Day: September 18, 2020

Apple sued for copying businesswoman’s idea for diverse emojis

Apple Inc. was sued for allegedly copying an innovation credited with helping bring racial diversity to the world of emojis, those ubiquitous characters used as shortcuts to express emotions in digital communications.

Katrina Parrott, a Black businesswoman, debuted her copyrighted method for letting users choose from five skin tones to color a line of emojis — known as iDiversicons — on Apple’s App Store in 2013 and on iTunes in 2014.

Parrott claims Apple stiff-armed her pursuit of a partnership deal after a series of 2014 meetings and communications between herself and two senior Apple software engineers, who got a close look at her technology. Apple released its own five-skin tone keyboard modifier pallet in April 2015, and downloads of Parrott’s iDiversicons dropped.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in Waco, Parrott accuses Apple of infringing her copyright and trade dress, misappropriating her ideas and technology, unfair competition

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Small Business: How a New Mexico Shop Is Working Out Rent With Its Landlord

Aspen Copies in Los Alamos, NM

Editor’s note: The article is part of a package about small business owners struggling with rent obligations.

Dawn Cline, the owner of Aspen Copies & Office Supplies in Los Alamos, New Mexico, home to one of the nation’s most important nuclear weapons laboratories, is in a precarious situation. She’s always paid her rent on time since moving to the location in 2006, but the pandemic is hurting her sales. Her landlord hasn’t cut her any slack. In May, her rent increased to just over $3,600.

Cline seems like she deserves a break. Because of the pandemic, her revenue is down roughly half compared to the same time period last year. She’s been using a wheelchair for about a decade because of reflex sympathetic nerve disorder. “I’m in 24-7 chronic burning pain all the time,” she says. Her store’s 1940s-era bathroom hasn’t been updated,

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The SPY And QQQ End The Week Teetering At Key Levels (Technically Speaking For The Week Of 9/14-9/18)

My Friday column contains two sections. The first uses the analytical format developed by Arthur Burns and Geoffrey Moore that organizes economic data into long-leading, leading, and coincidental buckets. The second looks at the chart of ETFs that track major averages.

Long-leading indicators

Burns and Moore use mid-rated bond yields to determine the level of financial stress. Since the time of their writing, several Fed banks have developed indexes which more broadly measure the same thing:

All three indexes — which spiked during the Spring lockdowns — have returned to more normal levels.

Third-quarter earnings estimates are still weak. From Factset (emphasis added):

The estimated (year-over-year) revenue decline for Q3 2020 is -3.9%, which is below the 5-year average revenue growth rate of 3.4%. Five sectors are expected to report year-over-year growth in revenues, led by Health Care sector. Six sectors are expected to report a year-over-year decline in

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Downtown Raleigh business reopens, thrives during pandemic shutdown with digital sales :: WRAL.com

— Like so many businesses in downtown Raleigh, the Zen Succulent had to close its doors to consider all that’s going on in 2020.

On Friday, Adela Li, the lead shopkeep, welcomed customers into The Zen Succulent for the first time in months.

“It was COVID,” she said. “That was originally the reason why we closed our shops.”

She said they took a week or two to think about what to do next, and how they should move forward.

Then, the two-year old Raleigh location was also damaged during downtown protests.

“It’s like one of those mad scrambles of like, well, now you have to reevaluate how you run everything and like how you communicate to people,” she said.

The store turned to its online presence to help save the store.

At first, their e-commerce website traffic was very low.

“We had been

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The Future Of Consumer Buying Will Drive The Reinvention Of Your Business

Any firm that sells to consumers must understand how four factors will influence their customers as well as their own business, and they need to start planning now to harness these trends to maximize the value of customer relationships. 

Forrester recently explored changes in how consumers buy products and services. The relationship between consumers and businesses is undergoing a multifaceted transformation based on four factors: the economic impact of marketplaces, next-generation product experiences, consumers’ perception of brand values and brands’ adoptions of business models. Any firm that sells to consumers must understand how these factors will influence their customers as well as their own business, and they need to start planning now to harness these trends to maximize the value of customer relationships. 

The effects will be far-reaching. Firms must not only navigate the four broad and interconnected forces of change, but they must be prepared to innovate continuously as

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Sequoia had a $9 billion week from three IPOs and helped on TikTok

Sequoia Capital Global Managing Partner Doug Leone speaks onstage during Day 2 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 at Moscone Center on September 6, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

Steve Jennings | Getty Images

Even by Sequoia’s standards, this was a crazy week. 

The 48-year-old venture capital firm, long the envy of its Silicon Valley peers because of early bets on Apple, Cisco, Google, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and Zoom, just wrapped up a five-day stretch that, for many rivals, would mark a strong five-year run.

Sequoia has an 8.4% stake in Snowflake, which had the biggest software IPO ever, and is the largest owner of gaming company Unity. It also owns shares in Sumo Logic, which debuted on Thursday.

Sequoia’s holdings in those three companies are worth about $9 billion as of Friday’s close.

And then there’s TikTok. The social media app owned by China’s ByteDance is under pressure by the Trump

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Florida parents reportedly smoking weed, drinking during kids’ remote classes

Some Florida parents have turned to booze and weed to get through remote learning with their kids.

Boca Raton Elementary teacher Edith Pride said some parents can be seen walking around unclothed while drinking and smoking during remote learning classes.

“We need to make sure parents don’t get on the computer to help their children with joints in their hand and cigarettes in their mouth,” Pride told Fox News. “Sometimes the joints are as big as cigars. You can’t do that!”

She said parents need to realize that there is a window into their homes during remote learning.

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT SUSPENDED REST OF SCHOOL YEAR AFTER PROTESTING REMOTE LEARNING

“We’ve seen the parents in towels, we’ve seen them in underclothes, we’ve seen them in bras,” Pride said. “It’s just inappropriate. The children can see it in the squares.”

After Pride voiced her frustration during a board meeting Wednesday, she

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Why Albertsons Is a Buy: More Meals at Home and the Stock Is Cheap

With Americans eating more meals at home, supermarkets are among the few traditional retailers to thrive, and

Albertsons

Cos., the nation’s fourth-largest grocer, is no exception.

Since the pandemic began in March, the owner of the Safeway and Acme supermarket chains has had sales growth of more than 20% and ample profits. Its stock is a different matter. The company went public in late June at $16 a share, and the stock has since fallen to around $13.

Now is the time to bag these marked-down shares. Albertsons (ticker: ACI) trades at a discount to virtually every company in the grocery business, including dollar stores like

Dollar General

(DG) and the largest food vendor,

Walmart

(WMT).

Albertsons also has an improving outlook and a dynamic CEO in Vivek Sankaran, who joined in 2019 from

PepsiCo

(PEP), where he headed the North American food business.

“We’re undervalued relative to our cash

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Nashville proposal offers sidewalk riding prevention, accessibility

CLOSE

Lime, an electric scooter sharing company, launches in Nashville

The Tennessean

Lime scooters plans to roll out new technology aimed at increasing accessibility in Nashville in the near future, pending the Metro Traffic Licensing Commission’s approval of Lime’s Nashville permit.

Scooters could soon be outfitted with sidewalk riding prevention technology and labeled with braille for easy identification for visually impaired individuals. On-call scooters with seats could also be delivered to those with limited ability to stand on the company’s other scooters.

The changes would follow a company milestone in Nashville: Lime scooters crossed the million ride mark this summer, replacing an estimated 300,000 car trips in Nashville, according to Lime Senior Operations Manager Lilli Krauss.

They are also meant to address concerns that have simmered in the city over the past year about the impact of electric scooters on the walkability and safety of Nashville’s sidewalks.

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Amazon, Postal Service scrambled in wake of Trump demands

The USPS memo, unreleased until this week, reflects the political bind facing the agency this spring as it sought to balance Trump’s political broadsides with its own urgent need to shore up its balance sheet. The Postal Service has had to borrow from the federal government to sustain operations in the face of a $160.9 billion debt, opening the door for the Trump administration to try to demand specific structural changes under its new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy.

Trump at times has even called the USPS a “joke,” and in April suggested it raise the price of a package by “approximately four times.” He has repeatedly claimed that the service is in debt because it delivers so many parcels on behalf of Amazon — an e-commerce titan that by far is the Postal Service’s largest corporate client, the newly obtained documents show.

(Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington

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