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Business Highlights

Tuesday - 5/21/2013, 6:48pm  ET

The Associated Press

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JPMorgan's Dimon survives shareholder referendum

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Jamie Dimon, the CEO and chairman of JPMorgan Chase, easily survived a vote Tuesday that would have called on him to give up his role as chairman of the nation's largest bank. But shareholders sent a message that the bank needed better oversight, giving only narrow approval to three of the bank's board members.

It was a mixed verdict in a closely watched test of corporate governance at U.S. companies. Dimon emerged in a stronger position after the proposal to split his roles won just 32 percent of the shareholder vote, less than the 40 percent a similar proposal got last year.

But the tepid support for the three directors came as a rebuke of the bank following a surprise $6 billion trading loss JPMorgan had suffered last year. Prominent shareholder advisory firms had urged JPMorgan shareholders to withhold their support for those directors, who served on the bank's risk policy committee at the time of the loss.

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Apple's Cook faces Senate questions on taxes

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate dragged Apple Inc., the world's most valuable company, into the debate over the U.S. tax code Tuesday, grilling CEO Tim Cook over allegations that its Irish subsidiaries help the company avoid billions in U.S. taxes.

Cook said the subsidiaries have nothing to do with reducing its U.S. taxes, a message he struggled to convey to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

The senate subcommittee released a report Monday that held up Apple as an example of the legal tax avoidance made possible by the U.S. tax code. It estimates that Apple avoided at least $3.5 billion in U.S. federal taxes in 2011 and $9 billion in 2012 by using its tax strategy, and described a complex setup involving Irish subsidiaries as being a key element of this strategy.

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Microsoft touts Xbox One as all-in-1 entertainment

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) -- Microsoft thinks it has the one.

The company unveiled the Xbox One, an entertainment console that promises to be the one system households will need for games, television, movies and other entertainment. It will go on sale later this year, for an undisclosed price.

For the past two years, Microsoft has led the gaming industry in console sales with the Xbox 360. But it's been eight years since that machine came out, and Microsoft is the last of the three major console makers to unveil a new system.

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Does France have right plan to revive its economy?

PARIS (AP) -- The man charged with reviving France's shrinking economy and attracting businesses to invest is gaining a reputation for doing the opposite.

As the country's first-ever minister for industrial renewal, Arnaud Montebourg has told the world's largest steelmaker it is not welcome in France; exchanged angry letters with the head of an American tire company he was supposedly wooing; and scuttled Yahoo's offer to buy the majority of a video-sharing website.

Montebourg, a 50-year-old lawyer from Burgundy, is the public face of President Francois Hollande's plan to revitalize Europe's second-largest economy, which is in recession and grappling with 11 percent unemployment. The plan is to make the French economy more competitive globally -- especially for manufacturers -- by making it easier to fire workers, offering a payroll tax credit and investing in small businesses.

Economists have praised the labor reforms as a step in the right direction. But mostly they say France's economic plan is all wrong: It is too complicated; it favors a top-down approach to innovation; and it ignores some of the most serious problems plaguing France's economy, such as high labor costs.

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With high-tech guns, users could disable remotely

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- A high-tech startup is wading into the gun control debate with a wireless controller that would allow gun owners to know when their weapon is being moved -- and disable it remotely.

The technology, but not an actual gun, was demonstrated Tuesday at a wireless technology conference in Las Vegas and was shown to The Associated Press in advance. It comes at a time when lawmakers around the U.S. are considering contentious smart gun laws that would require new guns to include high-tech devices that limit who can fire them.

The new Yardarm Technologies LLC system would trigger an alarm on an owner's cellphone if a gun is moved, and the owner could then hit a button to activate the safety and disable the weapon. New guns would come with a microchip on the body and antennas winding around the grip. It would add about $50 to the cost of a gun, and about $12 a year for the service.

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