Business

Welcome back to work, everything is broken

Posted January 4, 2021 8:06 p.m. EST

— Editor's Note: A version of this story appeared in CNN Business' Nightcap newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free, here.

Today in business news: Slack goes down, McDonald's is ready for the chicken sandwich wars, and Haven folds. Let's get into it.

SLACK GOES DOWN 

As much of the world came back to their virtual offices — perhaps sipping a green juice, freshly showered after an invigorating workout because this year is THE YEAR we get washboard abs — they were greeted with a basically broken internet.

WHAT HAPPENED

Slack was down all morning and into the afternoon. According to DownDetector, people were also having trouble with Gmail, Zoom and Microsoft Teams. (Thank God we still had Twitter, or else how would we have collectively relished this hilarious prank being played on us by the universe? It was hard to pick a fave tweet, but I think Aaron Rupar of Vox won the day with this one.)

But the Slack outage appeared to be the most disruptive for office workers. The platform was down for hours starting around 10:30 am ET. By 1 pm or so, Slack said some users were able to sign on but may experience "degraded performance." Around 4, the company said "we believe most customers should be able to connect to Slack again." ("Believe," "most," and "should" didn't exactly scream confidence, but OK.)

According to Slack, more than 750,000 companies use the communication tool, including CNN (And tbh it's a miracle we were able to get this newsletter out without it).

Slack and other instant-messaging platforms have only become more vital during the pandemic as millions of people work from home. And just last month, Salesforce announced it was buying Slack for a whopping $27.7 billion — that's a pretty huge deal for a company that's just seven years old. CNN Business' Brian Fung has more.

FIRST DAY JITTERS?

Slack wasn't the only thing down on the first business day of 2021.

Wall Street had started the day in the green, putting stocks on track to start the New Year off with a bang. The Dow and the S&P 500 finished at record highs on the last trading day of 2020.

But stocks quickly turned south. Coca-Cola and Boeing were the worst performers in the Dow after analysts downgraded both companies. And investors fretted over the rise in coronavirus cases in the United States.

The Dow tumbled 1.3% Monday, while the Nasdaq and S&P 500 both ended the day down 1.5%.

It might not be the start to the year we wanted, but CNN Business' Anneken Tappe explains why there's no reason to panic.

FOOD UPDATE #854

Don't worry, Nightcap's relentless coverage of food carries on in the new year, and boy do we have some things to catch up on.

Good news for the keto dieter in your life:

Chipotle is adding cauliflower "rice" — yes, the quotation marks here matter because cauliflower is not rice. But it if you don't think too much about it and just shovel it into your mouth with a bunch of beans and chicken, it's a very low-carb stand-in. And to cauliflower's credit, this is one of the least offensive attempts by the keto community to put vegetables where grains should be. Do not get me started on "zoodles," or as I call them: watery garbage noodles.) 

And even better news for those of us of who understand calories don't count during a pandemic:

Pizza Hut, the inventor of stuffed crust, is testing out a ring of cheese-stuffed dough, sans pizza. You know, a snack. 

McDonald's has three — three! — new chicken sandwiches coming: The Crispy, the Spicy, and the Deluxe. It seems the Great Chicken Sandwich wars of 2019 will rage again in 2021.

HAVEN FOLDS 

Once upon a time, some rich dudes who don't have to worry about health care got together to fix health care in America.

Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and Jamie Dimon formed a joint venture in 2018 called Haven. The mission was to provide better health care and insurance at a lower cost to employees at their companies (Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and JPMorgan). They even hired the renowned surgeon Atul Gawande as CEO. But Gawande soon quit, and other executives followed.

Turns out health care isn't as easy as they thought. As Donald Trump once said, no one knew it was this complicated.

Today, three years after launching, Haven is disbanding. CNN Business' Paul La Monica has more on what happened.

WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON

Bitcoin's rally is really something. A few weeks ago, Wall Street watched in awe as bitcoin smashed through the $20,000 mark. This weekend, it soared above $30,000. And it's got plenty of growing to do, some investors say. Hundreds of employees at Google have formed a union, a rare step for the tech industry. Shareholders overwhelmingly approved the Fiat Chrysler-PSA merger. We regret to inform you that the newly combined company will be called "Stellantis."MGM is attempting to buy the owner of British gambling brand Ladbrokes for $11 billion, the latest casino operator to double down on the surge of online gambling. The latest in CNN Business' Risk Takers series: Last summer, Vanessa Pappas stepped into a role that looked to be one of the most precarious jobs in the tech industry: running TikTok. 

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