Pacific Northwest Washington retained its fifth-place ranking among U.S. states in wind-energy utilization for 2007, the American Wind...

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Pacific Northwest

Energy

Washington retained its fifth-place ranking among U.S. states in wind-energy utilization for 2007, the American Wind Energy Association said Wednesday.

The state ended last year with 1,163 megawatts of installed wind energy capacity, up from 818 megawatts in 2006. Texas led the nation with 4,446 megawatts of installed capacity, followed by California, Minnesota and Iowa, the association’s report said. Washington derives about 2 percent of its electricity from wind power.

Seattle City Light ranked fourth among the nation’s public utilities in use of wind energy, behind CPS Energy of San Antonio, Austin Energy, and MSR Public Power Agency of California.

Microsoft

Code suit settled with Symantec

Microsoft and Symantec settled a lawsuit over coding for data-storage features included in Windows operating systems. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Symantec’s Veritas unit sued in 2006, claiming Microsoft licensed software, then violated the agreement by using some of the code in programs without permission. The companies filed a joint request Tuesday in federal court in Seattle to have the case dismissed.

Spokesmen for Microsoft and Symantec said the settlement bars the companies from disclosing further details.

Weyerhaeuser

Saskatchewan mill to shut down

Weyerhaeuser will shut one of its nine oriented strand board mills because a U.S. housing slowdown has cut demand for the construction material.

Operations at the Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan, mill will be halted by early July, Federal Way-based Weyerhaeuser said Wednesday. The mill, which employs 170 people, has annual production capacity of 550 million square feet of board, the company said. That’s about 16 percent of the company’s 2007 oriented strand board sales.

Novinium

$6 million raised in venture capital

Novinium said Monday that it had raised $6 million in financing from venture capitalists.

The money will serve to underpin the Seattle-based clean technology company’s growth. The funding round was led by Nomura’s New Energy and Clean Technology Ventures. Seattle-based Evolution Capital Advisors also participated in the round.

Novinium specializes in technology that extends the life of utility cables. The company has raised $10 million in funding since its founding in 2003.

Intel

New features added to low-cost laptops

Intel unveiled new features for its line of low-cost laptops for schools Wednesday, adding bigger screens and more data storage capacity as the chip maker ratchets up its rivalry with the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) organization, which sells a competing machine.

Intel’s new Classmate PCs — scheduled to go on sale this month for between $300 and $500 — reflect the company’s growing efforts to sell computers equipped with its own chips to schools in developing countries, a battleground for technology companies because of the millions of people there just coming online.

But the target market has expanded to include children in the U.S. as potential users of cheaper, stripped-down machines.

The OLPC’s low-cost XO laptop includes a microprocessor from Advanced Micro Devices, Intel’s chief rival.

A short-lived truce between Intel and OLPC ended earlier this year when Intel suddenly pulled out from OLPC’s board of directors.

National Century

4 convicted execs held; escape alleged

The government Wednesday arrested four executives convicted in a $1.9 billion fraud trial, saying they were planning to flee overseas before sentencing.

The four former National Century Financial Enterprises executives are in the custody of U.S. Marshals. Authorities still have not found a fifth executive, Rebecca Parrett, who they said last week is missing.

Attorneys for the four criticized the arrests, saying their clients have abided by the conditions of a judge’s order allowing them to remain free before sentencing, including wearing electronic monitors.

The FBI said a confidential informant tipped authorities to the plot, based on information obtained from another executive awaiting trial, National Century founder Lance Poulsen.

Poulsen told the informant the executives had a plan to flee to the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court Tuesday.

Poulsen was convicted last month of trying to bribe a witness to change her testimony before his own National Century fraud trial this summer.

Dell

Fully customized PCs won’t be made

Dell, the world’s second-biggest personal-computer maker, will stop making fully customized PCs to help reduce expenses.

“We don’t sell half-a-million different configurations,” Mike Cannon, president of global operations, said Wednesday at a meeting in Round Rock, Texas. “If customers don’t want that, we have to rip that cost out.”

RIM

Subscriber base swells, profit climbs

Research In Motion says its fiscal fourth-quarter profit and sales more than doubled as the BlackBerry maker boosted its subscriber base and shipped about 4.4 million of its smartphones.

For the quarter ended March 1, the Canadian company earned $412.5 million, or 72 cents per share, up from a profit of $187.4 million, or 33 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue more than doubled to $1.88 billion from $930 million.

U.S.-traded shares in RIM rose 5 percent in after-hours trading Wednesday.

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