Microsoft said Richard Belluzzo will run its high-profile but money-losing Internet operations, which include the MSN Web site, the Expedia travel service and the CarPoint shopping service. Belluzzo resigned last week as chief executive of Silicon Graphics after long efforts to turn the troubled company around. In a conference call with analysts announcing Belluzzo's appointment, Microsoft President Steve Ballmer said there were "no plans at this time" to spin off his firm's Internet operations into a tracking stock.
Microsoft's Office suite of software applications will be offered in a Web-based version, London's Financial Times reported. The move follows rival Sun Microsystems' announcement that it will provide word processing, spreadsheets and other office applications free on the Internet. "We certainly will have Web-based office productivity services, no doubt about it," the newspaper quoted Microsoft President Steve Ballmer as saying. Ballmer did not address whether the services would be free.
Republic New York is being investigated by U.S. prosecutors and regulators as part of an inquiry into a Japanese investment fund that allegedly inflated the value of securities it held, a person familiar with the probe told Bloomberg News. HSBC Holdings said it may delay its $10.3 billion takeover of Republic because of the inquiry. Republic said it has suspended the head of its securities unit and replaced the manager of the unit's futures department.
Fleet Financial and BankBoston have agreed to the largest bank divestiture in U.S. history, totaling $13.2 billion, to gain regulatory approval for their merger, the Justice Department said. To eliminate antitrust objections to the deal, the two banks will sell their deposits in 306 branch offices in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Most of the assets will be sold to create a regional bank that would be able to restore competition lost by the merger.
Boeing said it will take a third-quarter pretax charge of $225 million related to the loss of overseas sales of its F-15 fighter jet to Lockheed Martin. The charge is in addition to one taken in the second quarter totaling $45 million, also for the F-15.
Dow Corning, which was the largest maker of silicone-gel breast implants, said its first-half profit fell 53 percent, to $47.3 million, on stagnant sales in Europe and the Americas, as well as expenses associated with its bankruptcy reorganization plan.
About 60,000 trapeze swings were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission after six children suffered serious cuts from exposed bolts. The swings were sold as part of the Backyard Products gym set, containing various other equipment, and has a wooden bar and rings. Customers should stop using the swing and call 1-888-446-0750 to order a free repair kit, the commission said.
Three California companies will recall 912,000 cans of aerosol spray-string party products because their propellant is extremely flammable, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said. The propellant creates "a serious risk of burn injuries when sprayed near an open flame, such as birthday candles," the CPSC said. The recall was ordered after a boy suffered serious burns. The party favors, sold under the labels Crazy Ribbon and Crazy String, were made and sold by Stelex Enterprises, Major Import and LeSa Yang Family. The products can be returned to the store where purchased for a refund, the agency said.
Lone Star Industries, the third-largest publicly held U.S. cement company, agreed to be bought by Dyckerhoff of Germany for $1.2 billion in cash and assumed debt. Dyckerhoff, Germany's second-largest cement company, is joining other European companies seeking to enter the booming U.S. construction sector through acquisitions.
Celera Genomics of Rockville said it had formed a collaboration with Gemini Research of Cambridge, England, to search for genetic variations associated with common diseases of aging. Celera is working to unravel the entire human genetic code and aims to sell analytical tools and product rights based on its discoveries.