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Talk of the day

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 16, 2007


Motorola hopes new Razr gives it back an edge

Motorola Inc. is revamping the Razr cell phone that has defined the company's seesaw fortunes, jamming more technological and user-friendly substance into a handset best known for its looks. The Razr 2 was unveiled Tuesday as the centerpiece to a new phone lineup Motorola hopes will reverse a financial tailspin that led to the company's first quarterly loss since 2004 and wiped away a third of its stock market value in just half a year. The Razr 2 features big jumps in processor speed and screen brightness, both of which are 10 times greater than the original Razr. The company also has added a 2-inch display to the outside of the Razr 2, calling it the biggest external screen on a flip phone, so that it can be used more easily as a music player. The Razr 2 will be introduced in Asia during July, and elsewhere later in the summer. The company did not name the cell phone companies that would be featuring the device.

For IRS, tax return paperwork zapped

A record 77-million taxpayers have filed their tax returns electronically this year, the Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday. The IRS also said that as of May 4, more than 59-million refunds were deposited directly into savings, checking and brokerage accounts, more than 61 percent of all refunds issued. This year, the IRS permitted direct deposit of refunds into as many as three separate financial accounts. Based on current trends, the agency expects about 58 percent of all returns to be e-filed this year. The IRS said 140-million people had visited the agency's Web site to receive help and information, up from 128-million in 2006.

MySpace links up with media outlets

MySpace, News Corp.'s social-networking Web site, plans to introduce video channels linked to at least 13 media outlets including the New York Times and National Geographic. Reuters Group Plc will also have its own channel, as will Fox Television's IGN Entertainment, MySpace said. MySpace is tapping growing demand for video on the Internet and providing a potential draw for advertisers. The decision coincides with efforts by MySpace to work with broadcasters and media outlets to prevent illegal use of their shows and clips.

Magazine publisher bought for $1.2B

Source Interlink Cos., a Bonita Springs-based magazine, CD and DVD distributor to leading grocery and book store chains, has agreed to buy the publisher of Hot Rod, Motor Trend and other special interest publications for $1.2-billion in cash. The deal to buy Primedia Inc.'s magazine unit expands it into publishing and digital content and comes a month after Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle, who controls Source Interlink, was spurned in his efforts to buy media conglomerate Tribune Co.