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Friday, May 06, 2011, 09:45 pm PT (12:45 am ET)

Briefly: Skype vulnerability; Youku on iPhone; Nuance licensing

After a security researcher publicized a vulnerability in the Mac version of Skype, the company revealed plans to release a public fix next week. A new rumor suggests that Chinese video site Youku is in talks with Apple to swap out the pre-installed YouTube app for its app on iPhones sold in China. Also, Apple is reportedly negotiating an "expansive licensing agreement" with voice recognition company Nuance.

Skype

Gordon Maddern of security research firm Pure Hacking published news of a "Skype 0day vulnerability" on his blog earlier this week, though he declined to release details of the exploit until after Skype fully resolves the issue.

Skype responded by noting that it had released a quick fix in mid-April and will issue another update early next week, as noted by CNet.

According to Maddern, the vulnerability could allow a maliciously crafted Skype message to gain control of a Mac. Maddern discovered the vulnerability about a month ago and notified Skype of the issue.

News of the Skype vulnerability came as the second security concern for Macs this week. It was revealed on Monday that a malicious software dubbed "MACDefender" attempts to automatically download itself via JavaScript. However, the threat was categorized as low because users must still agree to install the software and provide a password.

Youku

Victor Koo, the CEO of Chinese video service Youku, which held a high-profile initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange last December, has met with Apple CEO Steve Jobs to discuss the possibility of pre-installing the YouKu app for iPhones officially sold in China, TechNode reports.

If true, the move could come as another blow to Google's YouTube, which has been blocked in the country since March 2009. Google has struggled in China in recent years, culminating in a clash with the Chinese government last March after the company refused to censor search results in response to the government's alleged involvement in a security breach that attempted to steal the source code for Google's Gmail service.

The YouTube app on the iPhone has been a staple on the device since it was first released in 2007.

Nuance

TechCrunch reported late Friday that multiple sources claim Apple "has been negotiating a deal with Nuance in recent months."

Last year, rumors buzzed that Apple had purchased Nuance after Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak misspoke. Wozniak had meant to say that Apple had acquired Siri, the developer behind a voice-activated personal assistant app for the iPhone.



Wozniak may have been confused because Siri relies on Nuance's voice recognition technology to generate the transcriptions it needs. Given that Siri is rumored to play a big role in iOS 5, Apple's licensing agreements with Nuance are seen as highly critical.

According to Friday's report, Nuance CEO Paul Ricci has driven a hard bargain with Apple's Jobs. Apple reportedly looked into purchasing Nuance, but balked at the multi-billion dollar price tag. Also, an outright acquisition would be a less favorable solution, as it would nullify Nuance's existing licensing deals.

"All types of possibilities are still on the table, including an acquisition," the report noted, adding that an "expansive licensing deal" is more likely. The report also goes on to speculate that Apple may be quietly developing its own voice recognition service.