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Wed, Feb 11, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Reconstruction

China firm seals Iraq deal

China has won its first contract in post-war Iraq, sealing a deal with the Iraqi Ministry of Communication to supply the country with telecommunications equipment, state media said yesterday. The Zhongxing Telecom Co (ZTE) signed a contract worth US$5 million after six months of difficult negotiations, the Xinhua news agency said on its Web site. The deal was concluded in the face of what Xinhua said was "some resistance" on the part of the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority. "On the one hand, the Iraqis themselves wished to continue working with China but on the other the Coalition Provisional Authority seemed to spare no effort in its desire to see all the contracts go to American companies," ZTE's project manager Dong Baoping was quoted as saying.

■ Copyright

Kazaa seeks court delay

International music provider Kazaa asked the Australian Federal Court yesterday to delay hearing alleged copyright breaches against it until a similar case in the US is finished. The hearing follows raids last week by five record labels on a dozen sites across the country to collect evidence against Kazaa, the world's largest file sharing network. Lawyers for Sharman Networks, which owns Kazaa, said the Australian case should not proceed until the Federal Court of Appeal in the US hands down its ruling on similar claims against Kazaa. Outside the court, a lawyer involved in the US case said the music companies were just looking for another opportunity to sue Kazaa after losing hearings in the US and the Netherlands. "Now that they're losing in the United States they seek to come here and fight the same battle on Australian soil," said lawyer David Casselman.

■ Software

PeopleSoft accuses Oracle

Software firm PeopleSoft urged shareholders Monday to reject an improved US$9.4 billion hostile takeover offer from rival Oracle Corp, saying the price was too low. PeopleSoft also accused Oracle of deliberately seeking to harm the firm through the hostile bid process. Oracle boosted its takeover offer by US$2 billion on Feb. 4, declaring it was the "final price" in its bitter struggle for control. "Oracle's offer does not begin to reflect the company's real value, including the value we are creating through our successful combination with J.D. Edwards," PeopleSoft president and chief executive Craig Conway said. "We believe Oracle is using the entire process ... in an attempt to damage our company," he told shareholders in a statement.

■ Software

Norwegian firm to float

A small Norwegian company is planning a stock market listing as part of its plans to go head to head with Microsoft. Oslo-based Opera Software is expected to be floated with a market capitalization of about US$140 million, which compares with mighty Microsoft's near US$300 billion valuation. But the competition in the market for Internet browsers that can be used with mobile phones is not as uneven as it looks, according to Opera's chief executive, Jon von Tetzchner. Microsoft dominates the global market for desktop browsers but von Tetzchner reckons that "in the new markets, like mobile, Microsoft is not as significant a player at this moment."

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