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Wed, Apr 07, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Software
New Office for Apple

The latest version of Microsoft Corp's Office software for Apple computers will be in stores in the third week of next month, the company said. The announcement was scheduled for yesterday. Jessica Sommer, a Microsoft product manager, said Microsoft is scheduled to send the latest version of Office 2004 for Macs to manufacturers on April 14, paving the way for the product to get to store shelves the following month. Online retailers were also to begin offering the software for pre-order yesterday, Sommer said. The new software will cost the same as the previous version, she said. Office for Macs currently sells for anywhere between US$149 for educators to US$499 for the full professional version.

■ United States

Boeing suspension to end

The US Air Force is preparing to end an eight-month suspension on Boeing Co bidding for government rocket contracts, the Wall Street Journal said on Monday. Air Force and Boeing officials expect to announce an agreement in the next few weeks that paves the way for the No. 2 US defense contractor to resume bidding for contracts valued at up to US$5 billion up to 2010, the daily said, citing confidential sources. The Air Force stripped Boeing of US$1 billion in launch contracts and suspended three of the company's units from bidding on new rocket business last July over an industrial espionage scandal. Officials took the step after concluding that Boeing improperly came by thousands of pages of documents from rival Lockheed Martin Corp that gave Boeing an unfair advantage in the bidding process for a rocket launch contract.

■ Cellphones

Motorola ships V600

Motorola Inc, the world's second-largest maker of mobile phones, has begun shipping its V600 camera phone to AT&T Wireless Services Inc after four months of testing delays. The V600 lets customers take photos, send e-mail and make calls in 125 countries. It is available on AT&T Wireless' Web site for US$174.99 after a US$195 rebate, and will be in most of AT&T Wireless's retail stores by next week, AT&T spokesman Ritch Blasi said. Motorola is relying on the V600, already on sale in Europe, to win back market share lost to bigger competitor Nokia Oyj of Finland. Motorola's handset sales fell 3 percent in the fourth quarter in part because component shortages caused shipping delays for some phones.

■ Semiconductors

KEB proposes Hynix sale

Korea Exchange Bank (KEB), controlled by a US investment fund, proposed yesterday that creditors sell up to 20 percent of their stake in Hynix Semiconductor Inc. The proposal from bank president Robert Fallon came in an interview with the Yonhap news agency, a bank official said. Creditors including KEB hold a combined 81.4 percent stake in Hynix and are banned from selling their holdings until December 2006 as part of a bailout for the world's third largest microchip maker. Hynix, which accounts for 30 percent of South Korea's memory-chip exports, escaped insolvency last year with a 3.2 trillion won (US$2.8 billion) bailout arranged by creditors. KEB, taken over by US investment fund Lone Star in January, holds a 13.8 percent stake in Hynix.

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