Business Briefs

SAN MATEO (06/30/2000) - A Florida judge has approved a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against America Online Inc. by a group of approximately 2.5 million hourly plan subscribers who are upset by unsolicited pop-up ads that force them to spend extra time closing the ad windows -- time that they are paying for as hourly subscribers. Although Dulles, Virginia-based AOL now offers the option of turning off pop-up ads, the lawsuit reaches back to 1994 when the subscribers' lawyer alleges that this choice was unavailable. The suit will likely seek between US$15 and $20 million in damages as well as a change in AOL's business practices, such as offering subscribers the option of viewing ads as they are about to log off AOL service.

Internet portal provider Yahoo Inc. this week reached a definitive agreement to acquire e-mail group communications services company EGroups in a stock-swap deal valued at $424 million.

The deal, still subject to approval by EGroups' shareholders and regulatory bodies, is expected to close in the third quarter.

As part of Yahoo's strategy to offer a broad range of communications tools to its users, the acquisition will allow the company to offer group e-mail services through its network of Internet properties, officials said.

Yahoo recently announced the launch of Corporate Yahoo, a portal site aimed at businesses rather than the individual users that make up the bulk of its user base.

Lucent Technologies Inc. this week christened its enterprise networking spin-off company, plans for which were first revealed in March.

Lucent expects to complete the spin-off of the new company, called Avaya Inc., by the end of September, officials said. Avaya will develop enterprise-level communications hardware and software products, focusing on LAN switching, structured cabling, call centers, and voice communications systems, according to Lucent.

In addition, Avaya announced a strategic alliance with Siebel Systems to integrate Siebel's eBusiness Applications with Avaya's communications products to allow businesses to interact with customers over any media or device type.

3Com Corp. this week reported a net loss for its fourth fiscal quarter that was slightly narrower than Wall Street had expected.

For the quarter ending June 2, 3Com reported a net loss of $146.8 million, or 42 cents per share, as compared to a net income of $87.5 million, or 24 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. The loss was narrower than the 44-cent estimate of 12 brokers polled by First Call/Thomson Financial.

Revenue for the most recent quarter, meanwhile, slid to $764 million from $1.23 billion in the corresponding quarter last year.

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