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Business Briefing

December 04, 2009

Intel-Nvidia battle part of federal probe

Intel Corp.'s legal dispute with graphics-chip maker Nvidia Corp. is being reviewed as part of an antitrust probe of Intel by the Federal Trade Commission, according to people familiar with the matter.

Regulators are looking at lawsuits between Intel and Nvidia, said the people, who declined to be identified because the federal investigation is continuing. The FTC is trying to determine whether a lawsuit filed by Intel earlier this year is an effort to disrupt Nvidia's business, one person said.

The investigation of Intel, started in 2008, is continuing even though the company settled its antitrust fight with Advanced Micro Devices Inc. in November.

The FTC inquiry goes beyond issues raised in the clash with AMD, which accused Intel of pressuring computer makers into exclusive agreements, said Thomas McCoy, AMD's executive vice president for legal affairs.

SHIPPING

FedEx to raise rates next year

FedEx Corp. said it would raise shipping rates for its Ground and Home Delivery units by an average of 4.9% in 2010.

FedEx announced in September that it would increase shipping rates for Express packages sent within or from the U.S. by an average of 5.9% next year.

The Memphis, Tenn., company said rates for SmartPost, FedEx's partnership with the U.S. Postal Service, also would change but didn't specify how.

All of the rate increases will go into effect Jan. 4.

SOFTWARE

Microsoft spurs piracy crackdown

Microsoft Corp. said it has unleashed a series of lawsuits and is cooperating in criminal prosecutions worldwide in an effort to stem piracy of its software.

All told, Microsoft said it has launched some 300 "enforcement actions," which include civil suits and raids in about 70 countries. The company also is drawing attention to the "forensic labs" it has in nine cities that are designed to detect counterfeit software.

Microsoft's Windows software dominates the global market for personal computer operating systems, but piracy has taken a significant bite out the company's sales.

INTERNET

Amazon starts textbook program

Amazon.com Inc. began a program for students to exchange used textbooks for gift cards, a move to boost its share of the college market.

Customers can search for books they want to trade in, ship them to Amazon.com for free and get a credit deposited into their user accounts, the Seattle-based company said.

Amazon.com already has similar trade-in programs with DVDs and video games.

WEB LITERACY

Online tracking basics explained

A group of leading Internet publishers and digital marketing services is launching an online campaign to educate consumers about how they are tracked and targeted for pitches on the Web.

The Internet Advertising Bureau unveiled its Privacy Matters website. The site explains how Internet marketers track where people go and what they do online and then mine that data to serve up targeted ads. The practice, known as behavioral advertising, has raised concerns among privacy watchdogs and lawmakers in Congress.

A number of IAB members plan to run banner spots on their Web pages linking back to the Privacy Matters site. Those include Internet-only players such as Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. and traditional media outlets such as Walt Disney Co. and the New York Times Co.

-- times wire reports

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