If the name Barry Becher doesn't immediately slice and dice its way into the forefront of your consciousness, perhaps the inscription that his stepdaughter says the family is considering for his gravestone will help: "But wait, there's more."
The cyberturf wars -- which have seen hardware companies expanding into software and software companies now manufacturing hardware -- escalated to a new level yesterday as Google announced a gaggle of gadgets at its annual developer's conference, Google I/O. The salvos include a seven-inch tablet, eyeglasses with videocams and an entertainment "orb" that streams and amplifies music and videos that will be made in the U.S. of A.
Marketers generally rejoice at the news of rising housing prices. Besides indicating a bit of consumer optimism about the future, it usually means demand is up and that folks will be buying new appliances, services and tchotchkes to fill upgraded abodes. And so, there's a reason for some cheer this morning as "USA Today" is among the media prominently reporting that "record low mortgage rates and some of the cheapest housing prices in decades spurred some long-desired home sales," according to the S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of U.S. home prices, which rose 1.3% for the month of April.
From a public relations point of view, the ascendance of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to its board of directors may say more about the company in the breach than in the appointment. To wit: How could a company in A.D. 2012, whose primary customer is female, heretofore be one of only 11% of Fortune 500 companies without a woman on the board?
Several media outlets are confirming a "Wall Street Journal" report late yesterday that Anheuser-Busch InBev is bidding to acquire controlling interest in Grupo Modelo SAB, which makes Corona Extra and Modelo Especial beer, among other brands, for a reported $12 billion. AB InBev currently owns a non-controlling stake in Mexico's largest brewer. The deal would end what Dana Cimilluca writes is a "contentious history between the two companies."
The American Medical Association sent a somewhat mixed message regarding genetically engineered foods at its annual convention this week. On the one hand, it said "there is no scientific basis for special labeling" of crops that are created in laboratories to, for example, increase yield per acre or resist pesticides that are lethal to weeds." But it did pass a resolution that calls for mandatory pre-market safety assessments of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) -- which would be a new Food and Drug Administration requirement.
Bob McDonald no doubt feels Ann Curry's pain, and vice-versa. Both are personable achievers who stepped into the top spot at their respective franchises at a time when they were humming on autopilot only to find their jobs in jeopardy this morning as results have faltered.
If yesterday is any indication, investors aren't buying JC Penney's quick fix for its failure to get across its "everyday low pricing" strategy to consumers: the beheading of president Michael Francis in a terse press release dated this Sunday. Its share price plunged more than 8% even as CEO Ron Johnson and lead investor Bill Ackman sought to put a positive spin on the future.
In unveiling its first piece of computer hardware ever yesterday, Microsoft signaled that it was ready to strut its stuff against longtime rival Apple for the booming tablet market. The new device, dubbed Surface, is expected to be available at an unspecified-but-competitive price when the highly touted Windows 8 comes to market later this year, Microsoft announced at a press conference in Los Angeles that had a sense of mystery and buzz about it that's usually associated with the crowd from Cupertino.
If the lesson of Burger King's introduction of a 510-calories Bacon Sundae last week are any indication, the Consumer Republic can look forward to heaping spoonfuls of tasty-but-bad-for-you treats in the short term. The healthy-eating finger-waggers and naysayers have brought out the foodie-backlashers and free-market flagwavers in force and it's all free publicity in the bank for Burger King's marketing department.