Microsoft goes to the movies

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To show off its new digital-media technology, Microsoft is helping the independent film "Wendigo" make a digital debut March 1 at the Uptown Cinemas on Lower Queen Anne. The film will be shown in the "Corona" media format Microsoft is developing to succeed its current Windows Media technology.

The film has been making rounds at film festivals and is set to debut in celluloid formats in Los Angeles and New York later this month. A digital version is to run in Dallas starting March 15.

Wendigo starts off with a family driving through the woods in a Volvo and hitting a deer, outraging a "Deliverance"-like hunter who was chasing the buck. Not sure if there's a RealNetworks metaphor there, but it's a better title than "Buffering the Vampire Slayer."

Les Misérables:'s French retail site,, has done some major reshuffling recently. Georges Aoun, director of's French unit, departed in mid-January after less than seven months heading Philipp Humm, the European vice president and (Germany) country manager, stepped in as interim head of He resigned a week ago.

Meantime, Thomas Loc was named its European VP and general manager, plus managing director of Also appointed: Ralph Kleber as the new Germany country manager. He was formerly the finance director for

Sales in Amazon's international businesses, which represent online-retail sites in France, Germany, United Kingdom and Japan, rose 81 percent to $262 million for the fourth quarter, but the French site has been the smallest of the four.

Blame Minitel, France's long-standing text-only telephone service. Who needs the Internet when you can check the weather on the phone?

2b who?: Charles Brown, chief executive officer of Redmond-based 2bnatural, may add "supermodel" to his resume' soon. At last week's Winter Venture Ball, he accompanied a model onto the runway during the fashion-show segment. Did anyone notice the announcer quickly added that the supply-chain company's revenues increased more than 500 percent between 2000 and 2001?

Probably not.

Blame Brown's escort, the tall, lean woman strutting down the runway wearing loose-fitting clothes with the midsection carved out.

Sayonara: From Peter Main's goodbye e-mail last week as he stepped down after 14 years as executive vice president of sales and marketing at Nintendo of America: "Well, the office drawers are cleaned out, the final expense reports submitted and the golf clubs buffed ... and I'm about to ride off into the video-game sunset."

On the record

Acquisitions: Corbis, the Bellevue online-digital photography company founded by Bill Gates, acquired New York-based moving-image company Sekani last week for an undisclosed amount.

Financing: Kirkland-based RevX, which develops software for Fortune 1000 information-technology departments, said it raised $1.5 million in a second round of financing. Alexander Hutton Venture Partners led the round.

Products: DigiMine, a Bellevue company that does data analysis for Web sites, introduced DigiMine Advisors to help companies with business objectives, customer retention, inventory management and sales conversion.

Download, a column of news bits, observations and miscellany, is gathered by The Seattle Times technology staff. We can be reached at 206-464-2265 or by e-mail at