6 Most Important Things in Business Today
Google will launch several new smartphones worldwide. According to Reuters:
Alphabet Inc’s Google will unveil the third edition of its Pixel smartphone at 10 media events across the world on Tuesday, a hint that it is prepared to expand geographic distribution of a device it hopes someday is as popular as Apple Inc’s iPhone.
Google’s free Android software operates most of the world’s smartphones. But the company three years ago branched into hardware to have products where, like Apple, it could have full control of the performance of its applications and the revenue they generate.
Google concealed a data breach, perhaps because it was worried about the reaction of regulators. According to The Wall Street Journal:
Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring, in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage, according to people briefed on the incident and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
As part of its response to the incident, the Alphabet Inc. unit on Monday announced a sweeping set of data privacy measures that include permanently shutting down all consumer functionality of Google+. The move effectively puts the final nail in the coffin of a product that was launched in 2011 to challenge Facebook Inc. and is widely seen as one of Google’s biggest failures.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has started to move into Africa. According to The Wall Street Journal:
A prominent red sign welcoming visitors to this remote and dusty agricultural city makes the announcement in capital letters: “This is now a 4G zone.”
That is thanks in part to Facebook Inc., which, along with Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel Ltd.’s EQBHARTIARTL -1.76% Ugandan unit and Mauritius-based Bandwidth & Cloud Services Group, laid nearly 500 miles of fiber-optic cable across the isolated northwest of this East African nation. The project, begun in early 2017 and completed at the end of last year, has expanded the region’s network capacity, providing faster internet access to an area with some three million people, many of whom live in towns still haunted by memories of the three-decade insurgency led by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.
A hedge fund may buy Papa John’s International Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA). According to The Wall Street Journal:
Trian Fund Management LP is evaluating a takeover bid for Papa John’s International Inc., people familiar with the matter said.
The activist hedge fund recently contacted the pizza chain to collect information as it explores a possible bid, the people said. Trian is one of several parties to express interest since Papa John’s put itself up for sale amid an acrimonious fight with its founder, John Schnatter, who remains on the board and owns nearly 30% of the company’s shares.
Hope Hicks, a major figure in the Trump White House, has a new job. According to The New York Times:
The Murdoch family, in the throes of reshaping its media empire, is bringing on a lieutenant with experience in chaotic environments: President Trump’s former communications director, Hope Hicks.
Starting next year, Ms. Hicks, one of the most recognizable alumni of Mr. Trump’s White House, will become the chief communications officer of Fox, the new entity to be spun out of the Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox.
The International Monetary Fund downgraded global GDP growth forecasts. According to the IMF:
Global growth is projected at 3.7 percent for 2018– 19—0.2 percentage point lower for both years than forecast in April. In the United States, momentum is still strong as fiscal stimulus continues to increase, but the forecast for 2019 has been revised down due to recently announced trade measures, including the tariffs imposed on $200 billion of US imports from China.