Business News - part 10

Electronics Giant LG Enters Smart Lighting Industry with Smart Lamp

Electronics Giant LG Enters Smart Lighting Industry with Smart Lamp

BUSINESS

  • LG’s Smart Lamp offers users various innovative security and lighting features via an LED controlled by Android and Apple iOS smartphones
  • Smart Lamp can be set as an alarm clock or “disco light” and notifies users of incoming calls
  • Philips one of the Smart Lamp’s stiffest direct competitors, with 2012 ‘Hue’ smart light bulb

South Korea-based electronics corporation LG recently announced its newest home lighting product, the Smart Lamp—a light-emitting diode (LED) lightbulb that can be managed via Apple iOS 4.0 and 6.0 and Android 4.3 (and over) smartphones.

Soon the Smart Lamp will be available for purchase in South Korea at a 35,000 won (approximately $32) price tag; there is no news of the Smart Lamp being available in different markets.

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Retail Giant Walmart Buying Into $2 Billion Used Game Industry

Retail Giant Walmart Buying Into $2 Billion Used Game Industry

BUSINESS

  • Walmart implementing new program to let customers trade in used video games for a range of Walmart and Sam’s Club products
  • Trade-in values, ranging from a few dollars to over $35, to depend on console, title and age
  • World’s largest video game retailer GameStop overtakes Walmart by having in-house refurbishing ability as well as own software for pricing

Walmart Stores Inc., the leading global retailer, is looking to buy into the $2-billion used video-game industry led by Grapevine, Texas-based GameStop Corp.

Walmart is letting customers exchange their used video games for gift cards redeemable for groceries, new games and any other Walmart or Sam’s Club products.

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Network Equipment Giant Cisco Invests $1 Billion In Cloud Computing Services

Network Equipment Giant Cisco Invests $1 Billion In Cloud Computing Services

BUSINESS

  • Services to be hosted by a global, data center network
  • Cisco rationally a networking hardware provider
  • Services to be offered with partners

American networking-equipment company Cisco Systems Inc. plans to invest $1 billion over two years in cloud computing services and applications.

The new service, Cisco Cloud Services, is an extension of the Cisco Powered program. Nicknamed Intercloud by Cisco, it is based on the OpenStack platform and will be hosted by a network of Cisco and partner data centers worldwide. It is designed to allow users to move applications and data between both public and private clouds.

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Starbucks Adds Alcohol To Its US Menu

Starbucks Adds Alcohol To Its US Menu

BUSINESS

  • New offerings to bring in customers during slow times
  • Starbucks Evenings to be available in 40 locations by 2015
  • Company making other changes to lure customers

Coffee retailer Starbucks Corp. is adding evening alcohol and light meals to its US menu in an effort to bring in customers during the slow part of its business day. The company’s busiest time is during the morning rush hour.

In October 2010, alcohol was introduced at a Seattle store. In January 2012, Starbucks Evenings began to be tested in 25 locations in three states. It will be available in 40 locations by the end of the year. 

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Europe Automotive Sales Increase For 6th Subsequent Month

Europe Automotive Sales Increase For 6th Subsequent Month

BUSINESS

  • EU vehicle sales increased by roughly 8% from last February, signaling that EU automobile market to see recovery after six years of contraction
  • Increased demand attributed to general economic recovery as well as discounted prices for new vehicles
  • Analysts caution that economic and cultural factors may slow down recovery of cars sales until end of decade

Last month, European auto sales rose for the sixth-successive month but stayed at low levels as the sector made a slow revival from the downturn of the economy. Recently the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA) reported that new passenger vehicle sales in the EU rose by 8% in February to 861,058 units.

The ACEA also reported that car registrations had risen from 831,371 last year to 894,730 at present, or growth of 7.6%.

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Google Project Seeks Software For Smartwatch Apps

Google Project Seeks Software For Smartwatch Apps

BUSINESS

  • Several smartwatches to be on market this year
  • Android Wear similar to smartphone software
  • Wearable computers might be niche market

Search engine Google Inc. is partnering with software, technology and fashion companies to control the course of smartwatch development.

Later this year, voice controlled smartwatches are expected to debut on the market. The watches would be used to respond to text messages, open garage doors and access music, among other uses. They would connect to smartphones and sensors.

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French Telecom Giant Vivendi Chooses Numericable For SFR Acquisition

French Telecom Giant Vivendi Chooses Numericable For SFR Acquisition

BUSINESS

  • Vivendi decides on Altice’s slightly higher bid over that of Bouygues for SFR deal to shorten wait time and regulatory complications
  • Vivendi to shed its telecommunications division and focus on pay television, music 
  • Bouygues unveiled that if deal with Vivendi went through, it would sell spectrum and network assets to Free Mobile

A recent bidding war for French mobile network operator SFR, which belongs to Paris-based telecommunications and media company Vivendi, saw Altice-owned cable group Numericable win out over telecommunications and construction company Bouygues, both also with Paris headquarters.

Altice, Numericable’s parent company, offered Vivendi  a counter bid of €11.75 billion (over $16.4 billion USD) as well as a hefty stake (of at least 32%) in the united Numericable/SFR.

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Facebook To Add 15-Second Video Advertisements

Facebook To Add 15-Second Video Advertisements

BUSINESS

  • Ads to appear regularly in newsfeeds in April
  • Facebook has spent months testing this form of marketing
  • Videos to target specific audiences

Facebook Inc., the world’s largest social network, will debut 15-second video advertisements in newsfeeds in an effort to increase the website's profitability.

The ads began to be offered to select US ad partners this month and will appear in newsfeeds in late April or early May. Users will not see the same video more than three times daily, and Facebook has said it will focusing on higher-quality promotions instead of showing more ads to users.

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Russia’s Largest Oil Producer Rosneft Gains 13% Indirect Stake In Italian Tire Maker

Russia’s Largest Oil Producer Rosneft Gains 13% Indirect Stake In Italian Tire Maker

BUSINESS

  • Rosneft to hold 50% of consortium
  • Deal mutually benefitical
  • Rosneft and Pirelli signed marketing agreement in 2012

OAO Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil producer, will become the largest investor in Italian manufacturer Pirelli & C. SpA,  the world's fifth-largest tire maker, after taking a stake in the consortium which will own Pirelli.

The current consortium, Lauro61/Camfin, owns 26% of Pirelli. It will dissolve and create a new company. Rosneft will take over investor Nuove Partecipazioni. 

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Fast Food: McDonald’s Experiences Fourth Straight Month of Declining Sales

Fast Food: McDonald’s Experiences Fourth Straight Month of Declining Sales

BUSINESS

  • Harsh winter weather, sluggish economy and internal decision-making factors behind McDonald’s global sales decline of 0.3%
  • McDonald’s revenue hit hardest in US, where stiff competition for its popular breakfast and coffee menu threatens to reduce market share
  • McDonald to focus on better customer service and improved menus, particularly in breakfast offerings

Recently McDonald’s Corp. revealed that the figures for its comparable-store sales in February worldwide had dropped much lower than expected, largely due to a decline in business at its over 14,200 US sites.

Consensus Metrix reported that for restaurants open for a minimum of 13 months—thus more established—global sales dipped by 0.3%. The overall picture for McDonald’s roughly 35,400 restaurants around the world is lackluster. Only the European market, the company’s most profitable, had gains, with February sales increasing by 0.6%. In Africa, the Middle and Asia Pacific, however, sales dropped by 2.6%. The 0.3% global sales decline this past quarter eclipsed analysts’ predictions of 0.1%. In the US, same-restaurant sales dropped by 1.4%, more than twice the 0.6% predicted by analysts.

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