Ap­ple’s out­look as its vi­sion­ary steps away

The Washington Post Sunday - - BUSINESS -

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.

Busi­ness

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.

Deals

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.

Earn­ings

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.

Washington

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.

Tran­si­tions

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.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY CRIS­TIANA COUCEIRO/PHOTO VIA GETTY IM­AGES

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