Business Diary: Microsoft just can't get Apple off its mind

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The Independent Online

Microsoft has never really quite got marketing. Steve Ballmer, the company's boss, was keen to beat Apple to the punch in unveiling Microsoft's new tablet computer yesterday. A pity then that he chose to demonstrate the device's appeal to fans of e-books with the front cover of the novel Twilight displayed on the screen. The cover features a large picture of an apple.

Did I mention my open plan office?

ITV's new chairman, Archie Norman, has emailed all staff setting out his plans now he has joined the broadcaster. What was his priority announcement – plans for new shows, or reassurance about cost cuts? No, Norman wanted to explain his accommodation arrangements. "I will be based in our open plan office on the 17th floor of the ITV building along with my PA, Barbara Kyriakou," he begins his missive.

Peston looks to a younger audience

Robert Peston is getting down with the kids. BBC3, the channel aimed at a youth audience, has signed up the Beeb's business editor, to front a six-part series on money. He'll be joining Lindsay Lohan and Girls Aloud's Nicola Roberts in a new series on the channel this year.

Watchdogs can't resist biting Sky

Poor old Sky just never seems to get on with regulators. After a string of bruising encounters with Ofcom, it has now fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Authority. It has upheld complaints about a Sky advert that suggested the switchover to digital television would be complicated for people lacking one of its Sky + boxes. The ASA has banned the ad, which it deemed misleading (even though it features the much-loved and trusted Sue Johnston of Royle Family fame).

See the farmers in all their glory

We know 3D is all the rage right now, what with the success of Avatar and the Vegas Consumer Electronics Show's obsession with 3D television. Still, isn't a 3D virtual farmers market going a little far? And will it really, as the site says, "revolutionise the way we shop for food and drink online"? See for yourself at

Number of the day: £27bn

The true value of overtime worked by British employees for no pay last year, according to the TUC.