Another Leak
Despite Intel's attempt to stop further erosion of its market share by delivering the estimable Woodcrest, Conroe and Merow chips and despite Intel's inventory overhang, Lehman Brothers reckons that "additional order flow is emerging" for AMD from Dell, Lenovo, IBM, HP, Acer, Fujitsu and maybe from Toshiba for notebooks and that AMD's piece of the overall MPU market could move from 23% in Q2 towards 26% in calendar year '07, more than the broker's prior estimate.

Google Can't Get 'em All
Snubbing Google, Acer, the fourth-largest PC maker, has signed up to bundle Yahoo's search as the default on its machines. The deal, described as strategic, includes a co-branded web browser toolbar. Terms were not disclosed.

First International AJAXWorld Conference Draws Major Sponsors, More Than 800 Delegates Signed Up
The first international
AJAXWorld Conference & Expo is sponsored by Adobe, Amazon, Apress, Backbase, ComponentArt, Cynergy Systems, Google, Helmi Technologies, IBM, ICEsoft, ILOG, Infragistics, JackBe, Laszlo Systems, Nexaweb, OASIS, Parasoft, Sun Microsystems, telerik, TIBCO, U7 Web Technologies, Visible Measures, Zapatec; including media sponsors AJAX Matters, AJAXWorld Magazine, BZ Media, ColdFusion Developer's Journal, DevtownStation.com, Eclipse Developer's Journal, Eclipse Review, Enterprise Open Source Magazine, Integration Developer News, ITtoolbox.com, Java Developer's Journal, LinuxWorld.com, Methods & Tools, Network World, Open Enterprise Trends, Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Journal, SD Times, Software Test & Performance, SOA Web Services Journal, SYS-CON.TV, Web 2.0 Journal, and Web Developer's & Designer's Journal.

--Copyright Client/Server News

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.NETDJ News Desk monitors Microsoft .NET and its related technologies, including Silverlight, to present IT professionals with news, updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards, and insight.

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