Today in the Fortune 500: starts streaming, HP sells too few PCs and Google faces antitrust probe

February 23, 2011, 7:24 PM UTC
Kraft cheese slices
Image by Daniel Bowen via Flickr

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

AMAZON STEPS UP ITS STREAMING GAME by offering streaming of movies and television shows on the web to certain customers. (AMZN) will allow users who pay $79 per year for the company’s “Amazon Prime” package, which gives them special rates on shipping products ordered on Amazon, to stream over 5,ooo films and TV shows. This should put on more competitive grounds with Netflix. [Wall Street Journal]

HP DOESN’T SELL ENOUGH PCS to please the market. Shares in the company dropped $5.84, or 12% to $42.39 in after-hour trading following HP’s announcement of a 12% drop in sales to consumers, despite posting a 16% profit for the first quarter of 2011, compared to the same time last year. The sales drop marks a rough entry to the company for new CEO Leo Apotheker, who still has to work out some kinks at HP. [Wall Street Journal]

BUT IS CREEPING UP ON CISCO’S MARKET SHARE for a certain kind of equipment that connects computers, called a switching system. Cisco (CSCO), which has dominated the market, dropped in market share of global switch sales from 73.4% to 70.8% between 2010 and 2008. HP (HPQ), on the other hand, increased its market share from 6% to about 10% of the course of this past year. [Wall Street Journal]

GOOGLE FACES FRENCH ANTITRUST PROBE Search engine company 1plusV says that between 2006 and 2010, Google (GOOG) blocked it from the advertising service AdSense, which enables targeted advertising. The French company also says that after filing the complaint, Google knocked sites that use 1plusV down in coveted Google page rank. [BBC]

FEWER KRAFT CHEESE SINGLES will be gracing plastic packages in stores this year, as part of Kraft Food’s effort to absorb the rising cost of commodities without translating price increases to customers. The company has said that higher prices for goods including milk and meat will cost Kraft (KFT) between $700 million and $800 million, which it plans to make up on the business side. [CNNMoney]

UPS GASSES UP United Parcel Service (UPS) plans to add 48 trucks to its fleet that run entirely off of liquified natural gas. Many trucking companies are interested in switching from diesel fuel because of high prices. UPS would ultimately like to have 1,000 of its 17,000 big tractor trailers running off of liquified natural gas, as soon as the fuel is available in more places. [New York Times]