A federal judge in Baltimore threw out four of Novell's six antitrust claims against Microsoft but ruled the case could proceed.

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A federal judge in Baltimore threw out four of Novell’s six antitrust claims against Microsoft but ruled the case could proceed.

Novell alleges Microsoft used its monopoly power to limit sales of Novell’s office-productivity applications, including WordPerfect, a word-processing program, and Quattro Pro, a spreadsheet program.

Four claims were dismissed because Novell waited too long to file them, U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz said in his ruling Friday. The case was filed in November in Utah and transferred last month to the federal court in Maryland.

Novell, which sold WordPerfect and Quattro Pro to Corel in 1996, had previously reached a $536 million settlement with Microsoft on other antitrust claims.

3 security bulletins issued for flaws

Microsoft released three security bulletins yesterday to fix flaws that could let an attacker take complete control of a computer system.

The “critical” security flaws affect Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

The software maker released other patches to address less-serious problems with Windows, the Exchange server system, services for the Unix operating system, Microsoft’s Interactive Training software for Windows, and ISA server, a network firewall program. Some of the flaws affect computers with operating systems dating to Windows 98.


Wi-Fi unit offers maritime service

A Boeing business unit plans to announce today that it will be providing high-speed Internet access to the maritime industry using a technology it had developed for airlines.

Connexion by Boeing said it was signing an agreement with Teekay Shipping to provide Wi-Fi via a satellite to 50 vessels with the option of installing 40 more. Financial terms were not disclosed. The service will be up by year’s end. Connexion by Boeing offers a similar service to 12 airlines.

Lattice Semiconductor

2 top executives placed on paid leave

Lattice Semiconductor, the Hillsboro, Ore., company that makes programmable semiconductors, said it has placed Chief Executive Officer Cyrus Tsui and Vice President of Finance Rodney Sloss on paid leave while an audit committee examines executive compensation and other issues.

Stephen Skaggs, Lattice’s chief financial officer from 1996 to 2003, was named acting CEO, the company said yesterday. The audit committee is examining issues brought to its attention by a litigation committee examining two lawsuits brought by shareholders.

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


Best Buy

Sales of high-end TVs boost quarterly profit

First-quarter profit at Best Buy leaped 85 percent, far ahead of analyst expectations, and the nation’s largest consumer-electronics retailer raised its guidance for the entire year.

Best Buy’s shares rose $8.68 to close at $67.80 yesterday, surpassing the previous 52-week high of $62.20.

The company said yesterday that sales of high-end televisions rose at double-digit percentage rates, and sales of digital music players more than doubled from the same quarter last year. Television prices dropped, but it made up for the decline by selling more of them. The company also said it needed fewer promotions to sell its gadgets.


SEC investigating scandal, firm reports

Office-supplies retailer OfficeMax said yesterday the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a formal order of investigation related to the company’s internal probe of its accounting for vendor income.

The company launched its own investigation in December 2004, when it received claims by a retail vendor that certain employees acted inappropriately in requesting promotional payments and falsifying supporting documents.

Six employees were fired in connection with the probe, completed in March 2005, and OfficeMax reported it had overstated cumulative net operating income in the first three quarters of 2004 by $4.3 million.

OfficeMax said it intends to cooperate fully with the SEC.

SEC spokesman John Nester declined to comment on the OfficeMax statement, saying it’s the commission’s policy not to confirm the existence or nonexistence of investigations.


Deadlock continues in Scrushy fraud trial

Jurors in the fraud trial of HealthSouth founder and fired CEO Richard Scrushy failed to break through a deadlock during a 14th day of deliberations yesterday.

It was the panel’s fourth day of talks since reporting it could not make a unanimous decision on any of the 36 counts, a message that prompted U.S. District Judge Karon Bowdre to give jurors special legal instructions and order them back to work.

Deliberations resume today.

Scrushy, 52, is the first chief executive charged under the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reporting law. He also is accused of conspiracy, false reporting, fraud and money laundering.

Scrushy blames a $2.7 billion earnings overstatement on underlings, including 15 former HealthSouth executives who pleaded guilty.

Wyndham International

Hotel chain OKs sale to Blackstone

Hotel operator Wyndham International, which has been selling its stake in other brands to focus on its upscale chain, said yesterday that it has agreed to sell to an affiliate of The Blackstone Group for about $1.44 billion plus the assumption of debt.

Blackstone, a private investment firm, will pay $1.15 per share in cash for each share of Wyndham’s common stock.

About 85 percent of the proceeds would go to holders of preferred shares, mostly a handful of investors who pumped $1 billion into the company six years ago. Wyndham recently announced a plan to convert those preferred shares into common stock.

Blackstone would also assume $1.8 billion in debt, according to Wyndham spokeswoman Darcie Brossart.

Compiled from The Associated Press