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March 16, 2000

* Less than two months after entering the electronic book market, Gemstar International Group of Pasadena announced a long-term deal Wednesday to develop new generations of e-book readers with longtime partner Thomson Multimedia. The two firms will jointly develop and introduce new versions of the Rocket EBook and the SoftBook Reader, which were initially developed by companies Gemstar acquired in January, NuvoMedia and SoftBook Press.

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* EBay Inc., the big Internet auctioneer, said it is offering an online site where small businesses can bid on merchandise as the company enters the fast-growing market linking businesses and suppliers. The new service, Business Exchange, is available through EBay's Web site and lists 60,000 items, including computers, office equipment, software and forklifts.

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* FreeMarkets Inc., a conductor of online auctions for industrial companies, agreed to buy closely held IMark.com Inc. for about $339.5 million in stock to bolster its sales of surplus equipment and inventory. Analysts estimate the market for surplus equipment and inventory at $300 billion.

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* IVillage, a commercial Web site aimed at women, settled a lawsuit with former executives who claimed they were lured to the company, then fired without receiving promised stock options, the firm says. New York-based IVillage said the three executives had agreed to settle their suits against IVillage and its chief executive. Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed.

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