- - Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TAIPEI — South Korea’s Samsung Electronics unveiled notebook and tablet computers running on Windows 8 Tuesday, the latest firm to showcase products that use Microsoft’s eagerly awaited new operating system.

On the opening day of Asia’s leading IT fair in Taipei, Samsung showcased the products, including the Series 5 Hybrid which has features of both a laptop and a tablet, in a low-key display.

“Visitors should be able to see the tight partnership between Samsung and Microsoft and Intel,” said Lorraine Tsao, a spokeswoman for Samsung in Taiwan.

It came a day after Taiwanese rivals Acer and Asus unveiled products running on Windows 8, which is the focus of the annual Computex fair, in its 32nd year.

A new survey, meanwhile, showed that Samsung overtook Amazon in the first three months of the year to take second place in the global market for tablet sales, but still lagged far behind Apple with its ever-popular iPad.

Windows 8 is touted as Microsoft’s long-awaited riposte to the rise of Apple and mobile devices powered by Google’s Android operating system. There is no official release date, but reports have predicted an October launch.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said Windows 8 will support a wider range of devices including touch- and stylus-based smartphones and tablet PCs, as well as desktops and laptops.


Google buys mobile doc-maker Quickoffice

SAN FRANCISCO — Google on Tuesday said it had acquired the software firm Quickoffice, which allows users to create and edit documents on mobile devices.

The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, helps Google compete against Microsoft and others in the mobile space with the software allowing users to view, edit and create documents compatible with Microsoft formats such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

“We worked very hard to build Quickoffice as a user friendly, seamless and yet powerful way to view, edit, sync and share documents anywhere, anytime. It’s been a very humbling experience to see this vision embraced by our users,” Quickoffice co-founder Alan Masarek said. “Now, we are ushering in a new chapter with Google.”

Alan Warren, Google’s engineering director, called Quickoffice “a leader in office productivity solutions.”

“Today, consumers, businesses and schools use Google Apps to get stuff done from anywhere, with anyone and on any device. Quickoffice has an established track record of enabling seamless interoperability with popular file formats, and we’ll be working on bringing their powerful technology to our Apps product suite,” Mr. Warren wrote on the Google blog.


Interest rate remains unchanged at 1 percent

MONTREAL — Canada’s central bank Tuesday kept its key lending rate at 1 percent as expected, citing a weak outlook for global economic growth.

“Some of the risks around the European crisis are materializing and risks remain skewed to the downside,” the Bank of Canada said in a statement. “This is leading to a sharp deterioration in global financial conditions.”

Depending on how strong the global economy expands “and the current excess supply in the economy is gradually absorbed,” interest rates may rise with the goal of achieving a 2 percent inflation target “over the medium term.”

“The timing and degree of any such withdrawal will be weighed carefully against domestic and global economic developments,” the statement read.

While the U.S. economy continues to expand “at a modest pace,” economic growth “in emerging-market economies is slowing a bit faster and a bit more broadly than had been expected.”

“More modest global momentum and heightened financial risk aversion have reduced commodity prices,” the statement read.


Financier, former Generali chair Bernheim dies at 87

PARIS — Antoine Bernheim, a top financier who helped shape French capitalism from the 1960s to the 1990s and who twice was chairman of Italian insurance giant Generali, has died at age 87, an associate said Tuesday.

Mr. Bernheim joined the board of Generali in 1973 and chaired the firm from 1995 to 1999 and from 2002 to 2010.

From 1967 to 2000, he was a senior partner at Lazard investment bank and helped shape the fortunes of some of France’s top business leaders, including Bernard Arnault, Francois Pinault and Vincent Bollore.

His death was confirmed by Xavier Niel, a co-owner of the French newspaper Le Monde, which announced his death on its website and on the supervisory board of which Bernheim was a member.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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