Apple tells maps software manager: Get lost

Apple Inc. has fired the manager responsible for its troubled mapping software, seeking to win back the trust of users disappointed after the program debuted in September, Bloomberg News reported. Richard Williamson, who oversaw the mapping team, was fired by Senior Vice President Eddy Cue, Bloomberg said, citing anonymous sources. Cue, who took over last month as part of a management shake-up, is seeking advice from outside mapping-technology experts and prodding digital maps provider TomTom to fix landmark and navigation data it shares with Apple.

What fiscal cliff? Consumer confidence rises

Americans continued to shake off fears of the looming fiscal cliff, with a gauge of consumer confidence rising slightly this month to its highest level since early 2008. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index edged up to 73.7 in November from 73.1 the previous month, the group said Tuesday. The latest reading is the highest since February 2008 and comes after another widely watched index of consumer confidence, put out by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan, held at a five-year high last week in its final November reading.

Most durable-goods orders rose last month

Demand for goods such as machinery and electronics climbed in October by the most in five months, signaling companies are starting to overcome concern the looming fiscal cliff will derail the U.S. economy. Bookings for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a proxy for future business investment, rose 1.7 percent last month, the most since May, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. Orders for all durable goods were little changed, beating the median forecast of economists that projected a 0.7 percent drop.

OECD cuts global economy forecast for '13

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development sharply cut its forecast for the world economy, warning that failure to resolve the euro crisis and to avert a fiscal impasse in the United States could trigger a global recession. The Paris-based OECD predicted that gross domestic product in its 34 member nations, all developed economies, would expand by 1.4 percent in 2013, a significant downward revision from its forecast of 2.2 percent made just six months ago.

GM says electric Spark will start under $25K

General Motors, which has failed to meet sales goals for the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, plans to begin selling an all-electric version of the Chevrolet Spark initially in California and Oregon in 2013's third quarter. The electric model will start at less than $25,000 after a $7,500 U.S. tax credit, the company said Tuesday in an e-mailed statement. Michael Albano, a GM spokesman, declined to provide an exact price. The gasoline-powered Spark has a starting price of $12,245, according to

U.S. won't call China currency manipulator

The Obama administration declined to brand China a currency manipulator, while saying the yuan "remains significantly undervalued." China "has substantially reduced the level of official intervention in exchange markets since the third quarter of 2011," the Treasury Department said. Still, further appreciation of the yuan "against the dollar and other major currencies is warranted." Critics of China's exchange-rate policies say China deliberately suppresses the value of its currency, making its goods cheaper overseas and costing jobs in the U.S.

Ericsson sues Samsung over phone patents

Ericsson, the market leader in mobile phone networking equipment, filed a lawsuit against Samsung, the biggest smartphone maker, claiming that it had infringed on 24 of Ericsson's software and hardware patents. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas, was the second brought by Ericsson in six years against Samsung, which climbed atop the smartphone market largely by using Google's Android operating system. Like most major mobile device companies, Samsung makes phones and tablet computers that use some hardware and software developed and patented by Ericsson.