Google to buy Quickoffice
Google is buying Quickoffice, the maker of a widely used mobile app for working on documents created in Microsoft’s programs for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. The deal announced on Tuesday gives Google Inc more tools to undercut Microsoft Corp, as more people get work done on smartphones and tablet computers. Quickoffice makes those devices compatible with Microsoft Office, even if the software suite is not installed on them. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Sony bosses shun bonuses
Seven Sony executives, including chairman Howard Stringer and president Kazuo Hirai, are giving up their performance-based bonus pay. The Tokyo-based electronics and entertainment company said yesterday that they were forgoing bonuses for the fiscal year through March because of the massive challenges to turn around the business. Sony did not disclose how much money was being returned. The company paid ￥224 million (US$2.8 million) in such bonuses for the fiscal year through March 2011 to eight executives.
Burger King targets Russia
Burger King is expanding its empire overseas, this time in Russia. The world’s second-largest hamburger chain said on Tuesday it had reached a deal with its franchise operator in the country to open several hundred new locations in the next few years. There are currently 57 Burger King outlets in Russia. The deal continues the Miami-based chain’s focus on expanding in emerging markets at a time when the fast-food industry is becoming increasingly saturated in the US. In the past year, 80 percent of Burger King’s new openings have been in the region encompassing Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
German, Austrian ratings cut
Moody’s Investors Service cut the credit ratings of six German banking groups, including Commerzbank AG, and Austria’s three largest banks, such as Erste Group Bank AG, yesterday, saying they face risks if the eurozone crisis deepens. Moody’s said German lenders face risks to the quality of their assets if the eurozone crisis deepens or the global economy slows more. For the Austrian banks, Moody’s said vulnerabilities from operating conditions in Central and Eastern Europe were the reasons for the ratings cut.
Firms eye ‘greener’ plastic
Five leading US global companies, including Coca-Cola and Ford, on Tuesday unveiled a joint effort to develop 100 percent plant-based plastics in their products, cutting the use of fossil fuels. Coca-Cola, Ford, Heinz, Nike and Procter & Gamble said they were launching a working group focused on speeding up the development and use of 100 percent plant-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic. PET is a durable, lightweight plastic. All five companies use PET based on fossil fuels such as oil in bottles, apparel, footwear, and automotive fabric and carpet.
Weaker demand hits exports
The trade ministry reported flat export growth for April yesterday as weaker demand in the trade-dependent economy’s key European and US markets offset continued strong shipments to China. Malaysia exported 57.7 billion ringgit (US$18.2 billion) of goods in April, just shy of the 57.8 billion ringgit reported in April of last year.