Windows 7 nears commercial release

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Qualcomm settles patent dispute for $891 million

Qualcomm, the world’s largest maker of mobile phone chips, agreed to pay chip designer Broadcom US$891 million to settle a long running patent dispute to end all courtroom proceedings globally. The agreement ends litigation in the U.S., the E.U. and Korea and gives each company the right to use the other’s patent portfolio for four years, they said in a statement. Qualcomm will make its first payment of $200 million by the end of June. The settlement ends a dispute in which Qualcomm had lost at least one court case and saw its market threatened by a U.S. International Trade Commission ban on the import of new mobile phones and PDAs in mid-2007 that contained disputed Qualcomm chips.

Developers can download Windows 7 RC this week

Some Microsoft developers will be able to download a near-final version of the company’s Windows 7 operating system this week, Microsoft said Friday. Starting on April 30, MSDN and TechNet subscribers will be able to download the Windows 7 Release Candidate. Release candidates are typically feature-complete and stable, and suggest that the final version of a product will be available very soon. The company recently posted information accidentally on its Partner Program Web site saying that the Release Candidate was already available to developers and would be released to the general public on May 5. That page was quickly pulled because the software was not yet ready. In its blog post Friday, Microsoft has now confirmed that the general public will be able to download the release candidate on May 5.

India embraces One Laptop Per Child program

India has ordered 250,000 laptops from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization, while a human rights organization will supply 5,000 OLPC machines to Sierra Leone. In India, two government organizations and one private-sector entity placed the laptop orders. These are the first orders in India for the OLPC XO laptop, with distribution set to begin in June to about 1,500 schools. Giving a computer to every single child under the OLPC program was reportedly described as “pedagogically suspect” in 2006 by the country’s education secretary in a letter to the country’s Planning Commission. But the government as a whole did not have an issue with OLPC, and leading government education agencies support OLPC.         

Taiwan opens WiMax network at $50 per month

The first commercial WiMax broadband wireless network in Taiwan opened for business on Monday. Tatung InfoComm formally launched WiMax services on Penghu, Taiwan’s largest outlying island, which is famous for windsurfing and will soon be home to several casinos under a new gambling initiative. The company is offering several specials to entice Penghu’s 93,000 citizens to sign up for the new high speed wireless Internet access service. Anyone who signs up for unlimited monthly WiMax service that includes both a WiMax card for their laptop PC as well as a WiMax modem for their home between now and June 30 will pay NT$1,680 (US$50) per month.

…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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