A recent wave of computer network attacks has boosted concerns about U.S. vulnerability to digital warfare. The Obama administration is racing on multiple fronts to plug the holes in the U.S. cyber defense, focusing on an expanded effort to safeguard its contractors from hackers and building a virtual firing range in cyberspace to test new technologies.

However, the overall gap appears to be widening, as adversaries and criminals move faster than the government and corporations can respond, officials and analysts say.

Microsoft has made available a Windows 7-compatible test version of the software behind its hit Kinect motion-sensing game device, in the hope that developers will invent a host of “hands-free” features for standard PCs.

Microsoft was at first hostile to such attempts, but by releasing a beta version of the Kinect software development kit it is showing that it is interested to see what developers will make of the technology.

Any chance of Taobao trying to cash in on the internet IPO craze was squashed when the Alibaba Group said it had reorganized China’s largest e-commerce website into three separate companies.