Business

Business
11:06 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Apple Is 'Extremely Sorry' For Its Much-Maligned Maps, CEO Tim Cook Says

Will it take you where you want to go? A new iPhone 5 and Apple's new mapping software.
Beck Diefenbach Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 9:46 am

How much of a "public relations disaster" has Apple's new mapping software been?

Big enough that the famously proud company has apologized — and suggested that users can turn to arch rival Google Maps instead.

In a message "to our customers" posted this morning, CEO Tim Cook says:

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Business
8:21 am
Tue September 25, 2012

Study: Women Workers Are Still Shortchanged

Women workers in Austin earn a some $7,500 less annually than their male counterparts, according to a new study.
Flickr user Victor1558, bit.ly/ReAJxO

An examination of the latest Census data shows a gender-based wage gap is affecting a majority of women around the United States.

The analysis conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families is the first ever analysis of data separated by U.S. congressional districts.

The study shows that in 97 percent of the nation’s congressional districts, the median pay for women is less than the median pay for men by 23 cents. Women of color seem to experience an even greater disparity: African American women are paid 64 cents and Latinas are paid 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, Non-Hispanic men.

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Business
1:19 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

More Than 5 Million New iPhones Sold in Debut Weekend

Hazem Sayed exits the Apple store on Fifth Avenue after purchasing his new iPhone 5.
Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 2:50 pm

Apple sold more than 5 million iPhones this weekend, the company said in a press release. That surpasses the initial sales of the previous version.

As Bloomberg news reports, demand for the new phone quickly exceeded the initial supply, but some analysts expected bigger sales.

They report:

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Business
1:25 pm
Sat September 22, 2012

Is Austin’s Apple Maps Experience an Epic Fail?

KUT News eyes two errors in this Apple map of downtown Austin. But despite some hiccups, Austin errors aren't as ubiquitous as they are in several other cities.
twitter.com/rdmurphy

Computing giant Apple has released the newest iteration of its mind-bogglingly popular iPhone. But Apple continues to grab headlines for a less-PR friendly reason: reaction to its new maps program, which replaces Google Maps on the iPhone 5 and in Apple’s latest operating system update.

A complete failure.” “Epic fail.” “Things can only get better.”

Criticism is pouring in on several fronts. While Apple’s maps are lauded for their graphic beauty, including a breathtaking 3D “Flyover” feature, the app is being criticized for receiving a rollout before being fully cooked. Its satellite graphics appear bubbly and distorted in several instances. Directions and details have been ubiquitously downgraded in some areas. And a big dealbreaker for iPhone users in many major cities is Maps’ lack of built-in public transit schedules and directions, which Google Maps has.

But so far, Austin seems to have been spared the worst of the brunt.

Austin’s Apple Maps experience seems to be relatively smooth compared to those in other cities. For starters, it’s rendered in 3D, while many other cities aren’t. Chris Carter, an Austin-based Apple independent developer, says "the 3D technology that they're using actually generates the 3D models from multiple angles of satellite images."

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Business
5:38 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Coke Workers in Fort Worth Can Union Bid

Had a unionization vote passed in Fort Worth, it would have been the Coca-Cola's company's first union shop in the South.
flickr.com/huffstutterrobertl

Yesterday, Coca-Cola workers in Fort Worth rejected an offer to unionize at their bottling plant.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the vote, which failed 215 to 191, would have made the bottling plant the first corporately-owned Coke plant in the south to unionize.

In that respect, the fact that the vote failed may be less surprising than the fact it made it that far in the first place. (The Star-Telegram notes that the vote represented the second attempt to join the Teamsters in as many years.)

As a “right to work” state, Texas has a low amount of union activity. And like most states around the country, the strongest unionization occurs in the public sector – making the scene in Fort Worth all the more surprising.

“I always tell people we don’t have unions in the Unites States,” says Dan Hamermesh, professor of economics at the University of Texas at Austin. “And in the private sector nationwide, we don’t. Eight percent are unionized nationwide. In Texas it’s way below that … but my guess is four percent in the private sector here in Texas. So it’s a very non-union state.”

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Business
4:52 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Are American Airlines Pilots Staging a 'Sickout?'

American jets at Chicago O'Hare International Airport. The Dallas=based company has canceled hundreds of flights this week.
flickr.com/matt_hintsa

American Airlines has one canceled arrival at Austin Bergstrom International Airport this evening. While that may not sound like much – at least not to anyone booked on that flight – it may be symptomatic of a broader problem for Dallas-based American Airlines.

Against the backdrop of a labor struggle, American has seen some 300 flights canceled this week, as according to reports, pilots are calling in sick.

According to CBS News,

American has seen an increase in flight cancelations since early this month, when a federal bankruptcy judge allowed the company to impose new pay and work rules on pilots. The pilots had rejected the company's last contract offer in August.

Those new work rules increase the amount of flying hours on pilots, and allow American to operate more flights through partner airlines instead of American flight crews, according to CNNMoney.

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Business
2:08 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Austin's Seoul Connection: Javelin Lands Samsung Contract

Samsung selected a small Austin semiconductor company to manufacture a power amplifier for its new Galaxy S Duos.
Samsung

A small Austin-based technology company, Javelin Semiconductor, has landed its largest contract to date – thanks to a burgeoning relationship between Central Texas and South Korea.

Javelin Semiconductor was picked to produce a power amplifier for Samsung’s new Galaxy S Duos. Robert Wagner, a spokesperson for Javelin, partially credits the company’s continued partnership with Samsung to Austin’s connection to Seoul, South Korea.

“There’s a good relationship in general between Austin companies and Samsung in Korea. So we get some good recognition from the Korean side of Samsung, that we’re this Austin company and they’ve had good success with other local Austin companies like Silicon Labs.”

The Austin Chamber of Commerce’s Susan Davenport agrees. Davenport says that in addition to the success of local companies, the University of Texas has been influential in building Austin’s cluster of technology and talent – which companies like Samsung are now enjoying.  

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Economy
12:08 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Federal Reserve Announces New Round Of Economic Stimulus

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke arrives for a dinner at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium on Thursday.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 12:22 pm

Update at 12:31 p.m. ET. Federal Reserve Announces QE3:

The Federal Reserve announced it would spend $40 billion a month on bond purchases in an effort to stimulate the economy and drive the the unemployment rate down.

The Wall Street Journal says that unlike the first two rounds of Quantitative Easing, this time the Fed will focus solely on buying mortgage-backed securities.

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Business
12:34 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Apple Unveils New, Thinner, Lighter iPhone 5

Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPhone 5 during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 3:02 pm

Moments ago in San Francisco, Apple's Phil Schiller unveiled the latest incarnation of the company's massively popular smartphone.

The iPhone 5, said Schiller, is "the most beautiful product we've ever made."

Of course, you want to know what's different about this model: Essentially it's thinner, lighter, faster and also has a bigger screen than the iPhone 4s.

The device also comes equipped to work with faster wireless networks like LTE, which AT&T, Sprint and Verizon carry.

The AP adds:

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Business
12:24 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

The iPhone 5 and the Economy: Don't Believe the Hype

Waiting to help the economy grow.
Kiichiro Sato AP

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 11:13 am

The iPhone 5 will give a nice boost to U.S. economic growth in the last three months of this year, according to a new note from JPMorgan.

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Business
4:35 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

What Will Apple's Patent Case Mean For Phone Design?

These Nokia phones unveiled earlier this month are the first smartphones built for Windows 8.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 5:52 pm

A lot of thought goes into giving your smartphone a distinctive look and feel, from the shape of the speaker — square, round or oval — to where to put the buttons — side, front or back.

But industrial designers like Robert Brunner say he doesn't have a lot of room to be creative.

"Because you're really being so heavily driven on maintaining a minimal physical size," he says. "So you really get into this very fine envelope of a few millimeters that you have to work with."

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Business
9:55 am
Fri September 7, 2012

General Motors Bringing Up to 500 Jobs to Austin

GM IT employees in Michigan. The company says Austin's talented employee pool is leading them to open a center here.
General Motors

An announcement on the General Motors website this morning says the auto maker is coming to Austin – creating an "Information Technology Innovation Center" that may ultimately employ up to 500 people. 

The company writes on its website:

Austin was chosen for an Innovation Center because the city already has people with the skills GM is seeking -  46,000, according to the May 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Report.

“We anticipate hiring as many as 500 new GM employees in Austin,”[GM Chief Information Officer Randy Mott] said. “We look to the Innovation Centers to design and deliver IT that drives down the cost of ongoing operations while continuously increasing the level and speed at which innovative products and services are available to GM customers."

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Business
3:10 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Will the Tablet’s Rise Mean More or Fewer Layoffs at Dell?

Mobile computing sales are "cannibalizing" the PC market, according to an industry analyst.
flickr.com/jeffk42

The largest corporate employer in Central Texas, Dell, has sent out pink slips to an undisclosed number of workers. 

Despite acquisitions designed to broaden the company’s enterprise services, a slowing global economy, tough competitors, and a shift from desktop to mobile computing have hammered the Round Rock-based company’s sales, says industry analyst Shannon Cross.

“What hurt them most recently is just a dramatic slowdown in PC sales. Right now there’s a lot of uncertainty in the marketplace. China slowed dramatically for both HP and Dell in the most recent quarter. You’ve seen a lot of pricing pressure coming from some of the Asian competitors like Lenovo, Asus, and Acer.”

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Business
2:08 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

What Does Saks' Closing Mean For the Future of the Arboretum?

Empty benches at the Arboretum Market. Anchor tenant Saks Fifth Avenue is leaving the retail center.
flickr.com/cloverity

High-end retailer Saks Incorporated announced that it plans to close its Saks Fifth Avenue stores located in Austin’s Arboretum Market at the end of the year.

Approximately 64 associates are employed in the Austin store. The retailer says all affected associates either will be offered transfer opportunities or will receive employment separation packages. Saks will also be closing down a location in Highland Park, Illinois.

“Store closing decisions are never easy,” Saks Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Sadove says in a statement. “We are very appreciative of our many loyal associates in both the Highland Park and Austin Saks Fifth Avenue stores, and we are committed to providing them with needed assistance during this period.”

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Business
10:18 am
Thu September 6, 2012

Dell Confirms Central Texas Job Cuts

Are other technology companies leaving Dell in the dust?
KUT News

One of the biggest employers in Central Texas is cutting jobs.

Dell let affected employees know about the reductions yesterday. The company says the cuts are in an effort to remain competitive and become more efficient.

“We recognize any reduction is significant for impacted team members and their teammates, and we are working to minimize consequences,” Dell Marketing Director David Frink says.

Dell isn’t revealing how many or which positions are being eliminated. Frink says some employees may be able to work elsewhere in the company.

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Business
2:15 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Home Prices Up Around Austin

As home sales stay hot, so do prices, according to a new report.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

New data released today shows homes in the Austin, Round Rock and San Marcos areas are increasing in value.

The report by CoreLogic – a real estate analytics company – shows home prices in Central Texas were up 6.8 percent in July, compared to July 2011. Home prices were also up from June to July of this year – by 0.6 percent.

Home prices are also on the rise across the state, up by 4.7 percent. Nationally, prices are up by 3.8 percent.

Economy
10:59 am
Fri August 31, 2012

What Explains the Jobs Race Between Texas and California?

Could government jobs help explain why California has recently outpaced Texas in job creation?
Erik Reyna for KUT News

Texas has one of the strongest economies in the nation. But in recent months the Lone Star State seems to have been outshined by the Golden State. The U.S. Labor Department reports that California has added 365,100 new jobs to its economy while Texas added 222,500.

This horse race captured the attention of The Atlantic. In a post to its website called “Why California Is Suddenly Adding Jobs Faster Than Texas,” author Jordan Weissman posits several reasons for the change:. One is growing government jobs in California versus declining government work in Texas. Another is the theory that California’s economy is primarily based on housing – which is making a slow but somewhat steady recovery.

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Business
12:26 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

In the Battle Between Apple and Samsung, Could Austin Be the Loser?

A paradoxical relationship arises from the size and reach of Apple and Samsung. But will Austin get caught in the middle?
flickr.com/matt_gibson

Apple. Samsung.

Friends? Enemies? Frenemies?

The nature of the relationship is an important question in Austin, where Samsung recently announced it will spend at least $3 billion retooling its Austin Semiconductor Plant to produce advanced processor chips.

Industry rumors say that a primary purpose of the Austin retooling is to make electronic innards for Apple's iPhones and iPads, though Samsung does not not confirm that. Worldwide, Samsung is the biggest supplier of iPhone and iPad processing chips. In fact, many analysts say that Apple could not produce the iPhone without Samsung.

But how does that cozy relationship fit with a bitter court battle that has raged around the globe?

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Business
11:51 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Op-Ed: Are There Any Black People in Austin?

Natalie Madeira Cofield argues young black professionals should take more than a city's demographics into account when looking for jobs.
nataliecofield.com

Austin routinely tops national lists for jobs, living and general quality of life. But do those accolades apply equally to all its citizens?

One of the findings of the City of Austin’s African American Quality of Life Initiative was that black Austinites lacked several of the social opportunities African Americans enjoy in bigger cities like Washington D.C. or Atlanta. But the following op-ed from Natalie Madeira Cofield, President & CEO of the Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce, argues that more young African American professionals should consider making Austin – and cities like it – their home. You can read Cofield’s thoughts below.

‘Are there any black people there?’ 

That’s a question I am too often confronted with by my African American peers when speaking about the growing number of professional opportunities that exist in Austin, Texas. Contrarily, I have no problem finding smiling faces of non-African Americans to cheer me on while I am spreading the business gospel of ‘Austin Awesomeness’ around the country. Austin has successfully captured the hearts of hippies and techies alike.

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Business
11:48 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Samsung Pouring Up To $4 Billion Into Austin Facility

Samsung will spend between $3 billion and $4 billion over the next year and half to overhaul its Austin manufacturing facility in northeast Austin. The company is converting the factory to build computer processor chips instead of memory chips. Samsung spokesperson Katherine Morse says it will create hundreds of temporary jobs.

“The retrofit of the factory requires a great deal of construction work, preparation work, installing different piping, installing the tools," Morse told KUT News. "There will be a lot of activity out at our facility where we will be using 2,000 to 3,000 contract workers over the next 12 to 18 months.”

The investment is the largest ever made by a foreign company in Texas, according to Bloomberg News, and the facility is likely to build processors for Apple's iPhones and iPads. 

Samsung is also asking the Manor Independent School District to revise its tax incentives.

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