NEC comes clean, Microsoft busts teens

To the relief of building contractors everywhere, judges have ruled that Microsoft does not own the word "windows" - or "Lindows", for that matter. (There's still no decision on whether Redmond has locked up "doors," "portals" or "Gates".)

To the relief of building contractors everywhere, judges have ruled that Microsoft does not own the word “windows” — or “Lindows”, for that matter. (There’s still no decision on whether Redmond has locked up “doors,” “portals” or “Gates”.) Personally, I’m disappointed. I was hoping to trademark “Cringe” and “Bob” (as in for apples). So much for those hefty royalty cheques.

Today’s vocabulary word Is “malfeasance”

NEC Business Network Solutions has copped to defrauding the federal E-Rate programme that was created to wire cash-strapped schools to the internet. Among NEC/BNS’s many clever tricks were selling schools machines they didn’t need, billing them for equipment they didn’t buy and overcharging for all of it. The company agreed to buy its way out of this mess for $US20.6 million ($NZ31.5 million). Considering that NEC/BNS pulled in almost $US30 million ($NZ45.8 million) from E-Rate, that sounds like a sweet deal. Thanks to NEC (and the dozens of other tech companies being investigated for E-Rate fraud), we’re well on our way to teaching the next generation of Kenneth Lays and Martha Stewarts.

Not-so-confidential informants

Here’s a lesson for virus authors and their pals: cybercrime doesn’t pay, and apparently neither does Microsoft. The teen tipsters who rolled over on sassy Sven Jaschan, suspected Sasser saboteur, were offered a cool quarter mil by Microsoft for that inside dope. Now they’re being investigated for computer crimes themselves, according to a report by security vendor Sophos — and if they’re found guilty, MS won’t pay. Nobody wants to give money to bad guys, but that’s a sure way to guarantee no one volunteers information again. This isn’t how things used to work on Baretta.

Discover this

Ever since Discover Card “upgraded” its website in April, some Quicken and MS Money users say they can’t download all their financial transactions. (A Discover spokesperson says the company is aware of the problem and hopes to have it fixed by the time you read this.) The card’s motto is, “It pays to Discover.” Well maybe, but the benefits kinda suck.

Got hot tips or ways to defraud taxpayers? Send 'em to cringe@infoworld.com.

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