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Sept. 1 2016 1:25 PM

Walmart Is Cutting 7,000 Office Jobs

Walmart is cutting 7,000 office jobs from its retail stores.

The positions, which involve invoicing and accounting in stores' back offices, are among the company's highest-paid hourly jobs. Sarah Nassauer at the Wall Street Journal first reported the cuts.

Walmart wants its back-office employees interacting with shoppers instead of doing paperwork, a Walmart spokeswoman told Business Insider.

Aug. 31 2016 6:13 PM

Theranos Is Temporarily Withdrawing Its Month-Old Zika Test 

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

Theranos is withdrawing its bid for FDA approval of a diagnostic test for Zika that they announced earlier in August, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal.

Theranos confirmed to Business Insider that the test has been withdrawn, but said the company has plans to resubmit it.

John Carreyrou and Christopher Weaver report that an FDA inspection found that, as part of a study to validate the new test, the company had collected some data without a patient safety plan in place that was approved by an institutional review board.

The role of the board is to make sure that ahead of the trial and during it, the subjects’ rights and welfare are protected, according to the FDA. It’s a standard part of running studies that involve humans.

In the case of the Theranos study, the Journal noted, “it isn’t clear if the problem affected any patients.”

Aug. 30 2016 5:35 PM

Apple to EU: You Can Have Taxes or You Can Have Jobs. Your Choice.

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

Apple’s official statement on the EU ruling against its Irish tax arrangements tells you all you need to know about what is at stake: You can have taxes or you can have jobs, but Apple is in no mood to deliver both.

After learning on Tuesday morning that the EU expects Apple to pay 13 billion euros—equal to 11 billion pounds or $14.5 billion—in back taxes, the company said, “It will have a profound and harmful effect on investment and job creation in Europe.”

That is not a threat, technically, but it will be seen as one by EU politicians who want to attract new companies to their countries.

In 1991, Apple struck a tax deal with Ireland that was aboveboard and legal. The Irish government provided Apple with a “comfort letter” that said the company would pay very low rates of tax if it based its European operations in Ireland.

 

Aug. 30 2016 8:23 AM

The EU Is About to Hit Apple With the Largest Tax Penalty Ever 

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

One of the worst-case scenarios for Apple’s tax predicament looks as if it’s about to come true.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, has distributed a 130-page judgment on Apple’s Ireland operations, the Financial Times reports, ahead of an official ruling on Apple’s tax structure expected on Tuesday.

The European Commission started to look into Apple’s Irish tax rate in 2014, so Tuesday’s decision will be the culmination of a three-year investigation.

The commission concluded that Apple received “illegal state aid” from Ireland—essentially a sweetheart deal that allowed the computer maker to unfairly reduce its tax bill in a way not available to other companies, according to the report.

Aug. 26 2016 9:16 AM

Ryan Lochte Found a Throat Drop Company to Sponsor Him

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

U.S. Olympian Ryan Lochte has managed to find a brand that still wants to sponsor him after he admitted to making up a story about being robbed at gunpoint at the Rio Olympics earlier this month.

The swimmer has signed a deal with Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops, Adweek reported.

Lochte confirmed the deal on Twitter, saying: “Thanks to all the folks at pine bros. [sic] for your confidence in me. I look forward to making you proud.”

He will appear in a commercial and print ads for the brand that will include the tagline: “Pine Brothers Softish Throat Drops: Forgiving On Your Throat.”

It's not a huge brand and it’ll unlikely be a major campaign, but the timing is perfect for the company to get maximum exposure as Lochte dominates the headlines.

In a statement, Pine Bros. CEO Rider McDowell said: “We all make mistakes, but they’re rarely given front-page scrutiny. He’s a great guy who has done incredible work with charities. I’m confident that Pine Bros. fans will support our decision to give Ryan a second chance.”

The announcement came on the same day Lochte was reportedly charged by Brazilian police over the false robbery claim. Brazil’s Justice Department is summoning Lochte back to Rio to appear in court for a hearing about the incident, which he has since described as an “over-exaggeration.”

Reports and security footage have since appeared to show that the events of that evening actually stemmed from an altercation with security staff at a gas station where he and his teammates had stopped to use the bathroom. Lochte and his teammates reportedly damaged the gas station and were stopped by armed security when they attempted to leave. Security reportedly demanded money for the damages, which the swimmers paid in cash.

Lochte has since apologized over the incident, saying in a statement that he accepted “responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons.”

Lochte has lost all his major sponsors over the episode, with Speedo, Ralph Lauren, mattress company Airweave, and Gentle Hair Removal parent company Syneron-Candela all announcing they were dropping ties with the athlete on Monday.

Aug. 24 2016 2:23 PM

Costco Dropped AmEx and Now Only Takes Visa. The Result Is a Gigantic Mess.

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

When Costco began transitioning from American Express to Visa as its exclusive credit card partner in June, delays and confusion had customers threatening to cancel their memberships.

Now, two months later, some Costco members say that major problems remain—and that Citi, the card issuer, and Costco aren’t doing enough to fix them.

In addition to making Visa the only credit card customers can use at Costco, the transition meant that 11 million of Costco’s 81 million members worldwide with Costco cobranded credit cards had to switch from the TrueEarnings American Express Costco card to the Costco Anywhere Visa.

Initial issues ranged from general confusion to customers not receiving their new cards to difficulty getting a customer service representative on the phone.

Aug. 23 2016 2:51 PM

Amazon Is Reportedly Making a New Music-Streaming Service for the Echo

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

Amazon is developing a new music-streaming service that will be half the price of rival offerings like Spotify, but which will work only on the company’s internet-connected Echo speaker, according to a report by Recode’s Peter Kafka.

The subscription service will cost $4 or $5 a month—half of what competitors like Spotify and Apple Music charge for their streaming offerings—and could debut as soon as September if Amazon reaches deals with music labels, sources told Recode.

The Echo device, which lets users order household items, get the weather, and find other information by speaking in their natural voice, has turned into a surprise hit for Amazon.

 

Aug. 22 2016 3:03 PM

Pfizer Just Paid Billions for the Company Behind the Outrageous $129,000 Cancer Drug

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

Pfizer just outbid numerous competitors for Medivation, a cancer drugmaker with just one approved drug.

The $14 billion deal, at $81.50 a share, is a notable premium to the $9.3 billion offer the pharma giant Sanofi had made earlier this year. Medivation had rejected that approach.

The high price may come as a surprise, considering Medivation was trading at $67.16 on Friday. But there are a few key drugs that both Medivation and Pfizertouted as the reason for the deal.

Aug. 18 2016 2:23 PM

Even Popeyes’ Sales Are Sagging Because of the Oil Downturn

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

Popeyes’ chicken tenders and biscuits are also on the list of things oil workers are cutting spending on.

During the second-quarter earnings season, several companies that aren’t in the energy sector continued to mention declines in their businesses in oil-producing areas.

Harley Davidson saw a jump in the number of people in oil-heavy regions who were defaulting on loan payments. Caesars Entertainment said a lot of weakness was in the southeastern US.

And like The Cheesecake Factory, Popeyes demonstrates that it’s not only consumer spending on big-ticket items that has fallen.

Aug. 17 2016 2:04 PM

Smartphone Maker Xiaomi, the “Apple of China,” Is Struggling

This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

The “Apple of China” is in serious trouble.

Sales in China of smartphones from Xiaomi, a once red-hot Chinese hardware startup touted as the country’s answer to Apple, fell by a whopping 38 percent in the second quarter of 2016 year-on-year, according to new data from the research firm IDC.

Xiaomi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Xiaomi’s phones are not yet available in Western markets, but the company has developed a buzzy reputation in the tech press.

The company launched in 2010, and it enjoyed meteoric growth: By the end of 2014 it was the world’s most valuable technology startup, with a private valuation of more than $46 billion. (It has since been dethroned of that title by Uber.)

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