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In brief: Microsoft seeks OK to disclose NSA requests

Fri., June 28, 2013, midnight

WASHINGTON – Microsoft is asking a court to let it disclose data on national security orders the company has received under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Microsoft made the request in a motion filed June 19 with the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and unsealed this week.

The company’s action comes after Google filed a similar motion asking permission to disclose the number of data requests that come from secret orders approved by the court. Both companies argued that they should be allowed to do so under the First Amendment.

Google and Microsoft were among several U.S. Internet companies identified as giving the National Security Agency access to customer data under the program known as PRISM. Microsoft says it wants to correct misimpressions about what it provides to the government.

North America gains boost Nike’s 4Q profits

NEW YORK – Nike Inc., the world’s largest athletic shoe and clothing company, announced a 22 percent increase in fourth-quarter profits as strength in North America offset weakness in Europe and China.

Like most global companies, Nike has been dealing with Europe’s fluctuating economy and a slowdown in growth in China. Nike has been working to reduce its inventory in China and reworking its offerings there to adapt to the changing tastes of Chinese customers. It also has been focusing on growth in North America, selling off less profitable brands like Umbro to focus on core brands like Nike.

The company said Thursday it earned $668 million, or 76 cents per share, in the three-month period ended May 31. That compares with $549 million, or 60 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue increased 7 percent to $6.7 billion from $6.24 billion.

During the fourth quarter, the company’s revenue under the Nike brand rose 8 percent with growth across each product type and region except Western Europe and Greater China.

Consumer spending up slightly in May

WASHINGTON – U.S. consumers spent more in May as their income rose, encouraging signs after a slow start to the year. But spending was weaker in April, February and January than previously estimated.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that consumer spending rose 0.3 percent last month, nearly erasing a similar decline in April. Income rose 0.5 percent.

At the same time, economists said the downward revisions to spending for three of the first four months of the year signal weaker growth in the April-June quarter, which ends this week.

Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said he thinks growth has slowed in the second quarter at an annual rate of just 1.5 percent.


 

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