Our top 20 and month-by-month top five business stories for 2005.

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Our top 20 and month-by-month top five business stories for 2005.

OVERALL MOST-READ STORIES


1. Mac takes bite out of Windows


E-conomy column by Paul Andrews: How much switching is going on? Commenting on Microsoft’s recent quarterly earnings report, some analysts speculated the Redmond giant might be losing market share to Apple.


2. Microsoft Windows’ new Vista


By naming the next version of Windows “Vista,” Microsoft may have stepped on the toes of another software company just down the road in Redmond. That would be Vista, a business software and services company founded in 1999 by John Wall.


3. Study finds Windows more secure than Linux


Believe it or not, a Windows Web server is more secure than a similarly set-up Linux server, according to a study presented yesterday by two Florida researchers.


4. New “key” mandatory in Windows for updates


In a shift toward greater monitoring of personal computer systems and potentially less copying of software, Microsoft will require users to let the company place a software “key” on their systems if they want the free, regular system updates it provides.


5. Versatile, fun laptop is the Apple of my eye


Getting Started column by Linda Knapp: There are plenty of good reasons to choose a laptop or desktop for a student and lots of excellent models from which to choose. I like the iBook because it’s affordable, easy to use, comes with wireless capabilities for connecting to a campus network and iLife software (with iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and Garage Band) for storing and processing music, photos and movies.


6. Dot-con job: How InfoSpace took its investors for a ride


At its peak, InfoSpace was the Northwest’s biggest Internet business, worth more than $31 billion. Jain, a man obsessed with being more successful than Bill Gates, was himself worth $8 billion. He bought a palatial waterfront home in Medina down the street from his idol and another nearby on Mercer Island, along with two yachts and a piece of the Seattle SuperSonics. What Paul Allen, Bev Hess and hundreds of other shareholders didn’t know was this: InfoSpace’s success was an illusion, created by lies and deception.


7. Microsoft plans to outsource more, says ex-worker


Microsoft is on track to outsource more than 1,000 jobs a year to China, according to blistering evidence released yesterday in Microsoft’s increasingly nasty spat with Google over an employee who jumped ship in July.


8. Starbucks cups with gay author’s quote pulled from Baylor


Coffee cups with a gay author’s quote about growing up homosexual have been pulled from Baylor University’s Starbucks coffee shop.


9. Microsoft’s Virtual Earth latest to connect map and search


Microsoft is launching an early version of MSN Virtual Earth, a mapping service that closely ties to its Web search engine and its Web log program. The release, at 9 p.m. yesterday, is the company’s answer to a mapping service from search-sector leader Google that debuted earlier this year.


10. The story behind new Xbox design


Microsoft’s Xbox team was sure of one thing when it set out to design a new console: If the system won the approval of Japanese consumers, then others would love it as well. Microsoft also wanted its new console, which it named the Xbox 360, to become a part of home-entertainment systems around the world.


11. Photos of new Xbox leaked before official unveiling


The camera phone has struck again, and this time it put a serious wrinkle in the public-relations strategy Microsoft had appeared to craft. The company’s plans to unveil its next-generation Xbox console in a splashy MTV special Thursday were crimped over the weekend as leaked photos of the machine showed up online.


12. Gamers report glitches playing new Xbox 360


Microsoft’s Xbox 360, the much-anticipated video game system that made its debut earlier this week, is apparently experiencing some technical glitches. Microsoft played down the number of complaints, saying the company has received only “a few, isolated reports” of Xbox 360 consoles with problems.


13. Boeing forces out CEO Stonecipher for affair


Boeing Co. CEO Harry Stonecipher, brought back from retirement 15 months ago to boost the aerospace manufacturer’s tainted image, has been forced out because of a new ethics scandal involving an affair he had this year with a female company executive.


14. Dot-con job: When times got tough, execs hid troubles, dumped stock


When InfoSpace Chairman Naveen Jain went on CNN’s financial network in late 2000, he proclaimed that his Internet company was doing great. “Our wireless business is on fire!” But privately, he and key executives knew better. As the company’s finances worsened, key executives angled to get around trading restrictions to sell large blocks of personal stock before its value evaporated. Others just quit and sold their holdings.


15. Boeing board took eight days to decide CEO had to go


Members of Boeing’s board had barely unpacked on the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 27, when they were told of a new crisis. How to handle it temporarily divided the board and roiled the company’s top echelon for eight days, according to people familiar with the events. Two days earlier, Boeing’s general counsel, chairman Lewis Platt and its vice president of ethics had received written allegations from an employee that Chief Executive Officer Harry Stonecipher had an ethical problem of his own.


16. iPod Photo is almost a dream come true


Getting Started column by Linda Knapp: I can’t remember exactly when and where I first heard about the new iPod Photo, but from that moment I couldn’t wait to have one in my hands.


17. Vista promises tested


Windows Vista will solve many, but not all of the security woes plaguing PC users, according to some experts evaluating the Microsoft operating system going on sale in late 2006.


18. Microsoft sees a future on the small screen


It took 12 years and more than $10 billion, but one of Microsoft’s biggest dreams may finally be coming true: The company is close to becoming a major player in the television business.


19. Starbucks shutting its Torrefazione coffee bars


Specialty-coffee giant Starbucks has decided to close its Torrefazione Italia cafes and focus on developing the upscale coffee brand through grocery and food-service deals, a company spokesman confirmed yesterday.


20. Microsoft lays off 62 testers


Microsoft is laying off 62 test engineers in the second round of cuts hitting Windows testers in the past five months.


MOST-READ STORIES: JANUARY


1. Microsoft lays off 62 testers


Microsoft is laying off 62 test engineers in the second round of cuts hitting Windows testers in the past five months.


2. Melting ice may create shipping shortcut


Patricia Davis was listening to a lecture aboard an Alaska-bound cruise ship last September when the Port of Seattle commissioner heard something that immediately changed the way she thought about the frigid expanse of water at the top of the world: An international consortium of scientists has concluded that the polar ice cap is melting at such an alarming rate that cargo ships could begin using the Arctic Ocean as a shortcut between Asia, Europe and the East Coast within decades.


3. Credit reports free, but not easy


You’ll need time, patience and a measure of caution if you plan to take advantage of a new federal law to obtain free credit reports from the three major credit bureaus.


4. Microsoft planning major Redmond project


Microsoft is filing plans Monday for a redevelopment of its Redmond campus to accommodate the 10,000 to 12,000 new employees it expects to add locally over the next 10 to 20 years, cementing its commitment to the Puget Sound region.


5. Amazon CEO gives us peek into space plans


The editor of the Van Horn Advocate knew something was afoot when Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos bought 165,000 acres of land near the tiny West Texas town last year and started dropping in regularly in his private jet. But Larry D. Simpson respected the billionaire’s privacy. On Monday, Bezos dropped into Simpson’s office to say he intends to build a rocket-testing range — and possibly a spaceport — on the high desert north of town.


MOST-READ STORIES: FEBRUARY


1. Study finds Windows more secure than Linux


Believe it or not, a Windows Web server is more secure than a similarly set-up Linux server, according to a study presented yesterday by two Florida researchers.


2. iPod Photo is almost a dream come true


Getting Started column by Linda Knapp: I can’t remember exactly when and where I first heard about the new iPod Photo, but from that moment I couldn’t wait to have one in my hands.


3. Amazon searches for big office digs


At the height of the region’s high-tech boom, Amazon.com’s decision to move its headquarters to the historic Pacific Medical Center tower, perched on the north end of Beacon Hill, was as much a statement about the company’s ambitions as it was a reflection of just how hard good office space was to come by in Seattle.


4. Suit against retailer certified class action


Shelby Port didn’t particularly like the green pants and maroon tops that were part of “The Look” she was supposed to be promoting as a saleswoman at Abercrombie & Fitch one season. But what really got to her was that she and others had to spend their own money to buy the clothes or risk losing their jobs, according to a lawsuit filed against the clothing retailer by current and former Abercrombie employees. The suit was recently certified in King County Superior Court as a class-action lawsuit.


5. Wal-Mart to close store where workers have sought first-ever union contract


Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said today it will close a Canadian store whose workers are on the verge of becoming the first ever to win a union contract from the world’s biggest retailer.


MOST-READ STORIES: MARCH


1. Dot-con job: How InfoSpace took its investors for a ride


At its peak, InfoSpace was the Northwest’s biggest Internet business, worth more than $31 billion. Jain, a man obsessed with being more successful than Bill Gates, was himself worth $8 billion. He bought a palatial waterfront home in Medina down the street from his idol and another nearby on Mercer Island, along with two yachts and a piece of the Seattle SuperSonics. What Paul Allen, Bev Hess and hundreds of other shareholders didn’t know was this: InfoSpace’s success was an illusion, created by lies and deception.


2. Boeing forces out CEO Stonecipher for affair


Boeing Co. CEO Harry Stonecipher, brought back from retirement 15 months ago to boost the aerospace manufacturer’s tainted image, has been forced out because of a new ethics scandal involving an affair he had this year with a female company executive.


3. Boeing board took eight days to decide CEO had to go


Members of Boeing’s board had barely unpacked on the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 27, when they were told of a new crisis. How to handle it temporarily divided the board and roiled the company’s top echelon for eight days, according to people familiar with the events. Two days earlier, Boeing’s general counsel, chairman Lewis Platt and its vice president of ethics had received written allegations from an employee that Chief Executive Officer Harry Stonecipher had an ethical problem of his own.


4. Dot-con job: When times got tough, execs hid troubles, dumped stock


When InfoSpace Chairman Naveen Jain went on CNN’s financial network in late 2000, he proclaimed that his Internet company was doing great. “Our wireless business is on fire!” But privately, he and key executives knew better. As the company’s finances worsened, key executives angled to get around trading restrictions to sell large blocks of personal stock before its value evaporated. Others just quit and sold their holdings.


5. Microsoft’s “Thoreau” takes to woods to ponder future


“Hi, thanks for coming,” said Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, appearing eager for company after four days alone at the waterfront cottage. He was there for his “Think Week,” a seven-day stretch of seclusion he uses to ponder the future of technology and then propagate those thoughts across the Microsoft empire.


MOST-READ STORIES: APRIL


1. Plugged in to Microsoft’s biggest rival


When Microsoft realized it was caught flatfooted by the rise of Linux and other freely shared open-source software, Chief Executive Ballmer called on Martin Taylor to step into the fire once again and lead the fight. Taylor, 35, heads an 18-person platform strategy group that has helped reposition Microsoft to face what’s become its biggest competition.


2. Fraud charges for Starbucks employee


A federal grand jury charged a Starbucks human-resources employee with giving her co-workers’ personal information to others, who then used it to make $1.5 million in illegal bank withdrawals.


3. Gates betting on “Longhorn” software


The software, code-named Longhorn, is a new version of the company’s flagship Windows operating system that’s in the homestretch of development. Test versions will be done this summer, and at an industry conference yesterday, Microsoft began helping computer-hardware makers learn how to build Longhorn-based products to sell in late 2006.


4. Keeping watch now goes both ways


Concerned about Big Brother watching you? Why not watch back? As much as some may recoil against the thought, experts headlining a four-day conference in Seattle said yesterday putting one’s own life on record could prove the best defense against growing government and corporate incursions into privacy.


5. Potential theft of LexisNexis profiles 10 times worse than thought


Up to 10 times as many people as originally thought may have had their profiles stolen from a LexisNexis database in the United States, publisher and data broker Reed Elsevier Group PLC said today.


MOST-READ STORIES: MAY


1. The story behind new Xbox design


Microsoft’s Xbox team was sure of one thing when it set out to design a new console: If the system won the approval of Japanese consumers, then others would love it as well. Microsoft also wanted its new console, which it named the Xbox 360, to become a part of home-entertainment systems around the world.


2. Photos of new Xbox leaked before official unveiling


The camera phone has struck again, and this time it put a serious wrinkle in the public-relations strategy Microsoft had appeared to craft. The company’s plans to unveil its next-generation Xbox console in a splashy MTV special Thursday were crimped over the weekend as leaked photos of the machine showed up online.


3. Sony promptly trumps Xbox


After a week of seeing Microsoft steal the video-game spotlight, Sony roared back yesterday with news that its next-generation video-game console, the PlayStation 3, will be available next spring.


4. Microsoft learns to crawl


Microsoft didn’t just miss the boat in search technology. It missed the dock, the pier and the turnoff to the marina. The company has relentlessly pursued new businesses over the years, hoping to find another cash cow that could churn out revenue like its Windows and Office products. But while Microsoft pumped money into video games, cellphones and other ventures, the search business it had ignored quietly became a star.


5. Have a nice day at 730 mph


Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann has taken a Boeing 777-200LR jetliner above 30,000 feet and let it stall, testing whether it can recover without a precipitous drop. She has put it into a dive, approaching the speed of sound. Soon, while accelerating down the runway, she’ll shut one of the two engines to test that the jet can still take off safely.


MOST-READ STORIES: JUNE


1. Starbucks shutting its Torrefazione coffee bars


Specialty-coffee giant Starbucks has decided to close its Torrefazione Italia cafes and focus on developing the upscale coffee brand through grocery and food-service deals, a company spokesman confirmed yesterday.


2. Shortage of homes for sale worsens in King County


Where are the sellers? That’s what homebuyers and their real-estate agents were asking last month as the number of properties for sale in central Puget Sound counties plunged.


3. Southwest Airlines weighs relocation to Boeing Field


Low-fare giant Southwest Airlines, upset about the skyrocketing cost of flying out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, is considering moving its Seattle operations to Boeing Field.


4. Boeing unveils 787’s sleek “lines”


In lieu of the actual 787 airplane, which won’t fly until 2007, Boeing brought to the Paris Air Show some tantalizing photos. Boeing’s show-and-tell at the air show today was expected to highlight photos of the plane’s nose-and-cockpit section, fresh-baked in a single piece of black, Darth Vader-like plastic — something the aerospace industry has not seen before in a large commercial jet.


5. Alaska says it, too, may shift flights if rival leaves Sea-Tac


Alaska Air Group came out swinging yesterday against a possible move by low-fare giant Southwest Airlines from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Boeing Field. But if its rival moves to the lower-cost airfield, Alaska said, it may shift some of its own flights as well.


MOST-READ STORIES: JULY


1. Microsoft Windows’ new Vista


By naming the next version of Windows “Vista,” Microsoft may have stepped on the toes of another software company just down the road in Redmond. That would be Vista, a business software and services company founded in 1999 by John Wall.


2. New “key” mandatory in Windows for updates


Get ready to register with Microsoft if you want to update your Windows operating system. In a shift toward greater monitoring of personal computer systems and potentially less copying of software, Microsoft will require users to let the company place a software “key” on their systems if they want the free, regular system updates it provides.


3. Microsoft’s Virtual Earth latest to connect map and search


This is the year that online maps and Web search come together. Microsoft is launching an early version of MSN Virtual Earth, a mapping service that closely ties to its Web search engine and its Web log program. The release, at 9 p.m. yesterday, is the company’s answer to a mapping service from search-sector leader Google that debuted earlier this year.


4. Vista promises tested


Windows Vista will solve many, but not all of the security woes plaguing PC users, according to some experts evaluating the Microsoft operating system going on sale in late 2006.


5. Microsoft’s new operating system named “Vista”


Finally playing off its Windows brand name, Microsoft is naming the next version of its flagship operating system “Vista.” The name is intended to emphasize selling points of the software, including improvements in the way users can view information stored on a PC. The software that will replace Windows XP in late 2006 had previously been referred to by its code-name “Longhorn.”


MOST-READ STORIES: AUGUST


1. Versatile, fun laptop is the Apple of my eye


Getting Started column by Linda Knapp: There are plenty of good reasons to choose a laptop or desktop for a student and lots of excellent models from which to choose. I like the iBook because it’s affordable, easy to use, comes with wireless capabilities for connecting to a campus network and iLife software (with iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and Garage Band) for storing and processing music, photos and movies.


2. Microsoft hires Wal-Mart exec


A top Wal-Mart executive was named head of sales at Microsoft yesterday in a surprise reorganization of the software company’s executive ranks. Kevin Turner, who rose from checkout clerk at the Ada, Okla., Wal-Mart to chief executive of its Sam’s Club division, starts work Sept. 8 in Redmond as chief operating officer.


3. Pump isn’t only spot high gas prices to hit


Skyrocketing crude-oil prices are hitting Americans in the wallet in ways they might not imagine, increasing the price of everything from pizza delivery to patching a leaky roof.


4. Nearly half of job-changers cash out 401(k) accounts


About 45 percent of all workers who left their employers last year opted to cash out their 401(k) savings, a new study shows.


5. Microsoft’s stock stirs from years of slumber


It’s still no Google, but Microsoft stock may be rising from years of slumber. After steadily losing value this year and hovering around $26 for three years, the stock abruptly rose 6 percent after a rousing financial-analyst meeting July 28 in Redmond, where Chief Executive Steve Ballmer lectured investors on how they’re overlooking the company’s potential.


MOST-READ STORIES: SEPTEMBER


1. Microsoft plans to outsource more, says ex-worker


Microsoft is on track to outsource more than 1,000 jobs a year to China, according to blistering evidence released yesterday in Microsoft’s increasingly nasty spat with Google over an employee who jumped ship in July.


2. Starbucks cups with gay author’s quote pulled from Baylor


Coffee cups with a gay author’s quote about growing up homosexual have been pulled from Baylor University’s Starbucks coffee shop.


3. Google sprints ahead with versatile Desktop


For many people, Google first showed up on their computers as a lone item on a long list of Web bookmarks. Since then, it has grown to be much more — an e-mail account, a browser toolbar, a photo album and a map of the world. Now the Mountain View, Calif., company is offering a program that can replace much of the Windows Start menu, and maybe even the Windows desktop itself.


4. Boeing strike is on


Boeing’s largest labor union forcefully rejected a three-year contract proposal from the company yesterday and began picketing plants in three states shortly after midnight. It is the Machinists’ first strike since a 69-day walkout in 1995.


5. Machinists go on strike at Boeing


Machinists who work at Boeing plants in Washington, Oregon and Kansas voted to strike with an overwhelming 86 percent vote.


MOST-READ STORIES: OCTOBER


1. Microsoft sees a future on the small screen


It took 12 years and more than $10 billion, but one of Microsoft’s biggest dreams may finally be coming true: The company is close to becoming a major player in the television business.


2. Changes in tech world almost too fast to follow


It’s not another bubble, but wild times are back in the technology industry. That’s created a wave of tech news this week that feels like the boom of 1999 viewed through a funhouse mirror: Apple rolls out video players, Google bids on America Online, Microsoft makes nice with RealNetworks and does deals with Yahoo!


3. Buyers shift gears to high-mileage cars


John Mathews, who manages a Toyota dealership in San Antonio, has witnessed the day Detroit auto-industry executives said would never come. “We are seeing people who are driving $40,000 Suburbans trading them in on $15,000 Corollas,” said Mathews, whose Universal Toyota dealership competes in a state where big trucks and sport-utility vehicles rule the roads.


4. Exxon’s quarterly revenue equals $45 million an hour


More than a billion dollars a day, $45 million an hour, almost $340 for every living American — that’s what Exxon Mobil reported in third-quarter revenue Thursday. For the oil giant, that translated to $9.9 billion in net income.


5. New woes for Alaska jackscrew servicing


A jackscrew with inadequate lubrication was discovered yesterday during a check of an Alaska Airlines jet, less than a week after federal officials opened an investigation into an earlier report of a jackscrew that had not been greased.


MOST-READ STORIES: NOVEMBER


1. Mac takes bite out of Windows


E-conomy column by Paul Andrews: How much switching is going on? Commenting on Microsoft’s recent quarterly earnings report, some analysts speculated the Redmond giant might be losing market share to Apple.


2. Gamers report glitches playing new Xbox 360


Microsoft’s Xbox 360, the much-anticipated video game system that made its debut earlier this week, is apparently experiencing some technical glitches. Microsoft played down the number of complaints, saying the company has received only “a few, isolated reports” of Xbox 360 consoles with problems.


3. Oprah support starts run on Nordstrom bras


Oprah Winfrey Tuesday aired “Oprah’s Bra and Jean Intervention,” a show that declared women everywhere were likely wearing (gasp) the wrong bra and the wrong jeans. Seattle-based Nordstrom helped transform her television studio into the Oprah Bra Boutique for the show, flying in 35 professional bra fitters from its stores and a selection of some 8,000 bras. Since the show aired nationally, the number of bras sold at the upscale retailer has increased 189 percent compared with the same period a year ago.


4. Microsoft supersizes Windows


Microsoft made its fortune selling the equivalent of Fords, not Ferraris, but today it’s wading into the rarefied world of supercomputing with a new version of Windows for managing massively powerful computing systems. Chairman Bill Gates is introducing a test version of a new product, Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003, at the SC\05, a supercomputing conference held this year in Seattle.


5. New 787 goes on diet to keep that svelte look airlines love


Airline executives admire slim lines and sleek curves. There’s nothing like added weight to kill their ardor for a planned airplane, because it can turn an efficient jet into a gas guzzler. But Boeing has good news for 787 weight watchers — in particular the 100 or so airline customers gathered for a two-day summit in Seattle about the hot-selling new jet.