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In brief: Microsoft sets October launch for Windows 8

SAN FRANCISCO – Computers running on the next version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system will go on sale in October.

Microsoft Corp. announced the time frame for Windows 8’s mass-market release Monday in Toronto. A specific sales date in October wasn’t provided.

Most industry analysts expected Windows 8 would go on sale in the fall to ensure that the machines running on the operating system would be available for the holiday shopping season. Consumers and businesses who don’t want to buy new computers will be able to buy Windows 8 and upgrade their systems.

New versions of Windows typically come out every three years, but this update is the most widely anticipated overhaul of the software since 1995.

Applications will appear in a mosaic of tiles on Windows 8. Microsoft also designed the operating system so it can run on personal computers or touch-based tablet computers.

Health insurer WellPoint buying Amerigroup

INDIANAPOLIS – WellPoint Inc., the nation’s second-largest health insurer, will get a bigger chunk of the expanding market of people covered by Medicaid with its $4.46 billion acquisition of a provider of the program for needy and disabled Americans.

WellPoint said it will spend $92 per share in cash for Amerigroup Corp., which runs Medicaid coverage in 13 states, including Texas, Florida, New York and New Jersey.

Medicaid, which is state- and federally funded, represents a growth opportunity for WellPoint and other big U.S. insurers. States are starting to move residents who qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare, which is a federally-funded program for people over age 65 and the disabled, into managed care programs that coordinate care.

The price of WellPoint shares climbed 3.3 percent, or $1.98, to $61.89 Monday afternoon, while Amerigroup stock soared 38 percent, or $24.51, to $88.85. The offer of $92 per share was a 43 percent premium to Amerigroup’s closing price of $64.34 on Friday.

AT&T dropping fight over $1 million phone bill

IPSWICH, Mass. – AT&T Inc. says it’s dropping its legal fight against a Massachusetts businessman whose company was on the hook for a fraudulent million-dollar phone bill.

The telecommunications company said in a statement Monday it is no longer pursuing its claims against Michael Smith, of Ipswich, “though we are entitled by law to collect the amounts owed.”

Smith said the offer depends on his dropping a countersuit. Smith said someone hacked into his small manufacturing company’s phone system in 2009 and made nearly $900,000 in calls to Somalia. AT&T sued Smith for $1.15 million to recover the cost of the calls plus interest.

Smith said he repeatedly asked AT&T to write off the bill. He said paying it could force his business to close.


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