Saturday, October 27, 2012

Surface tablet buzz starts, but Windows 8 excitement muted

SEATTLE (Reuters) - U.S. shoppers woke up with mild Surface fever on Friday, lining up in moderate numbers to buy Microsoft's groundbreaking tablet computer designed to challenge Apple's iPad.

The global debut of the Windows 8 operating system was greeted with pockets of enthusiasm, but not the mania reserved for some previous Apple Inc launches.

Microsoft is positioning the slick new computing device, which runs a limited version of Windows and Office with a thin, click-on keyboard cover, as a perfect combination of PC and tablet that is good for work as well as entertainment.

"I like the flexibility of having the keyboard and the touch capability," said Mike Gipe, 50, who works in sales for bank Barclays, and was planning to buy a Surface tablet at Microsoft's pop-up store in Times Square in New York.

"It's the combination of having the consumer stuff and the work stuff," he said, looking forward to using Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations on the new device. Learn More...

Friday, October 5, 2012

Gasoline Prices Set to Rise Through Election Day

Retail gasoline prices, already at the highest levels on average since July 2008, are likely to continue to climb this month as refinery and pipeline problems overshadow weakness in U.S. consumer demand.

On Wednesday night, a fire broke out at Exxon's (XOM) Baytown, Texas refinery, a 584,000 barrel per day facility that is the largest operating refinery in the U.S.

Exxon said there may be "some impacts to production" from the fire, but the plant will resume normal operations. A partial shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, the nation's largest oil product pipeline, also contributed to supplies fears, as it impacted the portion of the line carrying gasoline from Atlanta to Nashville.

"It will only take another refinery issue and a bit more of geopolitical noise to have the first U.S. election at a US average gasoline price of $4 a gallon," says energy analyst Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix. Learn More...