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LONDON HAS FALLEN
Welcome to Martyrville, population one.
Theresa May knows damn well that Parliament is not keen on her Brexit plan. “How,” you ask? Well, the government has already rejected it twice. As a result, the Prime Minister announced that she is willing to resign should Parliament approve her plan. And that might just work.
May’s original exit strategy was voted down this past January by a historic margin, and an updated version of the plan was also shot down at the beginning of March. The main issue with the deal according to Members of Parliament (MPs) is that it doesn’t provide a clean break from the European Union. Thanks, Irish backstop.
Brexit is coming down to the wire. The original deadline for exiting the bloc was originally slated for tomorrow. Even though an agreed upon delay has pushed the final moveout date to April 12th, a sticking point remains: there needs to be some plan. Literally ANY plan. Without approval from the MPs, the entire country risks leaving the bloc without any formal procedure.
But if you thought May’s resignation news was batsh*t, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Yesterday lawmakers also voted on eight (you read that right) alternative Brexit strategies … and not one carried enough votes to lead the Kingdom to the promised land.
So without a plan B, May’s ill-fated proposal still seems to be the country’s best hope for an “orderly” Brexit. This is honestly more confusing than categorizing a Shepherd’s pie.
It’s gonna be May
In the true spirit of Lent, it appears that the only solution seems to be the UK PM taking one for the team. While no timeline accompanies the promised departure, the thought alone appears to be enough to get opposing MPs on board with her plan. According to May herself, “I know there is a desire for a new approach—and new leadership—in the second phase of the Brexit.”
It’s not exactly clear how May’s ousting will affect the back-nine of Brexit but from 4k miles away it’s not even clear if they want to leave the EU at all.
Palantir has been awarded a major government contract with the Army marking the first time a Silicon Valley-based software company will lead a “defense program of record.”
A defense program of record designates a contract with dedicated funding from Congress and is the largest and longest duration government contract awarded by the Pentagon. Simply put, Uncle Sam does not give these contracts to just anyone.
This $800M contract will call for the Peter Thiel founded firm to build an Army Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS-A), an intelligence system that allows users to gather information real-time about enemy movements and terrain in remote environments. In other words, hardware and software which will facilitate the US Army putting a boot in the ass of America’s adversaries.
Palantir and Raytheon were announced as finalists for the contract last March. The two companies then live tested their respective products with soldiers which helped the Pentagon make a decision on the winning design.
As a matter of fact, there is. The US government has historically commissioned custom products for its contracts. That is until 2016, when Palantir successfully argued that its commercially available software would be cheaper and checked all of the government’s boxes.
A court ruling in Palantir’s favor stipulated that the government was legally obligated to consider purchasing commercially available products in addition to made-to-order “things that go boom.” Luckily for Palantir, extensive, complex (and sometimes, controversial) software design work in the private sector has translated to the defense space.
This hefty contract and the publicity that comes with it will surely come in handy as Palantir is set to IPO later this year.
THAT DON’T IMPRESS ME MUCH
– Shania Twain … and Cathy Bessant
Shots fired. Bessant who heads up tech at Bank of America DGAF about Apple and Goldman’s “innovative” new credit card. In fact, between yawns for emphasis, she reminded us that all of the Apple Card’s features, from “the card … all the way through to the mobile and electronic wallet” are already in use by B of A.
Equally as unimpressed is Goldman Sachs. Yes, the same Goldman Sachs that collabed with Apple on the new titanium card. The GS research analyst’s beef? ApplePay. Despite being one of the most well-established digital payment platforms, ApplePay is by no means everywhere. And the fine print indicates that users will only get 2% cash back when they shop at merchants that offer ApplePay. All other purchases will get a paltry 1%. Not exactly enticing.
Despite the pomp and circumstance at Monday’s reveal, the analysts at 200 West are projecting 21M users will spend $1k a month which will generate approximately $882M in revenue annually for Apple. That would account for less than a 1% bump in Apple’s expected earnings. AKA, it ain’t going to move the needle.
But it’s so cool …
Apple has taken a page straight out of Billy McFarland’s playbook, doing its best to make the credit card great again. The physical laser-etched, titanium Apple Card that compliments a customer’s Apple Wallet version doesn’t have any numbers, expiration date or CVV code. But it does boast millennial-friendly features like no annual fees, late-payment fees, over-limit fees, or foreign transaction fees.
And Tim Cook is betting that millennials will eat that sh*t up on the way to proving Goldman wrong.
IN OTHER NEWS
- Slow your roll. Fed officials aren’t quite ready to cut US interest rates, even though market speculation on the move has grown given slowing global growth. A yield-curve inversion shows that investors believe that the Fed is planning to lower rates. For the first time since 2007, yields on 10-year Treasury notes fell below yields on three-month Treasury bills. According to the Fed, this trend would need to last for months in order to make a move.
- Taking out the (white) trash. Facebook is planning to finally put its money where its mouth is and block content related to white nationalism. The firm has been under scrutiny after failing to catch and prevent a live stream of the recent New Zealand mosque massacre. After a review, Zuck and the gang determined that white separatism was too closely linked to hate groups, and will, therefore, be banned. You don’t say.
- Centene has agreed to buy competitor and Medicare provider, WellCare Health Plans, for $15.3B as the race for insurance dominance heats up. Centene is currently the largest provider of Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) marketplace plans.
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