Toshiba alters production
Toshiba Corp, the top seller of DVD players in the US last year, will double production capacity of DVD recorders as it prepares to introduce its first major model outside Japan. "We will raise monthly production capacity to 100,000 units" from 50,000, Yosuke Goto, a senior manager in the planning division for Tokyo-based Toshiba's digital audio visual products, said. The new model will be in stores for the Christmas holiday shopping season. Toshiba, along with rivals such as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co and Pioneer Corp, is shifting from DVD players to DVD recorders to escape price competition with Chinese manufacturers. "We have to aim at where it's difficult for Chinese companies to compete with us," Goto said. In the US, the least expensive DVD players are priced below US$50.
Google spurs competition
Google Inc's success with its online search engine and the access this gives to shopping via the Internet is prompting Microsoft Corp, Yahoo Inc and Amazon.com Inc and others to offer rival products, the Wall Street Journal said, citing Microsoft, a venture capitalist and an analyst. Microsoft has a "long-term project" to develop its own search engine, the paper cited Lisa Gurry, group product manager at its MSN unit, as saying. Yahoo said yesterday it would buy Overture Services Inc for US$1.63 billion to increase its revenue from Web searching. Of about 4 billion Internet searches in May, 32 percent were made via Google, 25 percent with Yahoo and 19 percent with AOL Time Warner Inc's America Online service, the paper said. Closely held Google Inc is based in Mountain View, California.
Hughes offers Boeing cash
Hughes Electronics Corp, owner of the DirecTV satellite-television service, agreed to pay Boeing Co US$360 million in cash to resolve a dispute over the price Boeing paid for Hughes's satellite-making business in 2000. Hughes's second-quarter earnings were reduced by about US$8 million because of the agreement, said Richard Dore, a spokesman for El Segundo, California-based Hughes. Results for the period will be released tomorrow, he said. Boeing acquired Hughes's satellite-systems manufacturing businesses for US$3.75 billion in October 2000. In 2001, Boeing claimed that Hughes had overvalued the assets sold to Boeing by US$1.3 billion and the companies entered into negotiations. Boeing officials didn't return a message for comment. Boeing today said it will record a US$1.1 billion charge in the second quarter, partly because of cost overruns to rework satellites.
■ Retail sales
US' sales figures rising
US retail sales rose 0.5 percent last month, a sign of strong demand by US consumers despite a drop in automobile sales, the government said Tuesday. The US Department of Commerce said auto sales fell 0.1 percent in the month but that excluding auto sales, retail sales rose 0.7 percent in the month. In addition to the weak auto sales, weak sales of electronics and appliances, which fell 0.1 percent in the month, brought down the overall figure. Excluding gasoline, retail sales rose 0.5 percent in the month. Excluding both autos and gasoline, retail sales rose 0.7 percent last month. Furniture sales rose 0.5 percent in the month after rising 1.2 percent in May.