The daily download on the business of technology.
Good morning. Aaron here filling in for Adam. I’ve been covering T-Mobile for the past few years, beginning just slightly after John Legere came on as CEO in late 2012, with all his outspokenness and his new ideas for shaking up the wireless market. It’s been an awesome story. What’s the old saying? First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you? That’s been the path for T-Mobile as they’ve steadily sucked up almost all of the subscriber growth, revenue growth, and stock market growth in wireless.
Today, they’re at it again, with Legere’s trademark brashness. The carrier is trying to lure more switchers by promising to cover the unpaid balance on a recent Apple iPhone or Google Pixel model of any Verizon customer who defects. Legere’s got over 4 million Twitter followers so of course there’s a hashtag, too: #GetOutoftheRed. Watch it trend today, watch T-Mobile’s subscriber rolls trend for the next few months.
Drop in the bucket. Target agreed to pay another $18.5 million to settle with 47 states and Washington, D.C. over the massive hacking of its customers’ credit and debit card information in 2013. Target has said its legal and other costs due to the breach totaled $202 million.
Snacking on chips. SoftBank Group, the tech and telecom conglomerate run by Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, has secretly bought 4.9% of Nvidia’s stock, worth $4 billion, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. The threshold for publicly disclosing such a stake? 5%.
Better filter. The European Council moved ahead with a plan that would require online sites like YouTube and Facebook to block videos that incite terrorism or promote hate speech.
Tracking the trackers. Ad agency Havas created a system called the Client Trading Solution portal to let clients track spending and performance of digital spots in real time. Meanwhile, Facebook said it was testing a new self-service tool called Audience Direct to help advertisers place videos on publishers’ own web sites.
I’ve heard this before. Republican lawmakers’ distributed talking points to support the repeal of net neutrality rules may sound familiar. Reporters at The Intercept tracked the document’s origin back to a cable lobbyist.
I have a few notes. AT&T is buying Time Warner, owner of HBO, owner of worldwide fantasy hit Game of Thrones. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has some ideas for show runners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, including suggesting that cutting episodes down to 20 minutes might appeal more to mobile phone users.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Digital currencies like Bitcoin aren’t exactly the stuff of mainstream consumer interest. So it was more than a little unusual that Abigail Johnson, CEO of mutual fund giant Fidelity, gave a big speech on Tuesday in New York about her deep interest in bitcoin as a key part of the future of finance.
Bitcoin interest is rising rapidly, at least in a certain circle that encompasses the combined interests of finance and tech. And the recent skyrocketing price of bitcoin is also attracting new users. Johnson, the grand daughter of Fidelity’s founder, said it’s the techy-finance mix that she loves.
“The Internet wasn’t just a more efficient way to send letters—it spawned new industries,” Johnson said. “Blockchain technology isn’t just a more efficient way to settle securities—it will fundamentally change market structures—and maybe even the architecture of the Internet itself.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Apple and Samsung Stumble as Smartphone Market Soars by Don Reisinger
Microsoft Just Built a Special Version of Windows for China by Jonathan Vanian
Intel and Big Banks Put $100 Million in Finance Tech Firm R3 by Robert Hackett
Why AMD Won’t Be Licensing Graphics Chips to Intel by Aaron Pressman
Google’s New Feature Can Match Ad Clicks With In-Store Purchases by Ryan Kilpatrick
BEFORE YOU GO
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos met shareholders on Tuesday at the company’s annual meeting. Bezos was asked to explained why the company has objected to some policies of President Trump, particularly on immigration, but not taken a stance against Trump more broadly. He explained why that wouldn’t be wise: