NEW YORK (CNN) -- CNN Money's Maribel Aber has your top business and financial news on this Tuesday, May 7.
Wal-Mart reclaimed the top spot in the Fortune 500 in 2012 after slipping to No. 2 last year. The retailer's refocus on low prices continued to attract frugal shoppers into the discounter's U.S. stores. For fiscal year 2012, sales rose 5.9%, to $443.9 billion. Despite relatively strong sales, Wal-Mart must hold onto its U.S. shoppers, which make up 62% of the chain's net sales.
Senate approves Internet sales tax proposal
The Senate approved a long-anticipated Internet sales tax proposal on Monday, moving the legislation one step closer to enactment and paving the way for shoppers to pay sales tax on the majority of online purchases. The so-called Marketplace Fairness Act would allow the 45 states (and the District of Columbia) that currently charge sales taxes to require large online retailers to collect tax on purchases made by their residents. The law would only apply to online sellers that have sales of at least $1 million in states where they don't have physical operations, like a store or a warehouse. The Senate voted 69 to 27 to approve the bill, which enjoyed bipartisan support. But before it can become law, it must be approved by the House, where Republicans are split on the issue.
Google in hot water over Apple patent dispute
European regulators dealt Google a blow in the search giant's smartphone patent battle with Apple. The European Commission said Monday that Google's Motorola Mobility unit is engaging in anti-competitive behavior by seeking and enforcing an injunction against Apple's iPhone in Germany for using some of its patents. While it may seem perfectly normal that a tech company would want to protect its intellectual property, this was not your average patent dispute. The Commission says Motorola was violating EU antitrust rules because the patents in question were considered essential for developing mobile phones and smartphones. In short, these kinds of "standard essential" patents must be shared with other players in the industry to foster innovation and competition.
High-tech shampoo, via the Department of Energy
When Procter & gamble wanted to refine the formula of its venerable Head & Shoulders antidandruff shampoo, it turned to an unlikely source. General Electric went to the same place when it needed to make its jet-engine turbines more fuel-efficient. And Ford knocked on the same door when it wanted to find a more effective way to cool a car engine using the air that naturally streams under the hood.