Business News at a Glance
Posted June 1, 2018 9:49 p.m. EDT
Google Will Not Renew Pentagon Contract That Upset Employees
Google, hoping to head off a rebellion by employees, will not renew a contract with the Pentagon for artificial intelligence work when a current deal expires next year. Diane Greene, head of the Google Cloud business that won a contract with the Pentagon’s Project Maven, said during a weekly meeting with employees Friday that the company was backing away from its AI work with the military, according to a person familiar with the discussion. Google’s work with the Defense Department on the Maven program, which uses AI to interpret video images and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes, roiled the internet giant’s workforce.
U.S. Tariffs Sow Further Discord in Divided EU
For Europe, the first move was easy. Officials swiftly announced plans to strike back with retaliatory measures against President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum while vowing a legal challenge. The next move is more complicated and uncertain. Though European leaders project unified resolve in confronting what they portray as U.S. bullying that breaches the rules of global trade, they have not proved adept at setting aside national differences in pursuit of common aims. And Europe at the moment appears especially divided and internally conflicted. In addition, European economic growth appears to be slowing, with factory orders down in Germany.
Trump Tweets About Jobs Report Before Its Release, Breaking Protocol
President Donald Trump broke years of presidential protocol Friday morning with a tweet that signaled a strong jobs report was on its way, an hour before the report was released. While the White House brushed off any notion that Trump had crossed a line, legal experts said the tweet raised possible insider trading concerns. The Bureau of Labor Statistics routinely releases its monthly employment report on the first Friday of the month. The night before, the president and several senior administration officials are briefed on the numbers, which they are not supposed to disclose until the report is made public at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time the next day.
Hello, You Must Be Going: Hulu Parts With a Top Executive
Last summer, the executive Joel Stillerman started work at Hulu as its first-ever chief content officer. On Friday, the streaming platform announced that he was out. Hulu had lured Stillerman from AMC, where he had a hand in “The Walking Dead” and “Better Call Saul.” His sudden exit was part of a broader reorganization at Hulu, which has attracted a growing number of subscribers but faces an uncertain future. Even before Stillerman took the job, the position was not exactly seen as one of the hottest jobs in Hollywood. It had taken Hulu several months to fill it, partly because of the company’s unique — some would say tangled — corporate structure.
MSNBC Host Reid Apologizes Again as More Incendiary Blog Posts Surface
Joy Reid, an MSNBC host and a prominent liberal figure who blamed hackers for some of the homophobic blog posts found on her decade-old blog in the past several months, apologized again Friday after more incendiary posts emerged this week. On Wednesday, BuzzFeed News reported that Reid’s old blog had promoted a Sept. 11 conspiracy by suggesting that readers watch “Loose Change,” which posits that the attack was planned by the U.S. government. And Thursday, BuzzFeed News surfaced a post that contained Sen. John McCain’s head Photoshopped onto the body of Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007. Reid, 49, did not blame or mention hackers this time.
Tech Was Supposed to Get Political. It’s Hanging Back in This Election.
Over the last decade, San Francisco has become the tech industry’s hometown. But as voters go to the polls Tuesday to choose a mayor, the industry that set off a high-rise construction boom and has been blamed for a housing crisis in the city is fading into the background. That is quite a contrast to the last open mayoral election, in 2011. Tech leaders were featured in a video for their preferred candidate, Ed Lee, who went on to win and was re-elected in 2015. This year, several candidates are vying to replace Lee, who died in December, but none of them has tried to enlist tech in anything so striking.