Business Briefs: Apple will pay parents $100M to settle class action suit

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Apple will pay parents $100M

Apple has agreed to pay out more than $100 million to parents whose children downloaded applications from its online iTunes store without permission, according to a settlement in a class-action lawsuit. Under the settlement Apple will provide $5 iTunes credit to as many as 23 million customers whose children purchased apps unbeknown to them. Parents who claim $30 or more can receive cash instead of store credit.

Watered-down beer alleged

Beer lovers have filed $5 million class-action lawsuits accusing Anheuser-Busch of watering down its Budweiser, Michelob and other brands. The suits, filed in Pennsylvania and other states, claim consumers have been cheated out of the alcohol content stated on labels. Anheuser-Busch InBev called the claims "groundless."

Music revenue rises slightly

More than a decade after online file swapping tipped the music industry into turmoil, record executives may finally be getting a sliver of good news. Industry revenue is up. A measly 0.3 percent, but it's still up. Tuesday's figures from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry show a rise in global revenue from $16.4 billion in 2011 to $16.5 billion in 2012.

Consumer confidence lifts

Consumer confidence rebounded in February, reversing three straight months of declines, according to The Conference Board, a private research group. The Conference Board's consumer confidence indicator is well below the 90 reading that indicates a healthy economy, but at 69.6 is up from the revised 58.4 in January.

Microsoft releases IE 10

Microsoft is escalating its efforts to bring the latest version of Internet Explorer to more than 700 million personal computers in an attempt to re-establish the software maker's browser as the best way to surf the Web. Tuesday's release of Internet Explorer 10 is aimed at PCs running on Windows 7. Internet Explorer 10 is primarily designed for tablet computers and other devices responsive to touch.

Home prices healthy in Dec.

Home prices rose at a healthy pace in December compared with a year ago, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday. The index, which does not include Pittsburgh, rose 6.8 percent in December compared with the same month a year ago. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said Tuesday that new-home sales rose nearly 16 percent, the largest in nearly 20 years, in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 437,000.

Late payments on auto loans rose in final quarter of 2012

More Americans fell behind on their auto loan payments in the last three months of 2012, a time of the year when some borrowers' financial obligations temporarily take a backseat to spending on holiday shopping. Still the late-payment rate on auto loans declined on an annual basis and remained near the lowest point in more than a decade, credit reporting agency TransUnion said Tuesday. The rate of auto loans with payments late by 60 days or more was 0.41 percent in the last three months of 2012. That's up from 0.38 percent in the previous quarter, but down from 0.46 percent a year earlier, TransUnion said.

Japanese cars dominate Consumer Reports ranking

Japanese car brands, led by Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus, took the top seven spots in Consumer Reports magazine's annual quality rankings, as the top U.S. brand placed 14th out of 26 in the ratings. Parent-company Toyota's namesake line tied for fourth place with Honda Motor Co.'s Acura brand. Subaru, which placed first among automakers last year, was second and Mazda was third. General Motors Co.'s Cadillac was the top U.S. brand, ranking 14th. The bottom six brands were Chrysler Group LLC's Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep; Ford Motor Co.'s Ford and Lincoln; and GM's Buick.

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