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Monday, August 10, 2020
Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook Source: Reuters; Apple President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Thursday ordering U.S. firms to stop doing business with popular Chinese apps TikTok, owned by ByteDance, and WeChat, owned by Tencent.  This comes after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier in the week that he was calling on American app stores — which are dominated by Apple and Google — to remove "untrusted" Chinese apps. "With parent companies based in China, apps like TikTok, WeChat, and others, are significant threats to personal data of American citizens, not to mention tools for CCP content and censorship," Pompeo said in a briefing with reporters on Wednesday. It's unclear how the companies plan to implement the Trump administration's executive order, which becomes effective on Sept. 20, or the State Department program. Representatives for Apple and Google didn't respond to requests for comment. But both companies have removed plenty of apps in response to foreign government requests. It may be unprecedented for the U.S. to ban apps on a national level, but other governments do it all the time. Between July 2018 and June 2019, Apple removed 851 apps from its platforms in certain regions
Since the 1950s, humans have produced about 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic. Every year, 8 million metric tons end up in the ocean. Globally, only 9% of plastics are recycled. Plastics are useful. They're used to help make lifesaving medical supplies, lightweight, fuel-efficient car parts, and insulation for our homes. But nearly half of all plastic produced goes towards single-use items such as bags, straws, utensils and takeout containers. As the waste piles up, there's a growing demand for alternatives. There's a number of companies trying to develop cost-efficient and eco-friendly substitutes, from mushroom packaging to advanced fibers and plastic-free online shopping. But it may take serious legislative efforts to incentive adoption and slow the rise of the industry overall.
San Francisco's coronavirus response has been far from perfect. But with just over 7,000 cases and 64 deaths, in a population of over 800,000, it's better off than most U.S. cities, experts say. At this stage, the city remains on the state's watchlist— although things have recently been frozen for the past few days because of a data glitch — and schools will open later this month with 100% remote learning. But hospitals were never overwhelmed. That allowed the University of California, San Francisco to send medical volunteers to other parts of the country that have been harder hit by the virus.  The city's health experts say that there are lessons to be drawn from San Francisco's response. Dr. Bob Wachter, chairman of the department of medicine at UC San Francisco, has recently highlighted in a series of tweet storms how the city has one of the lowest rates of cases per 100,000, compared to other large U.S. cities. The first months of the response in March and April were particularly impressive, he notes, although things took a turn for the worse in the early summer months. Wachter created the following chart, which shows that as of July 31, San
WarnerMedia's new CEO, Jason Kilar, announced a management shake-up Friday that promotes its streaming executive Andy Forssell to lead a new HBO Max operating business unit. Kilar also announced layoffs, and the departure of some top executives. Amid the changes, Kilar announced in an email to employees obtained by CNBC that three executives would be departing the company: WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer Chairman Bob Greenblatt, content chief and TBS, TNT and TruTV President Kevin Reilly, and Keith Cocozza, executive vice president of corporate marketing and communications. This is Kilar's first move to reorganize AT&T's WarnerMedia in his vision since he began as CEO in May, succeeding former executive John Stankey, who is now CEO of AT&T.  Under Stankey, Greenblatt was put in charge of WarnerMedia's entertainment direct-to-consumer businesses in March 2019. The management shuffle is an early indication of how the Hulu co-founder and former CEO plans to shape up the business to compete in the streaming wars. In his email to employees, Kilar said the changes were meant to help WarnerMedia successfully reach consumers amid accelerated direct-to-consumer demand during the coronavirus pandemic. That involves expanding HBO Max's "scope globally," simplifying studio organization and consolidating international units and commercial activities. Warner Bros. Chair and
There's no question the second quarter was a transformative one for the streaming video business, with consumers streaming an unprecedented volume of internet content and signing up for streaming services in unprecedented numbers. Media companies are increasingly focusing on the streaming market, a rare bright spot on their balance sheets at a time when so many other parts of their business, such as TV advertising, are under pressure, and other parts, such as the theatrical movie business and sports, are entirely absent. No media company captures this pivot to streaming better than Disney. Its second quarter results were overshadowed by the gains of its direct to consumer subscription offerings and its commitment to double down on that business. The company announced that Disney+ has surpassed 60 million subscribers, four years ahead of its goal of reaching between 60 and 90 million by 2024. That growth is particularly remarkable considering that the service has yet to complete its full global rollout. Disney's streaming subscriptions now top 100 million, including Hulu, and faster-than-expected growth of ESPN+. Liu Yifei stars in Disney's "Mulan." Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that "Mulan's" streaming release is a "one-off" and not a
Atlassian co-founders and co-CEOs Mike Cannon-Brookes, left, and Scott Farquhar. Atlassian Software company Atlassian isn't getting rid of its offices. It's just telling employees they don't have to return to them. It's a bold choice, even among technology companies that can operate virtually as the coronavirus pandemic rolls on. Facebook and Google have been less drastic. Both told workers they would be able to keep working from home through the summer of 2021.  Besides freeing up current employees, the new approach could help with hiring outside major areas where the company would ordinarily have to pay generously while competing with other major companies. "We will seek out amazing, diverse talent unbounded by the physical footprint of our offices," the company said in an internal blog post published on Wednesday. "We will continue to compete for talent in the global hubs, and we will be able to create opportunities for those in places we would have previously not been able to reach." Atlassian's products help software developers and others keep track of code, projects, issues and other work. One of Atlassian's competitors, privately held GitLab, has never had an office despite having grown past 1,000
People watch the game on television at Atlas Brew Works - Street Brewery and Tap Room during the home opener of the Washington Nationals against the New York Yankees at Nationals Park on Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Salwan Georges | The Washington Post | Getty Images The worst appears to be in the past for the TV advertising market, but a comeback from the effects of Covid-19 will likely be gradual.  In recent days, media companies including ABC and ESPN parent Disney, Fox, AMC Networks, NBCUniversal parent Comcast, WarnerMedia parent AT&T, ViacomCBS and Discovery, along with tech companies The Trade Desk and Roku, reported earnings that showed advertising dollars hitting a trough in the second quarter. Several companies said the quarter wasn't as bad as they expected for advertising, but factors like production delays because of the pandemic will likely have an effect in future quarters.  Here are some of the big-picture trends the networks shared in their earnings:  Not as bad as feared  Several companies said the state of the advertising market was generally better than expected, though advertising did hit a bottom in the quarter.  "While the advertising
A customer plays on an Xbox xCloud device at the Microsoft store opening on July 11, 2019 in London, England. Peter Summers | Getty Images Microsoft and Facebook have lashed out at Apple for restrictive App Store policies, which they say prevent them from launching gaming services on iPhones and other Apple devices. Earlier this week, Microsoft said it would be launching its xCloud gaming service as part of a subscription service called Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Sept. 15. But the app, which lets users jump into an Xbox game on their smartphone or tablet, will only be available on devices powered by Google's Android mobile operating system, not Apple's iOS. Microsoft also said it would no longer be offering a limited testing version of the app on iOS. The platform Microsoft had designed for Apple devices only supported one game, which Microsoft said was because of Apple's App Store policies. Microsoft now says it would be unable to launch its game streaming service commercially on iOS due to these restrictions. "Unfortunately, we do not have a path to bring our vision of cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to gamers on iOS via
A smart phone with the icons for the social networking apps WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger FaceTime, and others are seen on a smartphone screen. S3studio | Getty Images News | Getty Images When President Donald Trump late Thursday issued an executive order to effectively ban WeChat in 45 days, it became a devastating blow to the U.S. users who rely on the app to communicate with family and friends in China.  WeChat operates a slew of services, such as ride hailing or making payments, within the app in China, but its flagship service is its messaging platform. It's picked up little traction in the United States compared to China, but the Chinese-owned messaging service is key for people who need to communicate between the two.  Banning the app would give those who used it with no other option to quickly communicate for free with friends and family in China. It's impossible for users to just switch over to U.S.-based messaging platforms, since China has already blocked the apps that Americans rely on, such as Facebook's Messenger and Instagram, Google and Snapchat. WhatsApp, another popular global messaging service owned by Facebook, is also blocked in the
The TikTok app is displayed in the app store in this arranged photograph in London, on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. Hollie Adams | Bloomberg | Getty Images TikTok threatened legal action against an executive order issued by President Donald Trump Thursday that would ban the Chinese social media app from doing business with U.S. firms. The app has been at the center of an escalating technology war between the U.S. and China this year. Washington had already threatened to ban TikTok in the U.S. due to national security concerns. It is concerned the app could allow Beijing to spy on U.S. government employees and contractors, collect personal data for "blackmail," conduct corporate espionage and be used for "disinformation campaigns" that benefit the Chinese government. TikTok has denied such allegations and Beijing has opposed the executive orders, saying it will defend the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese businesses. 'No due process' TikTok said it was "shocked" by the order, claiming there has been "no due process or adherence to the law" from the Trump administration. "This Executive Order risks undermining global businesses' trust in the United States' commitment to the rule of
Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank, speaking at Web Summit 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. Harry Murphy | Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images British digital challenger bank Starling said Thursday that its losses doubled in 2019, but that it now expects to break even by year-end amid a rebound in activity from the coronavirus crisis. The London-based start-up posted a pre-tax loss of £53.6 million ($70.4 million) in the year ending November 30, roughly double the £26.9 million loss it reported for 2018. Revenues came in at £14.2 million, a steep rise from the £750,000 it pulled in a year earlier. But in a separate trading update, Starling said it had seen lending activity spike in 2020 as it has taken part in the U.K. government's emergency coronavirus financing schemes. By the end of July, the bank had £1 billion of lending on its balance sheet, the vast majority of which was government-backed lending to businesses hit by the pandemic. That increase in lending appears to have given a significant boost to the company's top line in recent months, with net interest income making up the bulk of the £6.7 million revenue
President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders banning any U.S. transactions with Chinese tech firms Tencent, which owns the messaging service WeChat, and ByteDance that owns the popular short-video-sharing app TikTok. The ban will take effect in 45 days. WeChat "automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users. This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information," Trump said in the executive order banning the app, adding that the application also captures personal information of Chinese nationals visiting the U.S. The orders would basically ban the app in the United States as it would prohibit "any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with Tencent Holdings Ltd."  The same order was issued for TikTok and its Beijing-based owner, ByteDance. TikTok "may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party," Trump said in the executive order banning the video-sharing app. "The United States must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security." TikTok has consistently denied those allegations. It says that U.S. user data is stored in