Today in the Fortune 500: Google leads the charge on mobile payments, networks feel the heat from the NFL lockout and Southwest wants in on the Big Apple

March 28, 2011, 5:51 PM UTC
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The Fortune 500 comes out just once a year, but the companies on it make headlines every day. Here then are today’s highlights of news and happenings coming from the biggest names in business.

By Shelley DuBois, reporter

THE FUTURE OF MOBILE PAYMENT is pretty much here, and Google (GOOG) will be at the forefront. The company is partnering with Citigroup (C) and MasterCard, (MA) and building technology into its Android operating platform that will allow people to purchase goods with their smartphones. With the technology, customers will be able to to access their bank accounts just by waving their phones in front of readers at checkout counters. Google, in turn, will benefit by selling targeted ads to people who use the service. [Wall Street Journal]

A FALL WITHOUT FOOTBALL is making people at major television networks nervous. Companies such as CBS Corp.(CBS), Fox, Comcast’s (CMCSA) NBC and Walt Disney Co.’s (DIS) ESPN are starting to look around for other programming for the fall in case the NFL lockout disrupts the coming season’s schedule. It’s no small marketing issue–commercials run during the NFL season rake in $3 billion per year from advertisers. [Wall Street Journal]

SOUTHWEST HAS BUSINESS IN NEW YORK The airline began offering new flights out of Newark Airport on Sunday in its effort to tack on more routes in the New York area. It’s part of Southwest’s (LUV) push to make a bid for more business travelers, which haven’t traditionally been the bulk of its customers. [Wall Street Journal]

SWITCHING OUT OF CRISIS MODE Half of Wal-Mart’s (WMT) Japanese stores are changing back from relief efforts to normal operations. That means 12 stores will be back in business–10 of the remaining 12 will open soon, says Wal-Mart’s Asia chief, but two are still covered in mud. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

GET ON THE CLOUD Tech company Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) lags behind its competitors in cloud computing technology, and the market is noticing. HP is trading at a low valuation compared to its peers, and is facing slow sales growth over the next two years. To catch up, the company will probably have to buy a company with expertise in the cloud. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

BUFFETT SHARES WISDOM in New Delhi on Friday, where he spoke to an audience of about 500 people about his investment strategies. One of the Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) CEO’s key strategies, he said, is to invest in assets that produce, such as stocks of companies or farmland that produces crops. [Wall Street Journal]