Welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here’s what we’re following for the week of June 22, 2020.
Make sure to check back as we update these stories.
Apple on remote. Apple’s big tech conference, the Worldwide Developers Conference, starts today. It will be held virtually for the first time since the event was first hosted more than 30 years ago. Apple typically uses its WWDC to showcase new software and technology, such as iPhones, iWatches, and Ipads, and to create buzz around new product launches that typically happen in the fall.
- The takeaway. The challenge in the zoom era is keeping audience attention. Microsoft held it’s Build tech conference in May, 2020 and nearly 200,000 attended the two-day event. The WWDC comes as Apple is being investigated by the Department of Justice for potential antitrust issues related to its app stores, and fees it charges software developers. Consumers spent an estimated $100 billion in app stores in 2019, and nearly half of those transactions were reportedly with Apple.
Hurt for Hertz. Ailing auto rental company Hertz ended its bid to sell nearly $1 billion worth of shares to some investors eager for the ailing rental company’s stock. The company, which filed for bankruptcy in late May, 2020 had inexplicably seen its shares increase by nearly 900% in early June, which some industry experts say is an unrealistic increase given Hertz’s dire financial problems. Regulators from the Securities and Exchange Commission have also questioned the reasoning behind its proposed stock sale.
- The takeaway: In bankruptcy, companies are given a chance to reorganize their finances, and seek alternative avenues of financing. Typically, bankrupt companies must pay back debts, and there’s a hierarchy, with shareholders at the bottom, for who gets paid back. Hertz’s stock was trading for less than $1 at the beginning of June, and has since been driven up by speculators, according to reports.
Corporate reckoning. Companies from Pepsi to Conagra and Mars are rebranding familiar food products that had previously used racist imagery to sell their products. These include Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth, Uncle Ben’s, and Cream of Wheat.
- The takeaway: The changes come in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed while in the custody of police in May. Floyd’s death has sparked massive protests throughout the U.S. about the use of police violence against people of color, as well as the wealth gap, and other forms of institutionalized racial inequality.
Find out what we covered in last week’s Scan.