Big News at Amazon: Fulfillment Robots

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Amazon.com Inc said on Monday it agreed to buy Kiva Systems Inc for $775 million in cash, a deal that will bring more robotic technology to the e-commerce company’s giant network of warehouses. Questions: 1. What other companies use this kind of robot technology? 2. Discuss the trend of Amazon’s fulfillment costs and what they… Read more »

Taken for a Ride When Trading in a Car

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Under the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is now going after auto dealers that imply to customer that they have no remaining debt obligation for trade-ins. Five dealers in four states (South Dakota, North Carolina, Connecticut and West Virginia) have already agreed to settlements that order them to stop running ads… Read more »

TaxMasters Trouble

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A Houston-based tax advisory firm filed for bankruptcy Sunday, a little more than one day before it was scheduled in court to defend itself against fraud accusations. Best known for a national advertising campaign that made company’s bearded, red-haired founder Patrick Cox a recognizable figure, the company spent about $14 million in national advertising in… Read more »

Christmas Cheer Backfires

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Tyrone Newman decided to celebrate Christmas after he finally got a job and kept it for one year. Unfortunately, the Northeast Washington, D.C. maintenance man ended up spending his $1,500 mortgage payment on Christmas gifts. Not wanting to tell his wife that he had no way to pay the mortgage, he got several loans from… Read more »

Costs versus Benefits of a Marketing Campaign

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Is it April Fool’s Day, yet? No, this really happened! The international marketing agency of BBH Labs recently outfitted 13 volunteer homeless shelter individuals as “human wireless transmitters” at the South by Southwest technology conference in Austin, Texas. The company provided the individuals with the devices, business cards and T-shirts listing their names followed by… Read more »

Prospects for Pandora

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Internet radio’s popularity is growing, through smartphone apps and cars that allow smartphone owners to stream Web-served radio through Bluetooth wireless connections. However, this article indicates that there are bad times ahead for this company and the industry. Questions: 1. What is Pandora’s share of the total U.S. radio-listening market? 2. What does the article… Read more »

Look into Auto Refinancing

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In the past few years, millions of homeowners have realized huge savings by refinancing their mortgages. Now, the refinancing craze is catching on in the car loans industry. According to this article refinancing could same your car might save you big time bucks. Questions: 1. According to the article, by how much have auto refinancing… Read more »

Embrace Change

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Kodak, the 131-year-old film pioneer, filed for bankruptcy protection last month. News got worse this week when the company announced they would stop doing what they were the first to ever do – manufacture digital cameras. Then on Feb. 15, Apple asked a bankruptcy court for permission to sue Kodak for patent infringement, resulting from… Read more »

Coinstar and Self-Service Retailing

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Coinstar is a company that was founded just over two decades ago by Jens Molbak, who as a Stanford University graduate student, realized there wasn’t an easy way to spend the spare change piled up in a jar on top of his dresser. Since that time the company has become known for its Redbox kiosks,… Read more »

Chose Me

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Have you ever wondered how some people get chosen to be profiled on a commercial? You may have seen the American Express Gold Card commercial featuring Sammy’s Fish Box, Sam Chernin’s flagship restaurant on City Island in the Bronx (one of five eateries he currently owns). Most small businesses would like to be featured on… Read more »