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Microsoft's Office for iPad Scores Big
March 31, 2014
Microsoft last week unveiled Office for iPad, which consists of Excel, Word and PowerPoint, rearchitected from the ground up. Office for iPad is available as a free download for the iPad and iPhone, with limited capability. Users who want to create or edit documents with the office suite have to subscribe to Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft prefers Apple over Google, noted tech analyst Rob Enderle.
US Judge: Free Speech Protects Baidu's Beijing-OK'd Results
March 28, 2014
A Manhattan judge ruled that a Chinese search engine's practice of restricting free speech is, wouldn't you know it, protected by free speech. Chinese Internet company Baidu won the dismissal of a U.S. lawsuit filed by activists who objected to its, shall we say, selective search results, which adhere to the government's notoriously limited view of what is and isn't acceptable.
Service-Based IT Switches Up Feds' Vendor Relationships
March 28, 2014
Cloud computing has ushered in an emphasis on service-oriented, on-demand information technology in the federal market. The shift from acquiring hard assets, such as computers, servers and even mobile devices, as well as software packages installed on those assets, has been gradual. However, the process has reached a point that it requires more attention from the vendor community.
Bitcoin Fans Rejoice in IRS Ruling
March 27, 2014
The U.S. will tax bitcoin and other virtual currencies as property, the IRS said Tuesday. Virtual currency will be treated as property for U.S. federal tax purposes, and transactions in virtual currency will be subject to general tax principles. Taxpayers who receive virtual currency as payment for goods or services must calculate that payment at the currency's fair market value in U.S. dollars.
Microsoft Launches Public Cloud in China
March 27, 2014
Microsoft is now offering general availability of its Azure cloud service in China, becoming the first multinational company to provide public cloud services in the Middle Kingdom. Microsoft is partnering with 21Vianet, a Chinese data center services provider, a marriage that likely helped appease Beijing officials. Until now, all major cloud providers in China have been Chinese.
Sony Gives Android Wear the Cold Shoulder
March 25, 2014
It's been just barely a week since Google's Android Wear project made its initial debut, but already one major maker of wearable devices has snubbed the new platform. Sony this week said it will stick with its own Android-based SmartWatch platform for wearables instead. Consumer electronics manufacturers including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung have signed on as Android Wear partners.
Obama, Legislators Tackle Bulk Surveillance Issue
March 25, 2014
The political frenzy over the NSAy's collection of Americans' bulk telephone metadata is escalating, with both the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee announcing plans to introduce legislation to regulate the practice. The White House's proposal reportedly would require phone companies to store the data and provide it under a court order.
China Seeks Answers About NSA/Huawei Report
March 25, 2014
China's government is asking the U.S. to explain itself -- and to knock it off with all the cyberespionage -- following reports that the National Security Agency has had its way with Chinese telecom giant Huawei. The NSA reportedly penetrated Huawei servers to monitor communications among company executives, and to gain access to the dealings of Huawei customers.
Rumor vs. Reality in Silicon Valley, Part 1
March 25, 2014
Like most small, inbred communities, Silicon Valley encourages and thrives on gossip, even when it's of little substance. In popular-speak, Valley gossip has a "low signal to noise ratio," but the rumor mill is vibrantly alive despite that shortcoming -- partly due to venture capitalists, whose efforts parallel the day-to-day business of technology.
Netflix, Comcast Spar Over Net Neutrality
March 24, 2014
Although they previously came to an arrangement regarding stronger broadband service delivery, Netflix and Comcast last week sparred over the issue of Net neutrality in a public forum. Net neutrality -- or "open Internet" -- is the concept that all Internet traffic should be treated equally by Internet service providers and governments. ISPs should not give preferential treatment.
New Avaya Platform Defrags Customer Experience
March 20, 2014
Avaya has rolled out an upgraded CEM platform with two new major components: the proactive outreach manager and intelligent customer routing. The common theme in this product's enhancement is the unification of inbound and outbound customer engagement with self service across any media, explained Avaya's Cory Glover, senior manager in the customer experience solutions marketing team.
Office for iPad May Be Waiting in Wings
March 20, 2014
Microsoft's tip of a news event next week triggered an avalanche of prophecy that the long-awaited version of Office for the iPad was about to be released. Microsoft is billing the event in San Francisco on March 27 as a "briefing and news focused on the intersection of cloud and mobile computing." Microsoft officially withheld further details, but an assortment of unnamed sources did not.
Federal Mobile Market: Vendors Be Nimble, Vendors Be Quick
March 19, 2014
The U.S. government will be a prime target for mobile information technology vendors offering a variety of devices, associated telecom services, and mobile management assistance over the next several years. By 2017, annual federal spending on a wide range of mobile IT capabilities could approach $10 billion. Vendors will need to demonstrate that their offerings provide value and effectiveness.
All Hacks on Deck: Japan Invites Hackers to Go At Government
March 18, 2014
Japan invited hackers -- nice ones, that is -- to go to town on the nation's government departments Tuesday. The move is designed to expose weaknesses in cyberdefenses and bolster national security ahead of the 2020 Olympics. Japan enlisted 50 cyberdefense specialists to gather at an emergency response center in Tokyo; an additional 100-plus were stationed offsite.
Zuckerberg Bends the President's Ear
March 14, 2014
CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook that he called President Obama to complain about NSA surveillance. "The Internet is our shared space," he wrote. Most people "work together to create this secure environment and make our shared space even better for the world. When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we're protecting against criminals, not our own government."
Complicating the Cloud
March 14, 2014
Although I've been a proponent of the business benefits of migrating to the "cloud" since before the term was popularized by today's market leaders, I have to admit that the cloud industry is doing a great job of making it increasingly difficult for CIOs and other corporate decision makers to feel confident about making the move. Cloud converts aren't sure where to start.
NSA Deploys Botnet Armies, Spoofs Facebook
March 13, 2014
The latest revelations about NSA surveillance indicate the agency could infect millons of computers with malware, and has spoofed Facebook servers to capture traffic from targets. "It is not surprising that the NSA would create and deploy malware," said CDT's Harley Geiger. "What is surprising is the evidence the NSA is prepared to do so on a scale that could affect millions of computers."
Berners-Lee Dreams Impossible Dream
March 13, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, known as the "father of the Internet," has called for an online bill of rights. Twenty-five years ago, Berners-Lee wrote a proposal for what would become the Internet as we know it today, making the case that it needed to move toward a decentralized, open architecture and away from the proprietary linear structure that was emerging at the time.
Feds, IT Vendors See Clearer Path to the Cloud
March 13, 2014
Federal agencies have been diligently pursuing the use of cloud-based information technology for the past three years in compliance with a White House directive. As a result, federal spending on cloud-based technologies reached $2.3 billion in fiscal 2013, according to a market assessment by Deltek. That investment level could top $6 billion annually in a few years.
Feinstein Accuses Spooks of Spying on Senate
March 12, 2014
A powerful U.S. senator has accused the CIA of spying on a network drive legislative staffers used to prepare a report on abuses -- including torture -- in the agency's detention and interrogation program. The search may have violated the separation of powers clause of the U.S. Constitution, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., told the Senate on Tuesday.

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