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Apr 10, 2014

Icahn backs down from demand that eBay spin off PayPal

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Carl Icahn backed off calls for eBay Inc to spin out its fast-growing PayPal payments unit on Thursday, after the billionaire investor failed to drum up support from the e-commerce company’s major shareholders.

Icahn withdrew his two nominees to eBay’s board ahead of the company’s annual meeting in May. But in a concession to the famously pugnacious activist investor, eBay added David Dorman, a founding partner of investment firm Centerview Capital Technology, as a 10th independent director.

Apr 8, 2014

Big push into gaming brings out Amazon’s gentler side

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc, a company known for its ruthless drive, is courting the free-wheeling coders and dreamers of the gaming industry with a lighter touch as it seeks to break into an arena now dominated by Apple and Google.

The online retailer, infamous for undercutting rivals and pressuring suppliers, hopes that making nice with game developers will help it build a vibrant app platform on its new Fire TV and gain ground in an area where it severely lags the competition.

Apr 3, 2014

Amazon leaps into home entertainment fray with $99 Fire TV

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc made a play for the increasingly crowded home entertainment arena by unveiling the $99 (59.55 pounds) “Fire TV” video and game streaming device on Wednesday, with hopes of boosting its main online retail business over the longer term.

The square device, which just about fits in the palm of one hand, streams content from Netflix Inc, Hulu and other video services – much like Apple TV or Google Inc’s Chromecast.

Apr 2, 2014

Amazon unveils $99 Fire TV set-top box to rival Apple

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc unveiled a $99 video streaming device dubbed Fire TV on Wednesday, the U.S. e-commerce leader’s latest step to beef up its multimedia presence and capitalize on the growing appetite for digital media.

Fire TV can access content from Netflix Inc, Hulu and other providers of streaming video. The device also offers a prominent platform for Amazon’s streaming video service and its growing slate of original television and video games.

Apr 1, 2014

U.S. auto sales inch higher in March

DETROIT/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – U.S. auto sales inched up in March after two months when weather reduced demand, but the robust sales rebound some expected will have to wait until April, initial reports by major automakers showed on Tuesday.

Ford Motor Co reported a 3 percent rise in U.S. sales; Toyota Motor Corp a 5 percent rise; and Chrysler Group, a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a 13 percent increase from a year ago. All three narrowly beat expectations by industry research firm Edmunds.com.

Mar 26, 2014

Amazon follows Google in slashing cloud computing prices

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc will drop prices on most of its cloud computing services starting April 1, the largest U.S. online retailer said on Wednesday, a day after rival Google Inc outlined a major price cut of its own.

The price cuts range from 10 percent to 65 percent, Andrew Jassy, senior vice president of Amazon Web Services, told a conference for Amazon web developers in San Francisco.

Mar 13, 2014

Amazon plans Prime fee hike by $20, risks consumer wrath

By Phil Wahba and Deepa Seetharaman

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc plans to hike the annual fee for its popular Prime service by 25 percent to $99 starting next week, a move announced on Thursday that risks losing customers for a feature that has helped drive its business.

The increase comes about six weeks after Amazon warned that it may raise prices by as much as $40 to offset rising fuel and shipping costs. Prime, which offers unlimited two-day shipping among other perks, had cost $79 since its introduction in 2005.

Feb 20, 2014

Tesla CEO confirms Apple talks, says deal ‘unlikely’ – Bloomberg TV

DETROIT, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Tesla Motors Inc has
had “conversations” with Apple Inc, Chief Executive
Elon Musk confirmed to Bloomberg TV on Thursday, responding to
speculation that the iPhone and iPad maker had shown interest in
the electric car company.

But Musk would not describe those talks, including whether
they involved the possibility of an acquisition. He added that
it is “very unlikely” that Tesla would be bought by any company.

Feb 20, 2014

Detroit bankruptcy judge urges settlement in bond dispute

DETROIT, Feb 19 (Reuters) – A federal judge on Wednesday
gave Detroit and a group of bond insurance companies two or
three weeks to settle a dispute over whether the city can treat
certain bonds as unsecured debt, warning of an “all or nothing”
ruling if no deal is reached.

The outcome of the dispute could significantly affect the
$3.7 trillion municipal bond market, where general obligation
bonds backed by the full faith and credit pledge of cities,
school districts and others has long been considered sacrosanct.

Feb 19, 2014

Detroit to propose new swaps deal to court -attorney

DETROIT, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Detroit intends in coming days
to propose a new settlement in U.S. bankruptcy court to end
costly interest-rate swaps, the third such attempt since the
city declared bankruptcy, an attorney representing the city said
on Wednesday.

Robert Hertzberg, a partner at law firm Pepper Hamilton,
told Judge Steven Rhodes that the city will file a motion in the
next three or four days. Rhodes rejected two prior settlement
proposals with swap counterparties UBS AG and Merrill
Lynch Capital Services, calling them too costly for the
city.