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Wed, Jul 20, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Electronics
Car systems get boost

Japanese firms are stepping up production of electronics for cars, expecting major growth as drivers embrace technology and emerging markets such as China and India expand, a newspaper said yesterday. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said Alps Electronics will boost by 30 percent its output of systems that let drivers enter a car electronically without a key, technology used in more than 10 Nissan models. Alps will be producing 80,000 units a month by the end of the year at its factories in Japan and Britain, the business daily said. The Nihon Keizai also said Japan Aviation Electronics has invested ?500 million (US$4.5 million) for its plant in the Philippines to start making parts for boards that show car navigation and liquid crystal display monitors.

■ Entertainment

iPod may get music videos

Apple Computer is working on an iPod media player capable of playing video, and is negotiating with major recording companies to sell music videos through the company's iTunes Music Store, according to a report in Monday's Wall Street Journal. The report said that the video iPod could be unveiled by September. Videos would likely cost 1.99 each on iTunes according to the newspaper, with the possibility of a discount if consumers buy a music video and a song at the same time.

■ Internet

iTunes downloads hit record

Apple Computer Inc, which generates a third of sales from the iPod music player, said downloads from its iTunes online music store topped 500 million. Amy Greer, of Lafayette, Indiana, downloaded Faith Hill's Mississippi Girl yesterday as the 500 millionth song sold. She won 10 iPods, a credit for 10,000 songs and a trip for four to a Coldplay concert, Apple said yesterday in a statement. The iTunes store, which opened two years ago, features more than 1.5 million songs from most major record companies and more than 1,000 record labels.

■ Patents

Amberwave sues Intel

Amberwave Systems Corp, a privately held developer of chip technology, has filed a patent-infringement suit against Intel Corp. Salem-based Amberwave claimed Monday that Intel is using its proprietary techniques as part of the "strained silicon" technology used in Pentium microprocessors. On May 25, Intel sought a determination that it doesn't infringe the patent. Amberwave on Monday filed a counterclaim against Intel's action and said the litigation arose after Intel refused to negotiate a "commercially reasonable" license agreement.

■ Airlines

Valuair, Jetstar to merge

Budget airlines Valuair Ltd and Jetstar Asia will merge, in an effort to keep them both afloat in Asia's cutthroat low-cost market, a Singapore newspaper reported. Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd owns a 49-percent share in Jetstar. The Business Times newspaper said yesterday the merger between the two Singapore-based carriers could happen as early as the fourth quarter of this year, just a week after both parties said a possible alliance was off. Valuair, the first budget carrier to launch in the city-state, has yet to turn a profit. Citing unnamed sources, the paper said Qantas has offered to inject fresh capital into the new entity, after which Valuair's shareholders will become minority shareholders.

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