March 21, 2012 in Business

Tech blog: H-P will combine printing, PC units to cut costs

 

NEW YORK – Hewlett-Packard Co. is combining its printing and PC units to save money, according to published reports.

The technology blog AllThingsD first reported the restructuring plan Tuesday citing anonymous sources. HP would not comment.

The move comes at a time when sales of printers and ink, once HP’s lifeblood, are falling amid declining demand and growing competition. HP is the world’s No. 1 maker of personal computers. But PC sales are hurting, too, as people turn their attention to tablets and smartphones.

HP said last month that it plans to spend several years turning itself around. The expected combination of its PCs and printer units is part of that plan, and will likely lead to job cuts and cost savings, according to reports.

Builders request more permits

WASHINGTON – U.S. builders requested 5 percent more permits in February to build single-family homes and apartments in the coming months. That increased the annual rate to a seasonally adjusted 717,000 permits, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

Homebuilders have grown more confident over the past six months after seeing more people show interest in buying a home. The rise in permits suggests builders see that interest translating into sales over the next 12 months.

Economists caution that the housing market is still weak. The number of homes started in February – 698,000 – is roughly half the annual pace considered healthy.

Fed payment second biggest ever

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve is slightly cutting its estimate of how much it paid the federal government in 2011. But the bank says the payment is still the second biggest in the nation’s history.

The Fed said Tuesday that it paid the federal government $75.4 billion last year. That’s down from January’s preliminary estimate of $76.9 billion.

The money comes from earnings on investments the central bank made to bolster the U.S. economy. The payment is down from an all-time record of $79.3 billion made in 2010.

The Fed began buying Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities during the recession and 2008 financial crisis to try to lower long-term interest rates.

Newspaper reduces free access

NEW YORK – A year after it began charging for full access to its website, The New York Times is cutting the number of articles available for free from 20 per month to 10. The Times says the change takes effect in April.

The publisher offers three unlimited access plans, ranging in price from $15 per month to $35.

The company says it has 454,000 digital subscribers, about double the number it had nine months ago. By comparison, the paper had roughly 771,000 print subscribers as of Sept. 30, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The website’s “paywall” has many gaps. Readers who follow links in emails, on Web pages, Facebook and Twitter can still access individual articles for free even if they have reached their limit.

Ex-Verizon CEO made $26.4 million

NEW YORK – Despite retiring as CEO of Verizon Communications Inc. in August, Ivan Seidenberg earned more in 2011 than he did in the last two full years of work.

According to an analysis of a Monday regulatory filing from the New York-based phone company, Seidenberg earned $26.4 million in 2011. That compares with the $18.1 million he earned in 2010 and the $17.5 million he received in 2009.

He was CEO for seven months of 2011, and then remained as executive chairman until the end of the year.

In calculating executive compensation, the Associated Press includes salary, bonus, performance-related bonuses, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year.

Seidenberg was the highest-paid CEO in the U.S. telecommunications industry last year. Randall Stephenson, his counterpart at AT&T Inc., which is larger, earned $18.7 million.

Seidenberg’s successor, Lowell McAdam, earned $23 million in 2011. That was in large part due to a special grant of $10 million in restricted stock, made when he assumed the CEO role.

Nissan bringing back the Datsun

TOKYO – Nissan is bringing back the Datsun three decades after shelving the brand that helped build its U.S. business. This time, Nissan hopes the name synonymous with affordable and reliable small cars will power its growth in emerging markets.

Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn made the announcement Tuesday while in Indonesia, one of three markets besides India and Russia, where the Datsun will go on sale from 2014.

Datsun debuted in Japan in 1932, and hit American showrooms more than 50 years ago.

It was discontinued globally starting in 1981 to unify the model lineup under the Nissan brand. Nissan also makes Infiniti luxury models.

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