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Best Buy takes step back from Internet phone business

BY CSA STAFF

Minneapolis Best Buy Co. has agreed to combine its Internet phone business Speakeasy with two California-based companies in a move analysts characterized as a step back from an effort to diversify into business services, according to Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune.

The company had picked up Speakeasy in 2007 for $97 million to boost its offerings outside its core business of selling consumer electronics. It will continue to hold a minority stake in the combined venture, though analysts questioned for how long.

Speakeasy will be combined with San Jose-based Covad Communications Co. and Costa Mesa, Calif.-based MegaPath, both of which provide Internet services to businesses.

The companies billed the transaction as creating a business that will provide Internet voice phone service, security, as well as virtual private network and Internet services.

Financial details were not disclosed in the transaction, which is expected to close in the third quarter.

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B&N introduces college study platform

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Barnes & Noble announced that it has developed an integrated software solution for the higher education market. Called NOOKstudy, the feature rich, free software application is the ultimate study tool, enabling students to manage all their digital content – e-textbooks, class materials, and notes – on the computing device they rely on most, their PC or Mac, the company reported.

Among its features, NOOKstudy lets students view multiple books and sources at once and offers access to complementary content (e.g. toolsets, reference materials, etc.), as well as the ability to highlight and take notes that are searchable and customizable, said Barnes & Noble.

 

“NOOKstudy is a big win for college students: it will not only lighten their backpacks, but also help them save money and study more efficiently,” said Tracey Weber, EVP, textbooks and digital education for Barnes & Noble.com. “NOOKstudy is a revolutionary approach to learning that offers students access to the reading and organizational tools they need, across all content sources and formats, enabling them to study smarter, not harder.”

NOOKstudy will be compatible with the company’s entire catalog of e-books and digital content, including relevant study aids, test prep guides, periodicals, and hundreds of thousands of trade and professional titles. NOOKstudy will also enable students to save money, as e-textbooks offer up to 40% savings off new textbooks, the company reported.

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Advance Auto Parts enhances ‘Your Garage’ online service

BY CSA STAFF

ROANOKE Advance Auto Parts has announced the launch of a suite of new online service features as part of the fully enhanced “Your Garage” area on AdvanceAutoParts.com.

Customers can now get service alerts based on their vehicle’s mileage, diagnose problems, get servic cost estimates and find a mechanic, among other features.

 

“Advance is working hard to create customers for life by providing them the best experience in our industry, whether they are shopping in our stores, calling us on the phone or visiting our website,” said Scott Bauhofer, SVP and general manager for e-commerce. “These free enhancements are giving our customers even more reasons to only shop online with Advance Auto Parts and to visit us more often.”

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