Money makers

THE Chinese need no longer tot up on English to operate Microsoft Corp's famous user-friendly Windows programme. The Beijing Stone Group Co has developed Chinese-language software that can be used with this programme, which also includes wordprocessing. Tentatively named Mate for Windows, or Win-Mate, the software will retail for about $115. "We have expanded the Windows functions," says Liu Jufen, vice-president of the company. "We think that the market for the new product is very promising."

APPLE Computer Inc has relaunched the Newton Messagepad hand-held computer that bombed in the market last year. Consumers were convinced that it was not fully equipped to recognise various kinds of handwriting -- a USP that its makers claimed was unbeatable. But Apple refused to slink away. The company has now come back with an improved version which it claims has at least thrice the battery life, almost twice the memory of the first edition and is more versatile in recognising handwriting. Most importantly, it costs less. The new Newton is available for $599, cheaper by $200.

ENVIROMED, the UK-based biotechnology group, is all set to spread its network. It has not only pitched in its lot with Selfcare -- the US distributor of self-diagnosis and self-treatment products -- to form a European joint venture, it has also inducted Biozyme, a private laboratory organisation, into its fold. The acquisition cost Enviromed, a front-runner in biochemical monitoring, a cool L8.05 million. "Biozyme specialises in the isolation and supply of enzymes for clinical laboratories. Its technology will make an important contribution to our operations," enthused Peter Townsend, chief executive, Enviromed.

HANDLING microscopes will no longer be a cumbersome or messy affair. Sharp Corporation of Japan is about to introduce the "handy" YH-750M microscope, which the user will simply have to pick up and point at the subject. A clear and magnified image will then be projected on to a monitor. "This gadget will be particularly useful for skin and hair diagnoses, dental examination and as a teaching aid," claims Sharp. The YH-750M has the capacity to store up to three still images for display and will be priced around $39,000.