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March 4, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Ingram's VitalSource Technologies has acquired CourseSmart, consolidating two of the largest companies providing textbooks as e-books, Publishers Weekly reports . VitalSource's Bookself platform has more than 4 million users on 6,000 campuses worldwide and offers content from 500 of the world's top academic publishers. Ingram estimates it will take 12 to 18 months to fully transition CourseSmart customers to its Bookshelf platform. CourseSmart offers access to e-textbooks of more than 90% of core higher education titles at up to 60% off the cost of print.
March 4, 2014 | By Salvador Rodriguez
Facebook is purchasing a New Mexico drone company for $60 million in an effort to bring Internet connectivity to emerging parts of the world, according to multiple reports Tuesday. TechCrunch and CNBC say the Menlo Park, Calif., social network "is in talks" to purchase Titan Aerospace, the maker of solar-powered drones that are capable of staying nearly 12.5 miles in the air for five years without having to land. The reports say Facebook wants to buy the drone company as a way to push forward, an initiative with several other companies to bring Internet connectivity to parts of the world that do not yet have the necessary infrastructure.
March 4, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - Outside accountants and lawyers who reveal fraud and wrongdoing at publicly traded companies are protected as whistle-blowers just as employees are, the Supreme Court ruled, expanding the reach of an anti-fraud law passed in the wake of the collapse of companies such as Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc. The 6-3 decision Tuesday will affect the mutual fund and financial services industries in particular because they rely heavily on outside contractors and advisors. Denying whistle-blower protection to all outside employees of such companies would leave a "huge hole" in the 2002 law, said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, noting that most mutual fund companies hire independent investment advisors and contractors rather than employees.
March 4, 2014 | By Mary MacVean
Smart Balance says it will change the ingredients in its butter-like spreads to make sure they include no genetically modified organisms. “I've been in the food industry for 35 years. I have never seen a consumer issue come on this fast,” said Stephen Hughes, chairman and chief executive of Boulder Brands, the parent company of Smart Balance. “Forty-three percent of our consumers want to see a non-GMO Smart Balance.” Some of the newly formulated products will be on store shelves in March, with the process completed in early summer.
March 3, 2014 | By Saba Hamedy
From beauty products to designer clothes, celebrities are showered with free, lavish gifts during awards season. But swag bags and events organized around them don't just benefit celebrities. They help companies that put together the luxury events and companies that publicize their products at them -- and they often cost the companies that donate the swag a load of money. "People say, 'Wait, you make money from your swag bags?' and I tell them, 'Yes, there's actually a business behind it,'" said Amy Boatwright, one of the owners of Secret Room Events, a brand and product marketing firm.
March 2, 2014 | By Lew Sichelman
If the ease with which hackers pilfered the financial information of millions of Target and Neiman Marcus customers has you worried about how easily your private data can be lifted from your mortgage company, wait until you hear what a major cybersecurity firm found out about lenders. Here's a hint: It isn't good. According to Halock Security Labs, mortgage companies big and small allow information-sharing practices that put your personal and financial data at grave risk. FOR THE RECORD: Data security: The Housing Scene column in the March 2 Business section about how to ensure that personal mortgage information is safe from hackers said that Brian Koss is president of Mortgage Network.
February 28, 2014 | By Salvador Rodriguez
When it comes to pay, internships can be a struggle -- that is, of course, unless you work at one of the world's top tech companies. Nineteen out of the top 25 highest-paying companies for internships come from the tech industry, according to a Friday report by Glassdoor , a jobs and careers website. Many of the top companies pay their interns more than $5,000 per month on average. At the top of the list is Palantir Technologies, which pays interns $7,012 per month on average.
February 28, 2014 | By Charlotte Allen
There's a war against Legos. I know what you're thinking: How could anyone have a beef with those colorful, plastic toy bricks with which you can build cities, stage your own Bible stories or reenact the Trojan War, the Civil War or Star Wars? And hasn't "The Lego Movie" been No. 1 at the box office for three straight weeks? But here's Lego's problem: The main market for the $4 billion company's traditional plastic bricks and mini-figures is boys. Certainly some girls enjoy making castles or skyscrapers out of the bricks, just like their brothers, but in 2011, Lego's market research boys found that 90% of Lego users were boys.
February 27, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
In the morning while walking to her car, Michelle Kennedy sometimes detects a smell like cat urine. The asthma her 6-year-old suffers seems to have worsened. Kennedy blames the oil and gas wells pumping in and near her South Los Angeles neighborhood. She was especially troubled to hear that acid was being injected in some shafts roughly a mile from her home. Now Los Angeles could put a stop to several practices that Kennedy and her neighbors have lobbied against, at least inside its city limits.
February 25, 2014 | By Lee Romney
SAN FRANCISCO - In a predawn sweep that stunned the Salinas Valley town of King City, the acting police chief, a former chief, other police employees and a towing company owner were arrested Tuesday, some on charges connected to a scheme to steal impounded cars belonging mostly to Latino immigrants, authorities said. A police sergeant was allowed to keep one impounded vehicle for every 10 to 15 he steered to a towing company owned by the brother of the acting police chief, according to the criminal complaint.
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