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GENE MUNSTER: Apple could use its repatriated cash to buy Magic Leap or Peloton (AAPL, TSLA)

Gene Munster

  • There’s a lot of speculation about how Apple will use its $245 billion overseas cash stash now that it’s announced it will pay taxes on the money, freeing it to spends the cash as it sees fit.
  • The company likely won’t use the cash to buy Tesla or make another mega-merger, said Gene Munster, a longtime Apple analyst.
  • Munster thinks Apple will mainly use the money on stock buybacks and paying dividends.
  • However, Apple could be eyeing smaller startups, such as Google-backed Magic Leap or fitness startup Peloton, he said.

Is Apple about to go on a shopping spree with its $245 billion or so in overseas cash?

Quite possibly, says Gene Munster, who’s scrutinized the company for years as a financial analyst. Just don’t expect the iPhone maker to buy Tesla or make any other mega-acquisitions.

“We don’t think they’re going to do any big M&A deals,” said Munster, a managing partner at venture capital firm Loup Ventures, meaning anything over $5 billion.

Instead look for the iPhone maker to snap up some some smaller startups, he said. And the company that could be at the top of its list is Magic Leap, a Google-backed startup that makes an augmented-reality headset, he said.

Magic Leap was last valued at $6 billion, which makes it a little pricier than Apple might be willing to spend, Munster said. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook has bet big on augmented reality, which could make Magic Leap a good fit.

Apple sparked renewed speculation over what it might do with its overseas cash when it announced Wednesday that it will pay $38 billion in taxes on that stash, freeing it to spend the rest of its estimated $245 billion as it chooses. The company said it plans to invest in a new corporate campus and expanding its data centers, although it’s unclear if the money for those will come out of its foreign cash.

For his part Munster expects the majority of Apple’s overseas cash will go into stock buybacks and dividends. But he thinks it will save some money for acquisitions too.

Apple has reportedly invested billions in an effort to develop a car, an effort that thus far has yielded no obvious benefits. That’s led to speculation that the company try to buy Tesla to jump start its entry into the car market.

But Munster doesn’t think that’s going to happen. While Apple might want to buy Tesla, Elon Musk, the electric car company’s CEO, “won’t sell,” Munster said.

A Magic Leap acquisition may not happen either. Munster himself called it a “controversial” pick, and not just because of its valuation. The company has struggled to convince the public at large that it has a commercially viable product.

After six years and $1.9 billion in funding, the company only publicly unveiled its first-ever headset in December. The company has been operating under strict conditions of secrecy, with only a few key people, including Beyonce, allowed to try the new headset before it launches. 

Magic Leap

But there are other companies that could attract Apple’s attention. One acquisition target could be Peloton, Munster said. Cook has indicated that health technology will be a major focus for Apple. That could make Peloton, which has been developing wide-ranging fitness business that includes high-end hardware, livestreamed classes, and a 600,000-strong subscriber community, a good match.

Munster also thinks Apple could be eyeing software and services companies to bolster its behind-the-scenes technology. Last year, Apple bought a data analysis startup called Lattice Data for $200 million, and Munster thinks more deals along those lines could be coming. 

In general, though, Munster thinks that the lion’s share of the cash will go to shareholders. When the company announces its quarterly earnings on February 1st, Munster expects it to announce a $70 billion share buyback program and a $12 billion one-time dividend. He also expects it to increase it regular, annual dividend by $10 billion.

When it comes to Apple’s cash repatriation, “investors are going to be the biggest beneficiary of that,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Here’s why analysts think Apple’s cash move is such a big deal

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NOW WATCH: The secret to Steve Jobs’ and Elon Musk’s success, according to a former Apple and Tesla executive

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Apple is taking a page out of Amazon's playbook by teasing its new campus (AAPL)

Tim Cook groundbreaking

  • Apple announced plans for a new US campus, but notably did not say where it would be located.
  • Apple’s announcement comes a few months after Amazon invited cities to submit bids and compete for the privilege of hosting the company’s second headquarters.
  • Apple has not openly solicited bids or tax breaks, but history suggests it will reap many such financial perks.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is taking a page out of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ playbook. 

Apple announced on Wednesday, among other initiatives, that it plans to build a new campus in the United States, as part of an effort to hire 20,000 new Apple employees over the next five years.

Where will the new campus go? Apple said only that it will be announced later this year, and declined to comment if it already had a location in mind.  

The whole process sounds a lot like Amazon’s process for what it calls “HQ2,” in which the e-commerce giant solicited bids from American cities for where it should spend an estimated $5 billion build a new, second headquarters for 50,000 employees. 

But while Amazon openly invited a bidding war, with 50 cities whose officials are preparing packages of tax breaks and other perks for the tech company, Apple didn’t comment on whether it was soliciting bids or planned to have municipalities compete for the new campus. 

It’s not Apple’s style to do a public contest — but given that Amazon received 238 different bids from cities, it’s safe to say that there are some economic development agencies putting together packages for Cook and Apple. 

Apple is no stranger to state tax breaks

Apple Mesa Data Center Apple is no stranger to the game of getting tax breaks in exchange for creating jobs.

So it won’t be surprising if Apple’s new campus has a special tax status negotiated with state or local governments — even if Apple isn’t holding a public auction of sorts, the way Amazon is. 

Here’s a short, incomplete list of recent tax breaks Apple has received in the past decade: 

Although Axios reports that Apple isn’t “putting out a big request for proposals,” given that some municipalities are putting together packages worth as much as $7 billion in tax incentives for Amazon, Apple would be irresponsible not to see what city and state governments are willing to pay for Apple’s shingle. 

These are unlikely to be high-paying software jobs 

When Amazon announced HQ2, it said that it expected its new offices to be a “full equal” to its current Seattle campus.

Apple’s new campus won’t be its “second campus” and is unlikely to rival its current headquarters, at 1 Infinite Loop, or its new $5 billion headquarters, Apple Park, both in Cupertino, California. 

In fact, Apple already has several large campuses around the country, including satellite offices scattered around Silicon Valley and a big network of offices in Austin, Texas.

The jobs available at this new campus are unlikely to be high-skilled programming jobs making the next iPhone that come with huge salaries often found in California. Apple likes to do its engineering and design close to home in California, both for reasons of security as well as work culture. 

As Apple noted in its announcement, the new campus will initially house “technical support for customers.” Much of that work is currently done in Austin, Texas, as reported by the New York Times in late 2016.

The Austin campus, perhaps the closest analog to Wednesday’s planned campus, employs 6,000 workers, according to the Times. Workers at the Austin campus work on Apple’s online music and app stores, handle finance and operations, and field tech support calls. 

Even in Apple’s hometown of Cupertino, California, non-engineering teams like those for the App Store or for cleaning maps are often located in satellite offices, not at Apple headquarters. 

Here’s an example of the kind of tech support work that could take place at the new campus: 

During the recent visit, Stephanie Dumareille, a senior adviser on iOS issues who is fluent in English and Spanish, patiently answered questions from a customer who was worried about saving her résumé online and did not know whether she was using a Windows or a Mac computer.”

Glassdoor estimates a $38,000 annual salary for technical support agents at Apple in Austin. 

Didn’t they just build a new ‘spaceship’ campus? 

apple parkYes, Apple did just finish a new, stunning campus in California. Called Apple Park, it boasts amazing perks, including a huge gym, outdoor fruit trees, and huge four-story glass doors.

It is not, however, big enough for all Apple employees. Apple Park will hold 12,000 employees — but the company has 25,000 in the San Francisco Bay Area alone. Divisions seen as less important, like App Store workers and retail operations, will remain in satellite offices scattered around Silicon Valley.

In fact, Apple employs 84,000 people in the United States, including retail employees, it said on Wednesday. Apple’s employee base has grown as the number of iPhones it needs to service and support has also skyrocketed. In 2015, for example, Apple added 17,400 employees, according to SEC filings.  

So in some ways Apple’s pre-announcement of a new campus was as much about Apple’s prodigious growth as American investment or a commitment to create 20,000 jobs. 

But by withholding the actual location of the campus, Cook took a cue from Amazon, and turned what would’ve been just another new office into a media event — and likely some tax breaks too. 

Now read about how Apple will spend the hundreds of billions of dollars it’s repatriating by visiting BI Prime.

SEE ALSO: Apple’s $5 billion ‘spaceship’ campus is ready for takeoff — but some employees will be left behind

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NOW WATCH: The 9 best memes of 2017

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Cryptocurrency markets are rebounding after a massive crash

Screen Shot 2018 01 17 at 6.18.55 PM

  • The cryptocurrency market rebounded in evening trading on Wednesday. 
  • A massive crash sliced market capitalization in half from its all time high.
  • At the time of writing, the market had picked up over $100 billion in value from the day’s lows. 

The cryptocurrency market rebounded Wednesday night after a massive sell-off over the previous two days.

The market for digital coins picked up around $100 billion in value after bottoming out at $412 billion. At the time of writing, total cryptocurrency market capitalization was close to $520 billion. 

Just ten days ago, the cryptocurrency market reached an all-time high above $830 billion. Fears of a crackdown on trading in South Korea, however, brought the crypto world to its knees. Across the board, digital currencies were down for much of Wednesday, with bitcoin hitting a low below $9,500, according to Markets Insider data

The coin, which hit close to $20,000 in December, was trading at $11,080 a coin at 6:26 p.m. ET. 

Market watchers view the downturn as natural. David Sonstebe, the founder of digital currency IOTA, told Business Insider the correction was not that big when viewed in context. 

“At peak, over 40 individual tokens were valued north of $1 billion, most of which neither have a working product or even team,” he said. “Today’s correction might seem cataclysmic to those that are new to the scene, but crypto has been through this roller coaster numerous times before. The current market cap today is what crypto was at just one month ago.”

As for the future of the market, Brad Zastrow, the core director of global business at Dash, another cryptocurrency, told Business Insider that in the near term, similar situations could occur, but strong projects will survive in the long run. 

“I don’t see this impacting strong projects,” he said. “Which have a differentiated value proposition coupled with a robust governance system.” 

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NOW WATCH: Facebook and Google need to capture more of the ad market to justify valuations

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Giphy builds transparent GIF library for Instagram Stories

 Instagram now lets some users slap background-less GIFs sourced from Giphy onto their Instagram Stories. Rolling out for wider testing with a Giphy-branded design, the new GIF sticker engine could further differentiate Instagram Stories from Snapchat, which has yet to embrace the animation trend. It appears that Giphy has worked with Instagram to create a special search engine for a library… Read More

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Siri’s podcast-promoting ‘Give me the News’ feature is now out of beta

 A few weeks back, Apple added “Give me the news” to Siri’s repertoire of tricks in the latest beta version of iOS. The feature comes as the company is readying its smart assistant for the imminent arrival of the HomePod, the company’s first smart assistant-driven device. The feature is now out of beta here in the States and the U.K. Asking Siri for the news will default… Read More

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Google will make page speed a factor in mobile search ranking starting in July

 Google today announced a significant change in how it ranks websites for mobile searches: it will now take page speed into consideration as one of its signals, the company says. The change, which Google is referring to as the “Speed Update,” will go into effect in July 2018, and will downrank very slow websites under certain conditions. Though speed will become more of a factor… Read More

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Google's fix for the weird Chromecast and Google Home glitch that broke WiFi networks will be released on January 18

electrical power line worker repair

A weird glitch that caused WiFi networks to temporarily break down for certain Chromecast and Google Home users is getting a fix on Thursday January 18.

It was previously thought that Google’s casting devices, like the Chromecast and Google Home, were the culprits. But a short blog post on Google’s support site on Wednesday said the issue was actually isolated for Android smartphone users.

The glitch was caused by Android phones running Google’s casting software, which casts music to the Google Home and video streams to Chromecast devices from Android phones.  

In certain cases, the Google Cast software inside Android smartphones would malfunction and overwhelm home WiFi routers with too much information at very high speeds. It could cause some internet speed slowdowns every so often, or cause a WiFi router to reboot entirely, causing a temporary disruption. 

The company said that Android users should look out for a Google Play Services update on their Android phones on Thursday January 18. It also suggested Android users reboot their phones and check to make sure their WiFi routers are running on the latest firmware.

SEE ALSO: The technology that hides fingerprint sensors underneath displays will make the dreaded smartphone bezel extinct

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The Netherlands is getting a 'vertical forest' skyscraper covered in over 5,000 plants — and apartments cost less than $900 a month

Stefano Boeri Architetti Eindhoven Trudo Vertical Forest hero_a 852x479

  • A plant-filled, affordable housing skyscraper will be built in Eindhoven, Netherlands.
  • Designed by Italian firm Stefano Boeri Architetti, it will feature 125 apartment units priced at below-market rate.
  • The tower follows the style of other Boeri buildings, which are also covered in dozens of different species of trees and shrubs.

 

Eindhoven is one of the greenest cities in the Netherlands. And last year, in its “Green Policy Plan,” the Dutch city committed to building even more parks, tree-lined sidewalks, and plant-filled plazas in coming years.

A new skyscraper covered in over 5,000 trees and plants will build on that mission.

Designed by Italian firm Stefano Boeri Architetti, the greenery-covered tower will prioritize affordable housing. Every unit will be designated as “affordable,” meaning they will cost less than $870 in monthly rent (i.e. what the city considers below-market rate according to the Dutch Housing Law).

Called the Trudo Vertical Forest, the 19-story skyscraper will house 125 units measuring approximately 540 square feet each. In total, 125 trees and 5,200 shrubs and plants will grow on the apartment balconies.

Lead architect Stefano Boeri is known for his nature-filled buildings. Last June, Stefano Boeri Architetti announced that it would build a “forest city” in Liuzhou, China by 2020 that’s made up of towers covered in 40,000 trees and nearly 1 million plants. The skyscraper designs will be similar to the two-tower complex that Boeri designed in Nanjing.

There isn’t an exact timeline for construction yet. Social housing foundation Sint Trudo will develop the property.

Developers are building other Boeri towers in Paris, Lausanne, Switzerland and Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Stefano Boeri Architetti Eindhoven Trudo Vertical Forest col_1 1704x2410Like these projects, Trudo Vertical Forest aims to curb greenhouse-gas emissions in the city. According to its architects, the tower’s plants will consume 50 tons of carbon dioxide per year. That’s the equivalent of kicking about 10 cars off the road annually.

Trudo Vertical Forest’s design “confirms that it is possible to combine the great challenges of climate change with those of housing shortages,” Boeri said in a statement. “Urban forestry is not only necessary to improve the environment of the world’s cities but also an opportunity to improve the living conditions of less fortunate city dwellers.”

SEE ALSO: Paris is getting a ‘White Forest’ wooden tower that will feature 2,000 plants — take a look

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New technologies could kill one-third of US jobs so CEOs, not politicians, need to take responsibility, says billionaire Marc Benioff (CRM)

Marc Benioff

  • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff warns that new technologies could kill one-third of the jobs in the US and create a world of have and have-nots.
  • He believes CEOs and business leaders must think beyond their own balance sheets and take responsibility now for people displaced by new tech.

In the upcoming decade, tech automation will kill up to one-third of the jobs in the United States, and up to 800 million jobs globally, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.

That means business leaders need to wake up and take responsibility, says Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

New technologies like nanotechnologies, robotics, quantum computing, self-driving vehicles and artificial intelligence “are transforming our economies, societies and daily lives.” Benioff wrote in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal published on Wednesday.

“There is, however, a dark side. I’m increasingly worried that even as these technologies deliver incredible benefits to some, this wave of change will leave behind hundreds of millions of people around the world,” he warns.

It’s not all bleak. New tech will improve the education, health and daily life for those who have access to them. But those without access to the tech won’t get trained for the available jobs, won’t have access to the latest health care and so on. Without interference this could create an even bigger world of have and have-nots.

Business leaders, not politicians, can really move the needle

There’s only one set of folks who can fix that: “the haves,” which Benioff argues are the business leaders, not the politicians.

“A challenge this big and complex cannot be left to politicians alone. Business leaders have a unique responsibility. Indeed, the business of business can’t be just about making profits; we have to ensure that our products and wealth narrow inequalities instead of widening them,” he warns.

Benioff would also like business leaders to ensure the brave, new, technology-driven world solves historical prejudices and doesn’t cement them.

“New technology can’t be allowed to perpetuate discrimination based on gender, race, religion or sexual orientation,” he writes.

He’s calling for companies to “invest more in public education, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and “address the reality of climate change.”

Just in time for Davos

He says he’s leading by example. Salesforce donates millions of dollars to San Francisco’s public schools. He’s overseen efforts to ensure women and men and at his company are paid equally. His company has forcefully opposed state laws that limited LGBTQ rights. And he says his company, which just built and moved into a massive new tower in San Francisco, also hit “net zero carbon emissions earlier this year.”

DAVOS MEETINGSalesforce isn’t the only one working on some or all of these issues, although its public commitment to equal pay is unique. For instance, Oracle just opened a high-tech high school right on its corporate campus. IBM is championing the idea of six-year technical training high schools. Apple is close to zero emissions and has pressured its supply chain to do the same for 2018. And a whole slew of companies boycotted North Carolina after its controversial transgender bathroom ban, with PayPal canceling its plans to build a new facility there. 

Benioff wrote his editorial as the world leaders gear up to travel to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting later this month.

He’s a proponent of the WEF‘s “stakeholder theory” which says that organizations are accountable to all parts of society – aka customers, employees, neighbors/communities and shareholders – and should not think solely in terms of profits for shareholders.

He’s hoping to inspire others by showing that wealth, business success and responsibility are not mutually exclusive. Benioff is himself worth an estimated $5 billion and Salesforce has been a Wall Street darling as it plans to grow from a nearly $9 billion company in 2017 to $60 billion by 2034.

SEE ALSO: Companies will spend $3.7 trillion on IT in 2018, led by trendy new tech like blockchain, IoT and AI

SEE ALSO: The behind-the-scenes story of why Apple received a letter from 2 huge investors about child safety features

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Improvements to the DevTools Console in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

We made significant improvements to the Microsoft Edge DevTools in EdgeHTML 16 with the Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update, including new support for DOM mutation breakpoints and event and CSS inspection in the new Elements tab.

Today, we’d like to walk through new improvements we’ve made to the Console to improve the output and input experiences of working with the Console. Our main goals were to increase the flexibility of the Console in displaying information, and to increase your productivity when working with the Console prompt.

First, let’s cover the new features we made to improve the user experience of Console output.

Log message consolidation and UX improvements

Have you ever written a console.log statement in a for loop and watched your entire Console fill up with output? Or have you found it difficult to easily spot the differences between warnings, info, and errors without having to resort to using filters?

To help address issues like these, we’ve updated the Console output to better differentiate between console message types. In addition, the Console will now consolidate repeated messages.

Sample code:

Console output:

Screen capture showing consolidated Console output (coalesced into 100 each of Errors, Warnings, Info, and Logs, with a different color, icon, and highlight used for each type.)

This can dramatically reduce clutter, while making it simpler to scan and easily differentiate different types of output.

Displaying tabular data with console.table

A table is a great visualization tool to help display arrays and tabular data. The DevTools Console now supports console.table, allowing you to output your data in rows and columns.

Sample code:

Console output:

Screen capture of the DevTools Console output showing a formatted table with four columns.

Additionally, the Console supports configurating which columns you wish to display. This gives you the flexibility to hone in on the right set of information for your project.

Sample code:

console.table(data, ["name"]);

Console output:

Screen capture showing the Console output filtered to a two-column table showing only "(index)" and "name" columns.

CSS formatting for Console messages

If you want to take complete control of the display of log messages, you can now do so with CSS formatting directly inside the Console. Simply add CSS styling rules to your console.log call, and you can customize the output to make your messages really stand out.

Sample code:

console.log("%cHello Logs!", "font-size: xx-large; color: azure");

Console output:

Screen capture showing console output formatted using CSS (in this case, the font is xx-large and colored azure)

These changes make it easier to parse and organize Console output. We’ve also made a few improvements to working with input in the Console.

Multi-line support, Improved IntelliSense, and Console API support

First, we’ve added a small-but-helpful feature in support for multi-line input. Simply use SHIFT+ENTER to create a new line without executing the command beforehand.

Additionally, we’ve added a faster, richer IntelliSense experience supported by the Monaco Editor, so you can be more productive in the Console. Just start typing, and you’ll see all the helpful auto-completions you’ve come to expect using other developer tools with IntelliSense today:

Screen capture showing the Monaco IntelliSense experience in the DevTools console

Finally, we’ve added several new Console APIs to round out the developer tools experience, including:

 
Screen capture showing the $x(xpath expression) selector autocomplete in the DevTools console

Check out the Microsoft Edge DevTools guide for exhaustive documentation on all the available and supported Console APIs and Console Commands.

We’re fully invested in making the DevTools even better so you can have the most productive development experience in Microsoft Edge. Your feedback helps us prioritize what to build next, so please get in touch if you have any thoughts or issues! We welcome your suggestions on UserVoice. If you have issues or feedback, please use the Feedback Hub app in Windows to file a bug. Finally, if you have any questions, reach out to us on Twitter @EdgeDevTools!

Paul Gildea, Program Manager, Microsoft Edge DevTools

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