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Microsoft, the company that defined the PC, is still enormously profitable — but not as profitable as it once was.

This week, Microsoft will try to regroup. It is rolling out the largest upgrade of its Windows software in more than a decade. All of this is meant to help the company break into the exploding market for mobile.

While the company still commands a formidable computing empire, it is now under attack.

Microsoft's CEO is Steve Ballmer, a big, bombastic, balding guy. These days he's riled up about Windows 8.

High school was not a particularly awesome time in the life of Arthur J. O'Connor. That social fairy dust that some people seem to have? He didn't have it.

"I was a wallflower. I was a nerd," O'Connor says. "I was incredibly intimidated by everybody."

Why A Hedge Fund Seized An Argentine Navy Ship In Ghana

Oct 22, 2012

The Libertad, a ship owned by the Argentine Navy, set sail across the Atlantic a few months ago. It was being tracked, via the Internet, by a U.S.-based hedge fund called NML Capital.

At Monday night's foreign policy debate, the first round of questions for the presidential candidates will involve "America's role in the world."

The answers from President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney likely will focus on military readiness and anti-terrorism efforts. That's what most Americans would expect to hear, given that their country has been involved continuously in overseas combat since the terrorist attacks of 2001.

At Disneyland, the video game character Swampy the Alligator has edged his way onto gift shop shelves once solely dominated by film characters like Mickey Mouse and all those princesses. He's the star of "Where's My Water?" — Disney's first original mobile gaming hit, with over a hundred-million downloads.

Dish Network is settling with Cablevision and AMC Networks after a well-publicized and drawn-out fight in court and on the airwaves. Dish will resume distributing AMC and other channels as part of the settlement, and pay a hefty sum, too — roughly $700 million.

Video game makers are rolling out their new titles — with a wide range of creativity and style — just in time for the holiday shopping season. Jamin Warren, founder of Kill Screen magazine, shares his list of video games you should keep your eye on:

In a sterile white boardroom in ABC Family's headquarters in Los Angeles, two young women are assiduously ignoring a spread of cookies in favor of two more important things: their laptops and a live broadcast of the show Pretty Little Liars playing on a large flat-screen TV.

Dalia Ganz, 28, is the show's social-media manager. She's patiently teaching one of the beautiful young actors on the show how to live-tweet this episode.

"Include #prettylittleliars in your answers," she instructs. That is a literal transcription of her words.

While most American homes still have a television in the den, how we watch, and what we watch, is changing. Computers, tablets, smartphones, DVRs and video game consoles have redefined what television is.

Viewers have officially become a multiscreen culture. And that means the TV industry is changing, as well. Consider that 36 million Americans watch video on their phones, according to the Nielsen ratings company.

Most of us know someone who's had a hard time finding or keeping a job over the past few years. It's an experience that often leaves people feeling defeated and demoralized. In Weekend Edition Sunday's Working It series, hear audio portraits of people whose daily lives are filled with uncertainty.

Friday, Twitter agreed to pull racist tweets after a French organization threatened to sue. The company has resisted efforts to police its content. But hate speech is illegal in many European countries, and anti-hate groups there are grappling with how to deal with the challenge of social media.

It's not just nutritionists who have a problem with sugar these days, so does organized labor. The AFL-CIO is calling for a boycott of one the country's biggest sugar producers, the American Crystal Sugar Company, based in Moorhead, Minn.

There was a 1.7 percent drop in sales of existing homes in September from August, the National Association of Realtors says.

But the median selling price compared to one year earlier was up for the seventh month in a row, leading NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun to say "we're experiencing a genuine recovery."

According to NAR:



And in Britain this week, eyebrows were raised with the revelation that Starbucks has paid almost no corporate tax on its operations in the UK. Starbucks insists it's done nothing wrong.

Vicki Barker reports from London.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That's why at Starbucks we've decided to do things differently.

VICKI BARKER, BYLINE: Since that green mermaid logo first washed up on these shores in 1998, Starbucks-UK has racked up more than four and a half billion dollars in sales, here.

Business News

Oct 19, 2012



A deal in the eurozone begins NPR's business news today.


GREENE: At a summit in Brussels, the European Union agreed today to create a single overseer for its 6,000-plus banks. The move is seen as an important step in preventing future financial meltdowns. The European Bank will lead these efforts and the new overseer will have the power to intervene in any bank in the 17 eurozone countries.

The Last Word In Business

Oct 19, 2012



And our last word in business today is: Ovonics. That's the science of using thin materials to capture the power of the sun. It's named after Stan Ovshinsky, who died on Wednesday at 89 years old.


He held hundreds of patents that changed the way we use and gather energy. Ovshinsky never went to college, but that didn't put a damper on his passion for science. His son told the Associated Press that his dad was determined to change the world.



Yesterday was the kind of day executives at Google would probably like to delete. Trading of the Internet giant's shares was temporarily halted after the company's earnings were released accidently and prematurely. What's worse, the numbers were not anything Google would want to show off. The earnings reports showed profits last quarter fell by more than 20 percent. Here's NPR's Steve Henn.

A Check On U.S. Banks

Oct 19, 2012



It was four years ago - almost to the day - that American taxpayers bailed out America's big banks, as the nation faced its worst financial crisis in decades. In the past several days, we've been given a look at how the banks are doing - their latest quarterly profit reports.

And to talk about that, we turn, as we often do, to David Wessel. He's economics editor of The Wall Street Journal.

Morning, David.

DAVID WESSEL: Good morning.

Chicken Little was running wild 25 years ago today. But one could hardly blame the poultry for panicking.

On Oct. 19, 1987, the stock market plunged a record-setting 23 percent. The next day, the New York Daily News' front page screamed "Panic!" and a New York Times headline asked: "Does 1987 equal 1929?"

Turns out, the 1987 plunge was a mere stutter step. The Dow Jones industrial average, which closed at 1,739 that day, quickly bounced back. Within a decade, the stock-price average had nearly quintupled.

When our series began yesterday, we brought together five economists from across the political spectrum and had them create a platform for their dream presidential candidate. It's a platform — Get rid of a tax deduction for homeowners!

In many large cities, like Dallas, Phoenix and even parts of Chicago, $800 a month is enough for a clean one-bedroom apartment, decked out with a living room, washer and dryer — and maybe even a pool, in a larger complex.

But if you want to live alone in San Francisco, getting those amenities at that price is practically a pipe dream. With the region's resurgent high-tech industries luring many well-educated, well-paid workers to the Bay Area, the average rent for a studio apartment in the city now runs around $2,000.

Newsweek editor Tina Brown announced Thursday she would embrace a fully digital future as she revealed that the magazine's final print edition would be published at the end of the year.

Her announcement was a bow to gravity, as her unique blend of buzz and brio proved incapable of counteracting Newsweek's plummeting circulation and advertising amid an accelerating news cycle. Brown said there would be an unspecified number of layoffs as well.



Google's high-flying stock hit some turbulence today. Its shares were down as much as 10 percent before trading was temporarily halted. The drop came after the company's quarterly earnings report was released prematurely, a report that showed Google struggling in the third quarter. NPR's Steve Henn reports.

Evaporated Cane Juice: Sugar In Disguise?

Oct 18, 2012

If you're one of those people who vigilantly checks the ingredient list of the things you buy at the grocery store, you may have already seen this: Some food products now contain something called "evaporated cane juice." It can be found in yogurt, fruit juices and lemonades.

So what exactly is evaporated cane juice? Well, it depends on whom you ask. We spoke with a few folks outside our local grocery store, and many of them were confused. Take a listen:

'Black Friday' Haunts Market, 25 Years On

Oct 18, 2012



This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, Courtney Roxanne Pearson was just crowned homecoming queen at her university last weekend. We hope you'll stick around to hear why she feels this is about more than a tiara and a title.

But first, tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of what is known in financial circles as Black Monday. And if you were watching the news at the time, then you probably heard a report that sounded something like this.


Does Candidates' Debt Math Add Up?

Oct 18, 2012



This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we take a look back 25 years to the 1987 stock market crash, which some people still call Black Monday. We'll talk about how that even compares to the more recent market turmoil and if there's anything we can learn from it about market ups and downs today.

The number of first-time claims for jobless benefits rose by 46,000 last week, to 388,000, the Employment and Training Administration says.

The previous week's total — 342,000 — was the fewest since early 2008. The increase last week put claims back into the range where they've been stuck for a year, between 350,000 and 400,000.

Saying that "we have reached a tipping point at which we can most efficiently and effectively reach our readers in all-digital format," editor Tina Brown announced this morning that Newsweek's Dec. 31 issue will be its last print edition.

Going forward, she said:

"Newsweek will expand its rapidly growing tablet and online presence, as well as its successful global partnerships and events business.

The Last Word In Business

Oct 18, 2012



And today's last word in business reminds us how quickly Internet memes, those viral moments come and go. Our last word is: binders full of sales.

A promotional pitch from Spirit Airlines, in a reference to this line from Mitt Romney during Tuesday night's debate defending his record on hiring women.


MITT ROMNEY: I went to a number of women's groups and said can you help us find folks and they brought us whole binders full of women.