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Business Briefing

BlackBerry maker profit jumps 37%

BlackBerry phone maker Research in Motion Ltd. reported sharply higher earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter, yet its stock dropped as results failed to meet Wall Street expectations.

RIM said it earned $710.1 million, or $1.27 per share, up 37% from a year earlier and nearly in line with analysts’ predictions of $1.28 per share.

Yet revenue of $4.08 billion, while rising 18% over the same period a year earlier, was short of the $4.31 billion expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters. The company blamed reductions in inventories held by wireless carriers and discounted selling prices for the phones.

Healthcare bill will cost Boeing

Boeing Co. will take a charge of $150 million because of the recent healthcare overhaul legislation, the aircraft maker said.

The charge will hurt earnings by 20 cents a share in the first quarter of 2010, Boeing said.

In 2013 Boeing will no longer be able to claim an income tax deduction related to certain prescription drug benefits for retirees.

AEROSPACE

Pentagon gives EADS 60 days

European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co. will get an extra 60 days if it decides to bid for the U.S. military’s aerial refueling tanker contract, a Pentagon spokesman said.

The Pentagon will extend the review period by 60 days, to July 9, instead of the 90 days EADS sought.

The plan is to award the contract in early fall, he said.

INTERNET

Yahoo will close Web ad service

Yahoo Inc. plans to shut its Publisher Network, a service that helps small businesses, bloggers and other Web publishers display ads on their sites.

The service will close April 30, a spokeswoman said. The Publisher Network, which was still in a testing phase after almost five years, competed with Google Inc.'s AdSense.

DRIVER SAFETY

Permanent text ban proposed

The U.S. Transportation Department proposed a ban on text messaging at the wheel by interstate truck and bus drivers.

The proposal would make permanent an interim ban announced in January by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, applying to drivers of buses and commercial trucks of more than 10,000 pounds. Violators could face civil or criminal penalties.

Trucking and bus industry officials support the texting ban, and many companies already have policies in place against texting behind the wheel.

VENTURE CAPITAL

Kleiner Perkins ups Apple bet

One of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms is doubling its bet on Apple’s mobile gadgets in hopes of cashing in on the highly anticipated iPad.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has added $100 million to an “iFund” that started with $100 million two years ago.

Apple’s computer tablet goes on sale Saturday.

People pay attention to Kleiner Perkins’ high-tech wagers because the firm has hit so many jackpots. Its previous investments include Google, Netscape and Amazon.com.

-- times wire reports


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