Business News at a Glance
Posted January 31, 2018 10:15 p.m. EST
Xerox, an Innovator Hit by Digital Revolution, Cedes Control to Fujifilm
When Xerox introduced its popular copying machines in 1959, their wizardry was considered as high tech as the iPhone almost 50 years later. But just as Xerox made carbon paper obsolete, the iPhone, Google Docs and the cloud made Xerox a company of the past. On Wednesday, Xerox said that, after 115 years as an independent business, it would combine operations with Fujifilm Holdings of Japan. The deal signaled the end of a company that was once an American corporate powerhouse and offers a stark reminder that no matter how high a company may fly, it is still vulnerable to the next big breakthrough.
Twitter Followers Vanish Amid Inquiries Into Fake Accounts
More than a million followers have disappeared from the accounts of dozens of prominent Twitter users in recent days as the company faces growing criticism over the proliferation of fake accounts and scrutiny from federal and state inquiries into the shadowy firms that sell fake followers. The people losing followers include an array of entertainers, entrepreneurs, athletes and media figures, many of whom bought Twitter followers or artificial engagement from a company called Devumi. Its business practices were detailed in a New York Times article on Saturday. Twitter said Saturday that it would take action against Devumi’s practices.
Massachusetts Regulators to Investigate Casino Mogul
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission, stunned by allegations that casino mogul Stephen Wynn had engaged in decades of sexual misconduct, vowed Wednesday to conduct an investigation into Wynn, who is in the midst of building a $2.4 billion luxury casino resort outside Boston. The gaming commission has broad authority to exercise a range of options, including levying a fine or even revoking Wynn’s license to operate the casino. The project, called Wynn Boston Harbor, is the largest single-phase development in state history and is scheduled to open next year. Thousands of jobs are associated with the project.
Worries Grow That the Price of Bitcoin Is Being Propped Up
A growing number of virtual currency investors are worried that the prices of bitcoin and other digital tokens have been artificially propped up by a widely used exchange called Bitfinex, which has a checkered history of hacks and opaque business practices. In December, Bitfinex was subpoenaed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a U.S. regulatory agency. The news, confirmed by a source familiar with the subpoena but not allowed to publicly discuss an ongoing investigation, led to a sell-off in most virtual currencies. The people behind Bitfinex issue a virtual currency called Tether. In recent months, however, many investors have been raising alarm bells about Tether.
BBC Managers Face Barrage of Criticism in Gender Pay Dispute
Months of turmoil over gender inequities in pay at the BBC spilled into Parliament on Wednesday, when a former editor blasted managers for operating a “caste” system and lawmakers described the organization as being in crisis. “If we’re not prepared to look at ourselves honestly, how can we be trusted to look at anything else honestly?” the editor, Carrie Gracie, said at a hearing of a parliamentary committee. The BBC has faced a series of challenges over its pay structure, including a grievance filed late last year by scores of journalists and the abrupt resignation of Gracie, the broadcaster’s former China editor, last month over pay disparities.
Facebook Chief Tries to Soothe Wall Street Over Changes to Site’s News Feed
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has embarked on an overhaul of what people see and consume on the social network. The changes have left investors wondering whether people will still spend as much time on the site and whether brands will continue placing as many digital ads there. On Wednesday, Facebook sought to soothe Wall Street’s worries over those questions. No, people will not spend as much time on the site, the company said as it reported quarterly financial results. But don’t worry, Facebook added, because the changes will ultimately benefit its business.
Microsoft Sales Lifted by Cloud Computing
Microsoft has spent years adjusting its business to reflect a shift from traditional software sales to cloud computing services delivered over the internet. It is a bet that continues to pay off for the company — as was evident in its quarterly earnings released Wednesday. The report was blemished by a charge of $13.8 billion related to recent changes in tax law in the United States, which caused Microsoft to report a net loss. But putting aside the tax-related charge, which was widely expected and will probably impact other tech companies, Microsoft’s business showed the kind of growth that has attracted investors in recent years.