Other items: "Buy-it-now" feature might have to stop on eBay; Text-messaging varies by age group; and more.

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Intel said Japan’s Fair Trade Commission has given the chipmaker’s Tokyo-based subsidiary two more weeks to respond to an administrative order to halt alleged anti-monopoly practices.

The Japanese watchdog extended the deadline to April 1 from March 18 to give the company more time to examine the contents of the administrative order, Intel’s Japan unit said.

The commission said earlier this month that Intel K.K., the Japan unit of the U.S. chipmaker, had violated an anti-monopoly law by using heavy-handed sales practices and its dominant market share to dissuade domestic personal-computer makers from using rivals’ chips.

The commission said Intel violated antitrust laws as early as 2002 by trying to stifle rival manufacturers of microprocessor chips that are the silicon brain of computers. It ordered the company to put an end to the practice.

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The decision followed the commission’s raid in April 2004 of Intel’s three Japanese offices based on suspicions the company was improperly urging Japanese personal-computer makers not to use microprocessor chips manufactured by its U.S. rivals, including Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Transmeta Corp.


“Buy-it-now” feature might have to stop

EBay’s U.S. site could be forced to abandon its popular “buy-it-now” feature — which accounts for nearly a third of the value of goods sold by the online auctioneer — as a result of a court ruling this week, analysts say.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Virginia last week upheld a key element of a patent-infringement case brought against eBay by MercExchange and said a lower court was wrong to deny a permanent injunction against the online auction giant.

“There are very far-ranging implications,” he said.

After throwing out a $4.5 million judgment against eBay regarding comparison-shopping technology Wednesday, the federal court upheld an earlier ruling that ordered eBay to pay $25 million for infringing upon the no-haggle pricing feature from September 2001 to April 2003.

Unlike the auctions eBay is known for, the “buy-it-now” feature lets buyers snap up items immediately for a fixed price. Last year, eBay sold $3 billion in merchandise that way, or 31 percent of the global total. The court ruling applies only to the U.S. sales, which eBay does not break out in financial statements.

Pew Internet

Text-messaging varies by age group

A quarter of American adults who have cellphones have used the devices’ text-messaging features within the past month, a new study finds.

Usage correlates with age: 63 percent of cellphone users ages 18-27 have used text messaging compared with 31 percent for ages 28-39 and 7 percent for those over 60.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project also found that 28 percent of people who text message have received unsolicited commercial messages that way.


Service to mix blogs, social networking

Yahoo is preparing to introduce a new service that blends several of its Web site’s popular features with two of the Internet’s fastest-growing activities — blogging and social networking.

The hybrid service, called “Yahoo 360,” won’t be available until March 29, but the company decided to announce the product late Tuesday after details were leaked.

Yahoo is testing the service with a small group of employees, some of whom have been working on the project since last year when the product was operating under the code name “Mingle.”

The service is designed to enable Yahoo’s 165 million registered users to pull content from the Web site’s discussion groups, online photo albums and review section to plug into their own Web logs, or blogs, the Internet shorthand used to describe online personal journals.

Compiled from The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service