Apple’s CEO on cybersecurity and Google’s new toy — 5 things to know today
Hello friends and Fortune readers.
Wall Street is off to a good start Friday. U.S. futures are gaining, and European markets are also up on good German growth data. Germany’s economy grew 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2014, much higher than forecast. And reports say Greece is working to reach an agreement with its eurozone partners on a new bailout program.
Here’s what else you need to know about today.
1. Tim Cook talks cybersecurity with President Obama.
The Apple (AAPL) CEO takes the stage today at Stanford University as part of the White House cybersecurity summit, which will bring together top tech executives, academics and government officials to discuss how federal officials and the private sector can better work together to keep digital assets safe. The president is expected to reveal his next executive action on the topic at the summit. Intelligence officials found that cyberattacks overshadowed terrorism last year as the top threat to U.S. national security. Interestingly, reports say other top tech execs — including Facebook’s (FB) Mark Zuckerberg, Yahoo’s (YHOO) Marissa Mayer and Google’s (GOOG) Larry Page — will not attend.
2. Mattel and Google reveal a new joint project.
The two companies host an event today in advance of the North American International Toy Fair in New York City to reveal a new toy. The event announcement, which features an image reminiscent of an old-school View-Master, invites guests “to view what’s possible” when it announces its latest collaborative product. Speculation has been brewing as to what this new toy could be, and some expect a mash-up of Mattel’s (MAT) View-Master with Google’s Cardboard, a kind of DIY virtual-reality device that connects to a smartphone. Mattel could certainly use a new hit toy as sales of its prized Barbie continue to decline.
3. Xiaomi is coming to America.
China’s largest smartphone maker will launch a line of headphones, smart wristbands and other accessories in the U.S. in coming months. It’s the company’s first careful step onto Apple’s home turf. Xiaomi, which started only five years ago, is now China’s fastest-selling mobile brand and has been rapidly growing internationally through direct, online sales. The U.S. is the world’s biggest mobile market in terms of dollar sales but is heavily dominated by Apple and big-name carriers that offer a phone subsidy structure. That setup is keeping Xiaomi from bringing its phones and tablets to American shores, for now at least.
4. Eurozone growth picks up — thanks to Germany.
The Eurozone’s economy grew by a surprising 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2014. The strong gain is a credit to the euro’s depreciation, low oil prices and anticipation of the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program. There’s increasing optimism that the region may finally put the financial crisis behind it, pending it can sort out its Greek drama without issue. The best performances came from Germany and Spain, which both grew 0.7% from the prior quarter.
5. The Fifty Shades of Grey MBA.
The movie — based on a series of books by E.L. James that have sold more than 100 million copies — hits the big screen today and is expected to bring in over $60 million over the Valentine’s Day weekend. While reviews have been pretty dismal, there are some excellent business lessons to be found. Turns out businessman Christian Grey, whose company buys underperforming companies and whips them into shape, can teach you some valuable lessons from his success in the boardroom and the bedroom.