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The big tech news of this week is obvious to anyone. David Beckham, 31, leaving Real Madrid for a $250 million contract to head to La-La Land to kick the soccer ball for the LA Galaxy tops my list.

Can Beckham turn the stumbling Major League Soccer franchise from a hopeful to a real money making business on par with the NFL or NBA? It has been tried before with Brazilian superstar Pele going to the New York Cosmos in 1975.

Let’s do a side by side comparison. Pele was a better inside player and made Brazilian style soccer the gold standard of international play. Beckham is a better outside player and has Posh Spice to cheer him on. Okay, advantage Beckham. Nothing like a good British tabloid to provide a spicy take on the story, you can read it here.

Soccer aside, there was some other tech news worth paying attention to this week. Under the category of paying way too much attention to vapor was Steve Jobs introducing the Apple iPhone prototype at the MacWorld conference in San Francisco.

Is the high tech industry that devoid of excitement that a prototype that won’t be available until June at best and will run on a Cingular edge network that will give you the feel of 1990s dial-up enough to draw the applause of even the most jaded techie reporter?

Read our reports here. Cringely has a good take here.

Yes, yes and yes to all the above questions. Jobs could have been up there with a bar of soap carved to look like a phone (Remember those movies where the convict carves some soap to look like a revolver?) and the applause would have been overwhelming.

I’m predicting a big day after hangover remorse on this one that will last for months as analysts and reporters try to get their hands on a phone, try to use the touchpad interface and try to get some decent bandwidth. I’d place my bets on Ed Zander and Motorola to blow past Apple in the phone and multifunction device department. You can listen to a podcast of Zander here.

Click here for Eric Lundquist’s take on the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show.

And I also heard that there was some sort of consumer show in Las Vegas. I thought that CES was thin on big announcements and was upstaged by Mr. Jobs amazing phone tricks in San Francisco. eWEEK has a roundup of products here I liked the solid state disk stuff and the wireless battery recharger.

Unfortunately, the party report at CES was also thin.

In news a business techie should really care about. Here’s my top three.

1. Teradata being spun out of NCR. Remember when a terabyte of data seemed like something beyond conception? Now you can get that much data on a laptop drive from Seagate. Anyways, Teradata knows a lot about helping companies get the most business intelligence value out of all the data they have stored all over the company.

Teradata was also where now Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd made his chops. I’m betting Teradata will get snapped up before its stock ever hits the public markets. Hey, Mr. CIO, you should have a plan in mind when your boss asks you if you have a data warehouse and business intelligence plan for 2007. Here’s a Baseline interview with Teradata CEO Michael Koehler.

2. Ouch and ouch again. As the Dow Jones was hitting new highs, two big tech companies announced stumbles. AMD said it will miss earnings by about 25 percent. When AMD had a strategy of the month, Intel did not pay much attention. Now when AMD has obviously found a great strategy of compatible chips packed with future features, it is drawing the full wrath of Intel. Doesn’t seem quite fair somehow, but I guess that is business.

SAP also announced a big miss. I don’t think this was totally due to Oracle’s winning ways. My general feeling is that a lot of tech dollars are sitting on the sidelines waiting to see if Oracle can pull off its all-in-one fusion strategy and if SAP can really make the grade as an open, small and midsize business as well as large company player.

3. This one didn’t get big play, but PayPal offering a fob based protection scheme bears watching. This is a variant of RSA’s SecureID token. Whether it be driven via a fob you carry, a random number you get on your phone or a USB-type security device you carry for authentication, these random number generators still offer the best defense against the bad guys stealing financial and personal information. Here’s a link.

Couple of other quickies.

  • Microsoft’s main man in China quit.
  • That email from the hitman explaining he will spare your life in return for a payoff? Not to worry. Just a new form of hitmanspam.
  • And finally, a strange story about a spyware laden computer that started spewing porno images to a bunch of school kids may result in some serious prison time for a teacher. Makes that $20 spyware eradicator seem like a good investment.

    eWEEK magazine editor in chief Eric Lundquist can be reached at

    Click here for an archive of Eric Lundquist’s columns.

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