The stock of supercomputer maker Cray rose 6 cents, or 5.1 percent, to $1.24 yesterday after the Seattle company said it had received an order for the Cray X1E system upgrade and a Cray XD1 supercomputer system from Madison Research for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

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The stock of supercomputer maker Cray rose 6 cents, or 5.1 percent, to $1.24 yesterday after the Seattle company said it had received an order for the Cray X1E system upgrade and a Cray XD1 supercomputer system from Madison Research for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command. No financial details were given.




Cray said earlier this week that it was laying off about 90 employees — 10 percent of its worldwide work force — in an effort to cut costs and make a profit.




Microsoft




Message exchanges




between PC, phones




Vodafone Group and Microsoft, the world’s biggest cellular and software companies, said they’ll start a service that for the first time allows mobile-phone and personal-computer users to exchange instant messages.




Customers of Vodafone and Microsoft’s MSN instant messaging will be able to see which of their contacts are available, start an exchange and see the text of the entire conversation, the companies said yesterday. Users will be charged according to the number of messages they send.




Vodafone is attempting to spur sales by introducing its 155 million customers to the 165 million users of Microsoft’s MSN Messenger. The Redmond software maker needs to tap the growth of wireless data traffic as demand sags for Windows PC software.





Microsoft





Outside firms might




get Xbox software




Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates hinted yesterday in Tokyo his company might license the software underlying its Xbox gaming machine to a variety of outside companies in a bid to expand market share for the machine, which trails the sector’s No. 1 Sony PlayStation.




Microsoft is considering offering “the basic software” for Xbox, although no decision has been made, Microsoft Japan spokesman Kazushi Okabe said yesterday, confirming Gates’ comments reported in yesterday’s editions of Japan’s top business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun.




Gates hasn’t offered specifics about the kind of software or which companies would be involved. He also hasn’t said whether the arrangement would involve manufacturers making products other than game machines, such as digital consumer-electronics gadgets that combine PC functions with home appliances.




Compiled from Bloomberg News and The Associated Press




Nation/World



Microsoft/Tata



Venture to supply




China’s IT upgrade




Microsoft and India’s Tata Consultancy Services have been selected by China for a joint venture to supply computer-software services.




The joint venture, based in Beijing, will start operations in early 2006, Mumbai-based Tata Consultancy said yesterday in a statement.




The venture may help Tata Consultancy win more orders in China from the government and from overseas companies, as China spends to upgrade its information-technology infrastructure in preparation for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.




Tata Consultancy, India’s biggest software maker, will be the majority shareholder with more than a 60 percent stake, said Girija Pande, Asia Pacific regional director. China and Microsoft will own the rest of the company.



Amazon.com



Texas center to ship




oversized items




Amazon.com will open a 700,000-square-foot distribution center in Irving, Texas, for shipments of bulky items that can’t be handled at the Internet retailer’s automated centers.




The warehouse will open by the end of September and employ 80 workers, said Patty Smith, spokeswoman for Seattle-based Amazon. It will process shipments for Amazon and some merchants that sell through the company’s site, she said.




The center will be the fourth the company has opened this year to ship larger items, Smith said. Amazon has been selling more larger products, including consumer electronics.



AT&T



Shareholders OK




merger with SBC




AT&T shareholders yesterday approved the company’s $16 billion acquisition by SBC Communications that would create one of the world’s largest phone companies.




About 98 percent of voting shareholders approved the merger. About 71 percent of the outstanding shares were in favor.




US Airways




Plan offers creditors




options for payback




Creditors of bankrupt US Airways will receive either 10 percent of the money owed them or stock in the new airline under a reorganization plan filed yesterday in bankruptcy court.




US Airways, the nation’s seventh-largest carrier, filed for bankruptcy protection in September, its second trip into Chapter 11 since 2002.




The airline hopes to emerge from bankruptcy by year’s end by being acquired by America West Airlines.




Compiled from The Associated Press and Bloomberg News