Business

SXSW 2014
8:38 am
Fri March 14, 2014

What Happens When a Local Business Opts Out of SXSW

Craft Pride general manager David Voss answers a customer's question. The bar did not participate in any SXSW-related events this year.
Jon Shapley for KUT News

Thousands of bands have come to town for SXSW, and many of them are here thanks to one thing: brands. Doritos is reportedly paying Lady Gaga millions to do a show. Chevy is giving people free rides around town. Toilet paper brand Cottonelle even has a "refresh lounge" at the festival this year.

But what happens to local businesses that opt out of corporate freebies and VIP-only parties? 

To find out, just head to Rainey Street, aka Corporate Party Central. But at the southern end of the street sits a bar that's proudly banner-free, with no velvet rope and no VIP guestlists: Craft Pride.

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Business
7:05 am
Wed February 5, 2014

CVS To Stop Selling Tobacco Products

Soon to be gone: Marlboro cigarettes on display at a CVS store in Pittsburgh last July.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:43 am

Saying it is "the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," the CEO of CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that the company's 7,600 pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by Oct. 1.

Larry Merlo also said CVS will try to help those who want to quit smoking with a "robust national smoking cessation program" at its locations.

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Technology
10:08 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Facebook At 10: Amid Doubters, Company Eyes Next Growth Phase

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told James Bennet, editor in chief of The Atlantic, in September that he wasn't worried about whether Facebook is "cool." "We're almost 10 years old, and we're definitely not a niche thing at this point," Zuckerberg said.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:12 am

Ten years ago, when Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook at Harvard, Noah Buyon was only nine years old.

Facebook started out as a site exclusively for college students, so it took Buyon a few years to find out about it. But when his older brothers got accounts, he wanted one too.

"It became kind of the cool thing to have," Buyon says. "I couldn't hold out any more — and I got it, and I've been saddled with it ever since."

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Austin City Council
11:45 am
Fri January 31, 2014

City Council Approves Athenahealth Incentives Deal - But Not Unanimously

Massachusetts-based athenahealth will open its offices inside the former Seaholm Power Plant
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Last night the Austin City Council approved a deal that offers nearly $680,000 dollars in incentives for athenahealth to expand in Austin. The grant will be offered in addition to a $5 million subsidy from Gov. Rick Perry's Texas Enterprise Fund.

But not everyone is happy with the deal. Some council members argue that the city’s booming economy doesn’t need to offer subsidies to bring business to Austin. (The deal passed on a 5-2 vote, with city council members Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo voting no.)

Austin Monitor publisher Michael Kanin says that this debate is heating up as council members become increasingly divided on the issue of business incentives.

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Economy
3:14 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Should Austin Offer Economic Incentives? Athenahealth Deal Stirs Debate

The Seaholm building, photographed in 2011. Athenahealth’s proposed research and development center would use the iconic building as office space.
I-Hwa Cheng for KUT News

Austin’s facing a familiar question: whether to approve economic incentives luring new jobs to town.

Today, the Austin City Council was briefed on a proposal for incentives for health IT company Athenahealth.

Massachusetts-based Athenahealth – which currently employs 36 Austinites in offices at The Domain – is promising a new research and development center. Located inside the former Sealholm Power Plant in downtown Austin, the company says it would create 607 new jobs over 10 years.

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Business
11:00 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Target Hack A Tipping Point In Moving Away From Magnetic Stripes

A cryptographic chip embedded in a British debit card. America is nearly alone in still relying on magnetic stripes to authenticate purchases.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 2:01 pm

The credit and debit card data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus compromised more than 70 million American consumers, and analysts say even more of us are at risk. That's because the technology we use to swipe for our purchases — magnetic stripes on the backs of cards — isn't hard for a skilled fraudster to hack.

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Business
2:51 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Austin Snail Mail Disruptors Outbox Shutting Down

A fleet of Outbox "unpostmen" would pick up and scan subscribers mail. Today, the company announced it was closing.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Less than a year after expanding, an Austin startup is shutting down.

As KUT reported in February of last year, “Outbox picks up its customers’ mail, scans it, and makes it available online. … Outbox workers open and scan letters, catalogs and flyers. Customers log in to Outbox’s website to see their – now-digital – mail.”

At the time, Outbox had expanded its operations into California after testing its service in Austin. But citing a litany of issues impacting its service, Outbox announced today it was ceasing operations.

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Business
2:38 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Analysts: Credit Card Hacking Goes Much Further Than Target

Hackers use credit card scanning machines as part of their sophisticated campaign to steal credit card information and sell it.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 3:23 pm

The holiday season data breach at Target that hit more than 70 million consumers was part of a wide and highly skilled international hacking campaign that's "almost certainly" based in Russia. That's according to a report prepared for federal and private investigators by Dallas-based cybersecurity firm iSight Partners.

And the fraudsters are so skilled that sources say at least a handful of other retailers have been compromised.

"The intrusion operators displayed innovation and a high degree of skill," the iSight report says.

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Business
8:17 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Neiman Marcus Notifying Customers Whose Cards Were Compromised

A Neiman Marcus in Chicago.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 3:50 pm

The luxury retailer Neiman Marcus says it has begun notifying customers whose credit cards were compromised during a security breach.

The AP spoke to Ginger Reeder, spokeswoman for Dallas-based company, who would not estimate how many customers could be affected.

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Business
5:14 am
Thu January 9, 2014

The Fruits Of Free Trade: How NAFTA Revamped The American Diet

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 9:21 am

Walk through the produce section of your supermarket and you'll see things you'd never have seen years ago — like fresh raspberries or green beans in the dead of winter.

Much of that produce comes from Mexico, and it's the result of the North American Free Trade Agreement — NAFTA — which took effect 20 years ago this month.

In the years since, NAFTA radically changed the way we get our fruits and vegetables. For starters, the volume of produce from Mexico to the U.S. has tripled since 1994.

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Business
6:53 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Breach At Target Stores May Affect 40 Million Card Accounts

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 8:04 am

Target Corp. acknowledged early Thursday that there was a massive security breach of its customers' credit and debit card accounts starting the day before Thanksgiving and extending at least to Dec. 15 — the heart of the holiday shopping season.

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Technology
3:08 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Apple is Manufacturing its New Mac Pro in Austin

A screen shot from a promotional video showcasing the new Mac Pro.
youtube.com/apple

Update: Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell says Apple’s local manufacturing of the Mac Pro means about 800 new jobs.

“I think it’s another day in the life of a growing city,” he tells KUT News, “but it’s a big day in the life of Austin, because as you know, Apple is a premiere company around the world. When they make an important step like this here in our city, that’s going to be heard around the world to our advantage.”

Apple has already announced it’s building a $300 million operations center in Northwest Austin. For that project, Apple is receiving a $21 million grant from the state, over $8 million from the city and $6 million from Travis County

Original story (11:58 a.m.): Apple’s new Mac Pro is being manufactured in Austin.

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Business
3:26 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Do Women CEOs Have a Tougher Time Pitching Start-Ups?

Dr. Hill working with a lab assistant at Spot On Sciences.
Credit Spot On Sciences

In baseball, the crowd holds its breath, waiting for the pitch.

In the business world, pitching is similar: suspense can be a killer, and ideas often get knocked down. Scrappy start-ups and venture capital abound in the modern economy, but success isn’t always guaranteed.

Dr. Jeanette Hill, CEO of Spot On Sciences and home blood test HemaSpot knows pitching – and it's nothing like what you’ve seen on "Shark Tank."

“You’ve got about 60 seconds, sometimes up to two minutes,” she tells KUT’s David Brown. “You have to get your idea across, you have to sell the audience … get it out there without stumbling.”

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Business
11:43 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Why In-N-Out Burger Pays More Than Other Fast Food Joints

Opening day at Austin's first In-N-Out Burger saw plenty of lines.
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Austinites got a taste of California yesterday with the opening of the city’s first In-N-Out Burger at 45th and Airport. The drive thru is known for made-to-order burgers and an ordering system that allows you to micromanage your meal. (Want your bun extra toasted? Just ask.) 

In-N-Out Burger has no freezers. No microwaves. No heat lamps. And In-N-Out has been quietly going against another trend in the low-wage, low-benefit fast food industry: they're paying their employees much more than the industry standard. 

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Technology
11:27 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Texan Named to Twitter's Board of Directors

Texarkana-born Marjorie Scardino is the first woman appotinted to Twitter's board of directors.
flickr.com/financialtimes

Social media giant Twitter announced Thursday that Marjorie Scardino – Texarkana native, Baylor grad and former Pearson CEO – is joining its board of directors. Scardino is the first woman to be appointed to Twitter’s board.

Scardino received a little more than 4,000 shares of Twitter to serve on its board, according to SEC filings. She comes onboard after the company was criticized for not having women in high company positions. Twitter went public in November and is estimated to be worth more than $20 billion.

Scardino led educational publishing company Pearson for more than 10 years until 2012. During that time, she tripled its profits to a record $1.5 billion.

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Black Friday
4:39 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Sluggish Start To Holiday Sales May Mean More Price Cuts

Shoppers crowd a Macy's store in New York on Thursday. Many retailers stayed open on Thanksgiving Day this year, a new holiday tradition that analysts say is here to stay.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 4:53 pm

Despite retailers offering Thanksgiving hours and more online sales, Americans still nervous about the economy spent less this long weekend than they did last year, according to preliminary estimates.

But analysts say retailers will be working harder to boost sales in coming weeks by offering even deeper discounts.

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Amazon Air
3:38 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Amazon's Drone Has Many Asking 'What Could Go Wrong?'

Buzzing to a neighborhood near you? Amazon.com's Prime Air prototype may someday fly small packages right to customers' homes.
AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:37 pm

The news that Amazon is hoping to one day use semi-autonomous drones to deliver small packages to customers has many asking a familiar question:

What could go wrong?

Check this tweet:

"An Amazon drone!? What could go wrong?! 'They're autonomous' - this is how the Terminator started FYI..."

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Business
11:37 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Judge Smooths Path For American-US Airways Merger

Cleared for takeoff: That's the message from the "new" American Airlines, after a bankruptcy judge ruled it could finalize its merger with US Airways Wednesday.
Brandon Wade AP

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 12:22 pm

A U.S. judge says American Airlines can exit bankruptcy and join forces with US Airways Group, all but ensuring that their merger can take place within weeks. Wednesday's bankruptcy court ruling was one of the final hurdles for a huge merger that's been in the works for more than a year.

The ruling by Judge Sean Lane comes months after he gave his preliminary approval to the plan. The two companies are now planning to finalize their merger on Dec. 9, when they would combine to create the world's largest airline.

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Business
8:38 am
Tue November 26, 2013

With Shinola, Dallas Entrepreneur Brings Manufacturing Back to Detroit

facebook.com/shinola

Think of Detroit, and you likely think of a city past its prime.

But while Detroit faces an uphill climb since filing for bankruptcy in July, Heath Carr, CEO of Dallas-based Bedrock Manufacturing, has taken a decidedly bullish perspective on the city: His group is the parent company of Shinola, a company manufacturing American-made watches, bicycles, leather goods and more in the Motor City.

“If you come to Detroit, you spend time there, you get to know the people," Carr says. "The people that care about moving it forward, it's an energy you want to be part of.”

Listen to Carr speak with KUT's David Brown:

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Crime & Justice
6:01 pm
Sat October 19, 2013

JPMorgan Strikes Tentative $13B Mortgages Settlement

JP Morgan Chase & Company headquarters in New York.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 19, 2013 4:28 pm

In what would be the largest such settlement in U.S. history, JPMorgan Chase & Co. has reportedly reached a tentative deal with the Justice Department that would see the bank pay $13 billion to settle civil charges related to wrongdoing by some of its units just before and during the housing crisis.

The deal, sources tell news outlets including NPR, would not absolve JPMorgan from possible criminal liability.

Word of the tentative agreement emerged around 3 p.m. ET. Saturday. We posted when the news broke and followed with background and more details.

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