Monday, June 18, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Business Digest

Name change to Microsoft Mediaroom designed to appeal

Microsoft has renamed the software platform it sells to telecom companies to be more appealing and descriptive of its expanding features.

The new brand, being announced today at an industry conference in Chicago, is Microsoft Mediaroom.

It will be marketed to consumers as an "ingredient brand" — think outdoor clothing and Gore-Tex — in partnership with the telecom companies that sell Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) as an alternative to satellite and cable.

Along with the new name, Microsoft is offering features to bring the TV closer in function to a MediaCenter PC:

Multimedia sharing allowing users to browse and display content from networked PCs on televisions; application-development kits for the telecom companies to build "browserlike" applications that run on a TV's set-top box; and a MultiView feature for viewing multiple channels on a single screen.


Report: Big order from US Airways

US Airways Group plans to order at least 90 Airbus aircraft valued at more than $10.7 billion at list prices, a person with direct knowledge of the sale said.

US Airways will buy about 60 single-aisle Airbus A320s, eight A330s and 22 long-range A350s, said the person, who asked not to be identified before today's announcement at the Paris air show.

US Airways chose Airbus over Boeing's 737 and 787 after months of negotiations.

US Airways "needed to do something because a lot of their direct competitors have already ordered the 787," said George Hamlin, managing director of Airline Capital Associates in Fairfax, Va. "They also gain the efficiencies of moving toward an all-Airbus fleet for their narrow-bodies."

Deliveries of the A320s would begin about 2010, the A330s in 2009 and the A350s in 2014, the person said


Kawasaki considers new 787-parts plant

Kawasaki Heavy Industries said today it's considering building a new plant to expand production of parts for Boeing's 787 airplane.

The company will spend $162 million on a second plant to make fuselages and components for the 787, Japan's Nikkei newspaper said.

General Electric

Accords reached with two unions

General Electric and its two largest labor unions reached tentative agreements Sunday on contracts affecting more than 20,000 employees nationwide, company and union leaders said.

The new four-year pacts replace contracts that were to expire at midnight Sunday.

If ratified by workers June 28, terms of the new contracts with the IUE-CWA and the Electrical Workers union would be extended to nine other unions at GE.

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

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company


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