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Tech Roundup: KLA-Tencor Hires 300 New Employees and Counting, SanDisk Buys FlashSoft, and More

A roundup of news stories to come out of the Milpitas tech world over the past week.

Milpitas-based flash memory storage manufacturer SanDisk Corp. announced this week that it has purchased FlashSoft, a provider of innovative, caching software products. In a public statement, SanDisk representatives indicated the company plans to sell FlashSoft's products as stand-alone software, as well as offer these software products in combination with SanDisk's growing portfolio of SAS, PCIe and SATA enterprise solutions. FlashSoft's software is designed for Windows, Linux and VMWare platforms.

The cyber security experts at Milpitas-based FireEye Inc. have released their report detailing the most common online threats for the second half of 2011. “Pay-Per-Install (PPI) downloaders, worms, backdoors and information-stealers represented the four most prevalent categories of malware,” the company explained in a statement this week. PPIs are malware programs that charge a fee to download or distribute other malware programs. Of the top four malware categories, information stealers and backdoors presented the greatest threat to enterprises last year. The statementy indicated FireEye experts had found a significant gap in today’s enterprise IT defenses, as advanced malware and targeted attacks are easily evading traditional defenses such as firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, antivirus and Web/e-mail gateways. “Our latest report is further proof that cyber criminals are getting more savvy and bold in their methods of attacks,” said a company spokesperson.

Representatives from semiconductor manufacturer KLA-Tencor reported this week that the company hired roughly 300 new employees to work at its Milpitas headquarters in the year 2011, and said they plan to continue hiring and expanding this year. Of the more than $3 billion in sales the company reported last year, representatives say roughly half of that resulted from work done in Milpitas.

Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Skype has executives at Cisco Systems, one of the largest employers in Milpitas, all worked up. Though Microsoft completed its $8.5 billion purchase of Skype in October—with approval by the European Union’s competition regulating commission—Cisco just this week announced it is filing an appeal with the EU. Cisco said it is urging the EU to regulate the takeover—specifically, that the EU ensure that Microsoft does not plan to merge Skype with its own unified communications system, Lync, and make the programs incompatible with other programs such as Cisco’s WebEx communications platform. In other words, Cisco wants to make sure Microsoft doesn’t make it so users of either Skype or Lync are unable to place an internet or video call to a user of WebEx or any other competitors’ platforms.

According to a legal website, Milpitas-based LSI Corp. was recently sued by book-selling giant Barnes & Noble (B&N), after LSI tried to go after B&N for patent infringement, related to the certain technologies in B&N’s Nook e-reader and the product's 3G, WiFi and audio capabilities. Reportedly, when B&N learned LSI planned to sue for patent infringement, B&N filed a preemptive lawsuit that included as many as eight claims, including noninfringement, invalidity, unenforceability, failure to state a claim and more. Though LSI also tried to strike early by filing 11 counterclaims, a judge recently ruled in favor of B&N.

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