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Microsoft off the hook in Europe

Five years after its landmark antitrust ruling against Microsoft, the European Commission has decided it no longer needs to monitor the company’s compliance with the ruling. In addition to fining the company €497 million (US$794 million at the time) for monopoly abuse, Europe’s top antitrust authority imposed remedies including the order to share interoperability information so that rivals could build software that works smoothly with the near ubiquitous Windows OS. Microsoft’s failure to honor this order forced the Commission to appoint a monitoring trustee, Neil Barrett, a British computer scientist at Cranfield University in England in 2005, to ensure that it did.

Nvidia considers manufacturing a chip

Nvidia may develop an integrated x86-based chip for use in low-cost computers, an Nvidia executive said this week, a move that would step up its rivalry with Intel. Nvidia is considering developing an integrated chip based on the x86 architecture for use in devices such as netbooks and mobile Internet devices, said Michael Hara, vice president of investor relations at Nvidia, during a speech that was webcast from the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference on Tuesday.  Nvidia has already developed an integrated chip called Tegra, which combines an Arm processor, a GeForce graphics core and other components on a single chip. The chips are aimed at small devices such as smartphones and MIDs and will start shipping in the second half of this year.

Broadband stimulus cash delayed

U. .S. government agencies may have a difficult time promptly allocating the US$7.2 billion for broadband deployment in an economic stimulus package recently passed by the U.S. Congress. A large percentage of the money for broadband in the stimulus package, passed in mid-February, won’t be spent until 2011 or later. The money, split between the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will go out in the form of grants, and neither agency is currently set up to allocate billions of dollars. RUS currently has a small broadband loan program, but due to rules in place, in some cases, the agency has given money to broadband providers wiring multimillion-dollar suburban homes or areas that already have broadband providers. NTIA has only a handful of grant officers currently on staff.

Motorola fires CFO

Motorola fired former Chief Financial Officer Paul Liska for cause last month, the company disclosed in a proxy statement for its upcoming annual shareholder meeting. Liska, who joined the company as executive vice president and CFO only last March 1, is now required to pay back a US$400,000 signing bonus and forfeit stock options.  Motorola announced last month that Liska had left the company and that corporate controller Edward Fitzpatrick had become interim CFO. In the proxy statement, filed Tuesday to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said Liska had been involuntarily terminated for cause. In Liska’s employment agreement, “cause” is defined as “willful and continued failure to substantially perform duties,” or fraud, indictment, or breach of contract, Motorola said.

…And those are the top stories from the IDG Global IT News Update, brought to you by the IDG News Service. I’m Sumner Lemon in Singapore. Join us again later for more news from the world of technology.

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