Microsoft to promote Windows Live suite
After a trickle of updates and “betas” bearing the Windows Live moniker, Microsoft Corp. is ready to start promoting its official package of free desktop programs for e-mail, instant messaging, blogging and sharing photos.
The programs are “essentially a free upgrade for Windows,” said Brian Hall, general manager of Windows Live at Microsoft.
The package includes Windows Live Mail, which can grab messages from multiple free Web-based e-mail accounts, including Microsoft’s Hotmail, Google’s Gmail and AOL e-mail. The new package, which Microsoft formally announced Tuesday, allows PC users to read and respond to mail even when they’re not online, just as Outlook Express, which Microsoft has phased out, did.
Facebook will pursue business interests
Facebook has begun transforming itself from an online hangout into an online business district.
Companies can now create their own pages on Facebook for the first time and target ads on Facebook based on what users and their friends buy and do online, under a new program announced Tuesday. Advertisers also will be able to show users their pitches in the guise of a friend’s endorsement.
For example, if the friend just booked a vacation on Travelocity, the online travel agency will be able to display the friend’s photo to entice the user to buy flights and hotel stays.
The friend would have control over whether to share that information, but the user would have fewer choices over whether to receive it.
Ex-Freddie Mac chief, government settle
The government on Tuesday reached a $16.4 million settlement with Freddie Mac’s former CEO for his role in the mortgage finance company’s multibillion-dollar accounting scandal.
Leland Brendsel, who was ousted in 2003, agreed to pay $2.5 million in fines to the government, give back $10.5 million in salary and bonuses to Freddie Mac and to waive claims against the company for compensation worth $3.4 million.
The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which regulates Freddie Mac and its government-sponsored sibling, Fannie Mae, filed civil charges against Brendsel in December 2003.
Under the settlement reached Tuesday, Brendsel’s disgorged salary and bonuses will be used to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure.
Quarterly loss narrows for Southwest Gas
Southwest Gas Corp. on Tuesday said its third quarter loss, typical because of warm weather, narrowed from a year ago.
In a statement, the company said its net loss was $9.3 million, or 22 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with a net loss of $10.7 million, or 26 cents per share, a year earlier.
Third-quarter operating revenue rose 5.6 percent to $371.5 million from $351.8 million. Operating margin, defined as operating revenues less the cost of gas sold, rose 7 percent.
Southwest Gas shares rose 9 cents, or 0.32 percent, Tuesday to close at $28.15 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Divisional winner of Series arrested in raid
A divisional winner of the World Series of Poker was arrested with 15 other men during a gambling raid that yielded almost $20,000, police said.
Paul McKinney and the others were playing poker Friday when the raid occurred, police said. Authorities seized cash, playing cards and poker chips, as well as betting slips for the weekend’s sporting events.
McKinney, 82, of Weber City, Va., won the 2005 Seniors Division of the World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas, taking home $202,725, series spokesman Dave Curley said. At the time he was the oldest winner in World Series of Poker history.
Police in Kingsport, in eastern Tennessee, conducted the raid after getting a tip.
Yahoo rapped for role in journalist’s jailing
In an unprecedented public shaming of a U.S. Internet giant, Yahoo and its chief executive, Jerry Yang, were pilloried Tuesday by a congressional committee for the company’s role in the jailing of a Chinese journalist and for misleading lawmakers last year about what it knew about the controversial case.
In a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Yang, who emigrated from Taiwan as a child, bowed in apology to the weeping mother of the imprisoned Chinese journalist, Shi Tao.
Yahoo provided Shi’s name to Chinese authorities in 2004 after they demanded to know the owner of a Yahoo e-mail address that had forwarded a government memo to an international human-rights group. The memo had forbidden news coverage of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Shi was sentenced to 10 years in prison for divulging what China had deemed a state secret.
Ethanol slowdown doesn’t hurt ADM
Food processor Archer Daniels Midland Co. surprised Wall Street on Tuesday by reporting stronger-than-expected profits and surging sales despite a slowing of the ethanol boom, demonstrating its strength in oilseeds processing and agricultural services.
ADM’s first-quarter earnings of $441 million were 9 percent higher than a year ago. But that it was able to shatter earnings and sales forecasts despite a drop in prices for ethanol, which had propelled its growth in recent quarters, and higher corn prices impressed industry analysts.
Profit for the three months ended Sept. 30 were 68 cents per share, up from $403.9 million, or 61 cents per share, during the same period a year earlier.
Sales rose 35.4 percent to $12.8 billion from $9.45 billion.
Google to help drivers find way as they fill up
Lost drivers soon will be able to Google for help at the pump.
As part of a partnership to be announced today, the online search leader will dispense driving directions at thousands of gasoline pumps across the United States beginning early next month.
The pumps, made by Gilbarco Veeder-Root, include an Internet connection and will display Google’s mapping service in color on a small screen. Drivers will be able to scroll through several categories to find local landmarks, hotels, restaurants and hospitals selected by the gas station’s owner.
After the driver selects a destination, the pump will print directions. Eventually, Gilbarco Veeder-Root hopes to enable motorists to type in an address and get directions.
Treasury prices mixed after tense session
Treasury prices closed mixed after a tense session Tuesday as the stock managed a rebound even as investors remained anxious about widening debt problems.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 0.16 points to 103.06 with a 4.36 percent yield, up from 4.34 percent late Monday.
The 30-year long bond dropped 0.31 points to 105 0.53 points with a 4.65 percent yield, up from 4.63 percent late Monday.