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04-24-2015 - Marketplace - Amazon's cloud rains profits

Friday, April 24, 2015

Now we know the size and scope of Amazon's growth engine: its cloud services. They're pretty powerful. But Marketplace reporter Sabri Ben-Achour reports, the competition is coming on strong, and it's going to take some big investment for Amazon to hold its own, even with its big lead.   Next, the match-up between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao has finally been confirmed, with the event set to take in millions of dollars. Kenneth Shropshire from the Wharton Sports Business Initiative joins us to talk about the much-anticipated fight.   
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04-23-2015 -Marketplace - Trade Opposition

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Airing on Thursday, April 23, 2015: The opposition to giving the president expanded authority to work on a trade deal with Pacific nations is coming together around the issue of currency manipulation. So what does that mean, exactly, in the context of international trade? We explore. Next, after initially looking like a straightforward deal, it appears the Time Warner-Comcast merger may be on its deathbed.  If the deal doesn’t go through, what’s the fallout for consumers – good, bad, a little bit of both? Or will there be no effect at all? 
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04-22-2015 - Marketplace - Cyber Security

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Airing on Wednesday, April 22, 2015: After years of trying, Congress is getting close to passing a big cybersecurity bill. Business interests and privacy advocates finally have the common ground to get behind a single piece of legislation. The reason? Hacks are becoming much, much bigger and much, much more common. We look at how they managed to find common ground. Next, Verizon has unveiled a new basic TV package for $54.99 a month, prompting objections from major content providers like ESPN. The cable industry has been disrupted as pay-TV distributors, such as Verizon, respond to pressure from “cord-cutter” consumers, who are demanding these “skinny programming packages”. But media companies like Disney are fighting to protect their most lucrative source of revenue – programming fees.  We consider whether the content providers or the distributors have the upper hand in this battle and how it’s it likely to shake out. 
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04-21-2015 - Marketplace - Power Grid Infrastructure

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Airing on Tuesday, April 21, 2015:  Committee votes in Congress are expected in coming days on whether to give the president special authority to finish negotiating a major trade deal with China and others. The deep skepticism that exists among Democrats is summed up well in a line New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said last week : “I don’t believe in these agreements anymore. I’ve changed.” We look at what else has changed since the North American Free Trade Agreement era when it comes to the U.S. economy and its place in the world economy. Next, California’s long history of anti-tax, anti-government propositions, starting with Proposition 13, now stands in the way of the state responding to a devastating drought. How’d that happen? Plus, the Department of Energy is proposing billions in investment in power grid infrastructure to make it more reliable and secure. The U.S. suffers far more outages than other developed countries. And the entire system is vulnerable if extreme weather or human attacks take out transformers--devices which are essential to moving electricity long distances.
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04-20-2015 - Marketplace - Google Algorithms

Monday, April 20, 2015

Airing on Monday, April 20, 2015:  At least 700 migrants are believed to have died in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean on Sunday.  We talk with BBC's European correspondent Chris Morris about why hundreds of thousands of migrants from places such as Libya and Egypt have been attempting to leave their home countries for Europe. Next, Google revs up a revised mobile algorithm on Tuesday that gives preference to sites that are easy to read on mobile devices. You know, not desktop websites crammed onto little screens, but redesigned, reprogrammed sites. This is most likely going to affect small local businesses, whose sites will be pushed down the search list if they haven’t managed to keep up with digital change. Plus, health and biotech firm stocks are performing well. We explore why.
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04-17-2015 - Marketplace - xxx

Friday, April 17, 2015

Airing on Friday, April 17, 2015: German luxury car companies BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi have reported record-high global sales for the first quarter of 2015. Though these carmakers started out in the upscale market, they’re now pushing for a more inclusive customer base.  Will entering the mass market hurt their prestige? We explore. Next, an outage at financial-data giant Bloomberg shows how much some traders rely on it. The event led some markets to stop trading and caused the U.K. government to delay certain bond sales. We take a look at why the ripple effect happened. 
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04-16-2015 - Marketplace - Digital Classrooms

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Airing on Thursday, April 16, 2015: A judge rules that General Motor's bankruptcy shields the company from lawsuits over defective cars built before the bankruptcy. We sort out the consequences of the decision if it stands. Next, the Los Angeles Unified School District  wants its money back for iPads loaded with Pearson software that is sub-par. This is yet another expensive chapter in LAUSD’s disastrous $1 billion-plus classroom tech effort. It’s also another stumbling block on the larger road to the digital classroom. Marketplace reporter Nova Safo uses the LAUSD debacle to talk about what’s at stake as schools convert to digital classrooms and  companies vie for their share of the multibillion-dollar ed-tech market.  
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04-15-2015 - Marketplace - Diamond Dilemma

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Airing on Wednesday, April 15, 2015:  Stephen Dubner, the author of "Freakonomics," rejoins the Marketplace team to discuss the value of diamonds and their hard resale value. High jeweler markups and a limited buyer's market for diamonds have created what's called a "thin market" for the good. Next, some tax preparers are charging high fees and making dubious loans to vulnerable clients. We look at some of the controversial practices these businesses are employing during tax season. Also, the European Union has brought antitrust charges against Google, with claims that the company has taken advantage of the European market by using its search engine to boost its shopping service. Are monopolies always necessarily a bad thing? We explore. 
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04-14-2015 - Marketplace - Farmers' (Spot) Markets

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Airing on Tuesday, April 14, 2015: We’ve been talking a lot about the drought out here in California and just who should get how much water and for what purpose.  One of the ways the state’s dealt with shortages in the past is through the spot market, where farmers with strong water rights sell their water to thirsty cities and farmers with more junior rights.  But as Sarah Gardner reports from the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, the state's drought is causing that market model to come up short.  Next, IBM has teamed up with Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic to launch its "Watson Health Cloud," a service that will use data to create health profiles for patients. We look at the profit motive for each. Plus, a recent draft report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee suggests that red meat consumption in the U.S. can be bad for one's health and the environment. The suggestion has caused controversy over whether sustainability concerns should have factored into the committee's report. 
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04-13-2015 - Marketplace - U.S.-Cuba Trading

Monday, April 13, 2015

Airing on Monday, April 13, 2015: A study finds that nearly three out of four recipients of Medicaid, food stamps and other aid are members of families headed by someone who works –meaning, someone who works but doesn’t earn a wage high enough to keep them out of poverty. The study says this amounts to a $150 billion subsidy of low-paying employers. This comes as several companies have raised their minimum pay to $9 an hour ($18,720 a year), and unions and others advocate for a minimum wage of $15, as median incomes haven’t grown in 20 years or so. Next, a historic handshake this weekend between Presidents Obama and Castro at the Summit of the Americas has helped to fuel optimism over warming relations with Cuba. But – handshakes aside – what obstacles remain to trading with Cuba for businesses both small and large? We explore. 
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04-10-2015- Marketplace- General Electric returns to manufacturing

Friday, April 10, 2015

Airing on Friday, April 10, 2015: General Electric, once a manufacturing titan, made a hard-headed decision to become a financial company and is now going back to manufacturing. Finance is simply too costly and highly regulated. Does General Electric's move mark a sea change in the American economy — perhaps the end of the dominance of finance?  Next, apps on a smartwatch are going to have to be entirely re-visualized — small screen, viewed at arm’s length. It’s a new platform for any app. We look at the design challenge for app makers. Plus, Florida is placing limits on the high-stakes standardized tests. The Florida Legislature on Thursday passed a bill that caps the time students spend on state-authorized tests to no more than 45 hours a year. Will other states follow?
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04-09-2015 - Marketplace - Paying for YouTube?

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Airing on Thursday, April 9, 2015: Google plans to offer subscriptions on YouTube. We want to look at how this will work, and what's behind it. The answer to the latter question will take in the fact that YouTube has a profit problem, and explain the landscape that is moving Google in this direction (streaming competition with Netflix, for example). Next, will people in Massachusetts, or Michigan, or anywhere, end up with less satisfying showers because of California’s drought? California is imposing new low-flow rules on faucets, showers and toilets. We look at how its huge new market for low-flow could swing manufacturers and other states in the same direction. Also, the deceased Latina singer Selena has been given a new lease of life. Some of her unreleased songs are being remastered and released, and she is going on tour. Or a hologram of her is, at least. So many questions. How big is the market for holo-acts? 
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04-08-2015 - Marketplace - Shelling out

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Shell is teaming up with BP — just one of the many oil and gas mergers in the works. A look at the pressure for the industry to consolidate, and if some sectors are under more pressure than others. Next, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras is in Moscow today meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Financially-strapped Greece is making slow progress in debt talks with the EU, and some Greeks believe Russia may be able to help the country financially. Also, California's drought is hitting the agricultural Central Valley hard. Farmers are, of course, business people, and if they only have a certain amount of water, they will invest it in the most lucrative crops. Plus, John Hancock announced today it is the first life insurance company in the nation to offer financial incentives for customers with wearable health technology, who share that data with the company. How will it work, and will other companies follow?
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04-07-2015 - Marketplace - Water you doing?

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Greece claims Germany owes it billions in reparations from World War II, which Germany denies. How Greece arrived at the claim, and why they are pushing for the money now — heavily in debt and badly in need of Germany's help. Plus, recent California water restrictions will kick off higher prices to discourage waste. Cities that exceed new rations could end up paying four times as much for the extra water residents use. Also, Microsoft announced plans to hire more people with autism. Is the initiative about altruism and corporate image, creating a more diverse workforce, attracting employees with specific skills, or all of the above?
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04-06-2015 - Marketplace - Cash crops

Monday, April 06, 2015

The tentative deal with Iran to limit its nuclear activities would also lead to lifted sanctions. Iran has vast reserves of natural gas, zinc, iron and copper, not to mention 80 million consumers and a large, sophisticated middle class. The country could potentially become the largest, most important economy in the Middle East. Plus, tomorrow U.S. Senator Rand Paul is expected to make official what's been widely speculated for months: he's running for president. When hopefuls announce can make a big difference, since candidates can't coordinate with super PACs, but those testing the water can, like Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton. Also, farmers have produced record corn crops the past two years, driving down their own prices by 20 percent. The record number came with converting millions of acres of grassland into marginal farmland — with a carbon footprint equal to 34 coal-powered generating plants.
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Marketplace: A Look At The New Oil World

Friday, April 03, 2015

Airing on Friday, April 3, 2015: The biggest loser of a Kentucky championship in the men’s NCAA tournament might just be the sportsbooks in Vegas. Gamblers have put a lot on Kentucky to win, including tens of thousands of dollars of bets made at 50-1 odds that the Wildcats would go undefeated. That means big liability for the house. On a day the stock markets are closed, we look at the gambling markets. We investigate. Plus, Labor Department figures released today show that employers added just 126,000 new jobs in March. Thousands of jobs in oil and gas extraction were lost as oil prices continued to fall. We recently visited the Bakken shale oil field in North Dakota, where employers and workers are feeling the pinch. Also, oil prices dipped today after news of a framework for an Iran agreement and eventual lifting of sanctions. But Iran oil won’t flow freely for a few years to come, most likely. We look ahead at what that new oil world, once again including Iran, might look like.  
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Marketplace: Who's Responsible For Income Inequality?

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Airing on Thursday, April 2, 2015: Speaking at an economic conference in Washington, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen again hit on the idea that income inequality is a problem. In fact, she called it a "disturbing trend." The central bank’s mandate is clear: promoting full employment and keeping inflation in check. What can (and should) Yellen be doing about income inequality. We explore.
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Marketplace: The Cost Of Refusing Service

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Airing on Wednesday, April 1, 2015: Today’s big IPO — the domain-registration firm GoDaddy — was priced at $20 a share and promptly shot up about 30 percent. We look at who wins and who loses when an IPO isn’t priced at the level the market will bear. Plus, those signs on business windows that say “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”? That’s legal. If someone’s terribly obnoxious, ixnay. But refusing service to a category of people is discriminatory, as well as against the interests of most businesses, which want as many customers as possible. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce says some members have already suffered business losses as a result of objections by big corporations. We investigate.
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Marketplace: Unpacking Jay Z's Tidal

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Airing on Tuesday, March 31, 2015: Jay Z, the musician, has started a “new” streaming music service called Tidal (actually it’s a relaunch of an existing Swedish service that he bought). We unpack the likely business model for Tidal — as a way of explaining the economics of streaming music. Plus, today is the deadline for agreement with Iran on its nuclear program. The Iranians have said that once a deal is struck, sanctions should be lifted at once. Others say the lifting of sanctions should be gradual so as to encourage ongoing compliance. We look at the mechanism for lifting sanctions when transgressing countries stop offending and we ask what are the complications involved in removing sanctions.  
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Marketplace: Rhodes Scholarships Goes Global

Monday, March 30, 2015

Airing on Monday, March 30, 2015: A number of CEOs are making a stand on Indiana and pulling out of potentially lucrative deals there. Tim Cook of Apple planted a flag in an op-ed today. This has raised the ire of conservative shareholders, but these CEOs appear unfazed. They appear to be taking a leaf out of the activist shareholder book, standing on principle and behaving like activist CEOs, regardless of the short-term cost. What is it that makes a CEO an activist? What are the risks of being an activist? And what is it that makes them so confident? Plus, we look at why Lufthansa may be vulnerable to unlimited liability in the crash of its Germanwings airliner, and what unlimited liability in the death of 150 people can mean to an airline. Also, Rhodes scholarships are coming to China. The prestigious grant program that sends promising students to the University of Oxford wants to cultivate a more diverse crop of young people. Selecting college students in China is expected to be the first step in a process that could eventually include Brazil, Russia, Israel and much of the developing world. How will this help the organization financially and benefit the students from these countries?  
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