Business

Microsoft reboots logo ahead of Windows 8

San Francisco – Microsoft’s corporate logo has a new look, setting the stage for a wave of products designed to cast the world’s largest software maker in a new light.

The makeover unveiled Thursday marks the first time that Microsoft Corp. has revamped its logo since February 1987.

Microsoft believes a radical change to Windows will ensure that the company survives the technological upheaval. Windows 8, due to hit the market Oct. 26, displays software applications in a mosaic of tiles and has been engineered so it works on both touch-based tablets and traditional PCs. The company also is releasing its own Windows 8-powered tablet to compete against the iPad, accompanied by a new version of Office applications tailored for such devices. There also will be a Windows 8 operating system for smartphones.

The new logo ushers in “one of the most significant waves of product launches in Microsoft’s history,” Jeff Hansen, the company’s general manager of brand strategy, wrote in a blog post Thursday.

Ex-Coldwater Creek employee sentenced

SANDPOINT – A former employee of Coldwater Creek has been sentenced to at least 18 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $246,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to embezzling from the women’s clothing company.

1st District Judge Steve Verby sentenced Susan Hopkins to up to five years in prison Monday.

Prosecutors alleged Hopkins, a former executive assistant to a marketing officer, charged more than $260,000 in personal expenses to company credit cards between 2006 and 2010 and embezzled nearly $9,500 from the Panhandle Alliance For Education, a group Coldwater Creek supports.

In March, Verby rejected a plea agreement that called for a 90-day jail sentence.

Hopkins must pay restitution first to PAFE, followed by $137,000 to Coldwater Creek’s insurance provider and then $100,000 to Coldwater Creek.

FTC wins $478 million in infomercial ruling

WASHINGTON – Federal regulators have won a $478 million court judgment against the infomercial marketers of three “get-rich-quick” schemes said to have caused losses for nearly all the million or so consumers who bought the programs.

The Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday that the judgment was awarded by a federal court in Los Angeles against companies and individuals who marketed the schemes, titled “John Beck’s Free & Clear Real Estate System,” “John Alexander’s Real Estate Riches in 14 Days,” and “Jeff Paul’s Shortcuts to Internet Millions.” The infomercials deceived consumers with phony claims of easy money, the FTC alleged in its case.

The agency said it was the largest judgment it had ever obtained in litigation.

Consumers paid $39.95 to buy a system, and additional personal coaching services cost up to $14,995.

Farmer turns to candy to fatten up his cattle

LOS ANGELES – The worst drought in decades has destroyed more than half the U.S. corn crop, pushing prices to record levels and squeezing livestock owners as they struggle to feed their herds.

To cope, one farmer has turned to candy to fatten his 1,400 cows.

“It’s so hard to make any money when corn is $8 or $9 a bushel,” said Nick Smith, co-owner of United Livestock Commodities in Mayfield, Ky.



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