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Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 16, 2001

Palm cuts prices to reduce backlog

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Palm Inc., which lowered sales forecasts in March on slumping demand, cut prices on some handheld computers to reduce inventory. Palm said it marked down its lowest-price device, m100, to $129 from $149. The Vx now costs $299 instead of $349, and the IIIc model, which features a color screen, was cut to $299 from $329. The price cuts could hurt sales at rivals such as Handspring Inc., analysts have said. The least expensive device offered by Handspring, which licenses Palm's software for its handheld PCs, costs $149. The company's new Visor Edge, which competes with Palm's Vx, sells for $399, according to Bloomberg News.

Test lets homeowners adjust thermostats online

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Carrier Corp. and IBM plan to test an Internet-based air-conditioning control service this summer in Europe that would let consumers start cooling their homes before leaving work and could help utilities conserve power. If the test is successful, the companies said homeowners would be able to use the Web site,, to set the operating temperatures of Carrier brand air conditioners from online. Dealers, installers and engineers could diagnose mechanical trouble without home visits. A pilot program will be launched this summer in Britain, Greece and Italy. Jon Shaw, a spokesman for Carrier, said it was too early to speculate on when a similar system tailored for use in the United States would be made available. Shaw said the option would not add to the price of an air conditioner but could require a service fee.

Microsoft: MSN subscribers top 5-million

SEATTLE -- Microsoft Corp. said last week its MSN Internet service has exceeded 5-million subscribers, narrowly surpassing the subscriber base of rival Internet service provider Earthlink, which claims about 4.7-million subscribers. That puts Microsoft's service in second place behind No. 1 America Online, which has about 28-million subscribers.

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