Bill Gates Retires, Symbian Goes Open Source

Microsoft, usually a source of software patch updates and claims about Vista adoption rates, produced a bit of sentimental news this week as Bill Gates stepped away from his daily corporate duties on Friday. Gates, who founded Microsoft at age 19, will now devote his time to philanthropic work. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate discussed the issue of laptop searches and seizures at the nation's borders and also decided to delay a vote on a controversial spy bill. While on the topic of controversial plans, an ISP (Internet service provider) suspended a program that would have served up ads based on a user's Internet history after the move sparked privacy concerns. Yahoo, a perennial name in this space, defended its Google ad deal on Wednesday and the next day launched yet another reorganization. Finally, Oracle wants at least US$1 billion from SAP due to infractions supposedly committed by a subsidiary.

1. Gates may change direction of philanthropy: Helping solve some of the world's health issues will now occupy Bill Gates's working hours as the IT icon retired from Microsoft on Friday. Two years ago Gates announced that he was leaving the software world to devote his time to the philanthropic organization he started with his wife in 2000. The group's work involves funding malaria and HIV research, among other causes. The task of running one of the most powerful companies now falls to CEO Steve Ballmer and chief software architect Ray Ozzie, among others. Gates will not completely exit Redmond, though. He will continue serving as Microsoft chairman and dedicate one day a week to company business.

2. ICANN board opens way for new top-level domains: Look for new TLDs (top-level domains), including some written in Chinese scripts, after the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers board approved a policy that will form the rules for developing and managing the new TLDs. The board's actions could result in the creation of at least 70 million generic TLDs. The board also backed creating a small number of IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names). This measure, for example, would permit Chinese companies to register domain names that end in the Chinese symbols for China.

3. It's Official: Microsoft Hyper-V Now Available: Microsoft entered the virtualization arena with the release of its Hyper-V technology on Thursday. After installing Hyper-V, hardware with Windows Server 2008 can run multiple OSes, like Linux, on the same machine. Hyper-V was slated for release with Windows Server 2008 in February. Microsoft then decided to remove some of the product's features, which delayed its launch by 180 days. However, reports surfaced on Wednesday that Hyper-V's would debut this week, making its arrival early, but still late. Microsoft will face market leader VMware in the virtualization space, which is growing in popularity as enterprises look to reduce data center costs by running several OSes on one server.

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