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Lenovo is in talks to acquire PC makers, a sign that it is taking advantage of a stagnant market to expand its worldwide presence. The company is in discussions with third parties about acquisitions and investment opportunities. Without naming companies, Lenovo said there was no assurance that any deal would be reached.

A company spokesperson declined further comment. One company Lenovo may be talking to is Fujitsu, which may sell off its Fujitsu-Siemens retail PC operations in Europe, various U.S. media outlets reported on Thursday.  Lenovo is also rumored to be competing with Dell to acquire Brazilian PC maker Positivo Informatica.

Chinese security researchers mistakenly released the code needed to hack a PC by exploiting an unpatched vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 browser, potentially putting millions of computer users at risk – but it appears some hackers already knew how to exploit the flaw.

At one point, the code was traded for as much as US$15,000 on underground criminal markets, according to iDefense, the computer security branch of VeriSign, citing a blog post from the Chinese team. The problem in Internet Explorer 7 means a computer could be infected with malicious software merely by visiting a Web site, one of the most dangerous computer security scenarios. Microsoft has acknowledged the issue but not indicated when it will release a patch.

Hewlett-Packard and Symantec are warning employees that their names and Social Security numbers may have recently fallen into criminal hands following two separate laptop thefts. HP said Thursday that at least several thousand employee records were contained on a laptop that was stolen several months ago from an HP employee based in the Houston area.

At first HP thought that there was no sensitive information on the laptop, but after looking into back-up files, the company realized that it contained names and Social Security numbers of current and former employees. The Symantec breach occurred on Oct. 18 and affected fewer than 100 employees who were being laid off as part of a restructuring of the company’s IT operations.

Research In Motion hopes to add a content delivery platform to its offerings with a planned acquisition of Chalk Media.  RIM offered to buy Chalk Media, developer of a platform that delivers content including video to BlackBerry users, for C$23 million (or US$18 million). As part of the agreement, RIM has loaned Chalk C$2 million, which will provide working capital to the company until the deal goes through.  

Chalk’s Mobile chalkboard allows users, such as an enterprise, to push content out to BlackBerry users, who could be employees or customers. The content, which Chalk calls “pushcasts,” can include text, graphics, video and audio. Chalkboard lets administrators track usage of the content, which can be encrypted and prevented from being forwarded or copied.

…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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