Today in the Fortune 500: Google can’t provide e-books for free, Supervalu optimizes bagging and carmakers struggle for parts

March 23, 2011, 6:53 PM UTC
Google Logo officially released on May 2010
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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

SO LONG, GOOGLE BOOKS A New York court ruled that Google (GOOG) couldn’t just pay $125 million to a group representing authors and publishers who were upset about the company’s plan to digitize every book ever published. New York Judge Danny Chin blocked the settlement, saying that it would allow Google to bypass copyright laws. [New York Times]

MORE BANG FOR YOUR BAG Grocery chain Supervalu (SVU) is implementing a policy to promote more efficient bagging. The company hopes to save millions of dollars a year by encouraging baggers to up the average number of items per plastic bag, or when an item, such as a milk carton, has handles, skip the bag altogether. [Wall Street Journal]

A PAUCITY OF PARTS for carmakers, which are facing a shortage of microchips, sensors and other car components. Supplies had already been tight before the crisis in Japan due to the collapse of the auto industry in 2008 and 2009, then of course the earthquake and tsunami damaged key Japanese plants. Auto makers Ford (F) and GM (GM) both have had to temporarily shut down production at certain plants because of the parts crunch. [Wall Street Journal]

BUT PLENTY OF MONEY for Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who received $54.5 million worth of stock from the company as part of his pay package. While Mulally engineered Ford’s comeback, the United Auto Workers President is speaking out against a salary that he calls “morally wrong.” [CNNMoney]

THE QUACK WILL BE BACK Aflac (AFL) is looking for a new person to play the voice of its iconic duck. The company just fired Gilbert Gottfried from his job as the voice of the duck after he tweeted insensitive comments about Japan following the earthquake. Aflac has since sent out a casting call, and has posted information on Facebook outlining how to audition to do the duck voice. [New York Times]

BLANKFEIN ON TRIAL Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein has been called to  take the stand as a witness in the insider-trading trial of Raj Rajaratnam. Blankfein will be asked questions about former Goldman director Rajat Gupta, who was accused by the SEC of passing top secret information to Rajaratnam. [New York Times]