Confidence index stable: GfK
German consumer confidence is expected to be stable next month as the economy defies political uncertainty in parts of the eurozone, GfK SE said. The Nuremberg, Germany-based market research company yesterday forecast that its consumer-sentiment index, based on a survey of about 2,000 people, would remain at 5.9 next month, the level it reached this month. That is in line with the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 30 economists. German business confidence unexpectedly fell this month, as Italy remains without a government and Cyprus has reignited concerns about the euro, roiling financial markets. Still, the Bundesbank predicts the German economy would expand in the current quarter after contracting 0.6 percent in the final three months of last year. “The ongoing recession in the eurozone and the danger of a renewed eruption of the debt crisis have thus far not been damping the economic mood,” GfK said in an e-mailed statement.
Google Glass picks winners
Google Inc has picked 8,000 people in the US who will have a chance to wear the company’s new Internet-connected glasses, which are being described as the next breakthrough in mobile computing. Google began notifying contest winners on Tuesday. The winners will have to pay US$1,500 apiece if they want a test version of the product, called “Google Glass.” They also will have to travel to New York, Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay area to pick up the device, which is not expected to be available on the mass market until late this year or early next year. The excitement stems from the belief that Google Glass is at the forefront of a new wave of technology known as “wearable computing.”
Ericsson eyes Microsoft unit
Ericsson AB is in talks to buy Microsoft Corp’s IPTV business, which makes software used by phone companies such as AT&T Inc to deliver television over the Internet, people with knowledge of the matter said. The transaction could be announced in a few weeks, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. Ericsson, the largest maker of wireless networks, is seeking to cater to phone companies that are competing with cable, satellite and Web-based providers. The move will also help Ericsson step up its emphasis on software and services amid accelerating competition in hardware. Microsoft, the biggest software maker, intends to focus on delivering TV through its Xbox game console, a person familiar with its plans said.
French GDP flat last year
The French economy, the eurozone’s second biggest, contracted by 0.3 percent late last year and business activity was flat for the full year as household purchasing power declined for the first time since 1984, official data showed yesterday. The fourth-quarter decline in GDP followed a slight increase of 0.2 percent in the three months from July through September, the national statistics institute Insee said as it revised the third-quarter figure up slightly from a previous estimation of 0.1 percent. With the economy contracting by 0.1 percent in each of the first two quarters, growth last year was flat, below the government’s expectation of a slight increase of 0.3 percent. This year, Insee forecasts that business activity will remain flat in the first three months and edge up by just 0.1 percent in the second quarter.