Business

All Tech Considered
1:11 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Three Tips For Microsoft's Next CEO

Microsoft's next chief will face a host of challenges, including doing more to encourage innovation.
Kin Cheung AP

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 2:30 pm

Speculation is already beginning about who will replace Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft. The names being floated are as diverse as Stephen Elop, the head of Nokia, and Steven Sinofsky, who ran Windows.

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The Two-Way
11:59 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Drop In New Home Sales May Be Sign Higher Rates Are Biting

The scene earlier this year at a home construction site in Phoenix.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Proving once again that when it comes to economic data there's almost always a "but" to watch out for:

The housing sector has been one of the economy's stars in recent months, as we said Thursday when the news broke that sales of existing homes rose an estimated 6.5 percent in July from June.

But ...

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All Tech Considered
11:00 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Tech Week That Was: National Security, Privacy And Ballmer

Glenn Greenwald is the blogger and journalist who broke the story about widespread surveillance by the National Security Agency. His partner, David Miranda, was detained at London's Heathrow Airport earlier this week.
Sergio Moraes Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 3:27 pm

Each Friday we round up the big conversations in tech and culture during the week that was. We also revisit the work that appeared on this blog and highlight what we're reading from our fellow technology writers and observers at other organizations.

ICYMI

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The Two-Way
10:05 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Time Warner Offers Customers Free Antennas To Watch CBS

The CBS headquarters seen on August 2, 2013 in New York City.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 1:25 pm

Time Warner Cable has come up with an old-school solution for the CBS blackout: In an email to customers, the provider offered free antennas for subscribers who wish to watch CBS.

If you remember, Time Warner and CBS have been fighting over retransmission consent fees. The failure to reach an agreement means that for close to three weeks, Time Warner customers in some big markets have been unable to watch CBS through the cable company.

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Business
7:45 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer To Retire Within A Year

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:47 am

The company said Friday that Ballmer will stay on until his successor is found. He has been with the company for more than 30 years, and became CEO in 2000.

The Two-Way
7:34 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Microsoft CEO Ballmer Retiring Within The Next Year

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks at the Microsoft "Build" conference in San Francisco in June.
Robert Galbraith Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 12:52 pm

Steve Ballmer will retire as CEO at Microsoft within the next 12 months, the software giant announced Friday.

According to the company:

"In the meantime, Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most."

Ballmer says in the same statement that:

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Business
2:21 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Technical Problems Force Nasdaq To Shut Down For 3 Hours

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 5:25 am

The stock market revealed its vulnerability again on Thursday, in this age of high-speed electronic trading. The Nasdaq, where more than 3,000 tech-related companies are publicly traded, was shut down for more than three hours.

Business
2:21 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Unemployed Man Holds Sign In Philly: 'I Need A Job'

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 8:33 am

Mark Mercer, 54, has been standing in Philadelphia's financial district holding a sign that reads: "I don't want your change. I need a job." Dressed for the office in black shoes and a black suit, Mercer says he's handed out more than 100 resumes.

Business
2:21 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Nasdaq Glitch Is The Latest Technical Snafus For Markets

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 5:25 am

New questions are being raised about the reliability of U.S. financial markets after all trading in Nasdaq stocks was shut down for three hours on Thursday. Nasdaq blamed the problem on its system for quoting prices. The trading halt immediately led to calls for markets to make their software systems more robust and compatible.

Business
2:21 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Jack Daniel's To Expand Tennessee Distillery

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 5:25 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Soaring sales figures suggests that the world has developed quite a taste for American whiskey. And to satisfy the masses, Jack Daniel's is expanding its distillery in the small city calls home, Lynchburg, Tennessee.

Blake Farmer from member station WPLN reports.

BLAKE FARMER, BYLINE: Last year, Jack Daniel's hit a sales record - 11 million cases of charcoal-mellowed, sour mash whiskey. But the nearly 150-year-old brand still only controls three percent of the global market, says senior vice president John Hayes.

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Business
2:21 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Wal-Mart Promises To Buy More U.S.-Made Goods

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 5:25 am

After decades supplying the American consumer with every import imaginable, Wal-Mart now says it wants to stock its shelves with more goods made in the U.S. In Orlando Thursday, the giant retailer sponsored a conference aimed at encouraging U.S. companies to bring their production back home.

Planet Money
1:24 am
Fri August 23, 2013

The Charity That Just Gives Money To Poor People

Bernard Omondi got $1,000 from GiveDirectly.
Jacob Goldstein NPR

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 11:41 am

For more of our reporting on this story, please see our recent column in the New York Times Magazine, and the latest episode of This American Life.

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Business
3:42 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Is Government's Renewed Push On Mortgage Fraud Too Late?

Foreclosures increased dramatically as a result of risky subprime loans during the 2000s.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

"Remain aggressive." That's the message Attorney General Eric Holder says he has given to prosecutors around the country about pursuing wrongdoing by financial institutions — particularly, wrongdoing related to the financial crisis of 2008.

But as the five-year anniversary of the crisis approaches, the record of prosecutions against high-level Wall Street executives has been dismal.

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Business
3:08 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Nasdaq Trading Halted For Hours By Technical Glitch

Trading on the Nasdaq exchange was halted today due to an unspecified technical glitch. The shutdown rattled investors and raised fresh concerns about the safety and stability of financial markets. Nasdaq in particular has experienced technological mishaps, most notably during the Facebook IPO in 2012.

The Two-Way
2:55 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Detroit's Packard Complex Could Sell Below $100,000 If Deal Fails

Detroit's abandoned Packard car plant, seen here in a 2010 photo, could eventually sell for $21,000 if a development deal falls through, a Wayne County official says.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:10 pm

The Packard plant, which once symbolized the might of America's auto industry, is at risk of heading to auction if a pending development deal fails. If that happens, The Detroit Free Press reports, the 35-acre site eventually could be sold "for as little as $21,000," a figure that comes from Wayne County Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski.

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The Two-Way
11:22 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Nasdaq Resumes Trading After Halt For Technical Problem

Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:16 pm

(This post was last updated at 6:14 p.m. ET)

Nasdaq has resumed trading in all securities following a prolonged halt Thursday afternoon caused by a technical glitch.

"NASDAQ will first re-open trading in symbols ZVZZT and AAIT with a 15-minute quoting period beginning at 14:30, with trading beginning at approximately 14:45. All other securities will then be released at 14:55 with a 15-minute quote only period with trading resuming at approximately 15:10," the exchange said in a statement.

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The Two-Way
7:59 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Jobless Claims Rose Last Week; Still Around 5-Year Low

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 8:46 am

There were 13,000 more claims for unemployment insurance last week than during the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

According to the agency, 336,000 first-time claims were filed, up from 323,000 the week before.

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Business
2:49 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Phyllis Diller's Estate To Be Auction Next Month

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: Dress like Diller.

In Beverly Hills, Phyllis Diller's estate will be auctioned off next month.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

On stage, the late comedienne dressed like a disheveled, chain-smoking housewife with freakish hair - and now some lucky bidders can too. The sale will include many of her trademark props: blond fright wigs, feather boas, ankle boots and cigarette holders.

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Business
2:49 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Bank Of America To Close Some Drive-Up Tellers

Bank of America won't say exactly how many drive-through lanes are closing. A spokeswoman did say the decision is not a cost-cutting move but a response to the way people are banking. At branches where drive-through lanes are closing, the bank says ATMs will be available.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Some Bank of America branches with drive-through tellers from Georgia to Texas have already closed the lanes, according to spokeswoman Tara Burke.

She wouldn't divulge exactly how many are closing. She did say the decision is not a cost-cutting move but a response to the way people are banking.

About 13 million customers bank by mobile phone and 29 million participate in online services. Among them is 19-year-old Brittney Sprague who says, "Not too many folks will really miss the drive-through teller because everybody uses apps. It's all about the new technology."

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Business
2:49 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Asian Markets Move Lower On News From Fed Meeting

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We'll begin NPR's business news with fallout from the Fed.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Stock markets across Asia fell and India's currency continued its plunge after minutes from the July meeting of the Federal Reserve were released yesterday. The records from that meeting showed that officials were comfortable with scaling back its huge bond-buying program as the economy grows stronger.

The Salt
12:53 am
Thu August 22, 2013

In Canada, Maine Lobstermen Get Both A Rival And A Tutor

Sternman Scott Beede returns an undersized lobster while checking traps in Mount Desert, Maine.
Robert F Bukaty AP

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

There's nothing quite like the sweet, succulent taste of Maine lobster. And fishermen off the state's rocky coastline have been catching more and more of the tasty crustacean over the past five years.

But that surging supply has overwhelmed Maine's limited marketing and processing capabilities and driven down the prices paid to lobstermen.

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Business
12:41 am
Thu August 22, 2013

As Housing Recovers, Lots Of Boats Rise In U.S. Economy

A worker at the Cataumet Sawmill in Falmouth, Mass., where the improved housing outlook has led to more hours for employees.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 10:02 am

In just the past week we've seen a bunch of signs that the housing recovery is gaining steam. Data out Wednesday showed that existing-home sales rose to their highest level in nearly four years, while prices were up 14 percent from a year ago.

Retailers Home Depot and Lowe's both reported strong earnings growth and attributed that to the housing rebound.

And most important for the economy, homebuilders are hiring more workers and building more houses.

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Technology
3:22 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Facebook CEO's Internet Crusade Hopes To Bring Billions Online

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:38 pm

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has teamed up with other tech giants to pursue the goal of providing Internet service to five billion people in the developing world. The group, called Internet.org, says data can be used more efficiently and participating partners can work cooperatively to make access to the web affordable in emerging economies. Zuckerberg makes the case on his Facebook page for how a global Internet infrastructure can be created. But the document doesn't have tangible commitments from Facebook or other participating companies.

Parallels
11:47 am
Wed August 21, 2013

India And Other BRIC Economies Now Facing Headwinds

The Indian rupee has fallen nearly 16 percent against the dollar since May. The drop comes amid a slowdown in the country's economy. India's troubles are mirrored in other emerging economies that drove global growth for the past decade.
Zheng Huansong Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 3:21 pm

High food prices, a currency in free fall, battered investors and slowing growth: India is facing a host of problems that have taken away the sheen from an economy that's had a decade of mostly stron

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The Salt
10:38 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Forget Cronuts: London's 'Townies' Take On Hybrid-Dessert Craze

American baker Bea Vo, who runs Bea's of Bloomsburg, a string of bakeries in London, came up with this answer to the cronut: the townie, a tartlet-brownie with a gooey center and a crisp outer shell.
Courtesy Bea's of Bloomsburgy Helena Marie Fletcher

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 11:45 am

What's a baker to do when all foodies can talk about, on both sides of the Atlantic, is the cronut craze, a croissant-doughnut that NPR reported on earlier this year? Simple: Come up with an equally addictive hybrid dessert.

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The Two-Way
8:56 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Sales Of Existing Homes Rose 6.5 Percent In July

A "sale pending" sign in San Anselmo, Calif., earlier this year.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 9:22 am

There was a strong increase in sales of existing homes in July, the National Association of Realtors reports, in yet another sign that the important housing sector is back on its feet.

In fact, says The Associated Press, sales approached "a healthy level for the first time since November 2009."

According to the NAR:

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The Two-Way
8:17 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Tech Giants Launch Internet.org, A Global Plan To Widen Access

A new project announced by Facebook seeks to make it more affordable to access the Internet via cellphones around the world. In Africa, 16 percent of the population currently uses the Internet. Here, a man looks for a network signal in Somalia.
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

Citing the billions of people worldwide who can't access the Internet, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the leaders of other technology firms are launching an ambitious project to narrow the digital divide Wednesday. The plan focuses on widening access via mobile phones.

"There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy," Zuckerberg says. "Internet.org brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making Internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it."

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Business
6:17 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Lowes Reports Earnings On The Heels Of Home Depot

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:03 am

Home Depot says it has had "one of the best quarters in its recent history." It credits the recovery in the housing market. Main rival Lowes also benefited from the housing recovery, and strong demand for home refurbishings.

The Two-Way
5:24 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Book News: Barnes & Noble Founder Pulls Plug On Buyback Plan

A Barnes & Noble store in Bethel Park, Pa.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 7:19 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Business
3:27 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Earnings Report On Home Depot And J.C. Penney

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with some home improvement.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: Home Depot says it had one of the best quarters in recent history. The number behind that claim, a 17 percent jump in earnings this past quarter. The company credited the recovering housing market in the U.S. and said spending by both contractors and regular customers was up.

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