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Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

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Business Digest
Some Sun machines to run Windows, news service says

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SEATTLE — Sun Microsystems, whose server computers run corporate networks and Web sites, will certify that some of its machines can run on competitor Microsoft's Windows operating system, IDG News Service reported.

"We're getting off of our religious crusade and we're going to sell people what they want to buy," Larry Singer, Sun senior vice president of global market strategy, told IDG in an interview. Sun "in some cases" should "embrace" Microsoft's software, he added.

The change would allow buyers of Sun's servers with Intel chips to choose Windows, Sun's Unix program or the Linux operating system. Sun won't sell Windows programs alone.

Sun Microsystems Chief Executive Officer Scott McNealy has called Windows a "hairball" and the company has filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft seeking more than $1 billion.

Sun spokesman Mark Richardson confirmed Singer made the comments. Singer "jumped the gun" and Sun is still considering whether to certify its servers can run with Windows, Richardson said.

Document says IBM plans to move more jobs overseas

NEW YORK — IBM expects to save $168 million annually starting in 2006 by moving several thousand high-paying programming jobs abroad, according to internal company documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

International Business Machines has said it plans to move up to 3,000 jobs from the United States to developing countries this year. The Journal story did not say exactly how many jobs the company expected to shift overseas starting in 2006.

IBM spokesman John Bukovinsky said he had not seen the documents cited by the Journal. But he said the company had not determined how many jobs would be shifted abroad in 2006 and it had not made any financial projections for savings from overseas jobs starting that year.

The Journal said the documents indicate that for internal IBM accounting purposes, a programmer in China with three to five years of experience would cost about $12.50 an hour, including salary and benefits. That's compared with $56 an hour for a comparable U.S. employee, the Journal said, citing an unidentified person familiar with the company's internal billing rates.

U.S. Bank warns consumers about fake e-mail warnings

ST. PAUL, Minn. — U.S. Bank warned consumers yesterday to ignore e-mails that appeared to have been sent by the Minneapolis-based bank asking for bank-account numbers and other confidential information.

The e-mail notifies receivers that their U.S. Bank accounts have been blocked because "we have been notified that your account may have been compromised by outside parties." The letter goes on to say that "these parties have in the past been involved with money laundering, illegal drugs, terrorism."

U.S. Bank accounts have not been frozen or blocked, as the e-mail states, and receivers should not respond to its request to click on a Web link.

"We took immediate action to shut down the site. No account information has been compromised," U.S. Bank spokesman Steve Dale said yesterday. He said he had no details about the Web site.

U.S. Bank said it didn't know how widespread the e-mails are. Some e-mail users in Seattle had received them. The bank thinks the e-mails started sometime Sunday, making their way into computer mailboxes of customers and others who don't even have an account with U.S. Bank, Dale said.

Those who have responded to the e-mail should phone 1-800-US-BANKS and get in touch with U.S. Bank's "fraud liaison center" or its "Internet banking center," he said.

Beagle virus gaining speed, computer-security firm says

NEW YORK — Network Associates, the maker of McAfee computer-security software, said the spread of a computer virus named Beagle that propagates through e-mail had accelerated.

Network Associates yesterday raised its alert rating for the program from "low" to "medium" because an increasing number of personal computers are becoming infected, the company said on its Web site. Beagle arrives in e-mail as a message attachment. Once activated, it downloads a second program that receives commands to perform malicious actions on the infected PC.

"The worm was written to look like a new strain, not a variant on any known viruses," said Vince Gullotto, vice president of McAfee's Anti-virus and Vulnerability Emergency Response Team.

Network Associates doesn't expect to raise its alert rating on Beagle to "high," Gullotto said, and he expected the worm's attack to slow later yesterday.

Airlines cancel fare increase after some won't go along

CHICAGO — American Airlines, United Airlines and Continental Airlines canceled a $6 roundtrip fare increase after some rivals declined to match the move. American rolled back the increase Sunday, three days after trying for a second time this month to boost fares.

American, the world's largest carrier, had called the increase, put in place on Thursday, a surcharge and said it was part of an effort to offset rising fuel costs.

"Although we think that current fuel prices warrant an increase in the fuel surcharge, we need to be competitive in the marketplace," said Jacquie Young, a spokeswoman for American Airlines parent AMR.

Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines didn't match the increase, said Tom Parsons, who monitors prices for online travel agent

American also boosted the surcharge last month but pulled it several days later because competitors didn't match it. The highest airfares generally come up last on Web sites and travel-agency pricing lists, putting carriers with the surcharge at a disadvantage.

Compiled from Bloomberg News and The Associated Press

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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