Week in Review: Upheaval for Apple, Yahoo at the top

There were two huge IT news stories this week, both of which sent a few shockwaves through the IT industry.

The first was Steve Jobs taking a six-month "leave of absence" as Apple's chief executive, after learning that his health problems were more serious than first thought.

These are huge boots to fill, and analysts have predicted difficulties for Apple without Jobs at the helm, because of his role as a critical judge of the company's business.

The second was Yahoo's appointment of a new chief executive to lead the company, Carol Bartz. After the difficulties of the last year with the on/off Microsoft takeover saga, Yahoo desperately needed somebody to steady the ship as well as lead it into a new direction.

With Bartz, the business looks like it may have got their woman. In 14 years at the design firm, she is believed to have transformed a million dollar business into a billion dollar one.

In home news, Gary McKinnon was still in the headlines. After getting little success through various court proceedings, it looks like his last chance at avoiding a US trial could be a judicial hearing with the high court, and a letter sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

McKinnon is desperate not to go to America and face their justice system, and at his press conference this week, an expert said that McKinnon's Asperger's Syndrome meant the self-confessed hacker shouldn't face a jail sentence.

It has ignited some debate within the IT PRO office about the merits of his case and about whether he should face American or British punishment, because there is a case to be made for both sides.

Finally, questions have been asked about the government's role in making sure the UK has the right infrastructure for a next-generation communications network.

Although UK businesses may not necessarily need the high-speed connections which the likes of Virgin Media and BT have been publicising, it is certain that a reliable and converged network would have benefits for everybody.

The question is about how much Gordon Brown and the government are willing to spend on this type of investment, but with the current economic strife, it appears that they have decided that this could be something which can help dig us out of the economic hole we are in now.