Archive | April 1, 2013

Corporate News: Saudis Seeking to Regulate Skype, Other Web Services

Suppression and repression is not uncommon outside the United States. Places like China and more specifically Saudi Arabia have been restricting social media. Saudi Arabia has been tightening its control over apps and other mediums of communication. Recently the Saudi Arabian government has been trying to regulate internet-based messaging services such as Skype. Although the extent of the threats by Saudi Arabia are uncertain, most likely they will ban the usage of those services unless the providers comply with their demands. Saudi Arabia wants the ability to monitor some users’ conversations. They are extremely concerned with the way their populace embraced social media and these new forms of communication. They are fearful of this because of the freedom and open expressionism they facilitate. For example there has been some criticism of Saudi authorities by some users of Twitter. The problem with Saudi Arabia’s desire to restrict social media is the sheer popularity of those mediums.

URL:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324020504578394933525805840.html

-Jonathan Chan

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Pay Your Way Out Of Insider Trading Accusations

SAC had proposed a $14 million settlement with SEC last month for an insider trading case and the court had recently approved of this settlement. The ruling of this case has made another judge; Victor Marrero who is currently ruling on a $602 million settlement rethink the terms of settlement. Marrero believes that the government should not allow companies to just pay their way out of such cases without having to admit to doing something wrong. The rulings on these cases may largely affect the most recent accusation of SAC’s senior employee Michael Steinberg for yet another case of insider trading.

Judge Victor Marrero brings up a good point about settlement fees. Inside traders can easily make a large amount of money exceeding the amount that they must pay for a settlement, so just relying on settlement fees may not be the best way to end insider trading practices. Having to pay a settlement fee but still earning a lot of money for insider trading does not give employees less of an incentive to do so. If the government really wants to prevent insider trading heavy consequences should be executed.

Written by: Jessica Ho
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Bray, Chad. (2013). Judge Approves $14 Million Settlement by SAC in SEC Insider-Trading Case. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved From:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323611604578396950285187338.html?mod=WSJ_business_whatsNews

How Apple’s iWatch Can Be a Moneymaker

Apple is working on a smart wristwatch, a product that many companies have already failed to successfully find a place for in the market.  Casio, Seiko, Microsoft, and Sony have all tried to sell similar products, but they have found little to no success.  Apple has assigned a team of about 100 people to work on the project with hopes of introducing it in the fall.  A person familiar with the plans claims that the watch will allow users to make and receive calls, as well as check map coordinates.

Since September, Apple’s stock has fallen by more than a third because of slowing iPhone sales and increased competition in the market, especially from Samsung Electronics.  This new gadget has the potential to post gross margins around 60 percent, similar to the iPhone, Apple’s most profitable product.  Apple has shown that it can develop new markets and establish itself within those markets, so the development of a smart wristwatch does have promise.

Written by: Constantine Kostikas

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Chinese Manufacturing Picks Up

Chinese manufacturing activity has picked up this month according to an article published in The Wall Street Journal. Some economists attribute this acceleration in manufacturing to the uninterrupted work month; The lunar new year which took place in February, is a weeklong holiday when factories close and workers return home. The manufacturing index of China rose 0.8 points since last month to 50.9 which is the highest reading since April of last year. Regardless, economists are saying that this increase is “not that strong at all” because the manufacturing index typically rises by around two points in March.

The Chinese economy has seen a rapid expansion in a period of over a decade. The country’s GDP growth of 7.8% in 2012 exceeded expectations by 0.3% yet was recorded as the weakest growth by the country in 13 years. China’s expansion has had adverse effects on the people of the country; Beijing has assumed the throne as the most polluted city in the world and 1.2 million premature deaths have been attributed to the air pollution in China. The government’s target growth for GDP is 7.5% this year but perhaps it would be wise to consider the health of the people… Air pollution crippling the work force may not be in the best interest of the country in the long run.

Evan Chang
Source:
The Wall Street Journal

Londoners Who Live at the Office

Would you ever love your job so much that you would prefer to live in your office? Apparently, some of these Londoners do live at a office. A new building that was used by Canadian Pacific Railway as their headquarters now is being sold for extremely high prices. The of penthouse of the building has been priced as a high as $25.6 million dollars. These new units that are being sold as households is a way which London government is using to make their house market a little better. 

These units that are being sold are in the heart of the financial district of London, and the only people who seem to be able to afford these luxury apartments may only be the heads of departments of these companies. If I was ever rich enough to buy an apartment in the financial districts of a famous city, I will definitely pick one nearest my office. 

-Derby Ng

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324789504578382372659589746.html

Pressured by China, Apple Apologizes for Warranty Policies

Apple’s business tactics has pressured consumers to take action against the exponentially growing company. Apples chief executive officer, Tim Cook apologized to Chinese customers involving Apple’s warranty policy. China, being Apples second largest market right behind the United States puts extra pressure on Apple to make things right for their customers. Television broadcasts and celebrity comments on Apple’s behavior brought down the giant’s reputation. Although China imposed laws mandating warranty policies to be two years, Apple only offers a one year warranty. Apple also mistreats their customers by charging customers for faulty problems already known by the company. With the recent exposure of apple through all kinds of media, people believe that Apple only offered an apology for their own selfish reasons. Offering an apology will put the Apple in a better position in the Chinese court. This has caused many Chinese citizens to resent giant American companies such as Apple.

From a business standpoint, running a business is all about profits but I disagree with Apple’s business strategy. Customer feedback is extremely crucial and the way a company carries out their customer service really defines the company they are. Apple’s arrogant perception  in the eyes of many can potentially bring down the company’s reputation.
Written by: Wilson Tang
Source:

Hope For Manufacturing Sector

Although the manufacturing sector is slowly getting better, it’s still nowhere near where it was in previous years. While the sector has added 500,000 more jobs, compared to the year of 2007, today there are two million fewer manufacturing jobs. Since the 1960’s the number of manufacturing jobs have been following a constant downward slope and now, the occupations account for less than 9 percent of the nation’s jobs. A lot of people are hoping that a reinvigorated manufacturing sector will lead to the creation of millions of blue collar jobs that were ever present in the past, but that seems to be just a dream.

In addition, there is  support from the White House and President Obama, who proposed financing 15 new centers for manufacturing innovation in his State of the Union address. Plus, there are lobbying groups who are saying that there ought to be additional land that should be opened for exploration and drilling of natural gas. With dozens of industries benefiting from cheaper energy, a job boom would be possible.

 

Written by Kevin Zhang

Source:

Schwartz, Nelson D. “Rumors of a Cheap-Energy Jobs Boom Remain Just That.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 01 Apr. 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/business/economy/rumors-of-a-cheap-energy-jobs-boom-remain-just-that.html?ref=business&gt;.

Justices Reject Challenge to Airfare Ad Rules

The government rule issued by the Department of Transportation in 2011 claims that airlines are required to advertise their fare prices that include government taxes and not just the promoted price. The plan for this ruling is that it wants to reduce the confusion of customers on the amount they actually have to pay to fly. It basically infers that the government does not want the passengers to know the amount they are paying for government taxes, when the full price would be shown rather than calculating the additional costs later on.  Airlines such as Spirit Airlines and Southwest Airlines are arguing against this ruling because of the violation of their First Amendment free-speech rights to speak about the tax burden that is imposed on them and their passengers.

In our economy, the norm has always allowed businesses to quote prices without taxes, therefore changing the idea specifically for airlines. I personally believe that airlines should not have to advertise the fare price that includes government taxes because it might discourage consumers from purchasing their tickets. The argument of the airlines who sees this ruling as a violation of their freedom of speech, should be heard by the Supreme Court, and it is unfair for the challenge to be rejected. Passengers should be aware of how much they are being taxed, and be able to compare the prices to get a better deal for themselves.

Written by: Samantha Chin

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Kendall, B. (2013, April 1). Justices Reject Challenge to Airfare Ad Rules. Retrieved April 1, 2013, from The Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323296504578396361137314952.html?mod=WSJ_business_whatsNews

Conflict Within Anheuser-Busch Company

Employees working at the Anheuser-Busch company claims that the beer company has altered the alcoholic content of beers by watering down the drinks. In response the employee, James Clark, the Anheuser-Busch submitted a lawsuit to sue Clark for conducting trade secrets.

The lawsuit, filed in Sacramento on March 29th, should be dismissed due to the California law which bars strategic lawsuits against public participation in terms of intimidation.

According to Clark’s attorney Robert Carichoff, the lawsuit against Clark is used to silence him and to punish him for standing up for the general public. He also stresses the point that if this case is allowed to be tried then it will cause conflict between the employee for speaking out for the general public and their own safety.

Additional cases of such altercation of water where issued in 8 other lawsuits which claims that beer were watered down in Bud Ice, Budweiser, Busch Ice and Michelob beer. Anheuser-Busch has fought back at these allegation by starting a water donation campaign where they donated canned water for disaster relief and stating that people probably tested that rather than their original beer.

Written by: Victor To

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-01/ex-bud-worker-accuses-company-of-shakedown-over-complaint.html

Dashboard Apps Aim to Overcome Distracted Driving

As smartphones continue to play a major role in our lives, BMW and Glympse aim to provide drivers with a safer yet more accessible option to use applications. Glympse is an application that allows people to share their location with other people for short periods of time. They are currently working with automakers such as BMW, Ford, and Mercedes to integrate it into cars’ displays. The goal is to be able to project the application onto the dashboard so that drivers would not have to look away from the road in order to transfer this information. BMW hopes to work with these designers on another level to incorporate various apps such as TuneIn, Rhapsody, and Audible to enhance the driver’s experience.

The concept behind this deal is attractive because many drivers rely on their smartphones to multitask when they are driving. Basic functions such as calling and changing music tracks while driving have been incorporated into many car designs. However, the idea of projecting apps onto the dashboard is a breakthrough. Although some people say this function would distract drivers, I believe that this new function would allow the driver to accomplish more while they are on the road.

Written By: Melody Mark

Source:

Wingfield, Nick. “Dashboard Apps Aim to Overcome Distracted Driving.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 1 Apr. 2013. Web. 1 Apr. 2013.

Nomura Hires Most Graduates in 4 Years on Japan Recovery

04-01-2013 - Nomura Hiring Up

A lot of signs are culminating to indicate that Japan is over the worst and moving on to a greener economy. Japan’s Prime Minister has already announced his commitment to an aggressive monetary policy and ensuring that Japan grows rather than deflates. Now, hiring is up at Japanese brokerages, specifically, hiring is up for the young college graduates.

University graduates reached a record low employment rate in 2011, but the numbers have increased for a second year as they begin to find more success in their job search efforts. Also, the unemployment average for the younger workforce was higher than the average overall, but that seems to be changing as the brokerages are announcing increased hiring through 2014. While some banks, such as SMBC and Mizuho, have actually decreased hiring for the year, they have said that they intend to increase hiring later on. Another factor in explaining why banks are eager to hire more is that recent graduates are accustomed to a post Lehman Brothers environment and can adapt to new financial models due to new regulations, unlike the older generation of bankers.

I feel that the news of an improving economy, besides the U.S. economy, is great news. The E.U. is obviously not faring well, and I still have worries about China’s potential peak, although the Asia region seems to be going through a lot of changes for the better. However, the hiring is concentrated in only one area of the banks, and it would be better if the hiring was across the board.

Source:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-01/nomura-hires-most-graduates-in-4-years-on-japan-recovery.html