Toyota wants cars to ‘tweet’
Toyota Motor Corp is setting up a social networking service with the help of a US Internet company and Microsoft so drivers can interact with their cars in ways similar to Twitter and Facebook. Toyota. and Salesforce.com, based in San Francisco, announced an alliance yesterday to launch “Toyota Friend,” a private social network for Toyota owners that works similar to tweets on Twitter. In a demonstration at a Tokyo showroom, an owner of a plug-in Prius hybrid found out through a cellphone message from his Prius called “Pre-boy” that he should remember to recharge his car overnight. Toyota’s service, built on open-source cloud platforms that are the specialty of Salesforce.com, as well as on Microsoft’s platform, will start in Japan next year, and will be offered later worldwide, Toyota said.
Mahindra posts loss
India’s recovering fraud-hit software outsourcer Mahindra Satyam yesterday swung to an unexpected quarterly net loss, from a profit the previous quarter, due to one-off US lawsuit costs. The company showed a fourth-quarter net loss of 3.27 billion rupees (US$72 million) for the three months to the end of March, compared to a net profit of 589 million rupees in the previous quarter ended last December. In response, Satyam’s shares fell nearly 6 percent to a day’s low of 72.3 rupees at the Bombay Stock Exchange. Analysts had forecasted a profit for the quarter.
Exports fuel fast growth
Economic growth accelerated to the quickest pace in a year in the first quarter of this year, helped by surging exports, official data showed yesterday. GDP expanded 2 percent compared with the previous quarter, and by 3 percent from a year earlier, the government’s economic planning agency said. The economy grew by 1.3 percent quarter-on-quarter in the In October-December period. The agency maintained its forecast for GDP growth this year of 3.5 to 4.5 percent. With inflation also soaring, the robust figures added to expectations that the central bank will increase the official cost of borrowing again soon in an attempt to prevent the economy overheating.
Concerns grow about Europe
Rising concerns emerged yesterday over the state of European economic recovery — with key indicators slowing sharply, and eurozone stragglers behind Germany and France showing signs of stagnation, a widely watched survey said. London-based research giant Markit’s composite eurozone index for manufacturing and services output, compiled via company purchasing managers’ questionnaire replies, suggested eurozone growth slowed to a seven-month low this month. Its index fell from 57.8 last month to 55.4 this month. Any score above 50 indicates growth, and this month marked the 22 successive months of economic expansion. However, the deceleration in the rate of growth was also the largest since November 2008, Markit said. “It is not clear the extent to which this reflects temporary factors such as the timing of Easter and disruptions to supply chains emanating from the earthquake in Japan,” said Chris Williamson, Markit chief economist, a view backed by external economists. “But a deterioration in business confidence in the service sector to the weakest since July 2009 suggests that a more fundamental slowing in the pace of economic growth is occurring.”