TIME Advertising

Watch Apple’s Black Friday iPhone Ads

See six ads from both sides of Apple’s — and America’s — cultural divide.

Having cut the cable TV cord before the busiest shopping day of the year, I had to go to YouTube to see how Apple was promoting its products in advance of Black Friday.

Here’s what I found: Six ads in two days, three for the iPhone and three for Beats by Dre, the headphone-and-streaming-music company acquired by Apple in May for $3 billion.

I liked them all. But they’re very different.

Two white comedians, Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon, are once again carrying the water for Apple.

Beats’ SoloSelfie-with-iPhone campaign taps into a different celebrity culture.

The iPhone ads

Nov. 24: Gamers

Nov. 24: Reservations

Nov. 26: Voice text

The Beats by Dre ads

Nov. 26: #SoloSelfie Kenan Thompson Tutorial

Nov. 26: #SoloSelfie

Nov. 26: #SoloSelfie – The Tutorial

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Black Friday

How a Target Store Gets Ready for Black Friday

A Target department store is seen in Springfield, Va., on Oct. 23, 2014 Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images

Target gave a peek at how its stores get ready for Black Friday

When you show up at your favorite store on Thanksgiving night looking for that big deal on a smart TV, you will probably be too busy to think about all the work—and science—that went into prepping the place, from putting up signage, to laying out and replenishing the merchandise, to establishing safety protocols.

For a big-box store like Target, it takes pretty much a small village to make the Black Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping extravaganza go off without a hitch.

One such village is the 170,000-square-foot Target store in Westbury, N.Y., where Tony Roman, senior group vice president overseeing the retailer’s stores in Greater New York, gave Fortune a tour this week ahead of Thanksgiving. (Target stores open at 6 p.m. on the holiday.)

Below, in loosely chronological order, is how this Target gets ready in the days before Thanksgiving evening.

1. The calm before the storm

Target starts planning two months in advance, thinking about crowd control practices, scheduling workers and planning on stocking and replenishing merchandise for the biggest shopping weekend of the year.

2. Earlier in the week: Starting to put the Black Friday hot sellers on the floor

Some items that Target will push over the Black Friday weekend need more room in the store, often encroaching on space normally given to other products. Take these microwaves. The retailer will stock 40 of them on an area in heavily trafficked aisle that normally holds bedding. But it will also stock the ovens where they normally live (see below), so regulars know where to look for them. And that area is also near their temporary home so that it’s easy for staff to replenish the stock.

Target this year has added maps for each store to its app so shoppers can find where the deals are, given that many items won’t be in their usual place.

3. Earlier in the week: Changing the merchandise it showcases at the end of an aisle

“Endcaps” are what retailers call the area at the end of an aisle where they stock on popular items to capitalize on the the large amount of traffic that goes by. By the time stores open on Thursday, the Target in Westbury will have changed over 100 endcaps in the store.

4. Already done : Stacking the hot sellers like toys and TVs on the floor

A lot of the hot items like FurReal toys are on already shelves, stacked high, and on the store floor, and workers have “deboxed” many more and put them in bins for quick replenishment throughout the weekend. Such products are placed prominently on the floor too.

5. Unloading extra trucks for the bonanza

The Westbury Target is 170,000 square-feet in size, making it bigger than average. To make sure there is enough inventory, Target has already received three trucks worth of merchandise, whereas a more typical Target would get one or two trucks’ worth.

6. Wednesday afternoon: Setting up the barricades for shoppers who will line up on Thanksgiving

To make sure things proceed in an orderly manner on Thursday for the doorbusters, Target will set up barricades on Wednesday (and complete the last bit of it, right in front of the store entrance) on Thursday before the opening.

7. Overnight into Thanksgiving: Setting up the hot areas like the iPad store and install the signate

Apple’s iPad will be a hot item this Black Friday weekend, and Target is giving it its own specific line, and cash registers so things move swiftly, and don’t impede customers shopping for something else. There will be balloons to alert shoppers to the iPad area. The temporary iPad lines will be set up overnight Wednesday.

During the wee hours, shoppers will be putting up signage throughout the store indicating to customers to what’s on sale. (The bin in the picture will not feature picture frames on Black Friday. These bins usually hold softer items like bedding or pillows.)

8. Thursday afternoon: Handing out tickets to guarantee the hottest items

On Thursday afternoon, Target workers will go visit customers waiting in line and hand out tickets to those wanting to buy either of the two hot TVs the retailer is offering deals on so they are guaranteed one. The idea is to free them up to shop more and not worry about getting the TV first, or risk having the shoppers leave as soon as they get the TV.

“In the past, guests would come in, get a TV, get in line, and couldn’t continue to shop—this time, they will be able to,” said Roman.

9. Thursday late afternoon: 100 or so Target staff get ready for show time

Target will staff as many as 100 people at a time in shifts over the big shopping weekend. (Wal-Mart Stores has promised to staff every single cash register in the U.S. during peak times, so Target needs to similarly be ready.)

Soon before 6 p.m., the first shift of workers will start what will be a 30-hour shopping blitz. Show time.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Retail

Why Your Boss Will Turn a Blind Eye on Cyber Monday as You Shop Online

Most companies have given up trying to keep people from shopping at work

Braving the local mall this weekend may appeal to fewer shoppers this year than last, but online stores expect a cheery Cyber Monday. With total holiday sales forecast at $617 billion, up about 4% over last year, online shopping will jump 16%, according to the National Federation of Retailers—and more of those online shoppers will be sitting at their desks, especially if they work at tech companies.

The number of companies allowing “unrestricted access” to non-work sites has leapt 17 percentage points in just the past two years, says a new survey from staffing firm Robert Half Technology, and fewer employers bother monitoring for “excessive” web surfing. Altogether, about two-thirds (69%) have given up trying to keep people from shopping at work.

That’s not to say that the IT department is always thrilled with it. “There’s still a higher risk of corrupting the network when you have large numbers of employees visiting a lot of outside sites,” notes John Reed, RHT’s senior executive director. “But, even so, there’s more upside to allowing it than to trying to lock it down.”

One reason is that people bent on, say, the latest Disney “Frozen” doll or an Xbox One are nothing if not determined. “So it’s either a three-hour lunch for a trip to the mall, or 10 minutes online at their work stations,” observes Reed. The rise of BYOD (bring your own device) policies in most workplaces plays a part, too. “From a productivity standpoint, you gain nothing by blocking retail sites,” Reed says. “People will just use their own iPads.”

A subtler reason for turning a blind eye to online shopping is that “employees want control over their own time,” Reed notes. “So employers are trying harder to be flexible. They’re looking for any edge that will keep talent, especially tech talent, from taking a phone call from a recruiter.”

Besides, it’s tough to tell people they can’t shop online during work hours when they see their bosses doing it. More than half (53%) of senior managers—defined as “C-suite executives, vice presidents, directors, managers, and supervisors” —admit they’ll use company time to go cyber-shopping, says CareerBuilder’s 2014 Cyber Monday survey, versus 46% of professional and entry-level staffers who say the same.

If gift-buying online at the office looks like a major distraction, consider the following: It could help people focus on their work by serving as a seasonal stress reliever. A 2013 poll by the National Federation of Retailers found that 46% of women, and 78% of men, ranked in-person shopping—and battling the holiday crowds—as “more stressful than a trip to the DMV.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Earnings

Uber Reportedly Valued at $40 Billion by Investors

Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Uber’s PR troubles are not scaring off investors

On-demand ride service Uber is raising new funding at a valuation of between $35 billion and $40 billion, according to a new report from Bloomberg. This would be one of the richest “venture capital” rounds in history (Facebook still holds the crown), and likely mean that investors expect Uber to eventually go public at a valuation of at least $100 billion.

T. Rowe Price reportedly is in talks to come aboard as a new investor, while existing shareholder Fidelity Investments also would participate.

There have been market rumors that the round would be structured as convertible debt rather than preferred equity, although those rumors also were married to a $25 billion valuation. If the price has changed, so might have the security type.

It also is unclear if the round — which Bloomberg reports is designed to raise at least $1 billion — would include any so-called secondary sales by Uber employees or early investors. Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick is on record as saying that, to date, he has never sold any of his stock in the company.

Uber last raised money earlier this year, when it secured around $1.2 billion at a $17 billion pre-money valuation. Since then, it has experienced massive growth and more than its fair share of controversy. Just last week, a company executive floated the idea of creating an opposition research arm to dig up dirt on critical reporters, while another Uber executive was accused of improperly accessing and displaying a specific user’s data.

In addition to Fidelity, existing Uber shareholders include Benchmark, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Menlo Ventures, Google Ventures, TPG Capital, Summit Partners, Wellington Management, BlackRock and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com


EPA Poised to Announce Proposed Air Pollution Limits

A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station, a coal-fired power plant located 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, on Sept. 24, 2013 in New Eagle, Pa.
A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station, a coal-fired power plant located 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, on Sept. 24, 2013 in New Eagle, Pa. Jeff Swensen—Getty Images

Regulation will be aimed at smog from power plants and factories across the country, a report says

The Environmental Protection Agency is on Wednesday poised to announced federal air-pollution regulation that would limit ground-level smog, according to various media reports.

The regulation will be aimed at smog from power plants and factories across the country, according to a New York Times report, and would be the latest effort by the EPA to place regulations on air pollution.

Meanwhile, the proposal is expected to reignite a spat between businesses and environmental groups, Wall Street Journal reported. Back in 2011, the EPA estimated that the proposed standard — then set at the toughest level the agency had yet considered — could cost $90 billion a year to utilities and other businesses. President Barack Obama delayed issuing it, WSJ reports.

Ozone in the air is an oxidant that can irritate the air ways and cause coughing, a burning sensation, shortness of breath, and other lung diseases. Children, people with lung disease, older adults, and those who are active outdoors are most sensitive to ozone, according to the EPA. Ozone, or smog, is particularly likely to reach unhealthy levels on hot sunny days in cities.

The EPA will seek public comment on limiting ozone pollution between 65 to 70 parts per billion of ozone in the air, the WSJ reports, citing people familiar with the matter. That line is what an independent scientific advisory panel recommended earlier this year and is also below the current level — set at 75 parts per billion — which was set in 2008 under the then-President George W. Bush administration.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Crime

Taser, Rival Think Their Body Cameras Could Have Helped in Ferguson

Cameras on Cops
Patrol Sergeant John Crowley wears the Taser Axon camera that will be issued to all officers to record their interactions with the public Karl Gehring—Denver Post/Getty Images

The LAPD could be the first top police department to outfit every officer with Taser’s Axon body-mounted camera

The LAPD could be the first top police department to outfit every officer with Taser’s Axon body-mounted camera.

A St. Louis County grand jury’s decision Monday not to indict a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., over the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager has led to demonstrations around the nation. The lack of camera footage means no one knows for sure exactly what happened when the controversial shooting took place. Would better technology have helped? Taser thinks so.

Taser, of course, is best known for the tiny stun guns carried by police and sometimes civilians, made particularly famous a few years ago when a student at the University of Florida screamed “Don’t tase me, bro!” at officers arresting him during a speech given by then-Sen. John Kerry. Now, though, Taser is looking get the word out that it’s more than just a weapons company.

In addition to those stun guns, Taser sells Axon body-mounted cameras to police departments, and they’re used to record officer interactions with civilians. After an interaction is recorded, it’s automatically sent to Evidence.com, a cloud storage system run by Taser and built using technology provided by Amazon.

Earlier this month, Scottsdale, Ariz., -based Taser announced its biggest client yet — the Los Angeles Police Department. Although the order hasn’t come in yet, Taser’s CEO Rick Smith said he thinks the agency will make Taser’s Axon cameras standard equipment for all officers. Smith said an official order from the LAPD would likely come before the end of the year.

The LAPD would be the first of the five biggest police departments to make the cameras standard issue. Taser has also added the business of a number of other big city police departments — including Pittsburgh and San Francisco — over the past year.

Of course, Taser is not the only company looking to capitalize on the increased focus on police technology. Utility Inc., based in Tucker, Ga., has been making wireless routers that are used in cars for years. Recently, though, it has brought to market an on-body camera that’s similar to Taser’s Axon.

Taser’s CEO Smith says there’s a pressing need for better technology for police officers to increase transparency.

“We have [departments] that are still using VHS tapes to store their video,” Smith said. “The better way to think, from a practical perspective, about law enforcement, isn’t like the surveillance state of advanced technology, it’s like your local city government. This is a small department.”

Smith said there is a particular market for Taser’s cameras and cloud service because it all comes in one user-friendly package, meaning police departments don’t have to go through the bureaucratic procurement process for cameras, storage or servers — instead, Taser takes care of it all.

Utility also uses an Amazon-based cloud storage system for its cameras. CEO Bob McKeeman said he considers his company’s technology to be “Second Generation” because turning on a squad car’s lights, or opening the door automatically activates the cameras. Taser plans on introducing similar technology early in 2015, with the added bonus that when one camera is triggered, other cameras in the vicinity will also turn on.

For now, not every police officer is wearing a camera, mostly because not every police department can afford to buy the technology. McKeeman thinks prices will eventually come down as the price of the technology declines, and eventually cameras will become as commonplace as a radio in the police officer’s daily equipment set.

“We see it as inevitable,” he said. “Every police officer is going to have a body-worn camera.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

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TIME Companies

Apple’s Market Cap Just Hit $700 Billion for the First Time

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
People attend the Apple keynote at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts at De Anza College on Sept. 9, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

The number has doubled since Tim Cook took over as CEO from Steve Jobs three years ago

Apple hit a major symbolic milestone Tuesday morning as its market capitalization topped $700 billion for the first time.

The tech giant’s market cap has doubled since Tim Cook took over as CEO three years ago when Steve Jobs stepped down from the role. The company’s stock has hit several new record highs lately on the heels of September’s wildly successful launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Apple shares have jumped by 21% since the company unveiled the new smartphones at a product event that also heralded the arrival of the much-hyped Apple Watch and the new Apple Pay mobile payments system.

The Apple Pay service became available last month, while the Apple Watch will go on sale in 2015.

But, the latest iterations of the iPhone have been driving up the company’s value since they went on sale in September and posted a record opening weekend by selling more than 10 million units. Apple is expected to keep selling those phones at a swift pace over the holiday season, with at least one analyst forecasting 71.5 million iPhone shipments in the fourth quarter.

At this point, Apple’s market cap is higher than the gross domestic product of all but 19 of the world’s countries, coming just behind Saudi Arabia (GDP of $745 billion) and ahead of Switzerland ($650 billion), according to data compiled by the World Bank.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Companies

Home Depot Faces Dozens of Data Breach Lawsuits

Home Depot Reports 14 Percent Rise In Net Income In Third Quarter
A sign stands in front of a Home Depot store on Nov. 18, 2014 in Daly City, Calif. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

The chain also faces investigations by a number of state and federal agencies

Home Depot is facing at least 44 lawsuits related to a data breach at the home-improvement retailer that involved the theft of payment card information and customer e-mail addresses.

The retailer warned it was facing dozens of civil lawsuits in the U.S. and Canada, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as investigations by a number of state and federal agencies.

The fallout continues at Home Depot, which suffered from a data breach earlier this year that exposed millions of payment cards and e-mail addresses. Much of the damage has been fairly well contained, as Home Depot’s latest sales results signaled that customers weren’t dissuaded from visiting the retailer’s stores even after the data breach made headlines in September. But Home Depot warned it has recorded millions in costs, and observers say more expenses will be booked as Home Depot manages the fallout from the breach.

Home Depot on Tuesday warned the lawsuits could affect its business, resulting in additional costs and fines and potentially diverting the attention of the company’s management team away from standard operations. In addition, the government could impose injunction relief, which Home Depot said could result in higher data security costs.

The retailer also said it believed it was probable “that the payment card networks will make claims against the company.” Those claims would likely include amounts for counterfeit fraud losses, as well as other expenses such as the issuance of new cards. Home Depot indicated it could potentially settle those claims in negotiations with the payment card companies.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com


Sony Joins Emirates in Ending Its World Cup Sponsorship

Pressure grows on FIFA

Sony is to end its sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup against the background of a corruption scandal over the awarding of the next two tournaments to Qatar and Russia, according to a report published Tuesday.

Citing a person familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal said that the company had decided not to renew its contract as one of six “official partners” of FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, when it expires at the end of this year. The WSJ said the eight-year contract was worth 33 billion yen ($280 million).

The news is further evidence of the price FIFA is paying for its failure to clear up accusations of corruption in the tenders to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. The Japanese consumer electronics giant is the second major sponsor to walk away from one of the world’s biggest sporting events within weeks, following Emirates Airlines.

Earlier this month, FIFA refused to publish in full a report by U.S. lawyer Michael J. Garcia into the allegations. Instead, it released selected excerpts of the report, clearing itself of any wrongdoing. Garcia immediately responded that it had materially misrepresented his findings. FIFA’s conclusions effectively ended any prospect of re-staging the tenders.

The incident reignited outrage in Europe’s powerful national soccer associations and leagues at the shortcomings of FIFA’s management, and specifically at its Swiss head, Sepp Blatter.

The German soccer league, one of many which fears that its seasons will be disrupted by the need to move the Qatar tournament away from its traditional summer slot, has called for a European boycott of the tournaments in protest at the alleged cover-up.

In response to the uproar, FIFA later said it had passed the report to another internal committee and to the Swiss attorney-general, saying that “there seem to be grounds for suspicion that, in isolated cases, international transfers of assets with connections to Switzerland took place, which merit examination by the criminal prosecution authorities.”

Sony hasn’t confirmed the report but had earlier called on FIFA to be thorough and transparent in investigating the allegations.

A FIFA spokesman said: “The existing contract with Sony runs until 31 December 2014 and we are currently in discussions with the brand.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com


Twitter Exec’s Errant Message Makes Acquisition Aspirations Public

TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 - Day 3
Anthony Noto formerly of Goldman Sachs speaks onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 at The Manhattan Center on May 1, 2013 in New York City. Brian Ach—Getty Images

Twitter’s CTO accidentally posts a private message about buying another company

Note to executives: Beware of using Twitter to send private notes to colleagues.

Anthony Noto, Twitter’s chief financial officer, showed why on Monday when he accidentally posted a message on Twitter for everyone to see suggesting an acquisition of another company.

“I still think we should buy them,” Noto wrote. “He is on your schedule for Dec. 15 or 16 — we will need to sell him. I have a plan.”

His message, later deleted, immediately raised speculation about the unidentified acquisition target. But more importantly, it hammered home a frequent complaint about Twitter: It’s direct messaging service is confusing to use and occasionally leads to embarrassing mistakes like Noto’s. There’s even a name for it, DM fail, for direct message failure.

Noto, a former Goldman Sachs banker, was hired in July to help improve the company’s lagging financial performance. Acquisitions would be an obvious part of the strategy and, in fact, are relatively common for Twitter, which most recently bought Mitro, a password security firm.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

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