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Sunday, 21-Sep-2014 21:45 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Microsoft Ceo, Seeking Growth, Tells Managers: Step It Up - Bloo

Investors will get more insight into whether the new CEOs efforts are paying off later today when Microsoft reports quarterly earnings. Financial Impact Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington , is projected to report that profit, excluding certain items, fell to 60 cents a share in the fiscal fourth quarter through June, according to the average of analysts estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales are anticipated to rise 16 percent to $23 billion. The job reductions, mostly related to the integration of Nokia Oyjs handset unit, will result in $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion in charges over the next four quarters. Microsoft hasnt yet disclosed how much it expects to save from the firings. All of the forecasts of analysts covering the company have gone out the window, as they wait to hear what Nadella and Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood have to say about the financial impact of the measures, said Mark Moerdler, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Empowering Engineers So far, investors have backed Nadellas efforts, pushing Microsofts shares up 20 percent this year and valuing the company at 17 times projected earnings. While thats higher than Oracle Corp.s multiple of 13, Microsoft lags cloud-computing pioneer Inc., which trades at 105 times projected earnings. The elephant in the room was Nokia, and now the new elephant is that with the stock up so much year to date, will the fundamentals now deliver to back that up? said Brent Thill , an analyst at UBS AG in San Francisco. The job cuts and streamlining layers of management arent just about saving money, theyre also about changing Microsofts culture by speeding up decision making and product development. A key focus for Nadella is getting workers to challenge entrenched practices that may be slowing the company down. I want us to be much more nimble and decisive, Nadella said in a July 10 interview. So how do we empower the engineers and the salespeople in the field to be able to make decisions without having to go around in circles? Productivity, Platforms The new CEO sees Microsofts main focus as productivity and platforms, similar to the Microsoft of the 1990s when Nadella joined. At that point the company had two divisions -- one focused on the Office family of e-mail, spreadsheet and document applications, and the other on Windows, the companys main PC software. Nadellas vision for those two categories is far more ambitious, he said in the interview, and its focused on how to provide those kind of products in a mobile-and-cloud world rather than one of PCs and servers. To get there, Nadella wants his employees to build products from the point of view of a challenger, rather than the market leader Microsoft has been for much of its 39-year history. We are going to innovate with a challenger mindset, Nadella told software developers who build applications for Windows at a conference in April. As part of that, Nadella has the Office group focusing on applications that will be available on rival operating systems. Apart from Office for Apple Inc.s iPads, Nadella has accelerated development of a version for Google Inc.s Android, which is likely to come out later this year, according to a person familiar with the plans. New Focus Elsewhere, Microsofts Bing search team is working on Cortana, a speech-controlled personal assistant that Nadella said in the interview is perhaps the biggest innovation in productivity weve done. Currently available for Windows Phone, Nadella wants to broaden its use and says it can perform tasks like helping a salesperson automatically keep track of customer engagements and results. The company is also debating whether to create a version of the voice assistant for Apples iOS and Android, one of the teams executives said at a recent conference.

Pershing Square's Ackman: Why I think Herbalife is going to collapse

Bill Ackman , head of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, said his firm's presentation of a Herbalife investigation will "expose incredible fraud." The talk will be held at the AXA Equitable Center in Manhattan at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday. "We have hundreds of hours of internal video, Ackman told CNBC's Halftime Report . "We have some internal documents that were given to us by some employees." "This will be the most important presentation that I have made in my career," he said. "We won't disappoint." The hedge fund manager also invited Herbalife CEO Michael Johnson to attend the talk and "sit in the front row." "The company is clearly panicking," Ackman said of Herbalife's recent Twitter campaign that called him the "Worst of Wall Street." "These so-called nutritional clubsplaces where people get together to talk about losing weightthat's not what's happening at these venues," he said. Herbalife stock was down more than 6 percent after the interview. CNBC's initial attempts to contact the nutritional products company received no response. Herbalife CFO, John DeSimone, will be on CNBC at 9 a.m. ET on Tuesday. Adam Jeffery | CNBC Bill Ackman Pershing Square is short on Herbalife and has climbed more than 25 percent during the first half of 2014 despite a rise in Herbalife's share price. Last week, Ackman said he would love for activist investor Carl Icahn to sell his 17 million shares in Herbalife.

Sunday, 21-Sep-2014 17:13 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Goodell Won’t Step Down As Nfl Toughens Personal Conduct Policy

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More from Alibaba Surges in New York Trading Debut After U.S. IPO Goodell's announcement was the latest step by the league in response to criticism by the public, and sponsors such as Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Procter & Gamble (PG) , of its handling of the domestic abuse case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. The league in the past week also partnered with a pair of national programs that combat domestic violence and sexual assault, and added four women to its management team to help shape domestic-abuse policies. "I'm here now because our rules, policies and procedures on personal conduct failed," Goodell said during a 45-minute news conference, his first public comments since a Sept. 9 interview with CBS News. Goodell added that he's acknowledged the mistakes he's made and hasn't considered stepping down from a job that paid him $35 million in salary last year. More from Ebola Worst-Case Scenario Has More Than 500,000 Cases Goodell Detractors Women's advocacy group UltraViolet reiterated its demand that Goodell resign following the press conference, calling on the NFL's sponsors to take a stand against domestic violence by withdrawing their support until he leaves office. The group last week flew planes over NFL stadiums ahead of games with banners that read #GoodellMustGo. "This press circus did nothing to change Goodell's long history of inaction on and blatant mishandling of domestic violence in the NFL," UltraViolet co-founder Nita Chaudhary said in an e-mail. "The facts are the facts: 57 domestic violence cases saw little to no action under Goodell's leadership.' We know what happens when no one is watching: Goodell ignores domestic violence." More from LIVE RESULTS: The Scottish Independence Vote Crisis manager David Johnson, the chief executive officer of Atlanta-based public relations firm Strategic Vision LLC, said Goodell came across as "beleaguered" rather than strong and forceful. Johnson said Goodell was too "legalistic" and that he at times seemed confused and unprepared for questions from the media about the Rice case, which the commissioner again acknowledged was mishandled. The NFL's new personal conduct committee will be based on its competition committee, a group of team executives that reviews and evaluates on-field rules to ensure the sport remains competitive, entertaining and fair, Goodell said. New Model "We go to enormous lengths to make players, coaches, officials, fans and our broadcast partners fully understand playing rules and how they are enforced," he said. "That must now be our model when it comes to personal conduct." Goodell said the league will punish "totally unacceptable" behavior such as domestic violence -- including child abuse -- sexual assault, irresponsible ownership or handling of firearms, and illegal use of alcohol or drugs. In addition to the Rice incident, Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers, Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers and Jonathan Dwyer of the Arizona Cardinals were involved in domestic violence cases this year, while Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings was barred from all team activities until legal proceedings in his child-abuse case are resolved. Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was suspended for six games and fined $500,000 this month after he pleaded guilty to driving while impaired. Fair, Transparent "These activities must be condemned and stopped through education and discipline," Goodell said. "Our standards and consequences of falling short must be clear, consistent and current. They must be implemented through procedures that are fair and transparent." Goodell said his role in investigating personal-conduct violations will be re-evaluated while the new committee will also address how to balance legal and due process rights with holding league personnel to the "highest standards." The commissioner has previously had latitude in determining punishment for personal conduct violations. The NFL will meet next week with NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith and then start to bring together players and their union representatives, coaches, owners and outside experts to set standards and identify the right procedures for the new personal conduct policy, Goodell said. He added that "nothing will be off the table." Message Questioned Johnson, the crisis manager, said it would have sent a better message if a representative from the players' union had joined Goodell yesterday. Jason Maloni of Levick Public Relations said he would have advised Goodell to have a female league or team official add to his messages. "I would have made sure their voices were heard," Maloni said by phone. "Even if it's, We didn't get it right,' even if it's repeating the same point, having it come from a female exec would have added more weight to it." Goodell received pressure to step down from women's advocacy groups, politicians and some fans over the past two weeks after saying he mishandled the situation involving Rice, who assaulted his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City casino elevator following a night of drinking in February. Punch Video Goodell initially suspended Rice for two games and then banned him from the NFL indefinitely the day the website TMZ released a seven-month-old video of Rice punching Janay Palmer - - who is now his wife -- and knocking her unconscious.

Tuesday, 16-Sep-2014 17:39 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Skyward Secures $1.5 Million To Deliver The First Commercial Dro

Aviation management has historically been highly fragmented, paper-based and slow. SkyWard is digitizing the environment to connect commercial operators, regulators, and insurers on a global platform that operates at the speed of the market. "Commercial aerial robotics will be as common to our infrastructure as the smartphone - a physical extension of the internet which will allow users to exchange information, and even physical product like never before," said SkyWard CEO Jonathan Evans. "Aerial robotics is the next movement in search and rescue, environmental surveys, utilities inspection, precision agriculture, commerce and transit- our software allows stakeholders to manage operations in a safe and compliant way through a global digital platform." The SkyWard system allows businesses to focus on flying rather than the time-consuming tasks of regulatory compliance, risk management, and manual record keeping. The software offers custom tools including a cloud-based workflow to stay in compliance, a GIS overlay map with up-to-date airspace rules and guidelines, automated flight logs, and a unique and secure digital identity that can be used with regulators and insurers around the world. "SkyWard is in a position to influence the direction of the unmanned aerial market and deliver the solution required to make commercial drones a safe and viable business model," said Diane Fraiman, Voyager Capital. "Voyager is very excited to be part of their future success." About SkyWard The SkyWard platform is a system for managing aerial robotics (AR) flight operations around the world. Unique, portable identities for drones and people give managers real-time visibility on assets in the field; customer requests can be efficiently dispatched; and flight operations can be tracked at all times. Logs for aircraft and personnel are automatically updated and the information flows seamlessly to the regulator and insurer as needed. CONTACT:

Sunday, 14-Sep-2014 00:10 Email | Share | | Bookmark
U.s. Small Business Borrowing Slows In February

nullU.S. small business borrowing slows in February
WASHINGTON Tue Apr 1, 2014 8:53am EDT
A U.S. $100 dollar bill is seen December 17, 2009.
Credit: Reuters/Sam Mircovich
Small Business »
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. small businesses borrowing hit a five month low in February, in the latest indication of slower economic growth in the first quarter after an unusually harsh winter.
The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index, which measures the volume of financing to small companies, fell to 110.5 in February from a reading of 116.5 in January, PayNet said on Tuesday. That was the lowest level since last September.
The index continues to retreat from a near seven-year high touched in December. Still, it was 5 percent higher than it was in February 2013, an indication of underlying strength.
"Small business investment expansion signals moderate GDP growth," said PayNet founder Bill Phelan.
Unseasonably cold weather weighed on economic activity at the end of 2013 and the beginning of this year, setting the tone for a weak first quarter.
Growth in the first three months of this year is expected to have slowed to an annualized pace below 2 percent after expanding at a 2.6 percent rate in the fourth quarter.
Activity, however, is showing signs of accelerating as temperatures warm up, with employment growth, industrial production and retail sales gaining momentum in February.
A separate index released by PayNet showed loan delinquencies steady. Delinquencies of 31-to-180 days were little changed in February at 1.48 percent of all loans made.
The index hit a high of 4.73 percent in August 2009. The record low was 1.44 percent last October.
PayNet collects real-time loan information such as originations and delinquencies from more than 250 leading U.S. Home address organizer software lenders.
(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani ; editing by Andrew Hay)

Tuesday, 9-Sep-2014 19:04 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Community Services For July 6 |

The NE Genealogical Society is in the process of publishing a book on Clayton Cemetery. The Society is interested in obtaining any history on the cemetery and information on those buried there. If you have information to share or would like to donate to the maintenance project, contact Julia Young, 256-504-1485, RoseMary Hyatt, 256-490-4683, or Sherry Underwood, 256-490-5286. THE SENIOR ACTIVITY CENTER has free exercise on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Line dancing is at 4:30 p.m. Mondays. For information, call 256-549-4740. GADSDEN HEAD START PROGRAM is accepting pregnant women in its Early Head Start Program. Ongoing training with pregnant mothers and family members will include fetal development, the effects of smoking, alcohol and drugs on the unborn child, body changes and pregnancy, labor and delivery and more. Additional information may be picked up at the Gadsden Head Start Program, 513 Henry St. THOMPSON COMMUNITY CENTER senior exercise group meets Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30 p.m. For information, call Janet Simmons, 256-549-4738. CARING PEOPLE ARE NEEDED to become volunteers for Comfort Care Hospice. Call Heather Attaway, 256-547-3050. VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED for Horses Offering People Hope, an equine therapy program offered by Footprints of Hope.

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