Originally created 02/16/99

Additional business news



Protesters demand Microsoft refund

FOSTER CITY, Calif. -- About 100 computer users marched to Microsoft Corp.'s Silicon Valley offices Monday demanding refunds for Windows software they say they didn't want to buy and don't plan to use.

About 90 percent of personal computers sold these days come preloaded with Microsoft's Windows software. Most of the demonstrators are among a growing minority of computer users who don't care for Windows. They have chosen to operate their computers with Linux, a system with a cherubic penguin mascot that has risen to the forefront among the relatively unknown products that can substitute for the Windows operating system.

Microsoft spokesman Robert Bennett said his company isn't forcing anyone to buy Windows, but Microsoft won't give refunds.

Nissan decision months away

FRANKFURT, Germany -- DaimlerChrysler co-chairman Juergen Schrempp said Monday that the car company will decide within three months on the possible acquisition of a stake in Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co. A DaimlerChrysler spokesman confirmed Mr. Schrempp's remarks.

DaimlerChrysler said in December it had been looking for about a year into conditions for possible cooperation in commercial vehicle production with Nissan and its subsidiary Nissan Diesel.

Volvo may take over truck maker

LONDON -- Swedish vehicle maker Volvo AB says it is talking to U.S. truck manufacturer Navistar International Corp. about a possible takeover, the Financial Times reported in Monday's editions.

The report speculated that the deal could be worth at least $3 billion.

Panel: Pact should get started

GENEVA -- Nations representing more than 90 percent of the world's financial services market agreed Monday that a multitrillion-dollar global trade accord should start March 1.

A key panel of the World Trade Organization decided that the financial services agreement, which opens banking, insurance and securities markets to international competition, should take effect even though 18 countries still have to ratify it.

Some 52 governments have ratified the accord so far. The 18 remaining countries have been given until the end of June to complete the work to let them to join. Among the major trading nations that have come into line are the United States, Japan and the countries of the European Union, except for Luxembourg, which still has to ratify the agreement.

New hormone-treated beef proposals fail

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Union on Monday said new U.S. proposals for defusing a dispute over imports of hormone-treated beef failed to address the EU's main concerns.

The EU's executive commission said it had received a letter from U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky and Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman proposing U.S. beef and beef products exported to the EU be labeled to show their national origin.

But commission spokesman Nigel Gardner said the offer falls short of EU demands the meat carry a specific label showing it is hormone-treated.

Ford employee dies from explosion injuries

DETROIT -- A fourth Ford employee has died from injuries suffered in a power plant explosion at the company's sprawling Rouge complex.

Ken Anderson, a 44-year-old employee, died Sunday in the intensive care unit where he had been since the Feb. 1 blast in Dearborn.

A state investigator says a natural gas buildup led to the explosion at the complex, where 10,000 people make cars, car parts and steel.

Canadian officials risk trade war with U.S.

TORONTO -- Describing the United States as a bully, Canadian officials say they are ready to risk a trade war rather than abandon a bill aimed at restricting U.S. magazine operations in Canada.

Trade Minister Sergio Marchi, in an interview Monday with several American journalists, said the United States was out of line in threatening to retaliate against Canadian steel and textile exports if the magazine bill is passed.

The bill would penalize foreign publishers that sell space to Canadian advertisers in special Canadian editions of their magazines. Canadian officials and publishers say these so-called split-run magazines would take ad revenue away from Canadian magazines, offering much cheaper ad rates because their editorial costs are covered by their home-country operations.