How was your first week of 2019, have you managed to stick to all of your new years' resolutions so far? I'm still coming up with my resolutions for 2019, I'm a bit late I know. As we begin to fully get into the swing of 2019 here is the 18 biggest business events of 2018 that you may have missed.
The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin - 5th Jan
Ending 2017 at a staggering value of around £14,000 bitcoin started the year off awfully dropping to a value of around £10,000, but this wasn't the end of bitcoins troubles as just 2 months later the value plummeted again to £6,000. Bitcoin has been struggling throughout 2018 to maintain that value as it has been continually dropping, ending 2018 with a value of around £3000. With China officially banning Cryptocurrency it seems that going in 2019 the Cryptocurrency bubble has burst and may struggle massively to recover, completely the opposite of how it went into 2018 as a dominant force.
Elon Musk launches his Tesla into space - Feb 6th 2018
Elon musk starts the year off in a massive way, launching his very own Tesla Roadster into space during the Falcon Heavy test flight. Since both Space X and Tesla are companies founded by Elon Musk this was a great way to boost publicity for both companies since this event got massive coverage from the mainstream media.
Waymo v Uber ends, Uber stole self-driving tech - Feb 9th
Whether you are terrified or excited at the prospect of self-driving cars, Waymo is a company based around developing a lot of the self-driving technology and was originally a Google project before becoming independent in December 2016. They asked Uber for a $1 billion settlement over claims of stolen self-driving tech back in 2017, which Uber rejected. Finally reaching a settlement where Waymo gets 0.34% of Ubers equity and no cash, with the company valued at $72 Billion this is a value of $245 Million or £193 Million a fraction compared to the original $1 Billion request. This does come with downsides as having equity for Uber means that Waymo has a direct incentive to ensure Uber is successful as it will make their equity worth more.
Tesla Model 3 production failure - Late Feb/March
Just after having a great start to the year, Elon musk got into some hot water by failing to meet the production deadlines set by himself for the Tesla Model 3 at 2500 produced per week at the end of the first quarter. Only hitting 2020 in the final week he later also missing the 5000 produced per week goal causing Elon to be sleeping on a sofa above the factory floor to deal with the production issues.
Facebook Cambridge Analytica Scandal - 17th March
Likely one of the most well-known events of the whole year and seeing how Facebook has 2.27 Billion monthly active users it’s not surprising. This was caused by the discovery that Cambridge Analytica was able to harvest millions of Facebook users personal data all the way back in 2015 and use it for political motives to influence both Brexit and the 2016 US Election. After having the story break in 2018 over $100 Billion was taken off Facebook's share price and Mark Zuckerberg agreed to testify in front of the United States Congress to explain how Facebook let this happen.
Uber self-driving car Kills pedestrian - 18th March
A video came out showing the first death of a pedestrian caused by a self-driving car after it hit a 49-year-old woman who was walking her bike across the street. While there was a driver in the vehicle who was there to take control if anything went wrong they seemed surprised the car did not stop. As of now no charges have been filed but there is an ongoing investigation. Uber has placed their self-driving cars back on the road 9 months later after ‘extensive testing’ which could be very unsettling for many.
GDPR - 25th May
Net Neutrality Repealed - 11th June
The vote was held and passed after being pushed by large companies such as AT&T and Verizon to remove Net Neutrality. This means that any company that provides internet don’t have to treat all internet traffic equally, so they can slow down access to certain websites or speed others up and possibly charge for the privilege. So Apple could pay BT more to give faster speeds to their website while slowing down speeds to Samsung’s website and it would be completely legal. The prospect of this is extremely scary and could result in a much more restricted internet.
AT&T Bought TimeWarner for $85 Billion - 12th June
If you are not American you may not have heard of these companies but TimeWarner owns Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Warner Brothers, CNN which is a massive news network and HBO which is known for Game of Thrones and Westworld. AT&T which is one of the major internet providers in America like BT in the UK who also own large companies like Directv, U-verse Broadband and Otter media which also own even more companies. Having a monumental company absorb another can be a very scary experience as it can result in one Company having far too much power and control of the market, stamping out competition and innovation.
IBM project debater AI Wins a Debate against human - June 18th
This story may remind you of 2001 a Space Odyssey and increase your possible existing fear of AI. IBM hosted 2 debates based on topics that the AI (Project Debater) was unaware of beforehand. They were based on the government subsidizing space exploration and the expansion of telemedicine. The AI heard the opening remarks of the human opponent for 4 minutes and then debunked them through a narrative that’s not just based on raw facts it got from Wikipedia but also used the context when taking into account what they said. Understanding not just words but also the context in which they were used is extremely difficult and shows AI is making massive advances that could be terrifying. For example saying I love you to a family member means something completely different than when saying it to a partner, but how is an Ai able to know that?
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich Resigns over a Consensual Relationship with an employee - June 21st
Having a policy against employees dating within the company isn’t uncommon and in the case of Intel this applies to all managers likely to avoid unfair treatment. So when It was discovered that Brian Krzanich who has been a CEO since 2013 and been in the company since 1982 violated that policy he filed his resignation. Intel has said they will continue to stick to their strategy to “Transform Intel from a PC company to a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices.”
Apple and Samsung 7 year legal battle over stolen tech Finally ends - June 27th
This battle has been going on for so long you may have forgotten about it, way back in 2011 Apple sued Samsung for copying their products seeking over $2 Billion in damages. In 2012 Apple won $1.05 Billion for Samsung copying design elements such as display icons in a grid on the screen. Samsung then appealed and took the case to the Supreme court (the biggest court in the US). In 2016 the supreme court agreed that damages should be limited as patent infringement only involves specific features. However the actual decision was passed back down the courts. In May 2018 Samsung was defeated as they argued they owed $28 Million but had to pay $539 Million. However before this got paid both companies agreed to settle the dispute out of court and the actual conditions are private, a sad end to such a long legal battle of two titans.
Disney Bought FOX for $71.3 Billion - July 27th
FOX is a massive company with the iconic 21st-century fox owning huge films such as Avatar and the Avengers due to most Marvel heroes being owned by Fox, and TV shows like The Simpsons as well as their animated Franchises like Ice Age that spawned 5 sequels. This is not including everything else Fox owns such as Fox news which is one of the biggest new shows in America. The acquisition wasn’t straightforward however as there was a large bidding war between Disney and Comcast, with Comcast making a counter-offer of $65 billion cash to buy Fox compared to Disney’s original offer of $52.4 Billion in stock. However a week later Disney’s counterbid of $71.3 Billion ended the bidding war with the deal expected to close at the end of January 2019.
Elon Musk Fined $20M over Tweet, - August 7th
One of the most costly jokes Elon Musk will ever make as when he tweeted that he might take Tesla private for $420 per share and that he had secured funding it caused Teslas share price to increase by 11%. While this was a joke the SEC claimed it constituted fraud for “False and misleading statements” which lead to Elon Musk having to pay a $20 Million fine as well as Tesla itself also getting a $20 Million fine.