Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Business Digest

Eli Lilly reveals plans for hiring from Icos

Pacific Northwest

Eli Lilly plans to make decisions on whom to hire from Icos on a rolling basis, as it gathers detailed information on various departments in coming weeks, Icos Chief Executive Paul Clark told employees in an e-mail Monday.

Icos agreed two weeks ago to be acquired for $2.1 billion by Lilly, which said it would make "significant" job cuts. Icos currently employs 700 people nationally, with 500 people in Bothell.

In the message, disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Clark wrote that many companies locally and nationally are interested in talking with Icos employees. Once layoff decisions have been made, Icos will host an on-site job fair to allow those companies to meet with employees, he wrote.


Brazil airline adds 20 planes to order

Brazil's Gol airline is increasing its firm orders for new Boeing 737-800 jetliners from 67 to 87 to meet the carrier's expansion plans, Gol said Monday.

The contract also increases Gol's options to buy more 737s, raising the number of firm orders and options to 121 planes.

Brazil's No. 2 airline did not disclose the value of the deal.

All Star Directories

Austin Ventures acquires company

All Star Directories, a Seattle company that publishes online directories of schools, said Monday that it was acquired by Austin Ventures, a venture firm based in Austin, Texas.

Mike Mathieu, founder of All Star, will retain an ownership stake in the company and continue as a director on the board. Doug Brown, All Star president, will stay in that position and be responsible for managing its 65 employees.


Amp'd Mobile hires Swenson

A year ago, a judge ruled that Bellevue-based T-Mobile's former chief operating officer was violating a non-compete agreement by taking a job in the same role at Amp'd Mobile, a Los Angeles-based wireless startup.

With the expiration of the non-compete restriction, Amp'd Mobile said Monday that it has hired the former T-Mobile executive, Susan Swenson, as its new COO. Swenson will lead the daily U.S. operations of Amp'd in the areas of technology operations, customer care, human resources and facilities.

She replaces Bill Stone, who was promoted to president at Amp'd Mobile.


Technology licensed to two Chinese firms

Microsoft is licensing intellectual property developed by its researchers in Beijing, China, to two Chinese software companies.

The company planned to announce today that it's licensing technology for viewing pictures and streaming video content on mobile devices to Comtech Group, a Nasdaq-listed company that serves hardware manufacturers in China. Hunan Talkweb Information System, another Chinese company, is licensing Microsoft technology that turns photographs into cartoons that can be sent over mobile devices.

Microsoft is providing the companies with training and support in addition to the technology and will receive an undisclosed share of revenues generated from the sale of products using its intellectual property.


Dozens of suits filed over auction sales

Microsoft said Monday it has filed more than 50 lawsuits and other legal actions worldwide against people it says sold pirated copies of its software using online auction sites such as eBay.

The legal actions were being filed Friday, Monday and Tuesday in the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Korea, Poland and several other countries.

Nation and World

United Airlines

U.S. airlines cancel $6 fare increases

Several U.S. airlines gave up on an attempt to raise fares by $6 per round trip after United Airlines, which had initiated the move, went back to its earlier rates over the weekend.

American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines all canceled the increase late Sunday, a day after United did so, travel-industry expert Terry Trippler said Monday. Trippler said he doesn't expect to see fares drop because of lower fuel prices.

United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said it rescinded its fare increase "to stay competitive with the low-cost carriers, who did not match the fare increase."

Airlines have raised fares many times in the past two years, partly to cover higher fuel costs. But such attempts generally fail to stick when not all competitors join in bumping up prices.

Monster Worldwide

Former CEO resigns board over stock options

The scandal over stock options backdating spread to yet another executive as the former chief executive of Monster Worldwide, Andrew McKelvey, quit his board seat and refused to sit for questions from fellow board members.

Monster Worldwide, parent of the world's largest job search Web site, announced McKelvey's resignation on Monday. A board committee conducting an internal investigation had sought to interview him further following a meeting in July. Monster has received a subpoena from the U.S. attorney's office in the Southern District of New York over stock options and has said it wants to complete its own investigation by the end of the year.

McKelvey, who is 71, is the latest company chief to be affected by investigations of the accounting of past options grants. In all, at least 135 U.S. companies have disclosed internal inquiries or government investigations and at least 39 executives and board directors at 19 companies have been fired or resigned.


Texas plant closing; 1,100 jobs to be cut

Goodyear Tire & Rubber said Monday it plans to close a plant in Tyler, Texas, despite a strike by workers who were upset about the tire maker's plan to shut down the factory.

The move will eliminate about 1,100 jobs and is part of Goodyear's strategy to end some of its private-label tire business.

More than 12,000 United Steelworkers members in Tyler and 15 other plants in North America went on strike Oct. 5 after months of talks with the world's third-biggest tire maker. No new talks have been scheduled.

The United Steelworkers, which represents Goodyear workers, said the announcement to close the Tyler plant was a slap in the face, particularly because the union took pay cuts, job losses and other concessions in 2000 to help get the company back on track financially.


Cellular growth up, but shares fall

Verizon Wireless dazzled in the third quarter but not enough to distract from worries about the wired side of Verizon Communications, where losses of traditional phone customers accelerated, profit margins eroded and costs from a "bet the company" push into cable TV rose.

Verizon's stock slid more than 3 percent after Monday's third-quarter report, which showed that net income rose slightly to $1.92 billion, or 66 cents per share.

The results edged or met most Wall Street forecasts, with the cellular business outperforming on multiple fronts.

Compiled from Seattle Times staff and The Associated Press

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company


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