5 Vendors That Came To Win This Week

Google Releases VP8 Web Video Codec To Open Source

The ongoing debate over playback of HTML5 video, and Microsoft and Apple's embrace of the proprietary H.264 codec, has convinced Google that the time is right to bring an open video standard to the Web. This week, Google made its VP8 video codec available under a royalty-free open-source license, and partners Mozilla, Adobe and Opera applauded the move.

There are fears that VP8 may be just as susceptible to patent liability as H.264 is, but Google says it has done its homework with VP8 and is confident that it won't be torpedoed by unforeseen patent issues.

Nvidia Teams With IBM On GPUs

Nvidia's GPU-computing plans got a big lift this week when the chipmaker signed up IBM to build the first volume server based on Tesla graphics processors. IBM's iDataPlex dx360 M3 will feature twin Nvidia Tesla M2050 GPUs, and Nvidia says this is the first time GPUs are part of a Tier One OEM's offering.

Nvidia also expects the world’s top supercomputers to utilize GPUs "in the coming months," according to Sumit Gupta, senior manager of Nvidia’s Tesla GPU Computing HPC business unit.

Apple Pumps Up MacBook Battery Life

Apple this week unveiled a refresh of its consumer MacBook that boosts the laptop's battery life from 7 to 10 hours. That's a significant leap, and one that's perhaps necessary in light of the iPad's already legendary battery longevity. The new MacBook also comes with a 2.4GHz Intel (NSDQ:INTC) Core 2 Duo processor and Nvidia (NSDQ:NVDA)'s GeForce 320M graphics card, but business travelers who've been winging it on cross-country trips can now breath a little bit easier -- and perhaps even fire up the DVD player for some mindless but enjoyable entertainment viewing during their trip.

Microsoft Swats at the Salesforce Mosquito

Salesforce.com likes to bash Microsoft every chance it gets. This week, Microsoft decided that Salesforce's CRM progress was a bit too suspicious to be entirely organic and filed a patent infringement lawsuit against its smaller foe. Microsoft is going for the gusto with this one, requesting a jury trial as well as compensatory damages, triple damages and a permanent injunction to keep Salesforce from infringing on its patents in the future.

Decoding the patent claims is tough for the uninitiated: Microsoft is claiming Salesforce infringed on patents related to "System and method for controlling access to data entities in a computer network," and "Automated web site creation using template driven generation of active server page applications." Sounds pretty general, but what's clear is that Microsoft isn't going to sit around while Salesforce crows about how software is dead.

Oracle Adds A Database Security Piece

Strict new regulatory compliance requirements are propelling database security companies onto the radar of large companies, and this week Oracle snapped up Secerno, a developer of database firewall software, for an undisclosed sum. Secerno’s technology provides defense from sophisticated database attacks, enabling what Oracle calls ’a critical defensive layer of security around databases’ that ’blocks unauthorized activity in real-time.’

IBM's acquisition of Guardium last November is starting to look like a domino given the interest that vendors are now showing in database security companies. Which makes sense, since small startups like Secerno sometimes keep big companies from ending up in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

For our roundup of the vendors that dropped the ball this week, click here.