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Briefs (left)

New Tapes Disclose Confusion Within the Military on Sept. 11

By Philip Shenon

Newly disclosed tapes offer evidence of the widespread confusion within the military as the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were being carried out, further undermining claims by the Pentagon that it moved quickly to try to intercept and shoot down one or more of the hijacked jets.

When matched with the timeline of the attacks, the tapes make clear that information about the hijackings was slow to reach the military on Sept. 11 and that much of the information that did reach Air Force commanders was faulty.

The tapes were provided under subpoena to the independent commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks, and parts of them had previously been made public by that commission.

But the full collection of nearly 30 hours of tapes from the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or Norad, were released by the Pentagon last year to Michael Bronner, a producer on the recent film “United 93,” who described them in detail in an article posted this week on the Web site of Vanity Fair magazine ( The Web site includes links to excerpts from the actual tapes.

IBM to Buy Maker of Software That Monitors Equipment

By Steve Lohr

IBM announced Thursday that it planned to buy MRO Software for $740 million, a move that underlines the increasing importance of software to the company’s big services business.

MRO, based in Bedford, Mass., makes software that companies use to monitor the location and operation of all kinds of equipment, including airplanes, train cars, trucks, automobiles and power plants.

IBM is pursuing a strategy of trying to apply more scientific engineering and technology to its $47 billion-a-year global services group. That means helping to automate services tasks with software to gain efficiency, while improving profits and quality.

“We want a more repeatable, assembly-line approach to delivering services to our customers,” said Kristof Kloeckner, a vice president for strategy and technology in IBM’s software unit.

The MRO purchase, analysts said, represents a step toward that goal.

AOL to Drop Thousands of Jobs As Part of Internet Cutbacks

By Saul Hansell

AOL will eliminate at least 5,000 jobs over the next six months, more than one-quarter of its workforce — as part of its plan to scale back its Internet access business, the company said Thursday.

Jonathan Miller, AOL’s chief executive, met Thursday with employees at the company’s headquarters in Dulles, Va., to outline the cutbacks.

AOL said Wednesday that it planned to reduce annual expenses by at least $1 billion — largely by eliminating jobs — to compensate for lost revenue from paying subscribers. The company is trying to compete with Yahoo and Google by offering free, advertising-supported services.

Some 3,000 of the affected jobs are part of AOL’s European Internet access business, which it is trying to sell. The company said the eventual buyers might choose to retain a substantial number of these employees.

Another 2,000 jobs, largely those of customer service workers in the United States, will also be eliminated, the company said. The jobs also include a variety of other professional and administrative roles related to marketing and operating AOL’s dial-up Internet access service.