Verizon-Alltel, fast times at Broadcom

Verizon reached a deal to buy Alltel for US$28.1 billion, which would make the combined company the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. over AT&T. While that was, arguably, the week's biggest news, it couldn't match the jaw-dropping word that Broadcom co-founder Henry Nicholas is accused by the government of storing drugs in a warehouse for more than nine years, and of spiking drinks of industry executives and customers with ecstasy. An indictment also charged him in an alleged stock option back-dating scheme.

1. Update: Verizon buys Alltel in $28.1 billion blockbuster and In Alltel deal, Verizon bolsters Western front: Verizon wants to buy Alltel in a $28.1 billion deal that would leapfrog Verizon over AT&T to become the largest wireless provider in the U.S. Alltel is the fifth-largest wireless carrier in the country and its 13 million customers would give Verizon 80 million subscribers compared to AT&T's 71 million or so. AT&T picked up more than a few of that total when it merged with Cingular in 2004.

2. Broadcom co-founder drugged drinks, indictment says: Broadcom co-founder Henry Nicholas maintained a warehouse for more than nine years where he kept drugs including ecstasy, methamphetamine and cocaine, according to a federal indictment charging him with possession and distribution of drugs and backdating stock options that led to the largest write-down in a backdating scandal at a U.S. company. Nicholas put ecstasy in the drinks of industry executives and Broadcom customers, the indictment alleges. Former Chief Financial Officer William Ruehle was also indicted in the alleged stock-option backdating.

3. Postcards from Computex Taipei, Nvidia goes after Intel with Tegra processors, Intel, Via face off over low-cost laptops and AMD lets cat out of bag with puma launch: At the giant Computex trade show in Taiwan this week, AMD unleashed its Puma laptop chip platform. And Nvidia got into the mobile Internet device market with its Tegra processor family based on the Arm core, which puts it in competition with Intel's Centrino Atom. Meanwhile, the heightened rivalry between Intel and Via was evident at the show. The two are squaring off as big guns in the thriving low-cost laptop market.

4. Google loses big in H-1B lottery as Congress gets new visa push: Senators Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, and Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican, introduced a Senate companion bill to a House of Representatives proposal that would allow foreign students who graduate from U.S. universities to have permanent resident status as long as they have a job offer. Meanwhile in H-1B visa news, Google officials said on a public blog that 90 of its 300 applications for such visas were denied in a lottery the government conducted after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received 163,000 applications for 85,000 visas. Google is among the tech companies pushing hard for the U.S. to raise the cap on H-1B visas for skilled workers.

5. Adobe launches hosted services, adds Flash to Acrobat: Adobe unveiled, featuring beta versions of hosted document services. Adobe also provided details about Acrobat 9.0 document-sharing software, which is due out in the next few weeks and includes support for Flash multimedia technology.

6. New crypto virus a looming threat: A variant has emerged of the Windows-based encryptor virus Gpcode, which hasn't been around for more than a year. This is the virus that encrypts a victim's data and then demands a ransom to unscramble the data. This variant uses 1,024-bit algorithm that security researchers have not been able to crack, making it a potentially major threat, according to Kaspersky Labs, which discovered the variant. "Up until now, we were able to crack the algorithms," says Roel Schouwenberg, senior antivirus researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

7. Starbucks can't handle demand for free Wi-Fi: Starbucks' Card Rewards Web site was overwhelmed by users trying to sign up for cards after the coffee monolith announced a program that includes two hours of free Wi-Fi daily. The problem was quickly enough resolved, but it may be warning to Starbucks to get out some extra tables.

8. WWDC: Developers see big potential in iPhone apps: Like a lot of other Mac software developers, Inventive Software President John Casasanta, plans to hit iPhone sessions at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference next week. "I'm just on fire with the iPhone," he says, echoing the sentiment of other Mac developers. We'd suggest they get more sunlight if some of us weren't equally enamored of our gadgets.

9. Icahn fires off scathing letter to Yahoo directors and Yahoo denies 'poison pill' Icahn accusations: After taking aim at Yahoo directors in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, investor Carl Icahn fired off his complaints in a letter to Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock, blasting the board and co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang, contending they maneuvered to get Microsoft to drop its bid to acquire Yahoo. The maneuvering included an employee severance package that Icahn charged was a "poison pill" to stave off Microsoft's bid. Bostock followed the next day with a public denial of Icahn's accusations and a demand to see Icahn's plan for the company if he thinks he can run things better.

10. Sports tech: Algorithm predicts Celtics will beat Lakers in NBA finals: The Boston Celtics will beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, according to a points analysis metric that says Boston's starting five players have had a bigger impact on games than the Lakers' starting five. Lenovo Stat, the algorithm developed by NBA statisticians and Lenovo engineers, analyzes scoring in games to see how each combination of players does. The finals started Thursday and the Celtics won the first game, 98-88.

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