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Single-serve coffee is in vogue.  Seattle-based Starbucks says that's the motivation behind a long-awaited deal with Vermont's Green Mountain Coffee, which the companies signed today.  It's part of Starbuck's strategy for continued growth in the US and Canada. 

AP

Microsoft's Xbox is breaking records in the gaming world. The company says it has already sold 10 million of its newfangled motion-controller device, the Kinect, since the product launched in November.

That's a world record.

Starbucks

In 40 years it went from a tiny store near Pike Place Market to a global brand, recognized around the world.  Starbucks is celebrating its  anniversary with a new, simplified logo that doesn’t have the word "Starbucks" or "coffee" on it. 

On Tuesday, a band played and hundreds of employees gathered and cheered as the logo was unveiled at Starbucks headquarters in Seattle.  CEO Howard Schultz told the crowd there were many doubters in the beginning who didn’t think Starbucks could ever go beyond the West Coast. "But they were wrong," he said.

stu_spivack / Flickr

Portland – among other cities – has a thriving street food scene, with dozens of food carts and trucks serving up a wide range of cuisines. Seattle? Not so much …

Now, the Seattle City Council is expected to consider changes to the city’s restrictive food vending laws that would open up the public streets to food-on-the-go. 

AP

Boeing's chief rival for the lucrative Air Force tanker refueling contract ended a decade-long fight for over the work today, announcing it will not challenge the Defense Department's award for the project. 

The Herald of Everett's Michelle Dunlop reports EADS, the European parent company of Airbus, decided a challenge could not be mounted:

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Foreclosures and uncertainty are clogging up the real estate market, and one local expert says prices won't go up again before next year.

The median price of a home in King County  is down nearly 7% compared to a year ago.  That's one of many tidbits in the mass of numbers released this month by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. 

Sales data for February show the median sales price in Washington's most populous county down 7 percent compared to last year. The median price of a home in King County has dropped to $320-thousand dollars. That's about $23,000 dollars less than in February of last year. 

Washington state added 11,000 jobs in January as the unemployment rate in state dropped from 9.3%  in December to 9.1% at the start of the year.

It's the strongest month of job growth in three years, and the largest since November 2007, the month before the national recession began. The gains came outside the agriculture sector.

This story has been updated to correct the dollar amount the state believes to have been poached.

Last summer, we brought you a story about gaps in the system that's supposed to keep Washington shellfish safe to eat. Now state lawmakers appear ready to get tougher with shellfish operators who violate food safety laws.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

It looks like the Seattle Center Food Court will soon be run by a concessionaire that has current contracts with Woodland Park Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo. 

The Seattle Center has announced a letter-of-intent with Lancer Hospitality. 

The space was built originally as an armory, completed in 1939.  Located at the base of the Space Needle, it was famous in the 1970s for the Bubbleator amusement ride (now in Burien) and for at that time newfangled food attractions, such as Orange Julius smoothies. 

It's a day of celebration and pride at the Boeing plant in Everett, after the company won the $35 billion-dollar Air Force contract for a new aerial tanker fleet. 

Ben Margot / AP Photo

Aerospace workers in the Puget Sound region are celebrating.  So is the state's congressional delegation, which has fought for 10 years to win a lucrative contract to build a refueling tanker for the U.S. Air Force.

The Pentagon's Deputy Secretary of Defense, William Lynn, says Boeing was "a clear winner" in the competition to build a multi-billion-dollar refueling tanker.  This means unless rival bidder EADS contests the decision, a newly revamped 767 line at Boeing's Everett factory will likely be busy for decades. 

Wikimedia Commons

The tumultuous political climate in the Middle East is creating volatility in the price of wheat.  Northwest farmers and wheat traders are trying to hedge against the uncertainty.

Cliff Owen / AP Photo

Several former Washington Mutual executives have been notified by the federal government that they'll be sued over their role in the collapse of the Seattle-based bank.

The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that sources familiar with the suit say the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation intends to seek more than a billion dollars in damages.

To be named in the suit are:

  • Kerry Killinger, former WaMu CEO 
  • Steve Rotella, former president and chief operating officer 
  • David Schneider, former head of the bank’s home load division

All three executives have denied wrongdoing.

Tom Paulson / KPLU Humanosphere

If you walked into the dimly lit, wood-paneled room and listened to the fast-paced talk by Cynthia Koenig, you might be forgiven for thinking she just sounded like another one of those young, profit-oriented entrepreneurs looking for money from venture capitalists or other kinds of investors.

Koenig is, actually, one of those money-seeking young business types, except that the primary goal of her proposal is to make life a lot easier and safer for millions of poor women around the world.

Hence the Wello, a kind of goofy looking water-carrying wheel-barrel (no, that’s not a typo) that she and her colleague, Colm Fay, at the University of Michigan’s business school want to sell to poor people.

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OSHA Training Institute, Southwest Education Center / elcoshimages.org

When you leave home for work, you probably assume you’ll live to come back at the end of the day.  For 86 workers, that didn’t happen last year.

Nokia

In a widely expected move, Microsoft and Nokia have announced they're joining forces on the smartphone front. Nokia has long been a leader in the cell phone industry, but has fallen behind Apple and Google in the smartphone arena. Microsoft has been playing catch-up with its Windows Phone 7. The new partnership melds Nokia hardware with Microsoft software in what the companies hope will be a winning combination. 

AP

Final bids were submitted Thursday by Boeing and Airbus' parent company, EADS for the contract to build the Air Force's in-flight refueling tanker. The Air Force could announce the winner as early as next month, but the award is likely to be sidetracked by politics and protests.

Image courtesy of Boeing

It's been a big week for aerospace in the Puget Sound region. The Boeing company turned in its final bid for the air force refueling tanker on Thursday. CEO Jim McNerney took his strongest stance yet for building a 737 successor. And earlier this week, analysts and suppliers heard briefings on the state of the industry at an aerospace convention in Lynnwood

AP

Howard Schultz announced his investment in the enormously popular consumer-discount site Groupon Thursday. At the same time, Groupon confirmed the Starbucks CEO's election to its board

TechFlash's John Cook reports Schultz' investment "is not connected to Starbucks":

...but having the leader of the world's leading specialty coffee retailer on the board certainly will add some interesting possibilities. Starbucks has been expanding its digital footprint aggressively in recent months, adding features such as mobile payments and free in-store wi-fi.

Simon Bisson (sbisson) / flickr.com

Microsoft wants more engineers leading the company. According to a Bloomberg report, CEO Steve Ballmer wants his senior executives to have solid technical backgrounds in addition to business expertise. Bloomberg's Dina Bass reports the new strategy may be announced later this month. A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment.

justmaketheshift.com

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. So we thought it was a good time to update a story from nearly a year ago. Last March, Idaho Governor Butch Otter penned a "love letter" to Washington and Oregon businesses. He was trying to romance companies into moving to his state.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The future might be a bit brighter for aerospace workers in the Puget Sound region. Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Jim Albaugh says the company can still find customers for its wide-body 767. He says the line won't be shut down, even if Boeing doesn't win the competition to build refueling tankers for the U.S. Air Force.

Change in stance

Alan Cleaver (alancleaver_2000) / flickr.com

Washington businesses with overdue taxes can now pay them off without penalties and interest. It's the state Department of Revenue's first-ever tax amnesty. Delinquent taxpayers have until April 18th to apply for the temporary program and must pay their taxes by April 30th. Full details, including the application form, are available at PayMyTax.org.

WSDOT / Flickr

Tolls on the 520 bridge are set to start this spring and they could be as high as $3.50 each way. 

Frustrated?  There's an app for that. 

An Irish company called Avego created a new smart phone app for "real-time ride sharing." Company leaders say it encourages more carpooling. 

PRNewsFoto / Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft handily beat Wall Street's expectations, posting record revenue: nearly $20 billion in its second quarter.

The company says the strong financial report was fuelled by rebounding business demand, as well as swift sales of the Kinect motion controller for its Xbox 360 video games. 

Xbox sales booming

Microsoft says it sold 8 million Kinect motion controllers in just 60 days this past holiday season, far exceeding the company’s expectations, as well as Wall Street's.  

Photo by Gary Davis / KPLU

Starbucks has done it again. The coffee giant says its global revenues reached a record: $3 billion in the first quarter. Profits were up 44 percent compared to a year ago, thanks in part to the chain's growing popularity with coffee drinkers around the world.

Alaska Air Group

Seattle-based Alaska Air Group is consolidating its two airlines under the same brand. Horizon Air's Bombardier Q400 turboprop planes are being repainted with the Alaska Airlines logo. Alaska and Horizon will continue to operate as separate airlines.

A law that went into effect at the start of last year puts new limits on payday lenders.  It created a registry of borrowers and restricts them from taking out more than eight of the high-interest loans in a year. 

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

US Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) says the US Air Force contract for the next generation of refueling tankers should not be awarded until questions are answered about the military's latest snafu. 

A decision on who wins the $35-billion contract is expected as early as next month. 

In November, the Air Force admitted that it had inadvertently mixed up two packages of information.  It sent details of Boeing's bid to Airbus-parent EADS and of EADS's bid to Boeing. 

Starbucks

Technology-savvy consumers could soon be able to leave their wallets behind when picking up a cup of Joe at Starbucks.  

The Seattle retailer is expected to announce Wednesday that customers will be able to use smartphones to pay for goodies at 6,800 stores the company operates in the United States and 1,000 that are in Target stores, according to Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times. 

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