INTERNET

Google Tests Online Marketplace

Google is testing a service that would let users sell content and products online, posing a threat to eBay. The company is testing ways for people to send content to the company's Web sites, spokeswoman Eileen Rodriguez said. Google has been testing a Web site called Google Base that looks like an online marketplace similar to eBay's, Bear Stearns analyst Robert Peck said.

A product to help people sell content or items online would broaden Google's reach, encroaching on eBay, Web listing service Craigslist.com and newspaper classified advertisements.

SOFTWARE

IMesh Starts Pay Song-Sharing Service

IMesh, a New York-based file-sharing software company, launched a pay service that has earned the blessings of the some recording labels to distribute copyrighted music. The service, which until now has been free, will offer a choice of a $6.95-a-month subscription to its service or a payment of 99 cents per song.

The service will have about 2 million copyrighted tracks available for sale. Users will also have access to a library of an additional 15 million non-copyrighted songs, available for free downloads from the Gnutella and iMesh peer-to-peer networks.

FINANCE

Cablevision's Founding Family Withdraws Offer

Cablevision Systems' founding family withdrew a $7.9 billion offer to take the company private after failing to reach an accord with directors in four months of talks.

Cablevision Chairman Charles F. Dolan and his son, chief executive James L. Dolan, said the board should instead declare a $3 billion special dividend. The company, the largest cable television provider in New York, said it is considering the plan.

Analysts said the Dolans' offer undervalued the company, whose assets also include the New York Knicks basketball team and Madison Square Garden.

WebMethods of Fairfax earned $2.6 million (5 cents a share) in the second quarter, compared with a loss of $4.1 million (8 cents) in the same period last year. The business-software maker's revenue for the quarter ended Sept. 30 fell slightly, to $49.2 million from $50.8 million. WebMethods' total operating expenses for the quarter fell to $33 million from $39 million.

Human Genome Sciences, a Rockville biotech firm, lost $54.4 million (42 cents a share), compared with a loss of $62.2 million (48 cents) in the comparable quarter a year earlier. Revenue grew to $5.9 million from $717,000. Shares closed at $8.40, up 18 cents.

Amazon.com said third-quarter profit fell 44 percent compared with the year-ago period, to $30 million, on higher taxes and expenses to settle a lawsuit. Sales rose 27 percent, to $1.86 billion.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.