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06.08.16 | 10:00 am

Homemade brings an Etsy mindset to food

Like Etsy, the craft goliath that made "handmade" cool again, Homemade wants to power small, in-home businesses—in this case, food businesses. But its approach is more like Shopify, an e-commerce tool that small and large businesses use to create their own online shops. Rather than create a marketplace like Etsy, eBay, or Amazon, Homemade on Wednesday launched tools that chefs can use to build standalone micro-sites and control food listing details, pricing, scheduling, delivery, marketing, and payment options. Homemade charges customers a 9% fee on top of each order and raised $2.3MM in seed funding in April 2016.

10.26.16 | 32 minutes ago

Through a new partnership with IBM’s Watson, GM cars will now remind you of all the errands you still have to do

Through a new partnership, IBM Watson's will add some powerful artificial intelligence to GM's OnStar service, allowing drivers to "connect and interact with their favorite brands." Now drivers will get "personalized experiences" on iHeartRadio based on their listening history, will be guided to the nearest Exxon and Mobil gas stations as soon as their gas tank nears empty, and even be reminded to pick up diapers a few miles before arriving home via Watson Personality Insights APIs. The upgraded OnStar Go will be available in more than 2 million 4G LTE-connected vehicles by the end of 2017.  [Image: GM]

10.25.16 | 7:24 pm

Samsung Pay strikes deal with MasterCard to tackle online checkout 

Since its launch, Samsung Pay has kept its mobile payment method focused on physical checkout while competing wallets pushed their tap-to-pay technology inside apps. But this week Samsung (finally!) decided to make Pay e-commerce friendly. On Wednesday the company announced a partnership with MasterCard to make Samsung Pay a form of payment in digital shopping carts through MasterPass. 

The reason Samsung seems to have waited so long to introduce this functionality into its wallet is because it made a bet that the first wallet to be accepted in the most physical locations would be in stores (hence its acquisition of LoopPay). But because paying with a phone is not yet second nature, shopping inside of mobile devices may prove a better gateway for mobile wallet adoption. "Online payments accounted for more than 25% of the 2 trillion won in processed transactions, demonstrating that consumers may be actively looking for solutions to make their online experiences faster, simpler, and secure," said Thomas Ko, VP and global GM of Samsung Pay, in a statement.

10.25.16 | 6:29 pm

Evening intel: Colin Powell’s with her, and Chipotle needs a miracle

Colin Powell, the secretary of state under George W. Bush and a die-hard Republican, said he will vote for Hillary Clinton on November 8. Recall that leaked email in which Powell allegedly said he'd "rather not" have to. 

Chipotle reported another double-digit decline in same-store sales, a key metric for restaurant health, in a sign that it has not recovered from its food-safety crisis.

Apple Inc. beat sales estimates for the iPhone in its fourth-quarter earnings, but sales of the device are still down from last year. Apple shares are down, too. 

Facebook execs fielded tough questions at an event today about how Facebook handles controversial content. What stays and what goes?  

Bernie Sanders has weighed in on the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner Inc., saying he will press Hillary Clinton (should she become president, which she probably will) to mount a "vigorous antitrust effort." 

• And finally, as Disney-owned ESPN struggles with cord-cutting and a general decline in linear TV viewing, Twitter decides to launch weekly streaming talking-heads shows for NBA fans. Nothing fishy there. 

10.25.16 | 6:15 pm

”Peak iPhone” is real

Apple's Q4 earnings report left us with more questions than answers. iPhone sales look to be in a slump, but the newly released iPhone 7 was only available for two weeks during the quarter, so the future remains unclear. Add to the mix the recent developments with Google's well-reviewed Pixel and Samsung's exploding Note 7, the mobile market could be due for a shake-up.

10.25.16 | 5:22 pm

Pandora is losing listeners as it gears up to take on Spotify

Lurking inside Pandora's latest quarterly earnings report is one of its biggest challenges: Fleeing listeners. The streaming music company–which saw its revenue grow 13% year over year–nonetheless reported a slight dip in active users from 78.1 million last year to 77.9 million. 

Pandora hopes to reverse this trend by launching its own on-demand Spotify competitor later this year. While there's no guarantee that Pandora will be able to convert lots of listeners into paying subscribers, providing the option may discourage people from closing the Pandora app whenever they want to save songs or dig deeper into an artist's catalog. 

10.25.16 | 5:20 pm

How Facebook is coming to terms with controversial content

At the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D conference, the Journal's Christina Passariello interviewed Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and chief product officer Chris Cox—and her first salvo of questions involved how the company is figuring out how to deal with controversial content such as Nick Ut's famous photo of a naked girl suffering suffering from napalm burns during the Vietnamese War, which the company initially suppressed before concluding that it was acceptable, and even important, to show.

It's a challenge that the company is continuously in the process of figuring out, especially since it isn't a traditional content site. "A media company is about the stories it tells," said Cox. "A technology company is about the tools that it builds." Facebook remains a tech company, but, as Sandberg said, "We're proud of the role we play in witnessing."

"The really important question," she added, is, 'how do we make sure that people have free expression on Facebook?'" As part of that effort, the company is working with experts on different types of problematic content—bullying, hate speech, nudity—to set the boundaries of what is and isn't acceptable.

10.25.16 | 4:50 pm

Apple beats iPhone sales expectations, but profits, revenues down for third straight quarter

"Peak iPhone" is real. iPhone sales, in general, are on a downward arc, and Apple is looking for ways to fill the gap. Apple's fiscal Q4 is characterized by soft iPhone sales running up to the release of the new iPhone 7, which was available only for a couple of weeks during that quarter. Here are the highlights:

• Earnings of $9 billion on $46.9 billion in revenue, down from $11.1 billion in earnings on $51.5 billion in revenues in the same quarter last year. Last quarter, Apple earned $7.8 billion on $42.4 billion in revenues. 

• Apple beat analyst estimates for unit sales of iPhone, selling 45.5 million devices in the quarter. But that's down from the 48 million it sold last year. Morgan Stanley analysts thought Apple would ship 44 million iPhones in the quarter.*

•Apple also sold sold 9.3 million iPads (down from 9.8 million last year), 4.9 million Macs (up from 4.7 million last year). Services revenue was $6.3 billion.

•Gross margin was 38% compared to 39.9% in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 62% of the quarter's revenue.

*Since the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were available for only two weeks of the quarter, we still don't have a clear picture of the device's impact. We'll be listening for Tim Cook's guidance on that during the earnings call today. Stay tuned.

10.25.16 | 4:46 pm

Tired of quarterly earnings? So is the CEO of Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman thinks we should rethink the practice of quarterly earnings reports for U.S. companies. Gorman says that the once-per-quarter filings, legally required by the Securities and Exchange Commission, are an "asinine" practice that distracts from long-term planning.

He's not alone. Other Wall Street executives have criticized the practice. The law firm Wachtell Lipton recently said the schedule encourages short-term thinking and even Hillary Clinton has hinted at the possibility of reforms that would let executives and shareholders "focus on the next decade rather than just the next day," according to the Wall Street Journal

10.25.16 | 4:21 pm

11 million packages were stolen off American doorsteps in last year

If it hasn't happened to you, you almost certainly know someone who has had a package stolen off their doorstep. And because the problem is so pervasive, 69% of people say they'd like to have an app that would make it possible, no matter where they are, to give delivery services like UPS and FedEx access to their homes and drop all those Amazon boxes off inside.

That's the conclusion of a study by the smart-lock maker August that looked at how many packages people receive every year, and their opinions about how to actually get their hands on them before thieves do.

10.25.16 | 4:13 pm

Apple leaks pictures of new MacBook Pro with OLED touch bar and fingerprint reader

Apple released a new version of macOS (Sierra 10.12.1) that included a nice surprise for Apple watchers—some images of Apple Pay in action on a brand new MacBook Pro complete with the rumored touchscreen panel above the keyboard and TouchID at the right side of the panel. The new computer will very likely be announced at a press event this Thursday, October 27, and may come in 13- and 15-inch sizes.

10.25.16 | 3:47 pm

Twitter takes on ESPN with two weekly NBA talking-heads shows

The NBA is kicking off its regular season this week, and the league seems intent on giving hoopheads as much basketball content as possible. In addition to live games in VR and new mobile views of games, it's also debuting two new talking-head shows, in conjunction with Turner Sports, exclusively on Twitter.

The Starters Twitter Show, "featuring NBA TV's social-savvy, popular collection of fan-focused voices with a unique take on the game," will stream Tuesdays, and The Warmup, a pre-game show that incorporates Twitter into the discussion, will stream Thursdays.

10.25.16 | 3:25 pm

Now you can pay to watch all your favorite NBA team’s road games.

Let's say you love the Golden State Warriors but you're not interested in watching other teams' games. (And why would you be?) That means you probably won't pony up for NBA League Pass, which for $199, gives you access to all NBA games across numerous devices.

Instead, for $119, Dish subscribers can now get NBA Team Pass, which will let you watch all your favorite team's road games on the device of your choice. And then you can skip all those other games that you don't care about.