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Breakfast Briefing: Facebook Tanks, Brexit Transition & Apple’s Screens

Facebook Under Fire

Facebook shares dropped 6% over the Cambridge Analytica fiasco.

Editor’s Remarks: Facebook saw $30bn wiped off its market cap as it faced growing questions about its failure to prevent Cambridge Analytica from harvesting its user data. The backlash has seen politicians from the UK, US and the EU round on Facebook over its data-handling policies. British MP Damian Collins has even called on Mark Zuckerberg and Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix to testify. A Massachusetts state attorney general and the UK’s Electoral Commission have both launched investigations into Facebook’s procedures. Multiple sources allege that Cambridge Analytica broke Facebook’s data rules by falsely claiming harvested data was for academic purposes.

Read more on Data:

Brexit Transition Period Agreed

The UK and EU agreed on the terms of a 21-month transition period after Brexit. 

Editor’s Remarks: The agreement means it is likely there will be no “cliff-edge” Brexit next year, which will come as good news for businesses. The two sides reached a detailed agreement on a financial settlement to be paid by the UK and the rights of the four million or so citizens impacted by Brexit. The two sides agreed that in the event that no Irish border solution is reached during the transition period, a “legal backstop” would mean that parts of Northern Ireland would remain in the customs union. Furthermore, EU migrants arriving in the UK during the transition period will have the same rights as those who arrived before the Brexit vote.

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Apple Developing Its Own Screens

Apple is developing its own screens to replace the ones it currently buys from Samsung.

Editor’s Remarks: The screens are being designed and tested in a secret manufacturing plant near Apple’s California base, according to company insiders. The screens, called MicroLED screens, are designed to be slimmer and less energy-consuming than current OLED screens. However, they are also far harder to make, which prompted Apple to nearly scrap the project entirely last year. Although the technology has progressed significantly, it will still be some years until consumers start seeing them in their iPhones. The project is the latest manifestation of Apple’s strategy to produce more components in-house.

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SoftBank Hints at ARM Relisting

SoftBank is considering an IPO of Arm Holdings, the UK chipmaker it bought two years ago.

Editor’s Remarks: Statements made by Yoshimitsu Goto, a senior SoftBank executive, suggest that the tech conglomerate might take Arm Holdings public as a possible exit strategy for investors in its Vision Fund. The Vision Fund is currently taking a 25% position in Arm that it will need to offload within the fund’s 12-year lifetime. Goto stressed that while a listing is on the cards, there are no plans for it to go ahead just yet. The purchase of Arm in the midst of the UK’s Brexit vote was the largest ever takeover of a European tech company.

Read more on SoftBank:

Super Smash Bros Makes Waves

The cult Nintendo game could be the company’s way into the esports industry. 

Editor’s Remarks: Nintendo recently announced it would bring Super Smash Bros on the Nintendo Switch. While the move is certainly a crowdpleaser, it also makes sound business sense. Super Smash Bros, now 19 years-old, is a cult classic that is well-suited to the esports market. Japan has only recently deregulated the esports market by allowing paid competitions to take place, which is somewhat ironic, given that Japan is the home of some of the biggest names in gaming. Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch has proved to be a huge commercial success though it is ultimately riding on the success of previous Nintendo game titles.

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