An assembly-line worker charged with vandalizing a military helicopter at a Boeing plant near Philadelphia was upset about...

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Pacific Northwest

An assembly-line worker charged with vandalizing a military helicopter at a Boeing plant near Philadelphia was upset about a job transfer and cut a bundle of about 70 electrical wires during his last shift on the Chinook line, federal investigators said Tuesday.

Matthew Kevin Montgomery, 33, had worked at the plant for about 18 months before his arrest Monday, nine days after the H-47 Chinook aircraft was disabled.

Authorities say he is not currently a suspect in a separate act of vandalism on another helicopter at the plant.

Montgomery continued to work at the plant, where he made $19.10 an hour working the second shift, until meeting with federal investigators Monday.

Media

Publisher predicts ad-revenue drop

Combined advertising revenue for Seattle’s two daily newspapers is forecast to drop to $195 million this year, with an expected $41 million of that for the hard-hit classified-advertising category, Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen said in an e-mail to employees Tuesday.

The revenue figure would represent a 29 percent drop since 2000, a year that also saw classified ads total $125 million, nearly half the two papers’ total ad revenue.

The Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer maintain separate news operations, but The Times Co. handles advertising and other business functions for both under a federally sanctioned joint-operating agreement (JOA).

In his e-mail, Blethen said the revenue problems plaguing the Seattle papers and the entire industry probably “will continue until the recession ends, which could be several more quarters.”

Blethen said The Times has lost a total of $49 million this decade. Earlier this month the newspaper reduced its staff by about 7 percent through layoffs and buyouts.

Microsoft

Trial date set on Vista claims

Microsoft faces a trial next year on claims it misled consumers about which computers can run its most advanced Vista operating system.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman in Seattle set the April 13, 2009, date on Monday, six weeks after suspending the case so Microsoft could seek permission to appeal her order certifying the complaint as a class action or group lawsuit. A U.S. appeals court denied that petition April 21.

Seattle law firm Gordon, Tilden, Thomas & Cordell filed the suit last year.

Trade

Seattle U gets national award

Seattle University received a national award from President Bush on Tuesday for its program to help businesses expand exports.

In a ceremony at the White House, Bush presented Seattle University President Father Stephen Sundborg with the “E” Award for the university’s Education for Global Executives (EDGE) program at the Albers School of Business and Economics.

The award, created in 1961, is given by the federal government to American companies and organizations that significantly contribute to expansion of export trade in the U.S.

In the Seattle University program, business students collaborate with local companies to increase sales in overseas markets. Students helped Bothell-based HaloSource, a antimicrobial company, introduce and sell new products and develop an effective international-marketing program.

Vulcan Real Estate

Affordable-housing complex opens

Vulcan Real Estate has completed construction of Borealis Apartments, a South Lake Union complex aimed at tenants with below-average incomes, and the first residents are moving in this week, the company said Tuesday.

Borealis, at Denny Way and Dexter Avenue North, has 53 apartments reserved for people who earn less than 80 percent of King County’s median household income.

About half the units have been leased, a spokesman said.

Vulcan agreed to build the relatively affordable apartments when it acquired eight surplus South Lake Union properties from the city in 2001.

Microsoft

Jorgensen gets new MSN duties

Microsoft put Erik Jorgensen in charge of content and engineering for the software company’s online unit.

The position will add management of the MSN organization to his current duties heading up the company’s Internet-search team, Vice President Satya Nadella said in a memo posted Tuesday on the Web site Valleywag.com that was confirmed by Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw.

Boeing

Contract loss brings California job cuts

Stinging from last week’s loss of a major military satellite contract, Boeing is expected to announce today it plans to slash the jobs of about 750 engineers and technicians, many of them in Southern California.

The contract, potentially worth more than $3.5 billion to build a new generation of GPS satellites, was awarded to rival Lockheed Martin.

Boeing would have made the satellites at its sprawling facility in El Segundo, where it has a work force of about 5,000.

Microsoft

ITC rules patents weren’t violated

Alcatel-Lucent didn’t violate Microsoft patents related to a system that integrates telephones and computers for voice calls, e-mail and video conferencing, a U.S. agency ruled.

The International Trade Commission in Washington on Monday overturned a ruling by one of its judges, who said in January that Alcatel-Lucent’s OmniPCX system infringed one Microsoft patent and recommended that it be barred from the U.S.

“There is no violation,” the ITC said in a notice that it was reversing Administrative Law Judge Paul Luckern’s earlier determination of infringement.

The dispute over systems that allow messages to be routed to both a user’s phone and computer is part of a larger battle between the two companies over patented technology in computers.

A Microsoft spokesman said the company was disappointed in the decision.

Nation / World

Hewlett Packard

Concerns expressed over EDS buy

Strong demand outside the United States for Hewlett-Packard’s computers, printers and other products widened its profit margin in its second quarter, but investors worry the trend will break as HP digests Electronic Data Systems (EDS) this year.

The results released Tuesday came as no surprise because HP provided a snapshot of its latest quarterly earnings and revenue last week when the company jolted investors with its planned $13.2 billion acquisition of technology-services specialist EDS.

The deal has raised concerns that EDS will cause more trouble to HP than it’s worth and slow the financial momentum building at HP since it hired Mark Hurd as chief executive a little over three years ago.

HP shares fell 25 cents to finish at $46.46 Tuesday, then shed another 24 cents in extended trading.

General Motors

Possible deal reached in strike

A General Motors spokesman says the automaker has reached a tentative local agreement with the United Auto Workers that could end a strike at a key assembly plant in Kansas City, Kan.

Spokesman Dan Flores says the two sides reached the deal Tuesday evening. The Fairfax plant builds the hot-selling Chevrolet Malibu midsize sedan as well as the midsize Saturn Aura.

About 2,500 workers have been on strike since May 5 over a contract with rules governing job assignments, overtime and other items.

Flores says it’s unclear when workers will return if the contract is ratified.

Labor Department

Wholesale inflation slowed in April

Wholesale inflation slowed in April following a big jump in March but the improvement is likely to be temporary as consumers are battered in coming months by price increases for gas, food and a host of other items.

Most worrisome of all, analysts said, were indications that surging energy and food costs were spreading to other parts of the economy, causing more widespread inflation problems.

For April, wholesale inflation was up 0.2 percent, the Labor Department reported Tuesday, after f a much bigger 1.1 percent rise in March.

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