Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson sacked over Huawei leak

Compelling evidence

Downing Street said the PM had “lost confidence in his ability to serve” and Penny Mordaunt will take on the role. The inquiry followed reports over a plan to allow Huawei limited access to help build the UK’s new 5G network. Mr Williamson, who has been defence secretary since 2017, “strenuously” denies leaking the information.

In a meeting with Mr Williamson on Wednesday evening, Theresa May told him she had information that provided “compelling evidence” that he was responsible for the unauthorised disclosure.In a letter confirming his dismissal, she said: “No other, credible version of events to explain this leak has been identified.”

http://www.bbc.com

Huawei set to win smartphone sales race

Samsung leadership at stake

Huawei is on track to outstrip Samsung to become the world’s biggest-selling smartphone brand by the end of this year. The Chinese tech behemoth said last week that it would tap into its bourgeoning consumer business to sustain growth.

Huawei’s snappy smartphones and laptops, which offer distinct value for money, have poached discerning buyers from Apple and Samsung, helping the Chinese company remain confident despite the US-led blanket ban on its business-to-business telecommunications gear, which has seen revenues from wireless and base station equipment go flat.

http://www.asiatimes.com

Asian shares fall as China manufacturing data disappoints

Slower Chinese factory growth

Shares in Asia fell on Tuesday as readings on China’s manufacturing activity failed to meet expectations, underscoring weakness in the world’s second-largest economy despite Beijing’s attempts to spur growth.

Both official and private business surveys pointed to slower Chinese factory growth this month, dashing hopes for a steady reading or even a faster expansion. Data also showed a slower expansion in its services sector, adding to economic uncertainty.

The dollar-denominated MSCI index of Chinese shares dropped 0.8 percent. But Chinese blue chips in Shanghai and Shenzhen kept losses in check, losing less than 0.1 percent as investors maintained hopes for further measures to prop up the economy.

The weak manufacturing numbers suggest “stimulus is there to stay,” said Frances Cheung, head of macro strategy for Asia at Westpac. Upbeat data for March had prompted some analysts to scale back expectations of additional support measures.

http://www.reuters.com

US economy grows by 3.2% in the first quarter

Exports rose 3.7% in the first quarter, while imports decreased by 3.7%

The U.S. economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the first quarter and posted its best growth to start a year in four years.

First-quarter gross domestic product expanded by 3.2%, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Friday in its initial read of the economy for that period. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected growth of 2.5%. It was the first time since 2015 that first-quarter GDP topped 3%.

http://www.cnbc.com

Amazon’s warehouse-worker tracking system can automatically fire people without a human supervisor’s involvement

Amazon has fired more than 300 workers, citing productivity, at a single facility in Baltimore in a single year 

Amazon’s demanding culture of worker productivity has been revealed in multiple investigations. But a new report indicates that the company doesn’t just track worker productivity at its warehouses — it also has a system that can automatically fire them.

Amazon has fired more than 300 workers, citing productivity, at a single facility in Baltimore in a single year (August 2017 through September 2018), The Verge’s Colin Lecher reported. The Verge cited a letter by an Amazon attorney as part of a case with the National Labor Relations Board.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider, “Approximately 300 employees turned over in Baltimore related to productivity in this timeframe. In general, the number of employee terminations have decreased over the last two years at this facility as well as across North America.”

Amazon’s system tracks a metric called “time off task,” meaning how much time workers pause or take breaks, The Verge reported. It has been previously reported that some workers feel so pressured that they don’t take bathroom breaks.

http://www.businessinsider.com

Microsoft (briefly) becomes the world’s third trillion-dollar company

Apple and Amazon are the only companies to have previously cracked the trillion-dollar milestone

Microsoft is (once again) the world’s most valuable tech company after its market value climbed past the $US1,000,000,000,000 mark — for about half an hour.

Apple and Amazon are the only companies to have previously cracked the trillion-dollar milestone, before their shares plummeted, along with global markets in late-2018.

The excitement that drove up Microsoft’s share price was generated by its quarterly earnings, released on Wednesday evening (local time), which smashed market expectations.

http://www.abc.net.au/

Twitter shares jump

Twitter to fight against abuse

Shares in Twitter Inc jumped 13 percent on Tuesday after the social media company reported quarterly revenue above analyst estimates, which executives said was the result of weeding out spam and abusive posts and targeting ads better.

New ad formats, partnerships with content providers like the U.S. National Basketball Association and efforts to patrol abusive content are helping Twitter better compete for advertising dollars, executives said.

Social media companies have been under pressure over privacy concerns and political influence activity. Twitter has removed thousands of spam and suspicious accounts, which it blamed for sequential declines in monthly users in recent quarters.

http://www.reuters.com/

Tesla will roll out 1 million robot-taxis next year

Tesla to compete with Uber

On Monday, CEO Elon Musk revealed the company’s plans to compete with incumbents like Uber with the company’s strategy for an autonomous ride-hailing fleet. Robo-taxis are essentially any Tesla vehicle with autonomous-driving functionality. To turn a Tesla into a robo-taxi, a car’s owner simply adds it to the Tesla Network platform by way of the company’s app.
Musk said that by “next year for sure, we will have over 1 million robo-taxis on the road.” Riders will be able to summon a robo-taxi via the same Tesla app – similarly to how they call for an Uber or Lyft today. The key difference, of course, is that there won’t be a driver in the car.
http://www.msn.com/

Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population

Astonishingly unequal

Half of England is owned by less than 1% of its population, according to new data shared with the Guardian that seeks to penetrate the secrecy that has traditionally surrounded land ownership.

The findings, described as “astonishingly unequal”, suggest that about 25,000 landowners – typically members of the aristocracy and corporations – have control of half of the country.

http://www.theguardian.com/

Uber’s self-driving unit valued at $7.25 billion

Softbank, Toyota and Denso will invest $1 billion

Uber’s autonomous vehicle unit has raised $1 billion from a consortium of investors including SoftBank Group Corp, giving the company a much-needed funding boost for its pricey self-driving ambitions on the eve of its public stock offering.

Uber Technologies Inc said on Thursday that the investment values its Advanced Technologies Group, which works to develop autonomous driving technology, at $7.25 billion. SoftBank will invest $333 million from its $100 billion Vision Fund, while Toyota Motor Corp and automotive parts supplier Denso Corp will invest a combined $667 million.

Toyota will also contribute up to an additional $300 million over the next three years to help cover the costs of building commercial self-driving vehicles, Uber said.

http://www.reuters.com/

Zoom Video Communications in its public market debut

The video-conferencing provider  valued at  $9,2 billion

Profitable video-conferencing provider Zoom Video Communications Inc.  is valued at more than $9 billion in its public market debut Thursday, more than nine times the amount it fetched in a private funding round just two years ago.

Zoom raised $751 million in an initial public offering Wednesday, selling 20.9 million shares Wednesday for $36 each, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

http://www.bloomberg.com/

Intel Gives Up on 5G

Failed Quest to Break Into Mobile Market

Intel Corp., whose products dominate the world of computing, said it’s going to wind down a multibillion-dollar, multidecade effort to grab a viable stake of the mobile phone industry. After its one significant customer, Apple Inc., said it will return to using Qualcomm Inc. chips, Intel announced Tuesday it will exit the 5G smartphone business and complete an assessment of the opportunities for existing chips and fifth-generation modems in personal computers.

“The company will continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, but does not expect to launch 5G modem products in the smartphone space, including those originally planned for launches in 2020,” the Santa Clara, California-based company said in a statement.

http://www.bloomberg.com/

Small enterprises (SMEs) are turning to non-bank financing sources

SMEs account for 60% of total value added

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are turning to non-bank financing sources at a faster pace than in the past, as bank lending to them has risen less than expected given today’s favourable credit conditions and business environment.

‘Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2019: An OECD Scoreboard‘ finds that online peer-to-peer lending and equity crowdfunding increased significantly in 2017, especially in countries with small markets. China, the United Kingdom and the United States continued to have the biggest online alternative finance markets for businesses. Venture capital investments were up in most countries, and the number of SME listings expanded by more than 13% in 2017, with total SME market capitalisation up 16.7%.

SMEs and entrepreneurs constitute the backbone of OECD economies, accounting for 60% of total employment and 50-60% of value added. They are key to strengthening productivity, delivering inclusive growth and helping economies adapt to changes like the digital transition, ageing populations and the changing future of work. This eighth annual edition of the OECD’s SME financing Scoreboard provides data on debt, equity, asset-based finance and financing conditions in 46 countries and an overview of policy measures to ease SMEs’ access to finance.

http://www.oecd.org/

Russia manipulates GPS signals

Protecting Putin from rogue drones

Russia has been manipulating global satellite positioning (GPS) locations on a vast scale in order to protect Vladimir Putin from drones, according to a report. The Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), a Washington-based research organisation, undertook a year-long investigation ending in November 2018 into the manipulation of GPS and other global navigation satellite systems (GNSS).

Their report, which drew upon publicly available satellite data, found that the tactic was used in Russia, the Ukraine and Syria, with some incidents of spoofing, correlating closely with the movements of Putin. The reason for this, the report speculates, was to prevent unauthorised civilian drone activity within the vicinity of the Russian president.

https://www.independant.co.uk/

Uber warns it may never make a profit

IPO filing indicates how far Uber remains from turning a profit

Technologies Inc has 91 million users, but growth is slowing and it may never make a profit, the ride-hailing company said on Thursday in its IPO filing.The document gave the first comprehensive financial picture of the decade-old company which was started after its founders struggled to get a cab on a snowy night and has changed the way much of the world travels.TheUber S-1 filing underscores Uber’s rapid growth in the last three years but also how a string of public scandals and increased competition from rivals have weighed on its plans to attract and retain riders.

The disclosure also highlighted how far Uber remains from turning a profit, with the company cautioning it expects operating expenses to “increase significantly in the foreseeable future” and it “may not achieve profitability.”

https://www.reuters.com/