Apple’s outlook as its visionary steps away
Apple announced its mastermind CEO Steve Jobs is taking a medical leave of absence, but did not disclose the extent of his health issues or how long he’s expected to be away. In 2009, Jobs took a six-month leave for a liver transplant and had pancreatic cancer diagnosed in 2004.
The news came out the day before the company reported record quarterly profits (see below). Jobs will step away as the company prepares to launch new versions of the iPad and iPhone.
Pressure has grown on Apple to unveil a succession plan. In the meantime, Tim Cook, the chief operating officer who stepped up to run the company in Jobs’s absence before, will do so again.
President Obama courted business, ordering an official review to “root out regulations that conflict, that are not worth the cost, or are just plain dumb.”
Goldman Sachs excluded U.S. clients (including its own partners) from a chance to buy private shares of Facebook in its $1.5 billion offering. The firm said “intense media coverage” increased scrutiny of the investment plan and put the deal at risk of violating U.S. securities laws. Goldman secured $1 billion in financing from foreign investors after $7 billion in orders rolled in.
Facebook halted a feature that allows Web sites and applications to access users’ addresses and phone numbers.
OPEC raised its forecast for oil demand in 2011 on the strength of the global economic recovery. The increase could pressure the group to raise production quotas, which it has resisted even as oil prices have neared $100 a barrel.
President Hu Jintao defended China’s currency policy in a state visit to Washington. China’s economy roared in the fourth quarter, growing 9.8 percent.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was given details of more than 2,000 people and companies by a Swiss banker and whistleblower who says they engage in tax evasion or criminal activity.
J.P. Morgan Chase said it overcharged more than 4,000 active-duty military personnel on their home loans and wrongly foreclosed on 14 of them.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs burn out faster than expected, says California regulators who studied their efficiency to gauge the impact of a state program to promote their use.
Cargill will spin off its 64 percent stake in Mosaic, a fertilizer producer, in a tax-free deal worth $24 billion.
Airbus landed first contract from Virgin America for its A320 aircraft. The deal pushed its orders for 2010 to 644 aircraft, ahead of rival Boeing’s 625. Also Boeing will clip its military aircraft output and cut 1,100 jobs.
American Airlines, Priceline.com signed a newdistribution deal that will allow the Web site direct access to the carrier’s fees and schedules. American has cut ties to
Orbitz and Expedia.
Goldman’s profit dropped 52 percent in the fourth quarter as clients and investors gauge the impact of a regulatory overhaul.
Bank of America posted a $1.2 billion loss, hurt by its mortgage portfolio.
GlaxoSmithKline plans a $3.49 billion charge for costs related to litigation over its U.S. marketing practices and Avandia, the diabetes drug that patients have alleged harmed their health. The charge wipes out its quarterly profit. Southwest’s as demand for earnings travel rebounded. climbed 13 percent IBM posted its strongest gain in a decade, with 6.6 percent growth ($29.02 billion) in quarterly revenue.
Economy EPA said it would allow 15 percent ethanol for cars built after 2001. U.S. farmers, even with price incentives, may not be able to plant enough grain to replenish low supplies.
New claims for jobless benefits dropped. U.S. manufacturing created more jobs (136,000) than it eliminated in 2010, the first such gain since 1997. Builders said the industry has lagged in the nation’s recovery. Ample existing-housing stock and limited access to credit have dimmed the near-term outlook for new-home construction. Existing-home sales surged 12.3 percent in December.
Comcast secured federal approval to acquire NBCUniversal from GE. Verizon sued the FCC, saying its efforts to regulate Internet lines overstep its authority. Obama tapped GE chief executive Jeffrey Immelt to lead advisory board on job creation; Paul A. Volcker to step down. Supreme Court heard its first “state secrets” case in 60 years— over the A-12 Avenger project that the Defense Department canceled in 1991. The government has sued for $1.35 billion from Boeing and General Dynamics. They’ve counter-sued for $1.25 billion and said their inability to build the plane was the government’s fault because it withheld crucial stealth technology.
Google’s co-founder Larry Page will take the helm as chief executive Eric Schmidt steps down. Schmidt tweeted: “Day-today adult supervision is no longer needed.” Also, Google will develop a Groupon competitor called Offers. Hewlett-Packard named five directors, including former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. Four who left were involved in the ouster of CEO Mark Hurd. Citigroup to name John Havens president in overhaul. Bank posted $1.3 billion profit; awarded CEO Vikram Pandit $1.75 million salary. Up from $1. GM shuffled leadership, promoting Tom Stephens to technology chief, a signal that the company is shifting to a hightech focus. Automaker also named Mary Barra as new global product chief, its first woman to hold a top product job. Keith Olbermann, MSNBC abruptly ended contract. Warren Buffett plans to leave The Washington Post Co. board to focus his attention on BerkshireHathaway.