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Trump, Tech Execs Skirmish Over Visa Flap

A group representing tech executives, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates hit back at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal to curb work visas for skilled foreign employees, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Marie-Astrid Langer.

Fwd.us, a group founded by Zuckerberg and others to lobby for issues important to the tech industry such as immigration reform, argued in favor of increasing, not decreasing, the number of H-1B visas. Silicon Valley companies rely on the visas to bring in foreign engineers.

“The idea we should radically restrict pathways for highly-skilled immigrants to come and stay here is – again – just wrong,” Fwd.us President Todd Schulte wrote in a blog post. “The evidence is clear that high-skilled immigrants create American jobs.”

Schulte was responding to the Donald’s immigration plan, in which Trump said foreign workers are using the H-1B program to take jobs away from Americans, and he wants to raise the wages paid to H-1B holders to make it less attractive to employers.

Schulte stressed the idea of startup-visas, a new category of visas for foreign entrepreneurs who want to start their businesses in the U.S. Legislative initiatives for an entrepreneur work permit have been around for years, but have so far always stalled in Congress. “Our global competitors aren’t waiting while we waste time,” Mr. Schulte wrote. In a report published last November, the White House Council of Economic Advisers stressed that new visa options could be a door-opener for about 100,000 foreign workers by 2024.

Santa For Sale

Just in time for the upcoming holiday selling season, the name most closely associated with gift-giving is suddenly available online.

The Santa.com trademark and domain name is being put up for auction by its owners Santa Holdings LLC. The domain, first registered in 1994, had variously been employed as an online gift and holiday shopping portal, and is now looking for a new home. “Santa.com presents a tremendous opportunity to own a piece of Christmas” said Gabe Fried, CEO of retail auction house Hilco Streambank , which is conducting the sale. “The domain has a broad application for e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailers looking to increase sales volume, as well as advertisers looking to promote their products during the holiday season,” he said.

Interested parties can contact Fried at (212) 610-5641 or gfried@hilcoglobal.com. Hilco will be accepting privately-submitted bids prior to the holiday season but has not yet scheduled an auction date. It said it will reach out to interested parties directly.

Costco’s CE Comps Up In August

Same-store sales of consumer electronics at Costco rose by the mid-single digits in August. The strong dog-days performance during a traditionally slow stretch for CE mirrored Best Buy’s solid Q2 comps, and outpaced the warehouse club’s total U.S. comp increase of 1 percent. Total comps were dragged down by a 22 percent drop in gasoline prices year over year, the company said. Excluding their negative effect, domestic comps increased 5 percent for the month. Fuel deflation also impacted net sales, which slipped 1 percent to $8.7 billion in August.

Costco said business was strongest in the Midwest, Texas, and Los Angeles and San Diego.

How Intel Hopes To Reignite PC Sales

The company introduced its sixth-generation Core processor family, which feature performance enhancements and lower power consumption. Stacked up against some of the latest PCs, Skylake chips are 10 percent faster when productivity applications are running with 20 percent lower power consumption. They could unleash fan-less ultra-thin notebooks and high-performance computer sticks, which plug into TVs to turn them into large computers, the company said.

Processors from the new flagship family, based on Intel’s new Skylake design, have begun appearing in high-end gaming PCs, and laptop makers are expected to show their first Skylake-based products at this Week’s IFA 2015 show, a Wall Street Journal report said.

Why DTS Is Buying iBiquity

DTS, the supplier of audio-processing and surround-decoding technology, entered into a definitive agreement to buy iBiquity Digital, the developer of digital HD Radio broadcasting technology, for about $172 million.

The purchase “complements our existing suite of technology and content delivery solutions” and will enable the company “to strengthen our position in the large automotive OEM market,” said DTS chairman/CEO Jon Kirchner. He said he sees “a tremendous opportunity for DTS to capitalize on the upgrade to HD Radio technology as cars are increasingly equipped with screens and advanced entertainment systems.”

HD Radio technology, which iBiquity licenses to automakers and CE suppliers, is the sole FCC-approved method for upgrading AM/FM broadcasting from analog to digital, DTS noted. HD Radio got its start in October 2002 when the FCC approved the HD Radio standard.

For his part, iBiquity president/CEO Bob Struble said iBiquity will “benefit from the additional scale and enhanced resources of a larger collective company.”

Whirlpool Pursuing AGA

Whirlpool is considering adding AGA Rangemaster to its global portfolio of majap brands.

In a federal filing the world’s largest appliance manufacturer confirmed that it has approached Great Britain’s super-premium cooking and refrigeration concern regarding a possible acquisition. No formal binding offer was made, although a Whirlpool bid would have to top a $200 million deal already on the table with Middleby, a U.S. commercial cooking manufacturer that acquired Viking Range in 2013 and has been snapping up majap distributors ever since.

Eighty-six-year-old AGA is best known for its five- and six-figure, cast-iron English country ranges, which are a favorite of celebrities and British royalty, including owners Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prime Minister David Cameron, Paul McCartney, Jamie Oliver, Billy Joel, John Hurt, Sharon Stone and Gerard Depardieu.

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