LatestA California appeals court just ruled that Amazon is legally liable for defective products sold on its site by third parties The decision overturned an earlier ruling from a trial court in favor of Amazon's motion for a summary judgment, though the company can still appeal to the state's Supreme Court. It could open up Amazon to huge legal costs or force it to police sellers on its site more strictly.
The case concerned a replacement laptop battery that Amazon customer Angela Bolger purchased from a Hong Kong-based company called Lenoge Technology, which went by "E-Life" on Amazon's online marketplace. Bolger alleged in her lawsuit that "the battery exploded several months later, and she suffered severe burns as a result," for which she argued Amazon should be held responsible.
Amazon had argued that it wasn't liable because "it did not distribute, manufacture, or sell the product," and that Lenoge was the seller.
But the court disagreed, finding that Amazon played such an outsized role in the transaction that it bore the responsibility for the defective battery.
Thursday's ruling potentially opens up the online retail giant to significant legal exposure from other customers who could bring similar lawsuits for faulty or damaged products. It could also force Amazon to adjust its policies to more tightly regulate third-party sellers.
The number of third-party sellers on Amazon has grown substantially in the past several years, and they now account for more than half of the products listed on the site. That has also led to a spike in defective, counterfeit, unsafe, expired, and even illegal or prohibited listings.
The maker of the blazing game "Fortnite" is suing Apple Apple on Thursday removed a currently popular game from its app merchandise: Fortnite, saying that its maker Epic Games has announced a way to allow players to use Apple’s proprietary payment system The way to purchase in-game currency under circumstances violates Apple’s guidelines.
Epic Games filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claiming that Apple violated U.S. antitrust laws and that the company has an anti-competitive monopoly on the distribution of iOS applications. Epic Games believes that Apple’s removal of its "Fortnite" game imposes unreasonable restrictions, and unlawfully maintains its payment market within iOS apps, which is another example of a 100% monopoly. Epic also stated in the complaint that it requires an injunction to prohibit Apple's alleged anti-competitive behavior and requires Apple to resume competition.
Corporate America Worries WeChat Ban Could Be Bad for Business U.S. companies whose fortunes are linked to China are pushing back against the Trump administration’s plans to restrict business transactions involving the WeChat app from Tencent Holdings Ltd., saying it could undermine their competitiveness in the world’s second-biggest economy. More than a dozen major U.S. multinational companies raised concerns in a call with White House officials Tuesday about the potentially broad scope and impact of Mr. Trump’s executive order targeting WeChat, set to take effect late next month. Apple Inc., Ford Motor Co., Walmart Inc. and Walt Disney Co. were among those participating in the call, according to people familiar with the situation. “For those who don’t live in China, they don’t understand how vast the implications are if American companies aren’t allowed to use it,” said Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council. “They are going to be held at a severe disadvantage to every competitor,” he added.
Other participants in the call Tuesday included Procter & Gamble Co., Intel Corp., MetLife Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, United Parcel Service Inc., Merck & Co. Inc. and Cargill Inc., according to the people. The companies either declined to comment or didn’t respond to requests for comment. Their participation in the call with the White House is another sign that deteriorating relations between Washington and Beijing poses a threat to commercial relations between the two nations.
Manhattan’s vacant apartments hit a new high, breaking through 13,000 units, which may have a knock-on effect on the entire economy When the epidemic broke out in March and April, although hundreds of thousands of residents left the city of New York, brokers and landlords still expected that many people would return to New York in July and August. After all, the epidemic eased during this time. , The city blockade has also been relaxed, so the brokers can show the apartment to everyone again and rent it out. July and August are usually the peak seasons for apartment rentals, but this year has become "dark". The real estate and economic problems in Manhattan, New York may extend into the fall or beyond.
The number of vacant apartments for rent in Manhattan soared to the highest level in recent history, breaking through 13,000 units. The number of apartments for rent, or the inventory of listings, more than doubled from last year, and the number of newly signed leases also dropped by 23%. New leases in all areas of Manhattan have dropped significantly. But the Upper East Side was the hardest hit, with new leases falling by 39%.
The surge in the number of empty apartments in the nation's largest rental market is likely to have a knock-on effect on the entire economy. According to estimates by housing experts, about half of the rental apartments in Manhattan are from small owners, rather than large listed companies or large real estate owners with strong funds. As the income of small business owners decreases, they may not be able to pay the property tax, which is the largest source of income in New York City. For the landlord, these years may be difficult.
The number of people applying for unemployment in the U.S. fell below 1 million for the first time since March, and the labor market is recovering In the U.S., 963,000 people applied for unemployment as of the week of August 8, far below the 1.1 million estimated by economists in the Dow Jones survey. This is a decrease of 228,000 from the previous week's total, and it is also the first time since March 21 that it fell below 1 million. Previously, due to the coronavirus epidemic, the number of people applying for unemployment in the U.S. has exceeded 1 million for 20 consecutive weeks. Although the number of people applying for unemployment in the past week has finally fallen below 1 million, this indicates that the labor market is continuing to recover from the virus pandemic, but the job market There is still a lot of work to be done to return to normal. The job turnover rate is still extremely high, much higher than the level before the epidemic.
Young Wuhan Evacuee Finds No Refuge From Coronavirus in U.S. When the coronavirus exploded in Wuhan earlier this year, Hermione Dickey’s parents worked frantically to get the 8-year-old American out of the central Chinese city and onto a U.S. evacuation flight. Six months after relocating to the U.S., she is again surrounded by the virus. This time the young girl has it. So does her father. And her grandparents. Now staying near Memphis, Tenn., the blond-haired, blue-eyed Hermione was born in central China in 2012 when her American parents were working there as teachers. Hermione spent most of her childhood in China until this year, when she became a public face of the U.S. government’s evacuation of its citizens from Wuhan, which was then the coronavirus’ locked-down epicenter. “When we evacuated, we thought, ‘We’re getting her to safety,’” said James Dickey, Hermione’s father. But in the U.S., he said, the “inability to control the virus made it exponentially worse. I’ve just been watching with a jaw dropped.”
After testing positive for Covid-19 last week, Hermione was put under quarantine—for the third time this year—as western Tennessee emerges as a fresh hotbed of the fast-spreading virus. For her parents, who are estranged but cooperate for their daughter’s well-being, the diagnosis has sparked frustration and helplessness at their efforts to protect Hermione. “I’m just hoping she doesn’t get a real bad case of it,” said her mother, Priscilla Dickey. Shelby County, which includes Memphis and its suburbs, reported 235 new cases on the day Hermione was tested. The county, with a population of less than a million people, now has more than 23,600 coronavirus cases—more than twice as many as Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, had accumulated by the time Hermione was evacuated in early February.
Hermione, who was named for the Harry Potter character, spends half of every month with Ms. Dickey in Ohio and the other half 650 miles away with Mr. Dickey’s family in the Memphis suburbs. There, Hermione’s two paternal grandparents have also been infected with Covid-19; her grandfather, winded by the virus last week, has checked into a hospital. Hermione, meantime, has spent the summer swinging and trampolining with her cousins, whose mother also recently tested positive. For now, Hermione says she feels “just fine” and her parents are reporting only sniffles and sneezes. They have taken comfort from scientific research that suggests children are at a lower risk of death, though infections among children are also rising, confounding doctors.
Major Antibody Study Finds 3.4 Million in England Had Covid-19 Around 3.4 million people in England -- 6% of the population -- have contracted coronavirus, with infection rates twice as high in London, a major antibody study found. A mass survey of more than 100,000 people -- which the government says is the biggest of its kind in the world -- suggested the extent of the outbreak varied widely between different areas and population groups. In London, 13% of people had antibodies while in the South West of England it was less than 3%, according to the research, released by the Department of Health and Imperial College London. People from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups, care workers, and people living in larger households were among the most likely to have been infected.
Two Chinese Patients Test Positive Months After Virus Recovery A 68-year-old woman in the central Chinese province of Hubei, where the novel coronavirus first surfaced in December, tested positive on Sunday, six months after she was diagnosed with Covid-19 and recovered. Another man found to have contracted the disease in April after returning from abroad tested positive in Shanghai on Monday but hasn’t shown any symptoms. None of the patients’ close contacts has tested positive for the virus, but they have been placed under quarantine, local authorities said.
Two patients in China that recovered from Covid-19 months ago tested positive for the coronavirus again, raising concern of the virus’s ability to linger and reappear in people who it previously infected. While it is rare for recovered patients to test positive again, the phenomenon raises questions over why some patients suffer from long-term symptoms, and whether any immunity to the disease might be too ephemeral to protect against re-infection. Some studies have shown the level of protective antibodies an infected person may build up to fight the virus quickly drop after only a few months, possibly making them susceptible to the same pathogen a second time. However, there is little evidence so far that re-infection has been occurring in this pandemic. Some experts have raised the possibility that other cells continue to provide immunity even after antibodies fade. Researchers in South Korea have suggested that the virus detected in patients months after recovery could be the vestiges of dead virus particles that are no longer infectious.
If Uber fails in the final appeal and needs to classify the driver as an employee, its service is likely to be temporarily closed in California. Both Uber and rival Lyft have about a week to appeal a preliminary injunction given by a California judge on Monday, which will prohibit the two companies from continuing to classify their drivers as independent workers. After the order is issued, Uber and Lyft will be required to provide workers with benefits and unemployment insurance. Both Uber and Lyft said they will appeal within 10 days of the ruling.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi did not classify drivers as employees. Instead, he advocated what he called the "third way", which is to maintain the independence of drivers while allowing the company to provide some protection. Before the court’s decision, Khosrowshahi stated in New York Times that companies such as Uber can pay fees to a fund, and workers can draw paid vacation or medical benefits from the fund based on their working hours.
Khosrowshahi said on Wednesday that if Uber fails to win the appeal, his plan B will be to temporarily suspend services in California. Because it is difficult to quickly convert all drivers to full-time employees. Although he said that Uber will resume services in the state later, it may be more city-centric, which may mean that services provided in less concentrated areas, such as suburbs, will become limited. Khosrowshahi also emphasized that the suspension of services in the state will cost thousands of drivers the income they normally receive from Uber.
Disney’s CEO Is Scrapping Once-Sacred Businesses When Walt Disney Co. announced that it had closed more than 20 foreign TV channels last week, Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek looked like he was taking the knife to a big chunk of the company’s international audience. The move would have been unthinkable a few years ago. But Chapek -- less than six months after succeeding longtime CEO Bob Iger -- is using the Covid-19 crisis to transform Disney much faster than expected, all with an eye toward making the company an online juggernaut that reaches far more people worldwide. Besides scrapping the networks, he shut down a musical version of the animated film “Frozen” that opened with much fanfare on Broadway two years ago, closed a chain of English-language schools in China, and scaled back a $1 billion resort-technology project that has largely been replaced by a simple mobile-phone app.
With the global pandemic crippling Disney’s theme-park, movie and TV businesses, Chapek’s first months atop the world’s largest entertainment company have been anything but a honeymoon. The broad-shouldered, 61-year-old Indiana native jumped in with characteristic zeal, making big changes to cope with the crisis and the tectonic forces reshaping the company’s core businesses. The decisions came large and small. Disney shuttered its theme parks in March, anchored its cruise ships and furloughed some 100,000 workers. Revenue slumped 42% last quarter, hurt by the closed businesses and loss of advertising sales at networks like ESPN and ABC. But the biggest strategic shift is unquestionably Disney’s push into online video. Chapek provided a clue to what was coming in June, when the company said it was removing the Disney Channel TV networks from pay-TV systems operated by Virgin Media and Sky in the U.K. and putting the programming on the new Disney+ streaming service instead.