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The Buzz On Business

POLAROID PULLS OUT OF INSTANT-FILM BUSINESS: Polaroid Corp. is dropping the technology it pioneered long before digital photography rendered instant film obsolete to all but a few nostalgia buffs. Polaroid is closing factories in Massachusetts, Mexico and the Netherlands and cutting 450 jobs as the brand synonymous with instant images focuses on ventures such as a portable printer for images from cell phones and Polaroid-branded digital cameras, TVs and digital video disc players. This year's closures will leave Polaroid with 150 employees at its Concord, Mass., headquarters and a site in the nearby Boston suburb of Waltham, down from peak global employment of nearly 21,000 in 1978. The company stopped making instant cameras over the past two years. Polaroid failed to embrace the digital technology that has transformed photography, instead sticking to its belief that many photographers who didn't want to wait to get pictures developed would hold onto their Polaroid cameras. Global sales of traditional camera film have been dropping about 25 percent to 30 percent per year.

YAHOO REPORTEDLY CALLS STRATEGY SESSION: Yahoo Inc.'s board reportedly called a special meeting Friday to discuss the slumping Internet pioneer's first response to Microsoft Corp.'s week-old takeover bid, setting the stage for a quick resolution or months of acrimonious wrangling. After fruitlessly searching for other suitors, Yahoo's options appear to have boiled down to a tough choice. In the most likely outcome foreseen by industry analysts, Yahoo will begin negotiating the final terms of an amicable sale to Microsoft or undergo a painful reorganization that would include relinquishing control of its search engine and a big piece of its advertising to rival Google Inc. If it's rebuffed, Microsoft has indicated that it may try to override Yahoo's board and take its offer directly to shareholders in a battle that could drag on through the spring. Microsoft still has time to weigh its options because the deadline for nominating a different slate of Yahoo directors -- a key weapon in hostile takeovers -- isn't until March 13. Yahoo declined to confirm the Friday board meeting.

DELL TRIMS USE OF AMD PROCESSORS: Dell Inc. has stopped selling many computers with processors from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. on its Web site, although it will continue selling some through retailers. The news was a setback for AMD, which wooed Dell for years before breaking the computer maker's exclusive supplier relationship with Intel Corp. in 2006. Spokesman David Frink said Dell is "committed to the AMD product line as a long-term partner to provide flexibility and maximum choice for our customers." Dell.com will continue to offer desktop and notebook computers and servers with AMD processors for business customers, and a single consumer-oriented desktop model with an AMD processor. About 80 percent of Dell's sales are made to business, government and education customers, and about 20 percent to consumers. The company is trying to bolster its consumer business by breaking from its strict reliance on Internet and phone orders to offer machines through retailers.

FAMILIES SUE FRESNO DAIRY OVER E. COLI: The families of two children sickened by E. coli bacteria are suing a Fresno County dairy. The lawsuits filed Thursday in Fresno County Superior Court accuse Organic Pastures Dairy Co. of shipping raw milk tainted with the bacteria to stores in September 2006. At least five children fell ill after consuming the dairy's products, according to published reports. Testing at Organic Pastures did not detect the strain of E. coli that sickened some of the children, but a government report last February said the dairy likely was responsible. The lawsuits, filed by the families of 11-year-old Laura Herzog of Rancho Cucamonga and 9-year-old Chris Martin of Murrieta, say that Chris has incurred more than $450,000 and Laura more than $250,000 in hospital bills. The dairy's owner, Mark McAfee, was traveling and not available for comment.

BEE NEWS SERVICES

Figuratively Speaking

38: Percentage of U.S. residents who say they feel less secure about their financial situation compared with last year, according to the results of a Harris Poll.

45: Percentage who believe the economy will get worse in the coming year.

15: Percentage who believe the economy will improve in the coming year.

JOHN MacINTYRE,

UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE

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