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BOTTOM LINE Despite embarrassing disclosures of board member surveillance that cost Hewlett-Packard’s chairman Patricia Dunn her job, the company is on track to surpass IBM this year as the world’s largest tech company. HP’s third-quarter earnings already put it into the No. 1 position on a rolling 12-month basis, and if it keeps up that performance this quarter, it will seize the top spot from IBM for calendar year 2006.

COMPUTING MILESTONE Grid computing, involving global sharing of computational resources, has taken a big step forward with the demonstration of automated interoperability between collaborating systems in two countries. By means of resource management middleware developed by the G-lambda project in Japan and the Enlightened Computing project in the United States, test software in one country was able to reserve and manage computing and network resources across both countries, without human intervention.

SOLD After a bidding war that pitted two of the world’s leading equity capital groups against each other, Freescale Semiconductor--the former chip division of Motorola--was acquired by an alliance led by the Blackstone Group. Blackstone won out over Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and bought Freescale for US $17.6 billion, making this the largest purchase of a high-tech company ever made on borrowed money.

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