The Buzz On Business
TOSHIBA CUTS PRICES ON HD DVD: Toshiba Corp. on Monday announced an aggressive campaign to bolster its HD DVD movie disc format against Sony-backed Blu-ray technology, cutting prices on players to as low as $149.99. The HD DVD camp suffered a serious blow Jan. 4, when Warner Bros. Entertainment said it would stop publishing movies on HD DVD in May, to focus on Blu-ray and regular DVD. That leaves only two major studios, Paramount and Universal, still supporting HD DVD, while five support Blu-ray. Toshiba on Monday slashed the suggested retail price of its cheapest player, the HD-A3, from $299.99 to $149.99. The price for the HD-A30 was also halved, from $399.99 to $199.99, while the price on the high-end HD-A35 went from $499.99 to $299.99. HD DVD players have been cheaper than Blu-ray players for a while, and sales of standalone players have been strong. But Blu-ray has benefited from Sony's cachet among video enthusiasts, as well as the ability of the PlayStation 3 game console to play Blu-ray discs.
CHINA iPHONE DEAL DISCONNECTED: Talks between China Mobile Ltd. and Apple Inc. over the launch of iPhone handsets in China have been called off, officials at the Chinese company said Monday. "We can only say that negotiations have ended for now. We have no other news to report," said Li Honghui, a spokeswoman for China Mobile Communications Corp., the parent of cell phone carrier China Mobile. She declined to comment further. Rainie Lei, a spokeswoman for China Mobile, earlier Monday also declined to say why the talks ended. Calls to Cupertino-based Apple were not answered Monday. Citing an unnamed official at China Mobile's data services department, Chinese Internet portal Sina.com reported Monday that China Mobile and Apple could not agree on revenue-sharing terms in their preliminary discussions, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
MAGELLAN FUND REOPENING: For the first time in a decade, new investors will be able to put money into a mutual fund that helped fuel Fidelity Investments' rapid growth in the 1980s and '90s, but has recently seen many retirement-age investors withdraw their cash. The nation's largest mutual fund company said Monday it will reopen its $44.8 billion Magellan Fund to new investors effective Tuesday. Boston-based Fidelity closed Magellan to new accounts Sept. 30, 1997, after a run of market-beating returns in the 1980s by star money manager Peter Lynch and three lesser known successors in the 1990s. In recent years, Magellan's investors have crept closer to retirement, when many redeem investments to pay for needs after their working lives.
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WAL-MART THINKS SMALLER: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will open a new, smaller size of grocery store in the Phoenix area after a big British rival moved into the Southwest with more convenient smaller shops. The world's biggest retailer said it will test four new stores called Marketside, designed at half the size of its existing Neighborhood Market grocery chain, which are themselves much smaller than a Wal-Mart Supercenter. The move comes after British grocery chain Tesco PLC opened its first U.S. stores last fall in the Los Angeles area. A Wal-Mart spokesman said the retailer always is testing new ideas and declined to say if the new Marketside stores would expand to more locations.
BEE NEWS SERVICES
76: Percentage of people who achieve half or fewer of their resolutions, according to a poll conducted by DecideBetter.
86: Percentage of respondents who make at least some of the same resolutions every year.
50: Percentage of the respondents who stated that they expect to achieve all of their resolutions this year.
JOHN MacINTYRE, UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE