Netflix and other streaming content platforms are about to have a very rich and very experienced rival—Apple. The company is ready to spend $1 bn this year on new programing for a new streaming content service, to be launched either through Apple Music or a dedicated platform. The path is the same way Netflix and others (like HBO) have gone down in producing their own content instead of simply streaming that of others. While the total sounds like a lot, it is roughly on par with what Amazon and Netflix spent in their first year of producing their own content.
FINSUM: This is either going to be a big hit, or a big flop, but either way it is going to make waves in the ultra competitive media space.
Many people are currently worried about the potential for artificial intelligence to supplant human beings in the work force. Levels of anxiety on the topic seem to have reached almost a state of paranoia (and we think rightly so). However, the Wall Street Journal is arguing that human workers will survive AI just like they did another major technological innovation—spreadsheets. The piece argues that AI, like other technologies, will create jobs alongside the ones it renders obsolete. A new piece of technology like AI creates many more applications for itself than currently exist, replenishing the need for jobs.
FINSUM: There is a lot of doom and gloom out there, and we understand. AI will inevitably create new jobs, but when considers that businesses are constantly on a quest for higher margins, it makes one wonder where salaries would be headed even when new jobs get created.
President Trump may have just disclosed an important secret about Apple’s operations. Trump told the Wall Street Journal that Tim Cook promised him Apple would open three manufacturing facilities in the US. Trump did not disclose a timeline or what products would be made here, but the comments seem to run against the corporate culture of usually-secretive Apple. Such a move would be a major change for Apple’s well-developed supply chain, which relies heavily on far east manufacturing.
FINSUM: This would be very good news if it came to pass, and the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump said it. We wonder if Apple will respond…
Climate advocates seem to be largely upset with Donald Trump. His policies on things like climate change and the EPA have angered many, but this Bloomberg article points out an ironic fact. Despite Trump’s skepticism of climate change, he has been great for the renewable energy industry, especially solar. Despite pledging to take the US out of the Paris climate agreement as well as tumbling oil and gas prices, solar stocks have seen a big run up. The two key factors in rising prices have been state rule changes and equipment prices. Nevada has recently advanced legislation which should restart the industry in the state (Nevada gets the most sun of any state). Solar panel prices have been rising too as companies stock up ahead of what they fear with be a Trump-led tariff on imported equipment.
FINSUM: So Trump has not been supportive of renewable energy, yet his policies have had the effect of boosting the industry. Interesting unintended consequences. In a sense though, the whole situation is productive, as renewables will never truly flourish unless they are economically subsistent on their own merits without government support.
There is currently a great deal of hype surrounding the self-driving car market. The belief in forthcoming self-driving cars is currently disrupting the auto industry and seeing Silicon Valley become the capital of cars instead of Detroit. However, this Bloomberg article argues that the real future of autonomous vehicles may very well be in forklifts and other industrial equipment. This space is reportedly flying under the radar, but growing quickly, as automated service equipment has a potentially large market and has very good economics for both producers of the equipment and buyers.
FINSUM: The potential here seems massive. Beyond just forklifts and warehousing equipment, imagine all the luggage shuttles at the airports and the myriad other similar systems. Probably not good for workers and unions, but it is a big market.
After years of fighting, and a grand battle over the last 12 months, Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned. He and his company have been embroiled in a fight over sexual harassment claims, misleading regulators, and a generally “toxic” culture that lacks restraint. Kalanick recently lost his mother in a tragic accident and was on indefinite leave. His investors, who have invested the most money ever in a Silicon Valley private startup, reportedly turned against him and put Kalanick under pressure to step down. He has acquiesced to their wishes, resigning his role as CEO, but will remain on the board.
FINSUM: Things at Uber had gotten so out of hand under Kalanick that it is hard to blame the investors for wanting a change. Hopefully this will turn out best for everyone.