Business & Finance

Microsoft agreed to yet another financial settlement in a licensing dispute: a one-time payment of $440 million to InterTrust Technologies Corp. InterTrust, a privately held Santa Clara, Calif., company, is a pioneer in developing DRM (digital rights management) technology that helps to protect materials such as movies, music, and information from piracy. The agreement resolves all outstanding litigation between the two companies and means that customers can use Microsoft products and services as intended without a license from InterTrust. Earlier this month, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems settled their lengthy dispute over alleged patent infringements and the use of each other's technologies - an agreement that will cost Microsoft a reported $1.6 billion.

Since 1999, the Air Force has taken delivery of 50 transport planes from giant defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. that do not meet "operational requirements," according to a Pentagon review obtained by the financial reporting service bloomberg.com. The report, which will be completed in June, apparently does not specify the manufacturing deficiencies in the C-130J aircraft. But until they are corrected, one industry analyst said, Lockheed Martin may be hindered in landing overseas contracts. The C-130Js delivered to the Air Force so far cost $2.6 billion and were supposed to be a quantum leap over the C-130 Hercules, a workhorse in hauling troops, combat vehicles, and cargo.

A deep round of job cuts was announced by chemical giant DuPont as details of a two-year, $900 million cost-saving strategy outlined last December became public. The Wilmington, Del., company said it expected to offer severance terms to 3,000 employees and that another 500 positions would be eliminated through attrition. DuPont also will cut 450 contractor positions. Most of the reductions will come in North America and Western Europe, the company said. The rest of the savings are expected to be achieved through streamlining product lines and reducing spending on supplies, telecommunications, and information technology.

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