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Microsoft has been accused by a Swedish technology company of illegally using the dominance of the Windows operating system to quash competing video and music systems.

Microsoft is breaking European Union antitrust law by selling its Windows XP Professional operating system at a discount when it is sold with the company’s Media Center Edition software, Wellton Way said in an Oct. 27 complaint to EU regulators in Brussels. The Swedish company makes a rival product for controlling home-entertainment devices.

The EU last year fined Microsoft for abusing its market dominance. Microsoft is appealing.

“We believe our marketing and pricing of Windows Media Center in Sweden complies with all applicable rules,” Microsoft spokesman Dirk Delmartino said.

Jonathan Todd, a commission spokesman, had no immediate comment on Wellton Way’s complaint.


Executive leaving for Blackbaud post

Microsoft executive Marc Chardon is leaving the Redmond software maker to become chief executive officer of Blackbaud, which designs programs to help nonprofit organizations organize and manage their fundraising efforts.

Chardon, 50, will join Charleston, S.C.-based Blackbaud on Nov. 28, the company said Monday. He will succeed Robert Sywolski, 67, who is retiring.

Chardon was finance chief for Microsoft’s information worker group.


Thomson unit acquires local firm

Thomson Scientific & Healthcare said Monday it’s acquiring NexCura, a maker of Web-based tools that help patients understand health-care treatment options.

NexCura and its 25 employees will remain in Seattle, where it was founded in 1998.

Thomson Scientific is a unit of $8.1 billion global information company Thomson. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

NexCura will partner with a Thomson subsidiary that compiles clinical-trial information to grow its patient-recruitment business, said NexCura President and CEO Peter Hoover.


Year-old carrier files Chapter 11

Flyi, which launched low-fare Independence Air just one year ago from its hub at Washington’s Dulles Airport, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday and said it hopes a court-supervised auction will attract a new investor in the next 60 days.

Airline spokesman Rick DeLisi said flights would operate on their regular schedule Monday and that customers should not expect any immediate disruptions.

Flyi, formerly known as Atlantic Coast Airlines, had operated until July 2004 as a contract carrier for United Airlines and Delta Air Lines.


Comcast, DirecTV add “on-demand”

The reconstruction of television viewing accelerated Monday with the announcement of two deals to bring prime-time network programming to the world of video-on-demand.

Comcast said it struck a deal with CBS to put four of the network’s highest-rated prime-time programs — “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “NCIS,” “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race” — on the cable company’s video-on-demand service at 99 cents a show.

And DirecTV announced a deal with NBC Universal to provide virtually on-demand programs from NBC as well as the Sci Fi, Bravo and USA networks.

The announcements followed last month’s deal between Apple Computer and the Walt Disney Co. to provide shows from the ABC-TV network — “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” — for downloading from the Internet to new video iPods, computers and TV sets hooked to computers.

The deals can be expected to open a “floodgate” of similar deals to bring high-demand programs from traditional television networks to new distribution channels, said Allen Sabinson, a former network executive who now directs the Kal & Lucille Rudman Institute for Entertainment Industry Studies at Drexel University.


6 unions oppose wage, benefit cuts

Six unions that represent workers at Delphi said Monday they are banding together to fight proposed wage and benefit cuts at the auto supplier, a sign of strained relations that could lead to a strike.

Delphi, the largest U.S. auto supplier, filed for bankruptcy protection last month. It has asked its unions to accept wage and benefit cuts of up to 60 percent.

The unions represent 33,650 active Delphi workers. The vast majority are represented by the United Auto Workers, the International Union of Electrical Workers-Communications Workers of America and the United Steelworkers. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the International Union of Operating Engineers also represent about 200 Delphi hourly workers.

Delphi spokeswoman Claudia Baucus said the company is continuing to negotiate with its unions.

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