Apple CEO Tim Cook is the most powerful (openly) gay man in America, and also the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. As such, he’s done a lot for gay rights during his interim at Apple, and now he’s doing even more, making a sizable personal donation to a gay rights campaign in his home state of Alabama, as well as Arkansas and Mississippi.
The donation is being made to Project One America, an anitiative of the Human Rights Campaign to “build acceptance for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in the states.” Campaign efforts include advertising on TV, posting flyers, and more. No one will say how much the donation is for, but the organization calls it a “substantial” one.
Here’s what the Human Rights Campaign’s president, Chad Griffin, had to say about the donation:
When Tim first learned about HRC’s Project One America – our bold, comprehensive campaign to dramatically advance equality for LGBT Americans in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi – he said, “I’m in.” Thanks to his generous personal financial investment in the program, together we will move the needle forward at the local and state level, tearing down misperceptions and providing concrete protections for those who need it most.
In 2015, we’ll continue this work with greater urgency than ever before. And thanks to the deep, personal generosity of Tim Cook, and the support of our 1.5 million members and supporters across the country, we’ll keep making progress everyday.
Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet has confirmed Tim’s donation. It’s a nice little end to what has been, I think we can all agree, a fantastic year for Tim Cook, the singular CEO everyone once saw as Steve Jobs’s runner-up. He sure has set himself apart.
McDonald’s is testing Bluetooth beacon-based offers in at least some of its locations as it pilots beacon platform Piper that works with both iOS devices using Apple’s iBeacon framework and other mobile devices.
Piper announced today that it’s testing its beacon platform in McDonald’s franchises in Columbus, Georgia and pushing deals out to users that download its mobile app that sends location-based offers when users come in contact with its beacons.
While the initial pilot is limited to McDonald’s locations across Columbus, the companies will look to expand to additional retail locations after experiencing success with beaming offers to customers during a four week test.
Piper said it experienced 18,000 offer redemptions as “McChicken sales increased 8 percent and McNuggets increased 7.5 percent from the previous month.”
Piper is one of the many companies running a beacon network that sells both hardware and software solutions to businesses looking to deploy the Bluetooth hardware necessary for beaming location-based offers. Unlike some beacon networks, however, that are aiming to let both app developers and businesses tap into one another, Piper has its own app that acts as a central location for users to access all beacons deployed as part of its network.
McDonald’s is just one of many businesses testing or deploying Bluetooth beacon hardware for sending proximity-based offers and notifications to passing smartphone users. Data from Business Insider’s latest Intelligence report showed half of the top 100 retailers in the US are experimenting with the technology and that it expects beacons installed in one-third of stores by the end of next year. This year it expects around a total of 30,000 active beacons to be installed with 80% in retail stores.
Fast food chains have also moved to introduce other features for smartphone users recently including NFC-based payments like Apple Pay at McDonald’s and preordering via apps at Taco Bell, Burger King and elsewhere.
Many beacon networks and businesses utilizing them have experienced an increase in app usage and ad engagement similar to Piper’s pilot with McDonald’s. In one case, beacon network InMarket experienced an almost 20x increase in the number of interactions with advertised products apps.
This year, Apple spent three times more investing in itself than the next closest company in the S&P 500, totaling $56 billion on stock buybacks in fiscal 2014.
Apple's total buyback efforts for the fiscal year were calculated by FactSet, and highlighted by MarketWatch on Friday. The $56 billion spent by Apple well exceeded second-place S&P 500 finisher IBM Corp, which used $19.2 billion on buybacks.
In the last quarter alone, Apple spent a massive $17 billion on stock buybacks. When that sum was revealed in October, it was estimated that Apple had spent $45 billion on repurchasing stock in fiscal 2014, but the latest data from FactSet shows Apple went even beyond that.
In fact, Apple also owns the top two buyback quarters ever in the S&P 500 tracked by FactSet, since it began measuring the data in 2005. The $17 billion Apple repurchased last quarter is second only to the $18.6 billion it bought in the first quarter of fiscal 2014.
Apple first announced its dividend share and repurchase program in March of 2012, and at the time pledged to spend $45 billion on itself over three years. The company increased the program to $100 billion a year later.
Then again this April, Apple announced it would once again increase its buyback efforts, and the company also revealed it would undergo a 7-for-1 stock split that eventually came to pass in June. Based on Apple's current annual schedule, the company would likely revisit its buyback efforts once again, and take into consideration the requests of billionaire Carl Icahn and others, following its March 2015 quarter.
Faced with pressure from the likes of Icahn, Apple has said it will review its share buyback program annually.
A new UK job listing posted on Apple’s website and uncovered by iClarified indicates that the company is planning to expands its payment service into Europe and elsewhere. It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Apple wants to put its iPhone 6-based payment system into as many hands worldwide as possible, but this is one of the first indications of a move in that direction.
The intern will be part of a new London-based team that will help roll the product out across Europe, the Middle East, India, and Asia. Specifically the intern will be responsible for handling contracts and non-disclosure agreements between Apple and third-parties like banks and retailers.
The full job listing is below:
Apple Pay is a new and exciting area in Apple that is set to expand across Europe, Middle East, India and Africa. Apple Pay will change the way consumers pay with breakthrough contactless payment technology and unique security features built right into their iPhone 6 or Apple Watch to pay in an easy, secure, and private way. The new London-based Apple Pay team will work to drive the roll-out of this technology across EMEIA by working with a variety of internal and external partners, including teams in the US where the product will first launch and the EMEIA organisation, as well as Issuers, payment networks and merchants across Europe. To accompany us on this journey, we are looking for a highly enthusiastic and energetic support Intern to help us drive our business development activities, specifically to support execution of multiple NDAs and contracts with third party partners. Provide administrative support to the EMEIA Apple Pay team for business development and contract negotiations. The ideal candidate should have some experience in managing signature of NDAs and project management of large contractual negotiations with third parties
Detail conscious and accurate
Tenacious and driven
Takes ownership of projects assigned
Strong organisational skills
Quick to learn new systems
Good analytical skills
Excellent written communication skills
Enthusiastic and motivated
Works well in a team
Familiarity with legal and finance jargon is clearly a plus
Additional European language such as French, German, Italian or Spanish is a plus
Help in organising and executing NDAs with third parties to ensure confidentiality of projects Work with country managers and legal colleagues internally to prioritise, execute and finalise NDAs Manage scheduling and follow-up of complex contract negotiations with third parties Work with internal legal and business teams to ensure relevant input and sign-offs are obtained to close contracts Other ad hoc tasks
LLB preferred, BA/BSc a must
... [Read More]
Ahead of a BBC special exploring work conditions in Apple’s supply chain airing tonight, BBC.com today published a story revealing the results of its investigation. The news outlet went undercover into Apple’s supply chain and claims “Apple’s promises to protect workers were routinely broken” while citing a number of workplace violations:
It found standards on workers’ hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were being breached at the Pegatron factories…Exhausted workers were filmed falling asleep on their 12-hour shifts at the Pegatron factories on the outskirts of Shanghai… One undercover reporter, working in a factory making parts for Apple computers, had to work 18 days in a row despite repeated requests for a day off.
In response to the investigation, Apple told the BBC it “strongly disagreed with the programme’s conclusions” and provided the following statement:
“We are aware of no other company doing as much as Apple to ensure fair and safe working conditions… We work with suppliers to address shortfalls, and we see continuous and significant improvement, but we know our work is never done.” Apple said it was a very common practice for workers to nap during breaks, but it would investigate any evidence they were falling asleep while working. It said it monitored the working hours of more than a million workers and that staff at Pegatron were averaging 55 hours a week.
While the full investigation will air tonight in the BBC One special titled Apple’s Broken Promises at 21:00 GMT, the report will apparently reveal “evidence that tin from illegal mines could be entering its supply chain,” among other issues related to working conditions in Apple’s supply chain.
It’s certainly not the first time Apple has come under fire for workplace conditions in its supply chain overseas, but the company has made several moves to be more transparent in recent years such as soliciting independent audits from The Fair Labor Association and publishing results of audits in its Responsibility Reports.
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