Quoted – Google Begins Buttressing Its Net Neutrality Argument

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fter a few days of absorbing the criticism of its joint proposal with VerizonGoogle (Nasdaq: GOOG) — a company that was once counted as a stalwart in the push for Net neutrality — is defending itself.

In a nutshell, the plan calls for excluding the mobile Internet from most of the consumer protections that would apply to the wired Internet. It would allow the creation of a “private” Internet, where service providers such as Verizon could offer as-yet-undefined broadband services.

Both companies were hit with a wave of criticism following their announcement, but the comments aimed at Google have been more withering because of the perception that it has sacrificed Net neutrality principles.

In making its defense, Google noted that even if people don’t agree with all of its points, the proposal at least represents progress toward resolving what has become a contentious issue. It also took pains to address what it called several “myths” circulating about the proposal, starting with the notion that Google has sold out on Net neutrality. (Its rebuttal: No progress was being made in Washington, and partnering with a provider would move the debate forward.)

Average citizens may not understand all the nuances of Net neutrality policy, but they are starting to hear about it one way or another, if only because of the ink devoted to the joint Google-Verizon proposal, said Scott Testa, a business professor at Cabrini College.

It is the type of debate that can easily devolve into evil versus good, he observed, depending on who is framing the issue.

“I think at a certain level, people’s gut reaction when they hear the bare-bones argument is to side with Net neutrality,” said Testa. “People are leery of the Internet being “controlled” by any one party.”


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Quoted – Retailer Smart Buys at Stupid Prices will shut all 22 locations – Fresno Bee

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Quoted – Retailer Smart Buys at Stupid Prices will shut all 22 locations – Fresno Bee

Discount retailer Smart Buys at Stupid Prices is closing all its 22 stores, including the Fresno store that opened less than a year ago, according to the Fresno store’s manager.

Experts say the closure is proof that it takes more than low prices to make it in this economy. The Washington-based chain, which sells surplus and close-out merchandise from other retailers, has stores in California and Washington.

Employees at the Merced store — which opened in July — and the Stockton store confirmed that their locations will close as well.

Closing stores so soon after opening them is unusual, said Scott Testa, a professor who follows retail at Cabrini College in Philadelphia. He noted that he doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of what happened with Smart Buys.

“Opening stores in the summer and closing down completely in September tells me that … maybe they grew a little too quick, or maybe they lost some financing,” he said. “Those indications tell me that something horribly went wrong.”

When retailers run into financial troubles, they typically stop opening new stores and focus on becoming financially sound, sometimes closing underperforming stores, he said.

Midsized retailers have a tough time competing against larger chains, and Smart Buys may have faced some of the same challenges that the now-closed Gottschalks faced, Testa said. Such stores have less pull with manufacturers than large chains, he said.

“The smaller chains sometimes get stuck with the crumbs,” he said. “If there’s a hot product that a lot of people want, the Best Buys and the Wal-Marts of the world, they usually get first dibs.”


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