Roundup: Executives leave, hackers move in, robots invade

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Microsoft’s Kevin Johnson moves to Juniper Networks — Microsoft’s lead on the failed Yahoo acquisition has called it quits, heading for the top post at software and device firm Juniper Networks. Johnson was the president of Platforms and Services, which meant he oversaw most of Microsoft’s web initiatives.

Xobni’s first employee heads to the Xobtuo — Gabor Cselle, a vice president and the first official employee at email startup Xobni, has resigned, stating that he wants to start his own company. Given his past experience and expertise, the new venture will almost certainly be email-focused as well.

Hackers continue to step up attacks in 2008 – Security firm Sophos has published research on the first half of the year, showing that malware levels continue to rise on the web. Businesses, also, are increasingly being used as both targets and launching points for attacks.

Humanoid robot soon for sale — No, it’s not the next-gen Realdoll. A French company called Aldebaran Robotics is preparing to sell its NAO humanoid robots for about $15,000 each. That’s far cheaper than the competition from Fujitsu and Honda. Of course, quality is the real issue, which is why you should actually use the money to go buy a whole herd of Pleos.

Space: The last (solar power) frontier — Sending up satellites to harvest solar energy and beam it back down to earth might be a bright idea, according to this New York Times Op-Ed. The solar crowd already contains many space cadets, so the scheme should work well.

Amazon doubles net with soaring sales — The web retailer bucked the market trend and posted unexpectedly strong results, reporting doubled second-quarter profit on a 41 percent increase in revenue.

Google’s Schmidt says the iPhone is good for Android — Top exec Eric Schmidt told an interviewer that he believes the iPhone is good for Google’s upcoming Android platform, at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech event. The device, he said, has forced competitors to step up and make their own versatile handsets combining GPS, a camera, a computer and a browser.

Cisco acquires Pure Networks — The communications and IT giant paid $120 million for Pure, which was funded by Bessemer Venture Partners, Ignition Partners, Mayfield and Intel Capital, according to John Cook.

Passwords safe, San Francisco accuses admin of IT terror — The bizarre tale of a San Francisco city employee imprisoned for refusing to hand over the passwords to a city network continues, even now that the man has passed the password to smooth-talking mayor Gavin Newsom. The new accusation is that the felony suspect rigged the network to “implode”.

Classic Nintendo controllers at risk of extinction — The judge in a patent case relating to three of Nintendo’s older controller designs will ban sale of the controllers this morning. Nintendo can temporarily get out of the ruling by posting a bond, which it will do, along with filing an appeal.

Photo credit for Kevin Johnson: Fortune magazine.


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