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Wed, Feb 16, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Semiconductors

TI testing new chipset

Texas Instruments Inc, which makes computer chips for more than half the world's cellular phones, said on Monday it is a testing new technology that could drive down the price of high-end features. The semiconductor company said it has developed a single chipset that contains a modem and a processor on a single piece of silicon, replacing two components with one. Company officials say the new design will make it cheaper to build a phone that runs video at 30 frames per second or handles 3-D gaming, capabilities available now only on expensive phones. "We're going to drive them down into meat-and-potatoes phones that have the largest market share," said Doug Rasor, a marketing vice president at Dallas-based Texas Instruments.

■ Dirigibles

Bigger airship to be built

Zeppelin, Europe's main builder of airships, said on Monday it would build a bigger dirigible to take tourists on joyrides starting in three years, but admitted it had yet to win export orders for the new model. The new airship will be able to carry 19 passengers in contrast to the 12 that fit aboard the current Zeppelin NT airships used by the company for tourist flights over Lake Constance between Germany and Switzerland. At 85m in length, it will be 10m longer than the current model and more economical to operate. Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik said at its hangars in Friedrichshafen that the first commercial flight was scheduled for autumn 2008. The company is the world's only maker of passenger airships.

■ Finance

Nomura, Rothschild in talks

Japan's Nomura Securities Co is in final negotiations with the Rothschild financial group to tie-up in brokering mergers and acquisitions, a leading Japanese financial daily reported yesterday. According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the planned tie-up by the two firms in brokering mergers and acquisitions business is mainly between Japanese and European firms. Nomura has been building its global M&A business. Joining forces with the Rothschild group would give the brokerage access to Rothschild's extensive customer network in Europe, according to the report. For its US business, Nomura formed capital and business ties with investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners group in 2001. For the Rothschild group, a partnership with Nomura will likely bolster its investment banking operations in Japan, which lag behind UBS AG, Deutsche Bank and other European rivals, the report said.

■ Internet

Customer satisfaction falls

Consumer satisfaction with Internet commerce sites including Amazon.com Inc and EBay Inc fell in the fourth quarter for the first time since measurements began being taken in 2000, according to a study. E-commerce satisfaction dropped 2.2 points to 78.6, an American Customer Satisfaction Index report released yesterday said. The study by the University of Michigan in partnership with Ann Arbor, Michigan-based ForeSee Results surveyed more than 4,000 people. Satisfaction with e-commerce had risen from its initial index reading of 73.2 in fourth quarter of 2000 to a high of 80 last year. Customer satisfaction for Amazon.com, the largest online retailer, slipped to 84 from 88, while EBay, the largest Web marketplace, dropped to 80 from 84.

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