MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL may have fantasy baseball players crying foul, Forbes reports. These 7-million players compete with one another on paper, using the real-life performances of professional players. Statistics are used to draft and trade players to form the best team. Last year MLB sold 18 licenses to fantasy baseball providers, giving them the right to use the statistics. But this year, the league raised the minimum license fee from $25,000 to $2-million, pricing out some 100 providers smaller than the likes of ESPN and Yahoo. Says Forbes: "It might seem odd that MLB is willing to alienate its most loyal fan base."
IN WHAT MAY BE the ultimate in outsourcing, the value of U.S. companies acquired by companies based in India increased by more than 250 percent last year to $1.1-billion, Inc. reports. For reference, the total value of all U.S. merger and acquisition activity last year topped $700-billion. "Generally speaking, Indian companies are acquiring U.S. firms to be closer to their stateside customers and to gain access to capital markets," the small-business magazine says.
IF YOU THINK post-dot-com Silicon Valley has withered, think again. "Silicon Valley blooms again," says Wired, a high-tech magazine spawned in the 1990s technology boom. "Startups are minting millionaires, and venture capital is flowing freely." This time the boom is healthy, and it's anything but fragile, the magazine says. Entrepreneurs are hunting for the next generation of Yahoos, Googles, eBays and Amazon.coms by digging through "the rubble of the dot-com bubble."
FEBRUARY IS THE BEST MONTH to make summer travel plans, Kelli B. Grant writes in Smartmoney.com. The biggest wave of bookings come in March, and most prime locations, dates and houses are snapped up by then. Book early if you're looking for a rental that's pet-friendly, on the water or available on holiday weekends. Save money by skipping rental agencies and using custom Web sites that connect you with owners for fee-free deals, such as Cyberrentals.com and Beachhouse.com. Also, look for early-booking specials, avoid the peak months of July and August, or book right after Labor Day.
AFTER MANY FALSE STARTS, experts think digital books are finally ready for takeoff. Portable devices are becoming lighter and more appealing, BusinessWeek says, and books are being scanned into digital form by the thousands. The most important step forward may be in "digital ink," the technology used to display letters on a screen. And since no power is used unless the reader changes the page, devices with this technology could go as long as 20 books between battery charges, the magazine says.
Compiled from Times wires and Web sites.