Google Introduces Legislative Agenda

Google outlined the Internet policy issues its new Washington office will focus on, led by recently hired lobbyist Alan Davidson, former associate director of the Center for Democracy and Technology.

The Silicon Valley-based company said it would oppose legislation that restricted how people access the Internet, oppose any expansion of liability based on search results and take an active stance on copyright issues. Google also said it would focus on issues of privacy, spyware, trademark dilution, patent law reform and phone calls over the Internet.


Microsoft Working on Security Products

Microsoft is developing new computer security products aimed at businesses, part of an effort to catch up with Symantec and McAfee, the largest antivirus program manufacturers.

Client Protection Technology, to be tested this year, will protect businesses from viruses and spyware and let customers manage their security, said Amy Roberts, a Microsoft director. She declined to give prices or the release date.


Blogger Can Stay Secret, Court Rules

The Delaware Supreme Court reversed a lower court's ruling and said Comcast can keep secret the name of a critic who posted comments about a town council member on the Internet that the government official considered defamatory.

The anonymous Web log writer in 2004 questioned the leadership skills of council member Patrick Cahill of Smyrna, Del., saying he had "character flaws" and "mental deterioration." Cahill sued and got a court order telling Comcast, which had the writer's Internet address, to disclose it. The writer appealed.

The court said that Cahill is not entitled to the commentator's name because the statements were not defamatory, were clearly opinion and could not be the basis of a lawsuit.


Broadcom to Buy Athena for $21.6 Million

Broadcom, a maker of circuits for wireless communications, agreed to buy chipmaker Athena Semiconductors for $21.6 million to meet rising demand for chips that run mobile devices. Closely held Athena, based in Fremont, Calif., designs chips for wireless networking and digital TV and has facilities in India and Greece, Broadcom said in a statement.

Sales of chips for low-powered wireless fidelity, or WiFi, are projected to more than double annually by 2008, and sales of mobile, digital TV-tuner chips will triple yearly in the next five years, Irvine, Calif.-based Broadcom said.

The purchase is scheduled to close before the end of the year, Broadcom said. The company said it will pay cash for all the stock in Athena and take an unspecified fourth-quarter charge, possibly as a research-and-development expense.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.