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Monday, September 4, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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News and perspectives from our tech team.
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A critical look at tech and business issues.

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Radio Shack e-layoffs "fast" and "private"

Unhappy Labor Day edition:

At Radio Shack, they came via e-mail. More than 400 workers at the retailer's Fort Worth, Texas, headquarters got the 21st-century pink slip last week.

"The work force reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated," the e-mails read. A spokeswoman said workers knew it was coming and e-mail was faster and more private.

Various reports are saying Intel has a huge job-cut announcement coming Tuesday. The chip maker is searching for efficiencies as it battles Advanced Micro Devices for market share.

The Oregonian, citing information on an internal electronic message board, reported that Intel CEO Paul Otellini will announce the results of a months-long internal review Tuesday. Intel has some 17,000 employees in Oregon involved in design, manufacturing and marketing, according to the newspaper.

Some sources said the blood-letting could affect up to 10 percent of Intel's 100,000-person work force. The company has already let go 2,000 people this summer through layoffs and divestitures.

More things change ...

"Microsoft's latest Windows personal-computer operating system ... is priced at $200 for the full home edition and $100 for some upgrades, according to Amazon.com's Web site."

Sound familiar?

It's from 2001, when Amazon.com began taking preorders before Microsoft disclosed prices for the Windows XP operating system.

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The Seattle-based Internet retailer has posted prices, this time for XP's successor, Windows Vista, again before Microsoft was officially ready to let the cat out of the bag.

For the record, Amazon's pre-order prices for XP were spot-on.

Out again

Sprint Nextel said two weeks ago Chief Operating Officer Len Lauer was leaving the company, his services no longer needed.

Last week, he was let go again. This time he was erased from the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment keynote lineup for the September convention and told he will no longer be the wireless association's chairman of the board.

Sharing spaces

Melinda Gates can't get away from husband Bill, even at the office.

Our sources say crowding at the Eastlake Avenue headquarters of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has grown to the level that Bill has relinquished his office to make room for more staff as the charitable group ramps up to give away $3 billion a year.

Or maybe he just wanted to spend more time with his wife.

"Throughout the building we are reconfiguring space to make room for more employees," a foundation spokeswoman said via e-mail.

Download, a column of news bits, observations and miscellany, is gathered by The Seattle Times technology staff. We can be reached at 206-464-2265 or biztech@seattletimes.com.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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