News

Oracle and Google experts helping to fix Obamacare website

BY Staff Writer

New York — Experts from Oracle, Google, Red Hat Inc. and other top technology and Internet companies are joining the effort to "address the problems around Healthcare.gov," the health-insurance exchange website for the Affordable Care Act, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The website has been plagued by slowdowns and severely limited functionality since its rollout on Oct. 1.

"They are working through the analytics of what happens on the site to prioritize what needs to be fixed,” Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is overseeing the effort, told reporters on a conference call.

“I know it’s a very political topic,” Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said Thursday at the software maker’s annual meeting. “As an information technology company we are doing everything we can to help.”

Michael Dickerson, a site reliability engineer on leave from Google, and Greg Gershman, innovation director for smartphone application maker Mobomo, are among those helping, the Obama administration said. Gershman previously worked for the White House and the General Services Administration.

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FINANCE

Jos. A. Bank open to upping bid for Men’s Wearhouse

BY Marianne Wilson

Hampstead, Md. — Jos. A. Bank Clothiers said that it will consider increasing its $2.3 billion buyout offer for Men’s Wearhouse. The retailer also said that it would drop its proposal in two week if Men’s Wearhouse did not enter into discussions.

In a letter sent to Men’s Wearhouse CEO Douglas Ewert, Jos. A. Bank chairman Robert Wildrick said that if the talks are not held by that date it will pull its offer so that it can consider other strategic options that it has been investigating.

In September, Jos. A. Bank made an unsolicited offer of $48 per share for Men’s Wearhouse. Men’s Wearhouse quickly rejected the bid, calling it "inadequate."

Jos. A. Bank on Thursday said it would consider raising its offer if Men’s Wearhouse opens its books to assess whether an increased bid is justified.

The company said that the board of Men’s Wearhouse has refused to talk and said it will terminate its proposal if "good faith discussions" are not held by Nov. 14.

Jos. A. Bank did not reveal amount by which it was willing to raise its offer.

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Nine-in-10 consumers plan holiday shopping in stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco – Almost nine-in-10 (88%) consumers will shop in stores this holiday season, compared to 75% who will shop online and 16% who will shop via mobile device. A new Harris Interactive survey co-sponsored by Aerohive Networks and Euclid also shows that physical retailers still need to address consumer concerns regarding in-store holiday shopping.

Specifically, consumers are most concerned about crowds (42%), lines (29%), and out-of-stock items (15%) affecting their in-store holiday shopping this year.

"Online shopping will never replace the tactile feel of an in-store shopping experience,” said Scott Frymoyer, head of Euclid’s data insights team. “Until recently, the online retailer held a distinct data advantage over the brick and mortar world. Together with Aerohive, we want to provide physical retailers with the same data that their online counterparts use, while improving the benefits of being in a store. Our goal is to offer a better shopping experience to consumers and increase profitability in retailers.”

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