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Pacific Northwest

Weyerhaeuser

Dividend increase

being considered

Weyerhaeuser “clearly has room to consider additional dividend increases” as profit has increased, Chief Financial Officer Richard Taggart said yesterday at a forest-products industry conference in New York.

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Federal Way-based Weyerhaeuser had a profit last year of $1.28 billion, more than four times the previous year, as prices rose for homes and lumber.

The company doesn’t expect significant costs because of damage or lost production after Hurricane Katrina hit Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, Chief Operating Officer Richard Hanson said. Lumber mills lost about 30 million board feet of production, the equivalent of “a few weeks” at one mill, he said.

The world’s largest lumber company is assessing the damage to about 350,000 acres of timberland that were in the hurricane’s path, which represents less than 1 percent of the company’s wood holdings, he said.

Microsoft

Google eyes offer

to settle Lee suit

Google is reviewing a formal offer from Microsoft to settle a lawsuit after a judge ruled that former Microsoft Vice President Kai-Fu Lee can recruit for Google’s research center in Beijing.

Microsoft made the offer Tuesday after King County Superior Court Judge Steven Gonzalez issued a ruling that stopped Lee from working on technical research at Google and permitted him to identify a site location and recruit Chinese engineers. Microsoft filed the suit in July, arguing that Lee’s work at Google violates a noncompete agreement.

Microsoft offered to make the terms of Gonzalez’s ruling permanent until Lee’s noncompete accord expires in July, said company spokeswoman Stacy Drake. For now, the ruling holds until a trial in January. Both companies have called Gonzalez’s ruling a victory.

Microsoft

Support, training

will be upgraded

Microsoft, which angered customers four years ago by raising prices on multiyear software licenses, will offer more free training, support and software to increase sales of long-term contracts.

Two- and three-year Software Assurance licenses will include free round-the-clock support, more training and access to a custom Windows with better data security, Vice President Brent Callinicos said Wednesday. The licenses include all upgrades for a product over the term of the contract.

Labor market

Spanish-speaking

can use Web site

The state Employment Security Department now offers a Spanish-translation Web site that allows workers to file unemployment claims, run job searches and download forms for non-English speakers.

Unlike other Spanish-translated Web sites, this one involves the entire Employment Security portal, which means that all the inside links will lead to Spanish pages. The Web address is home-sp.go2ui.com.

Compiled from Bloomberg News and Seattle Times staff