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Briefs

Ex-CEO at Autonomy blames HP

An executive vilified by Hewlett-Packard Co. on allegations of an accounting ruse is escalating his counter-attack on the company accusing him.

In a letter to HP’s board released Tuesday, former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch fiercely defended his integrity. He also questions whether HP is using the charges of financial shenanigans to cover up damage caused by its own ineptitude.

HP fired back with a statement that predicted its findings of misconduct will be proven in anticipated legal proceedings about the dispute.

Lynch’s missive represented his most extensive remarks since HP accused him last week of deceiving the company about the growth of Autonomy, a business software maker that HP bought for $10 billion last year. HP absorbed an $8.8 billion charge to reflect Autonomy isn’t worth what the company paid. About $5 billion of that charge stemmed from improper accounting, according to HP.

Apple dumps exec behind map glitch

Apple has fired the manager responsible for its troubled mapping software, seeking to win back the trust of users disappointed after the program debuted in September, according to people familiar with the move.

Richard Williamson, who oversaw the mapping team, was fired by Senior Vice President Eddy Cue, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information wasn’t yet public. Cue, who took over last month as part of a management shakeup, is seeking advice from outside mapping-technology experts and prodding digital maps provider TomTom to fix landmark and navigation data it shares with Apple.

Critics have faulted Apple’s new map software for unreliable landmark searches, routes that get users lost and lack of public transit directions.

Indiana to get iron pellet plant

A Minnesota company has selected a northern Indiana site for an iron ore pellet plant costing up to $350 million to build.

Magnetation announced Tuesday it would build the plant at the White County town of Reynolds where construction of a VeraSun ethanol plant was suspended five years ago.

Grand Rapids, Minn.-based Magnetation picked the site about 70 miles north of Indianapolis despite passage of a Minnesota law the company wanted to streamline environmental permitting for the new plant.

Magnetation says the plant should be operational by early 2015 with about 100 employees.

The company says the plant will process iron ore concentrate from northern Minnesota. The plant will produce iron ore pellets for West Chester, Ohio-based AK Steel Corp.

ShopperTrak sees strong holiday start

A firm that analyzes customer traffic says stores saw a solid increase in sales for the four-day start to the holiday season, as heavy Thanksgiving shopping offset a drop in Black Friday sales.

Chicago-based-ShopperTrak said late Tuesday that foot traffic was up 8.2 percent for the four-day weekend, starting with Thanksgiving, while total sales rose 2.7 percent to $22 billion, compared with the same period a year ago. The sales pace is higher than the 1.7 percent seen last year.

This year retailers had their earliest start ever to the holiday shopping season, as major stores including Target Corp. and Sears opened Thanksgiving evening.

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