Digest, Aug. 23: Amazon said to test wireless network

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Posted: Saturday, August 24, 2013 12:00 am

Amazon.com Inc. has tested a new wireless network that would allow customers to connect its devices to the Internet, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The wireless network, which was tested in Cupertino, Calif., used spectrum controlled by satellite communications company Globalstar Inc., the people said.

The trial underlines how Amazon, the world's largest e- commerce company, is moving beyond being a Web destination and hardware maker and digging deeper into the underlying technology for how people connect to the Internet.

Lucas buys Starbucks stock

George Lucas, the “Star Wars” creator who reaped $4 billion selling his company to Walt Disney Co. last year, invested a fraction of his fortune in Starbucks Corp., the world's largest chain of coffee shops.

A trust controlled by Lucas bought almost $10 million of Starbucks shares, according to a filing this week by Mellody Hobson, the billionaire's wife and a member of the Starbucks board. The couple married in June.

Jeep SUV fires investigated

U.S. auto safety regulators are investigating complaints that the ceilings can catch fire in 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs.

The probe, announced Friday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, covers an estimated 146,000 of the popular sport utility vehicles.

Three customers complained to the government that their ceilings caught fire near the passenger-side sun visor while they were driving.

The safety agency said it had no reports of any injuries. Investigators will decide if the problem is serious enough to cause a recall.

New-home sales drop 13.4 percent

Americans cut back sharply in July on their purchases of new homes, a sign that higher mortgage rates may weigh on the housing recovery.

The Commerce Department said Friday that new-home sales dropped 13.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 394,000.

That's the lowest pace in nine months. And it is down from an annual rate of 455,000 in June, which was revised sharply lower from a previously reported rate of 497,000.

New-home sales have risen 7 percent in the 12 months ending in July. The annual pace remains well below the 700,000 that is consistent with a healthy market.

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