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Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Wednesday, April 5, 2000

Gateway to feature AOL's new browser

DULLES, Va. -- America Online Inc., the world's largest Internet service, upgraded its Netscape Internet browser and said Gateway Inc. will offer specialized Internet appliances featuring the program.

America Online said the new version, Netscape 6, is based on open-source software, meaning programmers outside the company can use the code it's based on to modify the browser. Such contributions helped Netscape develop the underlying browser program, called Netscape Gecko. America Online bought Netscape Communications Corp. for $9.8 billion in March 1999.

The new browser is part of America Online's strategy of putting its service on any device, so subscribers can log onto the Internet from anywhere. The software is about half the size of earlier versions and works better in devices such as set-top television boxes and Internet-connected wireless telephones. AOL, which invested $800 million in Gateway in October, said the browser will be used on specialized Gateway appliances, including a hand-held computer featuring a touch screen and a wireless keyboard.

Sears shares climb on optimistic outlook

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- Stock of Sears, Roebuck & Co. surged today on news that the giant retailer expects to report strong results for the first three months of the year.

The stock rose $7 to close at $37.50 on the New York Stock Exchange after the company announced its optimistic report.

Sears said its first quarter results were much better than they were for the same period last year.

It expects to report earnings of 62 cents to 67 cents a share for its first quarter, compared with 38 cents a year ago.

The company, which is based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., said its earnings per share figure was helped by strong performances in its core retail and credit card businesses.

It also has fewer shares outstanding because of its stock buyback program. Strong sales in home appliances and home improvement products in March boosted results, Sears said.

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