Europe enters Microsoft investigation
All the papers carry the news that the European Commission has expanded its investigation into Microsoft to examine whether the company was incorporating its Media Player product with its Windows operating system for personal computers. The Financial Times believes the investigation could have implications for Microsoft's soon-to-be-released Windows XP operating system.
Early release of Orange figures sends shares soaring
France Telecom was yesterday forced to release key financial figures relating to its Orange mobile subsidiary after a junior member of staff accidentally e-mailed key financial information to analysts that showed earnings had risen by 102%. All the papers report the blunder and the resulting surge in shares, which rose by more than 8% in Paris and London.
Spirent to axe 500 jobs
All the papers report that Spirent, the telecoms testing equipment firm, is to cut 500 jobs, mainly in the US. Spirent admitted it had suffered a drop in orders from manufacturers like Lucent, Alcatel and Cisco. The company predicted that second-half trading would be depressed by the "unprecedented slump in the telecoms market". Share value fell by 20%.
British Telecom union threatens strike over demerger
The Financial Times, the Guardian and the Times report that the Communication Workers Union has threatened to strike if the company pushes ahead with plans to demerge its BT Wireless mobiles division next month. The Financial Times highlights how the union is seeking an unusual alliance with BT's institutional shareholders to block the demerger.
Best of the rest
The Financial Times reports:
- Shares in Sun Microsystems plunged almost 18% in New York after the company said it was unlikely to break even in the current quarter.
- London Bridge Software is expecting a sharp rise in bankruptcies to increase demand for its credit risk management products.
- Excite@Home, the US broadband and media company, faces bankruptcy if it cannot make a payment of £35m on a loan from Promethean Investment Group. PIG said it would consider withdrawing its demand if AT&T, the controlling shareholder in Excite@Home, would guarantee the payment.