Companies to Add Web Phone Service
AT&T and Microsoft said they will combine to offer new products to businesses that take advantage of surging demand for Internet calling. AT&T, which is being bought by SBC Communications, will enable customers to forward phone calls, check messages and launch Web conferences using Microsoft Office. Also, Atlanta-based EarthLink, the No. 4 U.S. Internet access provider, will expand its Web-based telephone service to dial-up consumers.
Scripps to Buy Shopzilla.com
E.W. Scripps Co. said it will pay $525 million in cash to acquire privately held Shopzilla.com, a comparison shopping search engine. The deal also calls for Shopzilla shareholders to get the amount of its net working capital at the time of the closing, which is estimated at about $35 million.
Web Advertising Hits 2-Year Peak
U.S. online advertising sales rose by 26 percent in the first quarter as companies shifted ad spending to the Web, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Interactive Advertising Bureau said. The $2.8 billion spent was the most in two years. The boost in online ad spending is benefiting companies such as Yahoo and Google, where first-quarter profits surged almost sixfold.
Stevens Calls Cable Licensing Rules a Burden
SBC Communications and other telephone companies seeking to enter the cable-television business deserve relief from rules that they be licensed by individual cities, said Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), left. "To have to deal with 30,000 different entities in order to get franchises, I think that is a burden," said Stevens, who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees the phone and cable industries. SBC and Verizon, the two largest local-phone companies, have been lobbying lawmakers to ease the requirements.
Cablevision Cancels Lockheed Martin Contract
Cablevision Systems discontinued a 2004 contract with Lockheed Martin to build five satellites for the cable television supplier's Voom television operation for undisclosed terms. It had agreed to pay the Bethesda-based defense contractor $740 million over four years for the satellites and related equipment, it said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
Erase Computer Data to Protect Privacy
In his cyber-security blog, washingtonpost.com's Brian Krebs offer tips on how to erase sensitive data from a computer before you sell or donate it. Go to www.washingtonpost.com/securityfix.
Compiled from staff and news service reports.