World Business Quick Take


Fri, Jun 04, 2004 - Page 12

■ Internet

Windows media player tested

Microsoft took an important step on Wednesday in its bid to dominate sales of online music when it released the public test version of its new Windows Media Player, one that for the first time will work with a variety of online music stores and subscription services. Microsoft said that it would release the final version of Windows Media Player 10 later this year. It will compete against rival media platforms from Real Networks and Apple, but Microsoft is hoping to make the new media player the standard online platform for playing and purchasing both music and movies over the Internet. "We are testing a new concept currently called the `Digital Media Mall' that offers a selection of online music stores and video services that work seamlessly in the player," Microsoft said.

■ Aviation

Sky-high advertising offer

Brand new Australian budget carrier Jetstar is offering to paint its fleet of 14 Boeing 717 aircraft with the logo of any advertiser willing to pay handsomely for airborne promotions, news reports said yesterday. The Qantas offshoot would also accept advertising on overhead lockers, tray-tables and even sick bags, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. It quoted airline officials as saying "tip to tail" branding would bring "considerable PR exposure for your brand." Jetstar was launched on May 25 and operates at 14 airports.

■ Software

Indian firms' revenues soar

Indian software revenues jumped 30.5 percent to US$12.5 billion in the year ended in March and a similar rise is expected this year, the country's leading industry group NASSCOM said yesterday. The National Association of Software and Service Companies forecast that revenue would increase 30 percent to 32 percent in the current financial year to around US$16.3 billion. "Despite the challenges such as low growth of IT spending globally, a jobless recovery in major markets and appreciation of the rupee, the Indian software services industry has been able to maintain its growth momentum," association chairman Jerry Rao said.

■ Trade

Farm talks stumble on

The WTO's 147 member states locked horns on Wednesday to discuss the thorny issue of farm trade, with three groups offering their own answers on how to move talks forward by an end of next month deadline. Tim Groser, New Zealand's ambassador to the WTO who is chairing the three days of consultations, said there were signs of a desire to devise a framework for agriculture negotiations by July 31. But Groser warned participants against holding back until the last minute. Many countries feel that market access for farm products is the hardest hurdle to overcome.

■ China

Beijing ups IPR protection

China yesterday unveiled a national strategy aimed at beefing up intellectual pro-perty rights (IPR) protec-tions even as pirated ver-sions of latest Hollywood blockbusters like Troy and Shrek 2 were available in Beijing stores. The govern-ment has put in place a new national stra-tegy which will begin with an education campaign, the deputy commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office told the China Daily. The strategy will include "an educational program to deepen IPR knowledge among officials," the paper said.