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The Gadget Maker

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It seems Google is serious about its new role of a gadget maker. At a developer conference in San Francisco, the search giant announced a tablet, Nexus 7, and some other hardware it had designed. This includes Nexus Q, a $299 media player, and futuristic eyewear called Google Glass, which adds a computer display to a spectacles-like device. Nexus 7 is its big bet. Priced at $199, it will be available from mid-July this year, and is expected to compete with veterans Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Amazon Fire and the new entrant, Microsoft Surface. Google plans to offer its online services through the tablet, which is built by Taiwan's Asus. Google recently enhanced its own hardware capabilities through a $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility. That said, given that the software firm's hardware entries have not been a big success, Google has to strive hard to make the cut.

Phaseout Drive
General Motors India will stop making Aveo and Optra cars. It will replace them with new brands, said president and managing director Lowell Paddock. GM will launch Sail in both hatchback and sedan versions in the next few months. Sail will replace the Aveo U-VA hatchback and Aveo sedan. The company has similar plans for the sedan Optra. 

ON VIGIL: The RBI asks Kotak Mahindra Bank to slash its promoter stake.

Stake Rollback
The Reserve Bank of India asked Kotak Mahindra Bank to more than halve its promoter holding to 20 per cent by FY 2017-18 end, and then to 10 per cent, from the current 45.21 per cent. Currently, the Uday Kotak family and associates account for the promoter holding in the bank. Kotak himself owns more than 41 per cent in the bank. The promoters held 63 per cent when the bank started operations in 2003. 

Gloomy Forecast
India Inc's results for the first quarter of this fiscal are going to be negative, says Crisil Research. Except banks and oil firms, all other companies will touch new lows. India Inc's revenue growth is likely to fall to 14 per cent from 17.5 per cent a year ago — the lowest in the past six quarters.

No Relief
The Centre will not backtrack on the controversial General Anti-Avoidance Rules, or GAAR. But the government says it will try to resolve the contentious issues that have unnerved investors in the next two to three weeks. There were reports that the government could drop the draft rules to calm investors.

Clearing Accounts
Global banking giant HSBC sold its stake in two Indian banks for $425 million (about Rs 2,425 crore). It sold a 4.73 per cent stake in  Axis Bank for $329 million and a 4.74 per cent stake in Yes Bank for around $96 million.

NEWS FLASH: Splitting up

Lankan League
Indian businesses bought all the seven franchises on offer in the Sri Lanka Premier League, even as India's cricket board BCCI deterred its players from participating in the Twenty20 league. The successful bidders include Wadhawan Holdings, India Cricket Dundee, Rudra Sports and Varun Beverages. The event will start on August 10.  

Divide And Play
Scandal-hit media mogul Rupert Murdoch plans to split his empire. News Corp said it would pursue dividing the $60-billion media conglomerate into separate publicly traded publishing and entertainment companies. The 81-year-old Murdoch will be chairman of both companies and will be the chief executive of the entertainment business. 

Money Moves
Fino, a financial inclusion services provider in Mumbai, bought handset-maker Nokia's prepaid mobile payment services business in India for an undisclosed sum. The firm has been christened Alpha Payment Services India. 

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 09-07-2012)