Briefs: August 14, 2006


FileNet partners reacted cautiously to the deal, worried they'll be lost in the shuffle. "IBM doesn't have anyone over there that knows this space," said David Gerber, president of content-capture services specialist Tallega Software. "If they leave FileNet to run the way it has, then fine. If they bury it inside the current content team at IBM, I'm afraid they'll smother it."

"We're viewing this as IBM wanting to eliminate the competition," said another FileNet partner, who requested anonymity. "We anticipate it being a bit of a rough road for partners. For deals that are on the table, we believe customers will play a wait-and-see game."

Microsoft last week issued a dozen fixesincluding nine that the software giant deemed criticalin its monthly Patch Tuesday release. The nine critical fixes addressed flaws that could let remote attackers execute arbitrary code.

The most critical patch in this cycle addresses a vulnerability in the Windows Server Service (MS06-040), according to Chi Zhang, manager of Nevis Labs, the security research arm of Nevis Networks.

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This flaw is particularly dangerous because it doesn't require any user interaction and could allow attackers to gain complete control over the targeted system, giving them the ability to alter or delete data and create new user accounts with full privileges, Zhang said.

Another critical patch (MS06-048) fixed two remote code execution vulnerabilities in PowerPoint, including an exploit that came to light hours after last month's patch release. That attack involved a Trojan horse that Symantec dubbed Trojan.PPDropper.B, which arrived in an e-mail from a Gmail address and is believed to have originated in Asia.

An attacker could remotely exploit these vulnerabilities by constructing a PowerPoint file containing malformed code and persuading a victim to click on a link in an e-mail, which could give the attacker full control over an affected machine as well as the ability to add new users, Zhang said. However, these flaws require a user to be logged in with administrative privileges to be fully exploited, Zhang added.

Hackers could use a similar approach to exploit a flaw in Outlook Express (MS06-043) related to the way Windows parses MHTML, a standard for sending HTML in e-mail, as well as one in the Windows HTML Help ActiveX control (MS06-046), Microsoft said.

Edgar Masri, 3Com's new top executive, is set to take the helm of the networking vendor late this week, replacing Scott Murray, who is resigning after just seven months on the job.

Masri currently serves as COO for broadband technology company Redline Communications.

Murray, who replaced Bruce Claflin as president and CEO in January, is resigning effective Aug. 17 because the time commitment required in China to manage 3Com's joint venture with Chinese networking vendor Huawei Technologies (H-3C) proved too great, according to 3Com.

3Com plans to begin negotiations to seek an increased stake in the joint venture, in which the company now owns a 51 percent share.

3Com said Masri also will take on Murray's role as chairman of the Huawei-3Com joint venture.

Masri, who plans to join 3Com on Aug. 18, previously spent six years as a general partner at venture-capital firm Matrix Partners. Before that, he spent 15 years at 3Com in various senior management positions, including as senior vice president and general manager of the company's former network systems business unit and president of 3Com Ventures.

In another executive move, 3Com named Bob Mao executive vice president of corporate development to manage the company's interests in the China-based joint venture. Mao, who also will join 3Com on Aug. 18, will be a member of the venture's board and will report to Masri. He formerly was president and CEO of greater China operations at Nortel Networks, a post he held for nine years.

Tech Data has signed a deal to provide resellers a hosted remote monitoring and management product delivered by MSP InnovationTechs.

The offerings include InnovationTechs' NetWatch monitoring service and NetManage, a more proactive service that includes software updates, security patches and firewall maintenance, network performance enhancement and device configuration.

Solution providers pay Tech Data a $500 registration fee that is reimbursed when they add their first customer, said Barb Miller, director of government and technical services at Tech Data.

"Resellers can charge monthly for something they don't even have to touch and still be a full-featured reseller," Miller said.

Tech Data also offers InnovationTech's complementary services such as NetScan and NetScan PCI, which is certified by the Payment Card Industry Standards Organization and targeted toward customers who need to meet credit card security compliance standards, Miller said.

The services have a complex pricing matrix based on the number and type of devices being monitored or maintained within a customer's network, said Jim Cooper, manager of TD OnCall at Tech Data. As an example, six servers protected by the NetManage service cost $197.50 per server per month. For 31 servers, the price drops to $110 per server per month. Resellers are encouraged to aim for 25 point margins with the service, Miller said.

Solution providers can combine the managed services with on-site services through Tech Data's TD OnCall group to provide full coverage.

The managed services are the first available to Tech Data's general population of solution providers. The distributor has an affiliate relationship with N-able and ConnectWise to provide select managed services to its TechSelect group of solution providers.

SCO Group is on the go to become a mobile application services providerbut it won't give up on its Unix business or legal case against IBM, according to CEO Darl McBride.

At the SCO Forum in Las Vegas, McBride said the company will continue to develop Unix, support its Unix customers and fight for its intellectual property rights. Yet SCO's future growth rests on its new Me Inc. mobile software services and EdgeClick mobile application development platform, he noted. Both offerings were touted heavily at the conference last week.

The mobile services shift marks a turning point for SCO, whose Unix fortunes have been failing amid the increasing uptake of Linux and an expensive, controversial intellectual property case against IBM.

"Today is the coming out party for Me Inc.," McBride said, adding that SCO continues to innovate despite naysayers who say the company has evolved into merely a holding company for lawsuits. "Over the next few years, we want to be a leading provider of mobile application software to the marketplace ... This is a seminal moment for us."

In a teleconference last week, SCO's top executives said the company will try to take a lead in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) front by supporting multiple platforms and becoming a service provider.

SCO has been busy building a data center infrastructure to enable developers and partners to sell, provision and bill digital services, company executives said. With that completed, SCO has signed partnerships with Microsoft, Palm and Day-Timers to grow its Me Inc. services revenue and promote EdgeClick.

As part of that, SCO is offering support for Visual Studio 2005 and the Palm Treo and plans to add support for all Symbian-based Nokia and Windows Mobile phones over the next six months.

Other planned Me Inc. services include HipCheck, a remote control and monitoring service for Windows and Unix servers; Action, a field-service automation service; and Order, a field order-application service. HipCheck will be available for Windows Mobile platforms in the fourth quarter. Action and Order are due out later this year.

SCO also announced a pact to develop, market, sell and support a suite of Day-Timer mobile automation solutions for personal use. The services, code-named DT4, can extend time management, calendaring and task management through integration with Shout, Vote and other services.

SCO aims to tap into its sizable base of Unix VARs and customers as well as Microsoft's vast army of resellers to drive Me Inc. services and the EdgeClick platform, McBride said.

CA plans to sell security software to consumers and the SOHO market under a deal with electronics retailer RadioShack. CA will sell its eTrust Internet Security Suite, eTrust Antivirus and Desktop DNA Migrator software through RadioShack, where it will be the only PC security management software sold. The chain has about 6,000 stores nationwide in addition to an online storefront.

"Growth will be exponential" for sales of these CA products because of the new deal, said George Kafkarkou, senior vice president of SMB and consumer markets at CA. RadioShack's broad base of stores and brisk online business make it like a Starbucks of consumer/SOHO electronics outlets, according to Kafkarkou. The convenience of RadioShack's locations should help increase the brand awareness of CA's products, and CA expects to see greater penetration of its products into the home because of the deal, he said.