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by Staff Writers

News briefs

Feb 10, 20034 mins
Cellular NetworksMicrosoftMobile

Plus: More on Sprint’s leadership; Legato up for sale; the hot new networking technologies; and the impending release of Intel’s Centrino.

Microsoft last week issued two security advisories, pointing to a “critical” flaw in Internet Explorer and a second, less-severe problem with its Windows XP operating system.

The Internet Explorer problem stems from a security function in the browser designed to stop one domain, such as a Web site, from sharing information with another domain, Microsoft said. The company has discovered that such information sharing can occur when certain dialog boxes are used. The company recommended that users with Internet Explorer versions 5.01, 5.5, and 6.0 download a patch.

The warning for XP concerns a problem in the Windows Redirector software, which is used to access local and remote files. By sending bad data to the Redirector a hacker could cause a system to fail or, if the data was crafted in a particular way, run malicious code on the user’s computer. Microsoft said users should consider installing its security update.

Early last week several newspapers reported that outgoing Sprint CEO William Esrey is under investigation by the IRS over a questionable tax shelter that he and several other Sprint executives reportedly had used on the advice of Ernst & Young. Meanwhile, an Atlanta judge was reviewing a request from BellSouth that his court block BellSouth Vice Chairman Gary Forsee from taking over the top spot at Sprint because he signed a contract with a noncompete clause. Sprint officials have not publicly discussed the reasons for the management changes. Esrey is expected to remain at Sprint as chairman.

Storage software and backup vendor Legato has put itself up for sale, according to a Reuters report. The maker of the Legato Networker backup and recovery software has hired Morgan Stanley to advise it on possible options. According to reports, the sale could be valued at as much as $1 billion. Possible suitors include leading storage vendors such as Computer Associates, EMC, HP, IBM, Oracle, Sun and Veritas.

Voice over IP, content networking, security and wireless LANs are among the technologies expected to grow over the next few years, according to a recent study. Equity Research estimates the enterprise network market will experience a compound annual growth rate of 7% until 2006. The research also predicts that the market for core switches and routers will remain flat until 2006. The study says because no killer application is driving the need to deliver more bandwidth to desktops, large businesses will not have enough incentive to upgrade their networks to support Gigabit speeds. Yet the firm predicts the VoIP market will skyrocket 57%; content networking will increase 35%; security will expand 24%; and the wireless LAN market will grow 13%.

Intel’s Centrino bundle of a chipset, processor and wireless LAN module for portable computers will be released on March 12, The Wall Street Journal reported last week. The Centrino package is designed for mobility, allowing for smaller notebooks that last longer on one battery charge, Intel has said. The company also hopes Centrino will boost wireless LAN use. Intel now makes its own modules for 802.11b wireless LAN, a market dominated by wireless LAN specialists. Intel revealed the Centrino name in January. The new Pentium-M processor, previously known by the code name Banias, is at the heart of the Centrino package and was designed for portable computers. Earlier Intel notebook processors were essentially desktop processors tweaked for mobile use.

Internet users are apparently done with surfing. According to a new survey, a majority of users now go directly where they want to go by typing in URLs and using bookmarks, rather than hopping from link to link. “Meandering is decreasing. This is a sign that the market is maturing,” said Geoff Johnston, vice president of product management for the StatMarket division of WebSideStory, which released the report last week. According to StatMarket, 64% of ‘Net users surveyed arrive at sites directly, compared with 53% a year ago. Although the increase shows that users increasingly know where they want to go, that does not mean that search engine use is down. Johnston said that the percentage of users arriving at a site via a search engine has increased to 13% from 8% last year.