Boeing engineers might strike
Just when Boeing really needs its engineers, they’re throwing around the idea of a strike. Boeing is working around the clock to solve the battery problems that have grounded its 787s around the world. Its unionized engineers are a big part of that effort. But on Monday, Boeing engineers begin voting on a new contract and on whether to authorize a strike. The union is urging them to reject the contract. The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace will count the ballots on Feb. 19. The union says a strike would shut down Boeing production. The company says it has made plans in case of a strike but it isn’t sharing details.
Apple leads in holiday phone sales
NEW YORK Research firm Strategy Analytics says the launch of the iPhone 5 and the declining popularity of non-smartphones made Apple the biggest seller of phones in the U.S. in last year’s holiday season, for the first time. The firm estimates that Apple shipped 17.7 million iPhones of all kinds to U.S. buyers in the October to December period, meaning it accounted for one in three new phones. Samsung Electronics of Korea was close behind, shipping 16.8 million phones, including non-smart ones. Samsung has been the largest seller of phones to the U.S. market since 2008, Strategy Analytics said. Worldwide, Samsung is still the biggest phone vendor, according to another research firm, IDC. Apple is number three, with 9.9 percent of the market.
Cracker Barrel name fuels dispute
NEW YORK Kraft Foods is suing Cracker Barrel Old Country Store over the restaurant chain’s plans to use the “Cracker Barrel” name on packaged ham and bacon. Kraft says it started using the “Cracker Barrel” name on cheese in 1954. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which operates 620 restaurants around the country, was established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tenn. Kraft said it never took any formal legal action until now because Cracker Barrel Old Country Store had been using the name only at its own locations and website. But Kraft says the chain’s plans to sell hams and bacon using the “Cracker Barrel” name will cause “significant confusion” among consumers. A representative for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Newest PlayStation coming soon
NEW YORK Sony is poised to unveil the next PlayStation game console on Feb. 20, a date that would give the Japanese electronics company a head start over Microsoft’s expected announcement of an Xbox 360 successor in June. Sony Corp. invited journalists to a press event in New York City. The company has not said what it plans to show off, but signs indicate that it’ll be the PlayStation 4. Sony would only say that it “will deliver and speak about the future PlayStation business.”
Energy secretary leaving
WASHINGTON Energy Secretary Steven Chu is stepping down. The Energy Department said Friday Chu has offered his resignation to President Barack Obama. Chu won a Nobel Prize in physics but came under questioning for his handling of a solar energy loan. Chu is a former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. He drew fire from Republicans who criticized his handling of a $528 million federal loan to solar panel maker Solyndra, which later went bankrupt, laying off its 1,100 workers.
The Associated Press contributed.