News briefs: Excel vulnerability is discovered

A new vulnerability was discovered in Microsoft Corp.'s Excel spreadsheet late last week, just days after the company distributed monthly patches to fix problems with several of its applications. Earlier in the week, Microsoft issued 12 bulletins detailing fixes for 21 separate vulnerabilities. The company rated eight of the bulletins and 12 of the vulnerabilities critical.

The U.S. government has streamlined its controls on dual-use technologies to make it easier for companies to do business in China. Under the revised rules, Chinese companies can import such technologies if they show U.S. officials that they have a "record of nonproliferation and responsible civilian use of U.S. imports," said David McCormick, undersecretary of commerce for industry and security.

Oracle Corp. said its fiscal fourth-quarter results will beat earlier expectations, thanks to a surge in revenue from new software licenses. Preliminary results show a 32 percent increase in new-license revenue to US$2.1 billion. The company had previously predicted an increase of between 8 percent and 18 percent. Overall, Oracle said, applications revenue grew 56 percent, and database sales grew by 18 percent in the quarter.

Stratus Technologies Inc. this week plans to announce that Red Hat Linux will be available across its fault-tolerant server lines beginning in August. The company said it may later support other Linux implementations. Stratus systems now run Windows and its proprietary VOS operating system. Stratus has been offering Linux on its embedded systems since 2004.