iPhone 15 May Face Hurdle In China, FTC Could Prosecute Amazon.com Over Antitrust Claims, United Airlines Planes Back In Air: Today's Top Stories

Wall Street Journal

iPhone 15 May Face Hurdle In China As Government Officials Receive Foreign Device Ban

  • The Chinese government has banned its officials from using Apple Inc.'s AAPL iPhones and other foreign-branded devices at work, dealing a blow to the company just days ahead of its 'Wonderlust' iPhone 15 launch event.
  • Chinese government officials have been banned from using iPhones and other foreign-made devices at work.
  • While China's iPhone ban applies only to government officials at work, the scope has significantly expanded.

Federal Trade Commission Could Prosecute Amazon.com Over Antitrust Claims

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could prosecute Amazon.com Inc AMZN over antitrust claims. Amazon's legal team engaged in a video conference with FTC officials on 15 August, typically a final effort to avoid a court battle. 
  • However, Amazon did not propose any specific concessions during this crucial meeting.
  • The FTC, which has been investigating Amazon's practices for several years, plans to file its lawsuit against the tech giant later this month. 

Revving Up Luxury: Toyota Launches New Chauffeur-Driven Century, With Fully Customizable Options

  • Toyota Motor Corporation TM launched a new version of its chauffeur-driven Century model in Japan, with a monthly base sales volume of 30 units.
  • The new model of the Century will be fully customizable globally.
  • The production of the latest model will be done in the Tahara Plant. The manufacturer's suggested retail price for the vehicle is JPY25 million (~$170,000). 



SoftBank Backed Arm Eyes $52B IPO With T. Rowe Price as Key Player

  • Arm Holdings Ltd, a chip designer backed by SoftBank Group Corp SFTBF SFTBY, has officially launched its roadshow for its highly anticipated initial public offering. 
  • The company aims to convince investors that it's worth as much as $52 billion in what could be the most significant share sale of the year.

Warner Music Expands Portfolio with Majority Stake in 10K Projects, Bolstering Next-Gen Talent

  • Warner Music Group Corp WMG inked a joint venture with 10K Projects, the groundbreaking Los Angeles-based label founded in 2016 by Elliot Grainge, the son of Universal Music chief Lucian Grainge — Warner Music's rival.  
  • 10K Projects will become a standalone label within the WMG ecosystem, bringing its superstar roster and next-generation team into the WMG fold.
  • Warner Music has acquired a majority stake in record company 10K Projects, the upstart label behind the rapper Ice Spice, for an undisclosed sum.

Roku Disclosed Additional Measures To Reduce Its Operating Expense Growth Rate

  • Roku Inc ROKU stock is trading higher Wednesday after the company disclosed additional measures to cut down its year-over-year operating expense growth rate.
  • It intends to do so by consolidating its office space utilization, performing a strategic review of its content portfolio, reducing outside services expenses, and slowing its year-over-year headcount expense growth rate through a workforce reduction and limiting new hires, among other measures. 

United Airlines Planes Back In Air After Temporary Grounding

  • Shares of United Airlines Holdings Inc UAL fell more than 3% during Tuesday's trading session after the company issued a notice to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) asking it to ground all United Airlines flights until further notice due to an "equipment outage."
  • Flights that were en route to their destinations continued as planned, but the airline was holding the rest of its aircraft at their departure airports due to a "systemwide technology issue," it said on X.

Is Moderna's New Vaccine the Answer to the Highly Mutated BA.2.86 COVID-19 Variant?

  • Moderna Inc's MRNA clinical trial data from its research assay confirm that its updated COVID-19 vaccine generates an 8.7-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies in humans against BA.2.86 (Pirola), a variant under monitoring. 
  • The updated COVID-19 vaccine is pending approval by the FDA for the fall 2023 vaccination season.



Spotify's Paid-Subscriber Dilemma - Lyrics May Hold the Key

  • Spotify Inc SPOT is witnessing a surge in its user base, but its paid subscribers growth lags behind free listeners. In response, the music-streaming giant is exploring a move to put lyrics behind its paywall.
  • Recently, Spotify made headlines by restricting lyrics access to some non-paying users. 
  • This alteration is currently in the testing phase.



Google's Play Store Class Action Suit Nears Settlement for Antitrust Claims - Will Regulatory Overhang End?

  • Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL Google tentatively settled a class action suit for allegedly violating antitrust norms by its U.S. Play Store by overcharging customers on Tuesday.
  • The financial terms of the settlement remained disclosed.
  • In the action brought by over 30 U.S. states and representing 21 million consumers, the plaintiffs had claimed that Google's monopoly took a toll on the consumers who could have spent less on apps and had more options.

General Motors' Manufacturing Momentum May Be Pressured On UAW Demands

  • General Motors Company GM reportedly said that the United Auto Workers union's demands will pressure the auto behemoth's manufacturing momentum. The company wants to reach a "fair" agreement without a strike.
  • The UAW demands have "significant costs attached that would threaten our ability to maintain our manufacturing momentum," Johnson said.

C&S, SoftBank Near Deal To Purchase Stores From Kroger, Albertsons

  • C&S Wholesale Grocers, backed by SoftBank Corp SFBQF, is reportedly approaching a deal to buy stores from The Kroger Company KR and Albertsons Companies Inc ACI.
  • KR and ACI are looking to sell these stores to get regulatory approvals for their imminent $24.6 billion acquisition.
  • The transaction value and store count are unknown.

Apple Secures Long-Term Chip Partnership with British Chipmaker Arm, Solidifying Tech Dominance

  • Apple Inc AAPL inked a fresh deal with British chip designer Arm Ltd for chip technology that extends beyond 2040.
  • The companies signed the deal between 21 August - 5 September.
  • Arm owns the intellectual property behind the computing architecture for most of the world's smartphones, which it licenses to Apple and many others.
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