Discounts may mean new Kindles are coming
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Tech analysts say this week's deep discounting of the Amazon Kindle DX reader could be a sign the company will launch a new model as early as next week.
Amazon knocked $110 off the price of the Kindle DX as its "Deal of the Day" along with other specials related to the device, which the Los Angeles Times said had the high-tech blogosphere speculating Amazon was clearing inventory in advance of a new Kindle launch.
Another Kindle, the Touch 3G, was listed as unavailable Friday, a week after Amazon had offered a 40-percent discount for customers using the Amazon Visa credit card.
The Times said the influential tech Web site Gizmodo said it suspected Amazon would be releasing new Kindle products in time for back-to-school shopping, including a 10-inch Kindle Fire that would compete with Apple's iPad.
Apple, the newspaper said, is expected to unveil its new iPhone next month, which would give Amazon an incentive to get their new Kindles on the shelf as soon as possible.
Exec: Apple offered Samsung patent deal
SAN JOSE, Calif., Aug. 11 (UPI) -- An Apple executive says Steve Jobs secretly offered Samsung a licensing deal for the U.S. firm's patented technology for touchscreen iPhones and tablets.
Borks Teksler, director of patent licensing strategy at Apple, told a federal court jury in San Jose, Calif., Friday that in early 2010, Apple already suspected Samsung was infringing on its patents as it developed the Android phone and put together a royalty proposal for the South Korean company.
Samsung supplied chips and other parts for Apple devices and also builds the popular Android smartphone, which uses a Google operating system and is a major competitor of the iPhone. Apple alleges the Android makes liberal and unauthorized use of Apple's patented technology.
"We didn't understand how a trusted partner would build a copycat product like that," Teksler told the jury.
Teksler said Jobs, who has since died, and current Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook met with Samsung executives in autumn 2010 and offered a deal in which Samsung would pay Apple $30 per phone and $40 per tablet in royalties, a deal Samsung turned down.
Fortune magazine said the royalties would have amounted to as much as $288 million in 2010 alone. Apple has since sued for $2.5 billion in lost sales, an amount that could be trebled by the court if the jury rules in Apple's favor.
The trial resumes Monday.
Penney downplays dismal Q2
PLANO, Texas, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Executives at J.C. Penney said the venerable U.S. department store chain's strategy is working despite a bruising second-quarter performance this year.
Penney reported a larger-than-expected loss for the second quarter and saw its debt downgraded by Moody's Friday, a move company leaders told reporters was not a sign of major trouble.
Penney said the company, based in Plano, Texas, currently had nearly $1 billion in cash and access to a $1.5 billion line of credit as it continued to carry out a nationwide upgrade of its stores and revamp of its marketing plan.
"We currently aren't using this line of credit at all," Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Hannah said, adding that credit downgrades in general can sometimes be a reflection of confidence in business strategies rather than purely the bottom line.
The Wall Street Journal said Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson assured reporters the strategic transformation at Penney's was already paying dividends, including a 25-percent growth in sales of Levis blue jeans.
Johnson urged patience from Wall Street, calling Penney's transformation "a marathon, not a sprint."
FDIC sues banks over mortgage securities
NEW YORK, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Federal regulators sued 11 major banks for allegedly swindling Colonial Bank by selling the Alabama lender $388 million in questionable mortgage-backed securities.
The defendants, including Wells Fargo, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase, were accused by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. of making misleading statements about the strength of the mortgage borrowers and property appraisals.
Colonial Bank went under in 2009, a collapse that will cost the FDIC an estimated $2.8 billion. It was the largest since Washington Mutual the previous year.
The Wall Street Journal said the FDIC suit filed in Manhattan was similar to a suit filed last fall by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the agency that oversees the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, over the purchases of $196 billion in mortgage securities in 2005-2008.
Most of the banks sued by the FDIC denied immediate comment, although Wells Fargo said the charges were "entirely without merit" and would be contested in court.
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