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Archive for 29. April 2017

Tech’s Titans Go From Big to Bigger

Posted by hkarner - 29. April 2017

Date: 28-04-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Scale of Amazon, Microsoft and Google hard to combat as tech industry shifts to new markets

Today’s high-tech giants may not be monopolies in the most classic sense. But their outsize prominence is hard to deny, as demonstrated during the tech-earnings-palooza Thursday afternoon.

The day’s closing bell saw quarterly reports from Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp. and Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google. Their combined revenue for the period—about $97.4 billion—comprises about 4% of the cumulative revenue projected for companies in the S&P 500, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Yet, the combined market capitalization of the four companies makes up about 8% of the Index’s total. Throwing in Apple Inc. AAPL 0.08% and Facebook Inc. FB 0.78% —both of which report results next week—puts about 13% of the S&P 500’s combined market cap into the hands of just six companies. And note that two of those companies—Microsoft and Intel—were written off by some as being past their prime, given that both still rely on sales of personal computers for a substantial portion of their business. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Has France Really Rejected Populism?

Posted by hkarner - 29. April 2017

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Far-Right Leaders Loathe the European Parliament, but Love Its Paychecks

Posted by hkarner - 29. April 2017

Date: 28-04-2017
Source: The New York Times

STRASBOURG, France — Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader trying to become president of France, already has a day job as a lawmaker in the European Parliament, a position she regards with open contempt. She misses votes, mocks the process and cheers for the demise of the European Union.

Even so, Ms. Le Pen is willing to accept a salary of 101,808 euros (about $110,000), a generous per diem and an annual staff and office budget in excess of €340,000. In February, the Parliament halved her compensation after fraud investigators concluded that she had wrongly diverted money to pay for National Front party activities in France.

The scandal, which has not fazed Ms. Le Pen’s supporters in France, is another example of how Europe’s right-wing parties happily provoke populist fury by attacking the European Union — yet also happily pocket government salaries and other benefits. For some far-right politicians, a perch in the European Parliament can mean a lucrative sinecure, easy news media exposure and immunity from criminal prosecution at home. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Some in the EU are increasingly eager to leave Poland behind.

Posted by hkarner - 29. April 2017

Date: 27-04-2017
Source: The Economist
Subject: Europhiles happy about France should worry about Poland

In Europe’s illiberal east, populist nationalism is alive and well

IT IS crucial to keep Siemiatycze pretty, says Piotr Siniakowicz, the mayor, himself resplendent in bright-blue suit and silk pocket-square. The border with Belarus is a hop and a skip away, so this small town in eastern Poland may mark visitors’ first encounter with the European Union. Siemiatycze brims with well-maintained nursery schools and a gleaming sports centre, thanks to EU funds lavished on the region since Poland joined in 2004. Remittances from thousands of émigrés in Belgium have poured into handsome houses, and businesses depend on those who return for holidays: Siemiatycze, beams Mr Siniakowicz, boasts 50 hair salons. Not bad for a town of 15,000.

Yet despite all this, the nationalist-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party took 38% of the vote here in 2015. A similar score nationwide won it a majority in parliament. Since then, PiS has set about dismantling Poland’s institutional checks and balances, alarming Polish liberals and startling the rest of the EU.

So amid Europe’s relief at Emmanuel Macron’s win in the first round of France’s presidential election on April 23rd, spare a thought for places like Siemiatycze. The unashamedly pro-European Mr Macron will almost certainly defeat Marine Le Pen in their May 7th run-off. But though the threat of populist nationalism may be receding in France, further east it is a daily reality. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Technology firms and the office of the future

Posted by hkarner - 29. April 2017

Date: 27-04-2017
Source: The Economist

Sofas and surveillance

Their eccentric buildings offer clues about how people will work

FROM the 62nd floor of Salesforce Tower, 920 feet above the ground, San Francisco’s monuments look piddling. The Bay Bridge, Coit Tower and Palace of Fine Arts are dwarfed by the steel-and-glass headquarters that will house the software company when it is completed later this year. Subtle it is not. Salesforce plans to put on a light show every night; its new building will be visible from up to 30 miles away.

It is not the only technology company erecting a shrine to itself. Apple’s employees have just begun moving into their new headquarters in Cupertino, some 70 kilometres away, which was conceived by the firm’s late founder, Steve Jobs. The four-storey, circular building looks like the dial of an iPod (or a doughnut) and is the same size as the Pentagon. At a price tag of around $5bn, it will be the most expensive corporate headquarters ever constructed. Apple applied all its product perfectionism to it: the guidelines for the wood used inside it reportedly ran to 30 pages. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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