Microsoft renews plea for crackdown on Google
SAN FRANCISCO – Microsoft is making a last-ditch effort to convince government regulators that they need to crack down on Google to preserve competition on the Internet and in smartphone markets.
Microsoft laid out its arguments in a blog post Wednesday by Dave Heiner, the software maker’s deputy general counsel.
Heiner mostly rehashed familiar ground while depicting Google Inc. as a company that has abused its dominance of Internet search and leadership in online video to thwart its rivals to the detriment of consumers.
Microsoft Corp. lobbed its lasted missive as regulators in the U.S. and Europe wrap up wide-ranging investigations into Google’s business practices.
Dollar rises after budget deal gets Congress’ approval
NEW YORK – The dollar rose against most major currencies Wednesday after Congress approved a budget deal, avoiding a series of tax increases and government spending cuts.
Traders have been concerned that a deal would not be reached, possibly sending the U.S. economy back into a recession.
The euro fell to $1.3178 in late trading Wednesday from $1.3192 late Tuesday.
Also helping boost the dollar were signs of an improving manufacturing sector. The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its index of manufacturing rose in December to 50.7 from 49.5 in November.
Starbucks will roll out $1 reusable cups today
NEW YORK – Starbucks Corp. is rolling out a $1 reusable plastic cup at its cafes starting today.
The Seattle-based coffee chain already gives customers a dime discount each time they bring in reusable cups for refills. Now it’s hoping the new cups – which bear its logo and resemble its white paper cups – will increase the habit.
As with other reusable cups, the new cups will be cleaned with boiling water each time customers bring them in. The cups were tested in 600 stores in the Pacific Northwest over the past few months and will be rolled out nationwide and in Canada.
Wendy’s 99-cent deals to be replaced by new value menu
NEW YORK – Wendy’s no longer thinks a hamburger has to be 99 cents to be a deal.
The fast-food company known for its Frosty shakes and square burgers is replacing its 99-cent value menu. It’s now offering a beefed up array of options called “Right Price Right Size,” with items ranging from 99 cents to $1.99.
At a time when costs for meat, cheese and other ingredients are rising, the revamped menu is intended to give budget-minded diners more options, while giving Wendy’s more flexibility on pricing.
Firm predicts auto sales will be strongest since 2007
DETROIT – An auto industry research firm says an improving economy and a host of new models should push U.S. auto sales above 15 million this year.
The Polk research firm says auto sales should continue to lead the country’s economic recovery. Polk predicts 15.3 million new vehicle registrations this year, up nearly 7 percent from 2012.
Automakers release December and full-year sales for 2012 today. Analysts predict sales of around 14.5 million, the strongest year since 2007.
Polk expects 43 new models to be introduced this year, up 50 percent from last year. New models usually boost sales. The company also predicts a rebound in large pickup truck sales.