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Trump condemns Apple; Verizon Media unveils search engine; Google buys AppSheet

Top News

* U.S. President Donald Trump came down hard on Apple Inc. in the wake of an ongoing investigation into the Pensacola, Fla., shooting incident. In a tweet, the president blasted the iPhone maker for refusing to unlock phones used by criminals and urged the tech company to step up and help the country. Apple recently rejected claims that it has been unhelpful in the naval base shooting probe.

* Verizon Communications Inc. unit Verizon Media LLC launched a new ad-supported consumer search engine with increased privacy features. Called OneSearch, the new search engine does not track, store or share personal or search data with advertisers and its privacy-focused features do not include cookie tracking, retargeting or personal profiling, or storing of user search history.

* Google LLC acquired no-code application development platform AppSheet for an undisclosed amount. Following the transaction, the AppSheet team will join the Google Cloud team and will continue providing support to new and existing customers.

* Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Mark Warner, D-Va., introduced a bill to support companies that can compete with Chinese telecom-equipment makers, such as Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., The Wall Street Journal reports. Under the proposed "Utilizing Strategic Allied Telecommunications Act," $750 million will be allocated for companies developing 5G technology, while a $500 million fund will be created for companies that deploy "trusted and secure" equipment across the globe.

Internet & OTT

* Netflix Inc. diverted up to $430 million of profit from its global operations to tax havens such as the Netherlands in 2018, according to investigative think tank Tax Watch UK. Its analysis found that the streaming company paid no tax in the U.K. despite recording $1.09 billion of revenue in the country in 2018.

* Google is planning to phase out support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser within two years. The Alphabet Inc. unit said it is taking the step due to users' demand for greater privacy, including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used.

* Facebook Inc. rolled out a new login feature, called "Login Notifications," which alerts a user when they use Facebook Login to interact with third-party apps.

* Instagram LLC started testing "Direct Messages" on the desktop web, CEO Adam Mosseri said in a tweet. Although the feature is available for a small percentage of users right now, Mosseri said the company hopes to bring this feature to everyone soon.

* NTN Buzztime Inc. struck a definitive agreement to sell all of its assets related to its Stump! Trivia business to Sporcle Inc. for $1.4 million. The company expects to close the transaction by Jan. 31.


* Microsoft Corp. fixed a flaw in its operating system following a tip from the U.S. National Security Agency, Reuters reports. The flaw, according to the company, could have helped a hacker create fake digital certificates utilized by some versions of Windows to authenticate and secure data.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. acquired network services provider TeleWorld Solutions Inc. for an undisclosed sum. Under the agreement, TeleWorld Solutions will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics America Inc. while serving its current clients.

* Google agreed to acquire Irish retail tech company Pointy. While financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, The Irish Times reported the deal price to be $160 million.

* Synopsys Inc. completed its purchase of certain internet protocol assets from eSilicon Corp. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Film & TV

* George Cheeks resigned as vice chairman of NBCUniversal Media LLC's Content Studios and is set to join ViacomCBS Inc. as head of CBS' operations, succeeding Joe Ianniello, Variety reports. The move comes as the CBS side of the newly merged entity is set to pursue job cuts as part of a post-merger cost-saving campaign.

* Inc.'s Amazon Studios signed an overall deal with director/producer Steve McQueen, Multichannel News reports. Under the deal, McQueen will produce a new series, called "Last Days," Jennifer Salke, head of the studio, reportedly said.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng declined 0.39% to 28,773.59, and the Nikkei 225 fell 0.45% to 23,916.58.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 gained 0.10% to 7,629.13, and the Euronext 100 was essentially flat at 1,157.62.

On the macro front

The U.S. PPI-FD, the U.S. Empire State manufacturing survey, the Atlanta Fed business inflation expectations report, the U.S. EIA petroleum status report and the U.S. beige book are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

Featured news

The Daily Dose Europe: UPC Schweiz's new CEO; Netflix's tax strategy; Nokia's layoffs: Baptiest Coopmans is stepping in as the new CEO of UPC Schweiz, Netflix has been accused of diverting millions in global profits to tax havens such as the Netherlands, and tech company Nokia Corp. plans to lay off about 180 staff in Finland.

The Daily Dose Asia-Pacific: Samsung's TeleWorld buy; Huawei's new business group; Thailand's telco merge: Samsung Electronics acquired U.S.-based TeleWorld Solutions, Huawei created a fourth business group, and Thailand greenlit the merger of state-owned wireless carriers CAT Telecom PCL and TOT PCL.

Data Dispatch: End of 2019 sees robocalls decline as prevention efforts ramp up: The U.S. saw a significant drop in the number of robocalls at the end of 2019, signaling that either federal prevention efforts are working — or even scammers need a holiday break.

5G Focus: CES 2020 updates; US move against Huawei; Rollout in Poland: 5G Focus is a weekly global feature including notable 5G trials, launches, use cases and major equipment supply contracts. It also features in-depth analysis of strategies, expansion plans, business models and other related initiatives.

Featured research

Wireless Investor: New: Global mobile index: Kagan provides links to its current and historical profiles of mobile communications markets.

Broadcast Investor: New Kagan Report: State of Mexican TV broadcast sector: The emergence of digital TV platforms and the strength of multichannel TV in Mexico are hurdles facing Mexican broadcast television over our five-year projections through 2025.

Technology: Virtual reality tries 8K on for size at CES: It may be fair to raise an eyebrow at the Pimax 8KX, which is expected to sell for $1,299 later this year, but the headset lays out a distinctly more immersive future for consumer VR.

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