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Marketing laptop for Google

Google has turned to a Port Washington electronics retailer, Systemax Inc., to help market and sell the Chromebook, the cloud-computing laptop that has no operating system or hard drive but instead operates only on the Internet and only with Google's browser, Chrome. The Systemax subsidiary is now one of only three retailers authorized to sell the Google devices, which are made by Samsung (priced at $350 and up) and Acer ($430 and up). Google's other two retail partners are BestBuy and Amazon. "A Chromebook is a mobile device based on Google's Chrome operating system and designed specifically for people who live on the Web," Systemax says. TigerDirect, based in Miami, is a major component of Systemax, which also owns and does business under the revived CompUSA and Circuit City brand names. -- JOSEPH MALLIA

REIT to buy back shares

BRT Realty Trust of Great Neck plans to buy back $2 million in company shares in the open market on the New York Stock Exchange or in private sales during the next 12 months, the company said Monday. BRT, a real estate investment trust, originates and holds mortgages on commercial properties and multiple-family dwellings. BRT had about 14.1 million shares outstanding as of Monday, when it closed at $6.27. In June, BRT told the Securities and Exchange Commission it had obtained a new $25-million revolving line of credit and said it would use the money, in part, to expand its business. Jeffrey A. Gould, chief executive of BRT, said at that time, "This new line of credit gives us additional flexibility and capital to expand our business and better serve our clients." Also in June BRT entered a joint venture with an affiliate of Torchlight Investors Llc. The joint venture, known as BRTL Llc, has the right to acquire short-term commercial real estate mortgage loans, or bridge loans, originated by BRT Realty Trust. -- JOSEPH MALLIA


Google opens social network

Google Inc. has opened up its Google Plus social network to everyone after testing it with a limited audience for 12 weeks. Google said in a blog post Tuesday that it will now let anyone sign up for Google Plus. Previously the service was only available by invitation, though it got easier to join in recent weeks. The company also added a search capability to Google Plus that will let users sift through posts on the site. Google Plus is the online search leader's attempt to compete with Facebook, by far the world's most populous online social network with more than 750 million users. Tuesday's upgrades came two days ahead of Facebook's f8 conference in San Francisco, where the company is expected to unveil several new features. -- AP

Netflix split upsetting many

Netflix's new double feature is getting bad reviews on Wall Street. Financial analysts and money managers are joining the chorus of consumers who are savaging Netflix's decision to separate its streaming video service from its DVD-by-mail division. Market watchers say the split could cause more subscribers to drop the service. Netflix will rename its DVD-by-mail operation Qwikster, a brand name that's unknown to consumers. It will also expand into video game rentals. The streaming service will still be called Netflix. But the 12 million Netflix customers who get both streaming videos and DVDs in Netflix's signature red envelopes will now have to visit two websites to make video requests and check their bills. That outraged subscribers, who filled Netflix's blog with more than 23,000 comments, many of them negative. Netflix Inc. stock fell $13.72, or 9.5 percent, to close at $130.03 Tuesday. It is now down 55 percent since July 12. -- AP

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