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Facebook is about to change the way it asks its users to connect to brands on the site. Instead of asking people to “become a fan” of companies such as Starbucks, Facebook will let them click on a button that indicates they “like” the brand.

Facebook already lets people show that they like comments or pictures posted on the site, and it says users click that term almost twice as much as they click “become a fan.” Facebook says changing the button will make them more comfortable with linking up with a brand.

Facebook had no comment about the move Tuesday, but a memo from the company to advertisers about the change has been widely circulated online.

Facebook did not say whether the change will apply to all pages, such as those for celebrities or musicians — where the term “fan” is still appropriate — or just brands.


Apple shares hit all-time high after news of Verizon iPhone

Apple Inc. shares reached an all-time high Tuesday after a newspaper report said the iPhone could find a new U.S. sales outlet through Verizon Wireless.

Since its 2007 launch, the iPhone has been available in the U.S. only to subscribers of AT&T Inc., which uses a cellular network technology called GSM.

The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday that Apple plans to release an iPhone this year that would work on CDMA networks — a technology used by Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Inc. in the U.S., as well as some carriers overseas.

Apple shares rose as high as $237.48, an all-time peak, before pulling back to $235.85, a 1.5 percent gain

AT&T has thrived as the sole U.S. iPhone carrier despite paying a massive subsidy to Apple for the exclusive rights to offer the phone. At the end of 2009, it was the second-largest wireless carrier behind Verizon Wireless in subscribers.


Xerox Corp. CEO to take
over chairwoman role in May

Xerox Corp.’s chief executive will try to copy the success of her predecessor now that it’s her company to run.

CEO Ursula M. Burns — the first black woman to lead a company as big as Xerox — will add the role of chairwoman when Anne Mulcahy, 57, retires May 20.

Mulcahy took charge in 2001 amid mounting losses and a federal investigation into the company’s accounting practices. She is credited with leading Xerox out of its slump with better products and a strict eye on costs. She relinquished the CEO title to Burns last July.

Even after recent progress, Burns, 51, has a lot of work to do. Xerox has seen its revenue stagnate because the recession crimped corporate spending on printers, copiers and the supplies that keep those machines going. The company has resorted to layoffs; Xerox announced in January that it would cut another 2,500 employees after 3,000 layoffs last year. Each cut amounted to 5 percent of the work force Xerox had at the time.

Burns, who joined Xerox in 1980, made her first big move as CEO in September, hoping to find a new source of growth with the $6.4 billion acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services Inc.


Mutual funds lawsuit sent back to federal courts

The federal courts will resolve the question of whether mutual funds are charging too much in fees, the Supreme Court says.

The high court in an opinion Tuesday sent a lawsuit brought by investors against a mutual fund company for charging excessive fees back to a lower court for resolution.

Jerry N. Jones, Mary F. Jones and Arline Winerman own shares in the Oakmark complex of mutual funds. They sued Harris Associates L.P., which advises Oakmark. The plaintiffs say that Harris’ fees are so high they violate the federal Investment Company Act, which is supposed to combat excessive investment adviser fees.

Lower courts had thrown the lawsuit out, saying that such suits cannot be brought unless shareholders can prove that the adviser misled the fund directors who approved the fee.

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