Has Obama Lost Control with Gun Control?; Microsoft vs. China; Brainiac App Not So Smart After All

Out with a…whimper…

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Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As I mentioned yesterday, Smith & Wesson had a banner year for 2015 and even raised its fiscal forecast for 2016. Its stock went up today almost 10% at one point, while shares of Sturm Ruger & Co., the United States’ largest gun manufacturer, went up close to 7%. All this as President Obama announced new rules for gun control, including extending background checks and stricter requirements to purchase firearms online and at gun shows.  It’s debatable whether people are rushing out to buy these guns over personal safety concerns or because they want to get their firearms purchases in before the new laws take effect. But following the epic tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, there was also a surge in firearms purchases –  a chilling side note to horrifying nightmare.  However, President Obama wants citizens to know that these new rules are still “entirely consistent with the Second Amendment and people’s lawful right to bear arms.” Second amendment or not, Smith & Wesson is expected to pull down $650 million this year.

That’s so 2014…

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Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s China vs. Microsoft as China’s State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) are demanding that one of the world’s biggest companies explain itself. Apparently some “major issues” came up when digital data was obtained as part of an ongoing anti-trust investigation into Microsoft by Chinese authorities. The issues seem to involve the Windows operating system that was launched waaaaayyyy back in 2014. The probe started in July 2014 and Microsoft offices in the China were raided in a number of cities including Shanghai and Beijing. Microsoft will need to submit plenty of additional information and offer up a very convincing argument to win back over Chinese authorities, especially if it wants to make sure it keeps its presence there. And it’s a safe bet that the company will do just that. After all, China is the second largest economy in the world and there’s too much money to lose by not fully cooperating. Besides, Microsoft has a bunch of deals in the works with some of China’s biggest companies and it would be a shame to see those fall apart.

Brain drain…

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Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lumosity, the app notable for its “brain training” games is now going to be notable for something else: a $2 million settlement with the FTC. The government agency took exception to Lumosity’s claims which included improved functionality at work, better performance in school, improved cognitive impairment alà Alzeheimer’s!, alleviation of ADD and even ingrown toenail elimination. I was just kidding. About the last one anyway. The FTC says Lumosity’s claims are “unfounded” and did nothing more than freak people out about potential cognitive decline. Besides, science has yet to prove any of Lumosity’s claims. FTC felt Lumosity employed poor marketing tactics in addition to churning out solicited testimonials- a big no no as far as the FTC is concerned. A bunch of neurology and psychology researchers got in on the action – about 70 in all – and called into question the whole “brain training” industry finding that the claims of its benefits are “frequently exaggerated.”  Lumosity offers a monthly subscription for $14.95 or a lifetime subscription for $299.95. But now the company has to notify its subscribers – all 70 million of them – about this new unpleasant FTC development and graciously offer to cancel all those subscriptions sans penalties. With estimated sales of over $40 billion, a slew of cancellations could deal a mighty blow to Lumosity and its parent company Lumos Labs.

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