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Sat, May 27, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Software
Sprint takes IBM to court

Sprint is suing IBM, saying Big Blue did not live up to its claims three years ago that it would save the telecommunications company money by taking over some of its computer programming. Instead, Sprint said the deal ended up costing the company. It claims IBM Corp now owes Sprint at least US$6.4 million for 119,000 hours of uncompleted work -- or 57 years for a single employee. In a lawsuit filed this week in US District Court in Kansas, Sprint/United Management Co -- a subsidiary of Sprint Nextel Corp -- said IBM did not provide "contractually promised productivity improvements for 2005." IBM, according to court documents, said Sprint is using an incomplete formula for measuring productivity and the amount of hours owed.

■ Entertainment

NBC to sell shows on iTunes

NBC said on Thursday it would become the first broadcast news organization to offer news programming for sale for viewing on computers and iPods through Apple Computer Inc's iTunes service. A variety of current, archival and specially-produced material will be available for US$1.99 a download through the iTunes store. "We're leading a trend to put our work and our journalism everywhere our viewers and users want it to be," said Mark Lukasiewicz, NBC News vice president for digital media. Brian Williams will be host of some specially-created ``Time Capsule'' programs through the Web. They include interviews with former president John F. Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, a tour of the White House offered by first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and interviews with the rock band U2.

■ Internet

Livedoor scam trial opens

Japanese prosecutors yesterday accused a former Internet venture star of calling the shots in a complex scam to inflate stock prices and doctor company books in the opening of a trial against the company and its former executives. Disgraced Internet company Livedoor yesterday acknowledged it was guilty of violating securities regulations. Former Livedoor executive Ryoji Miyauchi, one of the defendants in the trial opening in Tokyo District Court, said on nationally televised news that he was pleading guilty. Livedoor Co's flamboyant former chief executive, Takafumi Horie, 33, will be tried separately. A date has not yet been set for his trial. Horie, released on bail in April, has repeatedly said he is innocent.

■ Real estate

Chinese banks to curb loans

Chinese regulators have told banks to curb real estate loans amid efforts to rein in soaring housing prices and lending, state media reported yesterday. Liu Mingkang (劉明康), chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said banks should promote loans to first-time home buyers and discourage lending to investors who want to buy expensive luxury properties, the China Daily newspaper reported. News reports didn't say whether regulators would impose formal limits, but banks are expected to follow such informal guidance. China's Cabinet ordered government agencies last week to take steps to rein in soaring housing prices that are widening a politically volatile gulf between rich and poor. The government says home prices rose 5.5 percent in the first three months of this year, compared with the same period last year.

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