Government Shutdown Inches Closer; Qualcomm Vs. Apple; Softbank’s Latest Investment

The Water Coolest

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… is probably what Masayoshi Son is saying after Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi’s wealth funds told the Softbank visionary to pump the brakes on a $16B investment in WeWork. The co-working startup has yet to turn a profit despite two massive funding rounds from Softbank’s Vision Fund.

*Masayoshi Son crinkles up WeWork pitch into a ball, throws it toward the trash … and misses*

In lieu of the WeWork round, Son will fund Fair, a used-card subscription service. So, Enterprise or Hertz? The company buys used cards from dealerships and rents them through, get this, an app. Real visionary stuff. A $385M injection will value the company at more than $1B.

As it stands, the investment is coming from Softbank directly, not the Vision Fund, but the stake may be transferred.

There’s definitely nothing sketchy going on here, right?

Fair recently purchased Uber’s sub-prime auto leasing business. You know, the sub-prime leasing business that crashed and burned like a Tesla with a flat tire. Of course, SoftBank is a major investor of Uber. Fair still provides Uber drivers with vehicles if they don’t have one of their own.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Shouldn’t ‘having a car’ be a prerequisite to being an Uber driver?”



Apple got caught copying Qualcomm’s homework in Germany. The iPhone 7 and 8 will no longer be available in any of Apple’s 15 retail locations in the country following an injunction from a German court which accuses Apple of copyright infringement.

Of course if this pans out anything like China’s injunction, Apple will definitely take the iPhone’s off the shelf. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

Apple said it’s appealing the ruling, but in the meantime, certain model will only be available through third-party retailers and carriers. In order for proceedings to continue, Qualcomm must pony up a $761M security deposit.

This case is just the most recent in an ongoing tiff between the phone and chip maker. Both Apple and the FTC have sued Qualcomm over their business practices, alleging the company is using anti-competitive practices.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Sharing is important on the playground, whether you’re in kindergarten, or a multibillion-dollar chip manufacturer.”



Public health’s arch-nemesis, Altria, is looking to invest billions in the largest disruptor to Big Tobacco space since Nicorette gum launched.

The Marlboro man will take a 35% stake in Juul in exchange $12.8B, which would would value the vape pen maker at $38B, making it the second most valuable privately held company next to Uber. The cash will more than double Juul’s valuation from just a few months ago, showing that the company is growing up about as fast as its target teen market.

This $38B valuation would make Juul more valuable than Airbnb, SpaceX, and three times more valuable than Pinterest. Should the deal close, it would fly in the face of Juul’s mission of helping its customers ween off of cigarettes … but money talks, so f*ck it.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Juul employees received notice that they can no longer vape at work, but Bill from accounting can chew dip at my office. Talk about not fair.”





  • Hide yo kids, hide yo wife. Uber is putting its self driving cars back on the road for the first time since one of its autonomous vehicles killed a woman in March. This time around Uber will test the vehicles in Pittsburgh, because everyone in Pittsburgh is a heartless Neanderthal who will not be phased by death (Uber’s words, not ours).



  • Doesn’t the EU know better than to f*ck with someone that has got nothing to lose? Deutsche Bank along with three other financial institutions have been ordered to prepare defenses against accusations that they colluded to manipulate a multi-trillion dollar government backed bond market. In all likelihood DB’s “defense” will consist of three crumbled Euros and a half eaten Schnitzel in a paper bag.


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