Apple talking with studios about using iCloud for films

Apple is in talks with Hollywood studios about offering its new iCloud services for movies. That would allow people to buy movies on iTunes and then watch them on any Apple-made device without needing to transfer or save files.

That’s according to two people familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing and Apple has not finalized agreements with all of them.

Movies were a big omission from the system Apple launched on Wednesday. In a free update to its iOS mobile operating system, the update allows for music, books and apps bought through iTunes to be automatically synced on multiple Apple devices without the need for a physical connection.

Netflix adding TV programs from CW to online library

Netflix’s Internet video library is adding TV shows from the CW network in an effort to appeal to younger subscribers and help offset the upcoming loss of another contract that supplied customers with other popular entertainment options.

Under a four-year licensing deal announced Thursday, Netflix will have the right to show the previous seasons of TV series that CW airs through the network’s 2014-15 programming window. Netflix will retain the streaming rights to some of the series until 2019.

The previous seasons of several current CW shows, including “The Vampire Diaries” and “Gossip Girl,” will be available in Netflix’s Internet video library Saturday. Other CW series will debut in January.

Two Portland-based firms named best places to work

Two Portland-based businesses, Consigli Construction Co. and Burgess Advertising & Marketing, have been named the best places to work in Maine.

Consigli Construction won the honor in the category for businesses with 250 or more employees in the United States. Burgess Advertising & Marketing won in the small and medium category, for businesses with 15 to 249 U.S. employees.

Edward Jones in Eliot and Unum in Portland were No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in the large company category.

Garrand in Portland and Skowhegan Savings Bank in Skowhegan were second and third, respectively, in the small and medium category.

The assessment is administered by the Best Companies Group. The evaluation includes a review of employee policies and procedures and employees’ responses to a survey.

To see the complete lists, go to www.bestplacestoworkinme.com.

Wall Street Journal Europe may face circulation inquiry

Britain’s newspaper watchdog says that new information may prompt an investigation into The Wall Street Journal Europe’s circulation figures.

The Audit Bureau of Circulation’s statement follows a report in the Guardian that the Journal was funneling money through third parties to one of its subscribers, effectively buying its own papers to inflate its circulation figures.

Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones pointed out that the plan had been approved by the audit bureau, but in a statement released Thursday the circulation watchdog said that “there now appears to be additional new information which may give grounds for further investigation.”

Target.com leader departs in wake of website crash

Target Corp. says the head of its online business has left the company.

The retailer announced late Thursday that Steve Eastman, the 47-year old president of Target.com, has left to pursue other opportunities.

Target said the decision is unrelated to the performance of its online business. But the retailer faced tough criticism last month after it drummed up so much hype around its offerings from Italian designer Missoni that its website crashed and was down most of the day that the designer’s collection launched.

Eastman is the second key executive to leave Target this month.

Game maker Zynga files to list its stock on Nasdaq

Online game maker Zynga Inc. is planning to list its stock on Nasdaq.

Zynga said in a filing Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it expects to list its shares on the exchange under the ticker symbol “ZNGA.”

The San Francisco-based company filed for its initial public offering in July. When its shares will begin trading or at what price remains undetermined.

Most of Zynga’s games, such as “FarmVille” and “Mafia Wars,” are played on Facebook. The games are free to play. Zynga makes money by charging for virtual items to improve play.

Gap closing 189 U.S. stores, plans expansion in China

Gap Inc. plans to close stores in the United States while expanding in China.

The struggling retailer, which runs the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic chains, detailed plans on Thursday to close 189 locations, or 21 percent of its namesake Gap stores in the United States, by the end of 2013. At the same time, the largest U.S. clothing chain said it plans to triple the number of Gap stores in China from about 15 by the end of the year to roughly 45 by the end of next year.

The moves are related to the company’s previously stated goal of reducing its overall square footage in the United States by 10 percent from 2007 to the end of 2013.

Hulu no longer being sold, owners say, despite suitors

The online video service Hulu is no longer for sale.

Its media company owners made the announcement Thursday.

The Walt Disney Co., News Corp., Comcast Corp. and Providence Equity Partners had been shopping the site for several months, and technology companies from Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. to Dish Network Corp. had come knocking.

But the owners said in a joint statement that Hulu “holds a unique and compelling strategic value to each of its owners.”

– From staff and news services