TIME Apple

Apple Is Now the World’s Second-Biggest Wearables Maker

Apple Watches on display in Madrid, Spain on June 26, 2015.
Pablo Cuadra—Getty Images Apple Watches on display in Madrid, Spain on June 26, 2015.

It's catching up on Fitbit

The term “wearables”—as in wearable technology, the next evolution of mobile electronics—has been on the lips of technologists for some time. It’s supposed to be the future—an $80 billion market, some estimate.

The potential of this nascent market has been rather hard to quantify. (So has the definition. Smart watches? Sure. Glasses? Perhaps. “Hearables“? Sure. Clothing? Well…) But a new IDC report shows that a trend line is emerging.

According to the market researcher, the worldwide wearables market grew 223.2% in the second quarter of 2015, as measured by total shipment volume across all vendors. (That figure: 18.1 million units, up from 5.6 million unit in Q2 2014.)

Bigger news: Apple is now the number-two vendor behind Fitbit.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company shipped 3.6 million units in the second quarter of 2015, “just 0.8 million units behind Fitbit’s 4.4 million units.” Apple has been mum on its Apple Watch sales, so this is rather interesting. (And squares with what Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly said during the retailer’s latest earnings call.)

To give you a sense of Apple’s impact on the category, consider that two of every three “smart wearables,” in IDC parlance, shipped this quarter were Apple Watches. That’s both affirming for Apple, which has a lot riding on its latest major device, and Fitbit, which has managed to beat back Cupertino’s competition despite only selling wearable devices with more basic functionality.

IDC believes Apple will eventually be the wearables market leader. That’s not a surprise, though the dark horse in all this is Samsung, which has demonstrated in smartphones that a quick follow can be just as competitive as a category-defining product. (Even though, it should be noted, Samsung has been selling such devices for far longer than Apple. Lenovo-owned Motorola, too.)

The breakdown:

1.) Fitbit. 4.4 million units shipped in 2Q15. 24.3% global market share. Up 159% from the same quarter a year ago.

2.) Apple. 3.6 million units shipped in 2Q15. 19.9% global market share. No YoY growth figures available because it wasn’t selling wearables a year ago.

3.) Xiaomi. 3.1 million units shipped in 2Q15. 17.1% global market share. No YoY growth figures available because it wasn’t selling wearables a year ago.

4.) Garmin. 700,000 units shipped in 2Q15. 3.9% global market share. Up 40% from the same quarter a year ago.

5.) Samsung. 600,000 units shipped in 2Q15. 3.3% global market share. Up 119% from the same quarter a year ago.

One catch to all this? Another recent report from Argus Insights suggests that consumer interest is slowing for wearables, sliding precipitously from the 2014 holiday season. A seasonal cycle like other consumer electronics, unhappiness with the products on the market, or something deeper? We’ll find out.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Companies

Somebody in China Has Set Up a Fake Goldman Sachs and Is Doing Business

U.S. Stocks Fall From Record as Microsoft, Google Miss on Profit
Scott Eells—Bloomberg via Getty Images The Goldman Sachs Co. logo is displayed at the company's booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on July 19, 2013

Because China

China has been known for ripping off designer goods, iPhones and even public sculpture. Now, financial companies can start worrying about having a Chinese counterfeit too.

American multinational financial giant Goldman Sachs Group Inc. appears to share an English name with Goldman Sachs (Shenzhen) Financial Leasing Co., a financial services company based in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. The company also uses the same Chinese moniker (Gao Sheng) as the American one, and even has a similar font for its logo, according to Bloomberg.

A spokeswoman for the American Goldman Sachs, Connie Ling, told Bloomberg that there is no connection between the two companies. A secretary at the Shenzhen company told Bloomberg that no one had ever inquired with her about the similarities.

Name-poaching isn’t the only controversy the company has encountered — it has also been accused of dabbling in money-laundering.

The company first came to light when a U.S. casino workers’ union sent a letter to the Chinese government complaining that the Shenzhen company was linked to the notorious gaming figure Cheung Chi-tai. Chinese prosecutors allege that Cheung in turn has links to organized crime and he is awaiting trial, Bloomberg says.

[Bloomberg]

TIME CEO pay

These Companies Have the Biggest CEO-Worker Pay Gaps

<> on July 7, 2015 in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Scott Olson—2015 Getty Images Discovery Communications CEO David M. Zaslav.

Glassdoor offers sneak peek into future pay disclosures

Glassdoor released a report Tuesday that shows the average CEO earns around 204 times what the company’s median worker receives.

The SEC adopted a new rule this month that will require publicly traded companies to disclose the ratio of CEO pay to median worker pay. Glassdoor has been ahead of the curve on this pay transparency mission, collecting voluntary and anonymous salary reports from employees since 2008. Glassdoor used the data to compile a report that shows what the ratios might look like once the SEC rule goes into effect in January 2017.

The highest CEO-worker pay ratio was found at Discovery Communications, where CEO David M. Zaslav makes 1,951 times more than his median workers. Zaslav took home $156 million in 2014, while median pay at the media company was $80,000.

Chipotle Mexican Grill came second on the list, with a pay ratio of 1,522, while CVS Health was third with a ratio of 1,192.

Microsoft’s CEO-worker pay ratio of 615 was the highest of the companies Glassdoor measured in the technology sector. Google’s ratio was 0, as CEO Larry Page receives a $1 annual salary. CEOs such as Page often get the vast majority of their income from their large share holdings.

TIME Companies

Amazon’s Newest Feature Is Great If You Need a Drink Right Now

Amazon Prime Summer Soiree Hosted By Erin And Sara Foster
Rachel Murray—Getty Images A general view of atmosphere during the Amazon Prime Summer Soiree hosted by Erin Foster and Sara Foster at Sunset Towers on July 16, 2015 in West Hollywood, California.

Well, an hour from now

Running out of beer or wine for that barbecue you are hosting? If you are in Seattle, and are a member of Amazon.com’s Prime program, you are in luck.

Starting Tuesday, Prime members in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle can get one- and two-hour delivery of beer, wine and hard liquor like whiskey, rum, and vodka with the launch of Prime Now there, making Seattle the first U.S. city to include alcohol in the assortment of products eligible for the quick-delivery service.

Prime Now, which operates via a stand-alone app on iOS and Android devices, already operates in a number of major U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Indianapolis, Miami, and New York, where it launched last year.

The program is available to member of the $99 a year Prime membership but offers a more limited assortment than Prime. Still, eligible products can be delivered within two hours at no charge, and in one hour for $7.99. The selection tends to be focused on last-minute needs such as party supplies, cleaning products, electronics and some food.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Companies

Starbucks CEO Asks Baristas to Be ‘Sensitive’ to Customers as Stock Market Plunges

howard-schultz
Stephen Brashear—Getty Images Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz speaks during Starbucks' annual shareholders meeting on March 18, 2015 in Seattle.

"Our customers are likely to experience an increased level of anxiety and concern"

The CEO of Starbucks asked his employees to be especially sensitive to customers because of the stress they may be feeling over the plunging stock market.

In an email to his 190,000 employees, Howard Schultz wrote, “Today’s financial market volatility, combined with great political uncertainty both at home and abroad, will undoubtedly have an effect on consumer confidence and perhaps even our customers’ attitudes and behavior. Our customers are likely to experience an increased level of anxiety and concern…Let’s be very sensitive to the pressures our customers may be feeling, and do everything we can to individually and collectively exceed their expectations.”

Schultz has made a reputation for himself as a CEO who cares, emphasizing his commitment to improving society and launching initiatives to accomplish this goal—including the “Race Together” campaign that asked baristas to write that phrase on cups and discuss America’s racial issues with customers, a move that some criticized as tone-deaf.

“I can assure you that we will continue to lead and manage the company through the lens of humanity” Schultz wrote in his email on the market, “doing everything we possibly can to continue to make your families proud of our company and all we stand for.”

[Washington Post]

Read TIME’s cover story about Howard Schultz, ‘Starbucks For America’

TIME Food & Drink

Chipotle Wants to Hire 4,000 New Employees in One Day

Move is the latest example of fast-food chains having to fight harder for service staff in a tightening labor market

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is looking to hire as many as 4,000 new employees in a single day next month in one of the most jarring examples to date of how the restaurant industry is having to compete harder for workers, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“The economy has been thawing, more restaurants are opening, and there are fewer job applicants than there were several years ago,” Monty Moran, co-chief executive of Chipotle, told the WSJ.

Wages for workers in fast-food restaurants are outpacing those in the broader private sector as the economic recovery has hollowed out the supply of cheap labor. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, they were up 6.8% in the year to June, while average private-sector wages were up just over 5%.

The WSJ said Chipotle will promote next month’s ‘career day’ on Sept. 9 with an ad campaign on social-media websites and music-streaming service Pandora, but it didn’t mention any new benefits for employees beyond those already announced.

The company has recently increased the number of vacation and sick days that staff can take off, as well as expanding its scheme for the reimbursement of college tuition fees. The WSJ said it routinely pays starting employees just over $10 an hour.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Food & Drink

Americans Swap Vodka for Bourbon

Millennial drinkers say bourbon is in, vodka is out

As cocktail culture continues to grow in the U.S., so does the alcohol market; unfortunately for Pernod Ricard SA, owners of Absolut, millennials’ tastes are shifting from vodka to bourbon.

This change has not yet affected the company’s profits, as it’s expected to post a 7.9% increase in sales and a 30% increase in net income on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reports. It helps that the company owns various alcohol brands aside from Absolute, including Jameson Irish whiskey and Martell cognac.

Liquor analyst Trevor Stirling tells the Journal that this shift away from vodka is “not universal gloom and doom, but they’re in a tough situation.”

Between 2010 and 2014, vodka consumption declined almost 2%. In the same period, whiskey sales rose 2.7%, and American bourbon and Tennessee whiskey both climbed nearly 17%. In the U.S. alone vodka sales went down 0.3%, whiskey went up 2.7%, and American bourbon and Tennessee whiskey rose 7.4%.

Half of Pernod’s U.S. sales come from Absolut, sales volumes of which declined 3.3% last quarter.

Diageo PLC is currently the world’s top liquor company. If Pernod wants to surpass Diageo, it’ll have to “find more pours in the high-value U.S. market” either by reinventing the Absolut brand, which Stirling says can take between three and five years, or via acquisitions.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Careers & Workplace

These Are America’s Top 10 Small Cities With Thriving Businesses

business-people-cheering
Getty Images

Experts say businesses in smaller towns tend to experience higher revenue with lower cost of living

Think your business has to “make it” in the Big Apple or Chi-Town to pull in big dollars? Think again.

Top lines thrive in small cities, according to a report released today in a partnership between personal finance site NerdWallet and Entrepreneur Media. In the study, analysts reviewed 463 cities with populations from 50,000 and 100,000 to find some of the best climates in the country for entrepreneurship.

The analysis looks at business environment, reviewing average revenue per business, the number of businesses, and the percentage of businesses with paid employees. Researchers also studied economic factors like annual income, housing costs and unemployment rate data from the U.S. Census.

Careful review of these factors drove cities like Alpharetta, Georgia, with a population of approximately 60,000 to the top of this list. Other top small cities include Redmond, Washington and Wilmington, Delaware.

The takeaway for entrepreneurs? Keep your costs to operate in mind. While the average revenue per business among the top ten largest cities by population (New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, San Jose) is $1.4 million, that metric was nearly 3 times higher for the list of top ten small cities (shown below), at $4 million.

best-small-cities-business
NerdWallet/Entrepreneur

“Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to go to a big city to succeed,” says Cindy Yang, a researcher and head of the Small-Business Group at NerdWallet. “While bigger cities have more businesses, they don’t have bigger businesses. It’s the businesses in smaller, surrounding towns that tend to have higher revenue and a higher propensity to have paid employees while enjoying the lower cost of living.”

For its part, top-ranked Alpharetta offers a strong-for-its-size business density, with 15 businesses per 100 people, in a town with just more than 60,000 in population. (New York City, for contrast, has a population of more than 8 million, and boasts 11 businesses per 100 people). The Georgia town’s average revenue per business is also steep, at $6.9 million.

Ground-level initiatives like the Alpharetta Tech Commission (ATC) have lured hundreds of tech companies and startups, according toCrunchbase. The city’s also home to McKesson’s Technology Solutions division, specializing in information technology for hospitals and physician’s offices.

Peter Tokar, economic development director of Alpharetta and president of the ATC, says the expansion of the GA 400 highway in the 1990s helped transform it into a hotbed for tech. Easy transportation led to the development of a powerful grid infrastructure and thus, a fast fiber-optic network. This paired with a high-end suburban life “drew tech companies to the city like a magnet,” according to Tokar.

Strong local economies and easy access to a larger city’s resources are also important for businesses in small cities to thrive, says Yang. Eight of the top 10 small towns are within an easy commute to major metros like Atlanta, D.C., Seattle and Los Angeles. “This allows small businesses there to operate in a close-knit community that often has a lower-cost of living,” says Yang. Meanwhile, businesses in these tertiary towns can still capitalize on top-notch technology, infrastructure and of course, more affluent customers of neighboring hubs.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

More from Entrepreneur.com:

TIME Companies

Google Lost Data After Lightning Hit Its Data Center in Belgium

It says it is making upgrades to prevent it from happening again in the future

Despite the popular saying, lightning does strike twice, or even four times — as it did at a Google data center in Belgium last Thursday, causing problems for the next several days and leading to permanent data loss for a small percentage of unlucky users.

The problem began when the facility lost power briefly during one of the late-summer thunderstorms common in the area. That caused problems with reading or writing data for about five percent of disks in the data center. Most were fixed but data on .000001% of the center’s total disk space was lost. “In these cases, full recovery is not possible,” the company said in a statement.

Google accepts full responsibility for the incident and says it is making upgrades to prevent something like this from happening again.

TIME legal

Prosecutors: Uber Hired Drivers With Criminal Records

An Uber ride in Washington on April 8, 2015.
Andrew Harrer—2015 Bloomberg Finance LP An Uber ride in Washington on April 8, 2015.

Prosecutors say Uber has knowingly continued to mislead consumers about the thoroughness of its screening methods

Uber hired 25 drivers in Los Angeles and San Francisco with criminal records ranging from property crimes, sex offenses and murder, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

“We are learning increasingly that a lot of the information that Uber has been presenting the consumer has been false and misleading,” George Gascon, district attorney of San Francisco, where Uber is based, said at a news conference, the New York Times reports.

The comments came after the attorneys announced they were filing a 62-page amended complaint to the original civil suit, filed in December, that claims the ride-hailing app has knowingly continued to mislead consumers about the thoroughness of its screening methods.

Gascon, who has led investigations, noted that the records Uber uses to check applicants for sex offenses are missing 30,000 individuals whose convictions occurred more than seven years ago, allowing them to escape the company’s notice.

Uber has said in the past that the limited scope of its background-check providers is required by some state laws, and is in fact a way for the company to help rehabilitate offenders. “We understand that there are strongly held views about the rehabilitation of offenders,” Uber said in a blog post dated July 15. “But the California state legislature decided — after a healthy debate — that seven years strikes the right balance between protecting the public while also giving ex-offenders the chance to work and rehabilitate themselves.”

Uber has noted that Live Scan, another method of vetting drivers favored by many of the company’s critics, is not subject to seven-year limits. The prosecutors’ complaint asserts that a Live Scan system would have been more effective.

Uber said it disagreed that the screening process used by taxi drivers was better than its own checks. “The reality is that neither is 100% foolproof—as we discovered last year when putting hundreds of people through our checks who identified themselves as taxi drivers,” Uber told TIME in a statement. “That process uncovered convictions for DUI, rape, attempted murder, child abuse and violence.” Uber also noted that its rival Lyft had settled a similar case last year for $250,000.

While traditional cabs are required to use Live Scan, Uber is not, but prosecutors believe that the company has oversold the effectiveness of its own checking methods.

[New York Times]

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