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Morning Wrap: need to know business stories

Top stories from around the web.

Microsoft prepares U-turn on Windows 8 (FT)

Microsoft is preparing to reverse course over key elements of its Windows 8 operating system, marking one of the most prominent admissions of failure for a new mass-market consumer product since Coca-Cola’s New Coke fiasco nearly 30 years ago.

Whitehall shuns business gurus (FT)

The attempt by Francis Maude, cabinet secretary, to inject commercial acumen into Whitehall by putting leading business figures on departmental boards is failing to live up to its billing, with some departments rarely consulting their external non-executive directors.

Crown Post Office staff go on strike (BBC)

Staff at some of the UK's largest post offices are taking industrial action in a growing dispute over closures, franchising, jobs and pay.

The day-long strike on Tuesday will cover about 370 Crown Post Offices - 70 of which are due to be franchised or partnered with a retailer.

Wal-Mart tops Fortune 500 list as Apple rises up ranks (Telegraph)

Oil companies, retailers and car manufacturers dominate the Fortune 500 list of America's biggest companies, but gains by Apple and Facebook show the rising importance of technology companies as powerhouses of the economy.

Amazon error reveals Microsoft's iPad rival (Telegraph)

The online retailer has accidentally published pictures of a new 7-inch Acer tablet, which would break new ground as the first small tablet to run on Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system.

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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.