Why Some Amazon Workers Aren’t Happy About Their Raise
As soon as he said “new Amazon minimum wage of $15 an hour,” Mr. Clark was drowned out by more than 10 seconds of cheers and high-fives.
But in Amazon warehouses across the country, many longtime workers are fuming that — based on the information they have received so far — they may end up making thousands of dollars less a year.
Yes, Amazon is increasing wages, which will benefit most employees. But it will no longer give out new stock options and monthly bonuses. Some workers believe that means their total compensation will shrink.
Whether Amazon finds a way to close that gap will be closely watched in Washington. On Oct. 4, Mr. Sanders, an independent from Vermont, sent a letter to Jay Carney, who runs Amazon’s public policy, “asking Amazon to confirm how the total compensation of employees who would have received stock options — those with the company for two or more years — will be affected as a result of the recent changes,” according to a copy provided to The New York Times.
Mr. Sanders, who was alerted to the issue by workers, has not yet received a response from Amazon, a spokesman for the senator said.
The New York Times spoke to about a half dozen workers around the country, from Texas to Kentucky, and viewed numerous employee discussions on Facebook. All of the workers shared their pay stubs, but few would allow their names to be used.
Near Minneapolis, Katy Iber, who handles returned products at an Amazon warehouse, works the night shift. Her region has a tight local labor market, so she already makes more than $15 an hour.
In an “all hands” meeting at the start of her shift on Thursday — her first day at work since the pay raise was announced — she learned Amazon was raising her base pay by $1 an hour.
But it was also ending monthly attendance and productivity bonuses, known as the Variable Compensation Plan, or V.C.P. And she would no longer be granted valuable Amazon shares. The trade-off meant she’d be losing money, she said.
It was as though the company was saying “‘thanks, we appreciate you going into the holidays. Here’s less money,’” Ms. Iber said. The New York Times reached Ms. Iber through the Awood Center, a nonprofit that is organizing East African workers in the region.
Amazon maintained in a statement that the higher hourly wages “more than compensates for the phase out” of the stock and incentive bonuses. A traditional pay raise, the company said, is “more immediate and predictable.”
Amazon said more than 250,000 employees and an additional 100,000 seasonal workers would be benefit from the pay changes, and announced similar changes for workers in Britain.Deutsche Bank estimated that Amazon’s pay increase “represents less than 1 percent of its projected 2019 revenue.”
For many workers, including those who work part-time and were never eligible for stock and bonuses, the raises in base pay will certainly put more cash in their pockets.
Amazon officials said that over the next week they will adjust the pay of some employees to make sure workers do not end up losing money with the changes.
The difference between what some employees believe is their total compensation and what the company believes they are being paid also may come down to accounting rules. Amazon said that if employees in 2018 use stock options granted two years ago, that legally counts as compensation this year. But some employees believe that was compensation for work done two years ago.
The difference — whether because of miscommunication or incomplete information given to employees — has resonated in Amazon warehouses around the country, particularly with employees with a longer tenure at the company.
The dispute is over two compensation programs that will end on Nov. 1. The first, the Variable Compensation Plan paid out each month. It offered up to a 4 percent bonus for attendance, and an additional 4 percent if a worker’s building met certain production goals.
Ms. Iber said someone in her warehouse wrote “BRING BACK VCP!!!!” on a whiteboard where employees are encouraged to communicate with management.
In the three months around the holiday season, known as “double down,” the bonus doubles, meaning employees could earn an as much as a 16 percent on top of their regular wages.
The second program gave employees shares in Amazon stock each year. They get to keep the shares if they’re still working at the company after two years. Recently, employees have been getting two shares, worth about a combined $3,725 at current market value. With the changes, workers get to keep the stock granted in previous years but will not earn new shares.
Documentation Ms. Iber provided showed that her bonus amounted to $1.28 an hour in August. In the three months around the holidays, that could be more than $2.50 an hour, far more than the $1 an hour in base pay increase she’s getting.
She is down even more when stock grants are taken into account. She will keep old shares, but will not be granted new ones.
In a Facebook group popular with employees, workers fumed over the changes, according to screenshots from the page that were viewed by The New York Times.
There were so many negative pending posts on the day Amazon announced the $15 wage that a moderator wrote that she deleted them and pleaded with workers to write to the corporate offices in Seattle rather than vent online.
Another poster wrote that her co-workers were contemplating a walkout on Black Friday, the big shopping day after Thanksgiving, and others said they were saddened to lose the sense of ownership that the stock compensation provided.
Workers said the timing of the change, just as bonuses double for the holiday season, stings. Ms. Iber said a co-worker told her he regretted paying down some credit card debt in anticipation of the extra holiday bonus. He worried that without the extra holiday pay, he won’t be able cover his regular monthly bills.
She could sympathize. Last year, Ms. Iber used the holiday season bonuses to pay for insulation in her attic. She was going to get a new water heater this year, but now she’s holding off. She said she will wait for the heater to break, and if it does, she’ll put the repairs on a credit card.
October 09, 2018
Sources: New York Times
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>
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>
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>
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>
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>
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>
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race or religion. An egg is an egg, it’s universal.” </p><p>Mr. Godfrey, a 29-year-old advertising creative who works at The & Partnership in London, and the two friends he has enlisted to help him with the account have now delivered their second act. It is a commercial produced with and aired on the streaming service Hulu, timed to take advantage of the annual Super Bowl ad extravaganza. In it, the egg shares a story about how going viral has affected its mental health.</p><p>“The pressure of social media is getting to me,” the egg discloses in the commercial, after introducing itself. “If you’re struggling, too, talk to someone.”</p><p>“People have fallen in love with this egg, and Eugene the egg wants to continue to spread positive messages,” said Alissa Khan-Whelan, 26, one of the friends working with Mr. Godfrey.</p><p>After the birth of the egg on Jan. 4, Mr. Godfrey stayed anonymous. But he, Ms. Khan-Whelan and another friend, C.J. Brown, 29, agreed to speak to The New York Times to tell their story and explain their intentions. </p><p>“We felt that the time was right to come out,” Ms. Khan-Whelan said. “We can put any speculation to bed.”</p><p>Mr. Godfrey says that such claims are untrue and that the account’s growth was “completely organic.” No one person helped the egg’s rise in popularity and no single account or group of accounts helped it to explode.</p><p>They did note a demographic that embraced the egg immediately.</p><p>“I think it was perhaps the younger generation,” Mr. Godfrey said. “In the schools and stuff, it started to spread. It sort of spread through playgrounds.” He noticed that interactions with young people would peak between 3 and 4 in the afternoon, “when school was out.”</p><p>Ms. Khan-Whelan recalled seeing “amazing videos of kids in their class going ‘Miss, miss, have you liked the egg?’”</p><p>Marketers agreed that the youth had been key to the egg’s success. (Instagram technically requires users to be 13 to create an account, but that rule is often disregarded.) Margaret Johnson, chief creative officer of the agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, only became aware of the egg account after realizing that her 12-year-old son had liked the image. She then sought out more information about it.</p><p>“What a great thing for them to do and kind of hijack the Super Bowl through social, and hammer home a responsible message,” she said.</p><p>The egg’s audience was also amplified by Mr. Godfrey’s decision to incorporate user-generated content into the account’s Instagram stories, where posts expire after 24 hours. The egg’s main Instagram feed stayed spare and mysterious, while Mr. Godfrey shouted out followers in its stories, helping to infect his growing audience with a sense of team spirit. (The hashtag #EggGang was quickly adapted to describe the account’s fans.)</p><p>“In its infancy, it was one of those ridiculous things, like, ‘Oh, we’re trying to break this world record by just liking this random image,’” said Sam Shepherd, an executive creative director at the digital agency 360i. </p><p>Mr. Godfrey, Mr. Brown and Ms. Khan-Whelan say they are less interested in money than in promoting positivity.</p><p>“We’ve had plenty of amazing offers and opportunities that have come on to the table,” Ms. Khan-Whelan said. “So many. We’ve not really been sharing details because we don’t think this is about us. This is about Eugene the egg and what the egg can do.”</p><p>Mr. Godfrey would not comment on what the last few weeks had been like, other than to say it had been “crazy” and “a real journey.” (He, Mr. Brown and Ms. Khan-Whelan have essentially been living together, in South East London, for that time.)</p><p>“It’s not really about me,” he insisted. “It’s just about the egg and sort of where we can take it and what we can do with it.”</p><p>They would not comment on the causes they will support beyond mental health, saying that they would take each day as it comes. They plan to remain highly responsive to their audience.</p><p>“The fact that they were able to get a lot of people to look at a picture of the egg — it was the ultimate anomaly, just a complete freak event,” Mr. Essex said. “A tear in the time-space continuum. It doesn’t make much sense, but it’s not going to continue. Every once in a while something comes out of the blue and breaks the internet for no reason. This is the quintessential fluke. It’s not replicable. It’s not replicable and it’s not sustainable. With all due respect.”</p><p>(Asked to whom the respect was due, he clarified: “To the egg people.”)</p><p>The egg people are not dissuaded. They have heard from fans in Azerbaijan and Dubai. They are particularly popular in the United States, which is one of the reasons they decided to do a Super Bowl ad.</p><p>“It’s a dream to put that in the same sentence that we’re doing something in relation to the Super Bowl — it feels really special,” Ms. Khan-Whelan said. “Michael Jackson performed at halftime, and now Eugene is center stage.”</p><p>Mr. Godfrey said the team sees the Super Bowl as more than just an American event but rather as “an international moment.”</p><p>“Eugene is global, Eugene is really global all over the world,” Ms. Khan-Whelan said. “He likes football. Or she, sorry. Or it.”</p><p>Asked to respond to Mr. Essex, Mr. Godfrey did agree that the egg’s success had been a fluke.</p><p>“But it’s a fluke that caught the world’s attention,” he said. “It’s what you do with that attention that counts.”</p>
g over tech.</p><p>China, smartphones, Bitcoin and cloud computing have been among the major drivers of the long tech boom, which in turn has powered the global economy for the last decade. The ingredient common to all of these sectors is computer chips, which form the brains of devices and whose ubiquity means they provide early signals about changes in supply and demand.</p><p>Warnings about a sales slowdown this year have come in recent weeks from big chip suppliers that also include Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Micron Technology and Western Digital. It’s an abrupt reversal, coming on the heels of stellar results in 2018 for the business that gave Silicon Valley its name.</p><p>Last year, manufacturers shipped a staggering 1 trillion chips and other semiconductor devices, 10 percent more than the year before, IC Insights estimates. But 2019 is shaping up to be a much different story, now that several important sources of chip demand appear to be dampening.</p><p>This year, with a similar downgrade, investors largely shrugged it off. Intel shed about 5 percent of its value over a week.</p><p>While acknowledging the parallels to 2000, Gene Munster, research director for Loup Ventures, a venture capital firm, said, “I think it’s different this time.”</p><p>Back then, among the best customers for the established chip firms were start-ups, which had more dreams than revenue. As the start-ups faltered, the chip firms were imperiled. The storm lasted for years.</p><p>“These are all real companies now, with real customers,” Mr. Munster said. “People are willing to look past a few bumpy months.”</p><p>Even if the problems do not linger, they are a reminder that demand is not eternal. That seems to be what happened with smartphones, which use multiple varieties of chips to run software, process data and connect to cellular networks.</p><p>“From all of our research, I don’t see some general consumer malaise,” Mr. Wolf said.</p><p>Yet several other businesses appear to be softening as well, including the market for server systems used by cloud service operators, including Amazon, Microsoft and Google. Sales of high-priced chips for such hardware have driven profits for companies like Intel and Nvidia, but they now say that equipment buyers for data centers have turned cautious.</p><p>Longtime tech industry watchers began picking up trouble signs late last spring in the market for memory chips, an essential component in computers that in decades past prompted trade tensions between the United States and rivals in Japan and South Korea. Makers of a key category called dynamic random-access memory, or DRAM, have suffered product shortages and gluts that whipsawed pricing and heralded changing fortunes for the broader industry.</p><p>During the dot-com bust of 2001, DRAM revenue plummeted 63 percent while total semiconductor revenue fell 31 percent, according to Gartner data.</p><p>But conditions changed dramatically over the years as manufacturers fled from the lack of profits, leaving three major DRAM makers — Samsung, Hynix and Micron. They have been slow to boost production, enabling them to keep their prices high. And they also benefited as memory became more important in smartphones, data center hardware and other products beyond the personal computers that once drove most sales.</p><p>“The markets today are structurally different,” Sanjay Mehrotra, Micron’s chief executive, said in a recent interview.</p><p>Yet market cycles haven’t disappeared entirely. DRAM prices peaked last June and began sliding, prompting Micron and Samsung to issue their recent profit warnings. DRAMeXchange, a Taiwan-based firm that tracks the market, predicts DRAM prices will fall an additional 20 percent in the first quarter.</p><p>Memory chips “behave like onions or steel or any other commodity,” said Jim Handy, a market researcher at Objective Analysis. “If there is an oversupply, prices fall.”</p><p>But Nvidia’s processors also became extremely popular for the mathematical process of mining digital currency, driving a surge in demand that inflated prices and created a shortage of chips. Buyers wound up placing multiple or overly ambitious orders, making it hard for the company to get a handle on conventional demand for its technology.</p><p>For all the turmoil, industry executives and analysts said that business conditions remain a lot healthier than past semiconductor slumps. For one thing, a series of mergers has reduced price competition. Companies like Micron, which routinely lost money in past cycles, are expected to remain solidly profitable even if sales dip.</p><p>“Eventually the storm will pass and these companies — Nvidia, Apple, Samsung — will have a pole position in the next tech growth curve, including A.I., health care, self-driving cars, 5G,” said Mr. Munster, the Loup analyst. “The curve is so exciting, so juicy, so full of opportunity.”</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>The secret is to be patient. The new Apple device you have your eye on may not be discounted at the moment, but chances are that one of the major online retailers will cut the price next week or next month.</p><p>Some of the discounting is predictable. For example, Black Friday and the months before the year-end holidays. Other times, it’s completely unpredictable. Retailers like Best Buy, Amazon (now an authorized Apple reseller), B&H Photo, and Adorama often discount out of the blue for reasons only they know.</p><p>So, you have to be vigilant and keep tabs on the retail sites that most frequently discount, such as the ones cited above. You can also sign up for “deal alerts” or check weekly ads but it's a good idea to be proactive checking the major Apple retailer sites once a week for the specific product you’re interested in.</p><p>Among all of Apple’s hardware, MacBooks are discounted the most frequently and typically see the deepest price cuts.</p><p>Discounts typically come in two flavors, including sales on recently-announced MacBooks. For example, B&H Photo and Amazon have been consistently discounting the Apple's newest MacBook, the 2018 MacBook Air, by $100.</p><p>More common are discounts on the previous generation of MacBooks announced a year – or more – back. It’s common for B&H Photo or Adorama to discount 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros released the previous year (e.g., 2017) by $200 to $400. These are still never-before-used MacBooks, but they are a year old.</p><p>Practically speaking, the differences between the newest MacBooks and last year’s MacBooks are often small.</p><p>Discounts on iPads are also common and the same rules generally apply: less frequent discounts on recently-announced iPads and more frequent discounts on older models.</p><p>For most people, iPads are for media consumption and light work-related tasks. So, many consumers don’t need the latest and greatest high-powered, pricey iPad Pros and can clear the way for good deals.</p><p>The iPad Mini 4 is often discounted from the list price $399, often as much as $50. The svelte, light (0.65 pounds) 7.9-inch iPad comes with 128GB of storage. It's a bit dated – released in late 2015 with an A8 processor – but it's fine for the vast majority of consumers.</p><p>The 9.7-inch iPad was released in early 2018 and features a newer A10 Fusion processor. The 32GB model is often discounted by $50 from the regular price of $329. The 128GB model also sees frequent price cuts of $50 or more from the regular price of $429.</p><p>Or if you insist on an iPad Pro, opt for the 2017 10.5-inch model, which is often discounted by $100 or more.</p><p>Carriers and retailers are always pushing iPhone deals but there’s almost always a catch and the deal typically requires signing up for a two-year contract.</p><p>For example, Verizon is currently offering $300 off the iPhone XS, Apple’s newest phone. The catch is, you must add a new smartphone line and trade in a phone that’s on their designated list of trade-ins. You’ll see variations on this theme throughout the year at other carriers and retailers.</p><p>Occasionally, you'll see fleeting oddball deals like the one Apple has been offering directly on the iPhone SE: for a limited time priced at $299  for the 128GB model. The catch here is that it's not new but refurbished.</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>