> 8x8 Inc. is releasing an upgraded version of its hosted unified communications (UC) service. Virtual Office Pro 2.0 adds fax capability, iPhone OS4 multitasking support, video chat and social media integration to its business-grade softphone. News release.
> Global systems integrator Mountain West Telecom has achieved the Services Expert Certification, Avaya's highest services cert. News release.
> Nine distributors are previewing the new kids' network, The Hub, on Oct. 10--a day before the network goes live, Multichannel News reports. Verizon (NYSE: VZ) FiOS, AT&T (NYSE: T) U-verse, and DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) are among those providing a sneak peek via VoD (video on demand) ahead of time. Story.
> In what TechCrunch calls another step toward becoming a public company, Skype plans to appoint Tony Bates, a senior VP at Cisco, as CEO. Bates' appointment will round out the company's "completely new executive team" with his experience in the enterprise realm. Story.
> A "glut" of submarine cables will spark Internet price wars on the African continent within two years, reports BusinessDay, with prices for increased bandwidth (and corresponding faster Internet speeds) already dropping dramatically in countries like Nigeria. Story.
> Korea's first major private cloud has been launched by KT, the country's largest fixed-line operator and second-largest mobile operator. The carrier selected cloud computing vendor Cloudscale to help implement the service. News release.
> Failing to comply with industry standards for payment card security is directly linked to increased credit card data breaches, a study by Verizon reports. "Organizations that suffer a breach are 50 percent less likely to have achieved or maintained PCI compliance," the company reported in a news release.
And finally... There's gold in them thar cellphones--if you can get it out affordably that is. And Japan is looking for ways to do so as shipments of rare earths from their main supplier, China, dry up, the New York Times reports. Recycling the country's massive stockpiles of used electronics is taking on increased importance. Story.