Business News - part 36

Smartphone Leader Research In Motion Unveils New BlackBerry, New Name

Smartphone Leader Research In Motion Unveils New BlackBerry, New Name

BUSINESS

  • Company to drop RIM name for BlackBerry; new BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 smartphones announced
  • UK gets new release first; US, Canada, United Arab Emirates to follow
  • US carriers taking longer to test handsets than other markets

Research In Motion has launched its new BlackBerry 10 lineup – and along with it a new name – in the hope of returning to the fore of the smartphone segment that it once controlled.

CEO Thorsten Heins says the new BlackBerry will reignite the enthusiasm that over the last decade saw it become the must-have mobile device for businesses and professionals.

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E-Commerce Giant Amazon Sales Hit $21 Billion, Web Services Booming

E-Commerce Giant Amazon Sales Hit $21 Billion, Web Services Booming

BUSINESS

  • Amazon sales up 22% but profit falls 45% 
  • Amazon Web Services grow 68% in North America
  • Amazon to build warehouses, fulfillment centers in US to minimize shipping costs

The world's largest internet retailer Amazon.com saw sales rise 22% to $21.27 billion during the fourth quarter of 2012, thanks to a strong holiday season boosted by rising purchases of e-books, and sales from its cloud computing services and video content.

Overall, Amazon expanded its digital media selection to 23 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books, audio books, apps and games in 2012, up from 19 million at the end of 2011.

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Electronics Leader Philips Closes The Door On Its Home Entertainment Business

Electronics Leader Philips Closes The Door On Its Home Entertainment Business

BUSINESS

  • Philips transfers audio visual division to Japan’s Funai Electric
  • Funai plans global expansion with latest acquisition from Philips
  • Philips to focus now on health and well-being appliances

Electronics giant Royal Philips Electronics (Philips) is selling off its audio, video, multimedia and accessories division to Japan’s Funai Electric Co for over $202 million. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2013.

Philips Chief Executive Officer Frans van Houten says: "With this transaction we are taking another step in reshaping the Consumer Lifestyle portfolio and transforming Philips into a leading technology company in Health and Well-being. I am confident that today's agreement with Funai, our partner for over 25 years, will create a promising future for Philips Audio, Video and Entertainment, and continuity for our customers. It will leverage Philips' strong brand, strength in innovation, and leadership position in these businesses, with Funai's strong presence in North and Central America and Japan, and its supply and manufacturing expertise."

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Major Car Manufacturers Form Alliance To Develop Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

Major Car Manufacturers Form Alliance To Develop Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

BUSINESS

  • Ford, Daimler and Renault-Nissan to share costs and technology for hydrogen fuel cell vehicle project
  • Alliance to speed up technology to market time and reduce costs passed to customers
  • BMW, Toyota collaborating to develop next-generation “lithium-air” batteries for green vehicles

Automotive manufacturers Ford, Daimler and Renault-Nissan are joining forces to bring hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to market by 2017.

The car giants will share expenses as well as work together to develop technology and engines; in turn, each company will use the technology in its own vehicles.

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Airline United Continental Cuts 600 Jobs To Play Catch-Up After 2012 Financial Losses

Airline United Continental Cuts 600 Jobs To Play Catch-Up After 2012 Financial Losses

BUSINESS

  • United Continental to curb 2012 losses by laying off 600 front-office employees
  • Unionized workers not included in cuts
  • United Continental to focus on improving customer service going forward

The world's largest airline United Continental will lay off 600 front-office employees in its bid to recover from a net loss of $723 million overall in 2012 and a $620 million drop in the fourth quarter.

According to a United Continental spokesperson, the cuts will begin early in February 2013 and consist of voluntary and involuntary layoffs, with unfilled positions left vacant. The cuts include 6% of administrative and management staff.

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Global Sales Up 13% For Coffee Giant Starbucks

Global Sales Up 13% For Coffee Giant Starbucks

BUSINESS

  • Starbucks sales in Americas up 7% thanks to holiday promotions
  • Starbucks sales up 11% in Asia-Pacific, while sales in EMEA down 1%
  • Starbucks to expand with thousands of new cafes in Americas, China

The world’s largest coffee chain Starbucks Corp reported profit increased 13% globally for the first fiscal quarter of 2013, with growth boosted by higher sales in the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

Sales in the Americas, Starbuck’s key market, rose 7% thanks to annual holiday deals offered by the coffee giant.

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Search Engine Giant Google Hits Record $50 Billion In Revenue

Search Engine Giant Google Hits Record $50 Billion In Revenue

BUSINESS

  • Google revenue up 36% in fourth quarter 2012 compared to 2011
  • Google desktop search clicks down 4% in last six months
  • Competition from mobile presents challenge for Google

Search engine leader Google has posted $50 billion in annual revenue for the first time, with fourth-quarter revenue of $14 billion, or 36% higher than for the same period in 2011.

Google CEO Larry Page says: "In today's multi-screen world we face tremendous opportunities as a technology company focused on user benefit. It's an incredibly exciting time to be at Google."

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IKEA Gets Green Light To Open 25 Stores In India

IKEA Gets Green Light To Open 25 Stores In India

BUSINESS

  • IKEA to open 25 stores in India for investment of nearly $2 billion
  • Foreign retail investment in India expected to boost economy, generate jobs
  • India's retail sector expected to double to $874 billion by 2017

Swedish furniture giant IKEA Group has received approval to set up fully stocked stores in India, but still needs the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs to approve the plan.

With an investment of approximately $2 billion, IKEA plans to open up to 25 stores over the next 15 to 20 years – the first of which is expected to launch five years after final validation.

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Boeing 787 Dreamliner Aircraft Battery Maker Under Investigation

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Aircraft Battery Maker Under Investigation

BUSINESS

  • Investigators looking at 787 Dreamliner battery to determine source of malfunction
  • Boeing puts delivery of new 787 Dreamliners on hold
  • Japanese airlines forced to cancel hundreds of flights

Officials from the US Federal Aviation Administration and Japan's Civil Aviation Bureau toured the headquarters of GS Yuasa Corp., the lithium ion battery manufacturer for Boeing's Dreamliner 787, as part of an investigation into recent malfunctioning of the jets.

Earlier this month, an All Nippon Airways Dreamliner was forced to make an emergency landing because of a problem with its battery. At the start of January, a fire also broke out in the battery of a Japan Airlines 787 jet parked at Boston Logan International Airport.

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Struggling Phone Maker Nokia To Outsource IT Jobs To India

Struggling Phone Maker Nokia To Outsource IT Jobs To India

BUSINESS

  • Nokia restructures IT operations, cuts 300 IT staff to reduce costs; another 10,000 mobile division jobs to be eliminated by end 2013
  • Nokia phone shipments slip to 86 million units from 114 million units
  • Finnish government to assist Nokia’s Chennai, India site with unpaid tax claim

Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia Corp. aims to cut costs by outsourcing some of its IT operations to India’s HCL Technologies and Tata Consultancy Services, including the transfer of roughly 820 mostly Finland-based Nokia staff to India. 

The company will also cut 300 jobs at its global IT operations, with these changes primarily affecting staff in Finland. The reductions are the latest in a round of cost-saving strategies announced last June, including the elimination of 10,000 mobile division jobs expected by year end 2013.

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