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Facebook’s Latest Privacy Lapse Exposes 419M Users – Stressful Wednesday Threatens to Derail Privacy Campaigns of Tech Giants



While yet another data leak threatens to derail the Facebook privacy public relations campaign, Google, Microsoft and Twitter are also dealing with their own set of performance issues.

Earlier this year, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) quietly confirmed that millions of unencrypted Instagram passwords had been stored in plain text online so the new out breach really couldn’t have come at a worse time for Facebook. The company confirmed Wednesday its data breach that exposed phone numbers of 419M users. Zack Whittaker revealed that multiple databases across several geographies included 133 million records on U.S.-based users, 18 million from the U.K., and more than 50 million records from Vietnam. TechCrunch reported that the online server where the information was stored was not password protected.

The records were likely amassed using a tool that Facebook disabled in April 2018 in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica controversy when the company announced it was making changes to better protect people’s information. The revelations showed how Facebook’s lax approach to privacy had allowed a political consultancy to obtain personal information from tens of millions of profiles. However, Facebook’s spokesperson insists that data was old and that there is no evidence that Facebook accounts were compromised.” Facebook acknowledged in 2018 that they know they have more work to do, and this massive and quite embarrassing leak only confirms it.

Yet the company has remained strong despite its intensifying competitors, but the impact of these blows remains to be seen. It wasn’t not a good summer for the social media pioneer, also considering the July’s $5 billion penalty it settled with The Federal Trade Commission (FTC). But this company surely had no shortage of controversies since its inception. And strangely, its users and investors weren’t scared off. Even when the scandal first broke in March 2018, its stock quickly recovered and the business model wasn’t adversely affected. Investors simply count on costs of going forward. Even if these privacy issues damage its bottom line considering 98% of Facebook’s revenues come from ads, the company has already shown the strength and perseverance of its brand.

Things aren’t boring at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) either as the company issued also on Wednesday a new warning regarding its new Windows 10 that definitely continues to be a minefield for users. Strangely, the company choose to make the announcement only on Twitter! So, the bug is out but only Twitter users were deemed worthy to be addressed. For a bug which can consume almost half the PC’s CPU and waste a significant portion of battery life, that seems like an odd decision to make. In April, Microsoft promised to up its game but last month users have seen Windows 10 updates run aground and updates break Bluetooth connections. In August, Microsoft also acknowledged new dents and vulnerabilities in every version of Windows 10 and that even two Steam exploits were able to compromise Windows security. It would be a shame for poor customer service to jeopardize the company’s positive trend and expanding net margin. As a reminder, Microsoft’s growth in the Intelligent Cloud business made its stock go up by 231% over the last five years.

Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) on Wednesday also announced that it was temporarily disabling the ability for users to send tweets through SMS, or text messages, due to “vulnerabilities that need to be addressed by mobile carriers” or simply because its CEO’s account was hacked. Hopefully, they’ll resolve these privacy issues soon not to break their more than favorable two-year track as the company’s stock has been silently making gains under the media radar. Moreover, the company surpassed both its Q1 and Q2 earnings estimates in 2019. Its worst times definitely seem behind, all the way in 2016, as Twitter is now thought of by many analysts as undervalued. Privacy issues aside, the current positive trend shows Twitter is just warming up.

Also on Wednesday, Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) reached a settlement with FTC to pay the largest ever penalty of $170 million under the Children’s Online Protection Act to settle accusations that YouTube broke the law when collected user information from kids to fuel its behavioral advertising business. Things have gone south for Google since The Data Protection Commission started investigating its practices in May. There’s also new evidence submitted to Irish regulators, suggesting that the company is using hidden web pages and secretly feeding personal data to advertisers. If true, this would mean that Google is undermining its own policies and circumventing EU privacy regulations that require consent and transparency. In response, Google said Wednesday it doesn’t serve “personalized ads or send bid requests to bidders without user consent.”

Google claims to be investing in systems to detect phishing and hacking attempts so they can identify foreign interference on its platforms and protect candidates’ campaigns from digital attacks. Yet new evidence suggests that Google could be “exploiting personal data without sufficient control or concern over data protection”.

Although we still don’t know if the government is up to the task of regulating these giants, it’s safe to say all of them have a lot to work on as these are the companies who really need to lead by example. The truth is that data gets forgotten about and mistakes can happen – but it seems these giants might be using up their credit.

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Toyota’s News: Redesigned Corolla, New Investments and Partnerships



Toyota Stock Market News

Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE: TM) is managing something other automakers only dream of. The company is honouring its values while achieving sustainable growth for over a decade. The dependable Japanese giant continues to deliver on its promises as it prepares for an electric future.

A new sturdy yet sporty Corolla

On September 17th, the company announced a completely redesigned Corolla that now goes beyond just being a practical buying decision. The newly evolved Corolla has a sporty design, offering pleasurable driving and advanced safety equipment. Being built on Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), Corolla is ready to evolve to meet customers’ needs, according to Yasushi Ueda, chief engineer in charge of development.

Since its debut in 1966, this car is nothing less than adored by consumers all over the world and now, it will have its first hybrid version available to U.S. customers.

Hybrid strategy is actually paying off

Just like Honda Motor Co. (NYSE:HMC) with its 2020 CR-V Hybrid, Toyota is using its hybrid technology to position itself for future growth and transition to an all-electric future, despite the fact these energy saving vehicles do not qualify for government subsidies. But, this strategy is paying off as hybrid demand skyrocketed and the company proudly revealed in February that Lexus reached its 10 millionth vehicle sales milestone since its launch, with its 2018 sales performance achieving several ‘best-ever records’. And it is thanks to these figures that the Chinese government is also starting to see the potential of such vehicles so things can only get even better for Toyota. As the saying goes, persistence is the key to success and these two companies have been quite brave in sticking to HEVs.

New Investment – $391 Million Goes to Texas’ San Antonio Plant

This will be Toyota’s first expansion in nine years at the plant that produces its Tundra and Tacoma pickup trucks. It is the part of the company’s strategy to invest $13 billion in its U.S. operations over the period of five years, ending in 2021.

Future Investment – $243.29 million to Produce New Vehicle in Sao Paulo

Toyota is also about to get an even stronger presence in Brazil as it will hire 300 new employees at the Sorocaba Plant to start the production of a new vehicle.


And let’s not forget the ground-breaking partnership of Japan’s leading automakers that was revealed in August as Toyota and Suzuki Motor Co. (OTC: SZKMF) announced they will collaborate on developing autonomous car technology. This deal is cementing the bond that the two automakers kicked-off in 2016. They might seem like an odd couple as Suzuki is a everything but a big player, yet its strong presence in India is only one of the things that will greatly benefit Toyota. Although Suzuki admitted defeat on the world’s biggest playgrounds, China and the U.S., it cracked the code for emerging markets. And this is exactly where future global sales growth is expected to come from.

Inventing a car that will run forever?

According to Bloomberg, Toyota aims to go far further than electric by teaming up with Sharp Corporation (OTC:SHCAY) and Japanese governmental organization NEDO that encourages the development of innovative technologies. Considering that Toyota is a company that has even used the economic crisis and recession to only come out stronger, it’s not unlikely that it is set to out do the impossible by mixing the most efficient batteries with solar panels. The company’s strong financial performance and track record show that if anyone can do it, it’s Toyota Motor Co.


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Nike Exceeds Wall Street Expectations With Q1 Earnings for FY2020



Direct-to-consumer sales and digital momentum strategies did the trick for Nike

When Nike (NYSE:NKE) released its better-than-expected first quarter of the fiscal 2020 results late Tuesday. Naturally shares jumped more than 5% to reach $91.80. The reported revenue increased 7.2% year comparing to last year, achieving $10.7 billion, greater than the expected $10.44 billion. Net income soared more than 28%, making adjusted earnings per share $0.86, also smashing expectations of $0.70 per share.

Nike managed to achieve a turnaround

The biggest contributor to total sales was Nike’s North American segment that increased 4% comparing to last year. But China sales also continue to grow and by double digit percentages: 22% to be exact, topping $1.68 billion. Overall, these are fantastic news for investors. Especially since the company’s rare earnings miss for the final quarter of the previous fiscal year. The company attributed this to increased marketing costs and a higher tax rate. But highly anticipated new product launches and solid results for continuing lines, along with efforts to draw new customers to the Nike SNKRS app, did their magic.

Digital momentum is key

Digital movement is transforming and amplifying everything Nike does and in Q1, Nike Digital grew 42% on a currency neutral basis. This growth is driven by enhanced digital services and the international expansion of its app ecosystem. Moreover, The Nike app and SNKRS app are now both live in over 20 countries, with more expansion coming throughout the year.

There are literally no weak spots for investors

Arguably, there are no weak spots for prudent investors to dig in as far as this quarter’s report is concerned. The company is literally firing on all cylinders. The company’s management attributes these results to “the depth and balance of the company’s complete offense, building on the strengths of its foundational business drivers and capitalizing on the untapped dimensions of its portfolio”. Management has also dismissed any concerns that US-China trade conflicts could harm its operations, disclosing no impact has been seen up to date.

Nike showed it can even handle the increased tariffs

Earlier this year Nike joined over 200 other footwear companies urging President Trump not to increase tariffs on footwear imported from China, calling the move “catastrophic for our consumers, our companies, and the American economy as a whole.” But while those tariffs are certainly catastrophic for small players, Nike seems more than capable of mitigating the consequences of this added expense.

Poor macroeconomic conditions are only masking Nike’s true power

The company made it clear that its figures would have been even stronger had it not been for macroeconomic challenges which are manifesting through tariffs and foreign-exchange rates. They implied that the weakening economic climate is essentially masking Nike’s true strength. And in addition to children, women are also a big opportunity for the company that Nike will continue exploiting. This is why Nike expects better-than-planned growth in its higher-margin NIKE Direct channels and international segments and consequently, its full-year gross margin. One thing is for sure: Nike has turned itself into so much more than a ‘sneaker-company’.

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Apple Will Be Making Its MacBook Pros in the US



With a newly granted “federal product exclusion,” enabling it to import some Mac Pro parts without paying tariffs, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) will be able to save enough money to make US assembly worthwhile. The company announced on Monday that it will manufacture the new version of its Mac Pro desktop computer in Austin, Texas. It’s also a big political win for Apple, since President Trump has for years called on the company to make more products in the US. Tim Cook clearly made a compelling case during his meetings with President Trump. Apple described the decision to keep Mac Pro production in Austin as part of its “commitment to US economic growth.”

Macroeconomic climate is not favourable

The September figures around the world are simply awful. The uncertainty brought on by intensifying trade wars, the outlook for the car industry and Brexit are paralyzing investors, with September seeing some of the worst performance since the financial crisis in 2009, leading many to worry about whether yet another crisis is upon us. On a brighter note, Apple’s stock went up 0.2% after Bloomberg reported that ten of its 15 requests for an exemption from tariffs on imports from China had been approved.

New investments

Apple previously disclosed plans to spend $350 billion in the U.S. by 2023, a figure that includes new and existing investments. Its Apple TV+ is set to launch on November 1, with stars like Oprah Winfrey bringing her famed book club streaming show to the company’s subscription service. Among documentaries that will be released, there will even be a multi-series about mental health, featuring no other than Prince Harry himself. Apple’s subscription service will cost only $4.99 a month and will be available in 100 countries and regions at launch. Also, customers who buy a new Apple device will also get a free year of Apple TV+.


Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is still the leader when it comes to U.S. streaming, along with Amazon Prime (NASDAQ:AMZN), AT&T’s HBO (NYSE: T) and upcoming Disney+ (NYSE:DIS), it is certain that competition will be intense. Netflix’s stock has been dropping since July, which was the first time the number of subscribers fell. Moreover, Netflix’s stock price has now officially wiped out any gains it’s made over the year so far and both Disney and Apple have a shot at beating Netflix at its own game.

Apple is still facing impending import duties and innovation difficulties

Let’s not forget that the company still faces import duties scheduled for Dec. 15 that could affect nearly all of its major products including iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and Apple Watches. And more importantly, it is thought by many as facing an innovation problem so it heavily relies on customer loyalty that will continue driving its sales. We’ll just have to wait for November 1st launch of Apple TV+ to see the impact of Apple’s new streaming subscription service.

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