DaimlerChrysler plans to cut 4,700 jobs in the US and has rescinded its decision to build a $1 billion assembly plant in Georgia, according to published reports. A spokesman at the automaker's headquarters in Germany blamed the latter decision on "a difficult automotive market," fluctuations in currency exchange rates, and import tariffs on parts made outside the US. The facility, which would have built cargo vans, had been planned for a 1,600-acre site near Savannah. Disappointed local and state officials immediately put a "for sale" sign back on the property. Meanwhile, a leading German daily, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, quoted company executives as saying the layoffs would come at plants in Detroit and Indianapolis, which would be closed, and at its Vance, Ala.; Syracuse, N.Y.; and New Castle, Ind., plants, which will be put up for sale. The automaker already has cut about 26,000 jobs as it restructures, and its chairman recently declined to rule out additional layoffs.
Microsoft will shut down free Internet chat rooms on its MSN service as of Oct. 14, a move that the world's leading maker of software said would curb abuses by pedophiles and bulk email advertisers (also known as spammers). Analysts noted it would also weed out nonpaying users. Subscribers in the US, Canada, and Japan, still will have access to MSN chat rooms, and moderated discussions will be available in New Zealand and Brazil, the company said. Microsoft has about 8.6 million subscribers for the Internet service.