PayPal: Connecting TVs and Wallets
EBay’s (EBAY) PayPal payment service will join with cable company Comcast (CMCSA) and set-top box maker TiVo (TIVO) to let television viewers donate money and buy goods from their sets using a remote control. As early as this fall, viewers with PayPal accounts will be able to click on TV commercials to make purchases, give donations to political campaigns and nonprofits, and ask advertisers to text information to their phones. PayPal will make money by charging transaction fees, while Comcast and TiVo may be able to demand higher rates for the interactive ads. PayPal, which already handles 20 percent of global e-commerce sales, is in a push to make its service available on cell phones and other devices.
Spokeo: A Settlement for Selling Personal Data
Spokeo, which compiles dossiers on consumers, agreed to pay $800,000 to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission that it sold personal information in violation of the law. From 2008 to 2010, Spokeo sold millions of consumer profiles to human resources departments and recruiters without verifying the data were accurate or making sure the information would be used for legally permissible reasons, the FTC says. Spokeo, which has not admitted guilt, says it has changed its business practices to improve protections.
Automotive: Diesel Exhaust Linked to Cancer
Exhaust from diesel engines causes lung cancer and may be linked to bladder cancer, a World Health Organization agency said for the first time. The Diesel Technology Forum, which represents manufacturers such as Deere (DE) and Ford Motor (F), says the studies reviewed older data and likely do not reflect technological advances that have drastically reduced particulate and chemical emissions. It will take years for the new technology to replace older diesel engines, particularly in developing countries.
A123: A Battery Breakthrough
Battery maker A123 Systems (AONE) says it has developed an improved lithium-ion cell that will reduce the cost of manufacturing rechargeable and hybrid vehicles. A123’s shares jumped as much as 61 percent on June 12 after the news. The nanophosphate EXT cells will be produced next year and can be used longer and operate more efficiently in extremely high and low temperatures than competing lithium-ion packs, according to the company. A123 supplies batteries to General Motors (GM) and Daimler (DAI), among others.
Berkshire Hathaway: Betting Private Jets Will Rebound
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) is betting that the slumping private jet market will rebound later this decade. Berkshire’s NetJets is buying as many as 425 jets, with a list price of $9.6 billion, from Bombardier (BBD/B) and Textron’s (TXT) Cessna. The order, which the Columbus (Ohio) company says is the largest ever for business aircraft, is its third purchase in two years. NetJets is moving to bolster its 700-plane fleet after a 20 percent-odd cut since the end of 2008, when demand for luxury travel took a hit.