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Originally published Monday, December 13, 2004 at 12:00 AM

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Technology Briefs

Microsoft desktop-search announcement due

In other items: Ruckelshaus joins Isilon Systems board of directors; A380 cost overruns may be as high as 15 percent; Apple to purchase flash-memory chips; and Walt Disney home-movie DVDs will use Sony format.

Microsoft's MSN division is expected to announce a test version of its long-awaited desktop-search software this morning in a conference call with reporters.

The division has said it will debut the software, designed to quickly search through files in a computer, by the end of 2004.

The software is expected to be much faster and more efficient than the current desktop-search feature with Windows.

MSN rivals Google and Yahoo! are also developing systems. Google unveiled its system, also in test mode, in October.

Yahoo! said last week its system will launch in the next few weeks.

Isilon Systems

Ruckelshaus joins board of directors

Seattle-based Isilon Systems said William Ruckelshaus has joined its board of directors and that it has formed a federal advisory board to help it sell products to federal agencies.

Ruckelshaus has been chairman and chief executive of Browning-Ferris Industries, acting director of the FBI, founding administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and deputy attorney general of the Justice Department.

Ruckelshaus is a director of Nordstrom and Weyerhaeuser.

Airbus

A380 cost overruns may be as high as 15 percent

Airbus said development costs for the A380, the world's biggest passenger jet when it enters service in 2006, will exceed budgets by 5 to 15 percent.

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In a interview in Le Monde, Chief Executive Noël Forgeard said the program could cost as much as $2 billion more than the estimated $10.7 billion.

Forgeard's admission the program is over budget comes a few months before the 555-seat A380 is scheduled for its first test flight. The aircraft will be a third larger than Boeing's 747.

Forgeard said the overrun would have little impact on the profitability of the program. He also said Airbus expects to win 50 orders in the first half of 2005 for the new long-range A350 aircraft, rival to Boeing's new 7E7.

Toshiba

Apple to purchase flash-memory chips

Toshiba, Japan's second largest chipmaker, has agreed to start selling a type of semiconductor known as flash memory to Apple Computer, maker of the iPod digital music player.

Toshiba will start selling the memory chips to Apple "early next year," Yasuo Morimoto, senior executive vice president at Toshiba, told reporters last week. His comments come amid speculation Apple will unveil a flash-based iPod in January.

Walt Disney Co.

Home-movie DVDs will use Sony format

Walt Disney Co. adopted Sony's Blu-ray format for digital-video discs, supporting its new standard for the home movie market.

Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment will start releasing movies in the format when Blu-ray DVD players are available in North America and Japan, the company said.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff and Bloomberg News

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