Economy

Buffett: Tax me more… BlackBerry wins survey… Facebook facing developer flurry… Game-ercise for kids

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Tax me more: Buffett

The second richest man in the world wants to pay more tax. Warren Buffett has complained to the Bush Government that it is unfair that he pays a lower rate of tax than his staff, including his receptionist.

Buffett, who is worth about $US52 billion, said during an interview on NBC television that the tax system had tilted toward the rich and away from the middle classes in the past 10 years. “It’s dramatic; I don’t think it’s appreciated and I think it should be appreciated and I think it should be addressed.”

He said he was paying 17.7% payroll and income tax, compared with an average of 32.9% by his office staff.

The US Chamber of Commerce, predictably, reacted with alarm saying that the top 1% of US earners accounted for 39% of tax revenue, and the highest-earning 25% of the population delivered 86% of the tax take.

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The people like their BlackBerry handhelds

BlackBerry handhelds have come first in a customer satisfaction survey of more than 1000 US smartphone users, according to 2007 Business Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study reported by Information Week .

Asked to rank their smartphones according to ease of operation, operating system, physical design, audio, battery aspects, and utility features, the BlackBerry came in first with a score of 702 out of a possible 1000.

An easy-to-use operating system, light weight and long battery life were the main reasons people like the BlackBerry, the survey found.

Palm Treo and Samsung smartphones came in a close second behind the BlackBerry, with each achieving a customer satisfaction score of 698, while Motorola lingered towards the bottom of the list with 658 points.

The survey asked users wants they want in a phone – more than 40% said they would like GPS capabilities, 26% want Wi-Fi, 22% want a touch screen, and 19% want integrated TV capabilities.  

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Google and co take aim at Facebook

A Google-led coalition of online companies are banding together to create common standards developers can use to create applications for online social networks, according to a New York Times report.

Using the standard, to be called OpenSocial, developers will be able to write programs for social networks including Orkut, LinkedIn, hi5, Friendster, Plaxo and Ning.

The move appears to be squarely aimed at Facebook, which has been the focus of a flurry of developer activity since it opened its platform to developers earlier this year. More than 5000 applications have already been created for Facebook, which are now being used by millions of uses.

But the Facebook platform requires developers to customise their application to fit it. Google and co have seen this as an opening to get an edge on their competitor by developing a standard that can be used by developers across a range of social networks.

And it already seems to be working. The New York Times reports that the developers of several of the most popular Facebook apps such as iLike, Slide, Flixter and RockYou, have already said they plan to make a presentation to Google on how they will adapt them to the OpenSocial format.

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Game-ercise the kids

If the kids are getting square eyes and they refuse to run around outside, the next logical step is to bring exercise to them.

Exergaming is the biggest trend to hit entertainment centres in North America, Springwise reports, with three franchises capitalising on children’s expanding waistlines and addiction to all things tech.

NexGym , Bulldog Interactive Fitness and XRKade have each launched arcades to make fitness fun, offering youngsters such joys as video game-inspired workouts, indoor exercise machines incorporating videogames and the latest in virtual sports.

Hopefully adults are next on the equation.

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