Business News You Need To Know: Aug. 19, 2010
Mattel Accused Of Espionage: Toys are a profitable and competitive business, but do they involve espionage? MGA Entertainment reportedly believes so, alleging Barbie-doll maker Mattel (MAT) has long spied on rivals at toy fairs around the world. As DailyFinance's Dawn Kawamoto reports, the allegations by MGA, maker of popular Bratz dolls, mark just the latest round in a turbulent, six-year-old legal fight between the two companies.
GM Files Long-Awaited IPO: General Motors has filed paperwork with U.S. regulators to begin selling shares of stock. The much-anticipated initial public offering will allow Treasury to begin offloading its 61% stake in the automaker, which emerged from bankruptcy in July 2009. The massive document, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, is only the initial registration. As DailyFinance's Tom Taulli reports, more details will emerge in the next few months as GM's plan undergoes review.
American To Charge For Front Row Seats: American Airlines (AMR) is offering travelers a chance to sit in the front few rows of the coach section and the ability to board early, but they will pay for the privilege. As an example, the Texas-based air carrier said Wednesday that its "express seats" option will cost $19 to $39, depending on the destination, departing from its hub at Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport. The upgrade is available on U.S. flights, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The express-seats option joins similar offerings by other U.S. airlines that provide amenities such as early boarding or greater legroom.
Consumer Views On Credit Cards Improve: Credit cards offer consumers an easy way to pay for everything from gasoline to groceries to movie tickets. But that doesn't mean Americans love them. A new J.D. Power and Associates survey shows that while overall satisfaction is up slightly this year compared to last, the average U.S. consumer is still wary of credit-card issuers, as DailyFinance's Mercedes Cardona reports.
Google To Take On iPad: Google (GOOG) is reportedly developing its own tablet computer to rival Apple's (AAPL) iPad with the goal of having it ready for sale by Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. The search engine giant has turned to previous partners HTC, a handset maker, and Verizon Communications (VZ) to create the new device, which features Google's Chrome OS -- not Android -- as its operating system.
Five Guys Tops Latest Burger Survey: Looking for a tasty burger? Those not lucky enough to live in the western part of the U.S. -- where In-N-Out Burger rules supreme -- have another option: Five Guys Burgers and Fries. In fact, the upstart restaurant chain is so good it supplanted In-N-Out in Zagat's latest survey, taking top spot in the ratings-producer's Best Burger category. As DailyFinance reporter Sarah Gilbert discovers, both restaurants share a key principle in producing better-tasting sandwiches.
Foxconn Holds Rally For Workers: In response to an alarming rise in suicides among its overworked laborers, China's Foxconn Technology Group sponsored a rally Wednesday to raise morale. The manufacturer of iPhones and other high-tech gadgets has been shaken by the suicides -- 12 so far this year -- and the bad press they have attracted. Foxconn has raised wages and installed safety nets on buildings to catch would-be jumpers, as part of its response. But the company faces challenges in its efforts to stem the deaths given the sheer size of its business, which includes 16 factories and nearly 1 million workers.
Baby Strollers Being Recalled: Lan Enterprises is voluntarily recalling some 3,700 Zooper Tango double strollers to fix a faulty frame latch that can result in the pricey baby carrier unexpectedly collapsing, federal safety officials said Thursday. The strollers were sold in 2007 and 2008 at retailers such as Babies "R" Us and cost between $400 and $430. The Oregon-based company has received 185 reports of frame latch failures, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said, including incidents involving 13-month-old and 3-year-old boys who received scrapes and bruises when their strollers collapsed after hitting a sidewalk.
Mazda Boosts Recall Numbers: Overseas recalls of vehicles involved in the latest recall by Mazda Motor could boost the total number of cars recalled to more than 500,000, according to a report in a Japanese newspaper. On Tuesday, the automaker said it would recall 315,000 Mazda3 and Mazda5 models, including 215,000 in the U.S., to fix faulty power- steering units that could fail, resulting in more difficult steering and possibly a crash.
Debt After Death: There's a lot of misconceptions about what happens to the debt accumulated by someone before he or she dies. Is it wiped out? Are family members on the hook? WalletPop's Martha White takes a look at the uncomfortable subject of dying and the financial obligations deceased debtors leave their loved ones.