Sony's sales improve
Sony's games, music and movies divisions offset the poor six months in its core electronics operations, making up around 65 per cent of its total revenues. Sony saw higher sales and smaller net losses in the first half of the current financial year, but the harsh economic conditions proved tough in its core electronics business. Its games business, which includes its PlayStation series of consoles, returned to profitability in the first half, with 70.6 per cent higher sales to customers. The vendor attributed the better results to higher sales of PlayStation 2 software and hardware.
Amazon cuts costs
Online retailer Amazon.com has long been a symbol of what was trumpeted - before the current economic downturn - as the Internet economy. Amazon was still in the red during the third quarter, but is headed in the right direction. The company lost $US170 million, an improvement over last year's third-quarter loss of $241 million. Falling revenue from a slow economy have hurt Amazon this year, as sales have declined from $700 million in the first quarter to $638 million in the third quarter. Amazon did predict strong holiday-season revenue of between $970 million to $1.07 billion, slightly above last year's results.
Ministers extend APEC online tax moratoriumMinisters representing the 21 member nations of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) have agreed to extend a moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions until at least next year and possibly 2003. At their meeting in Shanghai, the ministers also gave strong backing to a number of initiatives associated with electronic commerce. Among them was the endorsement of a plan to develop APEC-wide guidelines for online consumer protection. The ministers also recognised the importance of a legal framework for e-commerce that will generate confidence in consumers and businesses, and avoid "unnecessarily restrictive trade barriers" to allow e-commerce to grow.