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 Retailers lure shoppers with last-minute deals; Extra hours, same-day delivery, anything goes
USA TODAY, December 18, 2014 Thursday

 Retailers are going to extremes in a last-ditch effort to lure shoppers right up until Christmas Eve. Stores will stay open around the clock, a new round of doorbusters debut on Super Saturday this weekend and shoppers will be able to order gifts for same-day pickup as late as 5 p.m. on Dec. 24. Retailers' plans
 Classic is a nice nod to BlackBerry's past; Sturdy workhorse is keyboard lover's delight
USA TODAY, December 18, 2014 Thursday

 Back in September in a bold attempt to lift bloodied former smartphone champ BlackBerry off the canvas, the company came up with a completely radical business-focused device, a phone shaped like an actual U.S. passport. The design of that BlackBerry Passport was polarizing, applauded by some for being innovative, ridiculed by others for its weirdness. There's nothing strange about the newest BlackBerry, the BlackBerry Classic, which is modeled after the BlackBerry Bold 9900 handset that came...
 Agencies Investigate Unauthorized Customer Billings at Sprint
The New York Times, December 18, 2014 Thursday

 WASHINGTON -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Communications Commission are targeting Sprint in an investigation into whether the company illegally billed customers tens of millions of dollars for unauthorized charges related to premium text messages. The consumer bureau sued Sprint in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Wednesday, accusing Sprint of operating a billing system that allowed third parties to ''cram'' unauthorized charges onto consumers' mobile phone...
 New York Stock Exchange seeking a market overhaul; A draft plan circulated among investors and brokers offers reforms across the industry.
Los Angeles Times, December 18, 2014 Thursday

 The New York Stock Exchange is working to marshal Wall Street support for a plan that would overhaul features of the U.S. stock market that have drawn criticism from investors in the last year.
 Google News closes in Spain, affecting browsing activity; Traffic to media sites from external links falls as much as 15%, a data firm estimates.
Los Angeles Times, December 18, 2014 Thursday

 Google News made its scheduled departure from Spain on Tuesday, the effects of which were felt within hours of the move, according to the web analytics company, Chartbeat. The search engine giant shut down Google News in Spain in response to legislation that would charge news aggregators a fee for linking to or posting excerpts of content from local media outlets. Under the legislation, aggregators who fail to pay the Assn. of Editors of Spanish Dailies the undisclosed fee would face a 600,000...
 With GENCO acquisition, FedEx turns to returns
Journal of Commerce, December 16, 2014 Tuesday 6:19 PM GMT

 With the acquisition of GENCO, everything old is new again for FedEx - or at least resellable. FedEx is expected to make bigger inroads into retailer supply chains and overseas e-commerce markets through its acquisition of GENCO, a leading reverse logistics specialist. The deal opens a new market for the FedEx, the resale of returned goods. "The real value here for FedEx is returns, not the goods returned to retail stores, but the ones sold through the GENCO Marketplace," Satish Jindel,...
 Chrysler name fades in FCA era
The Detroit News (Michigan), December 17, 2014 Wednesday

 The Detroit News There's the magnificent Art Deco Chrysler Building in New York City, and the Chrysler Museum of Art in Virginia. Closer to home, there's Chrysler Elementary School on Lafayette in Detroit, the Chrysler Freeway and Chrysler House, a satellite office in downtown Detroit where some auto execs are billeted. There are three vehicles - the 300, 200 and Town & Country minivan - that bear the surname of founder Walter P. Chrysler.
 Bank of America fails 2 mortgage settlement tests
Charlotte Observer (North Carolina), December 16, 2014 Tuesday

 Bank of America has failed two of 31 tests designed to see whether it is complying with a national mortgage settlement’s rules, a report Tuesday from the settlement’s watchdog shows. The tests involve sending pre-foreclosure letters to borrowers and notifications to people seeking mortgage modifications. The report from former N.C. Banking Commissioner Joseph Smith measures compliance by Bank of America and other mortgage servicers with the 2012 legal settlement. In the latest report, Bank of...
 Recalls of Cars Abroad Prompt No U.S. Urgency
The New York Times, December 17, 2014 Wednesday

 Toyota discovered a braking defect, Honda a power steering flaw and Nissan a problem that could lead drivers to lose control of their cars. Ford found that wires in some cars could melt, General Motors that some airbags might fail to deploy, and Chrysler that some of its Jeeps could burst into flames. The automakers unearthed the problems years ago, reported them to regulators and conducted safety recalls. But those recalls happened outside the United States.
 European Auto Sales Rise for 15th Consecutive Month
The New York Times, December 17, 2014 Wednesday

 PARIS -- European car sales rose modestly in November, industry data showed on Tuesday, with manufacturers' incentives helping to maintain a rising trend despite weakness in France and Germany.
 Throwing Money at Start-Ups in Frenzy to Find the Next Uber
The New York Times, December 17, 2014 Wednesday

 The $41 billion valuation for the ride-sharing service Uber may or may not be a bubblicious number, but it certainly shows that the venture capital industry is in a bad place. To understand, you need only peruse the startling valuations for other companies that have received venture capital funding in the last few weeks. Here are some of them: â–  Instacart, a same-day grocery delivery service based in San Francisco, began a $100 million fund-raising round valuing it at $2 billion. â–  WeWork...
 Apple Wins Decade-Old Class-Action Suit Over iTunes Updates
The New York Times, December 17, 2014 Wednesday

 OAKLAND, Calif. -- A jury took about three hours to reject an antitrust lawsuit -- 10 years in the making -- that accused Apple of using a software update to secure a monopoly over the digital music market. The eight-member jury in federal court here unanimously determined that Apple had, in fact, used an update of the iTunes software that it issued eight years ago to deliver genuine improvements for older iPods.
 A Perfect Car for Palermo's Melting Pot
The New York Times, December 17, 2014 Wednesday

 PALERMO, Italy -- Among a group of dark-haired Sicilians bustling around the Mercato del Capo open-air market here in Sicily's capital, one might peg Katja Iseler, with her lighter hair and clipped German accent, as a tourist. And in this land of Fiat and Ferrari, her car, a bug-eyed 1987 Citroën 2CV, would appear to be an outsider as well. But cars like Ms. Iseler's Citroën are as much a part of this city's eclectic scene as its medieval walls and modern high-rises. After all, Palermo has...
 COMPANY TOWN; Ex-employees suing Sony over hack; Two lawsuits seeking class-action status say the firm didn't protect workers' data.
Los Angeles Times, December 17, 2014 Wednesday

 The massive computer breach at Sony Pictures Entertainment could test laws that require companies to protect their employees' personal and medical information. Lawyers representing former Sony Pictures employees have separately filed in Los Angeles two lawsuits that seek class-action status, alleging Sony Pictures Entertainment was negligent in the months leading up to the devastating hack. One of the complaints -- a 45-page federal lawsuit, which seeks to represent former and current Sony...
 Sprint facing fine over bogus billing
Los Angeles Times, December 17, 2014 Wednesday

 Regulators plan to fine Sprint Corp. $105 million for billing phone customers for unwanted services, including horoscopes, in the latest U.S. action against a large carrier for so-called cramming, two officials said.
 Shake-up likely at Allergan; Many executives will not have senior leadership roles after the sale to Actavis.
Los Angeles Times, December 17, 2014 Wednesday

 The soon-to-be owner of Irvine-based Allergan Inc. announced sweeping leadership changes that pass over many current executives including the Botox maker's CEO.
 Olive Garden's parent is on rise, but look deeper; Q: Time to nibble on Darden stock?
USA TODAY, December 16, 2014 Tuesday

 A: Restaurant chain Darden has cast aside Red Lobster. But analysts still don't see it as the catch of the day.
 3 Quarter Pounders on McDonald's chopping block; Pared-down menu now being tested at stores in 6 states
USA TODAY, December 16, 2014 Tuesday

 McDonald's upcoming menu cuts will likely hit three menu board icons hardest: Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Premium Chicken Sandwich and Snack Wrap. Those, at least, are the cuts now being tested at McDonald's restaurants in several key markets. In the test, Quarter Pounder with Cheese offerings are cut from the current four to one. Premium Chicken sandwiches and Snack Wraps are cut from three to one, says McDonald's spokeswoman Lisa McComb in an e-mail.
 Amazon, eBay, HP join e-mail fight; Microsoft trying to squash subpoenas
USA TODAY, December 16, 2014 Tuesday

 Microsoft just won some powerful allies in its battle over Uncle Sam's quest to tap e-mails stored overseas. Tech giants Amazon, HP and eBay on Monday said they support Microsoft's effort to squash subpoenas demanding the Redmond, Wash., company hand over e-mails stored on servers in Dublin, Ireland.
 PetSmart sale drives shares above $80, highest in 52 weeks
The Arizona Republic (Phoenix), December 16, 2014 Tuesday

 PetSmart stock rose almost 3.3 percent in trading Monday after the company agreed to be sold for $8.7 billion. Shares closed at $80.97 a share, a 52-week closing high, after briefly hitting $81.44 a share.
 Express Scripts CFO to step down after less than a year
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri), December 16, 2014 Tuesday

 Less than a year after being named chief financial officer of the nation's largest pharmacy benefit manager, Cathy Smith will be leaving Express Scripts, the company announced Monday.
 No hedging possibility of Staples merger now
The Boston Globe, December 16, 2014 Tuesday

 I stopped in at a Staples store over the weekend and saw lots of merchandise offered as doorbuster-style values: a $200 printer available for half price, an office chair discounted from $180 to $99.99, and the steal of the day: a $130 shredder that could be yours for $19.99, after rebates. Here's one thing about the office-supply chain that actually got more expensive last week: shares of Staples Inc. itself. They are up about 12 percent since Thursday, when the activist hedge fund manager Jeff...
 A bonus for some American fliers; Airline to add miles for pricey seats in 1st class, business
Chicago Tribune, December 16, 2014 Tuesday

 American Airlines said Monday it will begin awarding bonus frequent-flier miles to customers who buy pricey seats in first- and business-class cabins. The airline said the promotion will give AAdvantage and Dividend Miles members more miles based on distance flown, fare purchased and the member's elite status level. American had been the only holdout among the largest carriers to continue awarding miles based on distance flown without regard to dollars spent.
 How McDonald's is using tech to update its service
Chicago Tribune, December 16, 2014 Tuesday

 A McDonald's executive says technology is enabling changes in the way McDonald's aims to serve its customers as it tries to keep up with nimble rivals that have eaten away at its fast-food dominance. The Oak Brook-based company has started using kiosks that allow customers to order customized sandwiches, and over the next few years, it will provide new ways of ordering including use of mobile apps, said Steve Easterbrook, senior executive VP and chief brand officer, in a talk at mobile app...
 From AMC and MoviePass, a Film a Day for a Monthly Fee
The New York Times, December 16, 2014 Tuesday

 LOS ANGELES -- Netflix brought subscription-based movie and television streaming to the millennial masses. Spotify and Rhapsody did the same thing with music -- pay once, listen to as much or as little as you want. Now a major movie theater chain is trying to step onto the subscription gravy train as it seeks to reverse attendance declines, especially among young moviegoers. AMC Theaters, the No. 2 chain in North America behind Regal Entertainment, has agreed to a pilot partnership with...
    

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