Business News - part 10

American Airlines Ends Interline Agreement with JetBlue

American Airlines Ends Interline Agreement with JetBlue

BUSINESS

  • Airlines had shared frequent-flyer programs and other benefits
  • End of agreement result of merger with US Airways
  • Customers to keep points earned

American Airlines cancelled its interline agreement with JetBlue, ending perks customers of both airlines enjoyed, now that it has access to the East Coast of the United States.

The agreement, which started in 2010, allowed customers to buy connecting flights on each other's planes using one ticket. It also offered frequent-flyer programs and baggage handling.

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Photo Service Getty To Offer Free Access To Embedded Photos

Photo Service Getty To Offer Free Access To Embedded Photos

BUSINESS

  • Getty providing bloggers and social media users watermark-free use of 40 million pictures from its extensive photo library free of charge
  • Embeds offer new possibilities for targeted advertisements based on user data
  • Getty struck deal with Pinterest to get paid for metadata on its images pinned by Pinterest users

Getty Images, the world’s biggest stock photo company, is offering its content to the public for free after recognizing that its library of over 150 million photos were being widely pirated and shared over the internet, with watermarks and without.

In the past, users needed to pay licensing fees for watermark-free Getty photos. According to The Verge, a US technology news and media organization, Getty is now removing the watermark for roughly 40 million of its pictures.

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Office Supply Retailer Staples To Shut 225 Stores, Slash $500 Million

Office Supply Retailer Staples To Shut 225 Stores, Slash $500 Million

BUSINESS

  • Staples to close 12% of its North American store locations
  • Customers shopping online poses challenge
  • Analysts say it might be too little, too late

American office supply retailer Staples Inc. plans to close 225 underperforming locations, representing 12% of its North American locations, and cut $500 million in annual costs by 2016.

The plan comes after a disappointing holiday season and forecasts for a further decline in business.

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Oil Company BP Combats Decline In Sales By Creating New US Unit

Oil Company BP Combats Decline In Sales By Creating New US Unit

BUSINESS

  • New BP continental US unit to boost cycle times, decision making and profitability against independent competitors
  • US business to be BP-owned but managed independently at new Houston location
  • Several oil companies worldwide divesting US shale divisions in last three years

London-based oil producer BP intends to separate its onshore US oil and gas assets into a new division that will boost the competitiveness of its shale gas portfolio there.

BP, by market value the second-largest European oil company, asserted that this separate shale division with new Houston headquarters would be more viable as a competitor against independents as it could benefit from faster cycle times and shorter decision-making times.

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Consumer Electronics Chain RadioShack Suffers $400 Million In Losses

Consumer Electronics Chain RadioShack Suffers $400 Million In Losses

BUSINESS

  • RadioShack turnaround plan involves closing 1,100 stores
  • RadioShack struggles to compete against online retailers and changing technology
  • Poor performance blamed on holiday shopping season, soft market for mobile devices and being under stocked in some products

American electronics chain RadioShack Corp. lost $400 million in 2013, and plans to close 1,100 stores as part of chief executive Joe Magnacca’s turnaround plan.

The retailer has struggled for years to compete against online retailers and changing technology. Analysts say RadioShack cannot compete in a world where people shop online and that it is too dependent on wireless technology.

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February US Auto Sales Up 0.3%

February US Auto Sales Up 0.3%

BUSINESS

  • Incentives drew customers to dealerships
  • Nissan led automakers with 16% gain
  • Some foreign manufacturers saw sales drop

Automakers saw sales in the United States rise in February 0.3%, as incentives drew customers to dealerships. Last month, nearly 1.2 million vehicles were sold.

On average, incentives for February were $2,633 per vehicle, or up 5% from 2013, according to TrueCar. The average transaction price was $32,074, some 3.6% higher than 2013. It’s also the highest February average sale price since 2009.

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Pharma Giant Bayer To Acquire Chinese Herbal Treatment Company Dihon

Pharma Giant Bayer To Acquire Chinese Herbal Treatment Company Dihon

BUSINESS

  • Bayer aims to boost its position in emerging markets for herbal medicine and over the counter drugs in China
  • Healthcare expenditure in China predicted to increase from $357 million to $1 trillion by 2020
  • Pharmaceutical companies worldwide moving toward herbal medicines and OTC drugs

Pharma giant Bayer, creator of Aspirin, will purchase Dihon Pharmaceutical, a privately-owned company with headquarters in south west China to strengthen its position in Asia, where pharmaceutical businesses are growing, and help it reach its goal of becoming the #1 non-prescription drugs company worldwide.

Dihon focuses on traditional herbal Chinese medicine and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs—a sector in which it is a leader in China. Dihon boasts yearly sales of $168 million and has 2,400 employees.

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Online Video Service Hulu Sells Japanese Subsidiary To Nippon TV

Online Video Service Hulu Sells Japanese Subsidiary To Nippon TV

BUSINESS

  • Deal with Nippon marks the end of Hulu’s international business venture
  • Japanese viewers watch content on televisions, computers, tablets, gaming consoles and smartphones
  • Hulu to offer US customers more broadcast content

American online video on demand service Hulu LLC has entered into an agreement to sell its Japanese unit to Nippon Television Network Corp., the top Japanese television network, ending Hulu’s venture into international business.

Hulu launched its Japanese unit in September 2011; the unit offers subscriptions for unlimited viewing of premium content on internet-connected devices for a $9.60 monthly fee. It has 50 content partners and offers more than 13,000 movies, dramas and anime.

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Smartphone News: BlackBerry Future Plans Centered on BBM, Core Business Customers

Smartphone News: BlackBerry Future Plans Centered on BBM, Core Business Customers

BUSINESS

  • New BlackBerry CEO John Chen strengthening BlackBerry Messenger service with better encryption technology and extension to Windows Phone platform
  • Present focus to engage company’s 80,000 existing core business clients
  • New BlackBerry smartphones to bring back popular features such as ‘send,’ ‘end,’ and ‘menu’ buttons

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has announced plans to sell or create new products related to the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) smartphone service to help build a stronger foundation for the company.

With Chen centering his efforts to boost the Waterloo, Ontario-based company on BBM, BlackBerry’s instant-messenger, as well as BlackBerry’s business customers, the company’s stock has risen steadily after a period of decline.

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Airbus To Increase Production Of A320 Aircraft By 10%

Airbus To Increase Production Of A320 Aircraft By 10%

BUSINESS

  • Airbus to produce 46 model A320 aircraft per month produced by 2016
  • Airbus has backlog of 5,500 jets
  • Airbus reports 2013 income up 21%

Airbus Group NV, Europe’s largest aerospace company, plans to increase production of its A320 model by 10% to 46 aircraft per month by 2016.

Last year, demand for new aircraft rose 22%, and Airbus secured orders for over 1,500 new planes worth $225 billion in list prices. Growth was seen primarily in emerging markets, but also from American carriers replacing their aging fleets.

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