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Sat, Jul 10, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Games

Console's US debut on hold

Sony Corp, the world's second-largest consumer electronics maker, will delay US sales of its combination PSX game console and DVD recorder to next year from the end of this year because the device may not appeal to US consumers. Sony, which gained about two-thirds of its operating profit from games business in the year ended March 31, will debut the PSX "some time next year," said Dick Komiyama, head of the electronics unit. Sony earlier delayed the US release of its PlayStation Portable from the end of this year. No schedule for beginning sales of the PSX in Europe has been set, a company spokesman said.

■ Consumer Goods

Sony tops brands list

Sony ranked at the top of a list of "best brands" among US consumers for the fifth straight year, a survey showed on Thursday. The survey saw Coca Cola moving up to the N0.2 spot from seventh place last year. Computer maker Dell retained its No. 3 position while Kraft moved to No. 4. Not in the top 10 since 2001, Toyota placed fifth among brands, based on a survey of some 2,100 US consumers. Rounding out the list were automaker Ford, in sixth place, followed by Honda, Procter and Gamble, General Electric and General Motors. Dropping out of the top 10 were Microsoft, ranked fifth last year; Kellogg's and Pepsi-Cola, ranked ninth and tenth, respectively, in last year's survey.

■ Automobiles

More Mitsubishi closings

Mitsubishi Motors Corp said yesterday it wants to close one of its car-assembly plants in Japan by the end of next year to speed up cost cuts as the money-losing automaker battles a major scandal over defect cover-ups. The company had announced earlier this year that it will close its Okazaki plant within the next four years as part of an overhaul of its operations. Earlier this week the company told its labor union of a plan to start sending the 1,600 workers at the Okazaki plant from next July to other Mitsubishi sites to shutter the plant by the end of next year, a spokesman said on condition of anonymity. The union will reply to the proposal by the end of this month, he said.

■ Telecoms

Sprint, IBM ink support deal

Sprint Corp and Interna-tional Business Machines Corp have agreed to a five-year, US$400 million deal under which IBM will provide information- technology (IT) develop-ment and support to Sprint. Under the agreement announced on Thursday, about 1,000 Sprint IT jobs will be transferred to IBM, whose global services unit will support certain Sprint software systems. Sprint expects the deal to help it meet a goal of cutting costs by more than US$1 billion over the next two years. Sprint employs about 70,000, including about 20,000 in the Kansas City area. It has cut employment by more than 22,000 over the last two years.

■ Crime

Stewart loses new trial bid

A US federal judge on Thursday rejected a second request from Martha Stewart for a new trial, brushing aside allegations that a government ink expert lied on the stand. The judge said there was "no reasonable likelihood that this perjury could have affected the jury's verdict." The judge added that "overwhelming independent evidence" supports the guilty verdict.

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