Business News at a Glance
Posted February 9, 2018 10:00 p.m. EST
Uber and Waymo Settle Trade Secrets Suit Over Driverless Cars
Waymo and Uber settled their legal fight Friday, nearly a year after Waymo first accused the ride-hailing company of plotting to steal important self-driving car technology. After testimony in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Uber agreed to provide Waymo, the self-driving car unit under Google’s parent company, Alphabet, with 0.34 percent of its stock. According to Waymo, the settlement’s terms value Uber at $72 billion, meaning the Alphabet unit’s stake is worth about $245 million. The dispute started after Uber acquired Otto, a startup making self-driving trucks that was founded by Anthony Levandowski, an early member of Google’s self-driving car project.
Trump Trade Measures Set Off a Global Legal Pushback
Tariffs imposed by the United States last month are prompting a wave of litigation from other nations, including Canada and China, escalating concerns that the Trump administration’s more aggressive trade stance could worsen international relations and spur retaliatory actions on U.S. goods sent abroad. On Wednesday, three Canadian solar companies filed a lawsuit in a New York court over tariffs on solar cells and panels. That same day, the European Union became the fourth member of the World Trade Organization to request discussions with the United States for compensation for the solar tariffs, following similar requests by China, Taiwan and South Korea.
Fox News Retracts a Top Executive’s Column on Olympic Team Diversity
Fox News on Friday retracted an incendiary op-ed article by one of its top executives after the piece drew criticism for mocking U.S. Olympic officials who had emphasized the diversity of this year’s team of athletes. John Moody, an executive vice president, wrote in a piece published Wednesday: “No sport that we are aware of awards points — or medals — for skin color or sexual orientation.” He added: “Were our Olympians selected because they’re the best at what they do, or because they’re the best publicity for our current obsession with having one each from Column A, B and C?”
Amazon to Test a New Delivery Service for Sellers
Amazon is planning to test a program this year that would replace some delivery services now done by United Parcel Service and FedEx. Under the new service, known inside the company variously as Ship With Amazon and Shipping With Amazon, company couriers would pick up products from businesses that sell goods through the internet retailer and deliver that merchandise to Amazon warehouses. Now, those goods are delivered to the warehouses by UPS, FedEx and other companies. Amazon’s test, which could start in several months, will probably include only a handful of independent Amazon sellers in Los Angeles.
Wall Street Gyrates as Turmoil Rattles Global Markets
Stocks on Wall Street gyrated Friday as volatility continued. After ending Thursday’s session with a steep slide that marked a 10 percent drop from the market’s peak in January, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Dow Jones industrial average started Friday higher, then plummeted, then swung back to a small gain by midafternoon. The cause of one of the most turbulent weeks in recent memory, market participants said, appeared to be widespread expectations that the global economy is improving and that growth would accelerate. That has led to fears that interest rate increases could cheapen the value of certain kinds of investments.
L.L. Bean, Citing Abuse, Tightens Its Generous Policy on Returns
L.L. Bean is no longer interested in replacing the ratty sweatshirts or worn-down boots you bought from the company decades ago. The purveyor of outdoor products, famous for its 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, said a growing number of customers had abused the policy governing exchanges and refunds by treating it as a “lifetime product-replacement program.” Under the new policy, consumers will have a year to make returns and will be required to provide proof of purchase, L.L. Bean said. The company said it would work with customers to provide a “fair solution” if products show defects after the return window has closed.
NBC Executive Takes Over as Head of Amazon Studios
NBC Entertainment executive Jennifer Salke was named the new head of Amazon Studios on Friday, ending a nearly four-month search that began when Roy Price was ousted after a sexual harassment allegation. Amazon had been on the hunt for a new executive since October. In that time, streaming rivals like Netflix, Hulu and Apple have continued to gobble up television projects. Amazon has made the occasional splash at the Golden Globes and the Emmys with shows like “Transparent” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” but it failed to gain the same kind of standing that Netflix and even Hulu have within Hollywood’s creative community.