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Thursday, July 6, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Business Digest

Worm pretends it's Windows program

A newly discovered worm, pretending to be Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage program, is being used by hackers to install malicious software on personal computers.

The worm, a program that spreads itself throughout an infected PC, is being sent via Time Warner's AOL Instant Messenger software, said Ronald O'Brien, senior analyst at Abingdon, U.K.-based Sophos. Closely held Sophos first warned about it July 3.

Once installed on a PC, the worm copies itself into a Windows system folder, creates a new file displayed as "Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Notification" and becomes part of the computer's automatic startup, O'Brien said.

Kjersti Gunderson, with Microsoft, said the next version of Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool, to be released Tuesday, will scan for and clean the so-called Backdoor: Win32/IRCbot.R worm.

Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage software checks to see that users have licensed copies of Windows before allowing them to download important updates onto their PCs.

Boeing

Company may win Canada contract

Boeing, the second-biggest U.S. defense contractor, may win an C$8.1 billion ($7.3 billion) order for military aircraft from Canada's government because it may be the only supplier that can meet the country's requirements.

Boeing won an interim notice to supply Canada's military with 16 or more CH-47 Chinook helicopters and four C-17 Globemaster transport airplanes, Canada's Public Works department said Wednesday in a statement from Ottawa. The contracts include maintenance for the aircraft for 20 years.

Boeing is the only company that can deliver the aircraft as ordered "in a timely manner," the department said. The government also will review bids from rivals to see if they can do the job. Companies including Lockheed Martin and Airbus had earlier touted their aircraft for the contracts.

Coca-Cola

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3 allegedly tried to sell secrets to Pepsi

Three people have been arrested and charged with stealing confidential information about drink recipes from Coca-Cola and trying to sell it to rival PepsiCo, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The suspects include an executive administrative assistant at Atlanta-based Coke who is accused of rifling through corporate files and stuffing documents and a new Coca-Cola product into a personal bag.

Two others are charged with wire fraud and unlawfully stealing and selling Coke trade secrets, federal prosecutors said. The three are expected to appear before a federal magistrate judge today in Atlanta.

Pepsi spokesman Dave DeCecco said his company did what any responsible company would do in cooperating with Coke and the investigation.

U.S. economy

Orders to factories rebounded in May

Orders to U.S. factories for manufactured goods rebounded in May after a big decline the previous month as strengthened demand for petroleum and chemicals offset weakness in commercial aircraft and autos.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that new orders rose by 0.7 percent in May following a 2 percent plunge in April. The slight increase left orders at a seasonally adjusted $399.9 billion in May. The gain was significantly better than the 0.1 percent increase analysts had been expecting.

The overall strength in May stemmed from a 1.6 percent rise in demand for nondurable products. It offset a 0.2 percent drop in demand for durable goods, which are big-ticket items expected to last three years or more.

Analysts believe that manufacturing, a sector of the economy hardest hit by the 2001 recession, probably will slow in coming months along with the rest of the economy.

Grupo Televisa

Sale of stake in Univision possible

Grupo Televisa SA said it wants to sell its stake in Univision Communications to nullify an agreement that limits Televisa's ability to expand in U.S. television markets.

In a letter to Univision's buyers, which include Providence Equity Partners Inc. and billionaire Haim Saban, Televisa said it is prepared to discuss a sale of its shares at the offer price of $36.25 "as soon as possible."

By deciding to sell, Televisa is rejecting an offer to join the group and maintain a holding in Univision, the No. 1 U.S. broadcaster of Spanish-language television. Eliminating its stake would free Televisa from a 1996 agreement that it invite Univision to join any new U.S. venture, Televisa said in a statement.

Gibson Guitar

Deutsche Wurlitzer acquired in deal

Gibson Guitar said Wednesday it has acquired jukebox and vending machine maker Deutsche Wurlitzer from a subsidiary of the Nelson Group.

Financial terms of the deal between Nelson Group Overseas and Gibson were not disclosed but the agreement concludes several years of litigation between the two companies regarding the use of the Wurlitzer name, officials said in a news release.

Marvell Technology Group

Shares fall after documents request

Shares of Marvell Technology Group fell nearly 8 percent Wednesday after the semiconductor designer said authorities requested documents related to its granting of stock options.

Marvell, which last week announced plans to purchase an Intel group that makes chips for handheld devices, saw its shares fall $3.53, or 7.9 percent, to close at $41.31 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, Marvell said SEC officials have requested documents and that it has also received a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Northern California for similar information.

The Santa Clara company said its board is examining past policy concerning stock options, which allowed purchase of shares at a set price.

GM

CEO, Nissan chief to discuss alliance

General Motors Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner plans to meet with Carlos Ghosn, chief of Renault SA and Nissan Motor on July 14 to discuss a possible alliance, according to a GM official who was briefed on the schedule.

The meeting was set up independently from a GM board session set for Friday, during which directors will address shareholder Kirk Kerkorian's proposal that Nissan and Renault invest in GM, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the schedule isn't being made public. Two days ago, the boards of Renault and Nissan gave Ghosn permission to talk with GM.

The proposed alliance comes as Wagoner, 53, wraps up several initiatives aimed at restoring profit at the world's largest automaker. He is cutting 30,000 union jobs, closing plants and trying to win back buyers with new models after posting a $10.6 billion loss last year

Compiled from The Associated Press and Bloomberg News.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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