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Wed, May 24, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Semiconductors
Intel in talks with India

Intel Corp said it is in talks with the Indian government on setting up a factory in India. Intel is helping the Indian government prepare an overall policy framework for setting up chip plants in the country, Paul Otellini, chief executive officer of Santa Clara, California-based Intel, said in Bangalore. "India today has chip design units and I will argue forever that the design part of our work, the knowledge-intensive activities that we do in Bangalore, for example, are of much more value short term to India than the factory," Otellini said. "Having said that, we continue to be in discussion with the government on assembly-test factories." India will "shortly" unveil a policy promoting semiconductor investment in India, and will consider funding such projects through equity participation, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said on Feb. 28.

■ Computers

Microsoft unveils FlexGo

Microsoft unveiled a new pay-as-you-go technology on Monday designed to make personal computers more affordable to emerging-market customers. The program, known as FlexGo, is set for trials to begin this week in Brazil, to be followed by tests in India, China, Russia, Slovenia, Vietnam and Mexico, according to Microsoft officials. Eventually, it might even be offered to customers in the US. The scheme allows users to make a down payment on a mid-level PC, then pay for time they use on their computers with pre-paid cards similar to those sold by cell phone companies. Users will also be able to buy time via their local Internet service providers.

■ Computers

Microsoft continuing appeal

Microsoft Corp said yesterday it has no plans to give up a legal challenge in South Korean court, one day after regulators rejected its appeal of an antitrust ruling against the company. The Korea Fair Trade Commission on Monday turned down Microsoft's appeal of the decision, which included a fine of 32.5 billion won (US$34 million). The US software maker has also appealed to the Seoul High Court. In February, the commission issued a final ruling that Microsoft abused its dominant market position in South Korea by tying certain software to its Windows operating system. The preliminary ruling came in December. Under the ruling, Microsoft is required to provide a version of Windows stripped of Windows Media Player and Windows Messenger.

■ Economics

OECD raises growth forecast

Industrialized economies are growing at 3.1 percent this year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said yesterday, warning that the US may have to raise interest rates further but that the European Central Bank should wait. But the OECD repeatedly stressed dangers from global imbalances, principally US trade and current deficits, and quoted estimates that for the trade account to balance the US dollar might have to fall by a third to a half. Raising its global growth forecast for the year by 0.2 percentage points from an estimate six months ago, the OECD said that the US, eurozone and Japanese economies might "grow slightly above trend" in the next few months. And it forecast in its annual outlook for the global economy that the 30 OECD countries were set for growth of 2.9 percent next year, the same figure it signaled in November.

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