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Friday, October 22, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
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Business Digest
Google will open an office in Kirkland


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Google said yesterday it will open an office in Kirkland next month, giving rise to speculation that it may be stepping up efforts to poach talent from Microsoft.

Jeff Dean, a Google engineer, said in a talk yesterday to computer-science students at the University of Washington that the office will open in mid-November.

"We're ramping it up slowly," he said. Google already has a sales office in Seattle.

A Google spokeswoman confirmed the office plans, and said an executive from the company would likely be here next month to officially announce the opening. Google held a recruiting dinner for about 100 people at UW's computer-science building last night.

Some observers said yesterday Google's move is clearly intended to steal Microsoft employees.

"Google has some pretty extraordinary benefits and a very free-form, chaotic, research lab-like atmosphere, which is very different from the atmosphere inside of Microsoft, where things tend to be very well considered and planned out," said Greg Linden, chief executive of Seattle search company Findory.com.

Boeing

Former CFO expected to plead guilty to felony

Former Boeing chief financial officer Michael Sears is expected to plead guilty next month to his role in helping obtain favorable terms on a controversial $23 billion government contract for refueling tankers by offering an executive job to a top Air Force procurement officer, according to a court record.

A plea hearing for Sears is scheduled Nov. 15 before U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee, according to a notice from the court in Alexandria, Va. Sears will plead guilty to a single felony count of aiding and abetting acts affecting a personal financial interest, according to a document filed at the court.

Darleen Druyun, the ex-Air Force officer, admitted giving Boeing an inflated price on the tanker contract "as a parting gift" before quitting the military to take an executive job with Boeing. She was sentenced earlier this month to nine months in prison.
 
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Chicago-based Boeing fired Sears and Druyun after the scandal erupted.

Lincoln Square

Starwood to operate 337-room Westin hotel

Nearly a year after developer Kemper Freeman revived construction of the mothballed Lincoln Square project, he has announced his first major tenant: Starwood Hotels and Resorts has signed on to operate the 337-room hotel under its Westin nameplate.

Or perhaps it is more accurate to say re-signed. The New York-based chain was slated to operate the hotel before construction of the 1.4 million-square-foot office, hotel, condo and retail project in downtown Bellevue ground to a halt in 2002 amid problems with the previous developer.

Westin is the first in a series of tenant announcements planned for Lincoln Square over the next several months. The 42-story hotel and condominium tower is one of two towers planned at Lincoln Square, which is scheduled to open in fall 2005.

Intel

Semiconductor giant cancels TV chip project

In another change of plans, semiconductor giant Intel canceled a project yesterday to develop a chip for projection TVs and said it planned to focus its resources in other areas.

The company's plans to develop a liquid on crystal silicon chip, or LCoS, were first unveiled in January during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In August, Intel said it would not be released by the end of the year, as originally announced.

The cancellation came as the company was assessing its 2005 budget and analyzing its investment in the technology, said Bill Calder, an Intel spokesman.

In recent months, Intel has made a number of changes in its product plans, including the cancellation of a 4-gigahertz Pentium 4 that had been scheduled to ship early next year.

Compiled from Seattle business staff and The Associated Press

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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