The Buzz: August 11, 2003

3COM's Claflin Joins AMD Board

3COMs Claflin Joins AMD Board

Bruce Claflin, president and CEO of 3COM, last week was elected to Advanced Micro Devices board of directors.

Claflin, who also serves on the board of Time Warner Telecom, joined 3Com as its president and chief operating officer in 1998. He joins AMD as the company makes an aggressive push into the enterprise. On Sept. 23, AMD will release its 64-bit Athlon 64 chip for desktops and laptops.

In other AMD news, the company announced it is buying National Semiconductors Information Appliance unit, which makes processors for thin clients, blade servers and other devices.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close at the end of the month.

RealNetworks Debuts Open-Source Player

RealNetworks last week announced the launch of the Helix Player project, an open-source effort to deliver an open media player for Linux, Unix and Solaris.

Helix Player will feature the companys RealAudio and RealVideo binaries, which will give Linux, Unix and Solaris users the same type of media playback capabilities available in Windows and Mac OS environments.

Study Reveals Bad Password Habits

The majority of users mishandle their passwords and user IDs, forget their passwords on a regular basis, and resort to calling IT departments for help when they cant log on to their computers, according to a new survey.

The results of the study of 3,000 administrators, managers and security specialists, released last week by security vendor Rainbow Technologies, found that 55 percent of users write their passwords down at least once and that 9 percent write down every password at some point. Forty percent of the respondents said their users share passwords with co-workers or other people.

IT Jobs Shifting Overseas

One out of every 10 jobs at U.S. IT vendors and service providers will be shipped overseas by the end of next year, according to a Gartner report released last month.

The report, "U.S. Offshore Outsourcing: Structural Changes, Big Impact," estimates that within the same time frame, another one of every 20 IT jobs within enterprises will be lost to "emerging markets"—outsourcing centers in areas of the world where labor costs are low, such as India, Pakistan, China and Russia.

Those who lose their jobs have little chance to be shifted to another position in their companies, the report found. Fewer than 40 percent of displaced workers will be redeployed, said Gartner.

eBay to Pay $29.5m in Patent Lawsuit

A federal judge last week ordered a $29.5 million verdict in a patent infringement lawsuit against Internet auction house eBay.

A federal jury in Norfolk, Va., in May had found that eBay willfully infringed on the patents of Virginia inventor Thomas Woolston, who patented the process of selling fixed-price merchandise online, such as eBays Buy It Now option.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Jerome Friedman said he would not require eBay to abandon the disputed technology, saying lawyers for Woolston failed to show that he would suffer irreparable harm if the court did not issue an injunction.

But the judge cautioned eBay that if it continues to infringe on the patents, he would be "more inclined to award enhanced damages." eBay officials said the company still believes the patents belonging to Woolston are invalid but nonetheless plans to implement design changes that will avoid infringing on them. Both sides plan to appeal the ruling.