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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Microsoft makes Net phone deal with SoftbanMicrosoft makes Net phone deal with Softbankk

Microsoft and Softbank will jointly offer Internet-based telephone services to corporate customers in Japan.

Microsoft's Japan unit, Tokyo-based Softbank, and its Japan Telecom affiliate will sell a package that includes Internet phone, e-mail and Internet access starting in the spring, the companies said.

Microsoft is developing software for making and managing phone calls through the Internet to compete against eBay Skype Technologies.

Softbank, Japan's second-biggest provider of high-speed Internet service, already offers Internet-based phones to consumers in Japan via its Yahoo! BB Internet access service.
Seven & I Holdings

7-Eleven owner buys Japan retailer

Seven & I Holdings, owner of 7-Eleven convenience stores in Japan and the United States, said Monday it will pay $1.13 billion to buy department-store operator Millennium Retailing in a deal creating Japan's biggest retailer.

Aside from 7-Eleven, Seven & I also owns the Ito-Yokado supermarket chain. Millennium owns Japanese retailers Sogo and Seibu Department Stores.

Their combined revenue would come to around $38.8 billion for the year ended Feb. 28, making Seven & I the biggest in Japan's retail industry.

Seven-Eleven Japan became a shareholder in Dallas-based 7-Eleven in 1991 and finished buying all the shares in November.

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