Today in the Fortune 500: GM is profitable again, Boeing wins Pentagon contract, and Exxon says it could contain a deepwater spill

February 25, 2011, 7:30 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

GM IS IN THE BLACK for the first time since 2004. While the last quarter of 2010 didn’t represent a great profit margin for GM (GM), the company reported a long-awaited  full-year profit, which it plans to share with employees at $4,300 a pop. [Fast Company]

BY THE SKIN OF ITS TEETH Boeing  snatched a $35 billion contract out of the hands of the North American unit of the European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. (EADS) to build aerial refueling tankers for the Pentagon. Winning the contract was key for Boeing (BA)–the company has been sweating bullets that the Pentagon would choose EADS. [Wall Street Journal]

GETTING IN DEEP Secretary of the State Ken Salazar is meeting with oil executives in Houston to discuss whether the oil industry is ready to start drilling again in the Gulf of Mexico’s deep water. The Obama administration has said that the industry must prove it could contain a spill comparable to BP’s Macondo disaster. Exxon Mobil (XOM), for its part, says it’s got a device ready to roll that could contain a up to 60,000 barrels per day of oil coming out of an underground well. [Wall Street Journal]

INDOCTRINATE THE YOUTH Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOG) are in a tug-of-war over access to young minds. Google has been trying to switch school districts over from Microsoft email and cloud computing products. But Microsoft just released a cloud-based “Live@edu” platform for public schools in Oregon, and expects the platform to spread around the country. [Wall Street Journal]

WE DON’T WANT INTEL INSIDE Samsung said. The electronic company plans to make in-home entertainment devices using Google TV technology, but it wants to power them with its own chips. Google had previously mandated that Samsung use Intel’s (INTC) Atom chips, but later backed down to get Samsung’s access to television. [Bloomberg]

GETTING READY FOR ARIANNA In preparation for its merger with the Huffington Post, AOL (AOL) is going through some management shakeups. One of the biggest being that AOL’s content chief David Eun is leaving his position, which Arianna Huffington, owner of the Huffington Post, will take over.  [Wired]