Top Headlines March 2012

RIM BlackBerry Losing Ground in Native Canada to Apple iPhone

RIM BlackBerry Losing Ground in Native Canada to Apple iPhone

BUSINESS

  • Canadians purchased 2.08 million BlackBerrys in 2011 compared to 2.82 million iPhones
  • Research in Motion fails to aggressively market its smartphones
  • Blackberry still popular in emerging markets

Research In Motion Ltd., manufacturer of the BlackBerry mobile device, is losing sales and revenue in its native Canada to Apple Inc’s star iPhone. In 2011, for the first time since the debut of the BlackBerry, the company failed to reach the top spot for smartphone sales.

According to research compiled by IDC and Bloomberg, 2.08 million BlackBerrys were sold last year compared to 2.82 million iPhones.

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Ford Lays Cornerstone for $1 Billion Automotive Manufacturing Plant in India

Ford Lays Cornerstone for $1 Billion Automotive Manufacturing Plant in India

BUSINESS

  • Construction set to begin at new Sanand plant in Gujarat
  • New manufacturing facility to produce 240,000 cars, 270,000 engines
  • Ford to release eight new vehicles in India by 2015

Ford has set in motion its new $1 billion manufacturing plant in Gujarat, India, despite the country’s uncertain economic forecast.

At a ceremony at the Sanand plant in western India, Ford India laid the cornerstone at the shop, which will grow into a state-of-the-art facility. Around 240,000 new cars and 270,000 engines will be manufactured per year for both domestic and export markets.

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Starbucks Expands Into Energy Drinks Market with Refreshers Drink

Starbucks Expands Into Energy Drinks Market with Refreshers Drink

BUSINESS

  • Starbucks announces new Refreshers line of energy drinks
  • Refreshers drinks contain unroasted coffee extract, with less caffeine then traditional energy drinks
  • Starbucks to create 150 new US jobs

Starbucks plans to break into the rapidly expanding energy drinks market with its new fruit juice and coffee extract beverage, called Starbucks Refreshers.

The plans were outlined at the coffee giant’s annual shareholder gathering in Seattle, with chief executive Howard Schultz announcing the creation of additional manufacturing jobs in the United States.

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European Production Falls, Recession Fears Brew

European Production Falls, Recession Fears Brew

ECONOMY

  • Europe's PMI falls to 48.7, further contraction will indicate recession
  • Output drops in manufacturing and service industries
  • ECB urges governments to make fiscal changes

Production in Europe's manufacturing and service industries fell in March, suggesting that the eurozone may be sliding back into a recession.

According to private firm Markit Economics, the purchasing managers index, or PMI, for both industries combined fell to a three-year low of 48.7 from 49.3 in February.

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Will HP Combine Its Printer and PC Divisions To Cut Costs?

Will HP Combine Its Printer and PC Divisions To Cut Costs?

BUSINESS

  • Source reports HP will combine divisions to save money
  • New focus will be on investing savings and reinventing
  • HP suffering from decline in revenue, sales

Top computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. will combine its personal computer and printing divisions in an effort to save money and make it easier for customers to buy products, according to Reuters.

These units were previously combined but were separated in 2005. For the fiscal year 2011, both divisions had a total of $65.35 billion in revenue.

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US Air Travel: Shrinking Capacities, Higher Fares The Way of The Future

US Air Travel: Shrinking Capacities, Higher Fares The Way of The Future

BUSINESS

  • Airplanes packed, fares constantly going up
  • Fuel prices contribute to more than one-third of total operating airline budgets
  • US Airline growth should double in next two decades but prices to go up

The number of US airline passengers should double in the next two decades, says a government forecast.

However, airplanes are packed and fares are going up, with carriers cutting less-profitable routes.

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Royal Dutch Shell Secures Shale Gas Contract in China

Royal Dutch Shell Secures Shale Gas Contract in China

BUSINESS

  • Shell signs first-ever production sharing deal in China’s shale gas industry
  • China targets 6.5 billion cubic meters of shale gas production by 2015
  • Chinese shale gas reserves total around 36 trillion cubic meters – 50% more than US

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to a production sharing contract with state-run China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to explore and produce shale gas in the southwest of China.

The project will concentrate on the 3,500 square kilometer Fushun-Yongchuan shale gas block in Sichuan province. The deal is the first venture to be signed with a foreign company in China’s shale gas industry and is subject to approval by Chinese authorities.

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Could Starwood’s 24-Hour Check-In Shake Up Hotel Industry Status Quo?

Could Starwood’s 24-Hour Check-In Shake Up Hotel Industry Status Quo?

BUSINESS

  • Elite Starwood members get perks & anytime check-ins under new Your24 program
  • Starwood says new policies meet changing customer needs and demands
  • No major hotel chain has yet matched Starwood's offer

Hotel brand Starwood has launched a new benefit for elite members, called “Your24,” which lets members take advantage of 24-hour check-ins.

Your24 is one of several new elite benefits that make the award-winning Starwood Preferred Guest the “richest elite program in the industry,” according to the hotel chain.

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UPS Buys TNT Express To Up Competition In the Parcel Delivery Market

UPS Buys TNT Express To Up Competition In the Parcel Delivery Market

BUSINESS

  • UPS buys TNT Express for $6.77 billion
  • New combined company should save $582 million in operations & transportation
  • Carriers combined can compete in Asia-Pacific

The world’s largest delivery company has just gotten larger: Atlanta, GA, based United Parcel Service Inc. will purchase Europe’s second-biggest express mail company TNT Express NV for $6.77 billion. This is the largest acquisition in UPS history.

The combined company will have 475,000 employees worldwide, and is predicted to be worth $79 billion in annual sales. It will also be on-par with German-owned DHL, Europe’s largest carrier, which has nearly an 18% market share.

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PayPal Announces New Mobile Payment System PayPal Here

PayPal Announces New Mobile Payment System PayPal Here

BUSINESS

  • PayPal Here lets small business owners process credit card transactions through iPhones
  • PayPal Here currently available in North America, Australia and Hong Kong
  • PayPal anticipates new system will help win market share over competitors Square, Intuit and VeriPhone

Online payment giant PayPal has announced its new, much-anticipated mobile payment system, called PayPal Here, which lets small businesses process credit card transactions using an iPhone.

The company, a division of eBay, is also currently working on an app that will be compatible with the iOS and Android devices as well.

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