The Buzz - 27

Security

Homeland headache

Nearly half of federal technology executives have no integrated plan to meet the Office of Management and Budgets latest homeland se-curity requirement, according to research company Input.

The requirement, known as HSPD (Homeland Security Presidential Directive)-12, requires standard forms of personal identity verification for all federal employees and contractors. The deadline is Oct. 26. The problem: 46 percent of federal IT execs said they arent getting enough guidance from the OMB to get rolling on the initiative.

Because the OMB hasnt exactly been clear on the mandate, 37 percent of federal IT execs say they dont believe or are unsure whether the OMB will stick to its deadline.

Inputs survey, which was commissioned by software maker CA, found that 56 percent of re--spondents havent implemented identity and access management applications to track workers. Today, most agencies are using smart cards or ID badges to authenticate users.

Among the other findings:

• Fifty-six percent of respondents said they had seven or more physical access control systems;

• Fifty-eight percent said they didnt have a plan to standardize those systems; and

• Seventy-four percent said they have created a task force to figure out HSPD-12.

Good luck.

Financials

Gauging Apples sales

With the quarter ending June 30 about to wind down, its never too early to start guessing how Apple Computer will do. Wall Street analysts have been watching every tick of the companys iPod and Mac sales, trying to get a read on what Steve Jobs & Co. will deliver July 19.

The prognosis so far: Apples revenue in its fiscal third quarter may be a bit light compared with the $4.4 billion Wall Street is expecting. For the record, Apple is expected to report earnings of 44 cents per share for the quarter.

One reason for the potential shortfall is that iPod sales may be a touch light. While MacBook Pros are nice, and Intel-powered Macs are big for the dads-and-grads season, iPods make Apple tick.

"While the Street iPod numbers for June still remain around 8.6 million units, we believe the Street is well aware the iPod number is tracking closer to 8.0 million," said Minneapolis-based Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster in a research note.

The biggest reasons the volume of iPod sales is decreasing are seasonal variations and that new models are expected in the calendar third quarter, according to Munster.

Analysts are also nitpicking over sales of Apples core Macs. Richard Gardner, a Citigroup analyst, in San Francisco, has been checking Apples sales channel for clues.

Gardners take-away: "We had expected strong PC sales to offset the modest decline in iPod sales, but the MacBook upside is being largely offset by declines in 15-inch MacBook Pro and flat-panel iMac shipments."

Blogs

Gates in spotlight

Just hours after Bill Gates announced he will be stepping aside from a day-to-day role at Microsoft, he became the most-searched item on Technorati (www.technorati.com), which tracks the buzz in the blogging world. Heres the crack analysis you could have found within minutes of the announcement:

• "Well hot on the heels of [former Microsoft blogger Robert] Scoble leaving Microsoft, it seems that Bill Gates has made the move himself. Never thought that Scoble was a huge leader in the world of tech but he is not only well read around the world but a Microsoft trend setter!" (Note: Scobles departure garnered 10 times the traffic of the collective stories about Gates on eweek.com.)

• "We all know that this is just so he doesnt have to feel obliged to use Windows anymore. Look at that face ... Thats the face of a guy just itching to spin a Fedora Core CD."

• "Dear Bill Gates, my respect for you seems to grow daily. Dear Steve Jobs, please stay at the helm of Apple forever, even if it means placing your disembodied brain inside a robot body."

—Compiled by Larry Dignan

By the Numbers

SOA what?

37%

Portion of more than 1,000 respondents in a Capgemini Group survey taken at two of SAPs Sapphire conferences that said that the biggest obstacle to adopting SOA (service-oriented architecture) is "a lack of understanding."