November 9, 2007 10:00 AM PST

Week in review: Spotlight on search companies

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Also in Washington, a key U.S. Senate panel pushed back a hotly anticipated vote on a new proposal to shield telephone and Internet companies from lawsuits alleging illicit cooperation with federal spying programs.

The Senate Judiciary Committee had planned to consider the bill, known as the FISA Amendments Act, at its morning business meeting Thursday. The plan now is to consider the bill next week, giving committee members more time to review proposed amendments and, if they're lucky, work out their lingering differences.

Wall Street happenings
In a highly eventful week for the Street, a number of companies announced quarterly earnings, with a disappointing forecast from networking giant Cisco Systems sparking a wide selloff in tech stocks Thursday as investors worried that tech spending would slow in the coming months.

Cisco shares dropped more than 9 percent in Thursday trading. Another tech heavyweight, Oracle, dropped 7.9 percent. Even high-flying Apple and Google saw share prices drop more than 5 percent.

Time Warner posted a higher quarterly profit on increased digital cable subscribers and strong box office results for the latest Harry Potter movie.

The One Laptop per Child Foundation also had good news to report. Taiwan's Quanta Computer finally kicked off mass production of the One Laptop per Child Foundation's much-awaited XO laptop for needy children. The commencement of mass production, which follows a number of delays, means that children in developing nations could have the rugged, open-source laptops in hand starting this month.

More kids may be getting laptops, but some children could find themselves spending less time with their game consoles. Microsoft showed off a new Xbox feature, available in a few weeks, that will let parents set the amount of time kids can play games. The move is part of the company's effort to broaden the reach of the Xbox 360 to include more families.

Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices unit, said the ability to set time limits on children's gaming should help parents feel more comfortable having a game console in the house.

The new feature, which will be available in a few weeks, is also designed to be easy for parents who may not be as technologically savvy as their game-playing offspring. "It's really, really easy," Bach said. "You go to family settings. You go to timer. You say daily or weekly. You pick a number of hours and you are done."

Also of note
Intel Capital announced a $10 million investment in security company Iovation...Microsoft's Windows Live services are losing the "beta" label and becoming available as a free Windows suite of six Web-connected applications...Lenovo is entering the workstation market...Dell will offer Spanish-language sales and support to U.S. consumers...and a new line of gas pumps will be equipped with a touch-screen panel that includes a slightly stripped-down version of Google Maps.

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