Boeing, eyeing the 787, tackles labor

The delays with Boeing’s record-selling 787 Dreamliner could easily cost the aircraft maker more than $2 billion in extra fees and penalties, American Technology Research estimates. And that’s assuming it gets its first plane in the air this fall, a year past schedule. The $2 billion cost is on top of at least $3.5 billion in deferred sales and a steep slide in Boeing’s shares ( The specter of further costly delays helped push Boeing to offer a “best and final” offer to its unionized machinists last night. The contract would raise wages by 11 percent over three years, and comes with a $2,500 bonus for workers if they ratify the deal by Sept. 2, the day the current contract expires. (AP in Yahoo! Finance)

Microsoft buys price-comparison site

Software giant Microsoft agreed to buy Greenfield Online, the owner of European price-comparison site Ciao-dot-com, for about $486 million in cash to expand its e-commerce and search business overseas. Microsoft currently has about 2 percent of the European search market, compared with Google’s 79 percent. (Reuters) Microsoft outbid U.S. buyout firm Quadrangle Group, and its offer price of $17.50 a share is a 10 percent premium on Greenfield’s pre-offer price. (MarketWatch) Germany-based Greenfield says Ciao gets 26 million unique visitors a month and has generated 5 million consumer product reviews. (AP in Yahoo! Finance)

Dell’s quarter disappoints

No. 2 computer maker Dell Inc. reported a worse-than-expected 17 percent drop in quarterly profit, to $616 million, as steep price cuts offset cost-cutting measures. The earnings report sent Dell shares down 10 percent in extended trading. (AP in Yahoo! Finance) Dell said its Asia-Pacific business was strong, however, with total revenue in the region up 25 percent. (Reuters) Dell slashed prices to grow abroad and make inroads against top PC maker Hewlett-Packard. But Dell’s squeeze isn’t unique. “The average price for computers is going down at such a rapid pace that all computer makers are facing a dilemma about whether to go for profit margin or market share,” said analyst Daniel Longfield at Frost & Sullivan. (Bloomberg)

Comcast gently throttles the Web

Comcast, the No. 1 U.S. broadband Internet provider, said it will cap the amount of bandwidth allowed by subscribers, starting in October. Customers who exceed the new limit, 250 gigabytes of data a month, will first get a warning, then have their service suspended. Comcast won’t provide a way for its customers to monitor their bandwidth usage. (The Washington Post) But it says the change won’t have any impact on 99 percent of its customers, noting that 250 GB equals 50 million e-mails or 124 standard-definition movie downloads. If it’s having congestion issues, says S. Derek Turner of advocacy group Free Press, this is a “better short-term solution than Comcast’s current practice of illegally blocking Internet traffic.” (Reuters)