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Microsoft’s Xbox 360 video-game machine is already sold out on some Web sites, including Wal-Mart Stores, a sign the company may have shortages when the console goes on sale this month.

Wal-Mart’s site tells people to go to a store at midnight on Nov. 22, the day Xbox is released in the U.S. says the system is unavailable in the U.S. and warned U.K. buyers they may not get it by the holidays.

Microsoft plans to ship 4.5 million to 5.5 million Xbox units by June, which would generate at least $1.35 billion of sales. Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell said there would be shortages and played down the prospect of a spike in demand. The company is “on track” with plans and will “continually supply” retailers with new machines, he said in an Oct. 27 conference call.

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Service that syncs large files bought

Microsoft said Thursday it had acquired FolderShare, a service that helps computer users share and synchronize large files without needing to use e-mail, burn CDs or upload information to the Internet.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Launched in 2002 and run by Austin, Texas-based ByteTaxi, FolderShare gives customers private, remote access to their files through any Web browser, Microsoft said.

Blake Irving, corporate vice president of the MSN communication services and member platform group, said the technology will be offered with Windows Live, a new Web-based service the company unveiled this week that will unfasten some of Microsoft’s applications from computer hard drives.


Board of directors cut to 10 members

Boeing has cut the size of its board of directors to 10 from 11, reflecting the death in September of lead director and former Chairman Lewis Platt, the aerospace company said Wednesday.

Boeing announced the change in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


The Loan Page company acquired

To further strengthen its move into the online mortgage business, Kirkland-based HouseValues announced Thursday that it has acquired The Loan Page, a San Francisco company that provides consumers with competitive home-loan information. HouseValues paid about $5.25 million in cash and assumed about $1.8 million in debt.

HouseValues matches homebuyers and sellers with real-estate agents and lenders through its HouseValues, JustListed and HomePages Web sites. The Loan Page has been integrated with HomePages, and there’s potential for it to be integrated with the other two sites, said HouseValues spokeswoman Kristin Treat.

HouseValues’ stock fell 42 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $15.98 Thursday.

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