Uber Self-Driving Car Kills Pedestrian; Apple Takes Screen Production In-House; Quicken Loans Lawsuit
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Estimated Read Time: 3 minutes and 20 seconds
HOUSECANARY IN A COAL MINE
Antoine Dodson said it best: “They suin’ everybody out here.”
Quicken Loans appears to be headed to court after one of its affiliate companies, Amrock, pulled the old dine-n-dash. Amrock signed a software licensing deal with HouseCanary, a real estate valuation startup, gathered intel on their proprietary analytics tool, and promptly backed out of the deal with the tab unpaid.
Naturally, Amrock tried filing a fraud lawsuit against HouseCanary claiming the software was “completely unusable,” hence the breach of contract.
Unfortunately for them, a jury didn’t see things the same way. And what happened next was something straight out of the final courtroom scene of a Lifetime romcom: HouseCanary, the defendant, was awarded$706M in damages.
But it doesn’t end there. HouseCanary is going after Quicken Loans, suggesting the creator of the billion-dollar NCAA bracket instructed Amrock to set up the fake licensing agreement and share the details of the propriety software.
Interestingly, Amrock started working with Quicken in 2016, right around the time the mortgage lending company mysteriously began hucking their own, eerily similar appraisal tool.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “If it were me allegedly committing high profile corporate espionage, I would probably wait a little more than a year before developing the exact same software. At the very least I’d make sure I couldn’t wind up losing almost $1B. But that’s just me.”
iSCREEN, YOU SCREEN
It’s no secret that Apple has had some trouble with third-party product providers, and relying on their number one competitor to provide screens isn’t exactly making Forbes’ “Top 5 Innovative Business Strategies.”
They are investing a sizable sum into developing the next generation of power-saving MicroLED screens, replacing current OLED technology. Your phone’s battery still won’t last as long as your dad’s flip phone but at least it won’t die during your morning commute.
The news sent a micro shockwave through the display production market during Monday’s trading. Universal Displays was hit the hardest, dropping over 12%.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “I’m sure it’s not Apple’s intention to systematically terminate each and every one of its suppliers. Just like it’s not part of their master plan to steamroll any and all competitors by any means necessary. Right, Blackberry?”
PUMP THE BRAKES
Uber will be putting its self-driving car testing on hold after one of its vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Phoenix. According to reports, there was a driver in the car but no passengers. It’s unclear whether the accident was due to the car malfunction, or an inept driver.
The accident could be more than a minor speed bump for how self-driving cars are tested and regulated going forward. The National Transportation Safety Board has already scrutinized other companies like Tesla and Waymo, not to mention traditional carmakers like Ford and GM, for accidents during street testing.
Many states and cities have their own laws allowing companies to run tests. But malfunctions and injuries can come with a large cost that legislators may not want to bear.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “What the hell was the driver of this car doing? How do you not notice that you are driving into a person? Tell me they weren’t texting.”
IN OTHER NEWS
- A US antitrust trial will begin on Wednesday, seeking to halt AT&T’s proposed takeover of Time Warner. US officials claim that the proposed $85B vertical integration would lead to higher prices for consumers. Let’s see how many times AT&T uses “economies of scale” as a defense.
- Facebook’s stock plummeted 6.7% yesterday after news broke over the weekend that the social media giant had allowed a data analytics company, with ties to the Trump campaign, to gain access to 50M user’s data. This must have been worse than that time Zuck had to deal with Eduardo forcing cannibalism on a chicken.
- President Trump issued an executive order yesterday barring the trade of Venezuelan cryptocurrencies in the US. Venezuela’s “petro token” has been widely criticized as a means for President Nicolas Maduro to fund his oppressive regime. If at the very least applauding the Maduro administration for their fiscal inventiveness is wrong then I don’t want to be right.
- Saudi Aramco, the Saudi state-controlled oil company, is scaling back its plans for a massive IPO, choosing to list only on the Saudi exchange instead of in multiple international markets.
- US indices were down yesterday:
- DOW: -1.35%
- S&P 500: -1.42%
- NASDAQ: -1.84%
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RE: TALK IT OUT
I’ve got some bad news. You’re probably not the engaging conversationalist you think you are. And it gets worse: this podcast definitely isn’t going to help your cause.
But this borderline unlistenable broadcast did have one redeeming quality. It reminded me of the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten about conversations: apply “the Facebook question” liberally. For the MySpace holdouts at home, Facebook’s goto status update prompt is “What’s on your mind?”
This question can be a lifeline for when things get stale on that unnecessary, recurring check-in call or if you just want someone to cut to the chase on dishing about who dipped their pen in the company ink at the holiday party.