Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, recently launched Xiant, a business that sells software first created for Allen's personal use. Its kickoff product is a Microsoft Outlook add-on that sorts and files e-mail messages. "We're scouring our inventory of tools that we've been using in our own backyard," says Chris Purcell, Xiant's top exec....Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch has purchased a 12 percent stake in Chancellor University System, a mostly online education company that includes the newly formed Jack Welch Management Institute. The school is "an opportunity to do something really innovative in an industry where we haven't innovated much," says dean Noel Tichy....Norman Brinker, a restaurateur who helped create the casual-dining movement with his Steak and Ale restaurants, has died at 78. After acquiring Chili's Grill & Bar, Brinker took the chain public in 1984. "You didn't want to disappoint him," recalls Doug Brooks, CEO of the company, which now includes several other chains. "It was something much more personal than just having a boss."...Former NBA star David Robinson's private equity firm has acquired a stake in Centerplate, an events caterer. Robinson will get a seat on Centerplate's board and plans to use his contacts in the sports world to help the company expand. "I have a great network of folks that I can bring to the table," he says.