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Economy Briefs: Apple sued by buyer over iPhone 4S ‘assistant’ Siri

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SAN FRANCISCO — An iPhone 4S buyer has sued Apple for promising more than it delivered with automated "Siri" voice-activated assistant software built into the coveted smartphones.

A suit filed in a California federal court argued that Apple advertising touting the wonders of Siri amounted to "intentional misrepresentation" and unfair competition, according to documents available online Tuesday.

Lawyers representing a New York City man who bought an iPhone 4S want class action status to represent millions of people who bought the latest generation Apple smartphone.

The suit included Apple - which runs showing people asking Siri to help them find restaurants, learn chords to songs, tie neck ties, and even figure out if there is a rodeo in town - had disappointed some users.

Lawyers representing the iPhone 4S buyer, identified as Frank Fazio of Brooklyn, argued that Siri claims were "misleading and deceptive," and are calling for California-based Apple to pay unspecified damages.

"Promptly after the purchase of his iPhone 4S, plaintiff realized that Siri was not performing as advertised," the lawsuit said.

"For instance, when plaintiff asked Siri for directions to a certain place, or to locate a store, Siri either did not understand what plaintiff was asking, or, after a very long wait time, responded with the wrong answer."

Apple does not comment on pending litigation.

TEXAS

US Airways grabs Internet names in case of merger

FORT WORTH — US Airways has made no secret of its interest in a merger with American Airlines, and now it's gobbling up Internet domain names in case they do agree to combine.

A spokesman for US Airways Group Inc. confirmed Tuesday that the company registered several domain addresses that include the names of both airlines, including usairways-american.com and american-usairways.com.

The spokesman, Andrew Christie, said US Airways bought the domain names to prevent anyone else from buying them and using the names "in a way that might negatively impact our brand."

He declined to comment about a possible bid for American.

US Airways has publicly disclosed that it hired advisers to weigh a bid for AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, which filed for bankruptcy protection in November.

A spokesman for American Airlines, Bruce Hicks, said the airline knew nothing about the domain names.

Delta Air Lines Inc. reportedly also is mulling a bid for AMR. Delta President Edward H. Bastian was asked Tuesday whether his airline had followed US Airways' example and registered domain names linking Delta and American.

"Not that I'm aware of," Mr. Bastian said. "But I think it's cute."

ROMANIA

Government invests $97.5M to help Ford production

BUCHAREST — The Romanian government says it will invest $97.5 million of state aid in Ford Motor Co. to help production at its compact van factory in southern Romania.

Government spokesman Dan Suciu says Tuesday the money is earmarked for the production of automobiles and automobile engines.

Ford launched the production of its new compact van at a factory in Craiova, southern Romania in 2009.

Mr. Suciu said it will produce some 810,000 automobiles and 1.5 million engines from 2013 to 2017.

In 2007, Ford bought a 72.4 percent stake in the state-owned Automobile Craiova, paying $88 million and vowing to invest $1 billion to upgrade and expand car production.

CANADA

Defense minister: Canceling F-35 purchases still a possibility

TORONTO — Canada's associate defense minister says his government could back out of a multibillion-dollar plan to buy F-35 stealth fighters from the United States.

Julian Fantino said Tuesday that Canada is considering "if and when" to sign a contract for the Lockheed Martin-manufactured jet.

Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been a staunch supporter of the program, but Mr. Fantino's remarks represent a step back. Canada has said it would buy 65 jets.

Japan has said it may cancel its plans to buy dozens of the fighters. The next-generation fighter is set to become the centerpiece of U.S. and allied air forces, but the program has been plagued by delays and cost overruns.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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