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Asia Time Online - Daily News
             
Asia Times Chinese
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IT World
Martin J Young surveys developments in
computing, science, gaming and gizmos.





Microsoft in Hon Hai tie-up
In an effort to bolster revenue from its vast array of patents, Microsoft has signed a deal with Hon Hai, parent company of electronics maker Foxconn, allowing the Taiwanese company to legally produce devices for Android and Chrome OS using patents owned by Microsoft. (Apr 19, '13)

US calls, Asia answers
Four decades after a Motorola engineer made the first mobile phone, Samsung leads the market for the now essential device. And while Google (now Motorola's owner) innovates with ''smart glasses'', it may face a challenge from China's Baidu. US icon Apple is already kowtowing in Asia, to keep its Chinese customers on side. (Apr 5, '13)

Android alarm bells in China
China is taking aim at the dominance of Google's Android in the country's smartphone market, urging local companies to prioritize development of a rival operating system. The real concern may not be commercial, but a desire to ratchet up censorship of phone users. (Mar 8, '13)

Mozilla on the prowl
Lower cost smart-phone producers from Asia, with the notable exception of Samsung, have signed up for a new mobile operating system from Mozilla, maker of the popular Firefox web browser. The target is consumers in the developing world. (Mar 1, '13)

Hackers make giants squirm
The latest spate of hacking attacks show that coporate tech giants of the world such as Apple do not stand above the fray when it comes to security breaches emanating from China or Eastern Europe, regardless of what their extravagant marketing campaigns might claim. (Feb 22, '13)

Mobile blues
The number of folk without a mobile phone is fast diminishing, leaving an uphill battle for Apple, Samsung and other manufacturers to find new customers or reasons for existing owners to upgrade their gadgets. A new battery might help to recharge sales across the board. (Feb 15, '13)

Cyber wars intensify
A series of cyber-attacks on US media outlets has deepened concern over the source of the digital incursions, with accusatory fingers pointing directly at China. Beijing rejects such "irresponsible" allegations, and claims it is itself the subject of cross-border hacking - by the United States. (Feb 8, '13)

BlackBerry bites back
Research In Motion this week rebranded itself as BlackBerry, launching a new mobile operating system and handsets in a bid to claw back a share of the smart-phone market from Samsung and Apple. Industry insiders welcome the challenge to the duopoly, but investors don't see juicy times ahead. (Feb 1, '13)

Samsung sparkles
Sparkling earnings by Samsung Electronics underline its dominance of the mobile phone market, and though the strong won is putting off some investors, they are proving more loyal than those of Apple, who continue to dump the US firm's stock. (Jan 25, '13)

Myanmar goes mobile
Myanmar is to open up its telecom services to boost mobile penetration to nearer 80% than the present 10%, with international bidders being sought for two service licenses. Helping to encourage more mobile phone use, Taiwan's HTC is offering smartphones that can use local language characters. (Jan 18, '13)

Tech on the road
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas highlights the big bets auto companies are making in harnessing the latest technology to boost their products' attractiveness. Microsoft fans gossiping on such shows will soon have to rely on Skype for their instant messages, rather than the aging Live Messenger system. (Jan 11, '13)

Asia cracks down on Internet
Government attacks against bloggers, politically motivated surveillance, proactive manipulation of web content, and restrictive laws regulating speech online are the biggest emerging threats to Internet freedom in the last two years. (Sep 28, '12)

Google plays global censor
Google took the opportunity of anti-US protests sparked by a video deemed insulting to Islam and available on YouTube to underline its role as a global arbiter of what folk anywhere can see or say on the Internet. Of its own accord, it blocked access to the video in certain countries - but not others. (Sep 21, '12)

Apple harvest - for free
Apple's launch of its latest smartphone model, the iPhone5, has been marked by hype and the revelation that tens of thousands of students and school interns have been coerced into producing the gadget without pay. That did not prevent the company's share price surging on its launch. (Sep 14, '12)

Moscow subverts Big Brother
Russian alarm that military secrets could end up in the hands of the US government via Google's Android operating system has forced development of a encrypted, water-proof version of mobile devices for use by military top brass. It will trickle down to public use in coming months. (Sep 7, '12)

Pay day for Apple
The number of US consumers who have parted with good money for a mobile phone unaware of whether they bought an Apple or a Samsung model is tough to quantify, but the US$1 billion in damages awarded by a US court to the California-based company suggests more than one would imagine. (Aug 31, '12)

Apple the biggest ever
Apple has achieved the ultimate bragging rights by becoming the most valuable company of all time. Its iconic products continue to reshape the mobile business, though Samsung is going down the wire to limit what the US company can legitimately claim as is its own. (Aug 24, '12)

Samsung fires back
Apple and Samsung continued to wage their patents war in a United States court this week, with lawyers for the South Korean outfit taking their turn to fire salvoes at the world's most valuable tech company. The judge's advice is that bosses of the two rivals should start speaking to each other. (Aug 17, '12)

Apples or oranges
Apple is extending its patents battle with Samsung by claiming the Korean firm copied the designs of its icons, although a graphic designer who formerly worked for the US computer giant felt that judging the difference in looks between rival handsets was beyond her area of expertise. (Aug 10, '12)

Outlook brighter
Microsoft has called it a day for Hotmail, in spite of its still strong user base, in the hope of recouping market share lost to Google's Gmail. The new Outlook.com service will prove popular if at least it can handle spam and the other evils of modern communications. (Aug 3, '12)

Apple blips, Samsung surges
Quarterly earnings at gadget maker Apple fell short of analysts' estimates while competitor Samsung continued to show robust numbers, with profit increasing 48% in the second quarter. (Jul 27, '12)

Microsoft gets touchy
Microsoft has taken the touchy-feely route with its latest version of its Office suite, gambling that swipes and taps will boost rather than hinder users' productivity and appearing unconcerned that upgrade laggards not yet on Windows 7 will be left further behind. (Jul 20, '12)

Google caught in the cookie jar
Google is expected to pay a fine of the order of US$22 million in connection with claims in the United States that it bypassed browser security settings to gather users' data. The amount is small for the Internet search company, but a big step forward in imposing regulations. (Jul 13, '12)

Nexus in eye of patent storm
Google's effort to grab a chunk of the tablet market was no sooner on the shelves than rivals were circling with patent infringement claims, led by Nokia, though the Finnish outfit may prefer selling licenses to a prolonged and expensive battle in the courts in the style of Apple and Samsung. (Jul 6, '12)

Apple looks a winner
Apple's court victory in opposing sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab on the basis of looks rather than technology sets a striking precedent as the iPad maker battles to secure its grip on the tablet market. One down, but many to go. The likes of Google and Microsoft may be less easily thwarted. (Jun 29, '12)

Microsoft surfaces with tablet
Software giant Microsoft, which has largely shunned the hardware business, has barged into the increasingly important tablet sector with a device dubbed "Surface" so distinct it may savage Apple's iPad dominance while also capturing a chunk of the laptop market. (Jun 22, '12)

Bad spy, good Apple
The apparent willingness of the United States and Israel to wage cyber-war by spreading malware to its enemies and beyond is the bad news. Apple, however, is presenting a clearer picture to the world, thanks to its latest wonder, a 15-inch laptop with a more stunning-than-ever Retina screen. (Jun 15, '12)

Google maps out future
Map fans among smart-phone users - and that is most of them - will be the ultimate beneficiaries of Google's introduction of 3D imagery for the gadgets ahead of a similar product from Apple, confirming maps as a future battleground in the fight for smart-phone customers. (Jun 8, '12)

Google leaps buyout hurdle
Google's biggest buyout has been cleared after China dragged the digital chain. The $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility allows the search engine giant to move into making its own branded smart-phones and tablet computers, and boosts its ability to see off patent litigation by rivals. (May 25, '12)

Facebook floats
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is now officially worth close to US$20 billion after successfully bringing off the initial public offering for his young social network site. Fans keen to grab a piece of the company may have to pay 50% more than the initial price when the shares start trading Friday. (May 18, '12)

Guns aimed at Google
India's Competition Commission has joined the growing number of authorities targeting Google and its strategy of maximizing revenues from search, the complaint this time originating with the treatment of a matrimonial website. (May 11, '12)

Microsoft books ahead
Microsoft's US$600 million investment in Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader indicates the software giant's determination to be a force in the tablet market when it releases its touch-enabled Windows 8 operating system later this year. (May 4, '12)

Google makes data grab
Google's digital filing cabinet for customers increases competition in the already crowded computer-cloud marketplace. Potential users who read the small print may be put off by having to make their stored pictures, videos and documents the intellectual property of the US company. (Apr 27, '12)

Oracle threat to Android
Oracle's US$1 billion damages battle and request for a court order blocking distribution of Android unless Google pays for a license could bring a major shakeup of the Android platform, the smart-phone market, and possibly rewrite the rules for the software industry. (Apr 20, '12)

China firewall slams shut
China's Internet this week was virtually cut of from the rest of the world, with its 500 million Internet users unable to access foreign websites. A software upgrade is considered one possible reason, possibly linked to a tightening of government control over rumor mongers. (Apr 13, '12)

Apple deepens roots in China
Apple's boss Tim Cook touched base with China's top politicians this week on the issues of intellectual property rights and work conditions at suppliers' factories. Beijing's warm reception was a welcome respite from complaints over the iPad 3's 4G capablities. (Mar 30, '12)

Angry Birds shuns Windows
Nearly one-in-four Apple and Android operated smart phones are now sold in China. Microsoft reckons it is time to join the fun, with a model that undercuts its rivals in price. That is not enough to attract the world's most popular phone game, Angry Birds. (Mar 23, '12)

Microsoft gets touchy
The latest version of Internet Explorer will rely heavily on the Metro touch screen interface, while Microsoft is following Apple and Google's digital footsteps by introducing an app store and encouraging users to download and run applications and programs from it. (Mar 16, '12)

Google rebundles
Google is bundling into one destination its online applications store, e-book, games, music and movie services. The choice of "Google Play" as a name for the new parking space, with connotations of a digital fairground, is unfortunate and fails to reflect all that is on offer. (Mar 9, '12)

Microsoft earns plaudits
The latest version of Microsoft's operating system is attracting positive reviews, no least thanks to changes that recognize the present-day importance of tablet computers. Taiwan's Asus also reckons it can benefit from tablet demand by bridging the gap between them and mobile phones. (Mar 2, '12)

Web police show their power
From Iran to Thailand to India, Asia's web police are finding ever more work to do, with the result that even those Internet users completely remote from censors' concerns find the cadence of their lives disrupted by government software checkpoints.
(Feb 24, '12)

Woes at Apple
Apple is going through a troubling period, even as revenues soar. App Store applications are lifting private data from iPhones and iPads without user consent and it faces a ban on iPad sales in China. And along with other computer makers, maintaining security is becoming an increasing problem. (Feb 17, '12)

Microsoft in burnish mode
Software giant Microsoft is preparing to present a burnished version of its operating system, with changes for the forthcoming Windows 8 OS representing the largest overhaul of the platform since Windows 95. (Feb 10, '12)

Facebook heads for IPO
Social networking giant Facebook has at last moved towards selling its shares to the public, seeking to raise a possible US$5 billion. The sale would propel 27-year-old co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to the top ranks of rich folk, with a $28 billion stake. (Feb 3, '12)

Big Brother wants more
Google, intoning that "This stuff matters'', announced a change in its privacy policy this week that will soon mean the Internet search giant knows more about users' personal preferences than their mothers. While the digital hoard aims to better match users and advertisers, the bottom line is what really matters for the company. (Jan 27, '12)

The power of protest
Internet power dealt a blow this week to the political influence of old-media types such as Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and Hollywood movie-makers as protests led by Wikipedia and Google heightened public opposition to anti-piracy bills aimed at stifling web use. (Jan 20, '12)

Google wants it all
Google boss Eric Schmidt used the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to proclaim that with Google TV more people will watch television because the company's version will deliver all their broadcast, computer and social networking needs. LG, Samsung and Lenovo beg to differ. (Jan 13, '12)

Chrome powers ahead
Google ended 2011 with ever-increasing dominance of the browser market, its Chrome product poised to secure 20% of the market in the very near future. Mozilla can also look ahead with optimism - thanks, ironically, to its partnership with Google. (Jan 6, '12)

Bad apps target Android
Google has begun to pull applications from its Android Market after discovering some contain fraudulent software - raising triumphant cries from rivals Apple and Microsoft, although the latter's history related to software security would suggest this is one time to gloat with a quiet voice. (Dec 16, '11)

Red face for Facebook
Facebook's settlement of a privacy complaint includes agreement that it endure reviews of its privacy policies by independent auditors for the next 20 years. Clearing up such issues may help it appear more attractive when raising US$10 billion with a share sale next year. (Dec 2, '11)

Duqu returns to Iran
Duqu malware has reared its head again in Iran, where the government says it has the latest infection under control without confirming whether nuclear installations were again the target. As various affected countries hunt the perpetrator, the culprit appears to have a fondness for pop thriller culture. (Nov 18, '11)

Aus, Nvidia add tablet oomph
Asus and Nvidia have set a new target for rivals by bringing to market the first quad-core tablet in the market. The extra oomph may make it a worthwile alternative for consumers who want to do more with such gadgets than just read online novels. Barnes and Noble is joining the crowd keeping those folk happy. (Nov 10, '11)

Flood drown hi-tech plants
Thailand's devastating floods have forced the closure of factories run by Western Digital and other world leaders, hitting particularly hard output of computer hard disk drives - the country provides 40% of world supply, and prices from manufacturers still in production are soaring. (Nov 4, '11)

Windows XP still a winner
Windows XP remains Microsoft's most successful operating system after a decade in the market, with the software maker struggling to persuade contented consumers to ditch the product for something younger, preferably Windows 7 - and while shopping, to pick up a Windows-powered smartphone. (Oct 28, '11)

Google takes on iPhone 4S
The latest Google smartphone, the Galaxy Nexus, is shaping to be a real challenger to the fast-selling iPhone 4S, with facial recognition technology and driven by Google's latest version of Android, still doing pretty well in spite of Steve Jobs' determination to destroy what he believed was a stolen product. (Oct 21, '11)

Virus in the skies
To have hackers (again) messing with PlayStations is bad enough. Now a virus has infiltrated the real toys for the boys, the Predator and Reaper drones raining death from the skies over Afghanistan and elsewhere. As Apple encourages consumers to use its iCloud, can we be sure even the world's biggest company is immune? (Oct 14, '11)

Dark times for Apple
The passing of Steve Jobs and the disappointment of the latest iPhone upgrade made for a doubly depressing week for Apple fans. The continued strength of rival Android-driven phones and Samsung's latest offering will further darken the mood for Jobs' mourning former colleagues. (Oct 7, '11)

Amazon joins tablet wars
Amazon has joined the ranks of companies seeking to nibble away, eventually, at Apple's dominance of the tablet market, just as Apple is focused on bringing out the next iteration of its iPhone - and tries to swallow the latest setback from the US patents office. (Sep 30, '11)

Deja vu all over again
An experiment that may show neutrinos can travel faster than the speed of light threatens to overturn all accepted assumptions about how the world operates - that effect, in effect, can come before a cause. Just the sort of thing Google is trying to persuade United States legislators can happen with search engines. (Sep 23, '11)

Ballmer tries out 'reimagining'
Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer says the company is being "reimagined", along with software package Windows 8. Whatever the outcome of that painful-sounding process, the software giant is still playing catch-up to Apple, most recently by its latest browser not supporting Adobe Flash. (Sep 16, '11)

HTC arms for Apple clash
Taiwan's HTC is arming itself with Google-supplied patents to battle with Apple over who owns essential bits of must-have smart-phones. Patently more fun is the dumping of Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, but for real cosmic fireworks, just lie back and watch a supernova sparkle up the night sky. (Sep 9, '11)

'Apple' on the cheap
Enough counterfeit Apple products are made in China to swamp world demand for the real thing, apparently helped by the California-based company's reluctance to chase down the culprits. At least the fakes offer a cheap alternative to iPhones afflicted by "error 28". (Sep 2, '11)

Apple to the core
Steve Jobs' resignation as Apple chief executive sent markets reeling, perhaps with a backward look at the fates of Microsoft and Hewlett Packard. And as one US technology innovator moves to the background, Asian names are coming forward, tipped for fame and fortune. (Aug 26, '11)

Google stocks up on patents
Google's US$12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility should help to strengthen development of the Android phone operating system and see off Apple and other rivals in the mobile gadget world. An important part of its armory will be thousands of Motorola patents. (Aug 19, '11)

Facebook under attack
Notorious hacker syndicate Anonymous has vowed to "destroy" Facebook, in an attack on November 5. The shady group added the world's largest social network site and its fan base as a target after recent hits to online retailer Amazon, PayPal and the Church of Scientology. (Aug 12, '11)

The danger within
Internet security company McAfee's discovery of breaches of computers across dozens of companies, organizations and governments in 14 countries once again has fingers pointing to China as the source of the problem. Victims' reluctance to recognize they have been attacked does not help. (Aug 5, '11)

Breaths of freedom
Firefox-maker Mozilla's decision to develop an open-source operating system for mobile phones and tablets could shake up the market where Microsoft, Google and Apple keep a pretty tight grip on their systems and related applications. Google is also being challenged by Facebook's more open approach to letting enterprises sign up to its network. (Jul 29, '11)

Apple harvest doubles
Apple's harvest from consumers demanding ever more iPads, iPhones and even Mac computers continues to grow, with quarterly profit more than doubling. Sales in Greater China may even be outpacing products from China's Lenovo - helped, or otherwise, by counterfeit stores. (Jul 22, '11)

Google gains mock warning
Google's 36% surge in second-quarter profits made a mockery of warnings that its bid to rule the social networking world would damage earnings. The popularity of its fledgling Google+ service is set to grow as the company tweaks functionality to allow better privacy. (Jul 15, '11)

Social here, censor there
The addition of video conferencing to Facebook, thanks to its new Skype partnership, may help the world's largest social network hold its own against Google's own social network and video-chat service, as Skype-owner Microsoft shows its support for censorship with its latest China venture. (Jul 8, '11)

Google networks - again
Google's latest bid to take on Facebook in the social network market appears to be better thought out than its previous effort. One of its more attractive features might turn out to be that anyone wanting to leave Google+ can do so easily and take all of their data with them. (Jul 1, '11)

Firefox refreshes itself
A new version of the popular Firefox browser is available only three months after the previous iteration, signaling Mozilla's determination to keep up with its rivals. Among these, Google is being hunted down by US regulators, who claim it manipulates its search results into steering users towards its own sites and services. (Jun 24, '11)

Google's 'big daddy' gamble
Google's decision to offer a notebook designed to be permanently online assumes users are happy to park all personal and financial data with the world's biggest Internet search company - and that they can always obtain an Internet link. (Jun 17, '11)

Address success
Google and Facebook were among 400 companies putting the Internet's new address system through its paces this week, and no doubt to their relief IPv6 created few glitches running in tandem with the now exhausted IPv4. (Jun 10, '11)

Apple refines tune service
Apple is seeking to extend its dominance of the online music market by signing up the likes of Warner and Sony to make tunes available without the need for listeners to download files from the Internet, a step big enough to warrant chief executive Steve Jobs to emerge from sick leave to orchestrate the announcement. (Jun 3, '11)

Worm eats Apple
Thousands of Mac users who thought Apple computers impenetrable to attack have had illusions shattered by malware creators who wriggled their way into the operating system with fake security software. Apple has reacted to the threat, but the worm is set to return for a second bite. (May 27, '11)

Android leads market
Amid surging smartphone sales, Google's Android operating system has in a year come from almost nowhere to become the most popular platform - unfortunately for many users who find it remains open to attacks and data theft. (May 20, '11)

Skype gamble
Microsoft broke open its treasure chest with its US$8.5 billion purchase of Skype, which may prove a better deal for the private investment firms that bought a majority stake in the Internet phone company just 18 months ago than it is for the software giant. (May 12, '11)

Search has its price
Osama bin Laden's slaying in Pakistan prompted a surge in cyber-criminality targeting web users eager to keep up with developments. In one gauge of the value of similar attacks, Sony Entertainment is offering US$1 million insurance policies to customers after its recent security breach. (May 6, '11)

Apple off track
Apple faces government investigation over its use of location-tracking software and its storage of the data, supposedly to enhance the performance of iPhones and their applications. Chief executive Steve Jobs still had something to celebrate, with quarterly earnings and profits overshadowing those of Microsoft for the first time in two decades. (Apr 29, '11)

Digital drought in Asia
The last batch of IPv4 Internet addresses is now exhausted for Asia, even as the United States clings to billions. The reluctance of global Internet carriers to get their heads together and make the next standard a reality for all could give them a bigger hangover tomorrow. (Apr 21, '11)

Google sows concern
Google co-founder Larry Page picked a troubling time to take over as chief executive, days later having to announce earnings results that left investors concerned at rising costs and falling margins. The upstart Facebook is casting a shadow over even the world's biggest search company. (Apr 15, '11)

Cyber-attacks soar
Google's Android software and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are at the frontline of cyber-attacks that almost doubled last year, the shortened Internet addresses used by the likes of Twitter being a favored gateway for malicious web prowlers. That isn't slowing the popularity of Google's mobile-phone operating system. (Apr 8, '11)

Buzz blitz
Google's eagerness to know everything that happens on the Internet went a step too far with its Buzz blogging service, leading a United States trade commission to order a 20-year "privacy audit" of the company. The search giant modestly responded that it doesn't "always get everything right". (Apr 1, '11)

Firefox 4 outruns foes
Mozilla claims the latest version of its Firefox browser to be faster, safer and offering more privacy than earlier iterations. It certainly beat Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 when it came to debut-day demand, with almost three times its rival's number of first-day downloads. (Mar 25, '11)

Apple bruised, and again
Apple is among tech companies whose supply chain is threatened by rolling electricity blackouts in disaster-hit Japan, while the iPhone maker is also feeling bruised by Google's Android, after losing out in speed tests. Apple executives are discovering that you can run, but you can't hide. (Mar 18, '11)

Apple mugged
Apple likes to boast that, unlike its rivals, its Safari browser is not prone to multiple hacking attacks. But when the professionals got to work this week, it was the first to be hauled off to be patched up in the emergency ward. (Mar 11, '11)

Google purges the web
Search giant Google has taken a rocket-launcher to purge its search results of irrelevant spam websites. Before frustrated searchers sigh in relief, they will note the new predominance of Wikipedia, which might now as well serve as their search starting point. (Mar 4, '11)

Tweet for freedom
A partnership between Google and Twitter is adding a new dimension to the role of hi-tech social networking in helping to foment revolution, with a "speak-to-tweet" service that allows the voices of protesters in Egypt to be heard within the country and around the world. (Feb 4, '11)

Apple stays rosy
A 78% surge in quarterly profit underlines Apple's ability to persuade customers to buy high-priced elegant goods under the guidance of chief executive Steve Jobs. A still rising share price on expectations for continuing strong profit growth indicates that concern about the company's future in Jobs' latest absence is limited. (Jan 21, '11)

Small, smart and painful
Hewlett Packard and its big-box rivals are feeling the pain as consumers opt for small and lightweight computing solutions. Gaming console sales are also sliding, with Internet alternatives offering savings on space and spending. (Jan 14, '11)

Absent Apple haunts CES pit
Tablets, Internet TV and an Intel product to help movie makers halt pirated downloads are among highlights of this week's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, while over much of the proceedings hung the aura of the absent Apple. (Jan 7, '11)

Microsoft plays catch-up
Microsoft this week sent out no fewer than 40 patches to software vulnerabilities. A little late in the day, these included protection against the Stuxnet malware, which after crippling Iran's nuclear program may now threaten, with variants in the offing, civil infrastructure in the rest of the world. (Dec 17, '10)

Anon goes to war
United States-based credit-card companies and PayPal, which halted payments to WikiLeaks after it published secret US government documents, are being taught their own cyber-security lesson by the "Anonymous" hackers group. Guerrilla cyber-war has broken out. (Dec 10, '10)

Hope over reality
United States lawmakers believe they can help Internet users avoid being tracked by websites and search engines, while search giant Google is working on self-regulation of its own, attempting to stop unscrupulous merchants from fraudulently boosting their rankings. Reality may defeat optimism in both cases. (Dec 3, '10)

Spam - the last frontier
Social networking giant Facebook aims to challenge the runaway success of Google's Gmail, the fastest-growing web service, and perhaps change the face of e-mailing as we know it. If it finds a way to kick out spam, it might just do that. (Nov 19, '10)

Melting moments
RockMelt believes it has sufficient innovation to muscle browser market share from the likes of Internet Explorer and Firefox, while Google also questioningly claims some originality with its latest search engine tinkering. The only really new thing on the block, though, is a terrifyingly hot spot in the heart of Europe. (Nov 12, '10)

Censors stomp on
Internet censors are extending their clammy hold on information flow, with Turkey renewing its blackout of YouTube and Syria aiming to put online media under strict control of the Information Ministry. Even Myanmar appears to be adding a curious death-punch to its anti-Internet fighting skills. (Nov 5, '10)

Google back in the doghouse
Caught "inadvertently" harvesting data with its roving Street View service, Google once again has its tail between its legs. The second infraction of trust in recent times was hardly smoothed over by a cutting comment by chief executive Eric Schmidt, who later was forced to make a dopey-eyed apology. (Oct 29, '10)

Apple king of the jungle
Apple boss Steve Jobs drew a quick response from rivals for his king-of-the-jungle antics when announcing record profits and a new "Lion" version of the Macintosh operating system. But with sales of the latest iPhone just starting in China, he could still have much more to roar about. (Oct 22, '10)

Calling Microsoft
Microsoft is far from guaranteed success in the mobile-phone market with its newly launched Windows Phone 7. But if application developers are given free rein with little or no censoring, the US giant might find it has a winner as desktop computing continues to give way to mobility. (Oct 15, '10)

Stuxnet raises virus stakes
The malware attack on Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant using the "Stuxnet" virus moves cyber-warfare from the stuff of novels to grim reality, although the mind games favored by usual hackers, such as embedding "fingerprint" clues in the attack code, appear to remain in place. (Oct 1, '10)

Black hole of censorship
Google has upgraded its online tools that monitor government censorship of the search giant. The United States leads the way in demanding content removal, while China holds the lead in Asia - though the numbers there are not disclosed, being deemed state secrets; that is to say, they are also censored. (Sep 24, '10)

Explorer puts on power
Microsoft's beta version of Internet Explorer 9 offers improvements that aim to use more of a computer's processing and graphics power to render websites. That may not be enough to persuade diehard users of the XP operating system to upgrade or halt the drift to rival browsers Firefox and Chrome. (Sep 17, '10)

Hang on a second
Google is flouting its ability to give customers what they never knew they wanted by offering "instant" search results, which are predicted even as keywords are being entered. The problem now is what to do with all the resulting 2.5 seconds saved per search. (Sep 10, '10)

Delhi targets Google, Skype
The stay of execution granted Research in Motion before it has to give the Indian government access to BlackBerry encrypted data services does not mean a retreat by New Delhi, which now has Google and Skype in its sights. (Sep 3, '10)

Google takes on Skype
Google's efforts to achieve total Internet dominance, and find ever-more revenue paths, have turned to offering Internet-based phone calls independent of callers' computers. That puts Skype in the firing line - just as its new owners were looking to reap US$100 million from a share sale. (Aug 27, '10)

BlackBerry too secret
Corporate types and diplomats love their BlackBerry phones for one reason above others - the high level of security it gives to their e-mails. That is now proving too tough for some governments to handle, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates leading demands for access to encryption keys. (Aug 6, '10)

Gaming gamble for Google
The growing popularity of social gaming is making the sector the next target for Google, as the search company identifies yet another potentially huge revenue stream and a source for information on Internet users and usage. (Jul 30, '10)

Maggots in the Apple
Apple's slow and stumbling response to complaints by users of its new iPhone4 are undermining the company's image as maker of the world's most attractive and must-have computer-based gadgets. A recall would cost a lot; a loss of public trust, and much more. (Jul 16, '10)

A glimmer in the eighth Window
Microsoft's great success with its Windows 7 operating system may increase the company's reluctance to make public proposed changes for version 8. But hints are out there, and speed appears to be of the essence. (Jul 9, '10)

Vietnam strengthens firewall
Vietnam has joined the list of Asian governments seeking to clamp down on their citizens' access to the Internet, with new regulations that will allow authorities in Hanoi to block websites and monitor online activity. (Jun 18, '10)

Another Apple miracle
Apple boss Steve Jobs' latest miracle of consumer eye-candy, the iPhone4, sets a new standard in elegance that will have the company's disciples queuing up to purchase when it goes on sale later this month. Folk more interested in technology than looks may prefer less-hyped Android-driven products. (Jun 11, '10)

Tablets take over Taipei
Apple's big lead in the market for tablet computers may soon shrink, judging by the more than two dozen rival models on show this week at Computex Taipei, Asia's largest computer exhibition. Without having to make any of the handheld devices, Google looks likely to be the one big winner in the tablet wars. (Jun 4, '10)

Thai war of words on the web
Smoke, guns and barricades were the most visual evidence of the violent conflict in Bangkok over the past few weeks. Behind the scenes, the Internet was another battleground, with censors battling nimble-fingered social networkers seeking to keep their information streams flowing. (May 28, '10)

Big Brother caught out
Google's passion for sucking up every possible bit of digital data has again been exposed as tramping the boundaries of privacy, with the discovery of "accidental" spying by Street View vehicles on open wireless networks. The company's next move is to check the TV viewing habits of citizens, courtesy of Google TV. (May 21, '10)

Office in the clouds
Microsoft's latest version of its Office productivity suite acknowledges the advent of cloud computing with a free web version, but enough bells and whistles are kept for the desk-top version to keep the cash rolling in for the software giant. (May 14, '10)

Sour edge to Apple success
Sales of Apple's iPad have shot past the million mark in less than a month, demonstrating the popularity of the company as much as the product. That could change if the Steve Jobs-led outfit continues its heavy handed approach to software producers and the technology media. (May 7, '10)

You shall not ...
Search giant Google is extending its battle for an open Internet by publishing details of government demands that it remove data. Fighting a different struggle, Microsoft is opening labs to investigate and curb sales of counterfeit software, a task made easier by a surge in quarterly profit to US$4 billion. (Apr 23, '10)

iPads on their way
Apple fans will soon be getting a bite of the company's latest product, the iPad, which is tipped to find as many as 6 million buyers this year. That means shareholders in the company can expect even more gains - at least before a rejuvenated Large Hadron Collider gets fully up to speed and threatens the future of the planet. (Apr 1, '10)

Smart phones get smarter
Asian countries still denying their citizens third-generation phone technology will soon be falling even further behind the rest of the world as manufacturers prepare to introduce 4G products this summer, with speeds that may be 10 times faster than 3G links. (Mar 26, '10)

Google and the dragon
The censorship rift between the Chinese government and United States-based Google appears to be unreconcilable, leaving Chinese advertisers in a quandary should Google.cn close next week. If this were a movie, Viacom could secretly post clips of it on Google-owned YouTube, then threaten to sue the search giant for copyright infractions. (Mar 19, '10)

Browser beaten
Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser lost market share again last month, even before new flaws were discovered in versions 6 and 7 and a European Union ruling made rival products more easily available to consumers. That slide in user interest is going to be tough to halt. (Mar 12, '10)

Free trade, when it suits
Google's tussle with China may go as far as the World Trade Organization on the argument that Beijing's Internet censorship is an impediment to trade. Free trade, of course, is what business in the West is all about - though that is hard to believe considering recent action involving the likes of Apple and games producer Ubisoft. (Mar 5, '10)

Partnership buzz
The increasing importance and potential value of social networking sites is evident in pioneer portal Yahoo's decision to partner with fast-rising networking star Twitter. Microsoft forged its own partnership with Amazon, with an eye on the possibilities of the Kindle e-reader. Google, meanwhile, is finding out that its disdain for privacy is creating a serious buzz of annoyance. (Feb 26, '10)

Google Buzzing to get a greater grip
Google, pursuing its goal of discovering everything everyone does on the Internet, is extending its reach into social networking sites. Given the search giant's muscle, that could be bad news for the likes of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. (Feb 12, '10)

iPad a job half done
"We think we've done it," proclaimed Apple boss Steve Jobs when he unveiled the company's tablet computer. Yet the list of what the iPad does not do will persuade many potential buyers to keep their cash in their wallets until something better comes along - perhaps from Google. (Jan 29, '10)

Search and be damned
Google's now famous threat to quit China has led to a more searching examination of searches, with both the US company and its rival in China found wanting. With mud also sticking to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mozilla is one outfit emerging with smiles from the fog of confrontation. (Jan 22, '10)

Google fired up over China's great wall
Search giant Google has grown fat on taking on the world and, for the most part, winning, but challenging the Chinese government to drop its web censorship policy looks like a battle it cannot win. Just what lies behind the "Don't be evil" company's change of stance remains obscure. (Jan 15, '10)

Las Vegas sees a new dimension
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas gives gadget fans, from company bosses to teen nerds, a chance to start drawing up their dream gift lists. 3-D television is a star of the show, while Google's venture into mobile phones threatens to turn dreams into nightmares at rivals Apple and Nokia. (Jan 8, '10)

Google comes calling
The ever-expanding empire of Google is now entering phone territory, with the US-based company planning to bring out its own handset in the new year. With the gadgets linked to Google's search data, you could soon be seeing a Big Mac picture appearing on your phone when you approach a McDonald's. (Dec 18, '09)

The Googlenet has you
Google now merges content from social networking websites into traditional search results pages. Less immediately annoying but more scary is Google Goggles, which supplies instant information on photos taken by Android-based mobile phones. (Dec 11, '09)

Google clicks on compromise
A compromise by Google allows Internet news-content publishers to charge readers after first giving limited free access. That still leaves a delicate balancing act for publishers wishing to attract readers and related advertising, while hanging on to paid subscribers. Free sites might be the ultimate beneficiaries. (Dec 4, '09)

Apple not so sweet in China
Not quite the end of the world for Apple, but the introduction of the iPhone to China turned sour for the United States-based company and its mainland partner, China Unicom, with initial sales falling well short of forecasts. Doomsday, however, may be closer for the rest of the world, with the restart of Europe's Large Hadron Collider. (Nov 6, '09)

Microsoft reliable as ever
Microsoft has maintained its reputation for delivering fierce headaches along with its new software offerings. Many would-be users of Windows 7 are discovering that the company's new operating system fails to install satisfactorily and their computers then refuse to restore the old system. (Oct 30, '09)

Windows users in seventh heaven
Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 7, launched with promises the software will deliver above and beyond its much-maligned predecessors. With Google and Apple snapping at its heels, Microsoft has finally introduced a new version that doesn't require expensive hardware upgrades to run it. (Oct 23, '09)

Domain chains fall away
The range of Internet domain names is set to surge with the loss of United States control over the process. That's great for freedom lovers, not so good for companies seeking to protect their brand names. (Oct 2, '09)

India finds water on moon
India has confirmed the presence of water on the moon, which is great news for people hoping to establish lunar colonies in some distant future, but of little consolation for impoverished Earth-bound farmers struggling to stay alive in the drought-hit country. (Sep 25, '09)

Google Flips off the competition
Google has launched an online news search application that it says combines the visual benefits of reading news in print with the speed of reading it online. Not to be outdone, Microsoft is going ahead with its own visual search. (Sep 18, '09)

Birthday spoiler
Forty years after the Internet was created, it has developed into an vital form of communication, bringing to the world undoubted benefits, as well as nuisances such as spam, phishing and other horrors, and creating corporate giants such as Google - which still cannot guarantee that your e-mail will get through in speedy fashion. (Sep 4, '09)

Apple reacts to worm hazard
The latest version of Apple's operating system, brought out earlier than expected, is remarkable mostly for its lack of innovation. In compensation, the company has introduced, in addition to some eye candy, malware protection in belated recognition that nothing is perfect. (Aug 28, '09)

Customers losing out in e-mail rivalry
Gmail has overtaken AOL to become the third-most favored e-mail service in the United States. Yet as Google, Microsoft and others vie for customers, their approach to blocking spam falls far short of what is necessary. (Aug 21, '09)

Google offers more of the same
Google is revving up interest in its next-generation search abilities. Yet the only important innovation is that it will scour more of the web for the search terms entered - leaving untouched the existing imbalanced ranking mechanism. (Aug 14, '09)

Yahoo says 'yes'
Microsoft and Yahoo have at last put some sort of seal on their long courtship, but a dowry is notably absent from their partnership in the Internet search market. (Jul 31, '09)

New wonders to behold
Earth-bound urban humanity was reawakened this week to the wonders of the universe, thanks to a historic eclipse, a surprise collision on Jupiter, and the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Not to be outdone, Asia Times Online launched its own new star into cyberspace. (Jul 24, '09)

Sweet fruits of competition
Microsoft, under challenge from Google across an increasing range of products, is to risk cutting into the vast profit it makes from the Office productivity suite by making a free online version. Whoever said competition is bad for consumers? (Jul 17,'09)

Google's Chrome shines with hope
Google's plan to challenge Microsoft by producing its own Chrome operating system will please many computer users desperate to be liberated from the world of endless patches, reinstallations and tedious upgrades. But even this public has to be persuaded that the new baby will be worth the learning curve. (Jul 10,'09)

Fast Firefox comes with bugs
The latest version of Mozilla's Firefox web browser, which attracted 5 million downloads in its first day of release, will please most users. Others may wish they had held back until a plethora of bugs are fixed. (Jul 3,'09)

The Apple of your eye
Apple's new iPhone defied upstart competitors and carrier problems to make a big splash with the smart-phone baying public this week. Just don't use it to illegally download songs, a crime that cost a Minnesota mom of four a cool US$1.92 million. (Jun 26,'09)

Web tangled in Iranian struggle
As Iranians defy security forces to protest in the streets against the declared result of their presidential election, technicians on both sides are struggling to outwit each other in the battle for control of information in cyberspace. (Jun 19,'09)

China adds brick to censors' firewall
China says a desire to protect its citizens from "harmful content" is behind its decision to force PC makers to install Internet filtering software designed to block pornography. The move could give the government unprecedented control over how its citizens use the Internet. (Jun 12,'09)

Tiananmen silence
China acknowledged the 20-year anniversary of the military crackdown in Tiananmen Square by cranking up censorship and throwing a blanket of silence over the web. That was bad news for truth-seekers, good news for e-mail encryption services. (Jun 5,'09)

But it's not Google
Microsoft's plans to counter Google's dominance in Internet search got off to a wobbly start, beginning with its unfortunate choice of brand name - "Bing" - and an apparent failure to get that name up and running. (May 29,'09)

A learning Curve for Apple
Research in Motion's Curve smart-phone is taking over from Apple's iPhone as the must-have device in the US, thanks in part to less-restrictive carrier deals. That could mean another retreat by Apple from its preference for exclusivity. (May 8,'09)

Windows 7 inches closer
Microsoft is rushing ahead towards the release of its newest operating system, with developers getting their hands on what is effectively the final testing stage of Windows 7 this week. (May 1,'09)

Jets on the cheap
The Chinese government denies hacking into US computers to download screeds of information on how to build a F35 Joint Strike Fighter. Still, hacking is probably cheaper than developing a US$300 billion warplane project from scratch, the preferred US route to military dominance. (Apr 24,'09)

Microsoft tired of waiting
Microsoft, its grip on the web browser market continuing to slip, is to adopt a sterner in-your-face attitude in its attempt to get web users to install the latest version of Internet Explorer. (Apr 17,'09)

Conficker bides its time
The absence of a Conficker worm-inspired meltdown in computer networks this week merely suggests the software's day of destruction has yet to come, notwithstanding the US$250,000 bounty from Microsoft for the identity of its creators. (Apr 3,'09)

China closes digital window
Chinese YouTube fans have had their access to the popular site blocked. The trigger appears to have been two-decade-old shots of violent protests in Tibet. (Mar 27,'09)

Browser beaten
Microsoft's latest incarnation of its omnipresent browser Internet Explorer promises increased compatibility, speed and most importantly, security. But like its predecessors, the browser's greatest weakness lies in its great success, with many hackers still looking to crack the big boy on the block. (Mar 20,'09)

Advantage Google
Google's ability to track your every computer-based move has increased with its adoption of behavior-based advertising. Privacy advocates are voicing concern. (Mar 13,'09)

Crunch to sales crash
It was inevitable that computer-related companies would feel the impact of the global financial crisis, but that does not make the numbers look any prettier. For good looks, you have to go to the latest products from Apple, even if the price tag will make you blink. (Mar 6,'09)

Pirate holds law at bay
Swedish-based peer-to-peer site The Pirate Bay bloodied the nose of copyright prosecutors by getting half the charges against them dropped. Free downloads continue unabated, while entertainment giants struggle to stay afloat in the digital currents of Internet file-sharing. (Feb 20,'09)

Never mind the meltdown
The giants of the computer processor world are refusing to let global economic meltdown stand in the way of their rivalry, with Intel charging ahead with plans for a new family of 8-core processors and AMD raising performance options for gamers. (Feb 13,'09)

The growth of Planet Google
Google fans will be delighted with the latest version of Google Earth, with this planet's oceans and the surface of Mars now open for exploration from home computers. Freedom fans are less enthusiastic about the company's latest mobile-phone tracing gadgetry. (Feb 6,'09)

Microsoft's bid to outfox the rivals
The latest version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer should come as a relief for web developers and may prove a setback for hackers. Users of rival browsers like Mozilla's Firefox are unlikely to be impressed. (Jan 30,'09)

An apple a day
The emergence of the Downadup worm is a reminder that software security requires continual updating - a sort of apple-a-day habit. Stronger medicine might be needed by Apple boss Steve Jobs, but at least his company is looking healthier than most amid the economic downturn. (Jan 23,'09)

New vistas all round
Microsoft threw open its doors to the public with the beta version of Windows 7, hoping to avoid the nightmare of its Vista predecessor. Apple and Yahoo are also hoping for untroubled paths as new faces take over their respective helms. (Jan 16,'09)

Survival is all
Mere survival appears the core ambition this year, with the opening trade shows scaled down in attendance and personality - while products themselves get ever smaller. The one growth area is in the non-commercial sector - that is, taxpayer-funded censorship. (Jan 9,'09)

For better or for worse
From US elections to war in the Caucasus, the Internet continues to increase its grip on world events. And as lowly consumers see their access to information threatened by web copyright battles, Google is striving ever harder to ensure no stone is small enough to hide behind. (Dec 24,'08)

Nothing is safe
A security hole in Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser underlines the company's continued ineptness in protecting its customers from attack via the Internet. Yet users of rival Apple's software are increasingly discovering that they have little to gloat about. (Dec 19,'08)

Crisis time is games time
More than 50% of US adults already while away some time playing video games. With the number of jobless growing daily, the popularity of Internet and other computer-related games can only increase as cash runs out for out-of-home entertainment. (Dec 12,'08)

Terrorists, Google advance
The Mumbai terrorists who killed nearly 200 people came armed also with high-tech resources that included images courtesy of Google Earth. Yet renewed concern over the risks involved is unlikely to halt the US company improving the quality of its satellite imagery well beyond government limits. (Dec 5,'08)

Morro's another day for Microsoft
Microsoft is to introduce free security software for personal computers and discontinue its subscription-based anti-bug service. The switch to Morro is due next year - which is a little too late for the surge in virus attacks and spyware intrusions expected in the US in the next few days in the run-up to Thanksgiving. (Nov 21,'08)

Virtual victory
United States president-elect Barack Obama embraced it to winning effect, voters cursed it, and broadcasters used it to present a Princess Leia look-alike discussing polling results. Technology played a groundbreaking, money-making and arguably winning role in the election. (Nov 7,'08)

Vista-free outlook for Microsoft
Users of Microsoft operating systems can look forward to the end of the much-derided Vista operating system, with a replacement expected to be available within little more than a year. By then, the company hopes many corporate users will have started to use its cloud computing services. (Oct 31,'08)

Apple sweet and sour
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs brought some some sweet autumn fruit to Wall Street this week in the form of better-than-expected earnings, boosted by surging demand for the company's computers and iPhones. The taste left by Apple's latest ad campaign was more bitter. (Oct 24,'08)

Obama in the game
Barack Obama has taken US presidential campaigning to new levels of tech sophistication by getting his ads placed in a video racing game. That seems laps ahead of rival John McCain's YouTube efforts, which crashed into a copyright corner he really should have known about. (Oct 17, '08)

Milk bad, snow on Mars OK
Customers of a Skype partnership in China have had Internet chat and text messages intercepted and stored for analysis by the authorities. Key words - "milk", for example - trigger the intercepts. The unlikely combination of "snow" and "Mars" is more likely to get through. (Oct 3, '08)

China steps into the void
China took another big step in its exploration of the void beyond Earth with the launch of its third manned space mission and, if all goes well, the first spacewalk by a Chinese. India is not far behind. (Sep 26, '08)

Google calling
Google is unmoved by the decision of European antitrust regulators to investigate its recently formed advertising partnership with Yahoo. Of more immediate concern to the Internet search company is how quickly its smartphone, to be launched next week, nibbles into iPhone's market share. (Sep 19, '08)

A step closer to the final frontier
The end of the world did not come as scientists flipped the switch on a giant particle accelerator, but Google's quest for world domination continues with a new archive service. Mighty Microsoft meanwhile looks to take a bite out of Apple with additions to its Zune media player. (Sep 12, '08)

Chrome contender in browser battle
Search giant Google is stepping up its challenge in the web-browser market with the introduction of Chrome, a sleek affair if apparently short on new ideas, even as Mozilla nibbles more users away from market leader Microsoft and its ever-spinning variations of Internet Explorer. (Sep 5, '08)

Building a backyard black hole
The switches have been thrown on a scientific experiment of breathtaking scope and arguably unparalleled audacity, with consequences that could reveal the innermost secrets of creation - or destroy the Earth and more. So don't blink ... (Aug 29, '08)

Microsoft cranks up '7' hype
Microsoft is moving towards providing an alternative operating system - Windows 7 - for disappointed Vista users. Cloud computing and touchy features are expected. But not too much more. (Aug 22, '08)

Georgia under web fire
Tanks and destroyed buildings caught the attention of the world during Russia's offensive in Georgia. A second, less photogenic, battle was also taking place that points to tactics in future conflicts - in cyberspace. (Aug 15, '08)

High-jumping China's firewall
Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are drafting a code of conduct for business operations in China and other countries with restrictive Internet policies as journalists at the Beijing Olympics fret about Internet access and other visitors are advised to go "naked" of digital devices. (Aug 8, '08)

All about face
Facebook says its newly introduced redesign will give site users more control of their profiles, although FriendFeed fans might think the new look not so new. Meanwhile, a German social-networking company refuses to bow to claims that its own site is a mere law-infringing copy of the American company's money-spinner.(Jul 25, '08)

Video games move to mass market
Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo demonstrated at the E3 conference in Los Angeles their belief that the mass market is the future for gaming, announcing products aimed at seducing the young, the old and anyone else not too keen on spending their spare time shooting people. (Jul 18, '08)

Viacom wins victory over privacy
Internet privacy suffered a severe blow as media and entertainment behemoth Viacom secured a court order requiring Google to hand over user information relating to every video clip viewed on the YouTube web site.(Jul 11, '08)

Domain doors open to dot chaos
Anything goes in the domain name-game, at least from early next year, when common words will be allowable as address suffixes. This name inflation will be profitable for a few companies, costly for others, and confusing for the rest of us. (Jun 27, '08)

Fans in frenzy for feisty Firefox
Mozilla looks to have taken the lead in satisfying nerds' needs for instant gratification with its newest version of Firefox, downloaded in record numbers as soon as it was released. Unsatiated games players, meanwhile, can splurge out on the latest chips from Nvidia and AMD. (Jun 20, '08)

Fruits for suits
Apple, a minor if much-loved computer maker, has hauled itself into the list of the top three smartphone makers. The latest version of the fast-selling iPhone will have Research In Motion wondering how long before Apple ousts the BlackBerry as the businessman's favorite gadget. (Jun 13, '08)

Taipei tech show goes green
Smaller, lighter and more energy-efficient products took the spotlight this week at Taiwan's Computex 08, the world's second-largest information technology trade show. (Jun 6, '08)

Freedom call
Viacom's US$1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit over clips made available on Google's YouTube prompted cries that the legal challenge threatens how people use the freedom of the Internet. (May 30, '08)

Yahoo courtship resumes - sort of
Microsoft's on-off courtship of Yahoo has lost a little of its chill for at least long enough for the two to agree on a bit of collaboration between their online advertising divisions. Meanwhile, the aging but still energetic Carl Icahn is doing his bit to nudge Yahoo into a warmer embrace with the software giant. (May 23, '08)

Microsoft 'fixes' bring more pain
Microsoft's long-awaited release of software to fix bugs in its Windows XP operating system met with the expected response - complaints over installation woes, compatibility, and worse. It is almost enough to make consumers switch to Microsoft's newer and much-shunned Vista operating system. Now that wasn't intentional, was it? (May 16, '08)

Grand Theft Auto rules, OK
Fast-action, grim and gritty Grand Theft Auto has kicked Microsoft's tedious tussle for Yahoo into the gutter of public attention. The game looks guilty of mugging mega-movie Iron Man at the box-office and has pumped some testosterone into the bank account of its makers, who are responding to a takeover bid by global games muscle-man Electronic Arts. And that's all before you shoot the game up on your console. Whew! (May 9, '08)

Microsoft looks to the clouds
The corporate battle to take control of everyone's computing power has moved up a notch with Microsoft's saying it will move into "cloud computing" by offering remote services. Closer to the ground, the software giant will learn this weekend if it has to take the gloves off in its US$44 billion bid for Yahoo, which may be emboldened after reporting its first quarterly profit gain in two years. (Apr 25, '08)

Mac attack over PC's Leopard capture
As Microsoft prepares to bring out what looks certain to be its last patch for the aged Windows XP system, smaller rival Apple finds itself on the spot as a Miami outfit puts on sale PCs loaded with Leopard, the latest Mac operating system. (Apr 18, '08)

Internet domination dance becomes a crowd
Microsoft's courtship of struggling Yahoo has prompted numerous wallflowers to show a belated interest in the one-time sweetheart of the Internet world. Google has signed up for a brief tango, while septuagenarian Rupert Murdoch reckons he can still win hearts if the price of partnership fits his wallet. (Apr 11, '08)

Big brother China eyes Microsoft
Chinese regulators are ready to have their say on big business acquisitions alongside their US and European counterparts, thanks to a new anti-monopoly law to come into effect this autumn. First up could be Microsoft's proposed purchase of Yahoo!, which has invested US$1 billion in Chinese e-commerce business Alibaba.com. (Apr 4, '08)

Paris Hilton gives Facebook the better Vista
Microsoft's latest attempt to keep its Vista customers satisfied looks unlikely to do that, with the Service Pack's plethora of fixes likely to herald a new catalogue of woes. A Facebook flaw, allowing exposure of pics of a socializing Paris Hilton, at least offered users of the networking site with nothing better to do something to leer over. (Mar 28, '08)

One down, many to go
"Spam King" Robert Soloway's guilty plea in a Seattle court this week marked a notable victory in the battle against junk mail, but Internet users have no reason yet to lower their defenses against unwanted emails. (Mar 20, '08)

Google eye too close for comfort
Internet giant Google came across something even bigger than itself when it used its Street View service to display the interior of a US military base. Civilians so far seem to be taking a more lenient view of a remarkable technology that has dark implications. (Mar 14, '08)

Microsoft's pants down
Microsoft's top executives have at least one thing in common with their customers - deep disenchantment with the company's latest products. Email exchanges at the top also reveal that the software giant lowered its own requirements so that partner Intel could maintain earnings. (Mar 7, '08)

Pakistan site swipe exposes web fragility
Pakistan's efforts to prevent its citizens from viewing a YouTube video affected the Internet far beyond its borders. No less worrying, the country's censors indicate they have no inclination to prevent a repeat of the global blackout. (Feb 29, '08)

Microsoft plays cool after DVD blow
As Toshiba's DVD format is dumped in the technological rubbish bin, Microsoft is putting on a brave front. Its HD-DVD-using Xbox 360 machine faces an ever-tougher struggle with Sony's PlayStation3 and its victorious Blu-ray format. (Feb 22, '08)

Google spits the dummy
Google's protestations against Microsoft's US$44 billion bid for Yahoo! are to be expected, given that custom from millions of Internet users is up for grabs. But talk of "principles" is hogwash. (Feb 8, '08)

Virtual cure closer for upgrade headaches
A cure to the recurring nightmare created by software upgrades and hard disk failures is moving closer to reality with Microsoft's decision to put more effort into its virtualization programs. (Feb 1, '08)

Microsoft partners get Vista successor
Microsoft, brimming with record earnings, has started shipping its next operating system to key partners. Unhappy buyers of the Vista operating system meanwhile desperately wait for the promised headache remedy, Service Pack 1. (Jan 25, '08)

Slimmed-down Mac a lightweight
Apple's latest headline-grabbing laptop has the elegance the market has come to expect from Macintosh. But in terms of computing power it is a step backwards. (Jan 18, '08)

Gates' retread sums up Vegas show
Visitors to the massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas had plenty to gawk at, from a quarter-tonne TV to Intel's latest microchips. But techies were disappointed with a lack of big announcements. Even chairman Bill Gates offered a retread with his plans to step back from Microsoft's daily operations. (Jan 11, '08)

Apple, Google set pace
Loved by consumers and investors, Apple and Google led the public face of technology world last year, while old warhorse Intel continued to show AMD that it knows how to stay ahead of the field in keeping our computers up to speed. (Jan 4, '08)

IBM makes light breakthrough
The US computer firm may have brought the world a step closer to optical computing by sending data carried by light using a device 1,000th the size of ones used in previous efforts. (Dec 14, '07)

Microsoft retreats on Vista piracy
The US software giant is to remove the contentious "kill switch" from its Windows Vista operating system, which will please customers locked out of legally purchased versions of the product and buyers of pirated copies, who will now face only the annoyance of warning notices when they use the fake stuff. (Dec 7, '07)

There's no catching Google
Google has expanded its share of the US search market to 58.5% at a time when all its competitors are losing ground. Google also plans to offer its subscribers web-based hard-disk space for backup and data storage. (Nov 30, '07)

Intel streaks ahead
Intel's latest chip, the Penryn CPU, using a groundbreaking manufacturing process, will provide more horsepower for high-end users who need extra muscle for gaming or video editing. Intel's competitors are struggling to keep pace. (Nov 16, '07)

Lessons for students to kick-start careers
Yahoo's latest social networking service, Kickstart, will allow college students to connect with universities and professionals to locate internships, advice and ultimately jobs. The project itself, though, still has some learning to do. (Nov 9, '07)

Mac users beware: The porn Trojans have arrived
So you thought your Mac was safe from the nasties that plague PCs? Think again. Mac users who try to download porn videos from a certain website are now targeted by a Trojan invader, the first of its kind. (Nov 2, '07)

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