In other items: Oil-rich Dubai invests $1 billion in DaimlerChrysler; agreement reached for Pulitzer chain; exchanges to provide direct financial data; cellphone shipments up 24 percent in 4th quarter; Firefox engineer's hiring by Google fuels rumors; streaming-video usage up 80 percent; and search-engine cash misunderstood, poll says.

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General Motors, the world’s largest automaker, will make anti-rollover systems and emergency aids such as OnStar standard equipment on every North American vehicle to underscore safety as a feature and win back customers.

The electronic stability-control system, now in 20 percent of its sport-utility vehicles, will be in all SUVS and vans by the end of 2007 and all its passenger vehicles by 2010, the automaker said yesterday.

Stability-control systems use microprocessors and sensors to apply the brakes and slow the engine automatically when a vehicle begins to go out of control. The technology prevents spinouts from escalating into rollovers.

The OnStar assistance system, now standard in about one-third of GM vehicles, will be in all models in 2007.


$1 billion invested by oil-rich Dubai

The government of the Gulf emirate of Dubai has bought a $1 billion stake in DaimlerChrysler, becoming the auto maker’s third-largest shareholder, it said yesterday.

The purchase was made through the government’s wholly owned Dubai Holding company, set up last year to oversee the emirate’s multibillion dollar investments.

Industry sources said neither Deutsche Bank nor the Gulf state of Kuwait, DaimlerChrysler’s biggest and second-largest shareholders, had reduced their stakes. Dubai’s stake was about 2 percent, the sources said.

Dubai is one of the emirates in the oil-rich Gulf state of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The emirate is striving to create a diversified, non-oil economy to make up for falling revenues from dwindling crude reserves.

Lee Enterprises

Agreement reached for Pulitzer chain

Newspaper owner Lee Enterprises agreed to buy Pulitzer Inc., which publishes daily and weekly newspapers including the St. Louis Post Dispatch, for $64 per share in cash, the companies said yesterday.

Lee, based in Davenport, Iowa, said the purchase would allow it to move into new markets. The purchase will increase its holdings to 58 daily newspapers in 23 states and boost total daily circulation to 1.7 million.


Exchanges to provide direct financial data

Yahoo! has agreed to take in data directly from stock exchanges to offer financial data to its users as well as other Web sites, the Internet media company said yesterday.

The service puts the Sunnyvale, Calif., company into more direct competition with such financial-data providers as Dow Jones and Reuters, which also license data directly from exchanges such as the Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange.

Craig Forman, vice president, information and finance, said Yahoo! would continue to license data from providers such as Reuters but that it wants “greater control and flexibility” over the financial data it receives and distributes. will be one of the first financial Web sites to license Yahoo!’s new data services and offer mutual-fund charting capabilities.


Cellphone shipments up 24 percent in 4th quarter

More cellphones than ever were shipped in the fourth quarter, with the industry growing 24 percent over the same quarter last year, the technology research firm IDC reported.

Nokia’s introduction of nine new models helped the Finnish phone maker maintain its market lead, although No. 2 Motorola grew at a faster rate on the strength of its own new models, IDC said.

Global shipments of mobile phones reached 194.3 million units in the October-to-December period, breaking the record of 164.5 million set in last year’s third quarter, IDC said. Shipments increased 18.1 percent from the third quarter to the fourth.

Cellphone shipments also broke a full-year record in 2004, with 664.5 million units shipped compared with 513.8 million in 2003, for a 29.3 percent gain.


Firefox engineer’s hiring fuels rumors

Web-search company Google has hired the lead engineer of the Firefox Web browser, fueling speculation Google will create its own version of Firefox to take on Microsoft’s dominant Internet Explorer.

Ben Goodger said in a note on his Web site that he would continue to work on Firefox, a free browser that has gained a popular following due to additional features and fewer attacks from malicious hackers than Internet Explorer is subjected to.

Internet cognoscenti have speculated about a Google browser since the company registered the domain and hired several Internet Explorer engineers last year.

A Google spokeswoman in London declined comment.

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt has said that the company is not building a browser, but that may leave room for Google to take the fully built Firefox browser and add its own features.

AccuStream iMedia

Streaming-video usage up 80 percent

As many as 14 billion video streams were accessed by Web users in 2004, according to a report by AccuStream iMedia Research of Monterey, Calif., up 80 percent from a year ago.


Search-engine cash misunderstood, poll says 

A survey by the Pew Internet & American Life project has found that while people are satisfied with results they get from Internet search engines, they don’t seem to know how they make money.

Deborah Fallows, senior research fellow at Pew and author of a report on the project, said users were “strikingly unaware” of the financial incentives that affect how search tools perform and present results.

Only 38 percent knew the distinction between paid and unpaid results, she said in a statement.

About 70 percent of respondents said search engines are “a fair and unbiased” source of information, she added.

Compiled from The Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Reuters and Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services