Company News: Apple, GlaxoSmithKline, Alibaba Group, Starbucks, U.K. Internet Operators

An iSigh of Relief

• Apple’s third-quarter earnings provided some comfort to investors who have worried that the iPhone maker couldn’t withstand a prolonged attack from makers of low-end smartphones. Apple earned $7.47 a share in the quarter—down 20 percent from a year earlier but surpassing analyst estimates. It promised a new product lineup in the fall.

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• GlaxoSmithKline is in talks with several companies in China to create a joint venture to research and market new vaccines. The drugmaker says the mainland’s rising affluence and growing efforts to reduce child mortality could fuel sales. GlaxoSmithKline is facing an ongoing bribery investigation in China.

• Alibaba Group Holding leaped into the race to create smart televisions with its new set-top box, which melds TV viewing with Internet services and online shopping. The device, the Wasu Rainbow, will also integrate the e-commerce giant’s payment system, Alipay, and is scheduled for release in September.

• Starbucks is adding another item to its growing grocery business: Greek yogurt. The product will be produced by Danone and sold in supermarkets under the Evolution Fresh juice brand, which Starbucks purchased in 2011. Groceries accounted for about 10 percent of the coffee retailer’s revenue in the last fiscal year and have been expanding faster than its cafe sales.

• U.K. Internet operators will have to block access to online pornography unless customers opt in to receive it, under a plan announced by Prime Minister David Cameron. Filters will be installed as the default for new customers, and existing users will be asked if they want the filters. Those who don’t reply will have the filters activated automatically.

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