zoomZoom Taps Former General to Ramp Up Security

In a bid to augment security, Zoom has recruited a former national security advisor and retired Army general.

Zoom Video Communications Inc. is further bolstering its ranks as the startup deals with security questions around its system, naming President Trump’s former national-security adviser, H.R. McMaster, as an independent director,” writes Aaron Tilley of the Wall Street Journal.

The addition of McMaster will boost Zoom’s public image amid criticism  over imperfect security as the platform expands to meet rising need during the pandemic.

marketsurgeRising Tide Lifts Some Boats, While Others Fall

I recommend reading Ron Insana’s opinion piece about the much-discussed “disconnect” between Wall Street and Main Street. Ron raises some great points that are especially relevant for the technology industry.

“The stock market … currently does reflect what is going on in the economy in real time … there is a distinct difference in the performance of individual stocks and specific sectors,” he writes. “More simply, there are clear winners and losers in the pre- and post-pandemic world.”

The main thrust of Ron’s argument is that parts of the economy are growing stronger while other parts are growing weaker. As he observes, the markets are not “monolithic” and that “a rising tide has not lifted all boats.” The winning companies he cites are mostly providers of “stay at home” services and products such NetflixFacebook, Microsoft, TwitterZoomCisco, WalmartTarget, Costco and Amazon

Ron has written what many of us have been thinking. He offers a good reminder that we’re in the early stages of a long period of uneven transformation that will play out differently across different sectors of the economy.

animal crossing‘Animal Crossing’ Boosts Nintendo Profits

Rising global demand for digital games is driving a strong surge of profits at Nintendo, according to a report in CNN Business.

“Nintendo (NTDOF) said on Thursday that it made 352 billion yen ($3.3 billion) in operating profit for the fiscal year ended in March — a 41% surge from a year ago. Profit in the three months to March more than tripled compared with the previous quarter,” writes Kaori Enjoji of CNN Business. “Sales were driven this spring in large part by the breakout success of ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons,’ a game set on an island utopia. The company sold more than 13 million units of the game in its first six weeks of release. ‘Animal Crossing’ and the hardware it runs on, the Nintendo Switch game console, have been in high demand as people worldwide remain stuck indoors because of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.”

facebook1Facebook Unveils New Oversight Board

In a bid to create a greater sense of transparency, Facebook has assembled a new oversight board, according to a report in Bloomberg News.

Facebook Inc. introduced the initial members of its oversight board, the group that will hear user appeals on content decisions and make binding judgment calls that could go against earlier decisions by the company,” writes of Sarah Frier of Bloomberg. “So far, the board includes 20 academics, lawyers, journalists and human rights advocates. The largest social media company created the panel after criticism of Facebook’s extensive power, which is only growing: It has about 3 billion users now.”

The new board apparently would serve as a counterweight to Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has voting control over the company and its decisions. Frier writes that Zuckerberg “has called the board a check on his power – a way for Facebook to self-regulate, perhaps so governments don’t feel the need to step in.”