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Sat, Jul 17, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Electronics
Samsung's profits triple

South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co said yesterday that its net profit for the second quarter to last month almost tripled to 3.13 trillion won (US$2.7 billion) but its "spectacular" figures still fell short of investor expectations. Oper-ating profit also rose more than three times to 3.73 trillion won from a year earlier but this was less than the 3.9 trillion won the market had been expecting, leading to an initial drop in the share price. The world's largest maker of computer memory chips said sales rose 52.3 percent to 14.9 trillion won. The second quarter results look good compared with a year earlier but when set against the previous quarter, net profit fell 0.2 percent and operating profit was down 7.0 percent.

■ Internet

MSN buys Lookout

Microsoft Corp's MSN online division has bought e-mail search firm Lookout Inc, as part of efforts to improve its own search technology and compete with Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. Terms of the deal, announced on Thursday, were not disclosed. San Francisco-based Lookout makes software that helps users more quickly search through e-mail stored in Microsoft's Outlook mail-box. Outlook is part of Microsoft's Office software package. Lisa Gurry, an MSN director, said the company will incorporate Lookout's technology into its planned new MSN search offering. That technology, still in development, will let people search the Internet, e-mail, documents and other data.

■ Electronics

EC to rule on Coca-Cola

The European Commission is set to announce a settlement of a three-year antitrust investigation of Coca-Cola, a person involved in the inquiry said yesterday. Coca-Cola has offered to drop its require-ment that retailers stock a wide array of Coke and Fanta drinks, which come in a number of flavors and take up a large amount of shelf space. Currently, retailers must take the whole range of drinks to qualify for a rebate from the company. The commission was concerned that this program was stifling competition in soft drinks and that Coca-Cola was gaining undeserved market share for niche products like Vanilla Coke by having them stacked alongside the hugely popular regular Coke. Coca-Cola's offer means that retailers can earn rebates purely on the quantity of the specific flavor drinks they order.

■ Internet

eBay tests music downloads

Internet auction giant eBay said yesterday it was starting a six-month pilot program to test the waters for music downloads from its site. Company spokes-man Hani Durzy said the test would be "to determine if there is a demand among buyers and sellers for digital music on eBay." The market for online music has exploded over the past year with the launch of online stores by Apple, Wal-Mart, RealNetworks and others for paid downloads in place of the popular but dimin-ishing file-swapping net-works. Durzy said that for the six-month test, "we have a very small number of pre-approved sellers with whom we have confirmed they have licenses to the music as well as a secure way of delivering that music." As with other products sold on eBay, it will be up to the sellers to determine whether to use an auction or fixed price, the spokesman added.

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