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Wed, Dec 16, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■SOFTWARE

Oracle makes concessions

The EU’s competition watchdog on Monday welcomed concessions made by US business software giant Oracle over its bid for Sun Microsystems, saying the deal is now likely to be approved. EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes “is optimistic that the case will have a satisfactory outcome, while ensuring that the transaction will not have an adverse impact on effective competition in the European database market,” the EU’s executive arm said in a statement. “Today’s announcement by Oracle of a series of undertakings to customers, developers and users of MySQL [open source database] is an important new element to be taken into account in the ongoing proceedings,” the commission said. The commission is particularly impressed by Oracle’s extension for up to five years of the terms and conditions of existing commercial licenses.

■INTERNET

Google sued by Netlist

Google Inc, the owner of the most-used search engine, was sued by computer-­memory systems maker Netlist Inc over a patented invention designed to increase the speed of memory modules. Google’s computer servers infringe a patent for a memory module that increases capacity and improves energy efficiency, Netlist said in a complaint filed on Dec. 4 in federal court in San Francisco. Netlist is seeking cash compensation and a court order that would prevent further use of its invention.

■ECONOMY

Mexico downgraded to BBB

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded Mexico’s sovereign debt to BBB status on Monday on concerns about the country’s fiscal outlook sparked by the global economic crisis. The downgrade for the Latin American and emerging-market powerhouse from BBB+ comes as the country continues to wrestle with the fallout from the international credit crisis. The downgrade spells more expensive borrowing for the country as it tries to kick-start the economy. Although still investment grade, S&P said the downgrade reflected concerns that Mexico’s tax base will be slashed and on slumping petrol revenues, that make up about 35 percent of the national budget.

■ARGENTINA

Kirchner tackles debt

Argentina announced on Monday it had set aside US$6.5 billion to guarantee the payment of its public debt for next year, as the country sought to end its isolation from global credit markets. The message, broadcast nationally by Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, sought to reassure international investors, who are still skittish after the country’s massive 2001 sovereign debt default. The Bicentennial Fund for Debt Repayment and Stabilization, backed by 14 percent of the central bank’s US$47 billion in foreign currency reserves, “gives international markets security that the debt is covered,” Kirchner said.

■PHILIPPINES

Joblessness rises to 7.1%

Unemployment in the Philippines rose to 7.1 percent in October, up from the 6.8 percent posted for the month last year, the government’s National Statistics Office said yesterday. However, this rate was down from the 7.6 percent posted in July, the last unemployment figure released by the statistics office. Underemployment, defined as those working fewer than 40 hours a week, rose to 19.4 percent in October, down slightly from the rate posted in July. However, this was sharply up from the 17.5 percent posted in October last year.

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