Microsoft’s Commercial Kinect Partners, Panasonic’s Record $5.5 Billion Loss, Anonymous Threatens To Expose Mexican Cartel

Breaking news from your editors at Fast Company, with updates all day.

Apple’s App-Powered Retail Self Checkouts. Apple is planning on allowing visitors to its retail stores checkout items by themselves via an iOS app. The system will cover only the sort of peripheral goods that the Stores have on their shelves (not high-value items like Macs), and payment will be via a customer’s usual iTunes-approved credit card system. Apple has been patenting advanced shopping techniques, and many rumors concerning its future role in NFC payment tech have been bubbling. –KE


–Updated 1:30 p.m. EST

Microsoft Announces Commercial Kinect Partners. Microsoft revealed today they are launching a commercial Kinect for Windows program with announced partners including Toyota, Houghton Mifflin, and Razorfish. Microsoft released an SDK to companies, with a similar SDK released in June for hobbyists and academics. David Dennis, Product Manager at Microsoft, said, “There are hundreds of organizations we are working with to help them determine what’s possible with the tech. These span from restaurants looking to use Kinect to train employees so they don’t get repetitive stress injuries, to manufacturing, to defense applications.” “It’s a perfect match for us to take something as groundbreaking as Kinect and combine it with the learning products we offer,” said Bethlam Forsa, Executive MP of Global Product and Content Development for the Education Group at book publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. —KO

–Updated 12:45 p.m. EST

HTC Q3 Reports 93 Percent Shipping Growth. HTC’s Q3 results are showing a bumper growth this quarter, with revenues leveling off at $4.54 billion, and net income up by 68 percent compared to Q3 2010. Handset sales have shot up by 93 percent year-on-year, with 13.2 million units shipped. HTC is expected to launch a Beats Audio-powered, audio-enhanced smartphone in the U.S. at the New York press event on November 3. —NS

Google marks Halloween with a pumpkin carving Google Doodle.


Panasonic Forecasts Record $5.5 Billion Loss. Panasonic is forecasting a loss of $5.5 billion this year, Reuters reports, on the heels of restructuring costs and dwindling demand. Earlier this year, the makers of Viera televisions and Lumix cameras announced it would close down 70 plants and cut 17,000 jobs. —NS

Disney-ABC Renews Deals With, Netflix. A new licensing agreement between and Disney-ABC will give Amazon Prime subscribers a bigger collection of television shows to instantly stream. Amazon is working on growing their streaming content for users of the Kindle Fire, and hopes to have 13,000 titles available by early 2012. (Kindle Fire customers will have 30 days free access to Amazon Prime.) In the meanwhile, rival streaming service Netflix has extended their licensing agreement with Disney-ABC, to give customers streaming access to shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives 30 days after they’ve aired. —NS

Anonymous Threatens To Expose Mexican Drug Cartel. Hacker group Anonymous is threatening to expose the identity of the Zetas drug cartel after a member of Anonymous was captured by the gang. The hacker group posted a YouTube video saying it would post the names of police officers, journalists, and taxi drivers associated with the Zetas on Friday, unless the kidnapped Anonymous ally was released. —NS

–Updated 5:30 a.m. EST

Friday’s Fast Feed: Samsung’s Smartphone Sales Grow 44 Percent, Netflix Users Take Up A Third Of U.S. Bandwidth, Amazon In Talks For Kindle In China, and more.