HMG Tech News Digest – February 14

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Airbus Moves Quickly as Boeing Copes with Ongoing Challenges; Tesla Shares Drop After Announcing New Common Stock Offering

Airbus plans to build more planes as its main rival Boeing continues to deal with problems stemming from the crashes of its 737 Max jetliner.

“Europe’s Airbus is planning to ramp up production of its A320neo single-aisle jet, putting the squeeze on Boeing shortly after its U.S. rival registered its worst annual orders in decades,” writes Sam Meredith of CNBC. Boeing “has been embroiled in a crisis since its best-selling 737 Max airliner was grounded last March, following two deadly crashes. Earlier this week, Boeing reported zero plane orders for new airplanes in the month of January. It also recorded a negative order rate for 2019 for the first time in decades, as customers either canceled or converted orders.”

Meanwhile, Tesla’s announcement that it will launch a new stock offering led its shares to drop. “Tesla shares slid Thursday after the electric auto maker said it plans a $2 billion common stock offering,” writes Michael Sheetz of CNBC. “The announcement came just two weeks after CEO Elon Musk said the company would not take advantage of its surging stock price to raise more capital. Musk himself will buy as much as $10 million of stock in the offering, while Tesla board member Larry Ellison will purchase up to $1 million.”

SoftBank’s $100 Billion Vision Fund Drives Huge Losses

SoftBank’s profits have taken a major hit, due mostly to investments made through its highly publicized Vision Fund.

“SoftBank profits have been almost entirely wiped out, as the company continues to feel the pain from big losses in its massive tech fund. The Japanese tech conglomerate on Wednesday reported operating income of 2.59 billion yen ($23.6 million) for the three months ended in December, a plunge of 99% compared to the same period a year earlier,” writes Sherisse Pham of CNN Business. “SoftBank (SFTBF) founder and CEO Masayoshi Son’s closely watched $100 billion Vision Fund was the biggest driver of those losses. The Vision Fund and a related fund reported an operating loss of 225 billion yen ($2 billion) for the quarter, blaming unrealized losses in WeWork and Uber (UBER) for the hit.”

Researchers Find Mobile Apps Sharing Private Data

Even if you deny them permission, many apps continually share your personal data with third-party users such as advertisers and Facebook, according to an article in CNET.

“More than 1,000 apps have been found to take data even after you’ve denied them permissions. For instance, menstrual tracking apps have shared sensitive info with Facebook, as well as with other companies you might not have expected. Similarly, apps designed to block robocalls have shared your phone data with analytics firms,” writes Alfred Ng of CNET.

The article quotes research by the International Computer Science Institute, which found that numerous apps continued to send personal data from users in ways that go beyond the user agreements.

As technology executives, it’s important for us to remind our colleagues and partners that much of the data collected by their mobile phones is shared widely without their knowledge, opening the door to potential security problems down the road. This is a situation in which awareness, education and training are essential.

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