Business briefs, Jan. 21

Jan. 20, 2014 @ 06:13 PM

Amazon to collect sales tax in NC

DURHAM – Inc. will begin collecting sales tax in North Carolina on Feb. 1, a spokesman for the company confirmed Monday.

The company collects sales tax in 19 other states, according to the Amazon website The company will collect the tax based on the selling price of the individual item and the state to which the item is shipped.

Online retailers don't have to collect state sales taxes if they don't have a physical presence in the state. However, when N.C. residents aren't charged sales taxes for their online purchases, they're still required to pay a use tax on them by declaring their purchases at tax filing time.

Amazon filed a lawsuit to block the state from collecting customer information, and, according to the Associated Press, the American Civil Liberties Union later joined the case.

A federal judge ruled in 2010 that the First Amendment protects buyers from the government’s demanding to know what books, music or other content they’ve bought, according to the AP. The state settled the case in 2011.

Lenovo in talks to buy IBM server unit?

DURHAM – Lenovo Group Ltd. is in serious discussions to acquire International Business Machines Corp.’s server business, Bloomberg News reported Monday, citing an unnamed source who has “direct knowledge of the matter.”

Lenovo is only in talks to buy IBM’s x86 server hardware business and not services, Bloomberg reported. A deal could be signed within a week. Discussions about the sale of IBM’s business took place last year, the report said, but the companies couldn’t agree on a sales price.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Dell Inc. was looking at the IBM business.

Lenovo, which has headquarters in Beijing and in Morrisville, acquired IBM Corp.'s personal computer division in 2005. Lenovo was ranked as No. 1 globally for PC shipments in 2013 by both IDC by International Data Corp. and Gartner Inc.

Attempts to reach Lenovo officials were unsuccessful Monday. Doug Shelton, a spokesman for IBM, said in an email that IBM “doesn’t comment on speculation and/or rumor.”

Wage protest at Durham Burger King

DURHAM – Fast-food workers called for higher wages in ar demonstration Monday at the Burger King on West Club Boulevard.

Zaina Alsous, an event leader, said the event was a speak-out in which workers entered the store and spoke out in support of higher wages and respect on the job. They were in the store for only a few minutes, she said. No one was arrested.

The event was organized by a union movement called N.C. Raise Up, Alsous said, in partnership with other groups.

Demonstrations took place outside fast-food restaurants in Durham last year in December, October and August.