The Buzz


Bezos security found an interesting tidbit in Amazons proxy statement, which is the subject of the following April 20 post:

"No doubt that CEOs need security these days, given the uncertainty of interacting with cranky shareholders and flying around on Gulfstreams. And no doubt that some CEOs—those who happen to be one of the richest people in the world, for example—need more security than other CEOs. But why would someone like Jeff Bezos, who runs, need over $1 million worth of security while the entire executive team at Microsoft spent less than a quarter of that?

"Amazon says it spent $1.1 million on security arrangements for Mr. Bezos in addition to security arrangements provided at business facilities and for business travel. Presumably that in-cludes t-he executives use of the corporate jet, which the company doesnt provide details on. But the $1.1 million still seems a bit steep, particularly when compared with the cost of providing these services at nearby Microsoft. In their proxy (filed last September) the company noted that while it didnt include the cost of security in its summary comp table, the cost of providing those services were less than $50K for any executive. That includes Bill Gates."

Data Privacy

Not-so-clean slate

You donate your computer and get a write-off and feel pretty good about yourself. Meanwhile, you forgot to wipe your hard drive. Whoops.

Symantec is starting a campaign to teach users how to be smarter about ditching PCs. Heres a look at three donated PCs and what Symantec found lying around on the hard drives.

Computer 1:

Files recoverable: 11,258

Files previously deleted: 5,983

Files of interest recovered: 7,033

Interesting find: Adult videos, pictures and passwords to X-rated sites.

Computer 2:

Files recoverable: 8,890

Files previously deleted: 268

Files of interest recovered: 5,523

Interesting find: Company in-voices, employee Social Security numbers and bank account numbers.

Computer 3:

Files recoverable: 11,002

Files previously deleted: 667

Files of interest recovered: 8,401

Interesting find: Outlook file with 74 contacts.


Microsoft has your IPTV

Microsoft could be sitting pretty if folks ever get access to—and decide to buy—television services from the likes of Verizon, AT&T and BellSouth. So says Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Charles DiBona, who acknowledges in a report that the future of Internet Protocol Television isnt far away.

Heres the back story: Telecommunications giants like AT&T and Verizon are working feverishly to offer TV services to compete with cable companies. Ultimately, this pipe may be able to pluck down video from the Internet easily. Microsoft for years has been embedding its software with these telecom giants as a way to get into the digital living room.

According to DiBona, the next three to five years should produce a payoff for Microsoft. "Based on existing contracts, we conservatively size this opportunity at more than $500M in annual revenue for Microsoft by 2010, but that could easily be much higher if MSFT penetrates adjacent market opportunities," DiBona said.

Translation: IPTV could be a nice distraction for Microsoft investors tired of waiting for the next operating system.

DiBona sees IPTV rollouts gaining steam through 2006 and into 2007. He added that technical glitches are to be expected, but the kinks are being worked out. The big question: Will folks tolerate buggy TVs?

—Compiled by Larry Dignan