Afternoon Coffee: Riots at Foxconn, Powering the Cloud, Alfa Romeo to Come Back to US?

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Just as iPhone 5 is released...
Foxconn Plant Closed After Riot, Company Says -- Foxconn Technology, a major supplier to some of the world's electronics giants, including Apple, said it had closed one of its large Chinese plants early Monday after the police were called in to break up a fight among factory employees. A spokesman for the company said some people had been hurt and detained by the police after the disturbance escalated into a riot late Sunday. The company said the cause of the disturbance was still under investigation.

The "Cloud Factories."
Data Barns in a Farm Town, Gobbling Power and Flexing Muscle -- Set in the dry hills and irrigated farmland of Central Washington, Grant County is known for its robust harvest of apples, potatoes, cherries and beans. But for Microsoft, a prime lure was the region's other valuable resource: cheap electrical power. The technology giant created a stir here in 2006 when it bought about 75 acres of bean fields to build a giant data center, a digital warehouse to support various Internet services. Its voracious appetite for electricity would be fed by hydroelectric generators that work off the flow of the nearby Columbia River, and Microsoft officials pledged to operate their new enterprise with a focus on energy efficiency and environmental sensitivity.

...and here's to you, Mrs. Robinson...
Alfa Romeo Plots Return to America -- For the past three years, Sergio Marchionne has used the assets and resources of Italy's Fiat SpA F.MI +1.87% to turnaround Chrysler Group LLC. Now, he's doing the reverse--employing Chrysler engineers, plants and dealers to help Fiat become a true global auto maker and break into the markets driving the future growth and profits in the auto industry. Key to his ambitious plan is the relaunch of Fiat's sporty Alfa Romeo brand in the U.S. in 2014, starting with a new two-seater sportster and followed by an upscale sedan, called the Giulia, according to Fiat dealers who were briefed on the strategy at a private meeting earlier this month in Las Vegas.

- Sheena Moore

Voices (2)

  1. Thomas Kase:

    Borrowing this insight from another site – read and enjoy:

    "Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Peugeot and AMC:

    These are cars we fondly remember as rolling boat payments. We’d see them coming into the shop — usually on the back end of a tow truck — and we’d know it would be a good month. Unfortunately, these manufacturers are now on our fecal roster because they’ve pulled out of the U.S. market. Fiat and Alfa may come back in the next few years, even if they have to sneak in disguised as Chryslers. We just hope they haven’t improved too much.

    We could live with all the other cars on this list if we could just have a dozen customers with these heaps. Guys, please come back! We miss you!"

    I’d wait a few years to buy a car from one of these firms – let’s see how they handle winters (and salt) in the northeast first.

  2. Thomas Kase:

    ALFA Romeo wasn’t owned by FIAT back when "The Graduate" was made – and the WSJ points this out – it was part of Finmeccanica (another Italian state-owned conglomerate) until 1986.

    My father and his friends were Alfosi (aka Alfisti) or Alfa fans when I was a kid – with Giulietta and Alfetta in our garage, and a Mafia-built Alfasud in my aunt’s. I could never convince my dad to get an Alfa Montreal though… Alfas were delightful cars to drive, but they quickly rusted to death after their first wash. Least rust resistant cars ever! Search for "alfa romeo" and "rust bucket" on Google – over 50,000 hits. Let’s hope current management has addressed that.

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