Tuesday 7 September: VNU Newswire's roundup of the IT news from the national and international press.
Vodafone Airtouch, the world's largest mobile phone company, has admitted that it is in talks with Bell Atlantic to create a possible $80 billion (£50 billion) US alliance, reports The Times.
According to the newspaper, analysts believe it will involve a merger of Airtouch's operations on the West Coast of the US with Bell's operations on the East Coast. This would lead to a mobile phone group with about 20 million subscribers and an estimated 25 per cent share of the North American market.
The Financial Times writes today that upmarket store Harrods will launch a global online shopping service this week. Visitors to the Web site will be taken on a virtual tour of the food halls and other departments before making their purchases. Shoppers can then place orders on the Internet and receive the purchases on their doorstep anywhere in the world.
Zurich Financial Services, one of the world’s leading financial services groups, has announced plans to expand into ebusiness, reports the Financial Times today. ZFS has joined forces with IBM and Channelpoint to build an electronic business hub to give its more than 30 million customers access to its insurance and asset management services online.
The Guardian writes today that Graham Waddon, accused of an array of offences related to porn on the Internet, was yesterday given an 18 month prison sentence, suspended for two years. Waddon had made £126,000 from designing Web sites featuring extreme pornography, bestiality and torture, for publication in the US, the Court said.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Tribal Voice, a company that makes a popular program for Internet chatting, has struck a deal with America Online's biggest rival in the UK, Freeserve, to distribute Tribal's software. Tribal Voice said it will develop a special version of its instant messaging software for Freeserve to distribute to its 1.32 million members.
The San Jose Mercury writes today that Ebay, the online auction house, has had at least three offers of a baby for sale on the Web site. Ebay officials shut down the auctions, although five bids were submitted for a baby boy, reaching $109,100. Less than a week ago a man offered to sell one of his kidneys on the auction service. Ebay marketing vice president Steve Westly said that they all appear to be hoaxes.
Businessweek magazine reports that John Chambers, chief executive of Cisco Systems, agreed a massive $6.9 billion price for telecom startup Cerent and a deal to protect it semployees following the takeover, after Cerent boss Carl Russo, rejected his initial advances.
Chambers was convinced, the magazine reports, that Cerent's technology is key to linking the Internet and telephones, despite it having made less than $10 million in sales.
J1043+2408 was observed for more than 10 years, and its radio light curve exhibited a periodic signal repeating in about 563 days
Success of Unity's test flight means Virgin Galactic is now close to taking its first paying tourist into space
V3 puts the pro-level football GPS tracker through its paces, and asks if it's more than a gimmick
Finding refutes many earlier studies that suggest that galaxies don't have much dark matter at the time of their birth