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Fri, Aug 06, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Computers

HP to offer Linux

Hewlett-Packard Co (HP), the world's second-largest computer maker, has announced plans for what it says is the world's first notebook computer from a major manufacturer using the open-source Linux operating system. HP made the announcement on Tuesday at the LinuxWorld conference in San Fran-cisco. Pricing will begin at US$1,140. The move opens a door to the rival of the Microsoft Corp's Windows operating system. "Linux is a key part of the HP Adaptive Enterprise strategy as it is central to HP's unique approach to IT standardization," said Martin Fink, vice president of Linux at HP. The computer also will be equipped with OpenOffice, an open-source software program that includes word processing and other functions. HP is also including the Linux in its fastest servers to court large companies that are trying to cut computing costs.

■ Software

Microsoft update ready

Microsoft Corp is close to releasing the biggest update ever for the Windows operating system, aiming to plug holes that have led to massive security problems for computer users the world over. Microsoft senior product manager Matt Pilla said late Wednesday that it is expected to release the update for Windows XP, called Service Pack 2, "in the coming days." He would not be more specific. The update comes in response to a series of Internet viruses and other attacks that have slowed businesses and hurt consumers. Service Pack 2 bolsters security on a number of fronts. Among the changes, it automati-cally turns on a firewall to better guard against bids to infiltrate personal compu-ters. The update also fortifies protections on the Internet Explorer browser and offers tougher policing against e-mail-borne attacks.

■ IPO

Google admits bad move

Google Inc may have illegally issued more than 23 million shares of its stock to hundreds of employees and consultants, injecting an unexpected legal risk into the online search engine leader's highly anticipated initial public offering (IPO). The company disclosed the possible violations on Wed-nesday in a prospectus offering to buy back the affected shares and out-standing stock options for a total of US$25.9 million, including interest payments. During that time, the com-pany says it neglected to register 23.2 million shares of common stock and 5.6 million outstanding stock options with securities regulators. The oversights might have broken federal and state laws, according to the filing. The stock is owned by 1,105 current and former employees, and consultants. Google warned that its buyback offer may be rejected by some people who prefer to sue.

■ Retail

US online sales strong

US online retail sales are on a strong growth track, and will likely hit US$316 billion by 2010, a technology research firm said on Wed-nesday. Forrester Research pegged US online sales at some US$144 billion this year, and sees a 14 percent annual growth rate that would bring the Internet sector to some 12 percent of retail sales, from less than 2 percent currently. US gover-nment data showed online sales at US$54.9 billion last year, representing about 1.6 percent of all retail sales last year. Forrester said online retail sales will make up 7 percent of the total for the US this year.

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