Share story

Web search leader Google has approached a book publisher to gauge interest in a program to allow people to rent online copies of new books for a week, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site Sunday.

The proposed fee is 10 percent of the book’s list price, The Journal said, citing an unnamed publisher.

The discussion indicates Google may move toward adding a digital book-renting service.

Google has a separate book program, the Google Print Library Project, that has stirred controversy for its aim to scan millions of books that consumers could search online.

Nextel Partners

Sprint Nextel hires Lazard as appraiser

Sprint Nextel has hired investment firm Lazard to appraise Nextel Partners in a battle to determine how much it will pay to buy out its Kirkland-based affiliate.

Nextel Partners shareholders approved a provision last month requiring parent Sprint Nextel to buy the two-thirds of Partners it doesn’t already own.

Sprint’s $35 billion acquisition of Nextel in August triggered the move. Nextel Partners and other affiliates provide wireless service to customers in rural areas and smaller cities not served by Sprint or Nextel.

After months of court fights over how to value Nextel Partners, the two companies agreed to choose arbitrators to determine it.

Nextel Partners picked Morgan Stanley as its appraiser.

Nextel Partners has argued Sprint must pay its shareholders a premium. Sprint Nextel officials say the affiliate’s stock price is inflated and shouldn’t be used as the basis for the buyout.


Flagship product for network systems

Bellevue startup iConclude today is launching its flagship product, Repair System, an automated problem-resolution system for corporate technology departments.

Repair System aims to self-heal network systems or enable system operators to diagnose and repair problems in a repeatable way. It also sells preconfigured “repair packs” for common problems on widely used infrastructures and applications built on service-oriented architectures.

iConclude is led by ex-Mercury Interactive executive Sunny Gupta with executives and engineers from Microsoft, Mercury, IBM and elsewhere. In August, it received $3 million in funding, led by Madrona Venture Group.

America Online

Free TV service planned online

Time Warner’s America Online said today it plans to launch a free Internet television service by early 2006.

The advertising-supported service, In2TV, will feature 3,400 hours of programming from 4,800 episodes spanning 100 series of Warner Bros.-produced shows from the past. They include “Welcome Back Kotter,” “Growing Pains” and “Kung Fu” organized under six channels divided by comedy, drama, animation, action, classic and superhero/villain.

Warner Bros. could add up to 14,000 episodes from 300 series it has cleared with rights holders, executives said. AOL is also in talks to offer shows not owned by Time Warner.

Sun Microsystems

Latest server chip called energy saver

Computer maker Sun Microsystems announced today a server chip it claims will deliver more performance while requiring less electricity than rival microprocessors.

The UltraSparc T1 processor, code-named Niagara, has eight computing engines on a single chip, with each core capable of handling up to four tasks at once, Sun said. It expects to ship systems based on the chip by the end of the year.

The chip uses about 70 watts of power on average compared with 150 to 200 watts required by server chips from Intel or IBM, Sun claimed.

Compiled from Seattle Times staff, The Associated Press and Reuters