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Friday, February 16, 2007, 10:00 am PT (01:00 pm ET)

Briefly: Feds on ex-Apple execs, Cisco reprieve (again), Parallels RC3

Some of Cupertino's alumni could soon meet the raw end of a government axe. Simultaneously, Apple itself has been granted a stay of execution from its iPhone rival Cisco, and Parallels' latest release candidate brings the virtualization software up to spec with the newest technology.

Previous Apple execs face legal reckoning

While the corporate mothership may be safe at the moment, those no longer within its protection won't be so fortunate, according to the Wall Street Journal. The trade paper revealed today that Federal prosecution teams are hoping to fast track their investigations of executives it believes may have illegally backdated company options — including two of Apple's recently departed executives, CFO Fred Anderson and general counsel Nancy Heinen.

The accelerated hunt may have shifted some attention away from company head Steve Jobs, who remained under scrutiny by the Feds for his potential involvement with the matter. An internal investigation by the company late last year allegedly cleared the charismatic frontman of any wrongdoing but failed to satisfy the US government's expectations.

Apple, Cisco extend iPhone talks again

After causing a minor panic when its self-imposed February 15th deadline ran out, Cisco on Friday gave Apple another week to hash out a deal that would let both companies keep the iPhone trademark.

Apple now has until the evening of February 21st to respond to the networking firm's lawsuit over the naming conflict, which had been filed scarcely a day after the unveiling of Apple's phone. The now-elapsed original extension had been granted at the beginning of this month when both companies decided it would be wiser to reach a compromise than slug it out in court.

Parallels RC3 adds Vista, USB 2.0 support

Owners of Intel-based Macs were treated to a new beta of Parallels Desktop on Friday. Release Candidate 3 (build 3170), as it's known, offers a pair of crucial updates as well as a handful of new features.

Particularly important for some is enhanced Vista support: Parallels Desktop users with a copy of Windows XP already installed can now upgrade to Vista from within the shell itself, sparing the headache of requiring a clean install. Peripheral hardware also received a major boost through USB 2.0 support, letting hard drives and Apple's iSight camera run at the full speed of the serial bus.

Testers willing to try the new test version also had access to Transporter RC3, a tool that creates a virtual machine out of an actual Windows PC's installation; a more secure drag-and-drop tool that prevents files from being shared on a global level without permission; and various fixes for issues with OS X 10.5 Leopard and USB.