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Wed, Jul 14, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Computers

Japan warns Microsoft

Microsoft Corp, the world's largest software maker, faces a warning from Japan's Fair Trade Commission on the terms of contracts it concludes with buyers of its Windows operating system, the commission said. The regulator told the US software company not to seek to ban legal action by personal computer makers that install Windows in their products, it said at a press briefing in Tokyo. The commission said it began a probe of Microsoft's contracts with Windows buyers in February. Microsoft is required to respond to the warning by July 26, the commission said.

■ Electronics

Philips rakes in cash

The Dutch consumer electronics giant Philips recorded earnings of 616 million euros (US$762 million) in the second quarter of this year, over 14 times the profit made in the same period last year, the company said yesterday. The group said the strong earnings, up from only 42 million euros in the second three months of last year, were in part due to a strong performance in the semiconductor sector. Net earnings per share stood at 0.48 euros, against 0.03 euros in the same period last year. Philips' second-quarter turnover stood at 7.28 billion euros for the period, an increase of 11 percent on last year's figure.

■ China

Inept lenders warned

The central bank chief has called for poorly managed lenders to be allowed to fail as part of reforms to the country's ailing banking system, state press reported yesterday. "The existence of poorly run financial institutions is the biggest threat to our financial stability," the Shenzhen Securities Times quoted People's Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochun (周小川) as saying. "There haven't been many closures or bankruptcies -- our reforms have not been successful," Zhou said, adding that Beijing needs to avoid the moral hazard of repeated government bailouts for ailing institutions.

■ Electronics

IPods selling well

Apple Computer Inc, the maker of Macintosh personal computers, had worldwide sales of its iPod and iPod mini music players reach 3 million units as of last month, said Tatsuya Konishi, an Apple product manager, at a Tokyo conference. The iPod mini, a smaller version of Apple's iPod player, holds 1,000 songs. The device comes in five colors and has a chargeable battery life of 8 hours. Apple's iPod mini digital music players will sell for 28,140 yen (US$260) in Japan, according to the company's Web site. Shipments for iPod, including the mini, surged to 807,000 in the quarter that ended in March from 80,000 a year earlier.

■ China

Overseas investment up

Overseas investment into China rose 11.99 percent to US$33.9 billion in the first half of the year as investors remained buoyant on the prospects of the world's fastest growing economy, figures showed yesterday. Contracted foreign direct investment, a measure of future business, was up 42.66 percent to US$72.7 billion, China's Ministry of Commerce said on its Web site. The increase in actual investment was 10.55 percentage points higher than the growth rate reported for last year but far lower than the 34.33 percent growth seen in the first half of last year.

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