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PC sales keep climbing

Despite fears of cooling demand and concerns about swollen inventories, the personal computer industry continued to expand during the first quarter, according to two market research companies. Domestic shipments grew 16 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period a year ago, according to Dataquest, based in San Jose, Calif. International Data Corp. reported a 14 percent gain. Shipments worldwide rose 14 percent, according to Dataquest, and 10 percent, according to IDC. Compaq Computer Corp. retained its No. 1 position in both international and U.S. markets, thanks largely to its line of low-cost PCs for the consumer. In the United States it was followed by Dell, which enjoyed the most robust growth, with shipments rising 64 percent, according to both IDC and Dataquest. Packard Bell-NEC was third, and Gateway was fourth, Dataquest said. IDC had their positions reversed, but both research companies ranked IBM fifth.

Netscape market share rises

SAN FRANCISCO _ Netscape Communications Corp. said its Internet browser's market share stabilized and began to rise after the software company started giving away the product to consumers in January, according to Bloomberg News. Executive vice president Mike Homer, who is general manager of the company's Netcenter Web site business unit, also denied that Netscape has any intention of selling the company. Netscape has been focusing on its corporate software sales and its Web site revenue after it began giving away its browser to shore up its eroding market share against rival Microsoft Corp. Homer said Netscape's browser share rose to 56.6 percent in March from a low of 56.5 percent in February. It had been 59.8 percent in December.

Gaming Zone supports Netscape

REDMOND, Wash. _ Microsoft Corp. unveiled an updated version of its Internet Gaming Zone Web site, featuring support for Netscape's Navigator browser, according to Bloomberg News. The move comes as the U.S. Justice Department is suing the No. 1 maker of personal computer software on grounds that it is unfairly using its near-monopoly of operating systems to gain a stranglehold on Internet markets. Demands are growing for Microsoft to make its standards more accessible to competitors, a move that also could help the company.

Closer to competing with TV, radio

SAN FRANCISCO _ Real Networks Inc., the largest independent publisher of software for sending and viewing video and audio on the World Wide Web, last week introduced a new version of its technology, known as Real System G2. The new software is intended to move the Internet a step closer to competing directly with television and radio by offering higher-quality audio and video delivery systems for personal-computer users. The new Real Player software allows computer users to retrieve on-demand programing via the Internet. Until now, attempts to receive audio and video streams of information by the World Wide Web have been disappointing because of problems ranging from congestion to limited bandwidth.

Internet host linked to white extremists closes

VANCOUVER _ A Canadian company that hosted Web pages for groups with connections to white extremists has pulled the plug on its service, but government officials said they would continue their investigation into hate on the Internet. Fairview Technology Center Ltd., a company based in British Columbia that has links to right-wing extremists in Europe and Canada, said it dropped its Internet business because of a telephone company rule that could make Fairview liable for the contents of Web sites.

Web site posts college grads' resumes

Graduating college students in search of a job can post their resumes free at JobDirect.com (www.jobdirect.com). The service will scan more than 80,000 job openings and match the needs of the employers with the qualifications listed by job seekers. Resumes that seem to fit a job opening are automatically forwarded to the employer, who then may contact the candidate directly. Students can update their resumes at any time and can search the JobDirect.com data base to find job openings listed by company name. Because employers pay for this service, job hunters don't have to.

_ Compiled from Times wires

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