Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is stepping down

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said he was stepping down from the social media service in a letter posted to Twitter early Monday.

Dorsey, who co-founded the company and has been a leader there for the last 18 years, said his departure would be effective immediately, leaving Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal to replace him. Dorsey will remain CEO of payments company Square.

“I want you to know this was my decision and I own it,” Dorsey wrote, saying he was “sad” but also “really happy.” “It was a tough one for me, of course. . . . There aren’t many companies that get to this level. And there aren’t many founders that choose their company over their own ego. I know we’ll prove this was the right move.”

The message was captioned, “not sure if anyone has heard but, I resigned from Twitter.”

The surprise move caused Nasdaq to suspend trading on Twitter’s stock, and left most employees – many of whom were not working because it was an official company “Day of Rest” – in a state of confusion.

Even some senior executives seemed unprepared for the move. Vijaya Gadde, the company’s legal, policy, and trust and safety lead, tweeted congratulations to Agrawal and gratitude to Dorsey – but said she was “saving my ‘everything I learned from @Jack’ thread for another day.”

The departure was first reported by CNBC.

Dorsey has been distancing himself from direct leadership for years, according to people familiar with his management style who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. Major decisions are generally made by other company leaders, though Dorsey does give a final sign-off. He also rarely tweets about Twitter, focusing most of his public energy promoting blockchain, decentralization, and bitcoin-related projects.

Though Twitter is much smaller than industry rivals Facebook and TikTok, the company punches above its weight because of its use by celebrities, politicians and other influential people. For years, the most influential user on Twitter was former President Donald Trump, who used the platform as a primary means to communicate – often in ways that pushed the boundaries of Twitter’s rules. The company suspended him for comments related to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Dorsey himself is known as a big thinker who is able to make controversial and often sudden decisions. For example, well before remote work became a trend due to the pandemic, Dorsey sent an unexpected companywide email telling employees that he had become a believer in remote work after having a productive time working from home, and would pivot the company in that direction. The email even took the company’s head of HR by surprise, The Washington Post has reported.

He is also a longtime free speech proponent who did not believe that platforms should heavily police the expression of their users. But he has shifted that stance in recent years after recognizing the way that social media can cause harm to the public. Dorsey was one of the first CEOs in Silicon Valley to publicly criticize the design of social media services, with instant feedback and viral algorithms, and to admit that they have unintended consequences in the form of unhealthy social behavior and pressure. He said he would be willing to hit the pause button or rethink key features like the like button or disable automatic retweeting, which the company did for a time during the election period last year. As a result, the company created an initiative called Healthy Conversations, investing significant resources in cracking down on bullying, fake accounts, and other abuses of the company’s service.

In his own note to staff sent out in the morning, Agrawal said that he was “honored and humbled,” by Dorsey choosing him as the successor and noted that the company had recently updated its strategy to hit ambitious goals.

One of those ambitions is a project called Bluesky, an effort at creating decentralized Internet networking protocols that is a passion of both Dorsey and Agrawal, the people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity said.

Dorsey’s note also appeared to nod at the state of leadership in Silicon Valley, noting that “there’s a lot of talk about the importance of a company being ‘founder-led,’ ” and that he had “worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders.”

Dorsey’s move leaves Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg as the last remaining founder of a major Silicon Valley service to continue serving as CEO. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stepped down recently, and Google’s founders also have passed the baton.

Published : November 30, 2021

By : The Washington Post

CP Group and Telenor Group support True and dtac in creation of new telecom-tech company #SootinClaimon.Com

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Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group and Telenor Group announced on Monday that they have agreed to explore the creation of a new telecom-tech company comprising True Corporation (True) and Total Access Communication (dtac). 

The new company will be a merger of equals, and bring the best of the two local companies, with the support of its key sponsoring shareholders. 

Meanwhile, it will be a leading telecommunications service provider with capabilities to accelerate Thailand’s progressive digital technology agenda in terms of network performance, innovation, investment strength and employer brand.

CP Group Chief Executive Officer Suphachai Chearavanont, who is also True Chairman of the Board, said the telecom and technology sectors are key to enabling Thailand to move up the development curve and to create broad-based prosperity. 

He said they, as a telecom-tech company, can help unleash the enormous potential of Thai businesses and digital entrepreneurs as well as attract more of the best and the brightest from around the world to do business in the country.

“Today is a step forward in that direction. We hope to empower a whole new generation to fulfil their potential to become digital entrepreneurs leveraging an advanced telecom infrastructure,” he said. 

“The emergence in Thailand of internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), Cloud and new generations of mobile network technologies will have a huge effect on the way we do everything.” 

He added that the company will also explore opportunities in space technologies to expand potential areas for new innovations.

Telenor Group President and Chief Executive Officer Sigve Brekke said the company has experienced an accelerated digitalisation of Asian societies. 

He added that as the company moves forward, both consumers and businesses expect more advanced services and high-quality connectivity. 

“We believe that the new company can take advantage of this digital shift to support Thailand’s digital leadership role, by taking global technology advancements into attractive services and high-quality products,” he said.

Meanwhile, Telenor Group Executive Vice President Jørgen A. Rostrup, who is also Head of Telenor Asia, said the proposed transaction will advance the company strategy to strengthen our presence in Asia, create value, and support long-term market development in the region. 

“We have a long-standing commitment to both Thailand and the Asian region, and this collaboration will strengthen it further. Our access to new technologies as well as the best human capital will be a vital contribution to the new company,” he said. 

Rostrup added that the new company has the intention to raise venture capital funding together with partners of US$100-200 million to invest in promising digital startups focusing on new products and services for the benefit of all Thai consumers.

If the transaction proceeds, it will consist of a voluntary tender offer (VTO) subject to satisfaction of conditions for all outstanding shares of dtac and True, followed by the amalgamation of dtac and True creating a new company. 

The VTO price for dtac will be 47.76 baht, which represents a 25 percent premium to the one-month VWAP for dtac shares, and the VTO price for True will be 5.09 baht, which represents a 25 percent premium to the one-month VWAP for True shares. 

The agreed exchange ratio is 10.221 True shares per dtac share. The outcome of the VTO will determine the final equalized ownership percentage between CP Group and Telenor Group.

All shareholders of dtac and True will have the choice of participating in the tender offer or continue as shareholders in the combined company, which will be listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand. 

The combined company faces a challenging operational environment over the next years and CP Group and Telenor Group recognise that not all shareholders may want to participate in this journey, which is why a cash alternative at an attractive premium is offered. The involved parties aim to reach the necessary agreements by the first quarter of next year.

The current operations of True and dtac will continue to run their businesses independently until the transaction is completed. The transaction will be subject to approvals by relevant boards and shareholders and customary regulatory approvals, and the parties acknowledge that there is no certainty as to the completion of the transaction.

Published : November 22, 2021

By : THE NATION

Disney World halts vaccine requirement for workers after Florida restricts employer mandates #SootinClaimon.Com

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Disney has halted a coronavirus vaccine requirement for workers at Walt Disney World in Florida after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation last week restricting such mandates for workplaces.

Disney World halts vaccine requirement for workers after Florida restricts employer mandates

In a statement to The Washington Post on Saturday, Disney said it still believes its “approach to mandatory vaccines has been the right one.”

But amid the uncertainty caused by the new state laws, Disney “will address legal developments as appropriate,” the statement said.

Under the legislation passed in a special session last week, Florida companies are barred from mandating that all employees get vaccinated, and instead must allow workers to “choose from numerous exemptions,” according to a statement from DeSantis, a Republican. Among the justifications for exemption are “anticipated future pregnancy” and recovery from prior covid-19 infection. Workers may also opt for regular coronavirus testing or the use of personal protective equipment – paid for by the employer – in lieu of a vaccine.

The law also calls for fines of as much as $50,000 per violation for large companies and $10,000 for smaller businesses if an employee is fired for not complying with a vaccine mandate.

Disney had announced this summer that it would require its employees to be fully vaccinated by the fall. The news preceded the Biden administration’s announcement that it would require companies with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccinations or regular testing for their workers.

The rule was blocked by a federal appeals court in Louisiana – seen as one of the most conservative courts in the country – after Republican-aligned businesses and groups sued. A group of lawsuits against the order will be consolidated in federal court in Ohio, where it faces another panel of judges mostly appointed by Republicans.

Last week, Marc Freedman, a senior official at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, urged businesses to comply with the federal requirement, cautioning them not to take the “preliminary actions” by the court in Louisiana as a sign that the policy was dead.

Disney said that more than 90 percent of “active” Florida-based employees had verified to the company that they had been fully vaccinated. Airlines with vaccine mandates have reported similarly high vaccination levels.

Amid concerns over the continued spread of the coronavirus throughout the United States, a group of health-care associations that included the American Medical Association last week urged U.S. companies to voluntarily implement Biden’s vaccine mandate, writing in a joint statement that “now is the time” for businesses to “step up and show they are serious” about stopping the spread of the virus.

Disney’s pause on its vaccine requirement is not the first time that the governor has been at odds with large tourism companies in the state. This summer, Norwegian Cruise Line and DeSantis’s administration entered a legal battle over the cruise line’s vaccine requirement for every person onboard its ships and a state ban on such requirements.

DeSantis has repeatedly moved against coronavirus restrictions and vaccine mandates, touting his state’s policies as promoting “freedom,” even as the state has among the highest tallies of covid-related deaths in the country. He is widely seen as a potential candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

DeSantis signed the new legislation at a ceremony at a car dealership in Brandon, Fla., a reference to the slogan “Let’s go, Brandon,” which has been used by conservatives as a euphemism for a more explicit chant against President Joe Biden that has erupted at sports venues and rallies across the country.

Published : November 22, 2021

By : The Washington Post

AstraZeneca publishes more positive data on Covid antibody treatment #SootinClaimon.Com

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AstraZenecas Covid-19 antibody cocktail was more than 80% successful at both preventing symptomatic disease for six months and stopping the illness from worsening, demonstrating its ability to provide strong and long-lasting protection.

The medicine reduced the risk of developing symptomatic Covid in high-risk people by 83% in one of the trials after a six-month follow-up, the company said Thursday. The other one, which involved outpatient participants with mild to moderate illness, found the cocktail cut the risk of severe disease or death by 88% if given within three days.

The results pointed to better protection than the initial data even as the delta variant surged, a relief for the British drugmaker after a shaky start. Astra’s first trial failed to prevent symptomatic disease in people explicitly exposed to the virus. The company applied for U.S. emergency authorization for the product in the prevention setting last month and has a deal to deliver 700,000 doses to the country if cleared.

The U.K. has started an expedited review of the drug, and Astra plans to file for authorization in the European Union shortly. The product, which is delivered via an injection, will be priced commercially but the company will ensure it’s “affordable,” Iskra Reic, head of Astra’s new vaccines and immune therapies unit, told reporters Thursday.

“At the end of the day, our premium objective is to ensure broad access to patients who have a need,” Reic said.

The data from both trials — known as Provent and Tackle — add to positive outcomes reported earlier this year. Astra also plans to do a pediatric trial for the monoclonal antibody, according to Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot.

The Provent trial was designed specifically for people who may not respond adequately to vaccines, such as transplant patients and those undergoing chemotherapy. There were no cases of severe Covid-19 or related deaths among those receiving the drug in those tests. In the placebo arm, five people developed severe versions of the disease and two died, the company said.

The Tackle outpatient trial also focused on those at risk of severe disease with conditions including cancer, diabetes and obesity. About 52% of participants identified as Hispanic or Latino. Both trials found the cocktail was generally well-tolerated.

An initial readout from the Provent trial in August showed the drug prevented symptomatic disease in high-risk individuals by 77%. In results published in October from the Tackle trial, the drug was shown to halve the risk of mild to moderate disease worsening if given within seven days of symptoms.

The data indicate that the drug can provide “my vulnerable patients with the long-lasting protection they urgently need,” Hugh Montgomery, professor of intensive-care medicine at University College London and principal investigator on the the trial, said in a statement.

Published : November 19, 2021

By : Bloomberg

Apple accelerates work on car, aims for fully autonomous vehicle #SootinClaimon.Com

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Apple is pushing to accelerate development of its electric car and is refocusing the project around full self-driving capabilities, according to people familiar with the matter, aiming to solve a technical challenge that has bedeviled the auto industry.

For the past several years, Apple’s car team had explored two simultaneous paths: creating a model with limited self-driving capabilities focused on steering and acceleration — similar to most current cars from Tesla — or a version with full self-driving ability that doesn’t require human intervention.

Under the effort’s new leader — Apple Watch software executive Kevin Lynch — engineers are now concentrating on the second option. Lynch is pushing for a car with a full self-driving system in the first version, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

It’s just the latest shift for the car effort, known as the Special Projects Group or “Project Titan,” which has endured strategy changes and executive turnover since starting around 2014. In September, the former head of the team, Doug Field, left for a job at Ford after three years in charge. In picking Lynch as his replacement, Apple went with an internal executive who isn’t a car veteran.

In trying to master self-driving cars, Apple is chasing a holy grail within the industry. Tech and auto giants have spent years on autonomous vehicles, but the capabilities have remained elusive.

Tesla, the market leader in electric vehicles, is still probably years away from offering fully autonomous cars. Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo has suffered a rash of departures in its efforts to develop the technology. And Uber Technologies Inc. agreed to sell off its autonomous-driving division last year.

Apple is internally targeting a launch of its self-driving car in four years, faster than the five- to seven-year timeline that some engineers had been planning for earlier this year. But the timing is fluid, and hitting that 2025 target is dependent on the company’s ability to complete the self-driving system — an ambitious task on that schedule. If Apple is unable to reach its goal, it could either delay a release or initially sell a car with lesser technology.

A spokesman for Cupertino, California-based Apple declined to comment.

Apple’s ideal car would have no steering wheel and pedals, and its interior would be designed around hands-off driving. One option discussed inside the company features an interior similar to the one in the Lifestyle Vehicle from Canoo Inc., an upstart in the EV industry. In that car, passengers sit along the sides of the vehicle and face each other like they would in a limousine.

Apple has also explored designs where the car’s infotainment system — likely a large iPad-like touch screen — would be in the middle of the vehicle, letting users interact with it throughout a ride. The car would also be heavily integrated with Apple’s existing services and devices. Though the company is pushing to not have a standard steering wheel, Apple has discussed equipping the car with an emergency takeover mode.

Recently, the company reached a key milestone in developing the car’s underlying self-driving system, people familiar with the situation said. Apple believes it has completed much of the core work on the processor it intends to eventually ship in the first generation of the car.

The chip was designed by Apple’s silicon engineering group — which devised the processors for the iPhone, iPad and Mac — rather than within the car team itself. The work has included honing the underlying software that runs on the chip to power the self-driving capabilities.

The advancements could soon make their way into road tests. Apple plans to start using the new processor design and updated self-driving sensors in retrofitted cars that it’s spent years testing in California. The company currently has a fleet of 69 Lexus SUVs experimenting with its technology, according to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

The Apple car chip is the most advanced component that Apple has developed internally and is made up primarily of neural processors that can handle the artificial intelligence needed for autonomous driving. The chip’s capabilities mean it will run hot and likely require the development of a sophisticated cooling system.

The hope is to develop a vehicle that can spare customers from driving fatigue when they’re on long trips. But building an actual car — for an auto industry outsider like Apple — will require partnerships. The company has discussed deals with multiple manufacturers and has considered potentially building the vehicle in the U.S.

Even with recent progress, creating a fully self-driving car by 2025 is seen as very aggressive within Apple. Some people within Project Titan are skeptical about the timeline.

Safety is a major piece of the puzzle. Apple is looking to build stronger safeguards than what’s available from Tesla and Waymo, engineers involved with the effort say. That includes creating plenty of redundancy — the ability for layers of backup systems to kick in to avoid safety and driving system failures.

Apple is actively looking to hire engineers to test and develop safety functions. “The Special Projects Group is seeking an accomplished mechanical engineer to lead the development of mechanical systems with safety critical functions,” one recent Apple job listing reads. “You will use your passion for figuring things out to help design safety systems and to lead the testing and countermeasure of those systems.”

As part of efforts to accelerate the project, Apple is hiring more self-driving and car hardware engineers. That’s included enlisting CJ Moore, Tesla’s former self-driving software director.

In recent weeks, Apple has also tapped a climate system expert from Volvo Car, a manager from Daimler Trucks, battery systems engineers from Karma Automotive and other carmakers, a sensor engineer from General Motors’s Cruise, automotive safety engineers from companies like Joyson Safety Systems, and multiple other engineers from Tesla, according to information from LinkedIn and people with knowledge of the matter.

The company is also hiring software engineers to work on “experiences for human interaction with autonomous technology,” according to an Apple job listing, suggesting it is deep into development of the car’s user interface. The listing implies the software being developed will be based on similar technology to the iPhone operating system.

To power up the vehicle, Apple has discussed being compatible with the combined charging system, or CCS. That would let Apple tap into an expansive global network of chargers. But the approach would differ from the more proprietary charging systems it has developed for the iPhone and Apple Watch.

Apple has internally debated several different business models for its car, including creating a self-driving fleet that would compete with the likes of Uber, Lyft and Waymo. The company has discussed an external design similar to the Canoo if it were to take the fleet approach. A more likely scenario, however, is Apple offering the cars for individual ownership.

Getting to that point won’t be easy. Apple’s car project has suffered from development challenges, leadership struggles, layoffs and delays over its seven-year history. Field’s arrival from Tesla in 2018 brought a surge of excitement that ultimately fizzled. At least four top managers from the project departed in 2021, in addition to Field himself.

Some members of the group believe Field was irked about reporting to artificial intelligence chief John Giannandrea after the retirement of his previous boss, Bob Mansfield. Mansfield had reported directly to Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook in a part-time job overseeing the car work.

Lynch is now the fifth executive to take charge of the project in roughly seven years. That rate of turnover is rare at Apple. For instance, its virtual and augmented reality team has had one leader since that project kicked off around the same time as the car.

Still, given Lynch’s ability to help turn the Apple Watch into a core product, some engineers on the car team see his appointment as a bullish sign. Lynch reports to Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer.

Lynch is a software manager without car hardware or autonomous experience, but former Tesla executives on the project — including Michael Schwekutsch and Stuart Bowers — have key roles. Apple also hired Ulrich Kranz earlier this year. He previously led Canoo and helped oversee development of BMW’s electric cars.

When Lynch was chosen to take over the car project, he remained in charge of the Apple Watch operating system and some health software teams. He has stayed involved in high-level decision making while focusing much of his time on the car project.

The question now is whether an executive who oversaw one of Apple’s last big things — its smartwatch — can turn a car into its next one.

Published : November 19, 2021

By : Bloomberg

Apple will start selling you the parts you need to fix your iPhone in early 2022 #SootinClaimon.Com

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Shattered screens and aging batteries in iPhones used to require a trip to the Apple Store – or a local repair shop – to fix. But starting in early 2022, iPhone owners in the United States who want to try repairing their ailing device can do so with some help from Apple itself.

Apple surprised Right to Repair advocates by announcing a new Self Service Repair program, which will allow owners of its products to request the official tools, components and manuals needed to repair damaged Apple products on their own.

“Creating greater access to Apple genuine parts gives our customers even more choice if a repair is needed,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, in a statement.

At first, Apple will sell parts and tools for repairing iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series smartphones, including commonly needed components like batteries and cameras, from an online storefront. After that, the company plans to offer similar repair resources to people who want to repair their M1-powered Mac computers.

Once consumers have completed their repairs, they can send their old, used components back to Apple to be recycled.

While replacing iPhone screens and swapping batteries can be easier than most people expect, the process still isn’t always simple. For one, getting into the iPhone itself can be difficult – Apple uses adhesives to seal its phones shut and repair technicians frequently rely on heating pads or heat guns to soften that glue before successfully cracking the device open.

Because of that, Apple still cautions that “the vast majority” of people should still leave such repairs in the hands of professionals. Even so, the company’s shifting stance on product repairs has advocates feeling cautiously optimistic.

“One of the most visible opponents to repair access is reversing course and Apple’s move shows that what repair advocates have been asking for was always possible,” said Nathan Proctor, senior director of the nonprofit U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s Right to Repair campaign. “After years of industry lobbyists telling lawmakers that sharing access to parts, service tools and manuals would result in safety, security and intellectual property risks, Apple’s sudden change indicates these concerns were overblown.”

Published : November 18, 2021

By : The Washington Post

Disney slumps most in 18 months on streaming service slowdown #SootinClaimon.Com

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Walt Disney shares sank the most since the onset of the pandemic after the company reported a smaller-than-expected increase in streaming subscribers, raising concerns that growth is slowing after a meteoric two-year rise.

The shares sank 8.3% to $159.96 at 9:52 a.m. in New York after earlier dropping as much as 9.2%, the biggest intraday decline since March 2020. The drop brought the company’s market value below that of archrival Netflix Inc. The streaming shortfall was part of a broadly disappointing quarter across the company’s business units.

Disney+ gained 2.1 million customers in the fiscal fourth quarter, the Burbank, California-based company said Wednesday, bringing the total to 118.1 million globally. Analysts were forecasting 119.6 million, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. It was the smallest quarterly gain for the service since its launch two years ago.

Disney has made the family streaming product its major focus for growth in the coming years, and management reiterated its goal of having as many as 260 million customers by 2024. The company is celebrating the second anniversary of the $8-a-month Disney+ on Nov. 12 by offering new movies and promotions across the Disney empire.

Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek made it clear on a call with investors Wednesday that the road to that number will be bumpy. Disney+ won’t return to faster subscriber growth until the third and fourth quarters of the current fiscal year.

Growth will be driven first by an increase in the number of countries where Disney+ is offered, and then by what Chapek called a surge of spending on new TV shows and movies. Efforts to produce that programming had been slowed by the pandemic.

“We identified the need for the content way back exactly a year ago and have prepared a very strong cadence of content, which will now hit the pipeline in the second half of this year,” Chapek said.

Investors used to seeing big beats for Disney+ subscribers will have to adjust to this new level of growth, at least in the short run, said Markus Hansen, a portfolio manager at Vontobel Asset Management in New York. “We’ve gotten ahead of ourselves and we’re sort of normalizing,” he said.

Disney reported fourth-quarter earnings of 37 cents a share, excluding some items, missing analysts’ projections of 49 cents. Sales in the period ended Oct. 2 rose to $18.5 billion, trailing estimates of $18.8 billion.

Chapek said in September that investors should expect Disney+ subscribers to “increase by low single-digit millions” from the previous quarter. While analysts reduced their estimates, they still expected the service to add 4.9 million customers.

Losses in the direct-to-consumer business, which includes Disney+, widened to $630 million, the result of heavy spending on TV shows and movies. Wall Street projections were for a loss of $438.8 million.

In Disney’s traditional TV business, profit fell 11% to $1.64 billion, due to higher programming and marketing costs for the ABC broadcast network, along with lower affiliate fees from cable networks such as ESPN, which had an extra week in the year-ago period.

The company estimated the additional week boosted pretax income in the prior-year quarter by about $200 million.

Profit at the company’s theme-park business, the largest in the world, came to $640 million, compared with a year-earlier loss, largely driven by the consumer products business. That was less than the $864.4 million analysts had forecast and was the result of international losses and a profit of just $244 million in the domestic parks.

The Disney film studio posted a loss of $65 million in the period, compared with a profit a year ago, reflecting marketing costs and other expenses for major releases like “Black Widow” and “Jungle Cruise” that outstripped revenue.

Chapek said he planned to maintain flexibility with the company’s film release strategy, potentially putting movies online far sooner than in the past.

“While Covid will be in the rearview mirror, God willing, I think changing consumer behavior is something that’s going to be more permanent,” he said.

Published : November 12, 2021

By : Bloomberg

Facebook defends Meta rebrand ahead of whistle-blower hearing #SootinClaimon.Com

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Facebooks vice president of content policy pushed back against criticism that rebranding its parent company as Meta Platforms was just a distraction from negative attention.

Monika Bickert’s comments, given in an interview with Bloomberg, precede fresh testimony Monday by whistle-blower Frances Haugen in the European Parliament, where legislators are drafting strict new rules to rein in technology platforms.

“This is something we’ve been working on for a really long time, so no, this is not in response to anything recent,” Bickert said of the Meta name.

Facebook, now a subsidiary of parent Meta, is reeling from heightened scrutiny after Haugen shared a trove of documents with journalists that suggested it prioritizes profit over content moderation.

The leak coincided with Facebook’s rebranding and its announcement to create 10,000 new jobs in the EU to help develop a “metaverse” while about 15,000 people globally moderate all content posted to the social media platform.

Critics, including Haugen and British lawmakers, said the company should focus on the safety of its existing platforms before creating a new one.

This is “a false choice,” Bickert said. “We will do both of those things.”

She said the company supports giving users more transparency and control over the algorithms that determine what they see “in general.”

“I’ve seen regulatory proposals in the almost 10 years I’ve been here that, on the surface, sound great,” she said. “But when you dive into the details of them, you realize that there could be some unintended consequences.”

The EU’s Digital Markets Act would target anti-competitive behavior, while the Digital Services Act rules on how companies handle illegal and harmful content. Both proposals are being debated in EU institutions and intended to be enforceable next year.

Parliamentarians are expected to focus their questions to Haugen on the Digital Services Act and whether its proposal would do enough to address algorithms the whistle-blower says give too much priority to misinformation and hate speech.

EU commissioner for internal markets, Thierry Breton, said he’d met Haugen earlier Monday and in a statement echoed sentiments of British lawmakers around executive accountability.

“At the end of the day, it is the CEO and the board who are responsible for their company’s actions,” he said. “The digital sphere is no exception.”

Published : November 09, 2021

By : Bloomberg

Tesla stock slides after Elon Musk asks Twitter if he should sell 10% of his stake #SootinClaimon.Com

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Tesla stock tumbled Monday after Elon Musk asked his Twitter followers to decide whether he should sell 10% of his holdings in the electric car company.

Tesla stock slides after Elon Musk asks Twitter if he should sell 10% of his stake

The 4.9% slide, which brought Tesla down to $1,162 a share and slashed $65 billion off its valuation, came after Musk put the question to his 62 million followers on Saturday: “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock. Do you support this?”

By the time the survey ended, 58% of the participants voted yes.

But the poll was held up by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., as exemplifying the need for his proposed Billionaires Income Tax. “Whether the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll,” Wyden tweeted. “It’s time for the Billionaires Income Tax.”

Musk responded with a vulgar tweet about Wyden’s profile picture, which was retweeted thousands of times.

Billionaires have been able to pay low effective tax rates, in part, because the value of their company stock holdings is not subject to capital gains taxes until they are sold. Wyden’s plan, which has since been dropped, would have been a major shift in the U.S. tax code by leveling a 23.8% tax on the increase in stock value – or “unrealized capital gain” – even before those assets are sold. Lawmakers are now considering a millionaire surtax that would work differently.

Musk has been known to move his company’s stock price with his tweets. Last week, shares fell sharply after he seemed to question Tesla’s deal with the rental car company Hertz by saying a contract had not been signed yet.

In 2018, federal regulators charged Musk with securities fraud related to a potential effort to take Tesla private. The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that a “series of false and misleading tweets” caused Tesla’s stock price to jump more than 6% that day and significantly disrupted the market. Musk and Tesla ultimately reached a settlement with the SEC, with each paying a $20 million penalty and Musk having to relinquish his chairman title for three years.

Don Langevoort, a securities law and corporate governance expert with Georgetown University Law School, said he thinks Musk’s weekend tweet is unlikely to draw SEC action, given that a Twitter poll isn’t binding.

“The SEC in high-profile cases is usually pretty careful to select cases that they are highly confident in winning,” Langevoort said. Ensuring that Musk is acting in the interest of investors would fall to the company’s board, he added.

An SEC spokesperson declined to comment. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

Though Musk promised to abide by the poll results, he probably would have started selling millions of shares this quarter regardless, according to a CNBC report. The reason: Musk faces a tax bill of more than $15 billion in the coming months on stock options.

In 2012, Musk was awarded options as part of a compensation plan. The 22.8 million shares had a strike price of $6.24, according to CNBC, which based on Friday’s closing price would put his gain on the shares at just under $28 billion. The options expire in August 2022, and to exercise them, Musk has to pay state and federal income tax on the gain.

Though Musk did not specify what he would do with the proceeds of the suggested stock sale, he tweeted Saturday: “Note, I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere. I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.”

Published : November 09, 2021

By : The Washington Post

Elon Musk took to a Twitter poll to decide whether to sell a tenth of his Tesla stock. Twitter said yes. #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/business/40008526


SAN FRANCISCO – Elon Musk launched a Twitter poll over the weekend asking users whether he should part with 10% of his shares in the electric vehicle company.

Elon Musk took to a Twitter poll to decide whether to sell a tenth of his Tesla stock. Twitter said yes.

Twitter said yes. In a poll that amassed more than 3.5 million votes, 58% supported a sale.

Musk, the outspoken Tesla CEO who has gotten into regulatory trouble over some tweets, took the unusual step of crowdsourcing advice for his financial portfolio Saturday afternoon.

“I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes,” Musk wrote.

Such a sale would come as Tesla’s stock has ballooned past a trillion dollars in value, trading at more than $1,200 a share. Musk holds a more than 20% stake in the company, according to a regulatory filing from earlier this year.

Musk said such a move was motivated by legislative proposals to tax unrealized gains. He said he does not take a cash salary or bonus, so “the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.”

It was not immediately clear if or when Musk would sell the stock. After the poll closed, he replied to a user saying, “I was prepared to accept either outcome.”

Tesla’s stock gains have propelled Musk to the title of world’s richest person, with an estimated net worth of $318 billion, according to Forbes. Musk launched his poll amid discussions around a billionaire tax in the U.S. Senate, which would tax unrealized gains of a handful of the richest Americans before such assets are sold.

Estimates have said Musk would pay as much as $50 billion over the tax’s first five years.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who proposed the tax in the U.S. Senate, criticized Musk’s poll Saturday on Twitter and said it only affirmed his proposal.

“Whether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll,” his tweet read. “It’s time for the Billionaires Income Tax.”

Musk’s tweets have landed him in trouble in the past. The Securities and Exchange Commission fined Musk and Tesla $20 million each, and Musk was stripped of his Tesla board chairmanship, after Musk tweeted in 2018 he had “Funding secured” to take Tesla private at $420 a share.

An agreement with the regulatory body required Musk’s potentially market-moving tweets to be vetted by a securities lawyer.

Musk sent Tesla’s stock into a nosedive last May when he tweeted that he thought Tesla’s stock was overvalued, writing “Tesla stock price is too high imo,” shorthand for “in my opinion.”

Published : November 08, 2021

By : The Washington Post