Business & Finance

Microsoft's appeal of a European Union ruling against its business practices was "dismissed in its entirety" by the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg. The software giant said it would comply immediately with the EU antitrust order, issued in March by Competition Commissioner Mario Monti, that it pay a $666 million fine, share certain trade secrets with competitors on the Continent, and offer a modified version of its Windows operating system without music or video players. But a Microsoft spokesman also said the ruling Wednesday may help if the company decides to exercise its final appeal option - to the European Court of Justice. The Luxembourg court, he said, "recognized that some of our arguments in the case are well-founded and may ultimately carry the day when the substantive issues are resolved."

Mortgage lending giant Fannie Mae appointed an interim chief executive and financial officer and dismissed its outside auditor Tuesday night in the latest chapter of its ongoing accounting scandal. The company said chief operating officer Daniel Mudd would replace Franklin Raines at the helm after Raines and finance chief Timothy Howard stepped down. Raines's departure was characterized as an "early retirement," Howard's as a resignation. But news reports said both men were forced out in the wake of the scandal, which could cost the federally chartered lender $9 billion as it restates earnings back to 2001. Fannie Mae also said it has begun a search for a new auditor after firing KMPG International LLP. The latter said it would have no comment on the matter. Mudd is the son of high-profile network TV journalist Roger Mudd.

Boeing Co. scored its second major order for the new 7E7 Dreamliner passenger jet, a commitment from Japan Airlines for 30 with an option to buy 20 more. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but the aggregate book value of an order that size is estimated at $4 billion. Japan's No. 2 carrier, All Nippon Airways, ordered 50 7E7s in April. Meanwhile, rival Airbus announced it has lured away former Boeing customer Air Europa of Spain with an order for 10 of its planned A350 jets. Airbus won the OK from its board to build the A350 - projected as the answer to Boeing's 7E7 - less than a month ago.

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