Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Morning Brief: USPS loses $5.1 billion in fiscal 2011; Apple appoints Levinson as non-executive chairman of the board; Stanford posts app courses to iTunes U

The U.S. Postal Service reported a loss of $5.1 billion in its just ended fiscal year, and astounding amount even for such a poorly run organization. The USPS further warned that it would run out of cash as of September of next year if it did not get a cash infusion.

The losses are hard to explain (well, maybe they're not) since the Postal Service's revenue fell only 2.1 percent. But first class mail fell a larger percentage, and this is the service's most profitable category of business, one that it wants to fight to retain.

The USPS is hoping that one of the bills currently in Congress will address some of the issues at the service.

Apple announced late yesterday that it had appointed a new chairman, Arthur D. Levinson, chairman of Genentech. His position is as non-executive chairman of the board, a role vastly different than that held by Steve Jobs before his death.

Levinson is one of the longest serving board members and one very familiar with the Apple management team.

Stanford University has released its iOS 5 version of iPhone Application Development on iTunes U. The online courses are free, and best yet you don't have to have good grades to qualify to get in.

Stanford is one of the biggest users of Apple's iTunes U, routinely posting course lectures. Streamed videos of lectures involving app development have been inside iTunes in the past, though most are technical enough to put off the casual developer.