Sidney Harman, who died at 92 yesterday, one month after it was discovered that he had acute myeloid leukemia, was much more than a technical genius who paved the way for living rooms and bedrooms booming with the stereophonic sound of Shostakovich or Hendrix or, in recent months, a cash-bearing savior of Newsweek.
What the Flip happened? Last I knew, the palm-sized video camera was the hottest thing since the iPod, or at least the Ped Egg. Why, didn't we see Cisco acquiring Pure Digital Technologies, its maker, for a tidy $590 million just two years ago? Now the formerly-unsexy-but-vastly-profitable networking company is shutting the doors and throwing away the key on its most visible foray into consumer products.
As gas prices hit the $4-a-gallon level, economists see a "tipping point" having been crossed, Christine Hauser tells us in the New York Times this morning, but it's not the kind of alignment of mass consciousness that leads to good things happening.
Forty-eight percent of Macy's customer complaints are a result of interactions with sales associates, Rachel Dodes reports in this morning's Wall Street Journal, so the retailer has launched a new program called "Magic Selling" to train its front-line workers. Magic is an acronym for Meet and make a connection; Ask questions and listen; Give options and give advice; Inspire to buy; and Celebrate the purchase.
I got the sense that, as is the case with a lot of what it does, there was something slightly different about the way Southwest Airlines was handling the crisis of a tear in the cabin roof of one of its 737s last weekend. You don't get to be consistently ranked near the top of Fortune's list of the "Most Admired Companies" by being run of the mill, after all. Turns out, there was.
The New York Post, in its imitable tabloidese, lays the blame at the rather formidable torso of the messenger: "McDonald's may soon be serving burgers with cries," it weeps. "A portly city councilman wants to yank toys from the fast-food chain's Happy Meals to stop encouraging kids to scarf down too much greasy grub."
Procter & Gamble plans to divest itself of the last chips in its old block of food products, which included such stalwart brands as Folger's, Crisco, Duncan Hines, Hawaiian Punch and Jif. It announced a deal yesterday to sell Pringles chips, née crisps, to Diamond Foods for $2.35 billion, which includes $1.5 billion of Diamond stock for P&G shareholders who participate in the deal and the assumption of $850 million of Pringles debt by the merged company.
A recently published study finds that the mean R&D cost of developing a pharmaceutical is about $76 million in today's dollars -- far less than the $1.3 billion that the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) says it takes to bring a new drug to market.
The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) has filed a suit in Federal District Court in Manhattan on behalf of 60 farmers and other businesses involved in organic agriculture who worry that Monsanto Corp. will sue them for patent infringement if its genetically modified seeds should happen to blow into their field and pollinate their crops.