The Buzz: January 20, 2003

Apple attacks suit settlement; Feds put billions toward security.

Apple Attacks Suit Settlement

With an eye on its big installed base in schools, Apple last week criticized Microsofts $1.1 billion settlement of a California class-action case.

As part of the settlement, announced earlier this month, Microsoft said it will give vouchers of $5 to $29 to some consumers who bought its products between 1995 and 2001. The software company pledged to donate two-thirds of the value of the unclaimed vouchers to California schools, with one-third of the unclaimed funds going back to Microsoft.

Apple contends that in these types of cases, "fewer than 25 percent of customers redeem these types of vouchers."

A Microsoft lawyer said schools will be able to redeem vouchers for software and hardware at their discretion and can use the funds to acquire technology and services from Apple or even to acquire open-source technology such as Linux.

Feds Put Billions Toward Security

The federal government is spending billions on IT to support its homeland security efforts.

A report issued by the Government Accounting Office last week said federal agencies spent almost $2.9 billion on IT related to homeland security last year and will spend at least that much in fiscal year 2003. Those figures dont include some costs, such as multiagency IT infrastructure, new intelligence gathering systems and funding for the Department of Defense that is not earmarked for homeland security but may be applied to that use.

IT spending is expected to account for less than 8 percent of all federal government spending on homeland security in 2003.

Federal agencies requested $52.6 billion for IT spending in 2003, an 8 percent increase over 2002.