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Nike Backs Out of Surfing Business

By Oregon Small Business AssociationNike2

Nike Surfing was launched in 2005 to manufacture and market surfing gear, but after seven years, Nike has decided to roll over its surfing business to its Hurley brand. Nike plans to double its investment in surfing, but it will do so by channeling funds and efforts through Hurley, which it acquired in 2002 for an estimated $100 million to $140 million.

All of Nike’s surf athletes, including Kolohe Andino, Carissa Moore, and Julian Wilson, will join the Hurley team in January. This means that Hurley will be the top sponsor for eight of the world’s top 34 surfers. Nike has already announced that it is pulling out as the main sponsor of the US Open of Surfing, an event attended by close to a million people in 2012. Read more »

Palm Scans Replacing ATM’s?

By Oregon Small Business Association,

Biometric scans may become more available as replacements for ATM’s, PIN’s and other personal ID while increasing security and speeding up check-ins and online transactions.

Biometric Technology

Biometric scanners use personal characteristics and traits to identify a person. Palm prints, used widely by Japanese ATM’s and Australian police, show a relief map of the palm. New palm print technology tracks veins and bone structure. Iris scans, although expensive, are considered among the most accurate and acceptable to customers. Facial recognition, which scans the iris and measures distance between the eyes and between the nose and mouth, is being used on some smartphones and laptops. Reuters reported Intel has developed a prototype tablet and software which recognizes the unique pattern of veins on a person’s palm. The tablet will then securely communicate the user’s identity to online accounts.
Banks, Business and Travel

“Biometrics has a real opportunity to take off,” Alphonse Pascual, a security, risk and fraud analyst for Javelin Strategy & Research told MarketWatch. “When they are done well, they are a great solution (to secure identification). Unfortunately, there are still limitations to it.”

Drawbacks include privacy issues and accuracy. But a growing number of businesses, hospitals and financial institutions are investing in the technology. Disney World has employed finger scans at entrances for years.  CLEAR biometrics claims a speedy 5-minute airport identity screening process using iris and fingerprint identification currently in use at five airports.

Customers are growing more comfortable with biometric identification. In fact, a Javelin report on banking authentication claimed that “business customers crave biometrics.” Seven in 10 banking customers told Javelin researchers they were interested in biometrics with 35% saying they preferred using fingerprints. The researchers found technology-driven people liked card issuers and banks that embraced biometrics.

FBI

The FBI is completing a $1 Billion project called Next Generation Identification which will employ a multimodal system in the largest worldwide person-centric biometric database.

Hospitals

Time Health and Family reports New York University’s Langone Medical Center uses palm scans for expedited intake of patients who have their information and palm scan, in numeric code, on file. It makes registration quicker, avoids misidentification and helps when a patient is unconscious. An article in Becker’s Hospital Review reports the advantages of iris scans to help solve patient ID problems.

Privacy Concerns

However, there are objections. The Baltimore Sun reports the use of the PalmSecure system in Maryland schools to pay for lunches has upset some parents who consider it a violation of privacy. Students palms were scanned before the parents were given the choice to opt-out. Parents in other areas of the country also have privacy and cost concerns.

Nike Facing Stiff Competition from Adidas

By Oregon Small Business Association

 

 

 

When Nike’s shirt deal with the London club Arsenal expires in 2013-4, the German manufacturer Adidas is hoping to lure Arsenal away with a kit-supply bid that will at least double Arsenal’s $21 million annual profits. According to the Telegraph, Arsenal fans buy 800,000 shirts every year, which makes them Nike’s third-largest European soccer customer after Manchester United and Barcelona.

Arsenal has worn Nike kits since 1994. Before that, they had an 8-year contract with Adidas.

Nike also has a 13-year contract with Manchester United that will expire in 2015. Last month, United announced that when its contract expires, it will seek a more favorable contract or take its business elsewhere. Last year, United reported retail sales of $54.7 million.

“We continue to believe that there will be an opportunity to reset our existing deal with Nike to market rates,” United’s executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said on a conference call with analysts, according to Bloomberg. “There have been many changes to the world of football since this deal was negotiated in 2001.”

One of those changes is the emergence of new soccer-apparel manufacturing companies such as Kitbag Ltd., Warrior, and Under Armour. “The clubs now have more options and can drive up the sports marketing fee they are getting from the brands,” Andy Anson, United’s former commercial director, told Bloomberg.

In June, Nike announced that for the first time, its soccer-related sales hit $2 billion.

Though Arsenal and United are expected to look for better deals with Nike, the Portland Business Journal says, “The chance of Nike losing either is still remote.”

Columbia River Crossing Bridge Knocked by Taxpayer Group

By Oregon Tax News

The watchdog taxpayer group, Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS), has included the Columbia River Crossing Bridge in its list of what it terms “common sense cuts to avoid the fiscal cliff.” The cuts total $2.0 trillion, which is more than enough to avoid sequestration, the across-the-board budget cuts mandated by law that will automatically go into effect January 2, 2013, if the budget is not otherwise cut. Sequestration will hit defense and non-defense budgets equally.

“Sequestration is bad. It would cut the good along with the bad, the effective and the wasteful. It is irresponsible,” states the TCS October 2012 report.

Instead, the report suggests dozens of projects that should be cut, including the Columbia River Crossing Bridge, which would save $1.25 billion. The report argues that the proposed highway-transit bridge over the Columbia River would only reduce morning commute times by 60 seconds. It also argues that the state transportation department’s justification for the project is based on faulty traffic projections. “Congress should deny state requests for one-third of the project’s billion dollar price tag and require more cost-effective alternatives,” concludes the report.

It also recommends cutting the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project (saving $1.2-$4.6 billion) and the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project (saving $1.4 billion).

The entire TCS report can be found here.

PC Sales in Sharp Decline

By Oregon Small Business Association

Analysts at IDC and Gartner Inc. said PC shipments in this year’s third quarter were down by 87.5 million, or 8% lower than a year ago. A report from IHS iSuppli projected that overall sales would decline this year for the first time in 11 years.

“This is definitively a crossroads” for the computer industry, IDC analyst David Daoud told the Wall Street Journal. “It could be a make or break moment.”

Sales of personal computers are in sharp decline, fueled by the weak economy, falling PC sales in emerging countries, and the rising popularity of smartphones and tablet computers such as the iPad and the Galaxy Tab

Todd Bradley, the head of Hewlett-Packard’s PC business, said he thinks the core PC market will stay flat “potentially through 2015.” Bradley thinks one area of the market that will grow is the all-in-one desktops, systems that have the monitor and computer in the same case.

The Chinese PC maker Lenovo reported their net profit in the three months through September was up 13% from a year ago in spite of the general PC slump. However, this profit was the smallest in more than two years, down 30% from the previous quarter.

Gene Marks of Forbes sees the decline all differently, he says “The PC industry is not dead. And it’s not dying. There’s a secret to the declining PC sales. Today’s PCs, and the operating systems that run them, just last longer”.

Reform needed over wood product certification

Reform needed over wood product certification 
By Oregon Small Business Association

Oregon’s federal lawmakers have taken a strong stand against China’s unfair and manipulative trade practices that have made its government-subsidized wood and paper products artificially cheap in the U.S. market. Chinese firms are also reaping huge profits from illegal logging.

“American manufacturers can’t compete when the deck is unfairly stacked against them,” Congressman Peter DeFazio said, in support of a Congressional investigation of Chinese plywood manufacturers. “We cannot afford to allow China to get away with manipulative trade practices that hurt American companies and cost us jobs.” Read more »

Starbucks breaking new ground in mobile payments

By Oregon Small Business Association

Ordering a double-shot latte is easier and faster these days using Starbucks’ mobile payment program. Even before its recent $25 million investment in Square, the San Francisco mobile payments startup, Starbucks had been processing a million mobile-phone transactions per week.

The Seattle-based coffee chain released its first mobile app in September 2009 which helped customers find stores, learn about coffee, and get nutrition information. In January 2011 the chain released a more powerful Starbucks Card mobile app, which also let consumers pay at the register by waving a bar code on their phone’s screen in front of a scanner. Customers have been able to load Starbucks’ digital prepaid card with an existing credit card. Read more »

Oregon’s job creators

By OSBA

Consumer Cellular opens 650 jobs

When T-Mobile closed its call center earlier this year, 359 workers lost their jobs. Those employees were offered positions at other T-Mobile locations. But now they have another option. Consumer Cellular, a Portland-based wireless and cellphone service provider, leased the 77,000 square-foot call center and plans to eventually hire 650 people to staff the facility. “We are very proud to announce that we are now officially operational with our first wave of nearly 50 employees,” said Consumer Cellular CEO John Marick in a statement. “We will continue to hire in waves and phases so that we can effectively train our new employees..” Read more »

OSBA spreads word on important ballot measures

OSBA President TJ Reilly speaking at a dinner event in Portland this week while detailing important business ballot measures on the November ballot.
By Oregon Small Business Association,

TJ emphasized Measure 79 the ban on real estate transfer taxes which if local real estate transfer taxes spread to other counties would greatly increase the cost of Oregon commercial property which is already suffering from vacancy problems in this economic slow down. TJ also highlighted Measure 84 which repeals Oregon’s death tax. Small businesses are hit hard when a business owner dies and tries to pass on the business to his/her family. TJ also highlighted the measure which takes the business kicker income tax refund. Businesses have appreciated the refund checks when state government over-collects tax revenue and voters have affirmed the kicker issue at the ballot box several times.

Consumer rating shows nation’s favorite businesses

Consumer rating shows nation’s favorite businesses
By Oregon Small Business Association

Red Lobster is more satisfactory to American consumers than any other restaurant this year; in fact, it earned the highest score in the 18th annual ratings of the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Americans love their pizza, too; Papa John’s also earned an 83% satisfaction rating. Meanwhile, United Airlines remains stubbornly unpopular. Only 62% of customers were satisfied this year, and United hasn’t earned a rating above 70% since 1996.Even the overpriced, bureaucratically inept Postal Service got a 75%. But apparently United is the McDonald’s of airlines: like United, McDonald’s got the lowest rating in its class. But though nobody likes either, everybody uses both. Sometimes actions speak louder than satisfactions. Read more »