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Sat, Sep 09, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Computers

IBM ships first Wii chips

IBM Corp said it has shipped the first microprocessors that will be used to power Nintendo Co's upcoming Wii video game console. IBM earlier this year signed a multiyear agreement to supply Nintendo, with chips made at its East Fishkill, New York, plant. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Wii will be competing against Sony Corp's PlayStation 3, set to go on sale in November, and Microsoft Corp's Xbox 360, which went on sale last year. Nintendo is hoping to sell 6 million Wii consoles during the fiscal year ending March next year.

■ Food

US beef import ban lifted

South Korea yesterday approved resuming imports of US beef after repeated delays in implementing an earlier decision to lift a 2003 ban imposed because of mad cow fears. The Agriculture Ministry said 36 US slaughterhouses designated to handle meat for export to South Korea met required safety measures, clearing the last hurdle to the resumption of imports. The country had previously been the third-largest market for US beef. South Korea will notify the slaughterhouses of the approval on Monday, and the beef can start to be sold in the South Korean market some 25 days later, the ministry said in a statement.

■ Video games

Simple Xbox to debut

Microsoft Corp is set to release a cheaper, bare-bones version of the Xbox 360 video game console in Japan to boost flagging sales ahead of the arrival of new machines from rivals later in the year. The Japanese unit of US-based Microsoft will launch a Xbox 360 console on Nov. 2 that comes without the 20-gigabyte hard drive and other accessories included with the standard version, according to Microsoft spokesman Jun Yoshihara. The low-end version, already sold as the Xbox 360 Core System in the US and Europe, will sell for ?29,800 (US$255) -- about ?10,000 less than its standard version, Yoshihara said.

■ Computers

HP spied on journalists

The California attorney general's investigation into the purloining of private phone records by agents of Hewlett-Packard has revealed that the monitoring effort began earlier than previously indicated and included journalists as targets. The targets included nine journalists who have covered Hewlett-Packard, including one from the New York Times, the company said. The company said this week that its board had hired private investigators to identify directors leaking information to the news media and that those investigators had posed as board members -- a technique known as pretexting -- to gain access to their personal phone records.

■ Telecoms

Alcatel, Lucent merger OK

Shareholders in French telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel and US group Lucent on Thursday approved a merger of the two companies to create a giant valued at 21.5 billion euros (US$27 billion). The backing came during special general assemblies held by Lucent shareholders in Wilmington, Delaware and Alcatel shareholders in Paris. Lucent Technologies chairwoman and chief executive, Patricia Russo, who is to be chief executive in the combined entity, said the merger would create a strong global player. The merger creates a giant that will be second only to US-based Cisco Systems.

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