6 Most Important Things in Business Today

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket botched an important government satellite launch. According to MarketWatch:

An expensive, highly classified U.S. spy satellite is presumed to be a total loss after it failed to reach orbit atop a Space Exploration Technologies Corp. rocket on Sunday, according to industry and government officials.

Lawmakers and congressional staffers from the Senate and the House have been briefed about the botched mission, some of the officials said. The secret payload — code-named Zuma and launched from Florida onboard a Falcon 9 rocket — is believed to have plummeted back into the atmosphere, they said, because it didn’t separate as planned from the upper part of the rocket.

Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) trumpeted the future of its self-driving car technology. According to Reuters:

 Chief Executive Brian Krzanich said on Monday 2 million vehicles from BMW, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Volkswagen AG  would use its unit Mobileye’s autonomous vehicle technology to crowdsource data for building maps that enable autonomous driving.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) will not sell smartphones made by a major Chinese company, although it had planned to do so. According to The Wall Street Journal:

AT&T Inc. has walked away from a deal to sell smartphones made by Chinese electronics giant Huawei Technologies Co., according to people familiar with the matter.

Huawei had been expected to announce Tuesday at a Las Vegas trade show that it had struck an agreement with AT&T, marking its first partnership with a major U.S. mobile carrier. Huawei is the world’s No. 3 smartphone brand behind Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. but has been essentially shut out of the U.S. market.

A 2012 Congressional report raised concerns about state-sponsored spying related to equipment made by Huawei, which also is the world’s biggest maker of telecommunication gear. Huawei has denied any involvement in espionage on behalf of China and has said the report was politically motivated.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos is worth more than Microsoft Corp.’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Bill Gates was at the peak of his wealth. According to Bloomberg:

Amazon shares have risen 6.6 percent this year, with a report showing the Seattle-based company captured 89 percent of online spending among dominant holiday retailers in the five-week period beginning the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S.

The latest jump has pushed Bezos’s fortune definitively above the high reached by Microsoft Corp.’s Bill Gates in 1999. The Amazon founder passed Gates in October with a net worth of $93.8 billion and his fortune crossed $100 billion for the first time a month later when the holiday shopping season kicked off on Black Friday.

Samsung’s shares dropped after the company issued disappointing guidance. According to CNBC:

Samsung Electronics on Tuesday said it was expecting record operating profit of about 15.1 trillion Korean won (about $14.13 billion) for the December quarter.

That number fell short of a Reuters average forecast of 15.9 trillion won in operating profit, but it was likely up 64 percent from a year ago.

Its shares dropped 3% on the news.

Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google faces a lawsuit that claims it discriminates against some white men. According to CNNMoney:

James Damore, the Google senior software engineer fired over his controversial 3,300 word essay on diversity, filed a lawsuit against his former employer on Monday. Damore — along with former software engineer David Gudeman, who is a co-plaintiff — allege that the tech firm discriminates against conservatives, white people, and men. Damore and Gudeman are seeking monetary and other damages.