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Originally published June 11, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 11, 2007 at 2:01 AM

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Business Digest

Microsoft, GE considered bid

Bellevue-based InfoSpace, which develops technology for wireless carriers, plans two announcements today: that it is offering a new mobile...

Microsoft and General Electric recently discussed combining Dow Jones & Co. with some parts of GE-owned NBC Universal but couldn't reach agreement, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site Sunday night.

The pair considered a $60-a-share bid to compete with the unsolicited offer made by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., The Journal said, but the idea was abandoned.

GE and Microsoft have had a long relationship through the MSNBC cable network. Murdoch plans to start a television financial-news channel that would compete with GE's CNBC channel.


mCore platform to integrate services

Bellevue-based InfoSpace, which develops technology for wireless carriers, plans two announcements today: that it is offering a new mobile platform called mCore, and that it has extended its contract with Verizon Wireless.

InfoSpace said its mCore Mobile Services Platform will integrate a number of services the company already offers but adds new ones, as well. The offerings include technology such as search, storefronts, portals and messaging for the mobile phone.

Verizon Wireless said it will use pieces of InfoSpace's mCore platform, including mobile Web.

Recently, InfoSpace has extended its customer relationships with Virgin Mobile in the United Kingdom and AT&T, the former Cingular Wireless, for mCore platform services.


Report: Film rentals via iTunes discussed

Apple is in advanced talks with Hollywood's largest movie studios about launching an online film-rental service to challenge cable- and satellite-TV operators, the Financial Times reported Sunday.


Apple already sells films that can be downloaded and owned, and has distribution deals with Walt Disney (DIS.N) and Paramount, the paper said, without naming sources.

Apple is believed to be aiming for an autumn release, the Financial Times said.

New titles would rent for $2.99 for a specific time period, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

An Apple spokesman would not comment.


Jailed journalist in China joins suit

A jailed Chinese reporter accused of leaking state secrets has joined a lawsuit that claims Yahoo! helped the Chinese government convict dissidents, his mother said Sunday.

Shi Tao, who was sentenced in 2005 to 10 years in prison, is seeking compensation from Yahoo!, claiming its Chinese operations gave information to authorities that led to his arrest. The suit was filed by the World Organization for Human Rights USA.

Shi, who wrote for Contemporary Business News, was jailed for giving state secrets to foreigners. His conviction stemmed from an e-mail he sent containing his notes on a government circular about restrictions on the media.

Yahoo! acknowledges giving data on Shi at the request of the Chinese, saying employees face civil and criminal sanctions if they ignore local laws.


Design tools run programs offline

Adobe Systems today is introducing a public test version of its software, code-named Apollo, that helps programmers to write advanced programs called Rich Internet Applications for desktop computers, even when not connected to the Web.

"Apollo is for when developers want to take online applications and make them work offline on a computer," said Michele Turner, Adobe's vice president of platforms.

Among the early customers is eBay, which plans to announce this week it is using the Apollo to create notification services for its sellers to manage auctions outside of an Internet browser.


Merrill Lynch giving advice on plant sales

Seeking to sell or find partners for six factories in Europe, Airbus has hired Merrill Lynch to advise it on valuation of those sites in the U.K., France and Germany.

Airbus spokeswoman Barbara Kracht said the company has been working with Merrill Lynch for several months.

Airbus is seeking investment partners for its plants in Filton in the U.K., Meaulte in France and Nordenham in Germany.

It is also looking to sell three plants, including Laupheim and Varel in Germany and St. Nazaire-Ville in France.

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

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