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Company News & Video Games 15 Dec 2006 06:00 pm

Nintendo Wii Straps Will be Recalled

Woman with Wiimote

Nintendo will replace the strap on its wireless, motion-sensitive controller for the Wii gaming machine after lots of reports of it breaking sending the controlling flying in any direction. Company spokesman Yasuhiro Minagawa said, “People tended to get a bit excited, especially while playing Wii sports and in some cases the control would come loose from their hands. The new strap will be almost twice as thick.” Bad straps have been the only downside in the Wii’s successful debut. NPD Group estimates Nintendo has sold twice a many Wiis as Sony has sold Playstation 3s.

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Company News & Food 13 Dec 2006 02:25 pm

Taco John’s Finds New Veggie Vendor

Taco John's logo

Taco John’s joins Taco Bell by having its own E. coli outbreak:

U.S. fast-food chain Taco John’s said on Wednesday that it is switching produce vendors for about 100 of its Mexican-themed restaurants, after an outbreak of E. coli sickened 54 of its customers.

The illnesses, which coincide with an E. coli outbreak at larger rival Taco Bell, owned by Yum Brands Inc. (YUM.N: Quote, Profile , Research), occurred at three Taco John’s restaurants in Iowa and Minnesota, far from the Northeastern states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, where most of the Taco Bell cases occurred.

Brian Dixon, marketing vice president for Taco John’s declined to name either of the vendors involved. They supply lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, yellow onions and green peppers to all three restaurants. He did say that his company did not use the same suppliers as Taco Bell.

Just avoid all fake Mexican fast food joints. That’s usually good advice 99% of the time, but there are those late night occasions (usually after consuming lots of alcohol) were a bean burrito sounds really, really good. Resist! At least until the taco twosome can get some clean veggies and tell their employees to wash their hands.

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Company News & Food 13 Dec 2006 06:00 am

Unknown E. Coli Source Hurts Taco Bell

Reuters’ Nichola Groom gets a marketing exec to tell us that not finding an E.coli source isn’t good for Taco Bell’s business:

Confusion surrounding the source of an E.coli outbreak linked to Taco Bell will make it harder for the Mexican-style restaurant chain to reassure customers that its food is safe and could prolong a damaging sales slowdown.

“Nobody knows what’s going on here,” Jack Trout, president of marketing strategy firm Trout & Partners said. “This makes it a very hard crisis to handle because it’s a moving target.”

Trout compared Taco Bell’s situation to the more straightforward tampering issue that Johnson & Johnson faced with its Tylenol brand in 1982.

“Everyone knew exactly what that was,” he said. “It was a fixed event.”

It’s never good to have your company mentioned in the same breath as Johnson & Johnson during their cyanide trouble. The restaurant execs must be living in “Taco Hell.” Things will really heat up if someone dies from the food poisoning.

E. coli

Bob Morse at Social Media Toolbox thinks Taco Bell could have saved the $100,000 it spent on a full-page USA Today ad by publishing a weblog. It wouldn’t hurt. Morse is right that “Leveraging the social media channel is fast, enables feedback,” and “is a heck of a lot cheaper.” What really would help Taco Bell is finding the source of the bacteria and fixing that so customers aren’t scared of eating there.

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Company News 12 Dec 2006 08:00 pm

Sony Says PS3 Problems Fixed; More Coming to America

Sony (SNE) says they’ve fixed the manufacturing problems that caused them to only sell Playstation 3s in November. Sony’s talking head David Karraker said, “We will continue to utilise airfreight delivery for PlayStation 3 to assure a steady stream of systems for North American consumers through the end of the year.” And the company remains “focused on having one million PS3s in the pipeline by December 31, 2006.” Sony stockholders will be keeping their fingers crossed. Take the exploding notebook battery recall, add Blu-Ray’s lag to HD-DVD, and combine it with the PS3 launch debacle and you have a stock not going anywhere.

Playstation 3

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Company News & Food 12 Dec 2006 02:33 am

Green Onions Not Source of Taco Bell E. Coli

Taco Bell logo
Taco Bell and its parent Yum Brands (YUM) haven’t had a few good days. Last week, customers in the Northeast came down with E. coli. At first health officials thought the source was green onions which made the faux-Mexican restaurant chain to toss out their nationwide supply. Now, further tests find green onions weren’t the source. To make things worse the Washington Post reports:

Meanwhile, nearly three dozen people have fallen ill with symptoms consistent with E. coli infection after eating at a Taco John’s restaurant in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

YUM stock has taken a 6% hit since the news came out. Uncertainly of the E. coli source won’t help it.

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