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GE plans major health care spend

General Electric will spend US$6 billion over the next six years in an effort to improve health-care quality and drive down costs to consumers, the company announced Thursday. The company will spend $3 billion on research and development, with major focuses on accelerating health IT and reducing the cost of high-tech health devices, GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said. Improving electronic medical records will be one of the large projects, he said. In addition, GE will commit $2 billion and $1 billion worth of GE technology to deliver health IT to rural and other underserved areas. Part of the effort, called “Healthymagination,” will focus on reducing GE’s healthcare costs. The company, which sells about $18 billion worth of medical devices per year, spends about $2.5 billion on health care for about 600,000 people.

Oracle will still make hardware

Oracle plans to stay in the hardware business following its planned US$7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems, CEO Larry Ellison has said, adding more detail to earlier statements made by the company. Oracle was primarily interested in Sun’s Solaris OS and its Java software, which Oracle relies on for many of its applications. But Sun also has a significant hardware business, which includes servers and its family of Sparc microprocessors, and Ellison plans to keep them around as a key component of Oracle’s business. Oracle also plans to step up investments in the Sparc processor family, he said.

Dell could make Android netbook

Reports that Dell might use Google’s Android OS in a netbook raises questions about what the device might look like and whether Android is ready for use beyond smartphones. Software vendor Bsquare appeared to have leaked the news Wednesday that Dell is developing an Android-based netbook. In a press release, Bsquare said it was porting Adobe’s Flash Lite technology to “Dell netbooks running Google’s Android platform.” The release has since been pulled from Bsquare’s Web site and Dell has refused to comment on what it called “speculation.” Android is a Linux-based OS developed by Google for use in mobile devices, primarily smartphones. Hewlett-Packard has confirmed it is testing Android as an option for netbooks, and some enthusiasts have already loaded the OS on the devices.

Windows 7 hack kit released

Indian security researchers have released proof-of-concept code that can be used to take over a computer running Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 7 operating system, despite earlier promising not to make the code public for fear it could be misused. VBootkit 2.0 was developed by researchers Vipin Kumar and Nitin Kumar and is now available for download under an open-source license. They unveiled the proof-of-concept code at the Hack In The Box (HITB) security conference in Dubai last month, where they showed how it could be used to give an attacker complete control over a Windows 7 computer, including the ability to remove and restore user passwords without a trace and strip DRM protections from media files.

…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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