Pacific Northwest Gov. Christine Gregoire yesterday tapped Boeing commercial-airplanes chief Alan Mulally to head a new Global Competitiveness...

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Boeing said it signed contracts with Chinese aircraft-parts makers valued at an estimated $600 million as part of its plan to cut production costs.


The agreements include the first firm contract with Chinese suppliers to make parts for the 787 jetliner, Boeing said today in a statement issued in Beijing.


More than 3,500 Boeing planes have major parts and assemblies made in China, the company said.


Nextel Partners



Stock purchase may be forced



Nextel Partners shareholders will probably force Sprint to buy their stock after Sprint completes the purchase of Nextel Communications, a Nextel Partners executive said.


Sprint’s $35 billion purchase of Nextel Communications triggers “certain put rights” associated with Nextel Partners Class A shares, Chief Financial Officer Barry Rowan said yesterday. Nextel Communications owns 32 percent of Kirkland-based Nextel Partners, which sells wireless service in small and midsize markets.


“It is more likely than not that shareholders would choose to exercise the put,” Rowan said at a Friedman Billings Ramsey conference.


RealNetworks



Ex-Nortel exec picked for VP post



RealNetworks said it has hired John Giamatteo as executive vice president of worldwide business products and services and international operations. Giamatteo was previously president and chief executive of Nortel Networks’ Asia Pacific arm.


Starbucks



Same-stores sales jump 7 percent



Starbucks, the largest U.S. coffee-shop chain, said May same-store sales — sales at stores open more than a year — rose 7 percent. Total sales increased 23 percent to $496 million for the four weeks ended May 29, Starbucks said in a statement.


Microsoft



Office file sizes will be shrinking



A new file format in the coming version of Microsoft Office will reduce the size of Word, Excel and Powerpoint file sizes by up to 75 percent, a spokeswoman said yesterday.


The new format, based on the XML data language and Zip compression technology, is one of several details about the software that began trickling out from Microsoft last month to build interest among software developers and customer.


More details will be shared at a Microsoft developer conference in Florida next week, and a test version of the software, referred to as Office 12, will be released in the fall.


Compiled from The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Seattle Times business staff