AT&T picks Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson for network

AT&T says it has picked Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson to supply the equipment for its next wireless network, which will provide faster data speeds starting next year.

The vendors will supply cell-tower equipment for a technology called LTE, or Long Term Evolution. It will provide speeds that are at least ten times faster than today’s wireless broadband.

Dallas-based AT&T Inc. will be about a year behind Verizon Wireless in building out an LTE network. In the meantime, it’s boosting speeds on its existing network, something Verizon can’t do because it uses a different technology. [Read the full article]

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Marsh & McLennan Cos., an insurance broker and consulting firm, said Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit fell 53 percent because of costs tied to settling lawsuits filed in 2004.

Marsh & McLennan recorded $435 million in charges tied to settling cases that alleged the company steered business to certain insurance carriers in exchange for kickbacks. The company did not admit any wrongdoing when settling the cases.

Net income fell to $38 million, or 7 cents per share, in the final three months of 2009, from $80 million, or 15 cents per share, a year earlier.

But adjusted earnings, which exclude special items like those tied to lawsuit settlements, was $189 million, or 38 cents per share, during the quarter, up from an adjusted profit of $121 million, or 36 cents per share, a year ago.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, forecast fourth-quarter profit of 37 cents per share on revenue of $2.56 billion. [Read the full article]

From the WSJ: Don’t look now but this may be the year when Apple’s market cap does the unthinkable and surpasses Microsoft’s.

For a company preoccupied with products is in danger of becoming a company preoccupied with strategy. And by “strategy,” we mean zero-sum maneuvering versus hated rivals.

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Genzyme Corp. and Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Wednesday their cholesterol drug mipomersen met its goals in a study that tested the drug on patients with a genetic disorder that raises levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood.

After six months of treatment, LDL cholesterol levels of patients injected with mipomersen fell 28 percent, the companies said. Patients given a placebo injection experienced a 5 percent rise in their cholesterol levels. The trial studied mipomersen against heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, one of several types of genetic high cholesterol diseases.

Mipomersen was discovered by Isis, of Carlsbad, Calif., and licensed to Genzyme, which is based in Cambridge, Mass. More study results are expected in the middle of this year, and the companies plan to ask regulators to approve the drug in the first half of 2011. [Read the full article]

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