Google Knows What Yo Text Your Friends, Plus Microsoft Dumps Nokia

by 3 years ago

morning-brew1111211

“Got any tasty ideas that start with the letter N?” — Google’s Android team, asking for name suggestions for its new “Android N” operating system. So yes, Google is asking for n-words. And before you ask: yes, there was plenty of online backlash. Search #NameAndroidN to see for yourself.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

Big Picture

  • After rallying to kick off the day, U.S. stocks reversed course to finish flat after the Federal Reserve changed its tone to hawkish, boosting the financial sector and increasing the odds of a June rate hike

Market Movers

  • Tesla had a whirlwind day of trading, initially rising after receiving a “buy” rating from Goldman Sachs, then falling after-hours after issuing roughly $1.4 billion of stock to raise cash to help ramp up production efforts for the Model 3
  • Shares of Japanese automaker Suzuki plummeted 16% before rebounding slightly after the company stated there were disparities in its emission tests—that’s right, this could be scandal strike three in the auto industry after Volkswagen and Mitsubishi (whose president coincidentally resigned yesterday)

__________
CORPORATE PRIMER

Microsoft Dumps Nokia

Steve Ballmer’s last roll of the dice before he departed Microsoft is officially a flop. How bad? Well, back in 2014 Microsoft acquired Nokia for $7.2 billion…and yesterday Microsoft sold off Nokia to HMD Global for, wait for it…$350 million. That’s a flop if we’ve ever seen one. Guess that’ll teach Microsoft to stick to its strong suit: selling services, not cell phones (especially cell phones with Windows Phone, which haven’t exactly blossomed). On the other hand, things worked out pretty well for Nokia, as this purchase will officially bring the company back into the smartphone and tablet market that it abandoned not too long ago. Everyone deserves a second chance.

Target Joins the Retail Disaster Club

Here at the Brew, we try to keep our distance from cheap puns. But in this case, seeing just how badly Target missed the target on retail sales, we simply couldn’t help ourselves. With shares plummeting 10% yesterday, Target joined the long list of fellow retailers with blood on the street after poor earnings results. Here’s the kicker: Target actually grew earnings by 16.5% year over year. It was weak forward guidance that caused investors to fold. At least the retail sector continued to get a boost from good old reliable home improvement: after Home Depot’s strong earnings report on Tuesday, rival Lowe’s followed things up by actually besting its big bro by reporting a larger same store sales gain of 7.3%, outdoing Home Depot for just the second time in the last 27 quarters.

The Results Are In

Here’s an interesting one: Theranos—remember, that’s the hotshot unicorn company previously hailed as “revolutionizing” blood testing before it was revealed a lot of fishy stuff was going on—announced yesterday that it will void the last two years of test results from its flagship Edison machine. You’d probably want your blood test results (and the medical decisions made based on these results) to be as accurate as possible, so the tens of thousands of corrected reports are alarming…and a huge red flag to the company’s $9 billion valuation (which is likely much lower now). On the bright side, at least Theranos discovered and corrected the issues itself. This should help fend off the flock of angry regulators who came at the smell of blood. Despite these measures and a detailed correction plan for regulators, results are unclear.

__________

 

U.S. MACRO
Rate Hikes Back on the Table

Just when we were starting to get used to things, the Federal Reserve shocked the world yesterday after minutes from their last meeting revealed that the Fed would likely raise interest rates in June. Haven’t heard that one before…what’s new this time around? Not a whole lot, actually. Interest rates have held steady at 0.25%-0.5% since a small rate hike in December, and according to the Fed, another small incremental hike in June will be just the thing to keep the American economy growing. While investors are a bit more pessimistic, the Fed has stated that it’s still on track to raise rates twice this year, despite concerns of a global slowdown.

__________

 
OTHER STORIES

  • PornHub launches BangFit so you can bang to get fit
  • Judge clears way for San Francisco’s soda pop warnings
  • Fitbit buys Coin to help with mobile payments
  • Netflix’s new Fast.com tool lets you easily check your download speeds

__________

 
ECONOMIC CALENDAR

GOOGLE STILL HAS PLENTY UP ITS SLEEVE

Apple’s product launches usually take the cake for tech innovation, but Google gave the famous fruit a run for its money this year with some big announcements from Google I/O 2016. Here are some hot picks from day one of the conference:

  • No one beats Google when it comes to search engines, but all bets are off after that. Meet Allo, Google’s answer to the AI messaging revolution. Three cool things? 1. The option to talk to bots from right within the app. 2. The option to “whisper” or “yell” your message. 3. The ability to let Allo craft responses to friends. Kinda cool, kinda creepy.
  • Speaking of search engines, Google’s improving that too: Google Assistant will live up to its name and assist you in your searches by utilizing a more conversational setup (complete with a concierge) over the typical point and click experience.
  • And of course, Google Home—Google’s response to Amazon Echo. You’ll be able to control everything going on in your house through voice control, and soon enough you’ll be able to ask it to do a whole lot more—looks like the future is finally here.

INTERVIEW QUESTION OF THE DAY

How many people do you need before the odds are good (greater than 50%) that at least two of them share a birthday? (Answer #2)

__________

STARTUP OF THE DAY

Many are aware of the concept of self-driving cars…but, self-driving trucks? That’s a new concept from a startup called Otto. Founded by former Google employees, Otto wants to “rethink” the commercial trucking industry.

__________

 
FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Yesterday, Richard Breeden, the overseer of a $4 billion U.S. DOJ fund for victims of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, said he expected to recommend payouts for at least 25,280 claimants with nearly $4 billion in fraud losses. Madoff pled guilty to a $64.8 billion Ponzi scheme in December 2008. Justice? We’re getting there.


TAGSBusinessFinanceMorning Brew

Join The Discussion