Business briefs

2013-03-02T00:00:00Z Business briefsFrom Wire Reports From Wire Reports Arizona Daily Star
March 02, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Some wonder if leadership change can save Groupon

NEW YORK - Now that Groupon has gotten rid of its quirky founder and CEO, the chief question is whether the company's underlying online deals business is promising enough to reverse its falling stock price, declining revenue growth and waning consumer interest.

Groupon Inc. fired Andrew Mason on Thursday, a day after the company reported another disappointing quarter amid worries people are tiring of the restaurant, spa and Botox deals that Groupon built its business on.

In a refreshingly candid memo to staff, Mason admitted he "failed at this part of the journey" and said the company's employees "deserve the outside world to give you a second chance. I'm getting in the way of that. A fresh CEO earns you that chance."

But a new CEO may not be enough to tackle all of Groupon's problems, analysts say.

Those at cellphone show are cool to mobile money

Mobile money may seem like a hot concept, but consumers aren't warming to it.

At the world's largest cellphone trade show in Barcelona, Spain, this week, the 70,000 attendees were encouraged to use their cellphones - instead of their keycards - to get past the turnstiles at the door. But few people took the chance to do that. The process of setting up the phone to act as a keycard proved a hassle.

It's a poor omen for an industry that's eager to have the cellphone replace both tickets and credit cards. Companies are building chip antennas into phones that let the gadgets interact with "tap to pay" terminals and other devices equipped with short-range sensors, like subway turnstiles.

But convincing people to adopt the technology is a slow process.

Apple's $1B Samsung case award is nearly halved

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge on Friday slashed nearly half of the $1 billion damage award a jury ordered Samsung Electronics to pay Apple Inc. after a high-profile trial over the rights to the design and technology running some of the world's most popular smartphones and tablet computers.

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh lowered the damages awarded to Apple Inc. by $450.5 million for 14 Samsung products including some products in its hot-selling Galaxy lineup, saying jurors had not properly followed her instruction in calculating some damages.

She also concluded that mistakes had been made in determining when Apple had first notified Samsung about the alleged violations of patents for its trend-setting iPhone and iPad. Koh ordered a new trial to recalculate damages for those products.

Auto sales are higher; manufacturing is strong

WASHINGTON - In U.S. economic reports Friday:

• New car and truck sales were up 4 percent in February as rising home construction and cheap financing kept the U.S. auto recovery on track. While the pace of growth is slowing, industry analysts expect more gains in the coming months.

• Manufacturing expanded in February at the fastest pace since June 2011, buoyed by increases in new orders and production. The third straight month of growth suggests factories may help the economy this year after slumping through most of 2012, The Institute for Supply Management said.

• Consumers increased spending modestly in January but cut back on major purchases that signal confidence in the economy. The Commerce Department said consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in January over December.

• Spending on construction projects fell in January by the largest amount in 18 months as home construction stalled and spending on government projects fell to the lowest level in more than six years, Commerce said. The dip was viewed as temporary.

Mexico's PRI may support end to Pemex's monopoly

MEXICO CITY - Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is poised this weekend to gain support from his party to end a 75-year-old state monopoly in the oil industry, marking a breakthrough for his growth plan.

The ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party will decide at its national assembly whether to drop its opposition to constitutional changes that would ease state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos' grip on the oil industry.

Oil production in the world's ninth-largest producer of crude has fallen for eight years as Pemex finances a third of the government's public budget. Opening the industry to foreign investors would boost output while lifting economic growth by as much as 2 percentage points each year, Energy Ministry Pedro Joaquin Coldwell has said.

Associated Press; Bloomberg News

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