No One Wants To Buy Twitter Except For…Salesforce? Plus Facebook Just Released Another New Feature
“We have limited information on a lot of the process at this time” — Samsung, in an unintelligible email to a customer who was trying to replace his Note 7. The South Korean company is now begging customers to shut off their phones entirely. Talk about a broken English PR nightmare.
- U.S. markets closed higher following Sunday’s debate, including a 2% rally in the Mexican peso against the dollar as the currency has recently traded in lockstep with the election
- Apple shares exploded higher 2.3% (alright, pun intended), reaching 10-month highs after rival Samsung suspended sales of its Note 7 after the replacement devices reportedly continued to catch on fire
Twitter’s Search for a New Home
…Ends up right at Salesforce’s doorstep. Many suitors vying for Twitter’s sinking ship have now lost interest, including Google and Disney—and Twitter stock has now reversed all of its acquisition-hyped gains and then some: shares were down 12% yesterday alone. Why the sudden change of heart? Here’s a reminder: Twitter only added nine million monthly users last year, while Facebook added 160 million. Goodness. If Twitter’s likely last hope, Salesforce, was to go for it, it would plan to integrate Twitter as a corporate tool to improve customer relationships. Shareholders don’t like the idea—or maybe just don’t like Twitter—as Salesforce shares had been falling until finally rebounding yesterday. But who knows, with Twitter coming under a fire sale lately, one man’s trash may be another man’s treasure.
Bonus: in a leaked internal memo to employees that was basically a motivational pump-up message, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey made no mention of the M&A rumors but did write “We can do this!” So at least there’s that?
The Greek Bailout
…Ring a bell? In case you forgot all about the struggling European nation (we almost did, too), here’s a quick refresher: Greece has been at the heart of Europe’s financial problems since the 2008 economic crisis, and has since received three bailouts. While progress has been slow, it looks like the Eurozone’s problem child is finally taking baby steps toward recovery. This weekend, the country had a review with an intimidating panel of finance ministers from the European Commission, European Central Bank, IMF and the ESM (otherwise known as the European bailout fund), and the results were mostly good. Greece has enacted all 15 required reforms in order to get its bailout money, meaning the country just received a hefty €1.1 billion in loans. The downside? There’s still €1.7 billion more on the line based on domestic repayments, so fingers crossed that Greece can clear that hurdle too.
Checking Your News Feed at Work
…Might have just become more acceptable. Yesterday, Zuck and Co. released a new business version of Facebook—dubbed Workplace. The social network hopes that the platform will serve as a communication tool for businesses and nonprofits. How does it work? First, businesses sign up as an organization. Employees can then set up profiles and see all of the exciting stuff their co-workers are doing. As far as layout, most of Workplace will look like the Facebook we all know—there’s a news feed, groups and a messenger equivalent known as “Chat.” So what are we looking at here? A work-appropriate reboot aimed squarely at workplace communication darling Slack, and a whole lot more time spent in Facebook’s ecosystem. Hello, ad revenue.
Google, Pixar and The Onion Walk Into a Bar
…And out walks artificial intelligence with a sense of humor. If you’ve been paying any attention to tech recently, two words are all the rage these days: artificial intelligence. From Amazon Echo to Siri to Google Assistant, if you’re not doing AI, you’re behind the curve. The next big challenge? Making artificial intelligence less A, and more I. One of the biggest complaints: AI isn’t human enough (sorry, Siri’s “jokes” don’t count). Of course, to make a human-sounding AI, you need a personality to match—and that’s what Google has tapped into for its new Google Assistant software. The company hired writers from Pixar and The Onion to infuse its AI with character and a sense of humor. Early returns are promising, but we probably aren’t at passing-Turing-test levels just yet.
- Oculus Touch controllers are now available for preorder for $199
- Windows 10’s big Microsoft Paint refresh: 3D objects, stickers, new tools
- Yahoo makes it hard to leave by disabling automatic email forwarding
- Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmstrom win Nobel in Economics for work on contracts
- Monday: Columbus Day (Banks Closed, Markets Open)
- Tuesday: Alcoa Earnings
- Wednesday: CSX Earnings; Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey; Fed Minutes Release
- Thursday: Delta, Progressive Earnings; Import/Export Prices; Weekly Jobless Claims
- Friday: JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, PNC Earnings; Producer Price Index; Retail Sales; Consumer Sentiment
The Almighty Chip
No, we’re not talking Pringles here. It’s been over a year since chip-based credit and debit cards (called EMV cards) started hitting the U.S. marketplace. You know, the cards that have robbed you of the satisfying swipe experience and make you wait an eternity for. Although they might be tedious, they do seem to be serving their main purpose: reducing counterfeit card fraud. Here are the numbers:
- MasterCard reported that retailers who adopted EMV technology saw a 54% drop in counterfeit card fraud in April 2016 compared to April 2015. Visa reported a similar drop of 47%.
- Card companies are taking note: American Express says that 95% of its cards in the U.S. market are now chip cards. For Visa, it’s 64%, and 88% for MasterCard.
- Stores are also accepting the trend, but a bit more slowly. As of today, 33% of merchants accept EMV cards. It’s not everybody, but it’s still a 400% increase since October 2015. Pretty impressive if you ask us.
Interview Question of the Day
How do you determine if an economy is an emerging market? (Answer)
Business Term of the Day
Balloon Interest — An increased coupon rate on the longer term maturity instruments within a serial bond issue. In a serial issue, bonds will mature at different intervals. Long-term bonds provide investors higher interest, providing an incentive to hold the instrument for a longer period. Investors refer to this large coupon rate as balloon interest, since it’s often inflated.
Food for Thought
The second presidential debate on Sunday night provided some major fireworks, but ratings dropped 20% from the first debate—84 million watched the first debate, while “only” 60 million tuned in for Round 2. On the bright side, it was the most-tweeted debate ever. Silver linings.