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Report: Amazon plans rival to iPod

NEW YORK _ Amazon.com is preparing to take on Apple Computer in digital music by introducing a portable music player that would be linked to an online music service, the New York Times reported, citing music industry executives involved with negotiations with Amazon.

Unlike Apple, which sells songs for 99 cents each, Amazon will offer a service that charges a monthly or annual fee to customers, who will have the right to fill up their music players with as many songs as they like, the executives said. When they stop paying the fee, the music on the player will be disabled.

MasterCard stalls IPO over CEO's health

NEW YORK _ MasterCard Inc., the nation's second-largest credit card brand, on Thursday said it will postpone its initial public offering until the second quarter as its chief executive recovers from prostate cancer surgery.

The company had been expected to list on the New York Stock Exchange during the first quarter. However, MasterCard said president and CEO Bob Selander was recently diagnosed with the cancer, which would have made touting the IPO in an investor road show more difficult.

Icahn scales back Time Warner plans

NEW YORK _ Financier Carl Icahn is scaling back his drive to shake up Time Warner Inc., abandoning efforts to seek control of the giant media company by nominating only a partial slate of directors, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The newspaper, citing unidentified people familiar with Icahn's plans, said Icahn would nominate only five directors at Time Warner's next annual meeting, not enough to ensure control, amid signs that the dissident investor could be near some kind of an agreement with the company.

Time Warner declined to comment, and Icahn did not return a phone call seeking comment.

General Re, AIG execs plead not guilty

ALEXANDRIA, Va. _ Four former top executives of insurance giants General Re and American International Group pleaded not guilty to federal fraud and conspiracy charges Thursday and pledged $1-million in bond. Their trial was set for May.

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