6 Most Important Things In Business Today

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The North Korean economy grew by 3.9% last year, the fastest rate since 1999, according to the Bank of Korea, South Korea’s central bank.

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) may mislead customers when it offers discounts, according to the FTC. Reuters reports:

As part of its review of Amazon’s agreement to buy Whole Foods, the Federal Trade Commission is looking into allegations that Amazon misleads customers about its pricing discounts, according to a source close to the probe.

The FTC is probing a complaint brought by the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, which looked at some 1,000 products on Amazon’s website in June and found that Amazon put reference prices, or list prices, on about 46 percent of them.

An analysis found that in 61 percent of products with reference prices, Amazon’s reference prices were higher than it had sold the same product in the previous 90 days, Consumer Watchdog said in a letter to the FTC dated July 6.

The U.S. government and Exxon (NYSE: XOM) are in a battle about whether the oil company violated sanctions against Russia, according to the lead story in the WSJ. Reports at the paper wrote:

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday imposed a $2 million fine on Exxon Mobil Corp. for what it called a “reckless disregard” of U.S. sanctions on Russia while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the oil giant’s chief executive, a finding the company immediately said it would challenge.

Exxon, under Mr. Tillerson, in early 2014 deepened the company’s longstanding partnership with the Kremlin despite Washington levying sanctions against Russia for annexing Crimea and supporting pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine. In May of that year, the Treasury Department said the company signed eight documents relating to oil and gas projects in Russia that were also signed by Igor Sechin, chief executive of the state oil giant PAO Rosneft. The Treasury said Thursday those deals violated U.S. sanctions against Mr. Sechin, a former Russian intelligence officer and ally to President Vladimir Putin.

Cloud computing revenue helped bolster Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) for the last quarter. The software company reported:

Microsoft Corp. today announced the following results for the quarter ended June 30, 2017:

· Revenue was $23.3 billion GAAP, and $24.7 billion non-GAAP

· Operating income was $5.3 billion GAAP, and $7.0 billion non-GAAP

· Net income was $6.5 billion GAAP, and $7.7 billion non-GAAP

· Diluted earnings per share was $0.83 GAAP, and $0.98 non-GAAP

“Innovation across our cloud platforms drove strong results this quarter,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer at Microsoft, “Customers are looking to Microsoft and our thriving partner ecosystem to accelerate their own digital transformations and to unlock new opportunity in this era of intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.”

Its shares dipped slightly after the disclosure.

China plans to become a world leader in artificial intelligence according to The State Council. Its leaders said in a release:

The State Council has issued a guideline on developing artificial intelligence (AI), setting a goal of becoming a global innovation center in this field by 2030.
The total output value of artificial intelligence industries should surpass 1 trillion yuan ($147.80 billion). A mature theory and technology system should be formed.
Developing AI is a “complicated and systematic project” according to the guideline. An open and coordinated AI innovation system should be constructed to develop not only the technology but also products and market.
AI in China should be used to promote the country’s technology, economy, social welfare, maintain national security, and contribute to the world.