May 28, 2023

Olbermann Will Return To ESPN

ESPN is expected to announce on Wednesday that the former network mainstay Keith Olbermann, who contentiously departed in 1997, will return to host a one-hour, nightly show for ESPN2 later this year, according to three executives with knowledge of the deal but not authorized to speak about it publicly.

Olbermann, 54, became renowned for co-anchoring ESPN’s “SportsCenter” with Dan Patrick — arguably the most auspicious pairing in the history of the show or the network. He left the show briefly to help launch ESPN2 in October 1993.

The move to bring Olbermann back after a 16-year absence was the result of 14 months of intense discussion within ESPN and its parent, the Walt Disney Company.

Within ESPN, there was concern about asking Olbermann back because he left the network under emotionally charged circumstances and because it was feared by some that Olbermann had become too politicized as the host of his interim MSNBC program “Countdown,” which aired from 2003 through January 2011.

 On his new show, Olbermann will be free to discuss matters other than sports, including pop culture and current events, but not politics, the two-year pact specifies.

While some ESPN insiders reportedly voiced the opinion that Olbermann was part of the network’s past, not its future, his star quality is almost unmatched in the sports television arena; he seems to draw a crowd. Rumors had been bubbling for weeks that ESPN would put aside the difficulties of the past and invite Olbermann back.

Some of Olbermann’s years since leaving ESPN have been professionally stormy, but controversy has always been part of his public persona. While some of his other network tenures had rocky periods, and some ended badly, his sports knowledge and on-air charisma have never been questioned.

ESPN executives said Olbermann will help it face the challenge presented by the launch of Fox Sports 1, a rival all-sports network that just announced plans for a potentially similar series to star Regis Philbin, 82.

Richard Sandomir contributed reporting.

Article source:

PC Sales Still Slumping, Despite New Offerings

But not only have the new offerings failed to stop the downward slide in PC shipments that has been going on for the last year, they appear to have made it worse.

On Wednesday, the research firm IDC reported that worldwide PC shipments declined 13.9 percent during the first three months of the year compared with the same period a year earlier.

To put those numbers into perspective, that is the most severe decline in the PC market since IDC began tracking the business almost two decades ago and almost double the rate of decline that the firm was expecting for the quarter.

Gartner, another research firm, had estimates that were only slightly better, showing an 11.2 percent decline in PC shipments for the first quarter.

This is the fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines in shipments for the PC.

Many of the challenges facing the PC business have not changed during the last year. Smartphones and tablets, while not perfect substitutes for PCs, are pulling dollars out of consumers’ wallets that might have otherwise gone to laptop or desktop computers. People are simply more excited about those mobile technologies, with their touch-screens, than they are about buying conventional computers.

In this environment, Microsoft introduced Windows 8 last October. The software, a bold redesign of the company’s flagship operating system, is tailored to run on tablets, traditional keyboard-and-mouse computers and hybrid devices that combine elements of both. But it seems that the changes Microsoft made with Windows were so extreme that they scared off buyers.

“At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market,” Bob O’Donnell, program vice president for clients and displays at IDC, said in a statement. He said that “radical changes” to elements like the user interface and higher costs had made PCs less attractive compared with tablets and other devices.

“Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market,” Mr. O’Donnell added.

The severity of the decline in the market is further evidence that the “post-PC era” heralded several years ago by Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s former chief executive, was not an empty slogan. Mr. Jobs, who died in 2011, predicted that PCs would endure, but that smartphones and tablets would become the devices people favored for most of their computing needs.

That shift has big implications for the balance of power in the tech business. Last week, Gartner estimated that by 2017, the dominant operating system for all computing devices, including smartphones, computers and tablets, would be Google’s Android, with software from Microsoft and Apple far behind.

Article source:

Sheryl Sandberg, ‘Lean In’ Author, Hopes to Spur Movement

Ms. Sandberg, whose ideas about working women have prompted both enthusiasm and criticism, is attempting nothing less than a Friedan-like feat: a national discussion of a gender-problem-that-has-no-name, this time in the workplace, and a movement to address it.

When her book is published on March 11, accompanied by a carefully orchestrated media campaign, she hopes to create her own version of the consciousness-raising groups of yore: “Lean In Circles,” as she calls them, in which women can share experiences and follow a Sandberg-crafted curriculum for career success. (First assignment: a video on how to command more authority at work by changing how they speak and even sit.)

“I always thought I would run a social movement,” Ms. Sandberg, 43, said in an interview for “Makers,” a new documentary on feminist history.

And yet no one knows whether women will show up for Ms. Sandberg’s revolution, a top-down affair propelled by a fortune worth hundreds of millions on paper, or whether the social media executive can form a women’s network of her own. Only a single test “Lean In Circle” exists. With less than three weeks until launch — which will include a spread in Time magazine and splashy events like a book party at Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s home — organizers cannot say how many more groups may sprout up.

Even her advisers acknowledge the awkwardness of a woman with double Harvard degrees, dual stock riches (from Facebook and Google, where she also worked), a 9,000-square-foot house and a small army of household help urging less fortunate women to look inward and work harder. Will more earthbound women, struggling with cash flow and child care, embrace the advice of a Silicon Valley executive whose book acknowledgments include thanks to her wealth adviser and Oprah Winfrey?

“I don’t think anyone has ever tried to do this from anywhere even close to her perch,” said Debora L. Spar, president of Barnard College, who invited Ms. Sandberg to deliver a May 2011 commencement address about gender in the workplace that caught fire online. (Ms. Sandberg, who will grant her first book interview to the CBS program “60 Minutes,” declined to comment for this article.)

Despite decades of efforts, and some visible exceptions, the number of top women leaders in many fields remains stubbornly low: for example, 21 of the current Fortune 500 chief executives are women. In her book, to be published by Knopf, Ms. Sandberg argues that is because women face invisible, even subconscious, barriers in the workplace, and not just from bosses. In her view, women are also sabotaging themselves. “We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in,” she writes, and the result is that “men still run the world.”

Ms. Sandberg wants to take women through a collective self-awareness exercise. In her book, she urges them to absorb the social science showing they are judged more harshly and paid less than men; resist slowing down in mere anticipation of having children; insist that their husbands split housework equally; draft short- and long-term career plans; and join a “Lean In Circle,” which is half business school and half book club.

The project has the feel of a social experiment: what if women at major corporations could review research on how to overcome gender barriers, along with instruction on skills like negotiation and communication? Will working women, already stretched thin, attend nighttime video lectures on “Unconditional Responsibility” and “Using Stories Powerfully”? The instructions for the gatherings, provided to The New York Times by an outside adviser to the project, are precise, down to membership requirements (participants can miss no more than two monthly meetings per year) and the format (15-minute check-in, 3 minutes each for personal updates, a 90-minute presentation, then discussion).

Ms. Sandberg has asked a wide array of women to contribute their success stories to her new Web site. (Jill Abramson, the executive editor of The Times, wrote an essay, and the newspaper is one of many corporations to sign on to the project.) The written requests ask for positive endings, suggesting that tales closing with missed promotions or broken marriages are unwelcome. Hoping to reach beyond an elite audience, Ms. Sandberg and her foundation joined forces with Cosmopolitan magazine, which is publishing a 40-page supplement to its April issue devoted to Ms. Sandberg’s ideas, and plan to spread her message to community colleges, according to those involved in the project.

Article source:

Nintendo Warns of Weak Wii U Sales

Nintendo has a lot riding on the Wii U, the successor to the Wii, which revolutionized the gaming industry six years ago with a casual approach that brought video games to new audiences. Nintendo is banking on the Wii U to revive its fortunes after the disappointing launch in 2011 of its handheld gaming machine, the 3DS, which forced the company to slash prices to stoke demand.

Nintendo executives had also said the Wii U would prove that dedicated game systems still have a future in a world now teeming with cheaper, more convenient mobile games played on smartphones and tablets.

The latest numbers from Nintendo are not promising. The company said it had sold 3.06 million Wii Us, and said it expected sales to hit just 4 million units through March, almost 30 percent less than a previous projection of 5.5 million.

Nintendo also downgraded its 3DS sales expectations, saying it would sell 15 million units through March, short of its previous forecast of 17.5 million units, and said it expected to sell less gaming software.

Still, the yen weakened in 2012, which lowers costs and bolsters earnings of Japanese exporters. That helped Nintendo return to the black for the first nine months of its business year. Net profit from April to December came to ¥14.55 billion, or $160 million, compared with a ¥48.35 billion loss in the same period last year, the company said in an earnings announcement that painted a mixed picture of its prospects.

The company raised its profit forecast for the business year through March to ¥14 billion, from ¥6 billion. Nintendo does not break out quarterly results.

Article source:

Economix Blog: A G.D.P. Boost From the iPhone 5?



Dollars to doughnuts.

Forget QE3. Maybe the way to stimulate the economy is to force Apple to release more new iPhone models.

O.K., that’s not exactly right. But Michael Feroli, the chief United States economist at JPMorgan Chase, did a back-of-the-envelope calculation and estimated that the upcoming release of what is expected to be the iPhone 5 could add one-quarter to one-half of a percentage point to the annualized growth rate of America’s gross domestic product next quarter.

From the note he sent to clients today:

Our equity analysts believe around 8 million iPhone 5’s will be sold in the US in Q4, even while sales of previous generation iPhones are maintained at a solid pace. While we have no idea how much these will retail for, if it is similar to previous launches it would be around $600. Likewise, if the imported cost component is similar to previous leading generation phones it would imply around a $200 per phone addition to imports (which is a subtraction from GDP). The difference between these two figures, $400, would represent the trade margins, which figure into GDP. Thus, calculated using the so-called retail control method, sales of iPhone 5 could boost Q4 GDP by $3.2 billion, or $12.8 billion at an annual rate. This would boost annualized GDP growth in Q4 by 0.33%-point. If hedonically adjusted constant quality prices of phones declined due to newer or better features — a reasonable conjecture — then the lift would be even greater, though past iPhone releases don’t bear a visible impact on the relevant CPI components. The third of a percentage point lift would limit the downside risk to our Q4 GDP growth projection, which remains 2.0%.

This estimate seems fairly large, and for that reason should be treated skeptically. However, we think the recent evidence is consistent with this projection. The last iPhone launch was at a similar time last year. In October of last year, when the iPhone 4S first became widely available, overall retail sales that month significantly outperformed expectations. Essentially all iPhone sales occur either on-line or in retail stores. Over half of the 0.8% increase in core retail sales last October occurred in two categories: on-line sales and computer and software sales, which combined had their largest monthly increase on record. The incremental growth of Q4 sales at those stores over Q3, if due to the iPhone, would have added between 0.1% to 0.2%-point to Q4 growth, after subtracting the import drag. Given the iPhone 5 launch is expected to be much larger, we think the estimate mentioned in the first paragraph is reasonable.

Article source:

DealBook: Research in Motion Projects a Quarterly Loss

6:24 p.m. | Updated

OTTAWA — Research in Motion, the beleaguered BlackBerry maker that is trying to revive its sales, warned investors on Tuesday that it was likely to post its second-consecutive quarterly loss next month.

In a bid to avoid the fate of Palm, a once high flying mobile device maker that was broken up and sold before effectively vanishing, RIM also said on Tuesday that it had retained J.P. Morgan Securities and RBC Capital Markets, a unit of the Royal Bank of Canada, to help guide it through a previously announced strategic review.

The review may lead to partnerships with other companies, the licensing of BlackBerry software or “strategic business model alternatives,” an apparent reference to the possible sale of all or part of the company.

“These advisers have been tasked to help us with the strategic review we referenced on our year-end financial results conference call and to evaluate the relative merits and feasibility of various financial strategies, including opportunities to leverage the BlackBerry platform through partnerships, licensing opportunities and strategic business model alternatives,” Research in Motion said in a statement.

In the latest announcement, Thorsten Heins, who became president and chief executive this year, said that declining sales and lower prices of BlackBerry handsets were likely to lead to the loss. The company’s loss during its previous quarter resulted from special charges.

“RIM is going through a significant transformation as we move towards the BlackBerry 10 launch, and our financial performance will continue to be challenging for the next few quarters,” he said.

Shaw Wu, an analyst with Sterne Agee in San Francisco, said it appeared that the RIM’s finances were quickly deteriorating.

“The biggest shock is that this was a company that was still able to say that even though they were in a tough position, they were still profitable,” Mr. Wu said. “Now they can’t claim that any more. This is what happened to Palm when things turned really sour.”

The company’s statement indicated that it was likely to increase the $2.1 billion in cash it had at the end of its last quarter. But Mr. Wu said that given the forecast for a loss, that increase would probably result from RIM collecting debts rather than growing its business.

Mr. Heins reiterated that the BlackBerry 10 phones were on schedule for their much delayed introduction. But he once again did not provide a date for that event beyond indicating that it would take place “in the latter part of calendar 2012.”

BlackBerry sales continued to grow in developing markets, Mr. Heins said, but that good news was “partially offset by high churn in the United States.” Customers in those markets also favor lower-cost BlackBerrys, which generate correspondingly lower profit margins for RIM.

Mr. Heins also said the company aimed to cut costs by $1 billion during the current fiscal year. That is likely to fuel widespread speculation in Canada’s technology industry that substantial job reductions are likely to come at RIM, which is based in Waterloo, Ontario.

“While there will be
 significant spending reductions and headcount reductions in some 
areas throughout the remainder of the fiscal year, we will continue
 to spend and hire in key areas such as those associated with the 
launch of BlackBerry 10, and those tied to the growth of our 
application developer community,” Mr. Heins said in the statement.

RIM’s first quarter of its 2013 fiscal year closes on Saturday. The company will report its results on June 28.

Article source:

W.T.O. Ruling on Airbus Subsidies Upheld on Appeal

But the panel rejected claims by the United States that state financing for the Airbus A380 superjumbo jet was automatically prohibited under global trade rules, the officials said.

Appeals judges at the trade body, which is based in Geneva, concurred with the initial finding that loans extended to Airbus over the course of four decades did constitute unfair subsidies that had caused Boeing to lose aircraft sales.

But the ruling also appeared to upend what the Americans had considered one of the most crucial parts of the landmark case: namely, that the loans — known as launch aid — that Airbus received from Germany, Spain and Britain for the twin-deck A380 jets were expressly prohibited because governments expected a significant export market for the planes when they granted the support.

The W.T.O. defines two broad categories of subsidies: those that are “prohibited” and those that are “actionable” — that is, subject to legal challenge or to countervailing measures like punitive tariffs. Prohibited subsidies are those that are specifically designed to promote exports or to encourage production using domestically made components.

Under W.T.O. rules, any prohibited subsidy must be withdrawn within 90 days of the adoption of a dispute panel’s findings.

Actionable subsidies are not prohibited automatically, but they can be challenged if the complaining country shows that the subsidy caused material injury — a loss of jobs, profit or production capacity — or “adverse effects” to its industry, like a loss of export market share or sales.

The appellate ruling on Wednesday did not find European launch aid loans for the A380 to be prohibited. But it did find many of them to be actionable, which will require European governments to propose some form of remedy in the coming months to offset the benefit of any outstanding subsidies, trade lawyers said.

Proving that the loans were export subsidies was seen as critical to the United States and Boeing, which have sought to thwart European plans to finance Airbus’s coming wide-body jet, the A350-XWB, using the same type of financing mechanism. The A350 is expected to enter commercial service in 2013 and is seen as the biggest challenger to Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, scheduled to be delivered to its first customers this year.

Dating to 2005, the United States complaint against the European Union forms the first part of the most complex and voluminous case ever to have been brought before the global trade body. The original ruling last year ran more than 1,000 pages, and the appellate body’s report is more than 600 pages.

A separate 850-page ruling by the W.T.O. in April found that Boeing had received at least $5.3 billion in improper United States government subsidies to develop the 787 and other jet models, giving it an unfair advantage over Airbus. That ruling has also been appealed.

Both sides were quick to claim victory on Wednesday.

“The U.S. central claim that Airbus received prohibited export subsidies has been dismissed in its entirety,” Karel De Gucht, the European trade commissioner, said in a statement. “I am particularly pleased with this important result.”

European officials pointed to the appellate panel’s finding that the initial panel erred in its interpretation, saying that the United States had failed to demonstrate that European governments had granted loans to the A380 program specifically because they expected the planes to be sold overseas.

The United States trade representative, Ron Kirk, asserted that the ruling affirmed Washington’s contention that European government loans — which he said totaled $18 billion over 40 years — had been used to support the development of every Airbus model ever produced and helped Airbus vault past Boeing in 2003 to become the world’s largest plane maker.

“These subsidies have greatly harmed the United States, causing Boeing to lose sales and market share in key markets throughout the world,” Mr. Kirk said in a statement.

Binyamin Appelbaum contributed reporting.

Article source:

Prototype: Serving a Cause, 25 Cents at a Time

Mr. Fradin, a high school senior and budding entrepreneur who lives in Studio City, Calif., is the creator of, a new Internet start-up that seeks to make it easy for consumers to give money to the charities of their choice.

Last week marked CherryCard’s soft launch — very soft, because Mr. Fradin is still lining up retailers to participate. As of this weekend, thanks to a group of sponsors that include NBC Universal and the Milwaukee Brewers, anyone who visits the site will be given 25 cents to spend for a cause. But the underlying mechanism of the venture — retailers distributing CherryCard vouchers that customers can redeem and donate to charity — has yet to materialize.

“It’s a chicken and egg thing,” Mr. Fradin says, referring to his simultaneous need to attract consumers to use the site and retailers to pass out vouchers. While he believes his youth is an asset, not everyone he has approached sees it that way.

“One business owner said, ‘I just don’t see any big retailer wanting to take the chance on an 18-year-old kid,’ ” Mr. Fradin recalls. “But who better to get people excited about something than kids? We’re excited about everything!”

Over the last year or so, Prototype has featured many a creative company and the adults who run them. This month, we lower the median age significantly with Mr. Fradin, who lives at home with his parents and younger brother and will be attending Brown University in the fall (one of his application essays was about pirates).

Why should we care about rookie entrepreneurs like him? Steve Mariotti, the founder of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, says they aren’t just inspiring — they’re essential. “Since all net new jobs over the last 30 years have come from start-ups, we’d better be seeing young people willing to take these risks,” he says, adding that the Internet is an especially powerful tool for them. “They have an intuitive understanding of how social media has changed marketing and branding.”

Here’s how CherryCard works: Participating retailers will hand out business-card-size vouchers to their customers after a purchase. “Redeem this card at to give $0.25 to the cause of your choice,” reads a typical card, which is printed with a code.

Later, after a consumer logs in to the CherryCard site via Facebook and types in that code, the card’s monetary value is deposited in their account, which they can draw upon to give to charities (which are not charged to be listed on the site). Right now there are 35 charities, and Mr. Fradin hopes to add many more.

So who pays? The retailers do — a minimal fee per card goes to CherryCard (though Mr. Fradin is waiving it at the moment to encourage companies to sign on). When a consumer redeems a card, the retailer who distributed it is also charged its face value.

Mr. Fradin believes CherryCard can be financed out of retailers’ marketing budgets because it identifies them as socially conscious enterprises. Their logo will appear on the CherryCard site and will pop up on consumers’ Facebook pages when they donate.

“It’ll say, ‘I’ve given this amount to World Wide Fund for Nature courtesy of’ all the different places you’ve gotten the cards,” Mr. Fradin says.

Mr. Fradin has been fascinated by business since he was 9 and his grandfather, an accounting professor, taught him about the stock market. He counts Warren Buffett and Blake Mycoskie, the founder of Toms Shoes, among his idols and likes to quote Arianna Huffington on cause-based marketing (when he isn’t making a reference to the Swedish data guru Hans Rosling).

Mr. Fradin has spent about $2,000 of his own money on the CherryCard project, but he needed more than money to make it a reality. The Internet connected him with two other teenagers who helped him develop the site. He found 18-year-old Kris Mendoza, a graphic designer who lives in Lynnwood, Wash., (and is headed to Western Washington University in the fall) on a site called Mr. Fradin met CherryCard’s programmer, Will Cosgrove from Fort Worth, Tex., through a twist of what he calls “computer-generated fate.”

While trying to build the site himself, Mr. Fradin hit a roadblock last November. He sent a plea for help to Aardvark, a social search engine that quickly pairs people seeking information with those likely to have answers. Mr. Cosgrove was working on his college applications when Mr. Fradin’s query popped up.

“Anything was more exciting than working on those essays, so I looked at it,” recalls Mr. Cosgrove, who is also 18 and will attend Texas AM in the fall.

In a later phone call, the two hit it off, and Mr. Cosgrove — who, like Mr. Fradin, is working without pay — is now a limited partner (he owns 10 percent of CherryCard). Sure, at the moment that’s worth nothing. But that’s O.K. when you’re 18 and live with your parents.

CherryCard is not the only site of its kind. Last fall, began with a similar goal: enabling charitable giving through everyday purchases. Unlike CherryCard, though, users of SocialVest must register before making a purchase. Also, SocialVest relies on credit and debit card or electronic purchases, whereas CherryCard works even with cash or check purchases. But SocialVest has scores of retail partners, including Staples, Sephora and Saks Fifth Avenue. And it’s run by people old enough to buy beer.

Some of these professionals, though, are impressed by Mr. Fradin. “The program that Noah has created generates immediate consumer connectivity between the Milwaukee Brewers and deserving charitable organizations,” Rick Schlesinger, chief operating officer of the Milwaukee Brewers, wrote in an e-mail. The owners of the team, Mark and Debbie Attanasio, are friends of Mr. Fradin’s parents.

Mr. Fradin expects a flurry of visitors to CherryCard this weekend, lured by his offer of 25 cents to play with. But he knows the clock is ticking: people will quickly lose interest unless retailers get on board. Still, he sounds undaunted.

“We want giving to be a part of every monetary transaction,” he says. “Let’s end poverty. Let’s end world hunger. I really do think that’s possible.”  


Article source:

Bursa Malaysia, 6 bourses launch Asean brand identity

Bursa Malaysia, 6 bourses launch Asean brand identity
KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia and six other Southeast Asian stock markets have collaborated to launch the Asean brand identity, Asean Exchanges website and Asean Stars to promote the growth of the regional capital market.