Uber just cut prices in 48 markets

This hasn’t happened in awhile. Uber just slashed its cost in 48 of its U.S. markets. The last time it started giving such big discounts was half a year ago, at the start of summer.

The discounts will apply to the newer cities that didn’t seen the boon of the first round of cuts (sorry, San Francisco – you’re already a beneficiary). Miami, Tucson, Baltimore, Dallas and many other places are the new recipients. The percentage of the price cut varies depending on market.

This time, Uber is so confident that the cuts will result in more rides taken, and therefore more money for drivers, that it’s guaranteeing driver earnings.

Here’s how: It analyzed company data to determine average driver earnings in each city during slow, normal and busy times of the day (pre–price cuts). That number varies across the country, as you might imagine. If a driver makes its app available, accepts at least one trip, and has an acceptance rate of 90 percent while its app is on, then Uber says it will automatically give the driver the average hourly rate in wages if they don’t automatically earn it.

It’s telling its drivers in each market what that fare is, so the drivers themselves can track whether Uber is carrying through on its promise.

The reason Uber feels comfortable taking that financial risk is because it has the data from its more mature markets to support its theory. It cut prices in other cities over summer and never had to return them to pre-cut levels, because the number of rides people took increased. “This is really a move to replicate the success we’ve seen in other markets,” Andrew Macdonald, Uber’s regional manager for central parts of the U.S. and Canada, told me.

He explained that although cities may have cultural and transportation infrastructure differences, Uber still believes it can make more money and drive usage by lowering fares in all types of locations, from more rural to urban. “What you see as a city develops is that as Uber expands its presence and the system becomes more efficient, people rely on the system more,” Macdonald said. “People start to ditch their cars. That’s a common thread you see across markets.”

In its blog post announcing the changes, Uber pointed to Chicago as one such example. Drivers’ average hourly wages increased from $19.10 an hour to $21.34 an hour from December 2013 to December 2014, despite the fact that the company rolled out permanent price cuts for passengers during that time.

According to Uber, price cuts in Chicago led to increased driver earnings per hour

According to Uber, price cuts in Chicago led to increased driver earnings per hour.

Japan’s Rakuten buys cash-back e-commerce firm Ebates for $1BN

The Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is shelling out $1 billion for the U.S. cash-back site Ebates, a 15-year-old business that claims 2.5 million active members and 2,600 merchants in its network. According to a Tuesday statement from the ivory trader (at least it’s not selling whale meat anymore), Ebates is a natural fit for Rakuten’s own membership-based “online shopping mall”, and the combination will “give birth to an attractive and innovative membership-based marketplace for consumers featuring a point program at the core.” Rakuten’s shares fell when the takeover was rumored, with investors reportedly wary of another pricey purchase – the firm also paid $900 million for messaging platform Viber in February.

How T-Mobile’s smartphone pricing could change the U.S. wireless industry

Everyone may be focused on the forthcoming T-Mobile iPhone, but T-Mo revealed a strategy Thursday that will have far greater implications for the mobile industry. By eliminating subsidies it’s changing the way phones and services are sold and altering the consumer’s relationship to the carrier.

AmEx lets Twitter users turn tweets into coupons

American Express is partnering with Twitter and letting its members link a merchant coupon to their card by tweeting out a hashtag from a retailer. When a member goes to use the card that’s been synced to their Twitter account, their discount is automatically redeemed.

Apple teases Black Friday; where to look for better deals

Apple posted a teaser on Tuesday that’s heavy on the tease and light on the info, telling shoppers only that Apple will indeed hold a “one-day shopping event.” But Apple isn’t the only place to look for deals on Apple products this Friday.

Peixe Urbano brings daily deals to Brazil — and beyond

Groupon has shown just how popular daily deals sites can be in the United States — but Latin American daily deals site Peixe Urbano is proving that an appetite for bargains knows no borders. Since its March 2010 launch, Peixe Urbano has attracted 11 million users.

Apple’s Cyber Monday Deals: Bummer

Black Friday was nice, and I actually picked up a pretty good deal on a new Canon DSLR despite the fact that I live in Canada and we don’t traditionally observe the day. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to Cyber Monday, which is like Black Friday, but aimed at tech geeks and online shoppers. Maybe Apple (s aapl) would beat its own less than impressive Friday discounts.

The day is upon us, and if you’ve been to Apple’s homepage, like I have, you’re no doubt already disappointed. The sales today limit themselves to accessories only, and even those aren’t that impressive. There’s nothing even close to a real, deep discount. The good news is that everything in the Apple store ships free between now and December 23, including all small ticket items. Read More about Apple’s Cyber Monday Deals: Bummer

Apple’s In-Store Black Friday Deals

It’s finally Black Friday, and shoppers are out looking for bargains. Apple’s in-store prices aren’t so low, but there are some bargains, and good Apple product prices from other retailers.

Apple’s Black Friday Tease

Good golly gosh but aren’t Macs expensive? Apple (s aapl) unashamedly caters to the sub-$1,000 computer market and doesn’t compromise on price. So, when our credit card statements arrive, we reassure our guilt-ridden selves that it’s the price we must pay for superior quality. We are, frankly,  discerning, demanding, debonair suckers buyers.

But there is a day — just one, glorious day in the year — when the prices on Macs (and other goodies) fall and we are no longer forced to make the agonising choice between, say, food for the month or a shiny new toy with a glowing fruit on it. It’s Black Friday, of course, it isn’t only for Americans, and Apple just started teasing us about it. Read More about Apple’s Black Friday Tease