Category Archives: Companies

(BBC) Boeing takes $5bn hit over grounding of 737 Max

(BBC)

Boeing 737

Boeing is taking a $4.9bn hit to cover costs related to the worldwide grounding of its 737 Max aircraft.

The charge is set to wipe out profits when the world’s biggest planemaker posts quarterly results next week.

In a statement, Boeing also said its “best estimate at this time” is that the aircraft will return to service in the last three months of this year.

A 737 Max crash in Indonesia in October, and another in Ethiopia in March, killed 346 people in total.

Boeing is facing one of the worst crises in its history after its best-selling aircraft was grounded worldwide after the disasters.

Crash investigators have concentrated their efforts on the aircraft’s control system and Boeing has been working with regulators to roll out a software upgrade.

The manufacturer, facing intense scrutiny over the regulatory clearance for the aircraft to fly, has cut the monthly production rate from 52 to 42 as airlines hold off purchases.

Most of the $4.9bn charge will be used to compensate Boeing’s customers for schedule disruptions and delays in aircraft deliveries.

Presentational grey line

Analysis:

Theo Leggett, BBC international business correspondent

$5bn, and very probably counting.

The money set aside by Boeing is meant to cover compensation for customers who either haven’t received their aircraft, or can’t use the ones they already have.

Airlines who are waiting for overdue deliveries are having to make alternative arrangements, by cancelling services, leasing aircraft from specialist companies, or by keeping older, less fuel-efficient models in service for longer. All three options come at a cost.

And for those who already had Max aircraft in service, there will be financing costs that still have to be paid, even when the planes themselves are not earning their keep. Not to mention the money that needs to be spent on maintaining them while they are on the ground.

All of this, ultimately, is likely to come back to Boeing. The $5bn figure assumes that the process of approving the Max to go back into service will begin in the autumn. But we have already seen that regulators seem determined to take a very tough line when it comes to ensuring the safety of the aircraft. The schedule could well slip again, and costs rise further.

Let’s not forget either that lawsuits filed by relatives of accident victims are mounting up, and this charge does not take them into consideration at all. So the final bill for Boeing may well be a lot higher.

Presentational grey line

Boeing chairman and chief executive Dennis Muilenburg, said: “This is a defining moment for Boeing. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the flight crews and passengers who fly on our airplanes.

“The Max grounding presents significant headwinds and the financial impact recognised this quarter reflects the current challenges and helps to address future financial risks.”

Media captionPaul Njoroge’s family died in the crash in Ethiopia in March, and he gave moving testimony in the US Congress

Cancelled flights

Boeing said it continues to work with aviation authorities to get the 737 Max back into the air, which it hopes will be in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Grounded Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max aircraft parked at the Southern California Logistics Airport
Image captionGrounded Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max aircraft parked at the Southern California Logistics Airport

But the statement added: “This assumption reflects the company’s best estimate at this time, but actual timing of return to service could differ from this estimate.”

Boeing also warned that if this timetable slips, and its anticipated resumption of deliveries to customers is delayed, that this “could result in additional financial impact”.

However, in a speech on Thursday, the US transportation secretary appeared less certain that the aircraft would be cleared to fly again this year.

Elaine L Chao said the Federal Aviation Administration, “is following a thorough process, rather than a prescribed timeline… the FAA will lift the aircraft’s prohibition order when it is deemed safe to do so.” She was not referring directly to Boeing’s statement.

Analysts knew that Boeing faced a heavy financial cost following the disasters and had been awaiting clarity. Boeing’s share price rose 2% in after-hours trading on Wall Street after the announcement, a sign that investors are comfortable with the charge.

In April, Boeing halted share buybacks. The planemaker said that lowered production due to the grounding of the 737 Max fleet globally had cost it an additional charge of at least $1bn so far.

On Thursday, Southwest Airlines, the biggest user of the 737 Max, joined its US rivals in cancelling more flights until early November.

The move also prompted the low-cost carrier to freeze new pilot hiring.

(Reuters) Bidders line up offers for Portugal’s largest motorway operator Brisa: sources

(Reuters) LISBON/MADRID (Reuters) – At least three infrastructure funds and a Spanish toll road operator are lining up offers for a stake in Portugal’s largest motorway manager Brisa, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The deal could value the company at between 4 to 5 billion euros including debt, the sources said on condition of anonymity.

Funds focused on infrastructure investments are eager to deploy capital after raising billions of dollars to deploy in businesses with recurrent cash flows against a background of low interest rates and narrowing yields.

France’s Ardian and Australia’s Macquarie and IFM are among infrastructure investors preparing offers for Brisa, along with Spanish firm GlobalVia, which would only bid for full control of the company owned by Britain’s Arcus and Portugal’s Jose de Mello Group, the sources said.

Arcus, which owns 20.7% of Brisa, is actively looking to cash out and is working with Morgan Stanley and BCP to sell its stake.

But it is not clear whether Jose de Mello Group, which is represented by Rothschild, would also sell its stake.

“If Arcus presses ahead with the sale, then Jose de Mello group will need to evaluate a joint process,” said a source familiar with the matter.

Ardian, Macquarie, IFM, and Jose de Mello Group declined to comment. Arcus was not immediately available to comment.

The de Mello family has a 33% direct stake in Brisa and Tagus Holding — 55% owned by Jose de Mello Investimentos and 45% by Arcus — a 44% stake.

“A joint sale would mean the sale of a controlling stake and the premium that the buyer would pay would be higher,” the source added.

Brisa operates 1,628 km of highway in Portugal in a network of 17 motorways, 6 complementary routes and 6 national roads. Its main concession, BCR — comprised of 12 motorways covering 1,014 km of toll roads — will end in 2035.

Brisa’s operating profit (Ebitda) was 554 million euros in 2018, with a net financial debt of 1.7 billion euros.

(BBC) Facebook ‘to be fined $5bn over Cambridge Analytica scandal’

(BBC)

Media captionHow the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal unfolded

US regulators have approved a record $5bn (£4bn) fine on Facebook to settle an investigation into data privacy violations, reports in US media say.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been investigating allegations that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained the data of up to 87 million Facebook users.

The settlement was approved by the FTC in a 3-2 vote, sources told US media.

Facebook and the FTC told the BBC they had no comment on the reports.

How was the settlement reached?

The consumer protection agency the FTC began investigating Facebook in March 2018 following reports that Cambridge Analytica had accessed the data of tens of millions of its users.

The investigation focused on whether Facebook had violated a 2011 agreement under which it was required to clearly notify users and gain “express consent” to share their data.

The $5bn fine was approved by the FTC in a 3-2 vote which broke along party lines, with Republican commissioners in favour and Democrats opposed.

The New York Times reported that the Democrats wanted stricter limits on the firm, while other Democrats have criticised the fine as inadequate.

“With the FTC either unable or unwilling to put in place reasonable guardrails to ensure that user privacy and data are protected, it’s time for Congress to act,” US Senator Mark Warner said.

The fine still needs to be finalised by the Justice Department’s civil division, and it is unclear how long this may take, the sources said.

If confirmed, it would be the largest fine ever levied by the FTC on a tech company.

However, the amount falls in line with estimates by Facebook, which earlier this year said it was expecting a fine of up to $5bn.

Investors responded positively to the news, pushing Facebook shares up 1.8%.

Presentational grey line

Facebook has been expecting this

Analysis by Dave Lee, BBC North America technology reporter in San Francisco

Facebook had been expecting this. It told investors back in April that it had put aside most of the money, which means the firm won’t feel much added financial strain from this penalty.

What we don’t yet know is what additional measures may be placed on the company, such as increased privacy oversight, or if there will be any personal repercussions for the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg.

The settlement, which amounts to around one quarter of the company’s yearly profit, will reignite criticism from those who say this amounts to little more than a slap on the wrist.

Presentational grey line

What was the Cambridge Analytica scandal?

Cambridge Analytica was a British political consulting firm that had access to the data of millions of users, some of which was allegedly used to psychologically profile US voters and target them with material to help Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The data was acquired via a quiz, which invited users to find out their personality type.

As was common with apps and games at that time, it was designed to harvest not only the user data of the person taking part in the quiz, but also the data of their friends.

Facebook has said it believes the data of up to 87 million users was improperly shared with the now defunct consultancy.

How was Facebook users' data misused?

The scandal sparked several investigations around the world.

In October, Facebook was fined £500,000 by the UK’s data protection watchdog, which said the company had let a “serious breach” of the law take place.

Canada’s data watchdog earlier this year said Facebook had committed “serious contraventions” of its privacy laws.

(Independent) GOOGLE ADMITS WORKERS LISTEN TO PRIVATE AUDIO RECORDINGS FROM GOOGLE HOME SMART SPEAKERS

(Independent)Google claims listening to recordings is ‘critical’ to improving its AI voice assistant

Google employees listen to customers’ audio recordings on Google Home smart speakers, the technology giant has admitted.

Language experts are employed to analyse “snippets” of recordings made by users, which Google claims helps improve its voice recognition technology.

This is then used to develop the Google Assistant artificial intelligence system, which is used in its Google Home smart speakers and Android smartphones.

The assistant understands and responds to voice commands given to it, answering queries about the news and weather as well as being able to control other internet-connected devices around the home.

In a statement, the company said a small number of anonymous recordings were transcribed by its experts, and revealed that an investigation had been launched after some Dutch audio data had been leaked.

“We partner with language experts around the world to improve speech technology by transcribing a small set of queries – this work is critical to developing technology that powers products like the Google Assistant,” Google said.

“Language experts only review around 0.2% of all audio snippets, and these snippets are not associated with user accounts as part of the review process.”

Hexa drone lifts off

The statement continued: “We just learned that one of these reviewers has violated our data security policies by leaking confidential Dutch audio data.

“Our Security and Privacy Response teams have been activated on this issue, are investigating, and we will take action.

“We are conducting a full review of our safeguards in this space to prevent misconduct like this from happening again.”

An attendee passes a display of Nest products during Google I/O 2016 at Shoreline Amphitheatre on 19 May, 2016 in Mountain View, California (Getty Images)

Earlier this year, a report from Bloomberg revealed fellow tech giant Amazon also listens to some recordings of customer interactions with its voice-based assistant Alexa.

Amazon confirmed the process and said it did so with a small number of recordings in order to help train the artificial intelligence’s responses.

The firm said users are also able to review and delete recordings linked to their account via the Alexa companion app.

On Monday, the NHS announced a new partnership with Amazon that will see verified health information based on the NHS website provided via Alexa.

Privacy campaigners claimed it was a “data protection disaster waiting to happen, but Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the NHS needed to embrace technology.

(ZH) China To Sanction American Companies Selling Weapons To Taiwan

(ZH)

When it comes to tail risks that could cause WWIII, simmering tensions around Taiwan and Beijing’s increasingly belligerent rhetoric probably rank as one of the most probable. Since at least the beginning of the year, President Xi has warned that ‘reunification’ between Taiwan and the mainland is inevitable, and hinted that Beijing wouldn’t hesitate to attack any foreign power that tries to stop China. In response, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has insisted that the people of Taiwan would ‘never’ tolerate rule by the Communist Party, and insisted that the island’s military would fight.

In the middle of this, Washington has okayed the sale of $2.2 billion in weapons, including missiles and tanks, to Taiwan. The decision outraged Beijing, which accused Washington of interfering in its relations with its wayward province.

Now – at a time when Peter Navarro said that trade talks are going “great” – Beijing is moving ahead with an unexpected escalation: China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement that Beijing intends to impose sanctions on American companies selling arms to Taiwan.

That list likely includes most of the major American defense contractors, particularly General Dynamics, the maker of the Abrams tank, and Raytheon, maker of the Stinger missile – two of the armaments being purchased by Taiwan.

  • CHINA SAYS TO SANCTION U.S. FIRMS INVOLVED IN TAIWAN ARMS SALES
  • U.S. GOVT IN `TOTAL DISREGARD’ OF CHINA, MINSTER WANG YI SAYS
  • WANG YI: U.S. SHOULDN’T HAVE OFFICIAL RELATIONS WITH TAIWAN

The announce comes as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned during a trip to Hungary on Friday that Washington must end its dealings with Taiwan, saying that continuing would be like “playing with fire.”

Wang

Wang Yi

He added that no foreign power will be able to prevent China’s reunification with its runaway province. Though the US has vowed to protect Taiwan should the mainland try to invade. Wang added that the US government is in ‘total disregard’ of China.

And just like that, the prospects for moving from trade war to military confrontation with Beijing have climbed considerably.

)

(BBC) France passes tax on tech giants despite US threats

(BBC)

A visitor walks in front of a Google logo during a show at Parc des Expositions in May 2018

France has approved a digital services tax despite threats of retaliation by the US, which argues that it unfairly targets American tech giants.

The 3% tax will be levied on sales generated in France by multinational firms like Google and Facebook.

The French government has argued that such firms headquartered outside the country pay little or no tax.

The US administration has ordered an inquiry into the move – which could result in retaliatory tariffs.

The new tax was approved by the French senate on Thursday, a week after it was passed by the lower house, the National Assembly.

Any digital company with revenue of more than €750m ($850m; £670m) – of which at least €25m is generated in France – would be subject to the levy.

It will be retroactively applied from early 2019, and is expected to raise about €400m this year.

Why target tech giants?

At present, they are able to pay little or no corporate tax in countries where they do not have a large physical presence. They declare most of their profits where they are headquartered.

The European Commission estimates that on average traditional businesses face a 23% tax rate on their profits within the EU, while internet companies typically pay 8% or 9%.

France has long argued that taxes should be based on digital, not just physical presence. It announced its own tax on big technology firms last year after EU-wide efforts stalled.

An EU levy would require consensus among members, but Ireland, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland raised objections.

France’s new 3% tax will be based on sales made in the country, rather than on profits.

About 30 – mostly American companies – will pay it. Chinese, German, Spanish and British firms will also be affected.

The French government says the tax will end if a similar measure is agreed internationally.

The big tech companies have argued they are complying with national and international tax laws.

What has the US said?

The Trump administration denounced the move a day before the vote.

On Wednesday trade representative Robert Lighthizer said an investigation would “determine whether it is discriminatory or unreasonable and burdens or restricts United States commerce”.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer
Image captionUS Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said President Trump ordered the investigation

The US inquiry could pave the way for punitive tariffs, which Mr Trump has imposed on several occasions since taking office.

Previous investigations launched by Washington have covered European Union and Chinese trade practices.

Defending the new tax on Thursday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said France was “sovereign and decided its own tax rules”.

“I want to tell our American friends that this should be an incentive for them to accelerate even more our work to find an agreement on the international taxation of digital services,” he added.

Grey line

France isolated

Analysis by Dave Lee, BBC North America technology reporter

This “Section 301” investigation, as it is known, has been used before as a way of eventually implementing new tariffs on countries the Trump administration feels is taking the US for a ride.

If France is going to take hundreds of millions of euros from the pockets of American tech giants, the US argument might be, then why shouldn’t the US earn more money from what the French do in the US? It took the same view with China and has buried itself in a trade war that has destabilised relations and has the potential to escalate even further.

The digital tax is a risk for France, for it is now isolated. There had been talk of a Europe-wide tech tax, but talks fell down thanks in part to opposition from countries such as Ireland, which has benefitted from being able to attract tech firms to set up their European base in the country. Other countries – such as the UK, Spain and Austria – are considering similar moves, but France is furthest along.

One thing all sides agree on, however, is that in our modern, digital economy, the overhaul of how companies are taxed is long overdue.

France will be hoping for one of two outcomes. Either countries follow their lead and implement their own, independent laws, limiting France’s exposure. Or the move gives added energy to calls for a multilateral agreement on how digital firms should be taxed globally, putting an end to the squirreling-away of vast sums of money made by internet giants.

(CNBC) Nintendo says it will shift part of its Switch gaming console production out of China

(CNBC)

  • Nintendo, which currently outsources almost all of the console production to contract manufacturers in China, plans to make the partial shift to Vietnam this summer.
  • Its spokeswoman said the shift was intended to diversify risks and not to escape potential tariff hikes by the United States on products imported from China.
GP: Sony Nintendo 170614

Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Switch game console signage is displayed during the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Japan’s Nintendo plans to shift a part of the production of its Switch gaming consoles to Vietnam from China in an effort to diversify manufacturing sites, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Nintendo, which currently outsources almost all of the console production to contract manufacturers in China, plans to make the partial shift to Vietnam this summer.

The spokeswoman said the shift was intended to diversify risks and not to escape potential tariff hikes by the United States on products imported from China.

The United States has held off from launching the fourth tranche of tariffs on $300 billion worth of goods that would cover nearly everything imported from China to the United States.

(Mirror) Scientists discover toxic substances including LEAD in beer and wine bottles

(Mirror) Research found that the decorations and writing on glass bottles of beer, wine and spirits can contain dangerously high levels of toxic substances such as lead and cadmium

Wine bottles (Image: PA)

Get the biggest Daily News stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeMore newsletters

Decorative writing on bottles of wine contains lead concentrations nearly 900 per cent more than paint, according to a new study.

The research found that the decorations and writing on glass bottles of beer , wine and spirits that companies use to catch consumers’ eyes can contain dangerously high levels of toxic substances such as lead and cadmium.

For the study researchers at the University of Plymouth analysed both the glass and enamelled decorations on a variety of clear and coloured bottles readily available in shops and supermarkets.

They showed that cadmium, lead and chromium were all present in the glass, but at concentrations where their environmental and health risks were of low significance.

But the enamels contained significantly higher amounts, with cadmium concentrations of up to 20,000 parts per million (ppm) in the decorated regions on a range of bottles, and lead concentrations up to 80,000 ppm in the decorations of various wine bottles.

The limit for lead in consumer paints is 90 ppm.

(Image: E+)

The study also showed the elements had the potential to leach from enamelled glass fragments, and when subjected to a standard test that simulates rainfall in a landfill site, several fragments exceeded the US Model Toxins in Packaging Legislation and could be defined as “hazardous”.

Published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, the research was carried out by Associate Professor in Aquatic Geochemistry and Pollution Science, Dr Andrew Turner.

He has previously shown that the paint or enamel on a wide variety of items – including playground equipment, second hand toys and drinking glasses – can feature levels of toxic substances that are potentially harmful to human health.

Dr Turner said: “It has always been a surprise to see such high levels of toxic elements in the products we use on a daily basis.

“This is just another example of that, and further evidence of harmful elements being unnecessarily used where there are alternatives available.

“The added potential for these substances to leach into other items during the waste and recycling process is an obvious and additional cause for concern.”

For the current research, bottles of beer, wine and spirits were purchased from local and national retail outlets between September 2017 and August 2018, with the sizes ranging from 50 ml to 750 ml.

CLICK TO PLAYWATCH: BREWERY INTRODUCES OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD VOSTOK SPACE BEER BOTTLE

READ MORE

They were either clear, frosted, green, ultraviolet-absorbing green (UVAG) or brown with several being enamelled over part of the exterior surface with images, patterns, logos, text and/or barcodes of a single colour or multiple colours.

Out of the glass from 89 bottles and fragments analysed using x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry, 76 were positive for low levels of lead and 55 positive for cadmium.

Chromium was detected in all green and UVAG bottles, but was only in 40 per cent of brown glass and was never in clear glass.

Meanwhile, the enamels of 12 products out of 24 enamelled products tested were based wholly or partly on compounds of either or both lead and cadmium.

Dr Turner added: “Governments across the world have clear legislation in place to restrict the use of harmful substances on everyday consumer products.

“But when we contacted suppliers, many of them said the bottles they use are imported or manufactured in a different country than that producing the beverage.

“This poses obvious challenges for the glass industry and for glass recycling and is perhaps something that needs to be factored in to future legislation covering this area.”

(OBS) Uber quer transportes públicos na app portuguesa. “Portugal é um dos nossos modelos de ouro”

(OBS)

Os 5 anos da Uber, a saída de Rui Bento, o “modelo de ouro” que é Portugal e a aposta nos transportes públicos. A entrevista exclusiva à responsável da Uber para o sul da Europa, Giovanna D’Esposito.Partilhe

Para Giovanna D’Esposito, não há dúvidas: “Portugal é um dos modelos de ouro da Uber”. A tecnológica que começou a operar em Lisboa faz esta quinta-feira cinco anos tem usado o país como “um ícone de inovação” e agora que já tem uma “regulação justa” no mercado, que a Uber Eats está presente em 19 cidades portuguesas e há 1.750 bicicletas elétricas Jump disponíveis para partilha em Lisboa, a responsável pelo mercado do sul da Europa quer levar Portugal para o “próximo nível”: “Gostávamos muito de continuar a trabalhar com o poder local para integrar coisas como transportes públicos [na app]”. Mas estará para breve? “Esperamos que sim. (…) É a direção que queremos seguir e tenho muita esperança de que vamos conseguir fazer isso em Portugal”.

Em entrevista exclusiva ao Observador a partir de uma videocall em Madrid, Giovanna D’Esposito explicou porque é que a empresa ainda não substitui Rui Bento, o ex-diretor da Uber em Portugal que deixou o cargo em setembro de 2018: “O Rui é um homem muito talentoso e, por isso, a fasquia está elevada”, disse, acrescentando que prefere esperar mais seis meses (ou mais) e “ter a pessoa certa” do que contratar alguém que não seja capaz de levar Portugal no sentido que a empresa quer. “Não é assim tão óbvio encontrar alguém que tenha as competências certas”. Rui Bento foi o responsável por lançar a operação da empresa em Portugal, a 4 de julho de 2014. A regulamentação para os transportes em veículos descaracterizados (TVDE), no qual se inclui a Uber, só foi aprovada no Parlamento em julho de 2018 e entrou em vigor em novembro. Entre setembro de 2018 e janeiro de 2019, Rui Bento liderou as operações da Uber Eats para o sul da Europa.

A Uber começou a operar em Lisboa há cinco anos com o serviço UberBlack. Progressivamente, introduziu mais três: UberX, UberGreen, UberStar e lançou o UberPool em eventos especiais. Atualmente, a Uber cobre utilizadores nas áreas metropolitanas de Lisboa e do Porto, assim como no Algarve, Braga, Guimarães e Coimbra. Enfrenta, em várias destas cidades, a concorrência da Cabify, Bolt e Kapten. Tem mais de 8.000 motoristas parceiros e, desde que chegou ao país, a app da Uber foi descarregada mais de 2,5 milhões de vezes. A Uber Eats — o serviço de entrega de refeições ao domicílio — chegou a Lisboa em 2017 e está presente em 19 cidades, com parcerias com 2 mil restaurantes. Lisboa foi a primeira cidade europeia a receber as bicicletas elétricas partilháveis Jump. Sobre todas estas iniciativas, Giovannia explica: “As parcerias com o Governo e os municípios correram bem, o que levou a Uber a ter sempre um compromisso elevado com Portugal”.

“Portugal tem sido um dos modelos de ouro da Uber. O nosso compromisso é bastante forte”

A Uber está há cinco anos em Lisboa. O que podemos esperar para os próximos cinco?
Não tenho uma bola de cristal para os próximos cinco anos, mas posso dizer, sem dúvida, quais são os nossos principais objetivos e como estamos a pensar alcançá-los. Portugal tem sido um dos modelos de ouro da Uber. E tem corrido bem: as parcerias com o Governo e os municípios correram bem, o que levou a Uber a ter sempre um compromisso elevado com Portugal. Um compromisso que funciona para os dois lados, certo? Portugal tem sido fantástico para a Uber e, por isso, o nosso compromisso tem sido bastante forte desde o início. Lisboa foi a primeira cidade, o primeiro país no mundo onde lançámos o nosso produto Green (opção de escolher só carros elétricos), em 2017. Foi uma das primeiras cidades do mundo onde lançámos um produto de micromobilidade, as bicicletas Jump, em fevereiro, e, claro, temos o programa Uber Star, que é outra inovação.

7 curiosidades sobre a Uber em Portugal

  1. O motorista que mais viajou com a Uber fez mais de 23.000 viagens;
  2. Em 5 anos, viajaram pela Uber turistas de 125 nacionalidades;
  3. A viagem mais curta aconteceu em Cascais. O utilizador entrou no carro em vez de cancelar a viagem;
  4. O dia com mais viagens: 28 de junho de 2019, entre as 20h e as 21h;
  5. Os itens que mais se perderam em viagens: telemóvel, câmara fotográfica, carteira, mochilas, sacos, documentos, caixas, bagagem, chaves, óculos, roupa, headphones e guarda-chuva;
  6. O motorista que recebeu mais gorjetas totalizou 1.835 euros;
  7. A viagem mais longa começou em Lisboa, parou no Algarve e terminou no Porto: 800 km.

Falei de todos estes exemplos para explicar que existe um compromisso atualmente e que esse compromisso vai continuar. Como é que vai continuar para nós? Acho que isto é bastante claro em termos de princípios orientadores. Esses princípios dizem que queremos ser uma plataforma [de mobilidade]. Esta é a narrativa da Uber, mas em Portugal isto é muito real. Porque em Portugal temos muitos produtos na categoria dos carros, temos a Uber Eats, a Jump e gostávamos muito de continuar a trabalhar com o poder local para integrar coisas como transportes públicos. É uma coisa que já começámos a fazer na Europa. Fazemos isto em Londres, muito bem, com uma parceria com a TFL e se agora fores a Londres podes planear uma viagem que também inclua o metro e comprar o bilhete [dentro da app].

Por isso, a nossa linha orientadora é exatamente esta. Queremo-nos certificar de que podemos, ao criar parcerias com as entidades responsáveis, integrar várias modalidades de transporte, para que possam ir do ponto A para o ponto B, mesmo que tenham de mudar três vezes de transporte. Nós podemos fazer isso.”Todas estas coisas dependem muito da forma como conseguimos cooperar com as autoridades, porque integrar transportes públicos requer uma parceria com estas entidades. Por isso, é essa a direção que queremos seguir e tenho muita esperança de que vamos conseguir fazer isso em Portugal. Também espero conseguirmos ter mais meios de transporte.” 

Quer isso dizer que vamos ter em breve, em Portugal, esse modelo de integração com os transportes públicos?
Esperamos que sim. Mas todas estas coisas dependem muito da forma como conseguimos cooperar com as autoridades, porque integrar transportes públicos requer uma parceria com estas entidades. Por isso, essa é a direção que queremos seguir e tenho muita esperança de que vamos conseguir fazer isso em Portugal. Também espero conseguirmos ter mais meios de transporte. Temos outros projetos a nível global que estão a chegar devagar à Europa e não temos planos específicos para Portugal agora, mas temos os camiões da Uber, que estão a trabalhar muito bem nos Estados Unidos e que lançámos recentemente na Holanda.

Também pensamos noutras coisas mais futuristas, como os carros autónomos e os táxis voadores. Vai tudo demorar alguns anos, mas é algo que pode acontecer num país como Portugal, que é um exemplo fantástico na Europa, e onde podemos integrar todas estas coisas. A ideia é que tudo isto faça com que as cidades sejam mais eficientes e pratiquem preços sustentáveis, mas só conseguimos fazer isso se fizermos parcerias com a administração pública. Por isso, são estas as nossas linhas orientadoras e desafios.

Mas já começaram a conversar com as entidades em Portugal sobre estas parcerias?
Esperamos começar a fazer isso mesmo.

Já têm as bicicletas Jump disponíveis na app, mas também investiram nas trotinetes da Lime. Podemos esperar encontrá-las na app da Uber em breve? 
Investimos, sim, mas a Jump também tem trotinetes: tem bicicletas e trotinetes.

As trotinetes e bicicletas elétricas e partilháveis da Jump, startup que foi adquirida pela Uber em abril de 2018

Vamos ter as trotinetes da Jump em Portugal?
Depende do tipo de acordo que conseguirmos fazer e das parcerias que conseguirmos formar. Agora, temos trotinetes da Jump em três cidades: Paris (onde as lançámos primeiro), em Madrid (onde lançámos em abril) e em Málaga (onde lançámos na semana passada). Por isso, estamos a tentar avançar com isto sempre que fizer sentido e dependendo do desenho das cidades. Há muitos fatores que nos fazem lançar um produto deste ou de outro tipo e que têm de ser tidos em conta. Uma das coisas que posso dizer é que a segurança é uma grande preocupação para a Uber e que por isso é um fator — tendo em conta a topografia da cidade — na hora de escolhermos que produto lançamos em cada cidade em específico.

“Não temos planos para mudar a comissão que cobramos aos motoristas”

Cinco anos depois, há mais competição. Surgiram muitas empresas a prestar os mesmos serviços. Como é que a Uber planeia diferenciar-se da concorrência que enfrenta na Europa?
Vou fazer uma pequena premissa e depois ir direta a esse assunto. A premissa é a de que um mercado como Portugal, que criou e permitiu uma boa regulação, que é justa para todos, consegue abrir-se para diferentes operadores, porque cria um ambiente seguro. Do nosso ponto de vista, quando vemos competição isso significa que o ambiente é seguro e que permite que haja negócio. Isso é um bom sinal, um sinal positivo para o mercado português. Temos outro país nesta região do sul da Europa que tem uma situação semelhante à portuguesa e que é a Croácia.

Centro de Excelência já criou 400 empregos

A Uber escolheu Lisboa para localizar o novo Centro de Excelência para a
Europa, em outubro de 2017. É a partir deste centro que é prestado apoio às operações da empresa na Europa, em países como Espanha, França e Portugal. Também é aqui que são concebidas, testadas e lançadas inovações. O Centro de Excelências já criou 400 empregos diretos e serve igualmente utilizadores, motoristas e restaurantes da Uber Eats. Até ao final de 2019 a Uber pretende contratar mais 200 pessoas.

Dito isto, como podemos ser diferentes em relação à concorrência? Duas coisas sobre isso — a primeira tem a ver com uma coisa que dizemos aqui em Espanha: “No futuro, cabemos todos”. E isto é muito importante para nós, manter esta ideia nas nossas cabeças. Porque sei que toda a gente diz que a competição é bem-vinda, que é saudável. Todas as empresas dizem isso. Mas no nosso caso é mesmo um facto: uma boa dose de competição é saudável porque significa que nos educa a ter uma boa oferta, um bom marketplace, educa as cidades e a mudança de mentalidade que é precisa para trocar os carros privados por outras modalidades. Isto tudo junto constrói um ecossistema e isto para nós é positivo.”Temos uma quantidade incrível de dados. Temos dados sobre o trânsito, sobre utilização, sobre qualquer aspeto da mobilidade e isso é muito importante, porque significa que podemos ter cada vez mais e mais produtos eficientes e também que podemos cooperar com as autarquias locais, o que é interessante.”

Além disso, se olhares para as viagens de carro à volta da Europa, penso que a percentagem de viagens em carros não privados representa cerca de 1%, ou seja, estamos apenas apenas a arranhar a superfície. E é por isto que digo que no futuro cabemos todos. Estamos apenas a arranhar a superfície e todos estes operadores, incluindo a Uber, educam o público e os carros privados começam a descer de forma significativa. E isto permite que muitos operadores atuem. Dito isto, é óbvio que este é o nosso negócio e há duas coisas que caracterizam a Uber. Uma delas é a escala — estamos presentes em 700 cidades, em 63 países, com pelo menos um produto de carros e isso ajuda muito. Significa que temos capacidade para investir em tecnologia e inovação e que estamos a fazer isso de várias formas à volta do mundo.

Em segundo lugar, isto também significa que temos uma quantidade incrível de dados. Temos dados sobre o trânsito, sobre utilização, sobre qualquer aspeto da mobilidade e isso é muito importante, porque significa que podemos ter cada vez mais e mais produtos eficientes e também que podemos cooperar com as autarquias locais, o que é interessante. Nalgumas partes do mundo, temos aquilo a que chamamos Moments: é um produto da Uber que, basicamente, são dados. É um painel de dados agregados que podemos recolher das cidades onde estamos e que podemos deixar à disposição da administração pública. E com isto podemos trabalhar para melhorar o trânsito, congestionamentos públicos e por aí fora. Tudo isto só é possível porque temos escala.

O outro elemento diferenciador é o facto de sermos uma plataforma: temos todos estes produtos, que são diferentes. Tal como estava a dizer, em cada mercado e cidade vais ter produtos diferentes que dependem de como a cidade se parece e de quais são os estudos de caso, os desafios locais e por aí fora. E o facto de termos tantos produtos de carros diferentes, termos a Uber Eats, a oferta de micromobilidade, as Jump, carros autónomos, na Croácia temos até Uber Boats… Temos as carrinhas, algumas ativas em Portugal. Por isso, temos a capacidade de oferecer estes produtos e de os levar àquelas que são as necessidades locais. Acho que no longo prazo, vamos ser um operador diferenciado.

A Uber Eats chegou a Portugal em novembro de 2017 e tem de momento mais de 2 mil restaurantes parceiros

Uber lança promoções para o aniversário

Para comemorar os cinco anos de atividade em Portugal, a empresa lança várias promoções para esta quinta-feira:

  • Quem fizer uma viagem pela Uber entre 4 e 15 de julho pode ganhar 6.500 euros em créditos que podem ser aplicados em viagens Uber durante 5 anos;
  • Utilizadores podem andar nas bicicletas Jump gratuitamente todo o dia;
  • Taxa dos pedidos Uber Eats é gratuita entre as 19h e as 23h;
  • Motoristas que viajam desde 2014 vão receber créditos.

Há algo que os vossos concorrentes têm feito desde o início e que a Uber não costuma fazer: promoções. A concorrência pode fazer com que isso mude?
Temos uma obrigação para com todas os players que fazem parte da Uber: as nossas empresas parceiras, os motoristas, as câmaras municipais, os nossos acionistas. Temos uma obrigação para com todos estes agentes, para asseguramos que construímos um negócio sustentável e as decisões que tomamos, em termos de Marketing e serviços, têm de ir nesse sentido.

Em relação às condições de trabalho dos motoristas, vão mudar alguma coisa? Vão continuar a cobrar uma comissão de 25%?
Por enquanto, não temos planos para mudar essa comissão. E isso vai ao encontro do que estava a dizer antes — da obrigação de construirmos um negócio sustentável. Por isso, não temos planos de momento para mudar isso.

Substituição de Rui Bento: “A fasquia está elevada e prefiro esperar até ter a pessoa certa”

Rui Bento já deixou a liderança da Uber em Portugal há muito tempo e, neste momento, não temos ninguém a ocupar o seu lugar. Como é que está este processo de substituição? 
O Rui é um homem muito talentoso e, por isso, a fasquia está elevada. A fasquia é o Rui e outras pessoas que temos noutros países. E, por isso, requer tempo. A resposta é “sim, estamos à procura”. Estou pessoalmente à procura. Tenho padrões elevados, a Uber tem padrões elevados e num país como Portugal, onde o trabalho local está a ser feito, precisamos agora de construir parcerias ainda mais fortes e assegurar que o país se mantém um ícone de inovação e este é um trabalho de luta, não é assim tão óbvio encontrar alguém que tenha as competências certas para alcançar essa melhoria geral e levar Portugal neste sentido. Por isso, a procura ainda está a decorrer, a fasquia está elevada e prefiro esperar mais seis meses ou o tempo que for preciso para ter a pessoa certa. Tenho o luxo de poder fazer isto porque tenho colegas extremamente talentosos no terreno e aqui, em Madrid, onde damos apoio em diversos setores a Portugal e a outros mercados. O talento que está aqui é incrível.

Rui Bento liderou a Uber em Portugal desde a entrada no mercado, em 2014, até setembro de 2018

É uma mulher executiva numa empresa que foi notícia pela forma como tratava as mulheres. Porque é que se juntou à Uber?
Juntei-me à Uber por dois motivos: um deles foi pessoal e o outro teve a ver com o conteúdo do trabalho que vim fazer. A um nível mais pessoal, tenho de dizer que quando a Uber me contactou não estava à procura de um trabalho. Tinha deixado o meu emprego numa empresa em 2017 e estava a dedicar-me a melhorar o ecossistema digital de Itália. Era isso que queria fazer. Estava a trabalhar com startups, investidores e sentia que tinha uma missão.

Depois, a Uber entrou em contacto comigo e comecei o processo com alguma curiosidade. Demorou muito tempo, teve muitos obstáculos. E por isso, durante esses meses, o meu envolvimento pessoal cresceu muito. Fiquei impressionada. Impressionei-me com a forma como estas pessoas levam isto como se fosse uma missão pessoal. Porque, tudo bem, é a narrativa da empresa, é a sua missão, e quando olhas do lado de fora parece-te uma boa narrativa, mas depois tocas-lhe. Quando as pessoas falam contigo, podes ver que estão absolutamente motivadas por várias coisas, que variam consoante a pessoa com quem estás a conversar. Nalguns casos, a conversa é sobre como tornar as cidades menos poluentes, noutros trata-se de ajudar as pessoas a encontrar alternativas e oportunidades de trabalho se não conseguirem ter um emprego permanente seja porque motivo for. Todas as pessoas têm um fator de motivação ligeiramente diferente, todos têm uma missão. E depois vês o quanto eles trabalham e todos os desafios que enfrentam e todos os altos e baixos que acontecem nesta montanha-russa diária e percebes que precisam disto. Que isto é que os guia. E isto foi muito poderoso para mim.

Acredito no poder de ter um propósito e uma missão que é poderosa. Do ponto de vista do negócio, esta região [sul da Europa] que é tão bonita também é uma confusão. Estou a falar das diferenças entre todos os mercados e da forma como tens de mudar mentalmente de um desafio para outro, constantemente. Às vezes é desafiante, mas é muito entusiasmante. Gosto muito desta diversidade intelectual, que é um estímulo e um desafio.”Portugal é fantástico para nós e tudo o que alcançámos… Mas agora queremos levar Portugal ao próximo nível e isso também é um desafio. Porque quando tens um diálogo aberto e regulações que são justas, e que são avançadas, como é que levas isso ao próximo nível?”

Mas é uma mulher executiva numa empresa como a Uber. Quais sãos os desafios que enfrenta?
Bom, o que é interessante é que nenhum dos meus desafios tem a ver com o meu género. Isso é a primeira coisa: sou engenheira mecânica e tive sempre alguma coisa a ver com motores, motos ou carros. Tive sempre tudo isto presente na minha vida. Como engenheira mecânica, estive sempre rodeada de homens. Também trabalhei na indústria dos jogos de azar, que é um ambiente inteiramente masculino. Trabalhei numa fábrica, por isso estou habituada a estar rodeada de homens e de ter de ultrapassar muitos preconceitos. Estou habituada a ter de lidar com o facto de ser mulher num ambiente de trabalho destes.

Surpreendentemente — e agora entendo porque é que não é assim tão surpreendente, mas no início foi –, isto não foi sequer um fator. No que faço todos os dias, ser uma mulher não é sequer um fator. E acho que isso se deve apenas ao facto de a Uber ser uma empresa que investiu fortemente nisto depois dos escândalos que referimos. Investiu fortemente na mentalidade, mas também em coisas muito práticas, como agora, atrás de mim, há cerca de 20 mulheres. A diversidade não é um fator.

Os meus desafios têm a ver com o que referi antes: cooperar com estas realidades que são muito, muito diferentes, com diferentes níveis de maturidade na região. Acho que o mercado mais duro é o do meu país natal, a Itália, é onde as regulações e o diálogo com as autoridades está muito menos avançado do que noutros mercados. Em Espanha também é duro. Portugal é fantástico para nós e tudo o que alcançámos… Mas agora queremos levar Portugal ao próximo nível e isso também é um desafio, não é? Porque quando tens um diálogo aberto e regulações que são justas, e que são avançadas, como é que levas isso ao próximo nível?

(ZH) HP, Dell & Amazon Join Manufacturing Exodus Leaving China

(ZH)

Though China wasn’t the only Asian nation where manufacturing activity slumped last month, according to a slate of almost unilaterally disappointing PMI readings released earlier this week, the tend over the past year is increasingly clear: The trade war is President Trump’s to win, as more tech companies resolve to move at least some production outside of the mainland.

PMI

And in the latest warning to Beijing that the trade war is having a real, and perhaps irreversible, impact, Nikkei Asian Review reports that HP, Dell and Amazon are joining the wave of consumer-electronics manufacturers who are planning to shift production elsewhere.

The burgeoning exodus, which also reportedly includes a half-dozen Apple suppliers (most notably Foxconn), Nintendo, Sony and others is threatening China’s status as the global manufacturing hub.

Laptop

HP and Dell, the world’s No. 1 and No. 3 laptop manufacturers, who are responsible for a combined 40% of the world’s production, are planning to shift 30% of their production elsewhere.

Lenovo Group, Acer and Asustek Computer are also evaluating plans to shift production elsewhere. And Amazon is planning to shift at least some of the production for its Kindle e-reader and Echo assistant. For all of these companies, the focus would mostly be on products bound for the US.

HP has already drawn up plans to move some 20% to 30% of production outside China, and is reportedly looking to build out a new supply chain in Thailand and Taiwan. The move could begin as soon as the end of the current quarter, though Nikkei’s sources cautioned that it’s not set in stone.

Dell, meanwhile, has already started a “pilot run” of notebook production in Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines, though it still has reservations about a possible shortage of skilled workers.

And at this point, even if China and the US resolve the trade spat amicably in the near future, an outcome that doesn’t look super likely (particularly since the meeting between Trump and Xi in Osaka resulted in what was essentially a reiteration to work toward a solution, exposing how little progress has actually been made over the past six months), rising labor costs in China and the risks associated with such concentrated production are already providing enough incentive to leave.

As one economist put it, “there is no turning back.”

“There is no turning back, and it is not only about tariffs but also about reducing risks for the long term [such as rising labor costs],” said TIER’s Chiu. “Southeast Asian countries and India will together become new competitive hubs in coming years for electronics production,” the economist said.

“There is plenty that policymakers can do in the short-term to pick up the slack if some exporters relocate out of China,” said Mark Williams, a China economist at global research firm Capital Economics. “But China would suffer over the years ahead if it could no longer benefit from the know-how that globally competitive exporters bring to its economy.”

Unfortunately for Beijing, which is already struggling with its slowest economic growth since the early 1990s, even opening up its markets to more foreign companies likely won’t be enough to reverse this trend.

(Reuters) USTR proposes $4 bln in potential additional tariffs over EU aircraft subsidies

(Reuters)

WASHINGTON, July 1 (Reuters) – The U.S. Trade Representative’s office on Monday released a $4 billion list of additional products that could be hit with tariffs in an ongoing dispute with the European Union over its subsidies on civil aircraft.

The list, which includes a range of European foods and liquor, adds to products valued at $21 billion that USTR had identified in April as facing possible tariffs.

USTR said it was adding to its initial list in response to public comments and following additional analysis, but gave no further explanation.

(BBG) Boeing’s 737 Max Software Outsourced to $9-an-Hour Engineers

(BBG)

  •  Planemaker and suppliers used lower-paid temporary workers
  •  Engineers feared the practice meant code wasn’t done right
The cockpit of a grounded 737 Max 8 aircraft.
The cockpit of a grounded 737 Max 8 aircraft. Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

It remains the mystery at the heart of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max crisis: how a company renowned for meticulous design made seemingly basic software mistakes leading to a pair of deadly crashes. Longtime Boeing engineers say the effort was complicated by a push to outsource work to lower-paid contractors.

The Max software — plagued by issues that could keep the planes grounded months longer after U.S. regulators this week revealed a new flaw — was developed at a time Boeing was laying off experienced engineers and pressing suppliers to cut costs.

Increasingly, the iconic American planemaker and its subcontractors have relied on temporary workers making as little as $9 an hour to develop and test software, often from countries lacking a deep background in aerospace — notably India.

First Flight Of The Boeing Co. Max 737 Jet
Boeing 737 Max prepares for take off during testing in 2016.Photographer: Mike Kane/Bloomberg

Related: Pilots Flagged Software Problems on Boeing Jets Besides Max

In offices across from Seattle’s Boeing Field, recent college graduates employed by the Indian software developer HCL Technologies Ltd.occupied several rows of desks, said Mark Rabin, a former Boeing software engineer who worked in a flight-test group that supported the Max.

The coders from HCL were typically designing to specifications set by Boeing. Still, “it was controversial because it was far less efficient than Boeing engineers just writing the code,” Rabin said. Frequently, he recalled, “it took many rounds going back and forth because the code was not done correctly.”

Boeing’s cultivation of Indian companies appeared to pay other dividends. In recent years, it has won several orders for Indian military and commercial aircraft, such as a $22 billion one in January 2017 to supply SpiceJet Ltd. That order included 100 737-Max 8 jets and represented Boeing’s largest order ever from an Indian airline, a coup in a country dominated by Airbus.

Based on resumes posted on social media, HCL engineers helped develop and test the Max’s flight-display software, while employees from another Indian company, Cyient Ltd., handled software for flight-test equipment.

Costly Delay

In one post, an HCL employee summarized his duties with a reference to the now-infamous model, which started flight tests in January 2016: “Provided quick workaround to resolve production issue which resulted in not delaying flight test of 737-Max (delay in each flight test will cost very big amount for Boeing).”

Boeing said the company did not rely on engineers from HCL and Cyient for the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which has been linked to the Lion Air crash last October and the Ethiopian Airlines disaster in March. The Chicago-based planemaker also said it didn’t rely on either firm for another software issue disclosed after the crashes: a cockpit warning light that wasn’t working for most buyers.

“Boeing has many decades of experience working with supplier/partners around the world,” a company spokesman said. “Our primary focus is on always ensuring that our products and services are safe, of the highest quality and comply with all applicable regulations.”

In a statement, HCL said it “has a strong and long-standing business relationship with The Boeing Company, and we take pride in the work we do for all our customers. However, HCL does not comment on specific work we do for our customers. HCL is not associated with any ongoing issues with 737 Max.”

Recent simulator tests by the Federal Aviation Administration suggest the software issues on Boeing’s best-selling model run deeper. The company’s shares fell this week after the regulator found a further problem with a computer chip that experienced a lag in emergency response when it was overwhelmed with data.

Engineers who worked on the Max, which Boeing began developing eight years ago to match a rival Airbus SE plane, have complained of pressure from managers to limit changes that might introduce extra time or cost.

“Boeing was doing all kinds of things, everything you can imagine, to reduce cost, including moving work from Puget Sound, because we’d become very expensive here,” said Rick Ludtke, a former Boeing flight controls engineer laid off in 2017. “All that’s very understandable if you think of it from a business perspective. Slowly over time it appears that’s eroded the ability for Puget Sound designers to design.”

Rabin, the former software engineer, recalled one manager saying at an all-hands meeting that Boeing didn’t need senior engineers because its products were mature. “I was shocked that in a room full of a couple hundred mostly senior engineers we were being told that we weren’t needed,” said Rabin, who was laid off in 2015.

Boeing could take three more months to fix the latest software glitch on the 737 Max, its best-selling model.(Source: TicToc)

The typical jetliner has millions of parts — and millions of lines of code — and Boeing has long turned over large portions of the work to suppliers who follow its detailed design blueprints.

Starting with the 787 Dreamliner, launched in 2004, it sought to increase profits by instead providing high-level specifications and then asking suppliers to design more parts themselves. The thinking was “they’re the experts, you see, and they will take care of all of this stuff for us,” said Frank McCormick, a former Boeing flight-controls software engineer who later worked as a consultant to regulators and manufacturers. “This was just nonsense.”

Sales are another reason to send the work overseas. In exchange for an $11 billion order in 2005 from Air India, Boeing promised to invest $1.7 billion in Indian companies. That was a boon for HCL and other software developers from India, such as Cyient, whose engineers were widely used in computer-services industries but not yet prominent in aerospace.

Rockwell Collins, which makes cockpit electronics, had been among the first aerospace companies to source significant work in India in 2000, when HCL began testing software there for the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based company. By 2010, HCL employed more than 400 people at design, development and verification centers for Rockwell Collins in Chennai and Bangalore.

That same year, Boeing opened what it called a “center of excellence” with HCL in Chennai, saying the companies would partner “to create software critical for flight test.” In 2011, Boeing named Cyient, then known as Infotech, to a list of its “suppliers of the year” for design, stress analysis and software engineering on the 787 and the 747-8 at another center in Hyderabad.

The Boeing rival also relies in part on offshore engineers. In addition to supporting sales, the planemakers say global design teams add efficiency as they work around the clock. But outsourcing has long been a sore point for some Boeing engineers, who, in addition to fearing job losses say it has led to communications issues and mistakes.

Moscow Mistakes

Boeing has also expanded a design center in Moscow. At a meeting with a chief 787 engineer in 2008, one staffer complained about sending drawings back to a team in Russia 18 times before they understood that the smoke detectors needed to be connected to the electrical system, said Cynthia Cole, a former Boeing engineer who headed the engineers’ union from 2006 to 2010.

“Engineering started becoming a commodity,” said Vance Hilderman, who co-founded a company called TekSci that supplied aerospace contract engineers and began losing work to overseas competitors in the early 2000s.

U.S.-based avionics companies in particular moved aggressively, shifting more than 30% of their software engineering offshore versus 10% for European-based firms in recent years, said Hilderman, an avionics safety consultant with three decades of experience whose recent clients include most of the major Boeing suppliers.

With a strong dollar, a big part of the attraction was price. Engineers in India made around $5 an hour; it’s now $9 or $10, compared with $35 to $40 for those in the U.S. on an H1B visa, he said. But he’d tell clients the cheaper hourly wage equated to more like $80 because of the need for supervision, and he said his firm won back some business to fix mistakes.

HCL, once known as Hindustan Computers, was founded in 1976 by billionaire Shiv Nadar and now has more than $8.6 billion in annual sales. With 18,000 employees in the U.S. and 15,000 in Europe, HCL is a global company and has deep expertise in computing, said Sukamal Banerjee, a vice president. It has won business from Boeing on that basis, not on price, he said: “We came from a strong R&D background.”

Still, for the 787, HCL gave Boeing a remarkable price – free, according to Sam Swaro, an associate vice president who pitched HCL’s services at a San Diego conference sponsored by Avionics International magazine in June. He said the company took no up-front payments on the 787 and only started collecting payments based on sales years later, an “innovative business model” he offered to extend to others in the industry.

The 787 entered service three years late and billions of dollars over budget in 2011, in part because of confusion introduced by the outsourcing strategy. Under Dennis Muilenburg, a longtime Boeing engineer who became chief executive in 2015, the company has said that it planned to bring more work back in-house for its newest planes.

Engineer Backwater

The Max became Boeing’s top seller soon after it was offered in 2011. But for ambitious engineers, it was something of a “backwater,” said Peter Lemme, who designed the 767’s automated flight controls and is now a consultant. The Max was an update of a 50-year-old design, and the changes needed to be limited enough that Boeing could produce the new planes like cookie cutters, with few changes for either the assembly line or airlines. “As an engineer that’s not the greatest job,” he said.

Rockwell Collins, now a unit of United Technologies Corp., won the Max contract for cockpit displays, and it has relied in part on HCL engineers in India, Iowa and the Seattle area. A United Technologies spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Boeing 737 Max
Boeing 737 Max airplanes at the company’s manufacturing facility in Renton, Washington.Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg

Contract engineers from Cyient helped test flight test equipment. Charles LoveJoy, a former flight-test instrumentation design engineer at the company, said engineers in the U.S. would review drawings done overnight in India every morning at 7:30 a.m. “We did have our challenges with the India team,” he said. “They met the requirements, per se, but you could do it better.”

Multiple investigations – including a Justice Department criminal probe – are trying to unravel how and when critical decisions were made about the Max’s software. During the crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines planes that killed 346 people, investigators suspect, the MCAS system pushed the planes into uncontrollable dives because of bad data from a single sensor.

That design violated basic principles of redundancy for generations of Boeing engineers, and the company apparently never tested to see how the software would respond, Lemme said. “It was a stunning fail,” he said. “A lot of people should have thought of this problem – not one person – and asked about it.”

Boeing also has disclosed that it learned soon after Max deliveries began in 2017 that a warning light that might have alerted crews to the issue with the sensor wasn’t installed correctly in the flight-display software. A Boeing statement in May, explaining why the company didn’t inform regulators at the time, said engineers had determined it wasn’t a safety issue.

“Senior company leadership,” the statement added, “was not involved in the review.”

(JN) Kepler Cheuvreux inicia cobertura da Navigator e dá potencial de 17%

(JN)

A Kepler Cheuvreux atribui um preço-alvo de 4 euros às ações da papeleira portuguesa e a recomendação de “comprar”.

A Kepler Cheuvreux iniciou a cobertura das ações da Navigator atribuindo aos títulos uma recomendação de “comprar” e um preço-alvo de 4 euros.

Tendo em conta a cotação de fecho da última sessão, de 3,41 euros, a avaliação da sociedade financeira tem implícito um potencial de valorização de 17,3%. O Negócios não teve acesso à nota de research, pelo que não é possível explicar os fundamentos desta análise.

De acordo com os dados da Bloomberg, a empresa liderada por João Castello Branco tem um preço-alvo médio de 4,78 euros, sendo que as avaliações dos bancos de investimento que seguem a cotada variam entre 3,10 e 5,80 euros.

A papeleira portuguesa tem 6 recomendações de “comprar” e uma de”vender”.

Ainda de acordo com a agência noticiosa, os analistas reviram em baixa o seu “target” em 11% nos últimos três meses.

Os títulos da Navigator subiram ontem pela quinta sessão consecutiva, tendo fechado o dia a ganhar 1,55% para 3,41 euros. Durante a sessão, porém, tocaram nos 3,454 euros, o valor mais alto desde 22 de maio.

Desde o início do ano, a Navigator acumula uma desvalorização de 5,28%, que compara com a descida de 4,12% da Semapa e com a subida de 7,41% da Altri. Já o principal índice nacional, o PSI-20 avança 9,66% no mesmo período.

(WSJ) Apple Moves Mac Pro Production to China

(WSJ) The $6,000 desktop computer had been the company’s only major device assembled in the U.S.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Chief Design Officer Jonathan Ive look over the new Mac Pro during Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., June 3.PHOTO: MASON TRINCA/REUTERSBy Tripp Mickle and Yoko KubotaJune 28, 2019 9:32 am ET

Apple Inc. AAPL -1.16% is manufacturing its new Mac Pro computer in China, according to people familiar with its plans, shifting abroad production of what had been its only major device assembled in the U.S. as trade tensions escalate between the Trump administration and Beijing.

The tech giant has tapped contractor Quanta Computer Inc. to manufacture the $6,000 desktop computer and is ramping up production at a factory near Shanghai, the people said. Quanta’s facility is close to other Apple suppliers across Asia, making it possible for Apple to achieve lower shipping costs than if it shipped components to the U.S.

While the Mac Pro isn’t one of Apple’s bigger products, the decision on where to make it carries outsize significance. Apple’s reliance on factories in China to manufacture its products has been an issue for the company, especially under President Trump, who has pressured Apple and other companies to make more in the U.S.

With the previous Mac Pro model, released in 2013, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook trumpeted plans to build it in the U.S. Apple invested $100 million in tooling and other equipment for a plant in Austin, Texas, run by contract manufacturer Flex Ltd. Each computer was stamped with “Assembled in the USA.”

Flex and Quanta declined to comment. An Apple spokesman said the new Mac Pro is designed and engineered in the U.S. and includes U.S.-made components. Apple said it supports manufacturing in 30 U.S. states and spent $60 billion last year with more than 9,000 U.S. suppliers.

“Final assembly is only one part of the manufacturing process,” the spokesman said, adding that the company’s investments support two million American jobs. The Mac Pro is Apple’s most powerful computer, used primarily by a small group of professionals working in industries such as film and videogames.

Newsletter Sign-up

President Trump has pressured Apple to make some iPhones, Macs or iPads in the U.S. since the 2016 presidential campaign. He told The Wall Street Journal in 2017 that Mr. Cook promised to build “three big plants, beautiful plants” in the U.S., a claim Apple declined to comment on at the time. Last year, as his administration imposed tariffs on imports from China, Mr. Trump said the only way to ensure prices for Apple goods don’t increase would be to make products in the U.S.

Apple in the past two years has announced a second campus in Austin, Texas, to handle customer support and operations, and announced more than $500 million in new contracts with U.S. component suppliers that manufacture at home. But Apple hasn’t disclosed any plans to build new manufacturing facilities in the U.S.

Making the new model in China isn’t likely to affect many workers in Texas because demand for the old Mac Pro had fizzled years ago. The Flex workforce had shifted to refurbishing already-made computers, former Flex employees said. The Flex plant continues to make products for HP Inc. and other companies, they said.

Mr. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, looking to revive trade talks, are scheduled to meet for lunch Saturday at the Group of 20 meeting in Osaka, Japan.

Related Video

Trade tensions are disrupting supply chains in China that have churned out electronics such as Apple’s iPhone and Nintendo’s Switch. Now companies are considering a move out of the country. Photo composite: Sharon Shi

Last year, the Trump administration spared product categories including Apple’s smartwatch and AirPods wireless earbuds from an initial round of duties. But the administration’s proposal to impose additional tariffs of 25% covering $300 billion in imports from China would affect all of Apple’s major devices, including the Mac, iPhone and iPad.

While it shifts Mac Pro production to China, Apple more broadly also is considering moving some of its assembly work out of China because of concerns about U.S. tariffs, The Wall Street Journal reported last week. One of the people familiar with Mac Pro plans said that same consideration also could extend to the Mac Pro, with Ireland as an alternate possible site.

The Mac Pro’s history reflects the hurdles to doing assembly in the U.S. The previous Mac Pro model—known as the “trash can” because of its stumpy, cylindrical appearance–was the first computer Apple had made in the U.S. in about a decade. Mr. Cook, who had architected Apple’s outsourcing to China, announced plans to build the product in the U.S. in late 2012, when Apple was facing major scrutiny over its reliance on manufacturers in China and those contractors’ treatment of workers.

Flex secured a designation as a Texas Enterprise Zone project at the time of the initiative, entitling it to $250,000 in annual tax breaks in support of $15 million in equipment purchases and 500 jobs with an average annual wage of $30,276, according to the state. The designation expires this month.

Almost immediately, Apple ran into challenges at the Flex plant in Austin, former Apple employees said.

More than 80% of the workers working across three assembly lines were contract employees paid minimum wage for eight-hour workdays, said Alan Hanrahan, a former Apple manufacturing supervisor, in an interview with the Journal two years ago. When their shift ended, many walked off the job, he said—even if the lines were still running. Production would stop, and people would just be standing there until the next person arrived and the shift could resume, he said.

As demand for the Mac Pro tapered, Flex began laying people off, several former Flex employees said. By last year, they were down to a skeleton crew working just a quarter of one of the assembly lines and refurbishing already-made Mac Pros, said Jeff Gruger, a former vice president of product at Flex.

“They learned it’s very difficult to manufacture in America,” Mr. Hanrahan said of Apple in the 2017 interview.

Apple this year overhauled the Mac Pro to give it more power and a radically different silver, rectangular design. The design could be one of the last developed under the leadership of design chief Jony Ive, who Apple announced Thursday will leave the company later this year.

Manufacturing labor costs in China, though rising, still remain much lower than in the U.S., said Paul Gagnon, a consumer-electronics analyst with IHS Markit.

Taiwan-based Quanta has made MacBooks and Apple’s smartwatch for years. In addition to four facilities in China, it has a small facility in Fremont, Calif., where it works on custom desktops, according to one of the people familiar with its plans.

(Reuters) Boeing shares slip as grounded 737 MAX faces new hurdle

(Reuters)

Boeing was forced to ground its jet worldwide earlier this year following two fatal crashes, sending shockwaves through the global aviation sector.

The single-aisle 737, the world’s most-sold commercial aircraft, is central to Boeing’s future with more than 5,000 orders and a backlog valued at nearly $500 billion at list prices.

Barclays analyst Christopher Keyworth said any further delay in the return of the jet to service could have financial implications for aircraft parts suppliers as well as airlines, which have already warned of a hit to their 2019 profits due to the groundings.

“We now anticipate a widespread ‘supplier reset’, with FY20E impact not yet factored into consensus,” Barclays analyst Christopher Keyworth wrote in a note, downgrading UK-based aero supplier Senior Plc (SNR.L) to “equal weight”.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration did not elaborate on the latest setback, but sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that the flaw was discovered during a simulator test last week.

It was not yet clear if the issue could be addressed with a software upgrade or would require a more complex hardware fix.

“While we expect BA to eventually reinstate the MAX and return to targeted, normalized cash flows, we think the timeframe is unknowable,” Credit Suisse analyst Robert Spingarn said.

“For now, we think investors should expect continued volatility as BA and the regulators work behind closed doors to ferret out any additional issues.”

Up to Wednesday’s close, Boeing shares have lost about 11% of their value since the deadly crash of the Ethiopian Airline 737 MAX jet on March 10. This compares with a 6% increase in the S&P 500 index .SPX during the same period.

Yet Boeing’s stock trades at 20.1 times forward earnings, a slight premium to its European rival Airbus SE (AIR.PA), which trades at 18.6 times.

(Reuters) Generali, Catalana in final race for $682 million Portuguese deal – sources

(Reuters)

Italy’s top insurer Assicurazioni Generali and Spanish rival Grupo Catalana Occidente are vying to take control of Portuguese insurance firm Tranquilidade in a deal worth up to $682 million (537 million pounds), five sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of Italy’s biggest insurer Assicurazioni Generali is seen in central Rome February 8, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

A trio of investment banks – Societe Generale, Jefferies and Arcano Partners – are handling the sale of the 148-year-old insurer, which is controlled by U.S. buyout fund Apollo.

Apollo bought Tranquilidade in 2015 from the remnant of Banco Espirito Santo in a deal worth about 200 million euros.

It turned it into Portugal’s second-largest insurer with an average market share of 15% and is now looking to fetch 500 million to 600 million euros from the sale, the sources said.

Lisbon-based Tranquilidade, whose business in Portugal is only second to Fosun-backed Fidelidade, declined to comment. Apollo was not immediately available for comment.

The insurer was part of the troubled web of businesses of the Espirito Santo family which had backed it for decades.

But the 2014 collapse of Banco Espirito Santo and its subsequent 4.9 billion bailout led to the creation of Novo Banco, which swallowed the lender’s healthy operations including Tranquilidade while its toxic assets were shifted into a bad bank.

An auction process for the insurer kicked off earlier this year drawing interest from a series of industry players including Germany’s Allianz, Belgium’s Ageas and Spain’s Mapfre, the sources said.

Binding bids were submitted earlier this month, the sources said, with Generali and Catalana emerging as the two main bidders.

A final decision is expected in about two weeks, three of the sources said.

Private equity funds did not take part in the auction as they faced strong competition from big insurers like Allianz.

However, binding bids from Allianz and Ageas were deemed too low while Mapfre – Spain’s second-biggest insurer – decided against bidding, the sources said.

Generali, Ageas and Allianz declined to comment while Mapfre was not immediately available.

A spokesman for Catalana said that the company was always on the lookout for opportunities, especially in relation to assets “that would allow us to add value and strengthen our position, whether in a specific segment of the business or in a geographical area.”

Generali, Europe’s third-biggest insurer, has a 5% market share in Portugal and has been reviewing its presence in the country since 2017 when it hired advisers to look into a possible exit, two of the sources said.

Generali’s French boss Philippe Donnet had initially drafted in Barclays to find a buyer for the company’s Portuguese unit as part of a plan to raise at least 1 billion euros by leaving 13 to 15 countries, these sources said.

However, the Trieste-based group has now changed tack and wants to use Tranquilidade as a platform to step up its game in Portugal, they said, adding it retained Barclays to make a competitive bid.

For Catalana the deal is also critical to establishing its presence in the country where it runs some small credit insurance operations through Spain’s Crédito y Caución. The company has hired BNP Paribas to work on a possible deal, one of the sources said.

Catalana has a market value of 3.7 billion euros and ranks as Spain’s sixth-biggest insurer with a 4.4% market share.

(CNN) 737 Max pilot sues Boeing for career damage, ‘severe emotional and mental stress’

(CNN)

Washington (CNN Business)An anonymous pilot is suing Boeing, alleging the company “demonstrated reckless indifference and conscious disregard for the flying public” in its development of the 737 Max.The suit also accuses the Federal Aviation Administration of joining Boeing “in an unprecedented cover-up of the known design flaws of the Max, which predictably resulted in the crashes of two Max aircraft and subsequent grounding of all Max aircraft worldwide.”The FAA is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, but aviation attorney Joseph Wheeler, one of the lawyers representing the unnamed plaintiff, told CNN he has begun the administrative procedure that “is a necessary procedural precondition to filing suit against the FAA.”Both Boeing spokesman Peter Pedraza and an FAA spokesman declined to comment on the matter. The lawsuit was filed on Friday in Cook County, Illinois, which is home to Boeing’s Chicago headquarters.The Max planes that are the latest variants of Boeing’s workhorse 737 series were grounded in March after two crashes in less than six months that together killed 346 people. The investigations are ongoing, but preliminary reports showed similarities between the two crashes, and Boeing is overhauling the new computerized stabilization system known as MCAS.In the lawsuit, the unnamed pilot claims “significant lost wages, among other economic and non-economic damages” as a result of the grounding of the plane, as well as “severe emotional and mental stress when they were effectively forced to fly the Max — and required to place their own life and the lives of their crew and passengers in danger.”The lawsuit is filed as a class action, saying potentially “more than four hundred pilots” at the unnamed airline could join. The documents provide little information about the single pilot currently involved in the case, besides that he or she is Canadian and works for an “international airline.” The suit says the pilot chose to file suit under the pseudonym “Pilot X” because of “fear of reprisal from Boeing and discrimination from Boeing customers … due to Boeing’s substantial influence in the commercial aviation industry.”A specific dollar amount of damages being sought is not named. Instead, that lawsuit says that should be “determined at trial” and should be sufficient to “deter Boeing and other airplane manufacturers from placing corporate profits ahead of the lives of the pilots, crews, and general public they service.”Boeing said in mid-May it completed development of the software fix. It has not yet submitted the fix to the FAA for a certification flight test. Several US airlines that fly the 737 Max have canceled flights that were slated to use the plane into September.

(Axios) Higher temperatures could fuel a global energy demand to stay cool

(Axios)

A fan blowing on Earth to cool it down
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new peer-reviewed study finds that higher temperatures could bring large increases in energy demand as use of cooling soars, far outweighing reduced need for heating.

Why it matters: The paper published in Nature Communications finds that depending on future warming levels, global demand in 2050 could be 11%–58% higher than what’s otherwise expected based on economic development and population growth.

One level deeper: While the total and regional ranges are significant, the paper notes: “We find broad agreement among [Earth System Models] that energy demand rises by more than 25% in the tropics and southern regions of the USA, Europe and China.”

What’s new: “These are the first globally comprehensive estimates of how much energy demand will change due to the increase in temperatures that is projected to happen, not just globally averaged but depending on where around the globe different climate models say it is going to be hotter rather than colder compared to the global mean,” Boston University professor and co-author Ian Sue Wing tells Axios.

My thought bubble: The paper underscores a sticky problem. Adapting to warming could make cutting emissions even harder if those higher energy needs aren’t met with low-carbon sources.

  • The paper — co-authored by researchers with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice — does not model how additional demand will be met.
  • “The emissions story is going to depend on how we choose to generate that additional electricity,” Sue Wing said.

What they did: The study is a global and regional look at potential warming-driven energy demand increases in 2050, looking at use of electricity, petroleum and natural gas in four sectors: industry, housing, business and agriculture.

They modeled a large set of potential outcomes based on 2 major emissions scenarios commonly employed by scientists.

  • One shows emissions soaring essentially unchecked through the century, enabling large temperature increases.
  • The other is an emissions peak around 2040, follow by a plateau and decline, which still brings significant warming.

But, but, but: The authors acknowledge limitations in the modeling and the need for future research.

  • Their analysis does not consider factors including changes in energy prices that could dampen energy demand growth, technological improvements, policy changes and more localized energy demand responses.

Go deeper: A/C demand expected to triple

P.O. (BBC) Boeing 737 Max: BA-owner IAG signs deal to buy 200 planes

P.O.

In my opinion, and regardless of the ovious needs in fixing the anomalies in the Boeing737, this is an extremely smart move by IAG.
In a time in which Boeing was in a deep crisis with its main selling plane, IAG comes up with a huge order that fixes several problems n one go:

1 – To start with of an order of 24 billion dollars in face value, the press says IAG must have payed roughly half.

2 – Not bad for a discount…

3 – It solves Boeing problem of the continuation of this troubled model.

4 – Jt must have helped. Boeing, and a lot with the legal cases airlines must have surd Boeing.

5 – On antother front,IAG as far as i know is controlled by UK share holders.

By helping the US, and the US Government with this order at a particular difficult time, the UK is getting an enormous leverage with the US Government in a moment it needs all the help it can get because of Brexit.

6 – With an unconditional US support London can check mate Brussels come what may.

7 – In these kind of situations i think it makes the difference between winning and loosing.

8 – In the case i am reading these facts right, the unconditional US support would reach Brussels in less than a nanasecond.

9 – I am of the opinion, if my reasoning is correct, that the UK negociators wiuld arrive in Brussels with an “HIS Master’s Voice”sound.

10 – And that would be an ideal scenario, considering that, in my opinion, the EU is almost a dictatorship.

“That’s All Folks”

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira



(BBC)

A Boeing 737 MAX 8 for China Southern Airlines pictured at the Boeing Renton Factory in Washington in 2019

Boeing has received a boost for its grounded 737 Max jet after British Airways-owner IAG signed a letter of intent to order 200 of the planes.

The airline group said it was confident that the Boeing planes would return to service in the coming months.

Boeing is currently trying to develop a software fix for 737 Max planes after two deadly crashes.

All 737 Max planes were grounded in March after an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed, killing 157 people.

Five months earlier, 189 people were killed when a Boeing 737 Max operated by Lion Air crashed.


Analysis:

By Theo Leggett, BBC business correspondent

This is not a firm order, and strictly speaking, IAG could change its mind if it wanted to – but it will still come as a huge boost for Boeing, at a show where it has been struggling to dispel the clouds hanging over its business.

The 737 Max may still be grounded – but it remains a flagship product for the American giant. It’s worth remembering it is the fastest selling product in Boeing’s history. It still has more than four thousand of them on order, far more than the rest of its range put together.

What IAG seems to have offered is a vote of confidence that the company will be able to make the aircraft unquestionably safe, and be able to demonstrate to regulators that it has done so, allowing it to return to market before long.

The economic reality is that airlines need the 737 Max – because of its high efficiency and low operating costs. Airbus simply cannot supply the whole market with its rival A320neo.

The deal, if it goes ahead, would be valued at $24bn (£19bn) at list prices. But the “substantial discount” negotiated by IAG’s savvy chief executive Willie Walsh is likely to be very substantial indeed.

Meanwhile the announcement may help to alleviate the mood at Boeing’s chalet, where it would be understandable if something of a siege mentality had developed over the past few days.


The planes will be used by IAG’s airlines including British Airways, Vueling and Level, the airline group said in a statement. The letter of intent was signed at the Paris Air Show.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said: “We have every confidence in Boeing and expect that the aircraft will make a successful return to service in the coming months having received approval from the regulators”.

IAG’s “first priority is the safety of passengers and crew,” a spokeswoman said.

Boeing shares rose more than 2.8% after the announcement.

The firm said it was “truly honoured and humbled by the leadership at International Airlines Group for placing their trust and confidence in the 737 Max”.

Criticisms of the crew of the Ethiopian Airline plane that crashed in March were “seriously misinformed”, the airline’s chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam said after a US congressman claimed pilot error was a factor in the disaster.

This week a US Federal Aviation Administration official indicated that Boeing 737 Max aircraft might could be grounded until the end of the year – longer than many had been expecting.