Pacific Northwest A federal judge temporarily blocked Microsoft from using a networking feature in future versions of its Windows operating...

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Microsoft


A federal judge temporarily blocked Microsoft from using a networking feature in future versions of its Windows operating system.


U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White in San Francisco said Microsoft can’t sell or market its “Chimney” design while a lawsuit over a patent owned by Alacritech is pending, Alacritech said in a statement.


Chimney is slated to be used in the “Longhorn” version of the Windows operating system scheduled for release late next year, and in server software.


San Jose, Calif.-based Alacritech claims Microsoft is infringing on its intellectual property rights.


But Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said the company’s Chimney technology was “independently developed by Microsoft engineers.” No software using Chimney has been released, and because the Longhorn operating system won’t be released until next year, Drake said, the lawsuit will have “no immediate customer impact.”




Low-cost Windows launched in Brazil

Microsoft launched a scaled-back version of its Windows operating system in Brazil yesterday, hoping to get more people using computers in Latin America’s largest country while cutting down on rampant software piracy. It may also expand Microsoft’s presence in a nation that has embraced Linux and other open-source software.


Brazil becomes the first country in the Western Hemisphere to get the low-cost XP Starter Edition, which lets users run just three programs concurrently.


Motion Picture Association



Edmonds man sued by 2 movie studios

Two movie studios filed a lawsuit yesterday against an Edmonds man who they claim has illegally downloaded movies on the KaZaA file-sharing network. The suit alleges that George Cartwright infringed copyrights by downloading the movies. The Motion Picture Association said yesterday that the lawsuit is part of a “dramatic escalation” of its campaign to fight film piracy. Cartwright could not be reached for comment.


Boeing



Singapore to be site


of simulator center

Boeing’s Alteon Training subsidiary said it will build a simulator center in Singapore to serve the rapidly growing Southeast Asia market. Slated to open early next year, the center will be able to train more than 6,000 pilot and flight-attendant students a year, the company said.


The center initially will have two simulators, one for the Boeing 777 200-300 and one for the Airbus A320. Four others will be added within six months.


Intelligent Results



Bellevue firm wins U.S. intelligence pact

Bellevue-based Intelligent Results said it has won a long-term contract from the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) to support national-security efforts. The contract relates to helping INSCOM develop actionable intelligence from data the agency collects. The company did not announce terms.


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


Apple Computer



Apple profits soar, thanks to iPod sales



Apple Computer was singing a happy tune yesterday after the company reported that an approximately fivefold increase in the sale of its iPod digital-music players helped trigger a huge jump in profits and revenues.


The Cupertino, Calif., company said that profits for the quarter that ended March 26 jumped to $290 million from $46 million during the same period last year. In addition, quarterly revenue soared 70 percent to $3.24 billion.


The sales and financial results surpassed Wall Street’s expectations. However, in after-hours trading, Apple shares fell as some investors were apparently disappointed by the company’s sales projections for the current quarter.


LexisNexis



Previous ID leaks hinted at in hearing

A LexisNexis executive said yesterday there may have been an earlier breach of consumers’ personal data that was never reported to the public.


The disclosure at a Senate hearing came a day after London’s Reed Elsevier, which owns LexisNexis, revealed that criminals may have breached computer files containing the personal information of 310,000 people since January 2003. That was a tenfold increase over the 32,000 people the company said in March were put at risk. The company said the fraud involved the improper use of IDs and passwords.


“I believe there may have been a security breach in LexisNexis prior to 2003 that involved personal data and we did not make notice,” Kurt Sanford, LexisNexis’ president and chief executive for U.S. corporate and federal markets, said in response to questioning at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.


Sanford gave no details. LexisNexis spokesman Sean McCabe said later that Sanford was referring to more than one past breach, but he could provide no information about how many there were, when they took place or how serious they were.


Northwest Airlines



600 more mechanics getting layoff notices

Northwest Airlines plans to lay off 600 Minnesota mechanics as part of a previously announced plan to cut up to 930 mechanics jobs this year.


Kurt Ebenhoch, a spokesman for Northwest in Eagan, Minn., said the layoff notices sent yesterday would be effective in July. He said two heavy-maintenance lines operated by outside companies also were being shut down.


Last month, Northwest said the job cuts were the result of its decision to park about 30 DC-9s and close a heavy-maintenance line in the Twin Cities that services them. The DC-9s have an average age of 33.8 years.


The company announced an initial 140 layoffs, so the total for the year is 740, including the 600 announced yesterday.


SEC



Stock-option rule likely to be delayed

Most U.S. companies would get a six-month reprieve from new rules requiring employees’ stock options to be counted against profits in a move likely to be made by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).


The new rules set by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the nation’s accounting rule-maker, call for publicly traded companies to record employee stock options as an expense beginning with their first fiscal reporting period after June 15. The mandate could significantly reduce the reported earnings of many big companies, especially in the high-tech industry.


But SEC staff members have recommended delaying when the rules take effect, a source said yesterday, speaking on condition of anonymity and confirming a report in The Wall Street Journal.


The recommendation is to make the rules effective for companies’ fiscal years, not quarters, starting after June 15. Most companies have years beginning Jan. 1, giving them an additional six months to comply.


The SEC commissioners are expected to vote to approve the delay, the source said.


Freddie Mac



“Quick refinancing” called unintentional

Freddie Mac, the second-biggest buyer of residential home loans, said it unknowingly bought mortgages made on terms it called “unacceptable” and that encouraged the “quick refinancing” of the loans.


The loans were made through a mortgage broker in California that provided borrowers with incentives to refinance, said Sharon McHale, a Freddie Mac spokeswoman.


The practices were identified by National City Mortgage, a unit of National City of Cleveland, amid an investigation by Freddie Mac into fast refinancing rates of mortgages purchased from the lender, McHale said.


Siebel Systems



Webvan vet replaces ousted CEO

Siebel Systems ousted J. Michael Lawrie as its chief executive yesterday, coming off a disappointing quarter that raised questions about his ability to turn around the troubled business-software maker.


Lawrie resigned at the request of Siebel Systems’ board, which concluded he hadn’t made adequate progress since becoming CEO in May, said Tom Siebel, chairman and founder of the San Mateo, Calif., company.


Lawrie, 51, is being replaced by longtime Siebel board member George Shaheen, best known in Silicon Valley for overseeing the collapse of online grocer Webvan Group in 2001.


Air service



Pact to allow direct U.S.-India flights

India’s federal Cabinet yesterday approved a proposed Indo-U.S. air-services pact that would allow direct commercial flights between any Indian and U.S. city.


“As a result of this, there will be uninterrupted services between any two cities of the United States and India,” India’s Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said.


Earlier yesterday, India and Britain agreed to more than double the number of weekly flights between the two countries from 40, opening dozens of lucrative new routes for airlines.


Last week, Continental Airlines said it would launch daily nonstop fights between New York and New Delhi beginning Oct. 31, subject to government approvals.


In February, Northwest Airlines asked the U.S. Department of Transportation for broad authority to serve India, which is witnessing a sharp growth in international passenger traffic on the back of a robust economy.


Compiled from the Los Angeles Times, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Reuters