Downloading the IRS

Software downloading is coming to the Internal Revenue Service in a big way.

The agency last week awarded a $121 million contract to get Microsoft Corp. software over the Internet. Under the deal, Intellisys Technology Corp. of Fairfax, Microsoft and Internet software store Beyond.com will deliver and maintain Microsoft software programs to 130,000 desktop computers at the IRS. Programs such as Microsoft Office will be transmitted digitally rather than being loaded onto computers from disks or CD-ROMs, the traditional method.

The government estimates that downloading software directly from the Internet, and setting up online connections to maintain the software electronically, could save the IRS as much as $65 million over the next five or six years.

www.fake

Web site owners duped by an Australian company that posed as Internic, the Herndon-based official registry of Internet site addresses, can get their money back thanks to a settlement announced last week by the Australian government.

The fake site, which went by the name www.internic.com, charged $250 to register a domain name online -- $150 more than the real Internic, www.internic.net. The fake site then sent the application on to the real Internic and pocketed the difference.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, working with the U.S. government, reached a $250,000 settlement with Internic Technology Pty Ltd and its director, Peter Zmijewski; the fund will be available to holders of any of the 13,000 domain names registered through the Australian company.