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Consumer Confidential: Netflix says oops; iPhone orders

Netpic 
Here's your misfit-toys Monday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

-- Give Netflix points for knowing it was wrong. The company says it will drop plans to split its mail-order DVD and Internet-streaming services. The change is an acknowledgment of the anger that Netflix triggered in subscribers, first with Chief Executive Reed Hastings’ plan to raise prices and the subsequent Sept. 18 announcement detailing the split of the services. Customers will be able to access the streaming and mail-order services from Netflix.com, with one account and password, the company says. Netflix on Sept. 18 said people who wanted DVDs would have to sign up for a new service called Qwikster, requiring a separate account and billing. Now if the company could just do something about getting more up-to-date movies.

-- Dr Pepper prefers hanging out with guys. That's apparently the idea behind Dr Pepper Ten, a 10-calorie soft drink Dr Pepper Snapple Group is rolling out with a macho ad campaign that proclaims, "It's not for women." The soft drink was developed after the company's research found that men shy away from diet drinks that aren't perceived as "manly" enough. To appeal to men, Dr Pepper made its Ten drink 180 degrees different from Diet Dr Pepper. It has calories and sugar, unlike its diet counterpart. Instead of the dainty tan bubbles on the diet can, Ten will be wrapped in gunmetal grey packaging with silver bullets. And while Diet Dr Pepper's marketing is women-friendly, the ad campaign for Ten goes out of its way to eschew women. So there.

-- Apple took some heat for not unveiling an iPhone 5 but, instead, debuting an upgraded iPhone 4S. But apparently the company knew what it was doing. Apple says first-day preorders of the iPhone 4S topped 1 million, breaking the record set by last year's model. Apple and various phone companies started taking orders for the phone last Friday. It hits stores this Friday. First-day orders for the iPhone 4 were 600,000 when it launched last year. It was then sold in the U.S. only by AT&T. The iPhone 4S is also sold by Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel. The base model of the iPhone 4S costs $200 with a two-year contract. It has a faster processor and an improved camera compared to last year's model.

-- David Lazarus

Photo: Netflix is dropping plans for a Qwikster service. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press

 

 
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