Self-Driving Cars Are The One Thing Politicians Can Agree About, Plus Gap Closing Stores
“Things have been going up for too long.” Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein on the markets. Never a good sign.
- U.S. indexes finished higher after the government extended the debt limit deadline.
- Canada raised interest rates to 1% amidst a surging economy.
- Hass avocado prices hit record highs—up 75% since mid-July.
- Oil prices continued to climb as more refineries kick back into gear.
Self-driving cars might be the only thing that can bring together politicians on both sides of the aisle.
In bipartisan fashion, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the first major self-driving car legislation—much earlier than expected—and it should dramatically accelerate the industry’s entry to market.
So what’s in the bill?
Broadly speaking, the House’s new bill gives the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the right to oversee the regulation of self-driving cars instead of passing the baton to individual states, a move that will help avoid uneven and inefficient manufacturing and distribution strategies.
Specifically, the measure allows carmakers to introduce up to 100,000 self-driving cars that don’t comply with the U.S. safety code (900 pages and counting). Sounds incredibly dangerous, but keep in mind, these standards were drawn up in 1967 when humans, and not much else, were the only drivers around. That’s quickly changing, and we’re not prepared to tell a disembodied computer program to strap on a seatbelt.
So what’s NOT in the bill?
Trucks and other commercial vehicles, for one. It’s not a surprising omission, since autonomous trucking is one of the industry’s most sensitive issues. Self-driving trucks and other commercial vehicles threaten well over a million jobs.
Second, cybersecurity. Since a self-driving car is, essentially, a “computer on wheels,” it’s vulnerable to hacks. The Ford F-150 might seem like a rugged, macho vehicle, but it’s got 150 million sensitive lines of code.
All-in-all, chalk it up as a big win. R&D spending on driverless tech is off-the-charts (Intel purchased Mobileye for $15.3 billion), and the biggest players (Honda, Toyota Ford, Daimler, etc.) plan to hit the road by 2020.
This is industry is moving forward…dare we say…on autopilot.
Out With the Old
And in with the Old…Navy. Parent company Gap is closing 200 Gap and Banana Republic-brand stores over the next three years and building out 270 Old Navy and Athleta brick-and-mortar shops. For good reason.
Gap and Banana Republic have been the last pair on the clearance rack, even after the neon pink cowboy boots. Banana Republic accounts for 17% of the company’s sales, but not for long—same-store sales fell 7% just last year.
But Gap’s new “Long-Term, Balanced Growth” strategy looks to change that. Its cheap, family outlet (Old Navy) is expected to generate $10 billion in sales, while its affordable activewear brand (Athleta) should rake in $1 billion over the next two to three years.
All of this goes hand-in-hand with ramped-up online efforts, which have increased sales for all of its flagship brands through cross-brand shopping.
The best part is, the trends might be changing but you’ll still be able to buy the same $5 shirt in six different colors.
Intel’s Appealing Day
Most companies that enter the EU Court of Justice on antitrust charges do so with checkbook in hand. The European Commision has a pristine track record of winning cases over the past 20 years. We’re dead serious…it’s never posted a single L.
Until yesterday. Intel won an appeal in a case that goes all the way back to 2009, when the European Commission fined the chipmaker $1.26 billion(!) for unfairly undercutting industry pricing through rebates and incentives. But it seems regulators hadn’t provided any specific evidence that shenanigans had actually taken place.
So, we’re heading back down to a lower court to get this all sorted out.
Morning Brew isn’t the only company keeping an eye on this. Google and Qualcomm are also tangled up with the trustbusters at the European Commission, and Google in particular faces a $2.7 billion dollar fine for allegedly favoring its own shopping platform in search.
Maybe Intel’s win is just the bowl of Wheaties Google needs to file an appeal of its own.
First Thrones and Now This?!
A group of hackers, dubbed “Dragonfly,” has penetrated U.S. and European energy companies. The group now has access to key energy grids that control electricity distributed to hundreds of millions of people. Practically speaking, this means that the lovely people of Dragonfly could effectively cut off power to homes and businesses…if they chose to.
But hey, we still hope you enjoy your Thursday!
If you remember the Northeast blackout of 2003, you know this is no time to get out the glowsticks and blast some Tiesto. Some 50 million people lost power in the U.S., and economic damages reached $10 billion during the two-day malfunction. Now, Dragonfly—according to security firm Symantec—has the power to do even more damage with the flick of a switch.
But before you raid Target for water and bread, know that the group will likely use its power to steal companies’ information and disrupt large organizations. You know…hacker stuff.
And don’t worry, data show these hackers might only work Monday-Friday from 9-6pm, so at least your weekends are safe.
Morning Brew 2017 Fall Internship Program
Hey students, summer is officially over and that means recruiting season is upon us. Our digital internship program gives you real work experience while developing your professional skills.
We’ve received an amazing amount of applications and added a wrinkle – you now need 30 Brew referrals for us to check out your app.
Rise up to the challenge, apply here.
Giveaway: Everything’s bigger in Texas…
Even the music festivals. We are giving away an all-inclusive getaway to Austin City Limits for two. Think Jay-Z, Chance, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and delicious BBQ all in one weekend.
Take a shot and enter here
We’re not feeling very social
It’s time to get real. Our community is booming—and it’s because of you. Simple as that.
Hundreds of thousands of Brewers open our email every single day, send us witty (and sometimes sassy) responses, and engage with other community members in person.
But there’s one major thing missing: social.
Our team is grinding to match the newsletter content with exciting, memorable business news on social media. All it needs is a little love to get there.
So what do you say?
Show us some love on Facebook. Or hey, maybe even a “like.”
What Else Is Happening…
- The U.S.’ trade deficit with China is at an 11-month high.
- Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer will step down in mid-October.
- Check out the new model of the Nissan Leaf, the best-selling electric vehicle in the world.
- T-Mobile will throw in a free Netflix subscription with new unlimited data plans.
- Earnings: No Events Today
- Economic Events: No Events Today
- Earnings: Dave & Buster’s (+), HPE (+)
- Economic Events: Factory Orders (-)
- Earnings: Yext (+)
- Economic Events: MBA Mortgage Applications (+), International Trade Deficit (+), ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (+/-)
- Earnings: Barnes & Noble, Cloudera
- Economic Calendar: Jobless Claims, Petroleum Status, Fed Balance Sheet
- Earnings: Kroger, PetSmart
- Economic Calendar: Wholesale Trade, Baker-Hughes Rig Count, Consumer Credit
Backburner: There’s no texting in baseball
The Boston Red Sox and NY Yankees rivalry has experienced some iconic moments over the past century: a (one-sided) trade for Babe Ruth, Bucky [bleeping] Dent, Jason Varitek and A-Rod throwing fists…
But this week, the rivalry escalated to a whole new level. We’re talking Apple Watch level.
The *New York Times* reported the MLB is investigating the Red Sox for using an Apple Watch to “steal signs” from the Yankees and other teams. Sign stealing, when the batting team discovers what type of pitch the opposing pitcher will throw, has been around forever.
But technology is throwing a curveball
The Yankees allege that members of the Red Sox video replay team picked up the Yankees’ signs and sent the intel to Apple Watches in the dugout…which was then relayed to batters. Interestingly, there’s no explicit rule prohibiting sign stealing. But electronic devices in the dugout? That’s a no-no.
Baseball is known for being traditional, but it really needs to get with the times if it wants to stay relevant. The wearable tech market is expected to reach $34 billion by 2020. Let’s have fitbits, Apple Watches, and mood rings on every player. That’ll get the kids watching.
Question of the Day
At 11:00 there were 20 students in the computer lab. At 11:03 and every three minutes after that, 3 students entered the lab. If at 11:10 and every ten minutes after that 8 students left the lab, how many students were in the computer lab at 11:44 ?
Who Am I?
- I am the owner of the San Francisco 49ers.
- I have a net worth of $1.9 billion.
- I was the co-chairman of the DeBartolo Corporation.
- I was president of the Pittsburgh Penguins when they won the Stanley Cup in ‘90-’91.
Stat of the Day
That is the starting bid for Martin Shkreli’s Wu Tang Album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin—the only copy ever made. And if you think that’s a tall asking price, remember that Shkreli initially bought the album for $2 million.