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Hewlett-Packard Co. plans to give CEO Carly Fiorina and several other executive officers a pay raise if it merges with Compaq Computer Corp.

It will negotiate a new employment contract with Fiorina promptly after completion of the merger, offering more pay and stock options to take account of her increased responsibilities, the Palo Alto, Calif., company said in a regulatory filing recently. HP said it expects the executives’ new employment agreements will include increases in their salaries, potential for a bonus that may equal or exceed that salary, and the granting of stock options.

RIM providing BlackBerry template to others

Research In Motion Ltd. plans to offer its BlackBerry wireless e-mail reference design program to other manufacturers so they can add it to advanced wireless phones and handheld computers.

The Waterloo, Ont., company will also provide consulting to manufacturers on building atop the reference design. Analog Devices Inc. in Norwood, Mass., will provide to the manufacturers an integrated processor that supports BlackBerry wireless communications and Java applications. RIM didn’t give the cost of the reference design or say who might buy it, prompting some analysts to dismiss the value of the move. “With all the competition in this space and little profit [to be made], who is going to pay for it?” asked Phillip Redman, an analyst at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn. “I see this as a non-starter.”

Microsoft patches two security holes

Microsoft Corp. announced two new moderate-risk security holes that affect Windows NT and Windows 2000 recently and offered patches to fix both. The more serious of the two holes affects most versions of Windows NT and 2000, including server versions, and could allow an attacker to elevate privileges or run code on a local machine, according to Microsoft.

The vulnerability affects the Multiple Uniform Naming Convention Provider (MUP) service on these systems, which helps them to identify the location of network resources, Microsoft said. When MUP requests a file using the Uniform Naming Convention, two buffers are created and a buffer overflow vulnerability exists in the second, the Redmond, Wash., company said. An attacker could overrun this buffer, causing a system crash or allowing code of the attacker’s choice to be run, Microsoft said. More information about the flaw, and the patch to repair it, are available at

Low IT budgets hurting many software vendors

The recession may be showing signs of ending, but the economic recovery isn’t coming fast enough for many software vendors. Recently nearly a dozen firms warned that their first-quarter financial results will be lower than expected due to continued limits on IT spending.

Vendors such as Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft Inc.; Dallas-based i2 Technologies Inc.; Redwood City, Calif.-based BroadVision Inc.; and Commerce One Inc., also in Pleasanton, all said they had sales shortfalls during the quarter ended March 31. Many corporate users remain cautious about investing in new software, the vendors said.

Dell sharpens blade attack

Joining a groundswell of competitors striving to capitalize on IT executive interest, Dell Computer Corp. is set to roll out its first server blades during the third quarter of this year.

Announced at its spring analyst meeting in New York recently, the Austin, Texas-based company’s PowerEdge 1655MC blades join similar offerings from Hewlett-Packard Co., Compaq Computer Corp., and other vendors in the fledgling server-blade market. Dell’s blades will arrive at a time when industry observers say IT executives have begun weighing the potential advantages of server blades. Server blades allow companies to consolidate large server farms into smaller areas and reduce power consumption and are easier to manage than traditional servers, according to those familiar with the technology.

Firm warns of NetWare security hole

IT managers of NetWare 5.1 and NetWare 6 networks need to be aware of a vulnerability in the operating system that makes it subject to intrusions that could cause the system to crash., an IT security firm, reported recently that NetWare 5.1 and 6 are vulnerable to a buffer overflow condition that could affect server operation.

Both operating systems can be attacked through the NetWare 6 Remote Manager utility, also called the Portal NLM (NetWare Loadable Module), a Web-based server management interface. IXSecurity claims it notified Novell Inc. last month about the problem and Novell failed to respond. IXSecurity suggests that users disable the NetWare Remote Manager NLM called HTTPSTK.NLM until Novell issues a patch.

Cisco security flaw could lead to DoS

Cisco Systems Inc. issued an advisory recently saying that its CallManager call-processing application has a security flaw in it that could leave the product open to a denial of service (DoS) attack. Cisco has released a patch for this vulnerability.

The bug, which affects CallManager versions 3.0 and 3.1, is the result of a memory leak that can be triggered when a user fails to properly authenticate using the Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) component of CallManager, Cisco said. The flaw can cause the software to crash and could be used to initiate a DoS attack against the product, the advisory said.

Poll: PC users considering Mac

A recent poll conducted by BusinessWeek Online suggests that almost half of those surveyed may be considering a switch from Windows-based PCs to Macintoshes. Nearly 1,800 people responded to the poll, and about 800 said they would consider switching from a Windows PC to the Mac.

The publication stresses that the poll isn’t scientific – it was entirely voluntary and took place during the last week of March. More than half of those polled who would consider a new Mac have their eye on Apple Computer Inc.’s flat-panel iMac. About one in five would think about a Power Mac G4, and about 13.5 percent are considering a PowerBook G4, according to the results of the poll.

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