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Thu, May 18, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Industry
Arcelor takeover approved

A bid by Mittal Steel, the world's largest steelmaker, to take over Luxembourg-based rival Arcelor got the official go-ahead on Tuesday. Approval for the hostile takeover attempt had been given by European stock exchange authorities, according to the Luxembourg exchange regulatory body, which said the bid would be valid from today through 29 June. Mittal chief executive Lakshmi Mittal said last week he was willing to consider a revised offer after bidding 18.6 billion euros (US$23 billion) for Arcelor -- a moved which met opposition from Arcelor's board and the French government, which owns a stake in the company.

■ Retail

Taking a breather

Exhausted Japanese workers in need of a pick-me-up will soon be able to get a hit of canned oxygen at their local convenience store. 7-Eleven Japan will start marketing the new product, "O2 Supli," at select stores in the Tokyo area later this month and expand sales nationwide next month. "People are under a lot of stress and can't get much exercise, so they aren't getting enough oxygen," said Minoru Matsumoto, a spokesman for Seven & I Holdings Co Ltd, 7-Eleven's parent company. "This is especially true of people who do long hours of desk work in front of a computer. They don't breathe that deeply." The oxygen will be sold for ¥600 (US$5.50) in 3.2-liter spray cans of 95 percent pure oxygen, each of which comes with a small plastic mask attached to the top.

■ Computers

Microsoft to help with data

Microsoft Corp plans software to help workers simultaneously find information on their computer desktop, the Internet and corporate network, the latest effort to counter competitors such as search engine leader Google Inc. The free download, due to be announced yesterday and released in test form later this summer, is also designed to help manage information overload. It will be called Windows Live Search, said Kirk Koenigsbauer, a general manager in Microsoft's information worker division. That's the same name of Microsoft's new Internet-only search product, also in test form, but Koenigsbauer said there are no plans to combine the two. This product will be an add-on to Microsoft's current product for scouring the PC desktop, available now as a free download and slated to be included in the next version of Windows, called Vista.

■ Internet

Spam closes Web firm

An e-mail security company said it would cease trading after being victimized by one of the world's biggest spammers. The Israeli-based firm Blue Security said it could no longer continue to operate in the face of an escalating threat from a Russian spammer known only as PharmaMaster. Recent attacks have crippled Web sites around the world, with a leading Web host saying at the time that one had seemed "to have brought down half of Canada's network." The attacks on Blue began after it blocked a large number of spam messages to its users, returning the messages to the source. This has been criticized as a vigilante tactic; others have applauded the firm for hurting spammers. Eran Reshef, the founder of Blue, said his company was simply unable to become trapped in a war against a criminal group.

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