Microsoft again presses for court delay

SEATTLE _ Microsoft yesterday reiterated its request that any court action in the company's antitrust case be suspended until the Supreme Court decides whether to hear the matter.

Microsoft made the request in response to a filing Friday by the Bush administration's top antitrust lawyer, Assistant Attorney General Charles James.

James called on the federal appeals court to immediately send the case to another judge to decide what punishment the computer software giant should face for breaking antitrust laws.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled that Microsoft harmed competition in the computer-software market, but rejected the order by U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson to break Microsoft into two companies. Instead, the appeals court said the case should be sent back to a different judge to decide the penalty.

Last week, Microsoft asked the Supreme Court to hear the case, saying Jackson's antitrust findings were invalid because of the judge's conduct.

Boeing, partner to give Moscow-based training

SEATTLE _ Hoping to boost expertise at its Eastern European operations, Boeing and the Russian aerospace company Ilyushin Aviation Complex will open a Moscow-based training center to develop computer skills for engineers, the companies announced yesterday.

The center will train Russian aerospace engineers in the computer software Boeing uses to design its aircraft, the company said. The center, which can train up to 50 engineers at a time, also will teach some English.

Engineers will be trained to work at the Moscow-based Boeing Design Center, which does work for the aerospace giant's Commercial Airplanes division.

Boeing contracts with more than 650 workers in Russia, mostly to work at the Boeing Design Center and the Boeing Technical Research Center. Boeing began a collaboration with Ilyushin in 1997 to design commercial airplane parts in Russia.

Seattle Genetics, Icos to develop cancer drug

BOTHELL _ Seattle Genetics has reached a deal with Icos to develop and make a component for its most advanced product in human testing, SGN-15.

Under the agreement, Icos will do process development and manufacturing. Financial terms were not disclosed.

SGN-15 is being tested in Phase II, or middle-stage, clinical trials to treat breast, colon and prostate cancers.

Seattle Genetics also announced it has moved to a new corporate office and lab space in Bothell, near its previous offices.


U.S. Bancorp to cut 2,770 jobs in merger

MINNEAPOLIS _ U.S. Bancorp, the nation's eighth-largest bank, said it will trim 2,770 employees as part of its combining with Firstar, about 1,000 more than it first forecast.

In a quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the bank said the firings are occurring among its branch, corporate and data-processing businesses.

Some firings stem from the reorganization of U.S. Bancorp's businesses, including investment-banking unit U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, where a slumping economy hurt demand for its services.

CenturyTel turns down bid from Alltel

NEW YORK _ Alltel, a wireless, local and long-distance telephone-services provider, made a $6.1 billion unsolicited bid yesterday to buy CenturyTel, which provides local telecommunications services in 21 states, including Washington.

In a statement, CenturyTel rejected the offer.

The combined company would have been a rural communications powerhouse with about 7.2 million wireless customers, 4.4 million telephone lines and more than $10 billion in revenue, Alltel said. CenturyTel is a local-exchange carrier that provides phone services in rural areas, suburbs, and small towns throughout the country.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff, Bloomberg News and The Associated Press.