Strange New World: Tech Picks of the Week

This week, there are rumors flying all over the place about closed-door deals between billion-dollar companies. We sorted through the big ones and it looks like some of them might actually be true. Wal-Mart is getting the iPhone. Dell PCs might be getting a new tool bar. And our new president is going to get everybody broadband access. Here are our picks of the week:

The iPhone Comes to Wal-Mart

Rumors are circulating this week that Apple will be selling the uber-popular iPhone at retail giant Wal-Mart before the end of the year. Neither Apple nor Wal-Mart is commenting on this report, but Bloomberg News has confirmed that it's going to happen. It spoke to several Wal-Mart employees and the rumors have been verified.

This is par for the course for Wal-Mart. When you want to find something in that store you talk to somebody in a blue apron, because a manager can't help you. There were also rumors of a new $99 iPhone making an appearance at Wal-Mart, but this seems to be a bit far fetched.

Apple is notoriously controlling when it comes to pricing, and we can almost guarantee this rumor is not going to happen. That being said, we won't rule out a $99 iPhone somewhere down the line. In fact, we'll call it right now: "The $99 iPhone will be the hottest holiday gift of 2011."

Microsoft and Dell Are Talking About Search

The Google Toolbar has come pre-installed on all Dell PCs within the Internet Explorer browser, but now Microsoft is looking to change that arrangement. Once again, neither side is commenting on the potential deal, but sources close to the negotiations say they're close to replacing the Google Toolbar with Microsoft's Live Search tool bar. This isn't the only place that the boys in Redmond are looking to get a slice of that Google pie. They're also trying to become the default search on all Verizon Wireless mobile phones. Nobody knows how Google is going to react to this new player in its sandbox. We could have a bidding war on our hands. The savvy tech-head will ask, "What's the big deal, you can always delete one and download the other." The thing is, 90 percent of users never do that, so it's a big deal to get in there first. We'll keep you posted.

Obama's Broadband Plan

In a recent YouTube address President-elect Obama said, "It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online and they'll get that chance when I'm president."

What's this? An elected official who gets it? Wow, it looks like we're about to leave the era where our elected officials argued over whether the Internet was a "dump truck" or a "a series of tubes." Ah, Ted Stevens, we will miss your sound bites.