In the news this morning: Dish makes a competiting bid for Clearwire, Google drops a patent claim against Microsoft, Boeing's 787 has more problems, Apple is working on a cheaper iPhone, Darden Restaurants shuffles management and Seagate Technology raises its revenue guidance.
Dish Network (DISH) has reportedly made a $2.28 billion offer for Clearwire Corp. (CLWR), topping a previous bid from Sprint Nextel Corp. (S). Dish has already spent $3 billion on spectrum and seems to be preparing to move into the mobile broadband business, but some analysts have speculated that the company is actually buying spectrum to sell for a higher price later. Dish's $3.30 per share bid for Clearwire is preliminary and subject to a variety of conditions and approvals, including a waiver of certain conditions by Sprint.
Search giant Google (GOOG) has dropped a patent claim against Microsoft Corp. (MSFT). The move comes on the heels of Google's settlement with regulators in the U.S. limiting how it can use its vast array of technology patents.
All Nippon Airways canceled a domestic flight after a Boeing (BA) 787 erroneously showed a problem with the plane's brakes. The issue is the latest in a cluster of issues with Boeing's new flagship aircraft. A fuel leak forced a 787 to return to its gate before takeoff in Boston on Tuesday, while an electrical fire broke out in plane while it was on the ground on Monday. Both of those planes were operated by Japan airlines at Logan International Airport.
Chinese officials approved a new resort and casino in Macau Wednesday. The casino will be the second in Macau for MGM Resorts (MGM). This one will be located in the Cotai district and the company hopes the facility will help it compete with competitors who already have a larger presence in the region.
Apple (AAPL) is reportedly working to produce a low-end iPhone that could launch later this year the according to the New York Times. One possibility includes replacing the phone's current aluminum shell with polycarbonate plastic. The company is under pressure to expand its reach as it's market share slipped to 14.6% of smartphone shipments in the third quarter of 2012, from a peak of 23% of shipments in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Olive Garden's leader is being replaced after a sales slump has persisted despite a new marketing campaign. Dave George, most recently the head of Darden's (DRI) LongHorn Steakhouse chain, will take over as president of Olive Garden on Jan. 14. George replaces John Caron who has been with Darden for 10 years. Valarie Insignares, who is currently the company's chief restaurant operations officer will now lead LongHorn. The company also named Will Setliff as its new chief marketing officer. He was previously executive vice president of marketing for the company's specialty restaurant group.
Disk-drive maker Seagate (STX) raised it revenue guidance for the second fiscal quarter, which ended Dec. 28. The company now expects sales of $3.6 billion, up from a previous forecast for $3.5 billion. Analysts had been forecasting sales of $3.52 billion. The company also said gross margin was higher than 27 percent during the quarter. It had forecast gross margin in a range of 27 percent to 32 percent.