6at4 Business Report: MS joins BN; Apple avoids taxes; Fuel cells in Delaware

April 30, 2012 2:22:57 PM PDT
Plus, major changes for local United Way chapters and spam text messages are on the rise.

United Way Changes
One of the area's biggest charities is making some major changes in the way it operates. Seven different United Way chapters throughout the region announced today that they will merge into one. As of July 1st, the new organization will be called the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. Officials say the change, which is the result of an 18-month process, will mean a greater impact for every dollar donated, and will amplify the mission of the charity.

Microsoft Invests in Barnes & Noble
Microsoft will be investing $300 million in a new subsidiary that combines Barnes and Noble Nook e-reader with a big focus on textbooks. The plan is to develop a Nook e-reader application for Windows 8 to help both companies take on competition from Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iPad tablets. Barnes shares are now worth almost twice as much today as they were on Friday.

Apple Legally Avoids Billions in Taxes
The New York Times is now reporting Apple legally avoids paying billions of dollars in taxes each year by using offices outside California in lower-tax states like Nevada, as well as outside the U.S. In response, Apple says it "pays an enormous amount of taxes which help its local, state, and federal government." To be fair, it's not just Apple that does this. All corporations do this to some extent. But when you're talking about the biggest company in the world, it adds up to some big numbers.

Spam Texts Surge
Speaking of tech, are you getting more spam texts? They surged 45% last year to 4.5 billion, promising everything from free iPads to gift cards for Walmart. It's not just an annoyance and possibly opening up your phone to fraud, but costing money for consumers who pay to receive texts. Carriers dealing with consumer complaints and how to deal with the growing problem are also facing additional costs.

Fuel Cell Manufacturer in Delaware
A California-based energy company will soon be turning on the lights at a new plant in Delaware. Bloom Energy is a fuel cell maker that broke ground today on a new manufacturing facility. It's expected to bring hundreds of jobs to Newark at the site of what was a Chrysler assembly plant. The fuel cell factory is being built with the help of $16 million in state incentives.