Paul Allen

Today in the Fortune 500: David Sokol leaves Berkshire, Paul Allen publishes his version of Microsoft's history and Microsoft takes anti-trust claim against Google to the European Union

March 31, 2011: 11:10 AM ET
Historic Microsoft photo of Paul Allen and Bil...

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The Fortune 500 comes out just once a year, but the companies on it make headlines every day. Here then are today's highlights of news and happenings coming from the biggest names in business.

By Shelley DuBois, reporter

A SURPRISE RESIGNATION at Berkshire Hathaway as manager David Sokol leaves the company. While current CEO Warren Buffett has said he has no plans to retire any time soon, many believed that Sokol would be a likely candidate for Buffett's successor.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) also disclosed that Sokol bought thousands of shares in Lubrizol before Berkshire announced a $9 billion deal with the company two weeks ago. Buffett said in a statement Wednesday that he saw no legal problem with Sokol's purchase of those shares. [New York Times]

DIRTY TECH LAUNDRY to be aired soon, as Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Paul Allen is publishing a book that will be released April 19 about the history of the company. The Wall Street Journal took a look at an early draft of the publication, called "Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-founder of Microsoft." Apparently, Allen has some rather unflattering things to say about his old high school buddy Bill Gates. [Wall Street Journal]

SPEAKING OF COMPLAINING AND MICROSOFT, Microsoft is going to the European Union with an anti-trust complaint against Google. Microsoft claims that Google (GOOG) is using its search dominance to limit the growth of Microsoft services such as Bing. [BBC]

GOOGLE, FOR ITS PART is offering a search algorithm with  a social media component that allows users to recommend searches to their friends. Google's plan with the new social media service, called "+1,"  is to get in on the ad dollars going to Facebook and other social-networking companies. [Wall Street Journal]

IT JUST GETS WORSE Blockbuster has been kind of a mess since it declared bankruptcy last September. Recently, Blockbuster announced that it wanted to transfer its contract to sell Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream in its stores to a potential buyer. There's just one problem--Dreyer's claims the contract no longer exists.  It ended, the ice cream company claims, before Blockbuster (BLOAQ) filed Chapter 11. [Wall Street Journal]

STARBUCKS WANTS IN ON INDIA by way of a joint venture with Indian company Tata Coffee that would give Starbucks (SBUX) a 26% stake. A growing middle class that prefers coffee to tea is making India an important market for the coffee company. [Wall Street Journal]

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