And in the real world... Microsoft, Google, Primark, BA and more

London - Today's round-up of the biggest business stories.

World news... round up
World news... round up

Microsoft yesterday escalated its battle with its arch-rival Google, reacting to an assault on one of its core businesses with the announcement of a free online version of its Office software, to be launched next year. Source: Financial Times

The founder of Primark is to step down as the managing director in September when Paul Marchant, the chain's chief operating officer, will become the chief executive of Associated British Foods' discount fashion retailer. Source: The Independent

The Tata Tea Group, the owner of the UK's Tetley tea brand, is targeting acquisitions of international soft drink brands as it diversifies away from tea to become a global beverages company. Source: Financial Times

The insurance group Friends Provident forcefully rejected the preliminary takeover approach from the insurance tycoon Clive Cowdery's investment vehicle Resolution yesterday. Source: The Independent

McGraw-Hill could reap just $1 from a sale of Business Week, according to people familiar with the 80-year-old financial magazine's losses. Source: Financial Times

Willie Walsh, the embattled chief executive of British Airways, faces a mauling from shareholders and his own staff at the airline's annual meeting today despite securing a crucial pay deal with the fleet's pilots, which will see them accept a pay cut and longer hours as management attempts to slash costs. Source: The Guardian