The "Los Angeles Times" says "consumer advocates" call it "bill shock"; the "New York Times" says it's the term preferred by the Federal Communications Commission, which has been investigating the situation for 18 months. In either case, it's the consensus coinage for the monthly event that takes place in homes across the country when the bill arrives for what you (and often your unwitting family members) have done on your wireless devices -- even if you didn't realize you were doing it.
Just as the populist Occupy Wall Street movement was gaining momentum nationally late last month, Bank of America announced its plans to tack a $5 monthly fee on the statements of customers who use their debit cards to make purchases. You got the feeling from the get-go that BOA was just trying to rile up the hoi-polloi against those dreaded "regulators" so that we'd demand the sort of action that a couple of congressmen have now taken to repeal the so-called Durbin amendment to the Dodd-Frank act.
Research In Motion is reporting this morning that services on its BlackBerry devices worldwide have improved "significantly" in Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa and are progressing well in other regions including the U.S., Canada and Latin America, as Guarav Raghuvanshi reports in the "Wall Street Journal." This follows several days of disruptions that began overseas on Monday and crept around the world throughout the week.
Hewlett-Packard is having second thoughts about spinning off its PC business, the Wall Street Journal's Ben Worthen reports this morning, as new CEO Meg Whitman mulls an internal report that advises against the decision reached by her unlamented predecessor, Leo Apotheker, in August.
General Mills has been trying to cut down on the amount of bad-for-you stuff in its product for six years now and has come to realize there's only so far you can go in reducing the sugar in a spoonful of Lucky Charms before the wee ones conclude that they may as well be eating broccoli.
Hyundai has move up another four slots to No. 61 in Interbrand's 2011 "2011 Best 100 Global Brands," which was released last week, and it was the fastest-growing brand among automakers -- a 19.3% surge over 2010 -- for the second straight year. The average growth rate of the top 11 automotive brands was 8.1%, Newsmaker.com reports; Volkswagen was the second-fastest growing brand at 14%.
A friend of mine who is not the emotional type asked me last night if I felt as personally affected by Steve Jobs' death as he did. I did, I replied. Even though we all sensed it was coming, it was still a jolt to hear that Jobs had left us at age 56. I can't think of a contemporary entrepreneur-turned-CEO who personified his products as much as Jobs has, and it's difficult to think of products that people who own them are so fond of, shortcomings and all.
One of the first brands to lodge itself in my sensory memory bank is also the first brand ever to be mass marketed by Procter & Gamble -- Ivory Soap, although the latter preceded the former by a good 70 years.
It's one of those mornings where most of the headlines leave you feeling so bereft of hope for hitting your numbers (or retiring anytime in the next three decades) that you want to grab onto the news that September car sales soared by 9.9% overall -- and by 27% at Chrysler -- and just hug it.
There has been a lot of football lately -- including of the political variety -- and Ford has been in the middle of it, as usual. In case you missed the kick-off last week, Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes ran a piece that carried the provocative headline "Ford pulls its ad on bailouts; 'Didn't take the money' boast ruffles feathers."