EU to reprimand Microsoft
The European Commission will soon formally tell Microsoft that the US software giant is charging too much for some of its Windows software licenses, an EU source said on Thursday. The EU competition watchdog is growing increasingly frustrated with Microsoft's failure to apply a March 2004 ruling against the company in their seven-year anti-trust standoff. The EU's executive arm fined the software group in March 2004 a record 497 million euros (US$638 million) for abusing its dominant market power and demanded the company divulge information about its operating system needed by manufacturers of rival products. The commission considers that Microsoft has been overcharging for this information, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The commission will send a statement of objections at the end of July or in the autumn," the source said.
Gold hits 26-year high in HK
Hong Kong gold prices closed at 26-year highs yesterday at US$722.10-US$722.60 an ounce, up from Thursday's close of US$708.20-US$708.70. The market opened at US$716.20-US$716.70. Overnight, gold hit a high of US$726.70, a level last reached in January 1980. The precious metal has rocketed by almost 40 percent since the start of this year along with others such as silver and platinum, which are supported by a weak US dollar, tensions over Iran and inflation fears prompted by high oil prices. A weak US currency makes commodities priced in the US unit on world markets more attractive to buyers using other currencies.
Morgans enters Las Vegas
Morgans Hotel Group Co, the luxury hotel company founded by Studio 54's Ian Schrager, purchased the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for US$770 million in cash as it enters Las Vegas. The 16.6 hectare Las Vegas complex includes a 647-room hotel as well as the 2,787m2 casino, five restaurants, a nightclub and 743m2 spa, said Peter Morton, chairman and founder of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, said in a statement on Thursday. The Hard Rock will be the first of third planned hotels in Las Vegas for Morgans, which operates the Delano in Miami, the Royalton in New York and the Mondrian in Los Angeles. The New York-based company will have more than 2,200 hotel rooms in the city by 2010, when its Delano and Mondrian properties are scheduled to open. The Hard Rock resort, which was built in 1995 and doubled in size in 1999, stands on almost 7 hectares. Morgans said an adjacent 9 hectare piece of land, which includes an apartment complex, may be used to expand the Hard Rock, sold or developed through a joint venture.
Crude settles after big jump
Crude oil futures dropped yesterday in Asian trading after a big jump on the previous day that was caused by supply worries linked to violence in Nigeria, a major oil producer. Light, sweet crude for June delivery fell US$0.38 to US$72.94 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by late morning in Singapore. The contract gained US$1.19 to settle at US$73.32 a barrel Thursday. On Thursday, police said gunmen in Nigeria kidnapped at least two foreign oil workers from a bus in a second day of attacks targeting such workers. Concerns about Iran also continued to support prices.