Connexion by Boeing, the wireless in-flight Internet service, said Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) will become its first customer to...

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Boeing



SAS brings Connexion Web service to Seattle


Connexion by Boeing, the wireless in-flight Internet service, said Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) will become its first customer to introduce the service in the Seattle market.


Starting this week, SAS will offer the service on daily flights between Seattle and Copenhagen, aboard an Airbus A340, expanding it to all SAS international long-haul flights by March. The service costs $30 per flight.


SAS is the second airline after Lufthansa to offer the Connexion service in the United States. Lufthansa will provide the service in 13 North American cities.

Amazon



Internet retailer adds phone service

Amazon.com is testing telephone orders for some higher-cost merchandise such as digital cameras as it looks for ways to attract more customers, Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said.

The largest Internet retailer is taking a limited number of orders, Bezos said Friday, adding the service may make sense where the profit on the items is high enough to cover the added costs of telephone service.


“We’re not purists with respect to any technology,” Bezos said. “If we can serve customer needs better by using traditional technology like the telephone, we’ll do it.”

Bezos said the company can’t afford to offer telephone service for a $20 book with a gross profit of $4. He said it may make sense to answer customer questions on a digital camera that costs $800 and has a gross profit of $80.


Microsoft


Deal with Flextronics for “smartphones”

CANNES, France — Microsoft today announced a partnership with Singapore’s Flextronics to market a new range of high-specification phones, running Windows Mobile, to handset makers and network operators worldwide.


The deal with the largest contract maker of handsets comes as companies like Motorola and Samsung Electronics push to improve profits on high-tech “smartphones” and wireless services.

Microsoft and Flextronics said the new “Peabody” phone platform — a blueprint from which any number of new models can be designed to order — would cut costs and production time.


The announcement came on the first day of the 3GSM World Congress, an annual mobile-industry event in Cannes, France.

Google



177 million shares unlocked today

Investors in Google are preparing for the expiration today of the last and largest wave of restrictions on insider selling, which will make 62 percent eligible for trade.

There is no guarantee of what actually will be sold, but nearly 177 million shares become unlocked today.


The terms of Google’s initial public offering put restrictions on insider sales for the first six months after the IPO to avoid an immediate sell-off.

Many investors don’t expect the market to be overwhelmed today by big sales from Google workers.


General Motors


$2 billion to end Fiat partnership



ROME — General Motors agreed yesterday to pay Fiat $2 billion to resolve a contract dispute, allowing the U.S. carmaker to divest its stake in Fiat’s troubled auto unit and revise the companies’ business relationship.

The agreement dissolves a five-year partnership between Fiat and GM but does not entail a complete separation, the two said. The carmakers will dismantle their joint venture that manufactures engines and transmissions.


The dispute centered on a “put option” included in the 2000 agreement, which gave Fiat the right to demand GM buy the rest of the car unit. Having to honor the option would be deeply damaging for GM, which announced plans last year to cut about 12,000 jobs in Europe in a bid to save about $600 million annually.

Pew Internet



Online-banking use is high for adults

NEW YORK — Nearly half of U.S. adult Internet users perform banking chores online, according to a new survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Those with broadband connections were more likely to have tried online banking: 63 percent versus 32 percent with dial-up.


Overall, 44 percent of Internet users bank online, compared with 30 percent in a 2002 survey.

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