HP: The New Services Powerhouse?

HP is aiming to scoop up EDS for a cool $14 billion or so. HP is already cleaning up in servers, and has a sweet PC and laptop business. And no one can touch it in printers. But today's complex market requires services -- lots of services.

IBM's service business is the biggest and most influential by far. It can help companies take a top-to-bottom look at its infrastructure and redo the datacenter with a more flexible and power-saving architecture. HP can do the exact same thing, but lacks the sheer muscle of the IBM group.

EDS could change all that in a heartbeat. My only concern is in blending the cultures which, given Ross Perot's legacy -- he may have sold EDS to GM in 1984, but his influence lingers on -- are very different.

Microsoft Not the Only Technology with Holes
Critics love to beat up on Microsoft for its security. But in its defense, Redmond is clearly the biggest and most fun hacker target. It also has a ton of products. So it makes sense that holes will be found and attacks mounted.

Microsoft, at least once a month, discloses (and closes) these holes in a very public way. Meanwhile, the Web has no Patch Tuesday, and consequently its holes can stay open for a long, long time.

In fact, according to security concern Cenzic, some 70 percent of the Web apps it looked at lacked secure communications. Two-thirds of these apps were deemed "easily exploitable." In many cases, there's no system in place or real plan to improve Web security and plug holes. The two biggest vulnerabilities, Cenzic reported, are SQL injections and cross-site scripting.

Icahn Helps Microsoft Buy Yahoo
Carl Icahn loves to make mischief. He buys just enough stock to have leverage, then forces large companies to do his bidding, pocketing billions in the process.

Now, sitting on 3.6 percent of Yahoo's shares, Icahn is reportedly looking to ditch the board of directors for a group that's more amenable to a Microsoft bid. Icahn likely bought at least a portion of Yahoo stock after it fell in the wake of the failed Microsoft takeover. A new bid would, by definition, be a premium over the current price -- and Icahn keeps the difference.

Here's the rub: Microsoft just publicly said it's no longer interested in Yahoo and plans to attack the Internet alone. Can Microsoft change its tune just because Icahn forms a friendly board? If that were to happen, then all those words about independence from Gates and Ballmer have no meaning. That doesn't sound like the Bill and Steve that I know.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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