Microsoft makes design central to its future
Before Ralf Groene helped devise the look and feel of Microsoft's Surface tablet, he designed food — or "food concepts," he says, such as dried noodles that come wrapped around a pair of chopsticks and a fork that squeezes out sauce.
Though none of these ideas made it into production, the principles behind them can be applied to computing devices that fit into busy lives, says Groene, and they are just as varied as the ones Microsoft now uses to redesign all its software and devices.
Microsoft is putting an emphasis on design excellence more than ever — to make its products more competitive with offerings from rivals Apple, Google, and Amazon and to prod its hardware making partners to dream up new, more innovative devices. In recent years, the software giant has put a priority on fashioning devices that work around people's lives, help reduce information overload and become intimate, personal and knowledgeable about their users.
And yes, Microsoft is even trying to make devices attractive, cool and desirable, top executives say.
Pain of Atlantic City casino closings far-reaching
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Yomary Blanco cleans rooms at Trump Plaza, one of three Atlantic City casinos that could shut down by September. Her husband works the buffet at the Showboat, which is scheduled to close on Aug. 31.
With two young daughters, a mortgage, no savings and no obvious plan B, the couple is afraid of what the future holds.
The pain of a sudden spasm of casino contraction in what was once the nation's second-largest gambling market will hurt not only families like Blanco's. It will also hurt small businesses, the housing market could suffer, and taxes could rise and services decline in Atlantic City, where 60 percent of the budget comes from casino taxes.
Allergan to cut 1,500 employees in restructuring
Botox maker Allergan will cut about 13 percent of its workforce as part of a push to become more efficient while it fights a hostile takeover bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
The Irvine, California, company said Monday it plans to trim about 1,500 employees and around 250 vacant positions as it restructures to focus on its "highest value opportunities."
Allergan said its restructuring will yield annual pretax savings of about $475 million in 2015. It announced the cuts the same day it said second-quarter results trumped analyst expectations, as earnings grew 16 percent to $417.2 million.
Allergan Inc. has rejected several takeover attempts from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. and activist investor Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management. The latest amounts to about $53 billion in cash and stock.
McDonald's, KFC in China face new food scandal
BEIJING (AP) — McDonald's and KFC in China faced a new food safety scare Monday after a Shanghai television station reported a supplier sold them expired beef and chicken.
The companies said they immediately stopped using meat from the supplier, Husi Food Co., Ltd. The Shanghai office of China's food and drug agency said it was investigating and told customers to suspend use of the supplier's products.
Dragon TV said Sunday that Husi, owned by OSI Group of Aurora, Illinois, repackaged old beef and chicken and put new expiration dates on them. It said they were sold to McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants.
The report added to a series of food safety scares in China that have battered public confidence in dairies, fast food outlets and other suppliers.
Thirst for US craft beer grows overseas
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Helping to quench a growing thirst for American craft beer overseas, some of the United States' largest craft breweries are setting up shop in Europe, challenging the very beers that inspired them on their home turfs.
It's the latest phenomenon in the flourishing craft beer industry, which got its start emulating the European brews that defined many of the beer styles we drink today. The move also marks a continuing departure from the status quo of mass market lagers or stouts, demonstrating a willingness of American breweries to explore — and innovate — old world beer styles from Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Star Wars Car, a Doomsday doll: Toys of Comic-Con