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Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger dies at 99
Tuesday, November 28, 2023 4:31 pm
Berkshire Hathaway a few minutes ago was advised by members of Charlie Munger’s family that he peacefully died this morning at a California hospital.
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said in a statement: “Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation.”
The family will handle all affairs pursuant to Charlie’s instructions, the company added.
Munger was 99, and would have turned 100 on Jan. 1. He died peacefully, Berkshire said. No cause was given.
Munger had been a Berkshire vice chairman since 1978, working closely with Buffett on allocating the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate’s capital, and being quick to tell him when he was making a mistake.
The death of Munger is unlikely to have a major impact on Berkshire’s operations.
Two other vice chairmen, Greg Abel and Ajit Jain, have day-to-day oversight of Berkshire’s dozens of operating businesses. Abel is expected to become chief executive once Buffett is no longer in charge.
MacDailyNews Take: R.I.P., Mr. Munger.
Berkshire Hathaway’s Charlie Munger: Apple is one of the strongest companies in the world
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Warren Buffett forcefully defends Berkshire Hathaway’s Apple investment
Monday, February 24, 2020
Warren Buffett hints Berkshire Hathaway’s Apple stake could get even bigger
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
US, UK, and 16 other countries ink non-binding agreement to make AI ‘secure by design’
Monday, November 27, 2023 6:13 pm 4 Comments
The United States, the United Kingdom, and more than a dozen other countries on Sunday unveiled what a senior U.S. official described as the first detailed international agreement on how to keep artificial intelligence safe from rogue actors, pushing for companies to create AI systems that are “secure by design.”
In a 20-page document unveiled Sunday, the 18 countries agreed that companies designing and using AI need to develop and deploy it in a way that keeps customers and the wider public safe from misuse.
The agreement is non-binding and carries mostly general recommendations such as monitoring AI systems for abuse, protecting data from tampering and vetting software suppliers.
The agreement is the latest in a series of initiatives – few of which carry teeth – by governments around the world to shape the development of AI, whose weight is increasingly being felt in industry and society at large.
In addition to the United States and Britain, the 18 countries that signed on to the new guidelines include Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Australia, Chile, Israel, Nigeria, and Singapore.
MacDailyNews Take: Non-binding means just more valueless, waste-of-time, waste of taxpayers’ money BS.
So, how many tons of carbon were spewed via private jets around the world and how many expense reports were filed to the tune of how many taxpayers’ dollars in order to arrive at this worthless 20-squares of toilet paper?
This “document” is yet another “doing something” (i.e., nothing) scam that converts hardworking taxpayers’ money into trips, golf, gourmet meals, etc. and which could have been composed just as well via a Webex meeting or 300, given that government officials are involved. This meaningless tripe will do nothing whatsoever to “shape the development of AI.” Governments will be decades behind the tech as they always are. We’ll all be kowtowing to our robot overlords by the time “government” figures it out.
In closing, to all involved, great job*!
*wasting yet more money that you don’t have on yet more insipid twaddle
Apple wants to kill Apple Card, Apple Savings partnership with Goldman Sachs
Wednesday, November 29, 2023 8:58 am
Apple is looking to pull the plug on its Apple Card / Apple Savings partnership with Goldman Sachs, ending the Wall Street bank’s bid to expand into consumer lending.
AnnaMaria Andriotis for The Wall Street Journal:
The tech giant recently sent a proposal to Goldman to exit from the contract in the next roughly 12 to 15 months, according to people briefed on the matter. The exit would cover their entire consumer partnership, including the credit card the companies launched in 2019 and the savings account rolled out this year.
It couldn’t be learned whether Apple has already lined up a new issuer for the card… Goldman has discussed with American Express the possibility of handing over the program to the card giant. Amex expressed concern about several aspects of the program, including its loss rates, and it isn’t clear if those discussions have continued. Synchrony Financial has also been looking into the possibility of taking over the credit-card program, some of the people said…
The move would mark a swift about-face for a program that just over a year ago was extended through 2029 and was intended to serve as a pillar of Goldman’s main-street ambitions.
For Goldman, the partnership was a big part of its failed bid to diversify beyond businesses serving big corporate and investor clients and the ultrarich, and its demise is the final big step back from the failed experiment. Goldman is now turning back to focusing on those core clients.
MacDailyNews Take: Doesn’t inspire us to consider Goldman’ Marcus savings accounts, that’s for sure. Apple will be just fine with a new, less skittish, more seasoned, and more reliable banking partner.
Wedbush Reiterates Outperform Rating for Apple (AAPL)
By: MarketBeat | November 25, 2023
• Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s stock had its "outperform" rating reissued by stock analysts at Wedbush in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday, Benzinga reports. They currently have a $240.00 price target on the iPhone maker's stock. Wedbush's price objective suggests a potential upside of 26.64% from the stock's previous close...
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Apple assembler Foxconn to invest $1.6 billion in Indian expansion
Monday, November 27, 2023 9:04 am
Foxconn Technology Group, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, a partner of Apple Inc, intends to double its investment and workforce in India. The company will invest $1.6 billion in building new plants in India and hire up to 10,000 workers for its new facilities.
The move is part of a broader trend of manufacturing relocating from China amid escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing. Hon Hai is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer and its decision to expand in India is a major vote of confidence in the country’s economy.
India has been working to attract foreign investment in its manufacturing sector and Hon Hai’s move is a significant boost for those efforts. The company’s new plants are expected to produce a range of electronic products, including smartphones, laptops, and servers.
The investment is expected to generate a substantial economic impact in India, creating thousands of new jobs and boosting the country’s electronics manufacturing sector. Hon Hai’s decision to expand in India is a positive development for both the company and the country.
Jane Lanhee Lee for Bloomberg News:
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. plans to expand its footprint in India with another NT$50 billion ($1.6 billion) investment for construction projects.
The announcement, made in an exchange filing in Taiwan late Monday, didn’t give any further details, saying only that the investment was for “operational needs.” A spokesperson for the company declined to say where the new facilities would be or what they would build.
MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in March 2023, “The CCP’s lunacy is India’s gain.”
Apple iPhone and iPad assembler Foxconn said to plan Pennsylvania investment
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Apple assembler Foxconn buys huge site in India tech hub
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Apple assembler Foxconn considering building large screen display manufacturing plant in U.S.A.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Apple employees who leave are most likely to join Google
Friday, November 24, 2023 1:03 pm
To find which tech giants attract the most talent from competitors, Switch on Business explored employee profiles on Linkedin for a selection of tech companies.
First, Switch on Business searched how many employees currently worked in these companies: Google (Alphabet), Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, IBM, Tesla, Oracle, Netflix, Nvidia, Salesforce, Adobe, Intel and Uber. Then, for each pair of companies, it searched for employees who currently work in each tech giant and previously worked for each other company from the seed list.
Switch on Business then calculated the count and % of current employees at each tech giant who previously worked at other tech giants.
Georgia McKenzie for Switch on Business:
Some 26.51% of Meta employees have worked at another tech giant — the highest proportion of any tech giant workforce.
However, Google has attracted the most talent by volume: 38,316 (24.15%) of their current staff came via other tech giants.
IBM headhunts the least, with just 2.28% of the current workforce having previously worked for another tech giant.
Apple’s biggest hunting ground is Intel, a company with which they formerly had a close relationship. Until recently, Apple used Intel chips in its desktop and laptop computers, but the company has long had the intention of developing its own chips — and the company now believes it has edged ahead in designing and manufacturing computer parts. Apple also bought Intel’s modem division, which came with 2,000 former Intel employees and further strengthened the case for other Intel veterans hoping for a shot at an Apple job. Apple has its fair share of ex-Google employees, not least due to hiring Google Maps developers for its own map applications.
$AAPL - Probably made a short term high this week. I expect a pullback in the next 2 weeks that may retrace up to 50% of the rally out of the October low(179.30). Once the pullback is over it's headed higher into the next weekly high that is due in the 1st or 2nd week of January
By: CyclesFan | November 26, 2023
• $AAPL - Probably made a short term high this week. I expect a pullback in the next 2 weeks that may retrace up to 50% of the rally out of the October low(179.30). Once the pullback is over it's headed higher into the next weekly high that is due in the 1st or 2nd week of January.
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Apple $AAPL The 8/21 EMA cloud has acted as strong support on Apple since the October lows - Until now. Are the tides turning?
By: TrendSpider | November 24, 2023
• $AAPL The 8/21 EMA cloud has acted as strong support on Apple since the October lows - Until now.
Are the tides turning?
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Apple's (AAPL) Free Cash Flow Margins Have Dropped - Has AAPL Stock Peaked?
By: Barchart | November 24, 2023
Apple (AAPL) produced free cash flow (FCF) margins that peaked last fiscal year at over 28%. In its most recent FY ending Sept. 2023, they dropped to just 26%. And in the latest fiscal quarter, FCF margins fell to 21%.
Does this mean that Apple's performance has peaked? Could that lead to a peak in AAPL stock or flat performance over the next year? If so, what is the best way to play the stock going forward?
This article will discuss some alternatives.
FCF Margins May Have Peaked For The Near Term
Analysts and investors should be aware that the company's internal cash generation seems to have come down from its peaks.
For example, for the year ending Sept. 2023, Apple produced almost $100 billion in FCF. I showed this in my last article on AAPL stock in Barchart on Nov. 5, “Apple Could Still Be Worth More Due to Its Strong Free Cash Flow.”
That represented 26.1% of its total revenue of $383.3 billion. But last fiscal year, Apple made more FCF and its FCF margins were higher. For example, it generated $111.4 billion in free cash flow (i.e., 11% more than in 2023).
Moreover, based on its 2022 FY revenue of $394.3 billion, Apple's prior FY FCF margins were 28.3%. In other words, not only did FCF fall 11%, but its margins dipped from 28.3% to 26.1%, a drop of 7.77%.
That's not good. The only bright spot was that its services division margins increased over that period.
However, in the latest quarter, the company's total FCF margins dipped to just 21.7% (i.e., $19.4 b FCF/$89.5 sales). If that lower FCF margin persists through this coming fiscal year, investors might see a dip in AAPL stock.
Best Case Scenario
Let's not go there just yet. For example, the company's Q4 is typically very weak, especially compared to the current quarter. So, let's assume that the average 26% FCF margin lasts throughout FY 2024.
Here's how that puts Apple's financial outlook. First, of all, analysts project revenue this year will reach just under $400 billion, according to Seeking Alpha.
So, if we apply a 26% FCF margin to this estimate, FCF could reach $104 billion. This is about 4% higher than the $100 billion FCF generated by Apple in 2023.
It also implies that assuming the stock's 30x FCF multiple stays the same, AAPL stock might rise only about 4%. In other words, the target price could be only about $197 (up 4% from today's price of $189.43 per share).
And that is a best-case scenario. Let's not worry too much about a worst-case scenario. Instead, let's figure out a way to play a flat stock price over the next year.
Short Near-Term OTM Calls And Puts
Given that Apple has such a small dividend yield (about 0.50%), existing shareholders should look for ways to enhance their income. One play is to repeatedly sell short out-of-the-money (OTM) puts and calls in near-term expiration periods.
For example, look at the expiration period ending Dec. 22, which is 28 days from today. The $200 strike price puts trade for 45 cents on the bid side. That represents a covered call yield of 0.238% for just one month until expiration.
That is over half of the annual 0.50% dividend yield. If this is repeated every month, the annualized expected return is 2.86%. That is a more normal income yield than the dividend yield.
AAPL call options - expiring Dec. 22 - Barchart - As of Nov. 24, 2023
Note that this strike price is 5.43% over the present spot price. So, if AAPL rises to $200 or higher the investor can also make a potential capital gain. However, their shares would be sold (i.e., 100 shares per call contract) at $200, incurring a potential realized gain.
Another way to play this is to sell short OTM puts. This does not involve any forced selling of shares. In fact, the opposite occurs. The idea is to sell a put strike price that is well below the present price. Even if AAPL stock falls to the strike price the investor just has to purchase more shares.
For example, for the same expiration period, the $175 strike price puts, which are over 7.75% below today's price, trade for 38 cents. That represents an immediate yield of 0.217% (i.e., $0.38/$175) for the investor.
AAPL Puts - Dec. 22, 2023 - Barchart - As of Nov. 24, 2023
Note that I divided the income by the strike price, not the spot price. This is because the investor must secure $175 x 100, or $17,500 in cash or margin with the brokerage firm.
That is not equal to the spot price. In other words, this is a cheaper way to play the short-income strategy compared to covered calls. This shows that shorting puts have almost the same income yield but have a bit less risk. In this case, the strike price is further out-of-the-money than the covered call play.
The bottom line is that assuming AAPL stock stalls over the next year, one way for existing shareholders to play the stock is to short OTM puts and calls.
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Apple explores ways to block view of shoulder surfers
Tuesday, November 21, 2023 5:37 pm
“Shoulder surfers” – people peering that your device’s display over your shoulder unbidden – are a real problem that leads to hacking, stolen information, and even identity theft. Privacy champion Apple is exploring way to prevent it.
Sarah Bregel for Fast Company:
Apple has improved screens in just about every imaginable way already. However, most of those fixes make our scenes easier to view—not harder. Now, the company might be working on a solution that will leave shoulder surfers struggling for a solid view.
[T]wo new patents acquired by Apple aim to solve the problem. The first, called “Privacy films for curved displays,” proposes putting a covering on the screen, which only allows light to emanate in one direction. Therefore, only the person right in front of the screen can view it clearly. The other patent, for flat screens, is called “Displays with adjustable angles of view.” It proposes altering the viewing angle of the display while in use, which would act as a filter, letting the user be in control of how polarized the screen is. The patent also describes the use of a liquid crystal element that only allows certain colors to be seen when not viewing the screen head-on.
While we might not always be aware of it, shoulder surfing is rampant. In a 2016 NYU study, 73% of survey respondents shared that they had seen someone’s confidential PIN without that person realizing it.
MacDailyNews Take: Such technology would be a boon to city dwellers, travelers, bar patrons, etc.
The Babylon Bee lampoons Apple CEO Tim Cook for pulling ads from X ‘while shaking hands with brutal Chinese dictator’
Wednesday, November 22, 2023 9:56 am 7 Comments
The Babylon Bee, famous for publishing satirical articles on a wide variety of topics with 20 million monthly page views, has trained its sites on Apple CEO Tim Cook in an article headlined “‘We Cannot Be Associated With Elon Musk,’ Says Tim Cook While Shaking Hands With Brutal Chinese Dictator.”
The Babylon Bee:
Amid charges that Elon Musk’s social media app “X” has become a dangerous breeding ground for speech Communists don’t like, Apple CEO Tim Cook has elected to pull all Apple advertising from the platform.
“I refuse to allow my morally pristine corporation to be associated with disreputable characters like Elon Musk,” said Cook while shaking the hand of murderous communist dictator Xi Jinping at this week’s APEC Dinner…
Sources confirmed Cook had a lengthy discussion with the cruel tyrant who runs the slave state of Communist China, including how they can produce more iPhones with the same number of Uyghur slaves without too many of them dying. “At Apple, we are willing to make the hard, yet moral choices,” he said…
Mother Nature, the vengeful pagan god presiding over Apple’s climate change mitigation efforts, applauded the move. “I want fewer people on the planet,” she said. “And Elon Musk wants more people on the planet. He must be eliminated.”
Sources confirmed Cook has moved his advertising dollars over to Facebook, which is currently the preferred platform for organizing “Kill the Jews” rallies around the world…
MacDailyNews Take: Ouch (and we omitted the Epstein Island stuff).
This satirical article is painful, but predictable, as Cook put himself in this hypocritical position which he could have avoided simply by waiting a second instead of knee-jerkingly pulling advertising from X over a manufactured “controversy.” But, we already know that Cook would very much like to control what people are allowed to read, hear, and see, so perhaps he was just looking for any excuse to yank Apple’s ads from X.
True power is restraint. If words control you, that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass. – Warren Buffett
X owner Elon Musk addressed the situation on November 18th, just hours after Apple pulled its advertising from the social media site:
Their board, their donors, their network of dark money, all of them …— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 18, 2023
Senior Vice President of Apple Katherine Adams sold her entire stake in Apple $AAPL on Friday totaling over $23.3 million.
By: TrendSpider | November 21, 2023
• Senior Vice President of Apple Katherine Adams sold her entire stake in the company on Friday totaling over $23.3 million.
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Elon Musk’s X CEO Yaccarino: Apple has only ‘temporarily paused’ ads due to ‘misleading and manipulated article’
Monday, November 20, 2023 12:52 pm
X CEO Linda Yaccarino sent a note to employees Sunday evening, saying a Media Matters hit-piece on ads appearing near antisemitic content on the social media platform is “misleading” and that the company is in the midst of battling “deceptive attacks.”
The statement comes after Media Matters claimed the platform was placing ads for major companies such as Apple and others “next to content that touts Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party.” In knee-jerk reaction, many advertisers, including Apple, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Lionsgate quickly paused ads on the social media platform. Yaccarino says this advertising pause is only “temporary.”
Caitlin Huston for The Hollywood Reporter:
“While some advertisers may have temporarily paused investments because of a misleading and manipulated article, the data will tell the real story. Because for all of us who work at X, we’ve been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination, as there’s no place for it anywhere in the world,” Yaccarino wrote in the memo to all X employees, under the headline “Our Work is Meaningful.”
Additionally, [X owner Elon] Musk drew criticism for writing a post on Wednesday that many are calling out as being antisemitic. Musk said “you have said the actual truth” in response to another user on X, who said, “I’m deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest shit now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities that support flooding their country don’t exactly like them too much.”
MacDailyNews Note: Yaccarino’s full memo:
Across every corner of this company, we’re working to create a platform for everyone. And there is no other platform that’s working as hard to protect free speech like X. Our work is critical, but it’s not always easy. What we’re doing matters, which means it naturally invites criticism from those who do not share our beliefs.
While some advertisers may have temporarily paused investments because of a misleading and manipulated article, the data will tell the real story. Because for all of us who work at X, we’ve been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination, as there’s no place for it anywhere in the world.
I want to encourage you to read and listen to all the feedback. On one side, there’s a vocal minority trying to use deceptive attacks to undermine our work. But on the other side, there are vocal supporters and courageous partners who believe in X and the meaningful work you are all doing. Hold on to that and keep pushing forward. No critic will ever deter us from our mission to protect free speech.
Let’s keep putting our values to work and lean on one another. I am extremely proud to be on the front line with you all — and I’ll see you all at the office tomorrow morning.
Prior to the memo, Twitter owner Elon Musk addressed the situation:
Over the last 20 years, Apple $AAPL has its lowest mean return in December, yielding -0.41% on average
By: TrendSpider | November 17, 2023
• Should you sell into this Apple rip? $AAPL
Over the last 20 years, Apple has its lowest mean return in December, yielding -0.41% on average.
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Apple $AAPL Look @ CMF study money floing is as it consolidates... 8D catching up. Wouldn't be suprised if new ATH before end of the year here
By: Options Mike | November 19, 2023
• $AAPL Look @ CMF study money floing is as it consolidates... 8D catching up. Wouldn't be suprised if new ATH before end of the year here.
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Apple $AAPL is dangerously close to its first weekly MACD cross to the upside since January!
By: TrendSpider | November 17, 2023
• $AAPL Apple is dangerously close to its first weekly MACD cross to the upside since January!
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Apple files legal case contesting EU’s Digital Markets Act
Friday, November 17, 2023 11:07 am
According to a post shared by the Court of Justice of the European Union on X, Apple has filed a legal case contesting decisions taken by the European Commission under its recently-introduced Digital Markets Act.
Martin Coulter for Reuters:
While details of Apple’s legal challenge have not been made public, Bloomberg News reported last week the company would challenge the inclusion of its App Store on the list of gatekeepers.
Meta and TikTok had already filed appeals disputing the Commission’s decision to include their services.
In its appeal, Meta said it disagreed with the Commission’s decision to designate its Messenger and Marketplace services under the DMA. It did not challenge the inclusion of Facebook, Whatsapp, or Instagram.
Meanwhile, TikTok said its designation risked entrenching the power of dominant tech companies.
MacDailyNews Note: Here’s the case info via the EU Court of Justice:
EU Court of Justice
(Cases T-1079/23 & T-1080/23), #Bytedance (#TikTok) (T-1077/23) and #Meta (T-1078/23) have filed cases contesting decisions taken by the
under the #DigitalMarketsAct #DMA #Competition.
APPLE LAUNCHES TAP TO PAY ON THE IPHONE IN FRANCE
Dennis Sellers November 14, 2023
Apple has announced that companies based in France can now accept in-person and contactless payments via Tap to Pay on the iPhone.
This new feature will allow millions of merchants, whether small businesses or large distributors, to smoothly and securely accept payments from contactless bank cards, Apple Pay and other digital wallets using only their iPhone and a partner’s iOS app with no additional hardware or payment terminal is required, says Jennifer Bailey, Apple Vice President of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet.
The Tap to Pay service on iPhone is available to payment platforms and app developers in France, who can integrate it with their iOS apps and offer it as a payment acceptance option to their business customers. The BPCE Group (Banques Populaires, Caisses d’Epargne and Payplug) and the companies Adyen, myPOS, Revolut, SumUp, Viva Wallet and Worldline now offer Tap to Pay on iPhone to their French professional clientele, and they will soon be joined by BNP Paribas, Crédit Coopératif, Market Pay, Stancer and Stripe.
As of today, Tap to Pay on iPhone is available in all Apple Stores in France, and is being deployed in many points of sale, including those of Christian Dior Couture, belonging to the LVMH group, Dyson, Rituals and Sézane. The Addition has integrated Tap to Pay on iPhone into its cashing system used by thousands of restaurants in France. Sephora, which is also part of the LVMH group, will deploy Tap to Pay on iPhone in the coming weeks in its stores in France.
With Tap to Pay on iPhone, merchants can enable contactless payment acceptance through a supported iOS app on an iPhone XS (or later) running the latest version of iOS. When paying, the merchant will simply invite the customer to approach his contactless credit card, iPhone or Apple Watch to his own iPhone in order to pay with Apple Pay or another digital wallet.
Payment will be made securely using NFC2 technology. No additional equipment is required to accept contactless payments via Tap to Pay on iPhone, which allows companies based in France to use this service wherever they operate. Apple Pay is already accepted by more than 98% of French distributors and, thanks to this new feature, virtually all companies, regardless of their size, will be able to use Tap to Pay on iPhone at the time of collection.
Apple CEO Tim Cook attends $40,000-per-plate dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco
Thursday, November 16, 2023 9:57 am
Apple CEO Tim Cook and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink are among those who attended an $40,000-per-plate dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday in San Francisco.
Blackstone Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Schwarzman and Visa Inc. CEO Ryan McInerney [joined] them at the soiree in San Francisco, according to people briefed on the matter. Pfizer Inc. CEO Albert Bourla earlier confirmed he would attend the event, as he spoke on the sidelines of a summit that’s part of this week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meetings.
Technology CEOs including Qualcomm Inc.’s Cristiano Amon and Broadcom Inc.’s Hock Tan [were] also on the guest list, said the people, who asked not to be identified sharing details of a private event.
Xi [had] the chance to talk up China’s economy to some of the world’s most-powerful foreign investors at the event, after a post-pandemic reopening expected to spur global growth failed to deliver.
“The Chinese economy is clearly weakening. There’s no question,” said Derek Scissors, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “But if you need to stay in China, and you’re worried about your position because of Chinese government behavior, it’s even more important to be able to talk to Xi.”
Representative Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican who chairs the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, claimed at an anti-CCP rally on Saturday that attendees were paying $40,000 to sit at Xi’s table. The Chinese leader is also [delivered] an address to the dinner.
MacDailyNews Take: Money makes the world go ’round.
Apple’s Cook, Facebook’s Zuckerberg meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing
Monday, October 30, 2017
Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook today
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Tim Cook meets with Chinese President as Obama threatens import restrictions
Thursday, September 24, 2015
U.S. lawmakers question Apple over cancellation of Jon Stewart flop
Wednesday, November 15, 2023 11:23 am
U.S. lawmakers, citing concerns that content related to China was behind the cancellation, asked Apple to explain the abrupt end of political comedian Jon Stewart’s television show on its streaming service, according to a letter made public on Wednesday.
Patricia Zengerle and Michael Martina for Reuters:
The New York Times reported last month that Stewart’s show on Apple’s streaming service was ending, the result of creative differences. The newspaper said Stewart told members of his staff that potential show topics related to China and artificial intelligence were causing concern to Apple executives.
“While companies have the right to determine what content is appropriate for their streaming service, the coercive tactics of a foreign power should not be directly or indirectly influencing these determinations,” the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House of Representatives’ Select Committee on Competition with the Chinese Communist Party said in the letter to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook.
The letter asked representatives of Apple for a briefing on its concerns by Dec. 15, 2023. And said it also exected to speak with representatives of Stewart.
“To reassure the creative community in light of these reports, we also respectfully request that Apple publicly commit that content that could be perceived as critical of the CCP or the PRC is welcome on Apple TV+ and other Apple services,” said the letter, signed by the panel’s Republican chairperson, Representative Michael Gallagher, and Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, the panel’s ranking Democrat.
MacDailyNews Take: The thing was cancelled because not enough people watched it. “The Problem with Jon Stewart” has been a flop since it debuted and, even after attempting to rework it and an extra season gifted by Apple, it still couldn’t be saved – likely because Jon Stewart passed his sell-by date a decade ago.
And, by the way, Apple can cancel any series it wants to cancel whenever it so wishes, even if they do it to appease the Chinese Communist Party.
See also: ‘The Problem with Jon Stewart’ on Apple TV+ is that it’s a flop – April 18, 2022
Apple challenges Maryland’s digital advertising tax
Wednesday, November 15, 2023 5:04 pm
Apple is challenging Maryland’s tax on digital advertising in a state tax court after previous legal challenges brought by other companies failed.
Pamela Wood for The Baltimore Banner:
The tax applies to companies based on the amount of money they make on ads that are shown to Marylanders…
Apple was the first to file an appeal to the Maryland Tax Court, and a hearing is set for Friday. But several other companies have followed with their own appeals in recent days: Google, Amazon Advertising, A9.com (a subsidiary of Amazon), Meta Platforms (parent company of Facebook and Instagram), Yahoo, Twitch, Snap, Microsoft Online, ABC, Peacock TV, IMDB.com, Grubhub and Catalina Marketing.
The tax, Apple argued in court filings, “singles out advertising services delivered over the Internet for taxation while advertising services delivered through other means are expressly excluded from taxation altogether.”
The tax is only paid by companies making at least $100 million per year globally from digital ads… The tax is also inappropriate, according to Apple, because the tax rate is determined largely by how much digital advertising business a company does outside of the state.
Apple argues that the digital ad tax violates multiple federal laws as well as state and federal constitutional protections regarding commerce and due process.
Apple is seeking to have the tax struck down and to be refunded for what it’s paid so far in taxes.
MacDailyNews Take: This unconstitutional tax should ultimately be ruled as such and the state of Maryland should then be forced to refund all taxes collected via this digital advertising state tax.
Apple TV looks to ink $854 million deal to stream French Ligue 1 football
Friday, November 10, 2023 5:15 pm
Apple is looking to pick up the streaming rights for Ligue 1, the French equivalent of the Premier League, which currently plays host to some of the biggest names in the game including French captain Killian Mbappe and his compatriot Ousmane Dembélé.
Oliver Haslam for iMore:
The deal said to be worth €800m (around $854 million), would bring French football to the Apple TV app starting in 2024, and is expected to run through to 2029.
RMC Sport was the first to report news of talks between Apple and the LFP, the outfit in charge of handing out the contracts needed to show Ligue 1 games. Details about the actual deal are hard to come by at the moment, but it’s increasingly clear that Apple sees a future in streaming live sports from around the world…
[I]t’s fair to say that Ligue 1 isn’t the biggest league in Europe despite the presence of Mbappe. Paris Saint Germain stands out as the star-studded team, but the depth of the league beyond the capital city is lacking. To make a real dent in the world of live sports Apple would surely need to get that Premier League deal over the line. Spain’s LaLiga would be another big get for Apple, as would Germany’s Bundesliga. Add those to Ligue 1 and Apple will have quite the collection.
MacDailyNews Take: Hit series and blockbuster movies come and go, but live sports is the eternal differentiator.
Perhaps Cook should consider bidding for and winning NFL Sunday Ticket away from Direct TV, buying rights to Premiere League and La Liga games, etc. and making them Apple TV exclusives. Go directly to the sports leagues with boatlods of cash. Maybe that’ll grease the wheels [with reticent content providers]. It’ll certainly move a bunch of Apple TV boxes around the world in short order. – MacDailyNews, May 6, 2014
Beloved interns, Tap The Keg™! Prost, everyone!