Today in the Fortune 500: Borders couldn’t make good on GE loans, Google offers cheaper app plan than Apple and IBM’s Watson wins Jeopardy

February 17, 2011, 6:16 PM UTC
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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

GE COULDN’T SAVE BORDERS from going bankrupt, which has left many publishers with a huge financial hole. Part of the problem was that Borders lagged behind other retailers including Amazon (AMZN) and Wal-Mart (WMT) in terms of an online sales strategy. Borders has tried to turn the store around, and obtained $505 million in financing from lenders led by GE’s (GE) investment arm GE Capital. But it doesn’t look good.. [New York Times]

THE TABLET BATTLE CONTINUES as Google (GOOG) tries to lure publishers away from Apple’s (APPL) iPad and towards Android-powered devices. Apple just announced a new plan for applications sold on its devices that would give it a 30% cut of all subscriptions sold via iTunes. Google countered with a service called One Pass that would only take 10% of the subscription fee from publishers. [Wall Street Journal]

HUMANS ARE SLOW compared to the computing power of IBM’s supercomputer Watson, which smoked its homonid competitors in a three-day-long Jeopardy competition. Now IBM (IBM) plans to figure out how to use Watson’s technology in the health care industry, and will announce plans to partner with Columbia University Medical Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. [Wall Street Journal]

YOU’VE BEEN SERVED, BANK OF AMERICA The Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Darrell Issa, issued a subpoena to Bank of America (BAC) over one of its loan programs. The bank will have to cough up documents surrounding its VIP loan programs, which could have included sweetheart deals on mortgages for influential investors. [CNNMoney]

SPEAKING OF SUBPOENAS The former Chief Financial Officer of Freddie Mac (FMCC) is under fire. The Securities and Exchange Commission notified the former CFO, a man named Anthony Piszel, that he could face charges for his potential involvement in shady activity at Freddie Mac surrounding the financial crisis. [New York Times]

CSI SAVES CBS The media company increased its fourth-quarter net income by over four times compared to the same period last year, largely due to an uptick in advertiser spending on television and also sales from reruns of its popular show, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” CBS (CBS) made $283 million in net income for the fourth quarter of 2010, up from $58.8 million in 2009. [Wall Street Journal]