Breakfast Briefing: Chrome OS wins Acer and HP support, Oracle under fire over Java, Phorm "running out of cash"

This morning's top stories include the rise of Chrome OS, Oracle's Java woes, Phorm's financial struggles and more

29 Jan 2013

Today we reveal how Chrome is making progress, Phorm's financial troubles, Oracle's security criticisms, the impact of Windows 8 and why one writer is sick of backchat from his computer.

HP makes Chromebook as Acer claims solid sales

Google’s Chrome OS appears to finally be winning over manufacturers. A leaked spec sheet reveals HP is planning a 14in Pavilion Chromebook, which would be the largest laptop running Chrome OS to be released yet, notes Ars Technica.

Acer, meanwhile, has revealed to Bloomberg that Chromebooks are making up between 5-10% of US laptop sales for the company. President Jim Wong said the Chrome OS is more secure than other systems. However, he may just be using Chrome to take a dig at Windows, describing the latest release as "not successful". "The whole market didn't come back to growth after the Windows 8 launch, that's a simple way to judge if it is successful or not," he said. Acer's sales have fallen by more than a quarter over the past year.

Phorm facing final curtain?

Web traffic watcher Phorm is facing doubts over its future, with the company's value falling like a stone. The one-time web enemy number one riled UK ISP customers with tracking software for targeted advertising, and has never really recovered from the fall-out.

According to the Financial Times, the company has dropped 40% of its value despite new opportunities in China. "The company is likely to run out of cash around March," the paper quoted one analyst as saying. "Recent share price weakness is potentially unhelpful and reflects financial worries, not progress in the business."

Oracle under fire over Java tactics

Oracle's recent security issues with Java are well documented, but the company has come under fire again even as it tries to address the vulnerabilities and change its company culture. The H documents how the company's recent Java 7 update blocked certain drive-by attacks but still left many customers in the dark, despite promises to be more open.

"They didn’t sound like they have a clear idea of what to do, what to say or even exactly who they were speaking to," nCircle's director of security operations, Andrew Storms, told the site. "If this is the kind of security communication we can expect from Oracle in the future then Oracle customers are not better off."

When Windows is bad news for Microsoft

Thomson Reuters has a graphic that underlines the dwindling importance of new operating system releases from Microsoft for investors.

While three early iterations of the company's flagship Windows pushed the stock value to new heights, the situation has been different since Windows 2000, with the exception of Vista – yes, really. The trend continued with the release of Windows 8 late last year, with Microsoft shares dropping 5% after launch.

The rise of over-familiar PCs

The BBC ponders whether computers, and particularly the applications and websites occupying their screens are getting just a bit over familiar, placing us all on first-name terms and trying to convince us they have personalities.

"When I register on some websites and then log in again, I'll see a message saying 'Howdy Colm, welcome back!'" he writes. "Don't 'howdy' me. You're just a piece of aluminium coated in some sort of magnetic substance in a server farm located in a country where the climate makes it economically viable to keep the machines at constant temperature. You are not my friend. I bet you say that to everyone."

Sick of the mateyness, Colm O'Regan recalls the days when computers simply did their job, or didn't, as they saw fit. "Computers were like bouncers. You were the three-sheets-to-the-wind punter swaying glassy-eyed in front of them pleading to continue. They remained impassive saying, 'I don't have to give you a reason. You're not going into that file and that's that'."

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