I am not a crook. The researcher at the center of the Facebook data scandal, psychologist Aleksandr Kogan, tells BuzzFeed that he violated Facebook’s developer policy when he transferred personal data about a reported 87 million people to Cambridge Analytica. But there’s one conspiracy theory he wants to shoot down: “I am not a Russian spy,” he says.
The finest steel has to go through the hottest fire. Another day, another new satellite startup. EarthNow plans to use satellites to provide a continuous real-time video feed of the planet. The company said it raised an undisclosed amount of capital from private investors, including Bill Gates, Airbus (which is supplying satellites), and Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group.
Capitalism works better than it sounds. Dell Technologies spin-off Pivotal Software went public of Friday, selling 37 million shares at $15. The first day of trading was relatively modest and the shares finished up 5% at $15.73. CEO Rob Mee told Fortune that the company can’t just ask Michael Dell for more capital when it wants to expand. “Michael Dell is extraordinarily frugal,” he said. “It’s not a mistake he’s one of the richest people in the world.” Perhaps the same is true of Chinese billionaire Pony Ma, CEO of Internet giant Tencent. The company is planning a public offering of its streaming music subsidiary that could value the sub at $25 billion.
Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain. Speaking of streaming music, the market has bolstered the overall music industry. Global music revenue totaled $17.4 billion in 2017, up 9% from the year before and close to 2008’s past peak of $17.7 billion, research firm Midia says. The gain was completely from a 39% jump in streaming subscription service revenue. Sales of digital and physical media fell 10%.
Well, I screwed it up real good, didn’t I. The federal government’s E-rate program to subsidize Internet connections for rural schools has slowed to a crawl under the Trump administration, Wired reports. Schools currently have to wait a record 240 days to get aid and 60 projects have been denied unfairly since 2017, nonprofit group EducationSuperHighway tells the magazine.
I made my mistakes. Analysts have soured on Apple’s iPhone X lately. Sales of the most expensive iPhone helped save Apple in the fourth quarter (its fiscal first quarter) by boosting average selling prices, but could be a drag in the most recent quarter, analysts believe. “The price point above $1,000 has been a greater deterrent for broad market appeal than anticipated,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Mike Walkley wrote last week. Apple shares lost 4% on Friday.
Defeat doesn’t finish a man, quit does. After years of failing to create a compelling messaging app–sorry, Allo–Google is now trying to convince wireless carriers to enable a replacement service for texting, or SMS, to work with its newest effort, simply called Chat. The underlying standard carriers must adopt is called Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services, or RCS. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for this one to catch on. Meanwhile, Google CEO Sundar Pichai wins a payday of almost $400 million on Wednesday, when restricted shares of stock he was granted in 2014 finally vest, Bloomberg reports. Google’s stock price has risen 90% since the shares were awarded versus a 39% gain in the S&P 500 Index.
(Headline quote explainer for those who don’t remember our 37th president.)
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