What’s up? (February 13-19)
Google privacy changes
Google announced on wednesday that it planned to change its Android smartphone software to limit the sharing of data between apps and with third parties. Another major smartphone software supplier, Apple, announced the new measures last year. But the two companies took different approaches. Apple allows customers to choose whether or not to block tracking, which has had a significant impact on companies that rely on customer data to target ads. Meta said this month that the changes will worth 10 billion dollars in advertising revenue this year. Google, unlike Apple, which makes most of its money from selling digital ads instead of devices, has promised that its changes will not be disruptive. It plans to support its existing technologies for at least another two years to give advertisers a chance to prepare.
Americans continue to shop
Despite shortages of some products and a series of workers complaining of illness because of Omicron, Americans continue shopping last month. Retail sales in January rose 3.8% from a month earlier, according to data released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday. It was a rebound from the sharp drop in December, when spending down 2.5%. New numbers do not take into account prices increase rapidly, and there are some data issues to consider (e.g. gift cards received in December are typically spent in January), but economists say the recovery is still a good sign for economy. In another sign of flexible consumer spending, Walmart said on Thursday that it beat earnings expectations last quarter, though as the nation’s largest grocery chain, it’s particularly sensitive to inflation and wage growth. Macy’s, Home Depot and Lowe’s report earnings next week.
China’s version of the Olympics
The Winter Olympics, which end on Sunday, look brighter on social media than when they met in person. China used bots, fake accounts, genuine influential people and other tools to step up the narrative of the Olympics (a laudable success) and downplay other aspects (like the call to boycott the game on human rights violations in the country). Some of these efforts have been geared towards foreign viewers. Inside China, the state has more power in governance. For example, the men’s hockey game between the United States and China, which the US team won 8-0, was not shown on the main sports channel of state television. The brown, snow-free mountains were mutilated from view in the state media. And the appearance of Peng ShuaiThe professional tennis player disappeared after she accused a senior Communist Party leader of sexually assaulting her, not to mention.
What’s next? (February 20-26)
The energetic impact of an invasion
President Biden said on Thursday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is still a “very high” possibility. And that’s not good news for the energy market. An invasion is possible increase in oil and natural gas pricesprolonged high inflation and affect global financial markets. Countries that depend on Russia for energy may be particularly vulnerable to the economic impact. In 2021, 38% of natural gas is used by the European Union from Russia, according to the research organization Bruegel. If natural gas flows are disrupted, businesses may be forced to close and household utility bills, already higher than usual, may continue to rise.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/20/business/the-week-in-business-a-step-toward-data-privacy.html The Week in Business: A Step towards Data Security