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Originally published July 15, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 15, 2008 at 10:55 AM

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Business Digest

Virus may have infected Web ads

Pacific Northwest Computer users who visited seattletimes.com, seattlepi.com or NWautos.com between 9 a.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday may have been...

Technology

Virus may have infected Web ads

Computer users who visited seattletimes.com, seattlepi.com or NWautos.com between 9 a.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday may have been infected with a virus, The Seattle Times said Monday.

The Times sells advertising for all three Web sites.

NWautos, an advertising site, was infected through pages hosted by its vendor, Gabriel's, Times Vice President Patricia Lee Smith said. The virus spread to some pages of seattletimes.com and seattlepi.com through links to NWautos.com embedded in pages of the newspaper sites. Smith said all infected code was purged from the sites by 2 p.m. Sunday.

The virus has infected many other Web sites, including The New York Times, that get advertising content from Gabriel's. Infected computers may display messages referring to virus scanners or providing fraudulent instructions.

She advised users to scan their computers with anti-virus software, clear their browsers' cache and cookies, and visit http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ for help with online security.

For more information, contact webmaster@nwautos.com.

Venture capital investment up 3 for second quarter

Venture-capital firms raised some $9.1 billion from institutional investors in the second quarter of 2008, even as public markets for startup companies dried up, the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) said Monday.

The amount raised is 3 percent higher than in the same quarter last year. The level of investment "demonstrates the long-term perspective of our institutional investors," said Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA, in a statement.

Bay Area-based Lightspeed Venture Partners raised the largest fund, worth $800 million. In the Seattle area, Madrona Venture Group raised $250 million.

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Insurance

Safeco deal to close in third quarter

Safeco, which agreed in April to be acquired by Liberty Mutual Group, said the deal is "on track for a third-quarter close."

"There are no impediments that would lead us to believe otherwise," said Paul Hollie, a spokesman for the Seattle-based insurer.

Safeco stock, which had traded above $65 a share since the deal was announced on April 23, fell $4.62, or 7 percent, Monday to close at $61.60. Liberty Mutual has said that it would pay $68.25 for each Safeco share.

Software

Microsoft to buy Zoomix Data

Microsoft agreed to buy Zoomix Data Mastering to add data-organizing tools to its SQL Server database programs. The closely held company, based in Jerusalem, will be integrated into Microsoft's research-and-development center in Israel, Zoomix said Monday. Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed.

Aerospace

Boeing workers' payout tallied

Boeing employees who worked the four-year qualifying period ended June 30 will receive a pretax payout worth $1,636.90 from the Share Value Trust, the company said Monday.

Those who worked for part of that period will get a prorated amount.

The Share Value Trust pays nonexecutive employees once every two years, assuming the stock price is above a predetermined threshold — in this case, $54. The payout was substantially reduced because Boeing shares lost more than a fifth of their value during June, falling from nearly $82.77 to $65.72 at the end of the qualifying period.

Retail

Starbucks adding fruit smoothies

It may be tough to sell a $4 cup of coffee in a sour economy, but Starbucks and other fast-food kingpins are betting big this summer that folks will willingly fork out nearly that much for healthful-sounding fruit smoothies.

Starbucks today will roll out Vivanno, a $3.75 fruit smoothie made with one whole banana, juice, ice and protein and fiber powder. It has no artificial colors or flavors, no added sweeteners and is 250 to 270 calories, depending on the flavor you pick.

Smoothies are not new to consumers. What's new is fast food's sudden interest in them. McDonald's is testing them in several markets. Taco Bell and Jack in the Box began rolling out smoothies in recent months. And Dunkin' Donuts has a new, lower-calorie smoothie.

Starbucks today also will roll out another summerlike beverage in 315 Los Angeles-area stores: Sorbetto. A 10-ounce cup is $2.75.

Nation / World

Brewers InBev aims to go

global with Bud

Anheuser-Busch is being swallowed by Belgian brewer InBev, which has an ambitious plan behind its $52 billion acquisition. InBev hopes to tap into the U.S. company's massive marketing power and make the Budweiser and Bud Light brands into globally recognized products akin to Coca-Cola or Pepsi.

Leaving marketing untouched, though, will mean cuts elsewhere. InBev expects to wring out $1.5 billion in annual savings, most of which will come from better managing the supply chain. InBev keeps a sharp eye on costs, forcing managers to justify every cent spent.

Anheuser-Busch agreed to the sweetened $70 per share bid late Sunday to create the world's largest brewer and head off what was shaping up as an acrimonious fight.

Telecom

1 million iPhones sold in first 3 days

Apple said Monday it sold 1 million iPhones in the first three days that its newest model was on the market.

"IPhone 3G had a stunning opening weekend," said Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, in a statement.

However, Jobs did not address widespread software problems that plagued the launch.

Reports of activation snags subsided over the weekend, as Apple's systems apparently recovered, and buyers were able to activate their phones through their home computers. As of Monday, the issues appeared to have been resolved, said analyst Charles Golvin of Forrester Research.

Apple did not respond to calls or e-mails requesting more information about the activation glitches.

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

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

UPDATE - 09:46 AM
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UPDATE - 09:32 AM
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UPDATE - 08:04 AM
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UPDATE - 07:54 AM
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NEW - 09:43 AM
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