Facebook and Twitter could reportedly be fined up to £20 million if they don't tackle online bullying (FB, TWTR)

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Social media firms like Facebook and Twitter could face fines of up to £20 million if they fail to tackle cyber bullying on their platforms, according to a report from The Sun on Sunday.

Digital Minister Matt Hancock reportedly announced new powers on Sunday that will force some of America’s biggest tech companies to make their platforms “age appropriate.”

Under the reforms, tech firms will reportedly have to ensure that children’s accounts have the highest possible privacy settings as default.

“This statutory code will require tailored protections to be built into websites and apps for children under 16,” Hancock reportedly told The Sun.

“We all want rules in place so children can be safe and protected online. And at the moment that’s not happening.”

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, which Hancock leads, did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Although The Sun calls out Facebook and Twitter, it’s likely that other platforms such as YouTube and Instagram will be impacted by the new laws. 

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South Korea has reportedly banned bitcoin futures

Soccer Football - International Friendly - South Korea v Colombia - Suwon World Cup Stadium, Suwon, South Korea - November 10, 2017 - South Korea's national soccer team members stand behind the national flag.

  • South Korea has banned securities firms from handling bitcoin futures.
  • Exchange operator Cboe launched first bitcoin futures on Sunday night.
  • Huge demand for the product crashed Cboe’s website and sent prices jumping.

LONDON — South Korean officials have reportedly banned local finance firms from handling bitcoin futures, one of the hottest new financial products to launch in years.

Business Korea reported that the Financial Services Commission of Korea issued a directive banning securities firms from taking part in bitcoin futures transactions, citing sources.

South Korea has taken a tough stance on digital currencies, banning initial coin offerings (ICOs) earlier this year. ICOs involve startups issuing their own digital currencies to raise funds.

Bitcoin is hugely popular in South Korea. Mati Greenspan, an analyst with trading platform eToro, said in an email last week: “Recent estimates state that 21% of all global BTC volume are done in Korean Won.”

Greenspan said proximity to North Korea might help explain the higher risk appetite of South Koreans. He added: “After recently going through a political meltdown and ousting the former President Park Geun-Hye, and after watching the CEO of the Samsung go to prison on corruption charges, their faith in the system is currently at a justifiable all-time low.”

Bitcoin was originally created as an anti-establishment currency meant to be above the control of governments.

Bitcoin futures start with a bang

The ban on bitcoin futures was made ahead of the launch of the new products on Sunday evening. Chicago-based exchange operator Cboe began offering bitcoin future contracts on Sunday and was met with huge demand. Cboe’s website briefly crashed and the price of both bitcoin and futures contracts leapt higher.

Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, said in an email: “The initial reaction was beyond expectations with the futures contract climbing more than 20% and triggering two trading halts. CBOE’s website experienced unprecedented traffic which may well have sent a new benchmark; the frenetic activity led to delays and outages.”

Cboe’s product is the first that gives institutional investors such as hedge funds and asset managers exposure to bitcoin. The market allows them to speculate on the future price of bitcoin without having to directly buy and hold the digital currency. This skirts any regulatory and custodian issues that might be presented by bitcoin.

Institutional investors have grown increasingly interested in bitcoin as the cryptocurrency’s price has continued to rise. Bitcoin is up over 1,000% against the dollar so far this year and rose as much as 40% in the last week alone.

Sayed said: “So far, it seems professional investors aren’t willing to bet against the bitcoin, despite the many warnings of a bubble that will burst soon. Many traders aren’t even interested in the price direction, but the listing of the futures contract on CBOE and later next week on the CME will provide them an arbitrage trading opportunity due to the vast pricing differences.”

Futures fears

South Korea’s regulators aren’t the only people worried about bitcoin futures. The digital currency is subject to huge amounts of volatility — swings of 20% on the day are not unusual — and some market participants fear futures contracts could add a large degree of unquantified risk to the financial system.

The Futures Industry Association wrote to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) last week to complain that there had not been “proper public transparency and input” from industry over the products. Banks such as JPMorgan and Citi are also reportedly not clearing bitcoin futures for clients, at least for now.

Sayed said: “The arbitrage trading will lead to improved price efficiency and probably less volatility. After volatility settles down, the focus will return to the price direction.”

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Someone in the UK watched 'Bee Movie' 357 times in 2017

bee movie

  • One anonymous Netflix user watched the DreamWorks film “Bee Movie” almost once a day for a year.
  • Yes, really.

We all fall victim to a day on the sofa in front of Netflix every now and again.

But one unidentified Netflix subscriber caused a buzz when they took a movie binge to the next level.

In Netflix’s 2017 “Year in Review,” the online streaming platform revealed that one UK user watched the 2007 DreamWorks classic “Bee Movie” 357 times this year. That works out at almost once a day, or 23.5 days of non-stop streaming.

“Bee Movie” follows the trials and tribulations of Barry the Bee (Jerry Seinfeld), who finds the prospect of working in a hive all his life uninspiring. Barry’s world is turned upside down when he meets a New York florist and decides to sue the human race for eating the bees’ honey.

Netflix found the average UK member only watched around 60 films on the website in 2017.

The American entertainment company honey-combed through mountains of data from November 1, 2016, to November 1, 2017, to work out the most streamed, binged, and loved shows of the year.

But this streamer’s bee obsession wasn’t the only unbelievable fact in Netflix’s report.

The review also found that subscribers around the world collectively watched more than 140 million hours of Netflix a day in 2017 — amounting to over a billion hours a week.

SEE ALSO: The 27 best scary movies on Netflix

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10 things in tech you need to know today (BTC, AAPL)

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Good morning! Here is the tech news you need to know this Monday.

1. The launch of bitcoin futures, which allows traders to bet on the future price of the cryptocurrency, sent the price shooting up $1,000. Bitcoin futures went live on Chicago exchange group Cboe on Sunday night.

2. Apple has acquired Shazam from $400 million (£298 million). Shazam is a British music recognition and advertising startup which was last valued at $1 billion (£745 million).

3. Android founder and Essential CEO Andy Rubin is back at his phone startup after reports emerged of an “inappropriate” relationship with a colleague while he had been at Google. Rubin said his leave of absence was unrelated to the reports, and that he had asked for time off in early November.

4. Apple’s design chief Jony Ive has taken control of the design team once again. Ive stepped back from his day-to-day administrative duties in 2015, but a wave of criticism about Apple’s products followed.

5. Germany’s intelligence services have found their Chinese counterparts used fake LinkedIn profiles to try and dig up personal information about German officials. Fake headhunters, consultants, and scholars contacted some 10,000 German citizens.

6. Uber has settled a lawsuit with a woman who accused the firm’s executives of obtaining her medical records after she was raped. The complainant had already successfully sued Uber for failing to do a thorough background check on the driver.

7. Microsoft has set up its own internal artificial intelligence university to try and fill the AI skills gap. The programme trains computer scientists who already specialise in a different discipline the “practical sense” of machine learning.

8. A BBC investigation has found sexualised content on gaming streaming site Twitch. The “IRL” section features female gamers who wear revealing clothing while the game, and even sell explicit services through the site.

9. The British YouTuber Alfie Deyes is setting up his own venture to try and persuade his millions of followers to back startups. Deyes told Business Insider he wants to collaborate with and invest in startups.

10. HQ Trivia, the breakout iPhone quiz game, is coming to Android in time for Christmas. HQ Trivia is a live quiz game where winners can get real cash prizes, and games can garner a quarter of a million players.

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Bitcoin futures launch sends bitcoin up $1,000

traders cboe

  • Bitcoin futures went live on Cboe Global Markets, the Chicago-exchange group, Sunday night.
  • Liquidity appears to be thin and Cboe’s website has crashed.
  • The price of bitcoin soared by more than $1,000 after the contracts went live.

Bitcoin futures went live on Cboe Global Markets, the Chicago-based exchange group, Sunday evening and the price of the red-hot coin shot up.

Cboe’s future contracts, which trade under the ticker XBT, allow investors to bet on the future price of bitcoin. Bitcoin shot up over $1,000 after investors could start purchasing contracts at 6:00 p.m. ET.

According to data from CoinDesk, bitcoin soared from $14,509 a coin at 5:59 p.m. ET to $15,704 at 6:07 p.m. It gave up some of those gains and was trading at $15,178 at 6:11 p.m. The futures contracts were trading at $16,000 soon after the market went live, higher than where bitcoin was trading in the spot market at the time of print.

Trading in the early stages seemed to be muted, with only a couple hundred contracts purchased. Most trades were of just one contract.

Still, interest in the new market appeared to put pressure on Cboe. Its website experienced outages soon after trading of bitcoin futures was underway. Here’s Cboe in a tweet:

“Due to heavy traffic on our website, visitors to http://www.cboe.com  may find that it is performing slower than usual and may at times be temporarily unavailable. All trading systems are operating normally.”

“The launch is going as expected sans [Cboe’s website] crashing,” John Spallanzani, chief macro strategist of GFI Group, told Business Insider. “It speaks to the interest in bitcoin. There hasn’t been this much interest in something since the internet boom.”

Bitcoin futures are the latest evolution in the market surrounding the cryptocurrency, which has appreciated more than 1,400% this year. Two other exchange operators are also set to launch their own bitcoin futures contracts.

There are a number of reasons why bitcoin futures products are a big deal for Wall Street and the world of crypto. First, the launch of bitcoin futures by establishment firms is likely to to open the door to wider participation in bitcoin trading by other Wall Street firms. It could also pave the wave for an exchange-traded fund, which could bring more investments into the space. Most importantly, it could help dampen bitcoin’s spine-tingling volatility.

The first bitcoin futures depend on trading at the Winklevoss twins’ tiny exchange — and that’s a problem

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How Mark Zuckerberg runs Facebook, the best place to work in America

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook CEO Harvard speech

• Business Insider took a look inside the daily routine of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

• Facebook is now the most desirable place to work, according to Glassdoor — and Zuckerberg is popular with reviewers, too.

• His typical schedule includes exercise, family time, and tons of travel.


Mark Zuckerberg has a lot on his plate.

The 33-year-old runs Facebook, the social media giant with a market cap of $505.63 billion. What’s more, Facebook just snagged the top spot in Glassdoor’s annual rankings of the most desirable places to work. Reviewers on the career site specifically pointed to Zuckerberg himself as a big draw.

While the tech CEO dedicates a ton of time to the company, Zuckerberg still makes the time to exercise, travel extensively, and spend time with his family.

He stays productive and balanced by eliminating non-essential choices from his life and setting ambitious goals for himself.

Here’s a look at an average day for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg:

SEE ALSO: Vladimir Putin’s hard-core daily routine includes hours of swimming, late nights, and no alcohol

DON’T MISS: A look at the demanding schedule of Elon Musk, who works in 5-minute slots, skips breakfast, and largely avoids emails

After waking up at 8 a.m., the Facebook founder immediately checks Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp on his phone, he told Jerry Seinfeld in a Facebook Live Q&A.

Sources: The Telegraph, Inc.

Once he’s gotten his morning updates, it’s time to work out. Zuckerberg typically exercises about three times a week.

Source: Business Insider

Sometimes he brings his dog Beast along. The tech CEO says running with his pet has the “added bonus of being hilarious” because it’s “basically like seeing a mop run.”

Sources: TimeBusiness Insider

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Amazon may be getting ready to go on a digital media buying spree

jeff bezos amazon

  • Amazon is looking to hire a Corporate Development Senior Manager to oversee potential digital acquisitions.
  • The job would seem to signal that Amazon is making a new push into digital media and advertising with deals.
  • It’s a high-level gig that would entail interaction with CEO Jeff Bezos.

Does Jeff Bezos want some digital media under his tree? A recent job posting may serve as the Amazon mogul’s list for Santa.

Amazon is seeking a Corporate Development Senior Manager who will be charged with managing and executing acquisitions across the company, according to a LinkedIn post.

“There will be a particular emphasis on supporting transactions in the digital media, digital products and emerging technology sectors,” reads that posting.

That’s an intriguing emphasis, considering that when it comes to digital media and advertising, Amazon has generally been a builder, not a buyer. Indeed, as the company has quietly amassed a formidable digital ad business over the past few years – one that may see as presenting a legitimate challenge to the dominant Google/Facebook duopoly – Amazon has focused on building its own custom suite of advertising technology.

And as it elected to stream 10 NFL games this year, and deliver and track some ads during those games, it largely took the same approach.

The glaring exception, of course, is Amazon’s nearly $1 billion deal to acquire the live gaming platform Twitch in 2014. Amazon has continued to run Twitch separately from its growing advertising portfolio.

Business Insider spoke to Amazon’s top advertising executive last week during the Ignition conference – and he was coy about the company’s broader advertising ambitions.

But there’s little question Amazon is getting far more serious about ads. The question is, how big do they want to go in terms of making deals. One clue: the job means face time with Bezos.

This role is a highly visible position that interacts with Amazon’s most senior leaders including frequent interaction with Amazon’s CEO and CFO.

He/she will be required to handle multiple projects across a variety of business categories including digital media and digital products.

Besides getting time with the big boss, candidates should be able to spot a good deal. “Proving you are an effective negotiator is a critical part of this job.” Hey, it’s Amazon.

The question is, what might this person be negotiating for? Could he or she be on the hunt for:

  • Ad tech startups?
  • A company in the TV/video sector that would help Amazon bring more dynamic, digital-like functionality to traditional TV ads?
  • Roku? (better hurry as the price keeps going up)
  • A giant rival asset in the vein of Pinterest (with its seemingly highly complementary shopping-centric use-case)?
  • Snapchat? Spotify?
  • A TV company like Viacom or Scripps/Discovery?

When theoretically spending from Jeff Bezos’ checkbook, the possibilities seem endless.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

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Auroras will soon be very rare — but scientists are predicting a big comeback

aurora australis nasa space station ex52 june 25 2017

First, the bad news for stargazers: Auroras are going dark in many parts of the world.

The number of these atmospheric light shows won’t bottom out for several years, which means locations far from Earth’s poles — such as the UK and northern continental US — may rarely if ever see the Northern Lights during that time. A study published earlier this year hints this dearth of auroras may last for decades.

But there’s plenty of good news.

This coming dip in auroras is normal and expected, due to what scientists know about a repeating 11-year cycle of solar activity. The sun just finished its last peak, called a solar maximum, in 2014, during which time researchers saw more sunspots, outbursts of solar particles, and auroras on Earth. Around solar minimum — in 2020 or 2021 — the reverse is expected to happen.

“My personal prediction is that, over the next couple of years, we’ll see a deep dive of solar activity into solar minimum, and fewer and fewer auroras will be seen,” Doug Biesecker, a physicist at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, told Business Insider.

The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) is seen over the sky near the village of Pallas (Muonio region) of Lapland, Finland September 8, 2017.  REUTERS/Alexander Kuznetsov/All About LaplandThis doesn’t mean Earth will be devoid of auroras; anyone can make the trip to Arctic or Antarctic regions where auroras are persistent at night.

What’s more, Business Insider has learned that the next solar maximum, set to occur around 2025, should be as strong or stronger than the one we just saw, bringing an eventual boost in the number of at lower-latitude auroras.

“There will be a ramp-up in solar activity a couple of years after solar minimum, and auroras should increase in frequency,” Dean Pesnell, a solar physicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told Business Insider. Pesnell and his colleagues just submitted an as-yet unpublished study about this prediction, which is based on magnetic activity at the sun’s poles.

The other good news? That decades-long void of auroras may never pan out.

The problem with predicting auroras

pumpkin sun coronal loops nasa sdo

The sun constantly spews protons and other particles into space, and when they reach Earth, the planet’s magnetic field grabs them and accelerates them toward the poles. As those particles slam into the atmosphere, they light up its gases like a neon light.

This happens every night close to Earth’s poles, but strong outbursts of solar particles, like coronal mass ejections, can sometimes expand auroras down to states like Maine, North Dakota, New York, and even Colorado. And during solar maximum, such particle outbursts are more frequent.

“The places where the aurora is common, it’s always going to be common. It’s more a case of, ‘is Colorado or North Dakota going to see it?'” Biesecker said, adding that an aurora’s intensity isn’t tied to the solar cycle. “Unfortunately, not as much during the solar minimum.”

Earlier this year, a January study in Nature Scientific Reports hinted that the next dip in solar activity might last for decades. The researchers examined the past 400 years of records of solar activity, and their computer model indicated we’re in store for a few extra-boring 11-year solar cycles — and a related famine of auroras.

Yet both Biesecker and Pesnell said that long-term predictions are devilishly hard to trust.

sunspotRecords older than 250 years aren’t very reliable, Biesecker said. Even the past 250 years of observations of sunspots — the hallmarks of solar activity — are hard to trust in part because it’s subjective; where one astronomer saw one solar blemish, another may have seen two. But solar physicists can always talk to whomever recorded previous observations.

“A new data point basically shows up once every 11 years. So very few people make it through two or three solar cycles in their research,” Pesnell said. “They either go do something else or they die.”

Then there’s the mystery and chaos of the sun itself.

A roughly 25-day-long rotation or “day” to the sun is what drives its activity. This gradually twists up the star’s magnetic field lines like a rubber band, forming kinks that can lead to sunspots and solar outbursts. But these surface contortions don’t appear to affect anything deep inside the sun — which means the star doesn’t have any kind of long-term “memory” scientists can exploit to predict its behavior more than a few years out.

“There’s no compelling evidence that the sun ‘knows’ it’s supposed to get weaker or return to normal at some future 11-year cycle,” Biesecker said.

For now, the researchers said, all we can do is wait to see if there are as many or more auroras as the sun winds up toward its next maximum in 2025.

“Eight years from now,” Pesnell said, “we’ll know if our prediction was right.”

SEE ALSO: Astronauts in space have recorded a breathtaking new video of Earth’s aurora

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Coyote Peterson explains what most people get wrong about sharks

Sharks often get a bad rap, but they aren’t necessarily out to make you their lunch. We spoke with Coyote Peterson, who hosts the popular YouTube channel Brave Wilderness, about one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to sharks. Following is a transcript of the video.

Coyote Peterson: That sharks are just straight-up man-eaters, which they aren’t.

I’m Coyote Peterson. I’m a host of the Brave Wilderness Channel on YouTube.

Oftentimes, the only reason you’re attacked by a shark is because, A: you’re in the shark’s environment — if you’re out there swimming in the ocean — and sharks oftentimes mistake humans for prey.

So imagine yourself on a paddleboard or a surfboard. From underneath, you look like a sea lion or a sea turtle.  So that shark comes into the environment, and what it’s doing, it’s investigating, right?

Sharks never just grab onto something and tear it apart. Their method for catching their prey is actually to come in and do a test bite. Oftentimes, that test by can be so lethal, it ends up killing the prey.

And imagine how soft the human body is. If a tiger shark comes up and thinks, “Mmm … maybe you’re a sea turtle,” and takes a bite, swims away, you’re gonna to be in pretty bad shape.

So it’s oftentimes people die from shark bites, not so much being eaten by sharks.

So as long as you’re safe in the environment that you’re in, and you pay attention to the warnings on the beach, pay attention to the local media — if sharks have been spotted in the area — it’s actually rather simple to avoid sharks, if you’re paying attention to your surroundings.

If you are in the process of being attacked by a shark, the sensory perception organs that they have in their nose, specifically their noses and their eyes, that’s how they sense their environment.

So being able to hit an animal on its snout like that can oftentimes detur them from continuing the attack.

So if you’re in the position where you’re being attacked by something like a shark, obviously fight with your life no matter what you can do, to make sure that you can get away.

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Activity app Strava is about to become more like a social network

Strava_James_Quarles

  • People have uploaded over 1 billion activities onto Strava. 
  • The company wants people to see its app as more than just an activity tracker. 
  • So it’s making some changes to the platform over the next year. 

Strava is planning to make changes to its platform over the next year that will make the fitness app feel more like a traditional social network, the company’s CEO told Business Insider.

Strava CEO James Quarles, a former executive at Facebook and Instagram, said that he wants Strava to become much more than an app for simply recording activities.

The company, which competes with the likes of RunKeeper, My Fitness Pal, and Nike+ Running, has already started making some initial tweaks. “We launched in October the ability to create a non-activity post so that can either be a text or a photo or a link with an embedded video,” said Quarles.

“That was all born from just looking at how people have been bending the product up to this point of commenting and asking questions. We thought how can we make this just a natural experience. If you wanted to ask your following base: ‘Hey, I’m going to buy a new watch, which watch do you prefer?’ that would be a good use of a question in a post.”

Since the changes were implemented Strava users have taken to posting photo montages of cycling races and sharing articles along the lines of “the top 10 tips for hikers,” Quarles said.

Founded in San Francisco in 2009, Strava is now used by tens of millions of people worldwide and over 1 billion activities have been uploaded onto the platform. Running and cycling are by far the most popular but the app also allows people to record hikes, swims, and gym sessions, among other things.

The US is the company’s largest market but 82% of Strava’s community are now outside of its home country, Quarles said, and London is the company’s most popular city.

Strava

More changes are in the pipeline for Strava, according to Quarles, who took over as CEO in May, leaving his role as VP of Instagram Business in the process.

“We want to also make it easier for people travelling to find the best places to ride, where’s a group of people or club I should join, [or the] best place to grab coffee,” said Quarles. “All that information exists in our product so we want to more things to help open it up for more of that discovery experience. So that’s a big part of what we’ll be focusing on in the coming year.”

Investors including Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia have backed Strava with $70 million (£52 million) but the company — which employs 150 people across San Francisco, New Hampshire, and Bristol in the UK — is not yet profitable.

“That’s a deliberate choice,” said Quarles. “We want to continue to grow the size of the community and invest in the experience and I think we will be keeping an eye on the financial markets.”

Strava has three main revenue streams

The three main ways that Strava makes money are:

1. Subscription: Strava charges users £5.99 or £44.99 a year for access to a premium version of its app, which comes with more insights and a “beacon” feature that allows friends and family to follow your whereabouts when you’re running or cycling in unknown areas. There’s also insurance on your phone for when you’re cycling and discounts at stores like New Balance. Quarles said:

“We’ve got the premium subscription service which people elect for as they want to get more statistics and analysis on their training.”

Quarles refused to say how many of Strava’s users are using the premium service or comment more generally about the company’s finances.

2. Metro: Strava charges transport authorities like Transport for London a fee to access the data that’s hosted on its platform. Quarles said:

“Metro is where we take the pedestrian and cycling data, we aggregate and anonymise it and then work with departments of transportation around the globe in order to use it for better impact analysis and planning of infrastructure and even safety measurements. “

3. Strava for Business: Strava partners with companies like Lululemon, and Rapha, and Oakley on “challenges.” The companies essentially sponsor a challenge that is seen and completed by Strava’s users. Quarles said:

“We’re starting to think about other ways in which businesses can enhance the community experience and participate to make Strava more fun and more interesting. We have a number of ideas there that we’ll be trialling over the next six months with brand partners being a more prominent part but I think a value added part of people’s experience.”

Chris Froome cycling Tour de FranceStrava has no plans to get into hardware

Quarles said that Strava has no plans to build any of its own hardware in the near future.

“I think one of our greatest strengths as a company is that we’re so independent and agnostic when it comes to devices,” he said. “We have partnerships with Garmin, Fitbit, Apple Watch, Samsung Gear. We’ve got 300 devices that can write to Strava.”

He added: “This open strategy of being the Switzerland within fitness has served us really well and I think we’re very committed to it. We don’t want’ to change that. I also think hardware is particularly hard — it’s a different business model. We’ve got software engineers, we’re really great at software and consumer experiences and I think that’s where our investments will continue to go.”

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Computer Systems Cloud Specialist