Chief correspondent, Seattle
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Jul 3, 2012

U.S. unions disappointed with Airbus Alabama location

SEATTLE (Reuters) – U.S. labor groups said they were disappointed with Airbus’ decision to build its first U.S. plant in Alabama, where it is effectively impossible to form a powerful union, and warned non-union work could drive down wages across the board in one of the last bastions of U.S. manufacturing.

The move follows rival Boeing Co, whose commercial aircraft unit has made increasing use of non-union labor over the last five years, culminating last year in the opening of a final assembly plant for 787s in South Carolina.

Jul 3, 2012

Microsoft takes $6.2 billion charge, slows Internet hopes

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp admitted its largest acquisition in the Internet sector was effectively worthless and wiped out any profit for the last quarter, as it announced a $6.2 billion charge to write down the value of an online advertising agency it bought five years ago.

The announcement came as a surprise, but did not shock investors, who had largely forgotten Microsoft’s purchase of aQuantive in 2007, which was initially expected to boost Microsoft’s online advertising revenue and counter rival Google Inc’s purchase of digital ad firm DoubleClick.

Jul 2, 2012

U.S. unions greet Airbus with silence, wariness

SEATTLE (Reuters) – U.S. aerospace unions stayed largely quiet on Monday as Europe’s Airbus announced plans to build its first airliner assembly plant in Mobile, Alabama, free of union representation.

Some welcomed the creation of jobs on U.S. shores, but expressed wariness that non-union work would drive down wages across the board in one of the last bastions of U.S. manufacturing.

Jun 27, 2012

Boeing taps salesman Conner to run commercial planes

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) appointed a new head of its commercial plane unit on Tuesday, turning to a veteran engineer-turned-salesman to help gain the upper hand in its battle with Airbus for the $100 billion-a-year aircraft market.

The surprise move, just weeks before the Farnborough Airshow, comes as Boeing attempts to ramp up production of its civil aircraft, including the troubled 787, and regain its leading position in the key single-aisle market after losing a large American Airlines (AAMRQ.PK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) order to rival Airbus.

Jun 26, 2012

Boeing names Conner commercial plane head

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) appointed a new head of its commercial plane unit on Tuesday as it looks to regain the upper hand in its battle with Airbus for the $100 billion-a-year aircraft market.

The largest U.S. planemaker has recently steadied its troubled 787 program but has struggled in the more important narrow-body 737 market, where it allowed Airbus to march into its core territory and take a large order from staunch Boeing customer American Airlines. (AAMRQ.PK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)

Jun 25, 2012

Microsoft to buy Yammer for $1.2 billion

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp agreed to buy online social network firm Yammer Inc for $1.2 billion in cash, which will allow the software company to offer a service like Facebook Inc’s to corporate customers.

Talk of a deal had circulated earlier this month, but the two companies only confirmed an agreement on Monday.

Jun 20, 2012

Microsoft brings phone software closer to Windows

SEATTLE, June 20 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp’s new
phone software will be built on the same core as its new
upcoming PC and tablet operating system, bringing the company
one step closer to unifying its Windows franchise across a full
range of screens that are revolutionizing computing.

The world’s largest software company, which is running to
keep up with Apple Inc’s iPhone and Google Inc’s
Android devices, said the common core means customers
will have a greater choice of phones and applications, and be
able to switch between multiple machines more easily.

Jun 20, 2012

Microsoft launches promising tablet, risks remain

By Bill Rigby and Vidya L Nathan

(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp’s new Surface device signals the software company’s hunger to join the three-way battle for the tablet market with Apple Inc and Google Inc, even if its longstanding hardware partners are not quite ready.

The company’s unprecedented move into PC design was a slap for traditional PC makers – which have fallen behind Apple in creating attractive machines that blend smoothly with software – but may primarily be a wake-up call for its partners rather than a long-term attempt to compete.

Jun 19, 2012

Microsoft tablet promising, but risks remain

By Bill Rigby and Vidya L Nathan

(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp’s new Surface tablet looks promising, but many questions need to be answered before it can be considered a rival to Apple Inc’s iPad, analysts said the day after the company made its first foray into the computer hardware business.

The shares of the world’s largest software company jumped almost 3 percent as Wall Street and investors welcomed Microsoft’s move. But analysts had questions about the lack of enthusiasm among developers for creating applications that run on the new Windows 8 operating system and the absence of hard details on pricing and availability.

Jun 15, 2012

Microsoft users struggle with Windows redesign

SEATTLE (Reuters) – As Microsoft Corp prepares to show the world what its new Windows 8 can do on the next generation of high-powered tablets, initial reviews of the new operating system on existing hardware underscore the challenges the company faces with the radical redesign of its flagship product.

The world’s largest software company says millions of people are already using a downloaded pre-release version of Windows 8 on PCs, laptops and touch-devices ahead of its full introduction this autumn. At a media event in Los Angeles on Monday, the company is expected to discuss its plans to take on Apple Inc’s all-conquering iPad this holiday shopping season.

    • About Bill

      "Bill Rigby is Reuters' chief correspondent in Seattle, reporting on Microsoft and Boeing and overseeing coverage of general news in Washington state, Oregon and Alaska. He has been a Reuters journalist since 1998, reporting on banks, insurers, stock markets, defense companies and airlines from Reuters bureaux in London, New York and Seattle."
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