Alexa, Cortana finally get the conversation going

Business / Business News /

Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana are coming soon to a smart device near you – together, with new integrated features that allow the digital assistants to talk to each other.

The two companies said the integration would be live for U.S. customers Wednesday, the first public launch for the joint service since the companies began testing ...Read more

'Video games'? Pilots wonder how plane thief learned to do aerial acrobatics

Business / Business News /

SEATTLE -- The barrel roll that Richard Russell pulled off during his flight Friday evening looked sloppy to experienced pilots.

But the fact that the baggage handler completed the trick at all was evidence to some observers that Russell, who died when the Horizon Air plane he stole crashed into an island in South Puget Sound, may have taken ...Read more

This Silicon Valley car tech firm is bringing secret weapon to the streets of Sacramento

Business / Business News /

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A Silicon Valley tech company recently posted a video front and center on its website that may startle some Sacramentans.

It shows a sleek black car driving across the Tower Bridge ... with no one in it.

The company, Phantom Auto, is a key player in the emerging world of autonomous vehicles. But the car cruising across ...Read more

Is Medicare's latest change a step too far?

Business / Business News /

Though its name sounds like a trendy workout craze, Medicare's new "step therapy" policy has nothing to do with getting people in their 60s to move their feet.

Sometimes called "fail first," step therapy is the term used when a health insurance company forces doctors to prescribe the cheapest medication first, providing access to more expensive...Read more

Tech Q&A: How to get data from one device to another

Business / Business News /

Q: I copied some photos from my camera's memory card to a newly created folder on my two-year-old Surface Pro tablet PC, using a USB card reader. I could see the photos after I transferred them, but when I restarted the PC the photos were gone. I haven't gotten any "low memory" warnings. What's wrong?

-- Angie LaMere, Bloomington, Minn.

A: I ...Read more

Helpware: Two clicks and you've got your backup

Business / Business News /

There is no shortage of backup programs -- SugarSync (my favorite), Dropbox and Carbonite come to mind. They're great for backing up individual files to the cloud, but what if your hard disk fails or you get a new computer? How do you back up your program files -- and restore everything -- documents, photos and programs -- to a new hard disk or ...Read more

Let's talk about tech, baby: Which companies Congress mentions most

Business / Business News /

The past decade has been tumultuous for American businesses. There have been quite a few financial industry scandals, plus the bailout of the auto industry. But the industry federal lawmakers talked the most about was tech.

It's another indicator of technology's power and influence that a new analysis shows tech companies topped Congressional ...Read more

Pioneering installment lender CashCall stops offering personal loans

Business / Business News /

CashCall Inc. appears to have shuttered its consumer-lending business, perhaps marking an end to a groundbreaking and legally fraught 15-year run of offering high-interest loans.

The Orange County company's website,, no longer includes an online loan application. A customer service representative reached at the company's toll-free ...Read more

Dealflicks, once billed as the Priceline of movie tickets, is no more

Business / Business News /

Dealflicks Inc., the start-up once billed as the Priceline of movie ticket sellers, has thrown in the towel after years of struggling to gain traction.

The San Francisco company, which promoted deals on tickets and concessions, sent an email to customers Tuesday saying its service has ended, effective immediately.

"This is unfortunate news for...Read more

Chicago-area manufacturer to lay off 150 people as it moves operations to Mexico, in part to avoid tariffs on Chinese metal

Business / Business News /

A manufacturer of storage safes is closing its two Chicago-area factories and moving operations to Mexico, in part because of the Trump administration's tariffs on metal from China.

Stack-On Products plans to lay off 128 people at its facility in Wauconda, Ill., and 25 people at its McHenry, Ill., plant when it closes both facilities Oct. 12, ...Read more

Woman says she was denied job because name too 'ghetto'; company says it was hacked

Business / Business News /

ST. LOUIS -- A woman who applied for a customer service job at a clinic that treats men with low testosterone said she was denied a job because of her "ghetto" name.

Hermeisha Robinson, of Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo., posted on Facebook an email she received from Mantality Health in Chesterfield, Mo., in response to her application.

"Thank ...Read more

New Southwest Airlines emotional support animal policy allows only dogs and cats on leashes or in carriers

Business / Business News /

Joining several other carriers that have adopted tough new rules on pets, Southwest Airlines is adopting a new policy for emotional support animals in the cabin, allowing only dogs and cats that are restrained by a leash or kept in a carrier.

The new policy, announced Tuesday by the Dallas-based carrier, also limits each passenger to one ...Read more

Tinder co-founders and execs file $2-billion lawsuit accusing the dating app's owner of cheating

Business / Business News /

The co-founders of Tinder and seven current and former executives have filed a lawsuit against the dating app's parent company alleging it undermined the app's valuation to deny them billions of dollars' worth of stock options.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in New York State court, seeks a minimum of $2 billion in damages from IAC/InterActiveCorp ...Read more

Tesla board moves to explore going private, and shareholders sue over Elon Musk's tweets

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WASHINGTON -- Tesla Inc.'s board of directors said Tuesday it was forming a special committee to explore Chief Executive Elon Musk's desire to take the Palo Alto electric-car maker private even as at least two shareholder lawsuits have been filed alleging he made false and misleading statements about the effort.

The committee of three ...Read more

Playboy Enterprises sues cryptocurrency company, alleging fraud and breach of contract

Business / Business News /

Playboy Enterprises, the parent company behind the legendary adult magazine, is suing a cryptocurrency technology company on allegations of fraud and breach of contract, claiming that it failed to live up to an agreement to integrate blockchain technology into Playboy's online media channels.

The lawsuit, recently filed in Los Angeles County ...Read more

Activist investor abandons quest to block $67 billion Cigna-Express Scripts deal

Business / Business News /

Activist investor Carl Icahn announced late Monday he is abandoning his effort to block the $67 billion acquisition of Express Scripts Holding Co. by Cigna Corp.

In a statement on his website, Icahn said he informed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of his decision, which he based on support for the deal from two institutional ...Read more

Why Florida law may shield companies behind deadly FIU bridge from criminal charges

Business / Business News /

Engineers working for Florida International University saw gaping cracks open in their brand-new bridge.

Someone thought the damage was sufficiently ominous to take a series of pictures. But no one thought to share the photos with employees at the Florida Department of Transportation, which could have ordered the road closed and traffic ...Read more

Astronaut capsule development 'will not be a losing proposition' for SpaceX

Business / Business News /

Despite delays that have pushed initial test flights months behind schedule, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell told reporters Monday that a NASA contract to build an astronaut transport capsule "will not be a losing proposition" for the company.

The proclamation comes as SpaceX continues to work through certification of its Crew Dragon capsule's...Read more

Consumer Confidential: Cable's answer to cool new streaming services? Soaring internet prices

Business / Business News /

The good news: More "skinny bundles" of pay-TV channels will be available to consumers as a growing number of households abandon fat programming packages and seek cheaper online streaming options for home entertainment.

The bad news: Analysts say cable and phone companies, quickly adapting to this new reality, will keep jacking up internet ...Read more

H-1B use skyrocketed among Bay Area tech giants

Business / Business News /

Even as the White House began cracking down on U.S. work visas, major Silicon Valley technology firms last year dramatically ramped up hiring of workers under the controversial H-1B visa program, according to newly released data.

The data show the importance of H-1B workers to the tech industry, which has long lobbied to increase the number of ...Read more