Indonesia's Soputan volcano erupts, ejecting thick ash

A volcano in central Indonesia has erupted, ejecting columns of thick ash as high as 7,500 meters (24,606 feet) into the sky.

Mount Soputan, located on the northern part of Sulawesi island, erupted twice Sunday morning, said the national disaster agency's spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

He said in anticipation of hot ash and lava sliding down the volcano's slopes, local residents have been urged to avoid activities near the mountain.

Residents were also warned against the possible flowing of lava into rivers around the volcano, and urged to wear masks in case of ash rain.

Authorities kept the volcano's alert level at the second-highest level.

Soputan, which stands 1,784 meters (5,853 feet) tall, is one of Indonesia's more than 120 active volcanoes.

 

December 16, 2018

Sources: ABC News

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  • The Next Wave of ‘Unicorn’ Start-Ups

    The Next Wave of ‘Unicorn’ Start-Ups

    start-ups that quickly reached $1 billion in value. The up-and-coming generation is looking very different.</p><p>SAN FRANCISCO — Technology start-ups worth $1 billion, once as rare as unicorns, are now plentiful enough and old enough that there’s a new generation behind them — one that looks very different.</p><p>That’s according to an analysis for The New York Times by CB Insights, a firm that tracks venture capital and start-ups. CB Insights used a variety of data — including financial health and the strength and size of the market a company serves — to identify 50 start-ups that may be on a path to achieving a $1 billion valuation (though there is no guarantee they will get there). </p><p>Software start-ups may seem boring. But many of them are growing fast because industries like agriculture require more software tools as they adapt to the tech era, said Jason Green, an investor at Emergence, a venture capital firm that invests in cloud software companies.</p><p>Other potential unicorns, such as Checkr and Earnin, are building businesses off the last generation of unicorns by offering services to them. CB Insights also pinpointed three start-ups that are popular with millennial women — Glossier, Zola and Faire — as unicorn candidates.</p><p>“If you are one of those high-momentum companies, investors are going to be beating down your door because there is so much interest in investing in the next big winner,” Mr. Sanwal said.</p><p>In 2012, Sajith Wickramasekara founded Benchling. His goal: To solve some of the personal frustrations he had with the outdated technology tools that he used in the molecular biology labs of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology when he was a student.</p><p>Benchling, based in San Francisco, began providing software that allows lab scientists to replace their paper notebooks with searchable records stored in the cloud. That way, scientists could more easily use the records to collaborate with one another, Mr. Wickramasekara figured. Younger researchers were also increasingly asking for such tools.</p><p>“Software has touched a lot of different sectors of the economy, but it has not kept up in the field of science,” said Kaiser Mulla-Feroze, Benchling’s chief marketing officer. </p><p>Today, 140,000 scientists use Benchling’s software, including academics at Harvard and M.I.T. who use a free version, and paying customers like Pfizer and Regeneron. Benchling charges smaller companies $15,000 a year, while large customers who use more advanced features pay millions of dollars a year, Mr. Mulla-Feroze said. </p><p>Benchling has raised nearly $30 million in funding. Last year, the start-up tripled its revenue and number of customers, Mr. Mulla-Feroze said.</p><p>The company is representative of a new class of software start-ups as different industries adopt more technology. Mr. Green, the venture capitalist, said it’s become clear that software aimed at niche sectors offers larger opportunities than previously expected. </p><p>“Health care, automotive, retail, consumer packaged goods, advanced manufacturing companies — they’re all trying to figure out how technology helps reduce costs or how technology is going to help them build their next business model,” said Mr. Sanwal of CB Insights.</p><p>Other fast-growing start-ups that fit this description include Farmers Business Network, which was founded in 2014 by Charles Baron, a former Google program manager, and Amol Deshpande, a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist. The company charges farmers $700 a year to share and analyze data about their farms, buy supplies and sell crops. Mr. Baron said the start-up counts 7,700 farms as customers and has raised nearly $200 million in funding. </p><p>“Agriculture is going through a digital revolution,” he said. </p><p>Zola now sells 70,000 gift items in its registry. It has also developed tools like online guest lists and R.S.V.P. tracking, all designed to lure more couples to its registry product. The site has been a hit with millennials, allowing the company to raise $140 million in funding and reach a valuation of $600 million.</p><p>Zola is one of three companies on the list of potential next unicorns that have been fueled by millennials’ spending. Glossier, a beauty products company in New York, and Faire, an online marketplace for local boutiques and vendors to buy and sell wholesale items, have also grown by largely catering to a youthful audience. </p><p>Max Rhodes, who founded Faire in 2017, said millennial women are driving a resurgence of local boutiques. These shoppers “don’t want to drive out to the strip mall and buy the most stuff that’s made as cheaply as possible,” he said. “They want unique products that have a story behind them.” </p><p>The rise of companies like Uber and Airbnb has created its own mini-economy of start-ups. </p><p>One of those is Checkr, which was founded in 2014 by Daniel Yanisse and Jonathan Perichon, who worked as software engineers at Deliv, a delivery start-up. Both had become frustrated at the slow-moving background checks for the delivery drivers they wanted to hire for Deliv, so they created their own business to expedite the process.</p><p>Now Checkr works with Uber, Lyft and Instacart. It has also added other types of customers like the insurance company Allstate.</p><p>Checkr is selling “picks and shovels” to the gig economy, said Rich Wong, a partner at Accel, a venture firm that invested in the start-up. </p><p>Another potential unicorn that serves gig economy workers is Earnin, founded in 2012 and based in Palo Alto, Calif. Earnin, which makes an app that provides free cash advances to workers, has a partnership with Uber that lets its drivers cash out immediately after a ride. </p><p>Ram Palaniappan, Earnin’s founder, said the app has been downloaded more than 1 million times and its users open the app 25 times a month on average. </p><p>Notably, 17 of the fast-rising start-ups are dispersed internationally. </p><p>CB Insights identified five companies in India, four in China, and three in Latin America as possible candidates to reach $1 billion in valuation. They ranged from CargoX, a Brazilian start-up using technology to make trucking companies more efficient, to Deputy, an Australian company that provides tools to businesses to manage their hourly workers.</p>

    1 February 11, 2019
  • Jeff Bezos Accuses National Enquirer of ‘Extortion and Blackmail’

    Jeff Bezos Accuses National Enquirer of ‘Extortion and Blackmail’

    he owner of The National Enquirer on Thursday of trying “extortion and blackmail” to stop his investigation into how his private text messages and photos documenting his extramarital affair were leaked to the tabloid.</p><p>“Of course I don’t want personal photos published, but I also won’t participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks and corruption,” Mr. Bezos wrote of A.M.I., explaining why he had decided to speak out. “I prefer to stand up, roll this log over and see what crawls out.”</p><p>Mr. Bezos’ online post details a stunning and bizarre clash between the world’s richest man and the nation’s biggest tabloid publisher. In it, all of the country’s obsessions of recent years appear to have collided, from the personal lives of billionaires and sensational tabloid headlines to Mr. Trump’s fight with the media.</p><p>It has also shown that even for one of the world’s most powerful tech titans and the owner of one of the country’s most influential newspapers, the best means of communications can be a simple blog post. And in a time when Beltway pundits complain that the public has lost its capacity to be shocked, Mr. Bezos’ post did exactly that.</p><p>Amazon declined to comment. A.M.I. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.</p><p>Mr. Bezos, who has kept his personal life largely out of the public eye, said in his post that he had then quickly “engaged investigators to learn how those texts were obtained, and to determine the motives for the many unusual actions taken by The Enquirer.”</p><p>Mr. Bezos said he had turned to Gavin de Becker, his longtime private security consultant, for help. In recent interviews, including with The Daily Beast and The Washington Post, Mr. de Becker has said he was investigating whether Ms. Sanchez’s brother, who has said he supports Mr. Trump, may have been behind the leak for political reasons.</p><p>Mr. de Becker did not immediately respond to a request for comment.</p><p>In Mr. Bezos’ post on Thursday, he also published several emails between Mr. de Becker’s lawyer, Martin Singer, and A.M.I.’s lawyer, Jon Fine, and chief content officer, Dylan Howard. The emails detail explicit photos The Enquirer had obtained of Mr. Bezos and Ms. Sanchez but hadn’t run, and went on say A.M.I. would not publish the photos if Mr. Bezos stopped his investigation and publicly said he did not think the leak had been politically motivated.</p><p>In one email that Mr. Bezos disclosed, Mr. Howard wrote that The Enquirer had obtained photos of Mr. Bezos and Ms. Sanchez as part of its “newsgathering.” Included, Mr. Howard wrote, were photos that showed Ms. Sanchez simulating an oral sex scene and Mr. Bezos clad in just a white towel.</p><p>“Nothing I might write here could tell the National Enquirer story as eloquently as their own words,” Mr. Bezos wrote of releasing the emails.</p><p>He added that any personal embarrassment from the revelations took “a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here.”</p><p>“If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion,” he wrote, “how many people can?”</p>

    1 February 08, 2019
  •  German antitrust authorities restrict Facebook data use

    German antitrust authorities restrict Facebook data use

    hat the ruling means "Facebook will no longer be allowed to force its users to agree to the practically unrestricted collection and assigning of non-Facebook data to their Facebook user accounts."</p><p> Facebook said it rejects the decision, and will appeal.</p>

    1 February 07, 2019
  • Spotify. It’s Not Just for Music Anymore.

    Spotify. It’s Not Just for Music Anymore.

    e goal: to establish itself as a force in the music business by making millions of songs instantly available to listeners worldwide. But with its announcement on Wednesday that it had acquired two podcast companies, the streaming service sent a strong signal that it has broader ambitions.</p><p>No longer does it aim to be a go-to destination for just music fans. It now sees itself as a provider of online audio, period.</p><p>In announcing its fourth-quarter earnings, the Stockholm company said it had acquired Gimlet Media, the studio behind the popular podcasts “Crimetown,” “Reply All” and “StartUp,” and Anchor, which makes tools for recording and distributing podcasts. Financial terms of the transactions were not disclosed.</p><p>With the acquisitions, Spotify becomes the latest player to invest in a medium once considered a low-stakes sandbox in the larger media environment. Now that podcasts have become part of the listening routine for millions of people, major companies have recognized them as an important — but still relatively cheap — source of content.</p><p>“I don’t think Spotify woke up one day and realized that audio storytelling has some incredible emotional place in the life of their brand,” said Owen Grover, the chief executive of Pocket Casts, a podcast app. “Strategically, if they can get their users to listen to podcasts in place of music, it improves their margins.”</p><p>Gimlet’s shows will expand Spotify’s podcasting slate, which includes thousands of shows widely available on other platforms, as well as high-profile exclusive productions from the comedian Amy Schumer, the journalist Jemele Hill, the rapper Joe Budden and others.</p><p>“We are still at the dawn of the second golden age of audio, and we know Spotify is a perfect partner and platform to take Gimlet — and podcasting at large — to a new level,” Alex Blumberg and Matthew Lieber, the public radio veterans who founded Gimlet in 2014, said in a statement.</p><p>Podcasts also offer a financial advantage, helping Spotify improve profit margin and reduce its dependence on the major record companies, whose licensing deals are by far its largest expense.</p><p>And while in 2018 the company lost €78 million, about $89 million, it had a net income of €442 million, or about $502 million, in its fourth quarter. Spotify’s gross profit margin also grew in that quarter, to 26.7 percent, from 25.3 percent in the previous three months.</p><p>Despite Spotify’s dominance among music listeners (its chief rival, Apple Music, has 50 million paying subscribers), Mr. Ek, the company’s chief executive, predicted that “over time,” about 20 percent of all Spotify listening would involve something other than music.</p><p>“Ultimately, if we are successful, we will begin competing more broadly for time against all forms of entertainment and informational services, and not just music streaming services,” Mr. Ek wrote in his blog post.</p><p>“Even though music rights holders think Spotify is underpaying for their music, Spotify has struggled thus far to make the economics work,” Mark Mulligan, a digital media analyst at Midia Research, said. “But Spotify cannot wait to play the long game, so it sees podcasts as a nearer-term way of populating its service with higher-margin content.”</p><p>For some observers, the Spotify deal also suggests an end to the Wild West era of podcasting, in which Apple played the role of disinterested host to numerous shows from all kinds of independent producers.</p><p>“This is the end of the open era,” said Nick Quah, the writer of HotPod, a popular newsletter about podcasts. “Apple never picked winners and losers. A guy or a lady in the grandma’s basement had the same position as ‘This American Life,’ and they battled it out for listeners.”</p><p>“In the new balance of power,” he added, “winners and losers might not be made in the same way.”</p>

    1 February 07, 2019
  • Google and Waze Must Stop Sharing Drunken-Driving Checkpoints, New York Police Demand

    Google and Waze Must Stop Sharing Drunken-Driving Checkpoints, New York Police Demand

    time, user-submitted reports that advise drivers about potential thorns in their roadsides.</p><p>But one feature has Waze in conflict with law enforcement officials across the country: how the app marks the location of police officers on the roads ahead or stationed at drunken-driving checkpoints.</p><p>Over the weekend, the New York Police Department, the largest force in the nation, joined the fray, sending a letter to Google demanding that the tech giant pull that feature from Waze.</p><p>“The posting of such information for public consumption is irresponsible since it only serves to aid impaired and intoxicated drivers to evade checkpoints and encourage reckless driving,” the department’s acting deputy commissioner for legal matters, Ann P. Prunty, wrote in the letter. “Revealing the location of checkpoints puts those drivers, their passengers, and the general public at risk.”</p><p>Ms. Prunty added that people sharing the locations of sobriety checkpoints on Waze might be breaking the law by trying “to prevent and/or impair the administration” of the state’s D.W.I. laws and that the department planned to “pursue all legal remedies” to stop people from sharing “this irresponsible and dangerous information.”</p><p>It was not immediately clear what legal steps might be taken.</p><p>Waze does not allow drivers to specifically identify sobriety checkpoints. But people who use the app’s police reporting feature can leave detailed comments on the cartoonish icon of a mustachioed police officer that pops up.</p><p>Google said in a statement on Wednesday that safety was a “top priority” and “that informing drivers about upcoming speed traps allows them to be more careful and make safer decisions when they’re on the road.”</p><p>Helen Witty, the national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, was reluctant to address the specifics of the letter without more information, but she noted that sobriety checkpoints were frequently publicized in advance and that even when drivers were warned about them, they served their purpose.</p><p>“If you are impaired, you are not going to pay attention to that information,” she said, adding that in her experience, drunken drivers coming through sobriety checkpoints were often very confused or unaware of what was happening.</p><p>“We want these things publicized,” she said, because “one of the major efforts is education.”</p><p>She added, “The goal is to make everyone aware that if you drink, don’t drive, and if you drive, don’t drink.”</p><p>Around the same time, near the start of 2015, the National Sheriffs’ Association began a campaign urging Google to remove its police reporting feature from Waze, citing the potential for the app to be used for attacks on police officers.</p><p>On Wednesday, the executive director of the sheriffs’ association, Jonathan F. Thompson, said Waze’s police feature seemed designed to enable people to circumvent law enforcement.</p><p>“Using crowdsourcing doesn’t stop you from breaking the law,” he said. “It just allows you to be prevented from being arrested. That’s a direct undermining of the rule of law.”</p><p>He also said he thought the app had some redeeming qualities, praising how its hazard and accident features allowed people to participate in keeping members of their communities safe.</p><p>“The app has a lot of viability and a lot of good qualities,” Mr. Thompson said. “But having the ability to prewarn and enable diversion of crime-breaking is not one of them.”</p>

    1 February 07, 2019
  • New Emojis Are Coming: Interracial Couples, Guide Dogs, Falafel and More

    New Emojis Are Coming: Interracial Couples, Guide Dogs, Falafel and More

    on using a wheelchair.</p><p>The list — which includes 59 new emojis, as well as variants for a total of 230 options — emphasizes inclusivity. People will soon be able to create a “holding hands” emoji to reflect their own relationship, selecting for the skin color and gender identity of each individual. Other options include emojis showing a hearing aid, prosthetic limbs, sign language, a cane or a wheelchair.</p><p>But don’t expect to see the latest offering on your keyboard just yet. That will most likely happen later this year.</p><p>The Unicode Consortium sets the standards for emoji compatibility, allowing the symbols to translate across the internet. Then companies like Apple and Google have to design emojis and incorporate the code into their operating systems, Greg Welch, a board member for Unicode, said in an interview on Wednesday. New emojis typically come to cellphones in September or October, Unicode said in the announcement.</p><p>On Wednesday, a representative for Apple pointed to its proposal for Unicode to create accessibility emojis, which said that the new emojis would “foster a diverse culture that is inclusive of disability” and help people express themselves, as well as show support for loved ones.</p><p>A representative for Google said on Wednesday that it hoped to release the new emoji designs soon.</p><p>“You see people are asking for curly hair or skin tone and bald and hijab,” said Jennifer 8. Lee, who serves on Unicode’s emoji subcommittee and helped found Emojination, a grass-roots effort to make emojis more inclusive.</p><p>“In many ways it’s because people are trying to say the word ‘I,’” Ms. Lee, who previously worked as a reporter at The New York Times, said in an interview on Wednesday. “They are trying to represent themselves in emojiland.”</p><p>Tinder, the online dating app, had campaigned for Unicode to better represent couples of different races and genders in the “universal language of the digital age.”</p><p>“It’s huge and historic,” said Ken Tanabe, the founder of Loving Day, an organization that encourages people to celebrate the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage.</p><p>“You are talking about marriages and starting families,” he said in an interview on Wednesday, adding that he had heard from people who could not find a wedding cake topper that reflected their relationship and chose to use black and white chess pieces instead.</p><p>“Having an emoji that’s already there, it feels like hey, we are part of the conversation,” he said. “We are part of the community. We are represented in the most personal part of our lives.”</p><p>One of the new emojis — a guide dog for people who are blind and visually impaired — offers a fun way for people to represent their identity and honor their dogs in texts and emails, said Becky Davidson, who works at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an organization that provides trained dogs for people who are blind or visually impaired.</p><p>“Some people might feel like they just don’t want that to define them. And that’s their choice and they don’t have to use it,” she said. “But I think a lot of us, we love our dogs and we love to show off our dogs.”</p><p>Guide dogs are an integral part of life for many blind people, so much so that they often sign emails from “so-and-so and their dog,” Ms. Davidson said.</p><p>But some people prefer to keep their dog’s name private, so that other people don’t use the dog’s name and distract it from its work, Ms. Davidson said. Using a guide dog image, she said, would be a way to include the dog in conversations without sharing specifics.</p><p>For Ms. Davidson, using emojis does not come naturally, she said, because she was born blind and does not know what some facial expressions look like. But she said she might make an exception for the chance to include an emoji of her 9-year-old yellow lab, Lawson.</p>

    1 February 07, 2019
  • The Shift: After Uproar, Instacart Backs Off Controversial Tipping Policy

    The Shift: After Uproar, Instacart Backs Off Controversial Tipping Policy

    e cases, it’s winning.</p><p>On Wednesday, Instacart, the Silicon Valley upstart that delivers groceries and other household items to customers through an app, reversed a tipping policy that had outraged workers, who accused the $7 billion company of cheating them out of rightfully earned wages.</p><p>Instacart’s workers had taken to Reddit forums and private Facebook groups to express their anger with the policy, which counted tips toward the guaranteed minimum payments the company offered to shoppers. In some cases, the more customers tipped, the less Instacart paid them.</p><p>“It’s offensive, it’s unethical, and in this climate it’s a very dumb thing to do,” Matthew Telles, an Instacart courier in Chicago, said this week before the reversal.</p><p>In the letter to shoppers, Mr. Mehta apologized for the tipping policy, which he called “misguided.” He said that from now on, Instacart would calculate tips separately from base pay. He also said the company was putting new minimum payments into effect: at least $5 for orders that require only delivering an item, and $7 to $10 for orders that involve picking items off supermarket shelves.</p><p>In addition, Instacart said it would retroactively compensate workers who had lost base pay as a result of the old tipping system.</p><p>It’s no secret that many modern gig workers exist in a state of permanent precarity, with few legal protections, unstable working conditions and pay that varies based on who’s flush with venture capital money that week. Most gig economy workers are still classified as contract workers, meaning that they aren’t covered by federal minimum wage laws and other labor protections.</p><p>Still, by organizing en masse and expressing vocal opposition to exploitative policies, they have managed to wring some concessions out of the billion-dollar corporations whose labor they provide.</p><p>Until then, Instacart’s shopper pay was determined by an algorithm that factored in a fixed base payment for each order, along with a per-item bonus and extra payments for certain tasks, such as delivering over long distances. After the change late last year, Instacart presented shoppers with a single, itemized “earnings estimate,” and guaranteed them a $10 minimum payment for each batch they accepted.</p><p>But Instacart shoppers began to notice that for some orders, the tips that customers had added during checkout were being counted toward their $10 minimum, rather than being paid out on top of them.</p><p>“We started to notice customers who said they tipped, but a lot of times we wouldn’t see the tips,” said Kaylania Chapman, a worker in Orlando, Fla., who delivers orders for both Instacart and DoorDash, a rival delivery app with a similar tipping policy.</p><p>On Wednesday, after the announcement that Instacart was changing its policies, a representative from Working Washington, Sage Wilson, said, “In the space of two weeks, Instacart workers came together, sparked a national media sensation and transformed the entire pay model of a $7 billion corporation.”</p><p>DoorDash, which is valued by investors at $4 billion, has not announced plans to change its tipping policy, which dates to 2017.</p><p>“DoorDash’s pay model provides transparency, consistency and predictability,” a company spokeswoman said on Tuesday. “Since implementing this pay model more than a year ago, we’ve seen a significant increase in dasher retention, percentage of on-time orders and dasher satisfaction.”</p><p>After Instacart’s announcement on Wednesday, the DoorDash spokeswoman declined to comment.</p><p>Many Instacart shoppers were thrilled by the company’s about-face. In a private Facebook group, some celebrated their successful campaign to get the company to change its tipping policy and make them whole on previous payments.</p><p>“THIS is why you stand up for yourself against corruption,” wrote another.</p><p>“I’m very excited that we got Instacart to listen to our complaints,” said Ashley Knudson, an Instacart shopper in Seattle. “I feel like we have some work to do, and we’re not going to back down until we get the consistency that we need in our batch payments. We consider this a small victory, for acknowledging their mistreatment, but we look forward to pushing onward and having our voices be heard.”</p><p>But ultimately, it may be up to customers to demand more accountability and worker-friendly policies.</p><p>Elizabeth Haslam, a DoorDash customer in California who has spent more than three years placing orders from the delivery service, said on Tuesday that she was “shocked” to learn about the company’s tipping policies.</p><p>“It made me really angry that I was contributing to a company that would do that,” she said. “And it makes me wonder how many other services are doing the same thing.”</p>

    1 February 07, 2019
  • Chief of Apple Stores Is Leaving After 5 Years in the Job

    Chief of Apple Stores Is Leaving After 5 Years in the Job

    five years ago to oversee its stores, said Tuesday that she will leave the company in April.</p><p>The departure is an unusual move for a top executive at Apple, which is facing retail challenges as sales in China have dropped and iPhone sales have turned sluggish.</p><p>Over five years, Ms. Ahrendts was among Apple’s highest-paid executives, earning more than $170 million, according to securities filings.</p><p>Apple said in a news release that she was leaving “for new personal and professional pursuits.”</p><p>One of Ms. Ahrendts’s primary goals was to improve Apple’s online retail operation so it was as admired as its sleek, minimalist stores. She generally succeeded, allowing customers, for example, to order online and pick up items in a store, said Neil Cybart, an independent Apple analyst.</p><p>Mr. Cybart said that Apple’s stores remained among the most lucrative in the world by square foot, and that traffic to them had been steady.</p><p>“I don’t necessarily see any huge red flags,” he said while discussing the circumstances of Ms. Ahrendts’s exit.</p><p>Under Ms. Ahrendts, Apple started offering more public talks, concerts and seminars at its stores in an attempt to draw in customers who weren’t necessarily in the market for a new device.</p><p>Ms. Ahrendts said in a statement that “the last five years have been the most stimulating, challenging and fulfilling of my career.”</p><p>Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s human resources chief, will take over management of the retail operation in addition to her current duties, the company said. She has worked for Apple for three decades.</p><p>Ms. O’Brien, 52, is a surprising choice as the new retail chief, given her already heavy load handling human resources for more than 100,000 employees. She will add responsibilities that include “strategy, real estate and development, and operations of Apple’s physical stores, Apple’s online store and contact centers,” according to Apple’s website.</p><p>Apple was probably willing to give her such a large role to keep retail in the hands of a company veteran, Mr. Cybart said.</p><p>Apple operates 506 stores on five continents, about a 25 percent increase since Ms. Ahrendts was hired. Mr. Cybart said Apple had recently increased its focus on adding stores in prominent locations in major cities like Chicago and Milan.</p><p>Two Wedbush Securities analysts, Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe, said in a research note that one of Ms. O’Brien’s focuses would be stimulating demand in China, where the retail experience is important.</p><p>They said they were encouraged that Apple had chosen Ms. O’Brien over an outside hire, given the company’s recent struggles.</p><p>“While the timing of this departure is a head scratcher, change could be a good thing for Apple, as the last year has been nothing to write home about,” they wrote.</p>

    1 February 06, 2019
  • Slack Files for Public Offering, Joining Silicon Valley’s Stock Market Rush

    Slack Files for Public Offering, Joining Silicon Valley’s Stock Market Rush

    confidential filing.</p><p>There is likely to be a strong demand for Slack stock. The company was valued at $7.1 billion by private investors last year, but in recent weeks investment firms have offered to buy its shares at a price that values Slack at $13 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the details who was not authorized to speak publicly.</p><p>With a direct listing, shareholders can also sell their stock immediately after the public offering, instead of waiting for what is known as a lockup period to expire.</p><p>Slack has little need for cash. It raised $427 million in new financing in August, a year after raising $250 million. The company has collected a total of more than $1 billion from investors that include the SoftBank Vision Fund, General Atlantic, Dragoneer Investment Group and T. Rowe Price Associates.</p><p>Mr. Butterfield began Slack out of a gaming start-up, Tiny Speck. While the company’s game products failed to take off, its internal communication tool showed promise. In 2014, the company began selling that communication tool, called Slack.</p><p>Start-ups quickly adopted Slack, and larger companies followed suit. The company offers free and paid versions of Slack and counts more than 85,000 paying customers, including 65 Fortune 100 companies. Last month, Slack said 10 million people now used its product every day. The company generated more than $350 million in revenue last year, said the person with knowledge of the details.</p><p>“We’re genuinely excited to have some competition,” it read.</p><p>In January, Microsoft announced that 420,000 organizations used its Teams product, including 89 of the Fortune 100.</p>

    1 February 05, 2019
  • Elon Musk posts Starship Raptor rocket engine test

    Elon Musk posts Starship Raptor rocket engine test

    ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>&quot;So proud of the great work by @SpaceX,&quot; he tweeted.</p><p>CNet reported that Musk&#x2019;s goal is to pair the Starship with a super heavy rocket that will use up to 31 of these Raptor engines and eventually transport passengers to Mars.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>

    1 February 04, 2019

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