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Thu, Feb 26, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■SOFTWARE

Google backs EC case

Google threw its backing on Tuesday behind the European Commission’s (EC) antitrust complaint against Microsoft, in the latest salvo in the rivalry between the Internet search king and the software giant. Sundar Pichai, Google vice president for product management, said in a post on the company blog that Google was joining the EC’s complaint against Microsoft for tying its Internet Explorer Web browser to its Windows operating system.

■HONG KONG

Economy will dip up to 3%

The territory’s economy will shrink by 2 percent to 3 percent this year, the first annual contraction since it was battered a decade ago by the Asian financial crisis, Financial Secretary John Tsang (曾俊華) said yesterday. Tsang offered a gloomy economic outlook in his annual budget speech, saying consumer spending, exports and the property sector had also been badly hit by the global financial crisis.

■LABOR

Microsoft to help jobless

Microsoft is tossing lifelines to people in the US lacking technology skills needed to win jobs in the Internet Age. Microsoft teamed with political leaders in several states to launch an Elevate America initiative expected to provide online and real world technology training to as many as 2 million people during the next three years.

■AUTOMOBILES

Japanese exports plunge

Japan’s major automakers yesterday reported declines in exports and global production in January as the global economic downturn reduced demand for cars. Toyota Motor Corp suffered a 57.1 percent plunge in exports in January from the same month a year ago to 96,864 units and a 39.1 percent fall in global output to 487,984 units, the company said. The world’s leading carmaker, which includes Daihatsu Motor Co and Hino Motors Ltd, saw its domestic production fall 34.6 percent in January to 277,472 units. Toyota’s domestic vehicle sales were also down 17.1 percent.

■MINING

De Beers halts mines

Diamond giant De Beers says it is halting mining in Botswana for the next seven weeks as the global recession takes its toll on gem demand. Debswana, a joint venture of De Beers and the Botswana government, said the suspension began yesterday. But Debswana also says one of its four mines and a processing operation will remain closed through the end of the year. Joe Tlhagale, spokesman for the Botswana Mineworkers Union, said on Tuesday that he was trying to determine the impact on Debswana’s 6,000 employees.

■TELECOMS

Fixed, mobile units merge

Europe’s biggest telecommunications operator, Deutsche Telekom, plans to merge its shrinking fixed-line unit with its mobile operations, following the example of Swisscom, the Financial Times Deutschland said yesterday. Deutsche Telekom was expected to reorganize its operations according to geographic zones but not cut jobs, the newspaper said, citing sources close to the company. The telecoms operator has lost fixed-line customers on a regular basis for several years, and its fixed and mobile operations account for around half of annual sales of 60 billion euros (US$77 billion), the report said. The business daily Handelsblatt, however, said Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile units abroad would remain independent. Deutsche Telekom declined to comment on the reports.

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