Google, man. Google’s habit of placing priority on its own services in search results did not make the European Union happy. EU regulators slapped the tech company with a $2.7 billion antitrust fine Tuesday. That’s a record, even if technically, the EU could have charged them $9 billion or 10 percent of its annual sales. Google has 90 days to clean up its act or face additional charges. Google is planning on appealing the fine.
Amazon has it’s eye on Whole Foods Market, an Austin-based organic grocery store. The e-commerce company made a bid of $13.7 billion, $42 a share, on Friday—which made Whole Foods’ stock rise 28 percent. Whole Foods operates 460 stores which rang up $16 billion in sales in 2016. Sales have dropped at the “whole paycheck” store since organic offerings have increased at other cheaper grocery chains. For Amazon, a purchase of Whole Foods would give it a firm footing in the grocery store sector. Only 7 percent of Americans order groceries online but 52 percent of those who order groceries online use Amazon Prime.
China wants to resurrect the Silk Road
1. China has big plans for the Silk Road. Yes, that Silk Road you learned about in your world history class. China hopes to recreate Marco Polo’s trade route to reconnect Asia and Europe for trading purposes. President Xi Jinping is going to trade in the camels and caravans for a network of $1.4 trillion modern trading routes that includes roads, a high-speed rail, airports, and pipelines. Jinping hosted the “Belt and Road,” a two-day summit with 28 heads of state.
2. The new Silk Road would involve 60 countries and shift the world’s economic structure. The trade route would cut through countries with 70 percent of the World’s population, 75 percent of energy reserves and 55 percent of global economic output. The economic shift would also impact the geopolitics of the world, shifting the economic power to Eurasia and possibly helping to stabilize Some Middle Eastern countries.
3. So, is the new Silk Road just ambition or the future of world economics?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Self-driving cars used to be a detail in sci-fi literature. Well, now it is here and Uber is back in court over self-driving cars. A judge decided two automated vehicle sector competitors couldn’t arbitrate theft of trade secrets. Waymo, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, is suing Uber after accusing former employer Anthony Levandowski of stealing documents from Waymo before starting his own automated truck business. Levandowski launched his own company and then sold it to Uber for $680 million before eventually leading Uber’s self-driving team. Waymo hopes to stop Uber's self-driving team while trial and the judge might suggest a criminal investigation.
The Justice Department announced Wednesday that two Russian intelligence agents and two other people were indicted on charges stemming from the hacking of at least half a billion Yahoo accounts. The defendants were able to gain information about "millions of subscribers" at Yahoo, Google and other webmail providers late last year, according to the Justice Department. The two Russian Federal Security Service agents Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin allegedly paid co-conspirators to access email accounts.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits has hit a 44-year low. Claims for state unemployment benefits have dropped by 19,000. Only 223,000 people filed for benefits. This is the lowest this number has been since March 1973, according to the Labor Department. This is the 104th straight week where claims were below 300,000. The decreased number of Americans filing for benefits indicates a healthy labor market. This stronger labor market combined with rising inflation could push the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates soon.
J.C. Penny announced that it will close anywhere from 130 to 140 stores and two distribution centers over the next two months. The company is aiming to improve profitability in light of online shopping. The closures represent 13 to 14 percent of J.C. Penny's current store count, which is also less than 5 percent of total annual sales. The company said it would initiate a voluntary early retirement program for 6,000 eligible employees. J.C. Penny is looking for ways to increase sales while improving its e-commerce.
Should Facebook be more transparent with advertisers?
1. Facebook is notorious for keeping trade secrets. Even though the social media site is one of the biggest online advertisers out there, Facebook has always been hesitant to share detailed statistics or any algorithms with its advertising partners. The company claims that this is to prevent publicizing its intellectual property with potential competitors, but it has also created a big headache for advertisers. Especially since almost all of Facebook's revenue comes from these advertisers.
2. Online advertisers want to know how many people see their ad and why Facebook decides some people should see that ad over others. It is also useful to any advertising campaign to know how long a potential customer interacted with the ad or if they shared it with their friends. This week, it seems Facebook is willing to share more data with advertisers. The company said they will tell advertisers down to the millisecond how long someone watched a sponsored video and whether or not they actually unmuted the audio. Facebook is also giving advertisers the option to only pay for the ad when the audio is unmuted by the viewer.
3. So, should Facebook be more transparent with advertisers from now on?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Michael Kors took a dive in the stock market Tuesday. Shares fell 6.9 percent in the third quarter and on Tuesday, that number reached 7.7 percent. The apparel and accessories lifestyle brand raked in just $1.35 billion in the most shopping oriented quarter. Current-quarter revenue is expected fall in the $1.04 billion to $1.06 billion range. Michael Kors isn’t the only retail company experiencing a drop in revenue. Ralph Lauren’s stock value has dropped more than 20 percent in the last six months. Macy might be sold to the Hudson Bay Company after a 20 percent decrease in stock value. Despite a brand overhaul, Abercrombie and Fitch’s third quarter net sales fell to $358.3 million.
The Dow Jones industrial average reached a new record high Wednesday, landing above 20,000 points for the first time. This comes during the first week of Donald Trump's presidency as he begins to enact his policies. After the election, investors labeled the surge in stock prices the "Trump rally," as the markets anticipated that the new president would work to lower taxes and push more business-friendly policies through Congress. The Dow includes 30 large publicly traded companies, which is much smaller than other market measurements. The S&P 500 includes 500 different publicly traded companies, which also experienced a rise Wednesday.
Chuck E. Cheese, the interactive restaurant whose mascot is a mouse, is prepping for an initial public offering. The IPO is expected to be valued more than $1 million. The Texas-based chain is talking about hitting the market late 2017. Being sold isn’t out of the question either, according to the Apollo Global Management LLC.
Gas prices are expected to rise after an OPEC meeting this weekend. Russia, Saudi Arabia and other oil producing nations agreed to reduce oil output to increase petroleum prices and revenues Saturday in Vienna. The agreement would cut 558,000 barrels per day which would help boost goverenment budgets. According to Bloomberg, the six-month deal would get rid of 46 percent of the 300 million-barrel stockpile.
Samsung doesn't have to fork over all profits
1. It seems like Samsung has been in hot water recently, but the U.S. Supreme Court sent Samsung and Apple back to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. It’s a small win for Samsung since Apple was arguing that the South Korean company should pay a $399 million penalty for copying iPhone designs. In an 8-0 ruling, Court decided that a patent violator doesn’t have to give up all profits from stolen designs—if the designs influenced parts rather than the whole product. The lower court still decides how much Samsung has to pay.
2. This isn’t the first time that the two competitors went to court over patent infringement. Back in 2012, Samsung was handed about $930 million in penalties for copyright infringement. Fortunately for Samsung, the penalties were shaved down for $582 million for patent infringement.
3. So how much should Samsung fork over?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
For many years, Apple Maps has struggled to compete with its more successful competitor Google Maps. Now, as Bloomberg News reports, Apple is planning to use drones to gather more accurate maps and traffic data. Currently, the company is using a fleet of minivans with specialized cameras and sensors to collect data from cities all over the country. The drones would be used to capture real-time data and push updates to maps rapidly. To make this work, Apple would have to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration's drone regulations. Apple has been releasing some improvements to its native maps app in recent months. In 2015, Apple finally released support for public transit in select cities. And this year, the app has an automatic feature that records where your car is parked based on Bluetooth connectivity as well as other small tweaks. But in directions, Apple Maps is still a little behind Google in accuracy and speed.
Instead of finishing off Thanksgiving in the Black Friday storm of shopping, Buy Nothing Day is the other option. Supported by AdBusters, the movement started in the early 1990s. Supporters cut up credit cards, walk around the malls without shopping or even take carts and form a conga line in stores. Optionally, #OptOutside is for all those outdoorsy folks who find hiking more enjoyable than the mile-long lines at Zara and H&M. Or you could just stay home, eat more and watch Netflix.
The moment Asian and European investors realized Donald Trump won the presidential election, stocks were sold in a frenzy. Stock market future dropped almost 800 points in the overnight hours. Oil, Mexican peso and American dollar were heavily sold. However, after Trump gave his speech emphasizing unity in New York, the markets have started to settle. The Dow opened about 150 points higher since the sharp fall.
A few weeks ago, Twitter announced that it was shutting down Vine, the short-video sharing app. But it seems Twitter is looking to sell the service. According to TechCrunch, Twitter is currently vetting multiple term sheets from companies offering to buy Vine and is looking to make a deal soon. Even if Twitter does shut down Vine, the archive of Vines uploaded would still be available to watch and users would be able to download their own Vines for safekeeping.