- THE MOBILE PAYMENTS REPORT: Key strategies that wallet providers can implement to break from disappointing growth
- Bill Gates says that hiring and management is his biggest source of anxiety at work
- Mercedes' hyper-luxury Maybach is back and better than ever
- New details emerge on Amazon's Blink acquisition (AMZN)
- Bill Gates’ advice to future entrepreneurs: Go into science
- Amazon is making another big play for Windows PCs (AAPL, MSFT, AMZN)
- Litecoin is sliding after its first competing fork is announced
- Apple is making a TV show based on NBA superstar Kevin Durant's childhood that's inspired by 'Friday Night Lights'
- Twitter is surging ahead of CEO Jack Dorsey's Goldman Sachs presentation (TWTR)
- Sky and BT are paying a combined £4.5 billion for rights to the Premier League
- Mark Zuckerberg asked Bill and Melinda Gates what advice they would give to their younger selves — here’s what they said
- This $650 TV thinks it costs $1,000 – and I'd recommend it to absolutely everyone
- Melinda Gates explains how she and Bill can work together without fighting
- GM is making an aggressive push to save its South Korean business — but the clock is ticking (GM)
- Apple shareholders just gave a huge vote of confidence to Tim Cook (AAPL)
- Chuck Yeager is turning 95 — here's what it was like when he rocketed past the sound barrier 70 years ago
- Nissan's oldest SUV is still one of the best money can buy — but a small change would make it perfect
- The 27 best romantic comedy movies of all time, according to critics
- Unilever set the ad world on edge when it hinted at yanking budgets from Facebook and YouTube — here's what's really going on
- Xerox is sliding after being sued by one of its largest shareholders (XRX)
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 02:02 PM PST
This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.
In the US, the in-store mobile wallet space is becoming increasingly crowded. Most customers have an option provided by their smartphone vendor, like Apple, Android, or Samsung Pay. But those are often supplemented by a myriad of options from other players, ranging from tech firms like PayPal, to banks and card issuers, to major retailers and restaurants.
With that proliferation of options, one would expect to see a surge in adoption. But that’s not the case — though BI Intelligence projects that US in-store mobile payments volume will quintuple in the next five years, usage is consistently lagging below expectations, with estimates for 2019 falling far below what we expected just two years ago.
As such, despite promising factors driving gains, including the normalization of NFC technology and improved incentive programs to encourage adoption and engagement, it’s important for wallet providers and groups trying to break into the space to address the problems still holding mobile wallets back. These issues include customer satisfaction with current payment methods, limited repeat purchasing, and consumer confusion stemming from fragmentation. But several wallets, like Apple Pay, Starbucks’ app, and Samsung Pay, are outperforming their peers, and by delving into why, firms can begin to develop best practices and see better results.
A new report from BI Intelligence addresses how in-store mobile payments volume will grow through 2021, why that’s below past expectations, and what successful cases can teach other players in the space. It also issues actionable recommendations that various providers can take to improve their performance and better compete.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
In full, the report:
Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 01:55 PM PST
That's an immense amount of responsibility and productivity for one person. Gates may seem relatively relaxed, but like the rest of us mere mortals, he also feels anxious at work sometimes.
On Tuesday, during an interview at Hunter College in New York City, a student asked Gates about his worries and weaknesses at work.
"[When I'm] dealing with hiring issues and management issues ... I always had to get other people to come in and help out who have a deep sensitivity as to how we were going to build up the team," Gates said. "Even areas like sales and accounting — the work that wasn't exciting to me as the engineering pieces. If I'm not excited about something, I'm probably not going to be as good at it."
Gates added that communicating with government makes him anxious, too. In his latest letter discussing the Gates Foundation's charity work, he wrote that President Trump's "America First worldview" has made his team's foreign aid projects more difficult. In March 2017, Gates visited Trump at the White House to have a conversation about the proposed budget cuts to the State Department and the US Agency for International Development.
"Also governmental relations," Gates said. "I didn't realize until too late how important those were."
It's a reminder that work-related anxiety is part of the human experience. And no one is immune to it— not even Bill Gates.
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 01:00 PM PST
In 2015, Mercedes' ultra-luxury Maybach nameplate returned to the lineup as the top-of-the-line variant of its flagship S-Class sedan.
Along with the rest of the S-Class lineup, the Maybach sedans received updated sheet metal, electronics, and engines for the 2018 model year.
But the changes haven't stopped there.
For 2019, Mercedes-Benz is updating its most expensive luxury sedans with new looks both inside and out.
Aesthetically, the 2019 Maybach cars will come with a new front grille inspired by the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 concept car first unveiled at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
In addition, Maybachs get new 20-inch multi-spoke wheels and two-tone exterior paint combinations. There are also two new interior color combinations—ArmagnacBrown/Black and Savanna Beige/Black — from which customers can choose.
Engine options for the Maybach will remain the same. The S560 Maybach will be powered by a 463 horsepower 4.0 liter, biturbo V8 while the S650 will be powered by a 621 horsepower, 6.0 liter, biturbo V12.
According to Mercedes, the S560 can hit 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds while the S650 can make the same sprint in 4.6 ticks of a stopwatch.
The 2019 Mercedes-Maybach sedans will make their world debut in March at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show and are expected to reach US rooms this summer.
Mercedes have not yet announced pricing for the 2019 Maybach. However, the 2018 Maybach S560 starts $168,600 while the 2018 Maybach S650 starts at $198,700.
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 12:50 PM PST
New details have emerged about Amazon's late 2017 acquisition of smart home camera maker Blink, Reuters reports.
The e-commerce titan purchased Blink for a previously unreported sum of $90 million, and, contrary to popular belief, Reuters reports that Amazon bought the company largely for its microchips.
It had previously been widely speculated that the e-commerce giant bought Blink to build its own Alexa-compatible smart security camera or video doorbell for its remote delivery pilot service, known as Amazon Key.
These details suggest Amazon could be looking to build more of the technologies in its Echo in-house, even as it maintains an open ecosystem for third-parties to work with its Alexa voice assistant.
This approach mirrors what Amazon has done with many of its other businesses, including its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing unit and its e-commerce marketplace. The company largely built both of these businesses leveraging much of its own data, software, hardware, and other services, and using its control over those different components to drive efficiencies. In both cases, it opened them up to other businesses to either sell goods or use excess computing infrastructure. The latest news on Blink suggests it could be taking the same approach to its Echo devices to lower costs and keep iterating to add new features, while also maximizing the monetization potential of the speakers and Alexa voice assistant by making them easy for third parties to work with.
Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 12:40 PM PST
His vision of the emerging opportunities in the world of computers spurred him to drop out of Harvard, Gates said Tuesday in a discussion of his and Melinda Gates' annual letter.
The pair talked with Lin-Manuel Miranda at Hunter College on Tuesday, and explained that the opportunity to directly improve a huge number of lives determined the Gates Foundation's focus on education and global health.
So it's worth listening to the advice Gates gave in response to a question about what future entrepreneurs should learn about.
Gates' answer: Go into science.
"The more you can learn the science, the more you will see where the opportunity is," he said.
Specifically, Gates thinks people should look at areas of the world where significant innovation is going to be needed in the near future to help humanity deal with coming challenges.
"If your talents take you toward science or programming, advances in biology or energy breakthroughs, those kinds of deep areas are going to be the biggest source of change," he said.
Gates said the challenges that he considers most important include global disease and the need to develop a new energy system for the planet. The answers to those problems will come from scientific research.
Personally, Gates said, he was lucky that software engineering grabbed his interest. He hired people to do the required marketing and sales, but it was his interest that allowed him to see the opportunity in the first place.
"If you have an inkling that science grabs you ... that's where a lot of the opportunity comes from," he said.
NOW WATCH: How Bill Gates makes and spends his billions
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 12:09 PM PST
Amazon is bringing its popular Amazon Music streaming service to Windows 10. To cut to the chase: If you want it, you can get the app from the Windows Store here.
In a broader sense, it's part of a big play that Amazon is making for the Windows 10 PC.
In January, Amazon announced that its Alexa virtual assistant would be built in to some new PCs from manufacturers including HP, Acer, and Asus. While Amazon hasn't announced anything specifically, that news puts it within the realm of possibility that Amazon could release Alexa as a standalone Windows app, too. Besides, playing music is already a tremendously popular feature of the Alexa agent; having a full Amazon Music app too just makes sense.
On the one hand, the move to launch Amazon Music on Windows 10 seems counterintuitive. The PC market is shrinking, while Amazon's own hardware businesses — like the Alexa-powered Echo speakers and its Kindle Fire tablets — are booming, according to all available indicators.
And yet, Windows 10 is still a massive market. Microsoft says in a blog post that there are now over 600 million Windows 10 PCs out there. That gives Amazon a big market to address, which could help it gain ground on Spotify and Apple Music, the first- and second-place most popular streaming services, respectively. Notably, Spotify is already available on the Windows Store, with a delayed Apple iTunes app coming soon.
Plus, Microsoft is still a major player in the demographic that every media company wants: Young people. While Google's low-cost Chromebooks dominate the educational market in the United States, Windows is overall the most popular operating system in classrooms around the world.
In the bigger picture, too, Microsoft is reportedly pushing "S Mode" — a Windows 10 feature that grants improvements to battery life and performance, with the tradeoff that you can only install software from the Windows Store. If Microsoft's ambitions are fulfilled and "S Mode" comes to many more PCs, it'll behoove Amazon, Apple, and Spotify to all have apps on the Windows Store, or else risk losing access to those users.
As for Microsoft itself, it doesn't really have a horse in this race. The company shuttered its own Groove Music streaming service in 2017, offering users a way to migrate their playlists to Spotify. And Microsoft and Amazon had previously announced an integration between Alexa and the Microsoft Cortana smart agent, too.
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 11:40 AM PST
Litecoin holders will receive 10 tokens of litecoin cash for every one litecoin they own, the newly minted Litecoin Cash foundation said Monday.
The goal of the new currency is to increase the “block speed” at which the network can process transactions. The foundation says litecoin cash has a goal block time of 2.5 minutes — faster than litecoin. Like bitcoin and most other major cryptocurrencies, but unlike the existing Litecoin network, litecoin cash will use the more energy intensive, but potentially more secure, proof-of-work mining method.
The fork will occur precisely at block 1371111. The Litecoin network is currently on block 1368028 at the time of writing, according to BlockCypher. The fork is expected to occur sometime around 9 p.m. ET on Monday, February 19.
Litecoin, which was designed to be less energy intensive than bitcoin, saw an astronomical rise in 2017. The cryptocurrency skyrocketed from just $3.73 a year ago, to as high as $365 in December, leading founder Charlie Lee to warn investors about the possibility of losing everything. He also sold his entire stake after being accused of price manipulation.
One week before litecoin cash was announced, Lee tweeted a warning that any fork of litecoin was "a scam trying to confuse you to think it’s related to litecoin."
Forks aren’t uncommon in the cryptocurrency world, although they are not without controversy. Bitcoin cash famously split from the flagship bitcoin in August 2017, but the forked cryptocurrency has been accused of merely riding the coattails of the more established bitcoin.
Litecoin cash's founders insist that isn't the case with this new cryptocurrency.
"As to the name, it’s strictly a product of convention. No confusion is intended, but it has simply become customary for a new coin arising from a fork to use the forked coin’s name as a prefix to its own," litecoin cash's head of design Michael “Scarlet” Wyszynski told Business Insider.
"And while we're not affiliated with Litecoin or the Litecoin dev team in any way, we will share the first 1371111 blocks of transactions in the ledger. People are absolutely right to be cautious and skeptical."
This post has been updated to include comment from the litecoin cash team.
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 11:27 AM PST
Golden State Warriors player Kevin Durant and "Friday Night Lights" producer Brian Grazer will team for a dramatic scripted series for the tech giant, Deadline first reported.
The series, called "Swagger," is inspired by Durant's time playing Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball in Washington, D.C. at an early age.
Grazer said he hopes to capture the essence of "Friday Night Lights," an NBC drama that focused on the lives of small town Texas football players that aired from 2006 to 2011.
Durant "created a beautiful world that the 'Friday Night Lights' essence could inhabit,” Grazer told Deadline. “It has the same things. The fragility of how you were as a kid, and how these kids — 12-13 years old — are presented with money, real money, (from athletic apparel brands). It’s a fascinating universe of possibilities.”
Apple has recently been making moves in the scripted series world, even willing to drop a reported $1 billion this year on programming.
In January, The Hollywood Reporter broke that Apple had acquired a 10-episode comedy starring Kristen Wiig and executive produced by Reese Witherspoon.
"Swagger" would also join the likes of the Steven Spielberg-produced "Amazing Stories," among other shows, in Apple's move to challenge Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon for the original content streaming crown.
And while Apple is bankrolling this project, here's a fun aside: Durant and Grazer were actually brought together by Google. The pair reportedly met at the exclusive "Google Camp" gathering, started by Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, which has been called the "Davos on the sea" for bringing together VIPs across tech, media, and fashion.
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 11:21 AM PST
He’s scheduled to take the stage at 3:30 p.m. ET.
It’s not clear what the subject of Dorsey’s presentation will be, but he’s likely to set an optimistic tone following the social network’s first-ever corporate profit last week.
Twitter’s stock price is up 22.3% since the company reported earnings that beat Wall Street’s expectations. The big boost came despite Twitter saying active user growth was flat.
It’s a "solid step down the road to recovery," a BMO Capital Markets analyst told clients after the earnings beat. "If Twitter can keep costs in check, we believe the story could become more interesting as top-line pressures fade."
You can watch Dorsey’s presentation live on the Goldman Sachs website (registration required).
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 11:05 AM PST
The Premier League announced on Tuesday an update on the bidding process for broadcast rights for the top-tier football league in the UK. Of the seven "packages" the Premier League is offering, five have now been awarded — with BT taking one and Sky taking another four.
This mean Sky will show 128 games a season, while BT will broadcast 32, paying £4.464 billion overall.
Meanwhile, there is "interest from multiple bidders" in the remaining two packages — and while these bidders haven't been named, Amazon is rumoured to be in the running. Rights to broadcast Premier League games would be a significant addition to its Amazon Prime video streaming subscription service, as it competes with the likes of Netflix and traditional broadcasters.
"We are extremely pleased that BT and Sky continue to view the Premier League and our clubs as such an important part of their offering," Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore said in a statement.
"Both broadcasters are fantastic partners for the Premier League and have a track record of making our competition available to fans across the country through their high-quality and innovative programming. To have achieved this investment with two packages of live rights remaining to sell is an outcome that is testament to the excellent football competition delivered by the clubs."
The full details of the various packages are below, via the Premier League. BT was awarded Package A, while Sky snagged B, C, D, and E.
Total matches: 32 - 20 second picks, 12 fifth picks
Matches per club: Max six; Min one
Kick-off times: 32 matches at Saturday 12.30
Total matches: 32 (15 first picks, five third picks, 12 fifth picks)
Matches per club: Max six; Min one
Kick-off times: 32 matches at Saturday 17.30
Total matches: 32 (14 second picks; 18 fourth picks)
Matches per club: Max five; Min one
Kick-off times: 24 matches at Sunday 14.00 and 8 matches at Saturday 19.45
Total matches: 32 (19 first picks; seven third picks; six fourth picks)
Matches per club: Max five; Min one
Kick-off times: 32 matches at Sunday 16.30
Total matches: 32 (22 third picks; 10 fourth picks)
Matches per club: Max five; Min none
Kick-off times: 24 matches at Monday 20.00 or Friday 19.30 - 20.00 and 8 matches at Sunday 14.00
Total matches: 20
Matches per club: Max two; Min two
Kick-off times: All 20 matches from one Bank Holiday and one midweek fixture programme
Total matches: 20
Matches per club: Max two; Min two
Kick-off times: All 20 matches from two midweek fixture programmes
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 10:59 AM PST
Toward the end of the event, which was moderated by Broadway composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Gates' received a question from a fellow entrepreneur who also runs also runs a huge philanthropic foundation: Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg asked via Facebook Live, "If you could go back and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be? Asking for a friend."
Bill Gates replied that he now realizes that there is no one right way to be intelligent. Holding many different kinds of talents in a range of fields makes people truly successful, according to Gates.
"I was so naive about different skill sets. I thought if somebody had a high IQ, they could be good at everything. And that idea that you had to blend different skills together, that still surprises me," he said. "This notion that there was just this simple idea of smartness, and it could solve everything — I wish I had known better than to think that."
Melinda Gates said that she wishes she would have trusted her gut more when she was younger.
"I think I would say, 'trust yourself.' You probably know more than you think you do. And I would sometimes get very impatient with myself," she said. "And the other thing I would say is: 'trust that you can learn anything.' One of the fun things about hanging around my husband in a work setting and at home is that he reminds me all the time, 'you can learn any field you want to learn.' Just because I didn't learn biology in high school, I can learn it now. That's a really encouraging thing."
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 10:50 AM PST
I've been living with the $650 TCL P607 for over a month, and it's a fantastic TV.
It's a 55-inch TV with ultra-sharp 4K resolution, HDR10 for great picture color, and it even has Dolby Vision for content that supports it, which is an even better version of HDR10.
It also has Roku built in, which handily outclasses the built-in software that most smart TVs come with.
The TCL P607 isn't the cheapest 55-inch 4K TV with HDR, but it's close. And most TVs with this kind of extended feature set, including Dolby Vision, can easily cost north of $1,000.
Check out what I thought of the TCL P607 TV after using it for a month:
The TCL TV makes 4K and HDR video look just as good as more expensive TVs.
4K TV shows, movies, and games look stunning on the TCL.
The TCL has 72 local dimming zones, which means it can dim or turn off certain zones of the screen that show a dark scene. As a result, the color black is surprisingly deep for a regular LCD TV. It's not an OLED display where every pixel acts as a local dimming zone, so it doesn't get that perfect black color in darker scenes, but the TCL is remarkably close. Having such deep black levels makes for a richer picture, and brighter parts of a scene can truly pop, too.
With that said, the dimming zones can lag when scenes suddlenly switch from dark to bright. Parts of the screen can stay dim for a split second before switching back to bright. It's noticeable, but not really distracting.
It supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, which you usually find on more expensive TVs.
The TCL also supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, which make for more natural colors on content that supports HDR. It also helps reveal detail in darker parts of a scene that you normally wouldn't see on a TV without HDR.
I should note that most HDR TVs only support the regular HDR10 standard while relatively few TVs support Dolby Vision, which is a kind of "premium" version of the standard HDR10 that's usually found on higher-end TV models. The Dolby Vision badge can ramp up the price of a TV, but it hasn't done so with the TCL.
I was surprised to find that Dolby Vision does actually look better than regular HDR10. The enhancements to color and detail are more noticeable than they are with regular HDR10, and it's always a treat when I find a show or movie that supports Dolby Vision on Netflix.
I should also note that most streaming devices only support HDR10, not Dolby Vision. So the TCL, as a streaming device, is better than most streaming devices if you value Dolby Vision. So far, only the Apple TV 4K supports Dolby Vision.
If you want better TV quality, the next best thing are OLED TVs, which usually come with a huge price tag.
I found that I enjoyed content with the $650 TCL just as much as I did with the $5,500 LG OLED TV I tried out a few months ago.
TCL may not be a household name like LG or Sony, but don't let that scare you. The Chinese brand has existed for decades. It recently made a splash in the US TV market with its Roku-powered smart TVs, and it's made a name for itself as a great budget-friendly brand for TVs.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 10:47 AM PST
But those days are long gone as Bill now spends most of his time focuses on his philanthropy work and working with his wife, Melinda, to run their charitable foundation.
In the couple's annual letter for their charitable foundation, Melinda Gates had a little fun with this. The letter was written in a Q&A format this year in which the two of them answer a bunch of the most common, and somewhat prying, questions they are always asked.
One of the questions that they answered was "What happens when the two of you disagree?"
Melinda answered first by writing, "We never disagree. Just kidding. Bill almost never gets this question. I get it all the time."
She said there's two types of people that tend to ask her this: "journalists hinting that Bill must be the one making the decisions" and other wives who are also running foundations with their husbands.
But she did answer it seriously. The most important thing, she said, is that the two of them share "the same values." This is symbolized by a present they received when they got married.
"For our wedding, Bill’s parents gave us a sculpture of two birds side by side, staring at the horizon, and it’s still in front of our house. I think of it all the time, because fundamentally we’re looking in the same direction," she said.
She also says that people have misconceptions about what it's really like to work with Bill. "Bill is very open-minded, which isn’t necessarily how people perceive him. I love Bill because he has a kind heart, listens to other people, and lets himself be moved by what they say," she wrote.
He may ask her for more data on something she proposes — as she's a fellow geek who loves data, such a suggestion wouldn't offend her. And she doesn't feel like he's doubting her or discounting her or her judgment.
She admits, though, that it took them a while to learn how to work together. When Bill resigned from his day job at Microsoft in 2008 and went to work full-time at their foundation, which had been mostly her domain, it was tough on Melinda.
"He was used to being in charge," she said, while she had been focusing on raising their kids at home.
"There were times I felt that disparity — in meetings when I was reticent and he was voluble, or when the person we were meeting with looked toward Bill and not me," she explained.
They got through that by committing to each other that they were equal partners at the foundation. On days when things didn't go well at the office, they would discuss the situation later, at home, she explained.
To prove the point of how well they now work together, Bill chimed in by writing in the letter, "I agree with all of this!"
He also added that he's the one that can get exuberant and he counts on Melinda to reel him in.
"When I get really enthusiastic about something, I count on her to make sure I’m being realistic," he wrote. "She helps me understand when I can push our teams harder (as I pretty much always did at Microsoft) and when I need to ease off."
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 10:46 AM PST
After CEO Mary Barra highlighted problems with GM Korea on the carmaker's fourth-quarter earnings call, the company announced on Monday that it would shutter its plant in Gunsan by May, citing capacity utilization of just 20% for the past three years.
GM expects the closure to account for an $850-million special charge that it will report at the end of the second quarter. (Gunsan builds just two vehicles, the Cruze compact sedan and the Orlando, a compact hatchback.)
Given Barra's bold moves to streamline GM operations globally, including selling Opel in 2017 and withdrawing from the Russian market, it initially looked as though the company was preparing to call it a day in Korea. Barra's focus has been to maximize GM's return on invested capital, and she stressed that Korea was a serious problem area when she spoke with Wall Street analysts about the company's strong Q4 and full-year 2017 results.
GM isn't ready to give up on Korea, however. Chevy is the number-one foreign brand in the country, and the carmaker sold about half a million vehicles in the region in 2017, so there's ample justification to stick around — if the business can be sorted out.
"We have a very solid track record," said GM President Dan Ammann in a statement. "We’ve fixed businesses, like in South America, or we’ve exited when we don’t see a pathway to sustained success." (GM placed South America and all businesses outside the US and China under its International umbrella last fall.)
Ammann also shot down any speculation that GM is fast-tracking a departure.
“We stand ready to engage," he said. "Our preference is to stay and find a pathway to a viable, sustainable and profitable business.”
But even though GM has affirmed its commitment to finding a way to return GM Korea to health, the clock is ticking. Ammann stressed that the various stakeholders, from the government to labor unions and investors, would need to embrace the urgency of the situation.
"The ongoing discussions must demonstrate significant progress by the end of February, when GM will make important decisions on next steps,” Barry Engle, president of GM International, said in a statement.
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 10:40 AM PST
As in recent years, the vote signals that Apple shareholders giving a vote of confidence to CEO Tim Cook and Apple's overall strategy.
Four proposals backed by Apple passed, including a re-election of the board's members and a package of compensation for Apple executives.
Two proposals from shareholders were overwhelmingly rejected, including a proposal to form a "human rights committee," and a proposal to reduce the number of shares needed to nominate new directors to Apple's board.
Tuesday's vote comes shortly after announced a huge quarter with over $88 billion in sales.
“We just finished our best quarter ever in the history of the company,” Cook said in a brief question-and-answer session after the meeting.
Shareholders were generally upbeat and Cook appeared animated while discussing funds the recent tax reform that Apple backed, although he did not give details on what Apple planned to use its formerly-overseas funds for, except to "invest in" the United States.
"We're going to pay $38 billion more in taxes, we could’ve left it were it was and not paid. We want to pay and for wanting to pay we’d like to use the residual profits to invest in this country," Cook explained.
The meeting was also the first held in the Steve Jobs Theater, which is on Apple's new $5 billion campus, Apple Park.
Shareholders clamored for a tour of the actual "spaceship" building, instead of the standalone theater, but Cook said that official tours were unlikely due to the amount of confidential information in the building.
"The problem with opening up the main facility for tours is we have so much confidential stuff around and keeping stuff confidential is the bane of my existence now," Cook explained.
Here are the six proposals that shareholders voted on, and the preliminary unofficial results announced by Apple:
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 10:37 AM PST
Chuck Yeager turns 95 on Tuesday.
The pilot began his career during World War II as a private in the US Army Air Forces. In late 1942 he entered enlisted-pilot training and eventually became a P-51 fighter pilot.
After the war, he held commands around the world but is best known for his record-breaking work as a test pilot.
Into the 'ugh-known'
On October 14, 1947, US Air Force Capt. Chuck Yeager flew a Bell X-1 experimental plane at Mach 1 some 40,000 feet over the Mojave Desert, becoming the first human to travel faster than the speed of sound.
The journey to that flight started in late 1943, at a conference hosted by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which was NASA's predecessor.
Attendees were looking for a way to give aerospace companies better information about high-speed flight in order to improve aircraft design, and it was concluded that a full-scale pilot with a pilot at the controls would yield better information than wind tunnel experiments.
The project picked up speed in March 1945, and testing and tinkering continued until late 1947, when the X-1 — nicknamed "Glamorous Glennis" after Yeager's wife — was ready to fly into the "ugh-known," as Yeager and others called it.
But just days before his record-breaking flight, Yeager broke two ribs in what he described as a "disagreement" with a horse. The accident earned Yeager some teasing from the project team — which gave him a raw carrot, a pair of glasses, and a piece of rope as a joke on the morning of the test — but didn't delay the schedule.
The injury hindered him, however, and he had to use a piece of broomstick handle to help close the X-1's hatch. The night before the flight, Yeager slept poorly because of his ribs, but he resolved to only scrap the test if he couldn't manage the contortions required to get into the X-1 from the B-29 that would lift it into the sky.
"If I could get into the pilot's seat, I knew I could fly," Yeager said in a November 1987 essay in Popular Mechanics recounting the flight.
"Everything was set inside X-1 as [B-29 pilot Maj. Bob] Cardenas started the countdown," Yeager wrote. Bell project engineer Richard Frost "assumed his position and the mighty crack from the cable release hurled the X-1 into the abyss."
Yeager fired the test aircraft's engines, and, "The X-1 began racing toward the heavens, leaving the B-29 and the P-80 far behind. I then ignited [engine] chambers No. 2 and No. 4, and under a full 6000 pounds of thrust, the little rocket plane accelerated instantly, leaving a contrail of fire and exhaust."
The X-1 raced toward the sound barrier as Yeager tested the plane's stabilizer. "The rudder and elevator lost their grip on the thinning air, but the stabilizer still proved effective, even as speed increased to .95 Mach," he wrote. "At 35,000 ft., I shut down two of the chambers and continued to climb on the remaining two. We were really hauling!"
The flight report Yeager filed afterward described a professional calm during the acceleration to 662 mph, the speed of sound at that altitude.
"The airplane was allowed to continue to accelerate until an indication of .965 on the cockpit Machmeter was obtained," Yeager's report stated. "At this indication, the meter momentarily stopped and then jumped up to 1.06, and the hesitation was assumed to be caused by the effect of shock waves on the static source."
"I had flown at supersonic speeds for 18 seconds," Yeager wrote 40 years after the flight. "There was no buffet, no jolt, no shock. Above all, no brick wall to smash into. I was alive."
Yeager's flight took place on October 14, 1947, but a December 21 New York Times story, citing Aviation Week, said that, "Persistent rumors that a new plane traveled faster than sound have never been confirmed by the Defense Department."
Aviation Week said at the time that the "biggest surprise" of the tests the ease with which they were conducted.
"None of the pilots, it is said, experienced any undue difficulties while traveling faster than sound. Generally anticipated troubles such as severe problems of stability, control and structural load failed to materialize," The Times noted.
Yeager's achievement was not officially acknowledged until June 1948. He kept working as a test pilot — six years later he flew 1,650 mph aboard an X-1A rocket plane — and retired from the Air Force in 1975 as a brigadier general.
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 10:12 AM PST
For more than three decades, the Nissan Pathfinder has been one of the most popular SUVs in America. But in 2012, Nissan shook up the formula and turned its rugged pick-up truck-based SUV into a front-wheel-drive family crossover. (Four-wheel-drive is a $1,700 option.)
A vehicle some critics have derisively called the Mall-Finder.
In spite of the furor from off-roading purists, the four-generation Pathfinder has generated robust sales. In its first full year, sales more than doubled to 88,000 units in the US.
Half a decade in into its production run, the current Pathfinder is the longest-serving member of Nissan's SUV family in the US. (Nissan's full-size Y62 has been on sale since 2010 in various parts of the world as the Patrol and in the US as an Infiniti. But the Y62 didn't arrive in the US with a Nissan badge until 2017 as the second-generation Armada.)
Which is why Nissan revamped the Pathfinder in 2017 with updated styling, more power, and more tech.
Business Insider had the opportunity to sample an updated Pathfinder late last year in the form of 2018 model year Platinum 4WD edition. The base front-wheel-drive "S" edition starts at $31,040 while out fully optioned, top-of-the-line- test car left the showroom at $47,840.
Our week with the Pathfinder included in-town driving as well as a 1,200-mile road-trip from Northern New Jersey to Charlotte, North Carolina and back.
The Pathfinder is big and stylish
In 2012, the fourth-gen Pathfinder swapped its ruggedly handsome lines for sleek car-like curves. Even with an updated front end, the curvy lines originally penned by Nissan design boss Alfonso Albaisa remains virtually unchanged.
The current model's sleek and elongated body also redefines the Pathfinder's mission. The short overhangs and big tires found on previous generations make it perfect for plowing through jungles and up mountains. Things are very different now. This Pathfinder's mission in life is as a three-row family hauler.
But, that doesn't mean it's completely inept when it comes to the rough stuff.
According to Nissan, the Pathfinder offers an adequate seven inches of minimum ground clearance. Paired with an advanced four-wheel-drive system, the Pathfinder should be able to maneuver its way out of a sticky situation. But I still wouldn't recommend taking on Jeep Wranglers in a spot of rock climbing.
Inside, the Pathfinder's cabin offers a premium experience in a very usable package. As usual, Nissan is quite generous with the feature content. Even the base model comes standard with an eight-inch touchscreen, back up camera, triple-zone climate control, and Nissan's Rear Door Alert System. More on that later. Our Platinum test car came loaded with a litany of goodies including heated power leather seats, adaptive cruise control, a premium Bose sound system, a motion-activated rear liftgate, and a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system.
The Pathfinder's tech features all worked as intended. The Nissan infotainment system, while a bit antiquated in feel, was effective and easy to learn. In spite of its age, it's easily the best of the Japanese infotainment systems we've come across. Nissan's adaptive cruise control also worked flawlessly. It allowed the Pathfinder to chew up highway miles with ease on our 1,200 mile-trip.
The Rear Door Alert system took a bit a get used to and proved to be more of a nuisance than a help. The RDA is designed to alert you by honking the horn if you leave something in the back seat and forget to retrieve it. The logic behind the system is sound. After all, we've all seen the tragic consequences of leaving children and pets behind in locked cars. However, it doesn't take into consideration the times when you put something back there because you want to leave it there like luggage or shopping. The system can be deactivated, but it can be jarring if you forget to turn it off.
While the overall styling, execution, and material quality aren't on the same level as something from a luxury brand like a Lexus or Mercedes-Benz, our Pathfinder Platinum interior appointments felt quality and solidly put together.
Its luxury won't blow you away, but the cabin is nice enough to make living with the Pathfinder on a daily basis a pleasant experience. At the same time, it's plebeian personality won't fill you with overwhelming anxiety if everyday life happens to blemish the leather or wood.
The cabin is also positively cavernous.
At 16.5 feet long, the Pathfinder has room to seat up to seven occupants comfortably. In fact, even the third row will easily hold two average sized adults. A task many other three-row crossovers struggle to accomplish.
There's also plenty of room for stuff.
It's a great highway cruiser, but there's one thing lacking
Under the hood, you'll find a 3.5 liter, 284 horsepower VQ35DD V6 engine. Simply put, the Nissan VQ series is one of the best engines in the world. And it has been for more than two decades. It's silky smooth, powerful, and rock solid reliable. (I say this as the owner of an 18-year-old VQ-powered Nissan Maxima that still get 29 mpg on the high way.)
Here, the VQ engine is mated to Nissan's XTRONIC continuously variable transmission. Herein lies my biggest complaint with the Pathfinder. The CVT spoils the driving experience. While CVTs are great at boosting fuel economy — we managed to hit 25 mpg on the highway in a 4,700-pound SUV— they are notorious for dulling down power delivery.
And it's such a shame because the Pathfinder's engine is an absolute gem that is ready and willing to perform. But add a CVT to the equation and you've effectively shot up your racehorse with tranquilizers. Step on the gas hard and the engine strains to deliver acceleration. Speed builds over time instead of that immediate burst we are accustomed to in a traditional automatic or manual transmission.
Yes, XTRONIC is generally considered to be one of best CVTs on the market, but that's like being the captain of the gang that couldn't shoot straight.
Apart from the CVT, I thoroughly enjoyed my time behind the wheel of the Pathfinder. The ride was smooth and the cabin proved to be remarkably quiet. Making it a truly amazing highway cruiser.
Sure, the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder may no longer be the star of Youtube rock crawling videos. But as a family crossover for everyday life, Nissan's Pathfinder is an absolute rock star.
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 10:05 AM PST
The foibles and trials of relationships have always made for compelling comedic cinema.
From the silent movies of Charlie Chaplin to Judd Apatow-produced films like "Knocked Up" and "The Big Sick," the romantic comedy genre has evolved with and adapted to each generation.
To find out which rom-coms have received the most critical acclaim, we turned to the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes for its historical ranking of the genre.
The site ranked each film by a weighted adjustment of its average critic score to account for variation in the number of reviews each movie received.
Here are the 27 best romantic comedy movies of all time, according to critics:
27. "Obvious Child" (2014)
Critic score: 90%
Adjusted score: 95.757%
Audience score: 72%
Summary: "A twenty-something comedienne's unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront the realities of independent womanhood for the first time."
26. "Moonstruck" (1987)
Critic score: 92%
Adjusted score: 96.27%
Audience score: 81%
Summary: "Loretta Castorini, a bookkeeper from Brooklyn, New York, finds herself in a difficult situation when she falls for the brother of the man she has agreed to marry."
25. "High Fidelity" (2000)
Critic score: 91%
Adjusted score: 96.812%
Audience score: 90%
Summary: "Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list maker, recounts his top five breakups, including the one in progress."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 09:53 AM PST
"Unilever will not invest in platforms or environments that do not protect our children or which create division in society, and promote anger or hate," he said during a speech at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's annual leadership conference in Palm Springs, California.
Now Weed would like to clarify those comments. Unilever — whose roster of brands includes Axe, Magnum and Lipton among others — is not actually pulling its ad budgets from the giant tech platforms. In fact, it never has.
The marketing giant's approach instead has always been focused on collaborating with the platforms, and increasing the pressure on them from within, Weed told Business Insider.
Weed clarified Unilever's approach of working with the so-called duopoly in an interview on Monday. Here are excerpts:
Tanya Dua: You've been very vocal about the issues around digital advertising and the need for digital platforms to be held more accountable. Do you think there's been any progress?
Keith Weed: There has been a really positive change across the digital supply chain, which we shouldn't underestimate. If you go back to three years ago, and look at the "3Vs" of viewability, verification and value, there has been progress. But of course there's more work to be done, and we’ve not gotten far enough.
Dua: But are you actually not going to invest in platforms that are not committed to creating a positive impact in society? Do such threats and declarations actually work?
Weed: I wouldn't call them threats; I believe I am making very clear directional requests about what we want, and that will ultimately make a healthier digital media supply chain. Public ultimatums don't help, but being positively engaged in partnerships helps. You get greater engagement and action when you challenge them from the inside, as opposed to walking away on the outside.
Dua: So you believe that engaging with the platforms is the way forward?
Weed: We engage with the tech giants in the same way that we engage with our product supply chain, expecting the same efficiency from them that we expect from the players in our supply chain. We have a positive relationship with them: I have been on the Facebook Client Council and the Twitter Influence Council for years. Most recently, I talked to the heads of the tech platforms at Davos. I think they are committed to making big changes and I would argue that our approach has worked well.
Dua: Can you share an example where such an approach has served you well?
Weed: When YouTube had issues last year, a lot of major advertisers left them and told them to clean up their act. But we decided to stay — because one, we have a very rigorous media strategy and did not have any brand safety issues — but also because we believed that working closely with them would have much more of an impact than just walking away and telling them to sort things out. That has proven t0 be true, look at the recent progress they've made on screening content and vetting. We believe in proactively leaning in to help shape the agenda.
Dua: What is an issue where you think work still needs to be done?
Weed: The biggest issue ahead of us is responsible infrastructure. Up and until now, shaping up a transparent digital supply chain has been an integral industry issue. But now, it is a society and people issue and is affecting how people engage on the internet. If that is fixed, it will ultimately help with transparency and getting one measurement system across all media. We split advertising budgets because we can’t optimize across media, but there’s only one viewer and one budget.
Posted: 13 Feb 2018 09:51 AM PST
The 78-year-old who sold Affiliated Computer Services to Xerox in 1988 for $6.4 billion hopes to halt the proposed merger between Xerox, of which he owns a 3.37% stake, and competitor Fujifilm.
"The transaction must be stopped dead in its tracks,” Deason’s suit, filed Tuesday, reads. "The value of Xerox as a standalone company ... is significantly greater than the value being provided to the company and its shareholders as part of the proposed transaction."
Both Deason and billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, the second-largest Xerox shareholder, on Monday voiced their disapproval of the merger in a letter to shareholders, saying the $6.1 billion deal “dramatically undervalues” the company.
"We urge you - our fellow shareholders - do not let Fuji steal this company from us," the two wrote. "there is still tremendous opportunity for us to realize value on our own if we bring in the right leadership."
Under the proposed terms of the team, the two companies would merge to form one combined company, with Fujifilm shareholders owning a 50.1% majority stake.
Both Xerox and Fuji leadership support the deal. Xerox said in a statement that the proposed merger "represents compelling strategic and financial value for Xerox shareholders."
Shares of Xerox were down 1.84% at the time or writing. Fujifilm was down 3.23%.
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