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Apple Inc unveiled a revamped MacBook Pro on Thursday, adding a fingerprint reader, replacing function keys with a small touch screen and slimming down the ageing workhorse of its computer notebook line. Customers will be able to open up the new notebook with Touch ID, the fingerprint reader also on iPhones, and customize the touch screen bar of keys. The Mac line accounted for about 11 percent of Apple sales in the just-finished fiscal year, with the number of machines sold down by 10 percent to 18.5 million.
The acquisition will also help Qualcomm, which provides chips to Android smartphone makers and Apple Inc , reduce its dependence on a cooling smartphone market. With the deal, Qualcomm is taking a big bet on the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), which enables everyday objects such as fridges and cars to communicate with each other. "The pace of innovation in automobile and IoT will increase dramatically and I think we look at it as a tremendous opportunity," Qualcomm Chief Executive Steven Mollenkopf said on a conference call.
More than 300 Twitter employees will be affected by the layoffs as part of a broader restructuring, a figure similar to an earlier round of reductions announced a year ago. Separately, the company announced it would discontinue Vine, a video app launched in 2013 that played brief clips on a repeat loop that struggled to compete with Facebook's Instagram. Twitter, which has seen user growth stall amid competition from nimbler rivals such as Instagram and Snapchat, said its user base ticked up 3 percent to 317 million average monthly active users in the quarter.
Belgium's regions agreed to a free trade pact with Canada on Thursday, ending weeks of uncertainty when internal divisions in just one country blocked the European Union of 500 million people sealing the landmark deal. Prime Minister Charles Michel said the regions and linguistic communities had drafted a four-page addendum to the pact that answered their concerns. The text addresses fears that a system to protect foreign investors could let multinationals block new rules on the environment, labour rights or public services - specifying that the "investment protection" regime would not come into force during an initial period.
Korean carmakers Hyundai Motor Co and affiliate Kia Motors Corp will pay $41.2 million to resolve a long running investigation by 33 U.S. states over the automakers' 2012 mileage restatements, state attorney generals said Thursday. In 2014, the automakers were hit with $350 million in penalties by the U.S. government for overstating fuel economy ratings.
New orders for U.S. manufactured capital goods unexpectedly fell in September amid weak demand for computers and electronic products, which could temper expectations for an acceleration in business spending in the fourth quarter. Other reports on Thursday showed a drop in the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week and a jump in contracts to purchase previously owned homes in September. The Commerce Department said non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, fell 1.2 percent after three straight months of strong gains.
Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co have worked all year to convince investors that they are no longer prisoners of the U.S. auto market cycle and have solid plans to fend off challenges from Silicon Valley interlopers. This week, Wall Street looked at the Detroit companies' stronger-than-expected quarterly results and turned thumbs down. GM, the largest U.S. automaker, reported record third-quarter net income on Tuesday, but its shares have fallen nearly 5 percent since then.
The top executive at United Parcel Service Inc said on Thursday he is seeing a greater commitment from President Barack Obama's administration on getting the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal completed despite negative election campaign rhetoric about free trade agreements. "I'm still optimistic there's a chance to get this for a vote in the lame-duck session," UPS Chief Executive David Abney told Reuters in a telephone interview, referring to the U.S. Congress vote on the agreement. "If anything, I'm seeing a greater commitment from the administration than before," he added.