Microsoft has new Windows, new headset
Microsoft Corp. took the wraps off a new version of Windows — and a new wearable 3-D gadget it calls the HoloLens. The company showed the new headset, which lets users view and interact with three-dimensional images, at an event where it also revealed new features coming to the company's flagship operating software. Executives said Windows 10 is designed to embrace the way people use computers today — offering a familiar experience as they switch back and forth from personal computers to tablets, smartphones and other gadgets. And in a break from past practice, Windows 10 will be released later this year as a free upgrade for anyone owning a computer or gadget that's running Windows 8.1 or 7.
American Express to cut 4,000 jobs
American Express said it plans to cut more than 4,000 jobs this year, about 6 percent of its total workforce. The New York-based charge card company said the cuts are part of a companywide efficiency drive. The announcement came as it reported an 11 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit. The cuts will span the company's U.S. and international operations, American Express spokeswoman Marina Norville said. The company will take a $313 million pretax charge in the fourth quarter, partly as a result of the cuts. American Express Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Campbell said some of the job cuts will be offset by hiring in other parts of the company.
Uber raises $1.6 billion in financing
Popular ride-hailing app Uber has raised $1.6 billion in a deal with Goldman Sachs wealth management clients. Goldman Sachs spokeswoman Andrea Raphael says the financing comes in the form of a bond that can later be converted into stock when Uber goes public. Goldman says the deal completed a few days ago is one of the largest private convertible debt offerings on record. It was earlier reported by Bloomberg News. Last month, San Francisco-based Uber raised $1.2 billion in financing that valued the company at $40 billion.
Canada cuts its key lending rate to 0.75%
Forecasting a major economic slowdown amid lower oil prices, the Bank of Canada unexpectedly cut its key lending rate. The central bank reduced the overnight rate to 0.75 percent, from 1 percent. It is the first rate change since September 2010. The move comes as Canada deals with the consequences of lower oil prices, which are now around $48 a barrel. In recent weeks, domestic companies have announced a flurry of spending cuts and layoffs. The Bank of Canada now predicts that the economy will grow at an annualized rate of 1.5 percent in the first half of the year.
Honda to reveal new Pilot SUV next month
Honda's Pilot — the blocky, boxy three-row crossover — is getting a makeover. Honda announced that it will debut the all-new 2016 Pilot at the Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 12. The third-generation crossover will look to re-establish Honda in a segment that is brimming with new, compelling models from rival automakers. No photos or details concerning the new Pilot were released.
FROM NEWS SERVICES