Today in the Fortune 500: Blankfein to testify against Rajaratnam, what the housing market looks like without Fannie and Freddie and the man behind IBM

March 4, 2011, 8:41 PM UTC
IBM's original logo, used from 1924 to 1946
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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

BLANKFIEIN TO TAKE THE STAND Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein will probably testify against Raj Rajaratnam, founder of New York hedge fund Galleon, who is scheduled to go on trial next week for his involvement in the biggest insider trading case in U.S. history. Mr. Blankfein hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing in the case, but would rather confirm evidence about the information illegally shared between Mr. Rajaratnam and former Goldman director Rajat Gupta. [Wall Street Journal]

BRACING FOR A WORLD WITHOUT FANNIE AND FREDDIE Home-buying could look a lot different than it has for the last half-century. Experts say that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan could go away, and home buyers would see substantial interest rate increases on housing loan rates. When the government does figure out how to wean the country off Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC), which it won’t for a while, it will have to decide whether it makes sense to subsidize mortgages for middle-class home buyers at all.  [New York Times]

THE MAN BEHIND INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES Sam Palmisano has made the company stronger than ever. A look at how Palmisano got where he is, and his plans to keep investing in long-term R&D projects at IBM (IBM), while still keeping investors happy from quarter to quarter. [Fortune]

KROGER SALES BEAT EXPECTATIONS and has gained on rivals including Supervalu (SVU) and Target (TGT), which is starting to keep more food products in stock. While the increased cost of gas and groceries has helped Kroger (KR) boost its sales numbers, the company also claims that is attracting more shoppers. [New York Times]

SCORE ONE FOR GOOGLE According to online job board, more employers are looking more for software engineers that can develop applications for Google’s Android mobile phone operating system than for  Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone. Last year, Android became the world’s best-selling mobile operating system, though Google (GOOG) lags behind Apple on total number of smartphone apps. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

ON THE GROUP SHOPPING BANDWAGON Microsoft (MSFT) is partnering with Dealmap, a company that groups local and national deals, to get in on the growing trend of online group shopping. It’s Microsoft’s first foray into the business, which was pioneered two years ago by Groupon. [Wall Street Journal]