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Originally published March 7, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified March 7, 2007 at 2:02 AM

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Business Digest

Opsware buying Bellevue-based iConclude

Pacific Northwest Bellevue-based iConclude, which builds software that runs many of the tasks found in data centers, signed a definitive...

Pacific Northwest

Bellevue-based iConclude, which builds software that runs many of the tasks found in data centers, signed a definitive agreement Tuesday to be acquired by Opsware of Sunnyvale, Calif., a company co-founded by Marc Andreessen, a founder of Netscape Communications.

The transaction is valued at about $60 million: $30 million in cash, $7 million in dividends and 3.39 million shares of Opsware common stock, which closed Tuesday at $6.98 a share.

The acquisition is subject to typical closing conditions. Opsware said it intends to retain almost all of iConclude's 45 employees.

The Bellevue company had raised $12 million in venture capital from investors including Madrona Venture Group, Greylock Partners and Shasta Ventures.

Sunny Gupta, founder and chief executive, will join Opsware as a senior vice president to help integrate iConclude but said he may start another company.


Interactive-ad firm Duke purchased

Seattle-based aQuantive's Avenue A/Razorfish advertising agency bought Duke, an interactive-ad firm.

Paris-based Duke, with clients including Nissan and Nike, will retain its leadership team, aQuantive said Tuesday. It paid 6 million euros ($7.86 million) in cash for Duke and may pay more based on Duke's contribution to profit over the next three years.


Japanese airline ordering 4 jets


TOKYO — Japan's All Nippon Airways said Tuesday that it is ordering four Boeing 777-300ER jets to update its equipment and make its fleet more efficient.

The jets are slated for delivery in fiscal 2009, Japan's second-largest air carrier said in a statement.

The deal has a list-price value of about $1 billion. The actual purchase price after standard discounts, based on estimates by aircraft-valuation firm Avitas, is about $580 million.


Total financing up to $28.9 million

San Diego-based VentiRx Pharmaceuticals has scored an additional $26.6 million in financing, bringing its total to $28.9 million.

The privately owned biopharmaceutical company, with operations in Seattle, plans to use the funds to develop products that bolster the body's immune system against cancer. The company is focused on the treatment of cancer and infectious, respiratory and autoimmune diseases.

The financing round was led by Frazier Healthcare Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners and Domain Associates.

VentiRx was founded last year and plans to increase its staff from four to 10 by June, divided between its two locations. Currently, Michael Kamdar, executive vice president and chief business officer, is in San Diego and Robert Hershberg heads Seattle operations.

Pacific Northwest


New Office version to feature VoIP

Microsoft is set to announce today that it is releasing a new version of its Office Communications Server. The announcement is expected during a keynote address by Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft's business division, at VoiceCon Spring 2007.

The new version of Office Communications Server uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and other PC functions to contact people. For instance, Eric Swift, Microsoft's senior director of product management in the Unified Communications Group, said users will be able to click to call, instant message or start a Web conference with people from Microsoft Office documents or in Outlook.

Raikes is expected to forecast that within three years, the cost of rolling out VoIP will be cut in half because of software implementations. By then, he also expects 100 million people, or twice the number of current business VoIP users, to initiate calls from Microsoft applications.

The public beta of Office Communications Server 2007 will start at the end of March.


iTunes glitches still remain for Vista

SAN JOSE, Calif. — An update to Apple's iTunes music software still hasn't resolved some of the compatibility problems with Microsoft's new operating system.

The iTunes program is key to synching music on computers with iPod portable players, and the latest version, iTunes 7.1, comes a month after the iPod and Macintosh computer maker warned PC users against installing Windows Vista until Apple could fix the problems.

Apple removed that outright warning from its Web site Monday and stated instead that the updated iTunes is recommended for use with most editions of Windows Vista. But Apple also conceded that some glitches, including possible corruption of a user's iPod player upon ejection from a PC, remain.

"Apple is actively working with Microsoft to resolve a few remaining known issues," the posting stated.


Windows Mobile adds Yahoo! feature

Yahoo! is expected to announce today that its mobile application called Yahoo! Go for Mobile 2.0 will now be available on Windows Mobile devices.

Yahoo! Go for Mobile includes oneSearch, which allows users to surf the Internet and also access maps, news, photo sharing and Yahoo! e-mail.

In addition, Yahoo! said it has formed a strategic partnership to pre-load and distribute Yahoo! mobile applications on millions of HTC devices. HTC, a Taiwan company with its U.S. headquarters in Bellevue, is one of the largest distributors of Windows Mobile devices.

Nation / World

Federal Reserve

Tighter mortgage oversight urged

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday he thinks Congress should bolster regulation of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and suggested limiting their massive holdings to guard against any danger their debt poses to the overall economy.

Speaking via satellite to a bankers meeting in Hawaii, Bernanke recommended that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac holdings might be linked to a "measurable public purpose, such as the promotion of affordable housing."

His remarks come as worries about risky mortgages are making investors jittery. Those fears contributed to last week's worldwide stock meltdown, where the Dow Jones industrials suffered a gut-wrenching 416-point plunge.

Lenders to subprime borrowers — people with blemished credit histories — have been battered. Rising interest rates and weak home prices have made it increasingly difficult for these borrowers — especially those with adjustable-rate mortgages — to keep up with their mortgage payments. Delinquencies and foreclosures in the subprime mortgage market are spiking.


Chief executive's '06 bonus trimmed

BP cut outgoing Chief Executive John Browne's bonus almost in half last year as oil spills and safety lapses in the United States overshadowed record profits for the oil company.

Browne's annual performance bonus for 2006 was cut to $1.74 million, from $3.37 million the year before, according to BP's annual report, released Tuesday.

While his basic salary rose to $2.95 million from $2.8 million, Browne's total compensation — including salary, bonus, non-cash benefits and annual long-term remuneration paid last month — fell 28 percent to $8.81 million, from $12.3 million. It was the second year running that Browne took a pay cut.

The details of Browne's salary were released as BP revealed in a separate filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the Department of Justice has issued grand jury subpoenas for documents and testimony related to a March 2005 explosion at its plant in Texas City, Texas, that killed 15 people.

The justice department is investigating whether the Texas City incident involved any criminal conduct.

Compiled from Seattle Times staff, Bloomberg News and The Associated Press

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