September 12, 2023
Google’s search dominance challenged in the biggest antitrust trial in decades
WASHINGTON (AP) — Google will confront a threat to its dominant search engine beginning Tuesday when federal regulators launch an attempt to dismantle its internet empire in the biggest U.S. antitrust trial in a quarter century. Over the next 10 weeks, federal lawyers and state attorneys general will try to prove Google rigged the market in its favor by locking its search engine in as the default choice in a plethora of places and devices.
Apple expected to unveil next generation of iPhones as company tries to reverse a recent sales slump
Apple is expected to take the wraps off its next iPhone on Tuesday during what has become an annual late summer rite aimed at giving more people more reasons to buy the technology trendsetter’s marquee product. The showcase is coming at a time that Apple has seen its sales fall from the previous year for three consecutive quarters, partly because iPhones haven’t been selling as well. The forthcoming iPhone 15 lineup is expected to range from lower-priced basic models to more expensive premium devices. This year’s high-end models are expected to boast a better telephoto camera lens and potentially a $100 to $200 price increase from last year’s versions.
Stock market today: Wall Street slips ahead of new data on inflation and a big week for Big Tech
Wall Street drifted modestly lower ahead of a highly anticipated update on U.S. consumer prices later this week. Futures for the Dow Jones industrials fell 0.2% before the bell Tuesday, while S&P 500 slipped 0.3%. On the corporate front, Oracle shares tumbled more than 10% after the software company’s sales forecast disappointed investors. Atlanta-based WestRock rose 6% before the bell after it announced it would combine with Dublin, Ireland’s Smurfit Kappa Group to create a packaging giant called Smurfit WestRock. Also Tuesday, Google’s antitrust trial opens in federal court and Apple hosts an event showcasing its latest iPhone.
Stellantis reports progress in talks with auto workers and plans to make another offer Monday
DETROIT (AP) — Stellantis is reporting progress in talks with the United Auto Workers union with just three days left before contracts expire with Detroit’s three automakers. Human resources chief Tobin Williams told employees in an email that the union made counteroffer to its economic proposal on Sunday Stellantis plans to respond to that on Monday morning. He also says both sides have reached agreement in a number of areas including health and safety, and that both sides are on a path to reach a deal without a strike. UAW President Shawn Fain on Friday called counter offers from Stellantis, General Motors and Ford inadequate. He warned of strikes against any company without a deal when contracts expire at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. Sunday night he reported progress but said things are moving slowly.
California lawmakers approve the nation’s most sweeping emissions disclosure rules for big business
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers have approved legislation requiring major companies to disclose a sweeping range of greenhouse gas emissions. The bill would make companies making more than $1 billion annually report their direct and indirect emissions. That includes emissions from activities like business travel and waste disposal. The proposed mandate would be the widest in scope of its kind in the country. The federal government is also considering emissions disclosure rules for public companies. Proponents of the California bill say it will offer transparency and encourage companies to evaluate how they can cut emissions. Groups that oppose it worry it will be too burdensome and expensive for companies.
Disney, Charter settle cable dispute hours before ‘Monday Night Football’ season opener
NEW YORK (AP) — Disney and Charter Communications announced a deal to settle a dispute that had cut some 15 million cable TV customers off from ESPN and other Disney-owned stations. The two businesses faced a pressing deadline — the year’s first ‘Monday Night Football’ game, that would have left a lot of angry football fans if they weren’t able to watch the game. It matches the New York Jets against the Buffalo Bills, and many of the affected customers with the Charter-owned Spectrum TV are in the New York area. The companies were seeking to nail an agreement for Spectrum to carry Disney’s stations, made difficult by cord-cutting that has cut into cable’s audience.
Hostess is being acquired by JM Smucker in a deal valued at $5.6B after coming back from the brink
Hostess, the maker of snack classics like Twinkies and HoHos, is being sold to J.M. Smucker in a cash-and-stock deal worth about $5.6 billion. Smucker, which makes everything from coffee to peanut butter and jelly, will pay $34.25 per share in cash and stock, and it will also pick up approximately $900 million in net debt. In addition to Twinkies, Hostess makes CupCakes, DingDongs and Zingers, and also Voortman cookies.
US approves updated COVID vaccines to rev up protection this fall
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. regulators have approved updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, shots aimed at revving up protection this fall and winter. The Food and Drug Administration’s decision Monday is part of a shift to treat fall COVID-19 vaccine updates much like getting a yearly flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must sign off. Its advisers meet Tuesday to recommend how to best use this round of vaccinations. The shots could begin later this week. Both the COVID-19 and flu shot can be given at the same time.
Asahi stops ads with stars represented by a Japanese talent agency tainted by sexual assault
TOKYO (AP) — Several Japanese companies have decided to stop using stars who are represented by Johnny & Associates, an entertainment company at the center of a sexual assault scandal. Beverage maker Asahi Group Holdings will no longer air its ads featuring Junichi Okada, Toma Ikuta and Sho Sakurai. Japan Airlines and major insurer Nippon Life Insurance Co. are following suit. Johnny & Associates remains one of Japan’s most powerful entertainment companies even after an investigation confirmed its late founder sexually assaulted several hundred children and teens. His niece resigned as chief executive last week but still owns the company. Johnny’s operates as both agents and content producers, meaning artists may have limited options to leave.
Spicy food challenges have a long history. Have they become too extreme?
NEW YORK (AP) — A tortilla chip maker’s decision to pull its extremely spicy product sold as a “One Chip Challenge” from store shelves following the death of a Massachusetts teen has renewed attention on the popularity — and risks — of similar dares marketed by brands and spread widely online. Spicy food challenges have been around for years. From local chile pepper eating contests to restaurant walls of fame for those who finished extra hot dishes, people around the world have been daring each other to eat especially fiery foods. But extremely spicy products created and marketed solely for the challenges — and possible internet fame — is a more recent phenomenon, and teens are particularly exposed to them because of social media.