Other items: Movie Gallery CEO says offer will stand; Company lowers its earnings outlook; Fed bars company from acquisitions

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Microsoft


The European Commission has given Microsoft “a couple of weeks” to respond to criticism that its license terms restrict vital technical information, are too expensive and exclude developers of open-source software such as Linux, commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said yesterday.

Last March, the commission, the European Union regulator, accused Microsoft of using its more than 95 percent share of the market for personal computer-operating systems to dominate related markets. It ordered the company to license some information, sell a version of Windows without a media player and pay a fine of $660 million. The company is appealing the decision.

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“There’s no specific timeframe” for the company to fully comply with the order, Todd said. “The commission remains patient, but there are limits to the patience we are prepared to show.”

In an interview Thursday, Microsoft spokesman Tom Brookes said, “We remain committed to working with the commission.”

Hollywood Entertainment

Movie Gallery CEO says offer will stand

Movie Gallery Chief Executive Officer Joe Malugen said the company has no intention of raising its bid for Hollywood Entertainment and called Blockbusters’ rival bid for Hollywood “illegitimate.”

Dothan, Ala.-based Movie Gallery’s offer of $13.25 a share in cash, or about $900 million, for Wilsonville, Ore.-based Hollywood has received Federal Trade Commission approval and awaits a vote from Hollywood shareholders.

The Blockbuster hostile offer is for $14.50 a share in cash and stock, or about $985 million.

Meanwhile, Malugen, who is also chairman and president, said during a conference call yesterday that the FTC is primed to file an injunction against Blockbuster’s offer because of antitrust concerns.

Nation / World

RadioShack

Company lowers its earnings outlook

RadioShack, the consumer-electronics retailer, lowered its earnings outlook yesterday because of a slowdown in wireless sales and a weaker-than-expected performance in its battery business.

Its shares skidded $3.11, or 11.2 percent, to close at $24.60.

RadioShack lowered its first-quarter earnings forecast to between 30 and 34 cents per share from a previous forecast of 39 to 41 cents. The company also said it will probably fail to achieve its full-year forecast for earnings of $2.34 to $2.40 per share.

Citigroup

Fed bars company from acquisitions

The Federal Reserve has barred Citigroup, the largest U.S. financial institution, from making major new acquisitions until it corrects regulatory problems that have gotten it into trouble with authorities in several countries.

Also, the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the sale of company stock by a former senior executive of Citigroup, Victor Menezes, a few weeks before the company reported a substantial charge against its books in 2002. Menezes’ lawyer said the sale was proper and not based on any advance knowledge.

Compiled from Bloomberg News, Dow Jones/The Associated Press