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A Southwest Airlines perk can get you almost two years' worth of free companion plane tickets — but you'll want to start earning points now

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 5:42pm

Traveling can be a great adventure, but it's always better with a friend or loved one. Having a free plane ticket for your favorite travel buddy for up to two years could help you make even more travel memories. Sounds too good to be true? It's actually a thing.

The Southwest Companion Pass allows you to choose one person to fly with you, though taxes and fees are not covered, for up to two years (provided your timing is right).

If you can qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, it's a worthwhile endeavor. 

How the Southwest Companion Pass works

The Southwest Companion Pass allows you to book a friend or family member's airplane ticket, on the same flight as you, without needing to pay any cash or points for the ticket. You will be responsible for taxes and fees, but typically these do not amount to much.

After you earn the Companion Pass, you will be able to designate your companion. The good news is that you can change to a different companion up to three times per calendar year. This means that you can bring along different friends for different trips.

Read more: Tips for using the Southwest Companion Pass once you've earned it

How to time earning the Companion Pass

Once you've decided that you want to earn the Companion Pass, you need to plan out the timing just right. If you're going through the work of getting a pass, then you should maximize the amount of time you have to use it. 

The pass will be good as soon as you earn it and for the rest of the year. Additionally, it will be valid for the entire year that follows. So if you earn it in November 2019, then you will only be able to use it until December 2020. However, if you earned it in January 2020 then you would be able to use it until December 2021, which effectively doubles the amount of time you have to use the Companion Pass.

With this in mind, the best time to start planning to get the Companion Pass is toward the end of a calendar year. If you plan properly, your sign-up bonuses and spending can help you hit the required mileage for the Companion Pass early in the next year. This can mean an active Companion Pass for almost two years.

How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass

To qualify for the pass, you need to earn 125,000 Companion Pass qualifying points or fly 100 one-way flights per calendar year on Southwest Airlines, which must be earned and posted to your Rapid Rewards account. The 125,000 qualifying-point requirement is new for 2020 — until the end of 2019, you can still qualify for the Companion Pass with 110,000 qualifying points.

You can earn qualifying points by:

Points you can earn on your Rapid Rewards account that do not qualify for the Companion Pass:

  • Purchased points
  • Points transferred between Rapid Rewards members
  • Points converted from hotel and car loyalty programs
  • Points converted from e-Rewards, e-Miles, Valued Opinions, and Diners Club
  • Points earned from Rapid Rewards program enrollment
  • Tier bonus points
  • Flight bonus points
  • Partner bonus points

Read more: We compared Southwest Airlines' 5  credit cards to help you decide which is best for you

Earning 125,000 Southwest points with credit cards

Perhaps the easiest way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass is to earn credit card sign-up bonuses. Southwest has a handful of credit cards, and all their sign-up bonuses count toward earning a Companion Pass.

You can only earn a sign-up bonus for one personal Southwest card — regardless of which one you choose. However, you can earn the bonus for one personal card, plus one small business card, within one year. Keep in mind that just about anyone is eligible for a small business credit card — even if you're a freelancer, work a side gig, or occasionally sell things on eBay.

Personal Southwest credit cards

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, and Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card all offer a sign-up bonus of 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. You also get 2x points on purchases made with Southwest and one point on all other purchases using these cards.

With 40,000 points (or really at least 41,000, factoring in the $1,000 you have to spend to earn the bonus), you'll still need another 85,000 to earn the Companion Pass. That's why adding a Southwest business credit card to the mix can help.

Click here to learn more about the Southwest Plus card. Click here to learn more about the Southwest Premier card. Click here to learn more about the Southwest Priority card. Southwest Business credit cards

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card has a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. So if you earn 40,000 points from one of the personal Southwest card bonuses and 60,000 from this card's bonus, you'd have at least 104,000 points toward the 125,000-point requirement (factoring in the points you'd earn from spending on the card).

To make up the remaining points, you can refer friends to sign up for Chase Southwest credit cards with your designated referral code, book hotels through Southwest Hotels, or use the Rapid Rewards shopping portal. Don't forget that you also can earn 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases made with the Rapid Rewards credit cards mentioned above.

There's also the more recently introduced Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card, which has a higher annual fee of $199 but also offers a higher sign-up bonus of 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. So if you open this card and one of the personal Southwest credit cards and earn the sign-up bonuses on each, you'll have 120,000 points before you even factor in the points you'll earn from meeting the spending requirement — so more than enough to earn the Companion Pass. 

If you're able to sign up for more than one card, you'll already be well on your way to the 125,000 points needed for the Companion Pass. 

Click here to learn more about the Southwest Premier Business card. Click here to learn more about the Southwest Performance Business card. Bottom line

The Companion Pass is an incredibly lucrative benefit for those who can qualify. It may take some extra work and some strategy in your timing of purchases, but it could be well worth it to make precious travel memories with friends and family. And if you're interested, the end of a calendar year is a perfect time to start working toward qualifying for this benefit, so you can enjoy it for as close to two years as possible.

Learn more about the Southwest Companion Pass rules and regulations.

More credit card coverage

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A Wall Street analyst says Oracle's business will take a hit from the cloud trend 'even in optimistic scenarios' (ORCL)

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 5:23pm

  • A Wall Street analyst downgraded Oracle to sell from hold, saying the tech giant will likely take a hit from the ongoing shift to the cloud until 2023.
  • CFRA analyst John Freeman also pulled his Oracle price target to $50 from $56.
  • "Even in optimistic scenarios for Oracle, the ongoing shift to cloud computing is increasingly deflationary for revenue and margins until at least fiscal 2023," Freeman said.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

The cloud will be bad news for Oracle over the next three years, a Wall Street analyst said Wednesday.

A CFRA analyst downgraded Oracle to sell from hold on Wednesday, saying the tech giant will likely take a hit from the ongoing shift to cloud computing at least until 2023.

Analyst John Freeman of CFRA also pulled his price target to $50 from $56, telling clients that the ongoing cloud migration, which is seen picking up in the coming years, is bound to hurt Oracle's revenue and profit margins.

"Even in optimistic scenarios for Oracle, the ongoing shift to cloud computing is increasingly deflationary for revenue and margins until at least fiscal 2023," Freeman told clients in a note.

The cloud lets businesses to set up their networks on web-based platforms such as those run by Amazon, Microsoft and Google, allowing them to scale back or even abandon private data centers. 

This has been bad news for traditional enterprise tech companies, such as Oracle and IBM, which sell software and hardware used to run in-house data centers.

These tech giants are scrambling to catch up to the dominant players in the cloud. Oracle is expanding its own cloud infrastructure to challenge Amazon, but a recent Forester report argued that Oracle and IBM have simply fallen so far behind the leaders.

Got a tip about Oracle or another tech company? Contact this reporter via email at, message him on Twitter @benpimentel or send him a secure message through Signal at (510) 731-8429. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft is rolling out something called 'Project Cortex' to take on rivals like Slack and Google

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Slack beat financial targets but didn't give an update to its daily user competition with Microsoft (WORK)

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 5:19pm

  • Slack's reported Q3 revenue of $168.7 million, an increase of 66 percent from a year prior on Wednesday.
  • But Slack did not provide an update on its active users, a closely watched metric.
  • The company also announced that Chamath Palihapitiya will be stepping down from its board of directors and will be replaced by Michael McNamara. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Slack beat Wall Street financial targets in its third quarter but did not provide an update on its number of daily users — a closely watched gauge of its competition with Microsoft — sending the company's stock see-sawing in after hours trading as investors tried to assess its progress.

Shares of Slack fell as much as 6% in after hours trading, then rebounded and traded up nearly 4%. 

The workplace collaboration company reported quarterly revenue of $168.7 million, an increase of 66 percent from a year prior, and above analyst estimates.

In its second earnings report since entering the public markets through a direct listing in June, Slack said Wednesday that it lost 2 cents per share, excluding certain items, in its fiscal third quarter — better than the 8 cents per share loss that analysts were expecting on an adjusted basis.

The company also announced that Chamath Palihapitiya will be stepping down from its board of directors and will be replaced by Michael McNamara. 

But Slack did not provide updated daily active user numbers, something that has been a point of focus in its ongoing rivalry with Microsoft Teams.

Last month, Microsoft said it had 20 million daily active users putting it ahead of Slack. Microsoft bundles Teams in with its Office 365 productivity suite for business. Analysts have said this gives Microsoft a major advantage that could make it more difficult for Slack to compete.

Slack in October said it has 12 million daily active users. It highlighted user engagement metrics and hours spent on the platform to show how much users like the product. Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield has also previously said Microsoft's behavior is "surprisingly unsportsmanlike" as a business rival, and that the company uses the popularity of Office 365 to push its Teams product on customers.

"As we've said before, you can't transform a workplace if people aren't actually using your product," a Slack spokesperson previously said in a statement.

Slack did provide updated paid user numbers on Wednesday, telling investors it now was 105,000 paid customers, an increase of 30 percent from a year prior. It also said it now has 821 paid customers with greater than $100,000 in annual recurring revenue, up 67 percent from a year prior. 

Slack forecasted revenue of $172 million to $174 million and an adjusted net loss per share of $0.07 to $0.06 for the fourth quarter, in line with analysts previous estimates. For the fiscal 2020 year, Slack is forecasting revenue of $621 million to $623 million and adjusted net loss per share of $0.32 to $0.31.

Here's what Slack reported:

  • Revenue: $168.7 million. Analysts were expecting $156.23 million.
  • Net loss per share (adjusted): $0.02. Wall Street was looking for a loss of $0.08 loss per share.
  • Revenue (fourth quarter): Between $172 million and $174 million estimated. Analysts had predicted $173.23 million.
  • Net loss per share (adjusted, fourth quarter): $0.07 to $0.06 estimated. Wall Street was forecasting $0.07 loss per share.
  • Paid customers: 105,000 paid customers

Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at or Signal at 925-364-4258. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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Here's how to fix a dent or scrape on your car using a cheap roll of tape

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 5:19pm

A few weeks ago, my Toyota RAV4 hybrid endured an indignity. A very low-speed collision put a dent and a scrape in its rear bumper.

Nothing to panic about. Minor impacts are pretty common, and the damage was minimal. 

But it was still noticeable, and the bumper panel was slightly detached from the rest of the body, as well as being scraped. With winter coming, I decided that although I didn't really want to fully repair the damage — a new bumper would be required, and with paint and body work I was looking at a few hundred bucks minimum — I wanted to tidy up the impact.

Minor repairs such as these are easy and worthwhile, as I've already demonstrated by fixing a few scratches on my beloved Toyota Prius.

Here's how I used a $6 roll of tape to solve my problem:

Dang! That's a decent little dent in the rear bumper of my Toyota RAV4 hybrid.

As you can see, I have a dent, a slight crack, some scuffs, and a section of the bumper that's detaching.

Not to worry. I've fixed scratches on my other car, a Prius. That time, I matched the paint. But because the damage is worse on my RAV4, and the vehicle is black, I could use another technique.

Read all about how I fixed blemishes on the Prius.

Gorilla Tape to the rescue!

A roll cost me $6 at AutoZone. Gorilla Tape is stickier than duct tape, which I've used before to fix my cars.

This isn't going to be a serious repair — just enough to hold by bumper together for a few months. I also have to deal with that damage to the trim down by the exhaust pipe. And I'm not going to worry about that dent.

First step: I cleaned the area so that the tape can stick well to the surface.

Step 2: I secured the problem area so that I could pull it flush with a second layer of tape.

I continued to the area above the dent.

Step 3: I applied larger pieces of tape in sections, so I could get a good, tight seal.

Mission accomplished! The bumper should now remain attached.

Step 4: Cover the scuffs and scrapes.

Now I'll deal with this tricky bit. I don't think the tape is going to adhere to the finish all that well, but I'm gonna do my best.

Repair complete!

It's far from perfect, but at least the damage won't get any worse!

Don't be afraid to tackle these minor repair jobs! They're simple, cheap, and they can help you keep your car on the road when damage is minor.

Google's cofounders are stepping down from their company. Here are 43 photos showing Google's rise from a Stanford dorm room to global internet superpower (GOOG, GOOGL)

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 5:10pm

More than 21 years after incorporating, Google is a global superpower. 

Google is not only the most-visited website in the world, but it also makes Android, the most popular operating system in the world, and Google Chrome, the most popular web browser. It operates at least 15 massive data centers worldwide.

However, Google wasn't always that way. What started as a mission to organize the world's information in a Stanford dorm room has bloomed into a massive public company, whose corporate structure was overhauled in 2015 to turn it into a business operating under the name Alphabet. 

With cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin's announcement they're stepping down from the company they built, Google CEO Sundar Pichai will become the head of both Google and Alphabet.

Here's a look at the more than 21-year history of Google, in photos:

SEE ALSO: TikTok issues public apology for suspending the account of the teen behind the viral Chinese takedown video disguised as a makeup tutorial

Google technically got its start in 1996, when two Stanford PhD students named Larry Page and Sergey Brin had the idea for "BackRub," a revolutionary search engine using a technology called "PageRank" that would rank web pages based on how many other web pages linked back to them.

Page and Brin's first office was actually their two Stanford dorm rooms. The "BackRub" name didn't last long, as they decided that a "googol" — the number one with a hundred zeroes after it — better reflected the amount of data they were trying to sift through. The slightly friendlier name "Google" was chosen for the fledgling company.

The first-ever Google server was built in a custom case made out of Legos and housed on the Stanford campus. At first, it was just at, but the domain name was registered on September 15th, 1997.

Eventually, Google drained too much of Stanford's bandwidth, and the IT department kicked them out. Page and Brin relocated the fledgling company in the garage of future Google employee and YouTube head Susan Wojcicki.

Around the same time they moved into the garage, Brin and Page got a crucial $100,000 seed investment from Sun Microsystems founder Andy Bechtolsheim. With funding in hand, Google officially incorporated 21 years ago in their garage headquarters on September 4th, 1998.

Google's first homepage was not much of a looker. Neither Page nor Brin had much expertise with the website programming language HTML, choosing to focus their efforts on the algorithms that made it run.

Not long after Google officially incorporated, the first-ever Google Doodle appeared in 1998 as a homage to Burning Man, the annual festival in the Nevada desert. Brin and Page were attending the festival, and wanted to let people know they weren't around to do damage control if the site broke.

In 1998, Page and Brin tapped Craig Silverstein, a fellow PhD candidate at Stanford, to be Google's first employee.

At this point, Google was running in a shared data center in Santa Clara, California. Larry Page talked the data center owner into giving Google a break on their bandwidth bills because most of the company's web traffic was inbound, and the data center's usual customers focused on pushing data out.

At one point in 1999, Google was almost acquired by Excite, a leading search engine at the time. Excite would have acquired Google for $750,000 in cash, Excite's then CEO George Bell has said. But the the deal fell through for reasons that are still debated, and Google continued on its own.

Page and Brin decided to make Google into a business, after all. In March of 1999, Google moved into its first-ever office at 165 University Avenue in Palo Alto — the same office building that housed companies like PayPal and Logitech.

Not long after, Google raised its first round of venture capital funding in the form of a $25 million investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and Sequoia Capital. That probably bought its developers a lot more beer.

Google debuted its AdWords product in late 2000, enabling businesses to buy ads related to search terms. By this point, Google was already rising in popularity as a search engine, so it had a steady revenue stream that kept it going through the dot-com burst that claimed so many startups.

Google's star was definitely on the rise, and Brin and Page were becoming rock stars in the tech community for succeeding where everybody else failed.

Around the time it started making money in 2000, Google adopted its famous, but unofficial, corporate philosophy: "Don't be evil." In a 2004 letter to shareholders, the cofounders wrote: "We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served — as shareholders and in all other ways — by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains."

Source: Alphabet

At investor Sequoia's urging, Brin and Page brought on Eric Schmidt as the company's first CEO in 2001, leaving the founders free to focus on Google's technology.

By this point, the Google team was growing out of its Palo Alto offices.

So in 2003, Google leased its now-famous Googleplex campus from ailing, old-school tech giant Silicon Graphics International. By 2006, Google was able to buy the Googleplex outright.

The Googleplex became a symbol of Silicon Valley success. Google worked hard to make it a little more whimsical than your average campus. The original main campus building is well-known for having a slide that connects the first two floors.

Plus, Google was the first big tech company to offer free meals to its employees. The Google cafeteria became the stuff of Silicon Valley legend.

It also has a famous dinosaur statue often covered in flamingos. Google employee rumor holds that it's a reminder to its employees to not go extinct.

On August 19th, 2004, Google had its initial public offering on the stock market, priced at $85 per share. Today, a share in Google costs $1,314.

On April 1st, 2004, Google announced a private beta for Gmail, an e-mail service. Because it was on April Fool's Day, the media and users all thought it was a prank at first.

After the IPO, Google set its sights on expanding past the search engine. From September to October, Google bought startups Keyhole, Where2, and ZipDash, which would go on to form the basis of Google Maps.

In 2005, Google bought a tiny startup that was making an operating system for digital cameras. It was called Android and was led by Andy Rubin.

In 2006, Google snapped up Upstartle, a company that made a popular web browser-based word processor called Writely. That one would go on to become Google Docs.

2006 also saw Google buy up YouTube, a brand-new video-sharing site that was founded by a bunch of ex-PayPal employees. Google paid $1.65 billion in stock for YouTube.

Google was getting bigger and bigger. In 2006, Google opened up its first wholly-owned and designed data center in The Dalles, Oregon, on the banks of the Columbia river.

Google has a history of squeezing out incredibly high levels of efficiency from its data centers with inventive new designs — a history that started at that first Oregon site.

Google was so popular by this point that "Googling" had become an acceptable word for "searching the Internet." In June of 2006, the verb "google" was added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

In 2008, the HTC Dream hit the market. It was the first-ever Android smartphone that consumers could buy. Today, Google Android is the most popular operating system on the planet.

The year 2008 also saw Google introduce Google Chrome, a web browser that integrated tightly with Google's growing roster of web services. Google wanted to make sure that on every device, you keep using Google — and looking at Google ads.

In 2011, Schmidt stepped down as Google CEO, though he kept his title as executive chairman. He stuck around to advise Page and Brin, and Page became the new CEO of Google.

With its dominance in search all but locked down, Page's Google focused on some crazy, next-generation ideas. In 2010, Google announced that it was working on driverless cars that didn't require a human to operate.

In 2012, Google announced Google Glass, a wearable computer that would present information in your field of vision. The project was led by Brin, Google's director of special projects. Google Glass didn't catch on the way people hoped, but it made an impact.

In October 2015, Google shocked the world by completely shaking up its corporate structure. Google was turned into a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet, a new parent company. Page became the CEO of Alphabet, and Brin was named president.

Source: Business Insider

Former Google Chrome head Sundar Pichai was named new Google's CEO, guiding the future of the newly-formed Alphabet's most important and profitable businesses — including the Google search engine and YouTube.

Pichai has overseen some of Google's most significant crises to date. Google came under fire for its role in facilitating the spread of misinformation during the 2016 presidential election, even as YouTube's algorithm was criticized for promoting conspiracy theories.

2018 was marked by turmoil within Google's walls, too. Google faced internal backlash after employees rebelled against Project Maven, a drone contract program with the Pentagon. Later, employees voiced their displeasure with Project Dragonfly, an initiative to bring a censored search product to China.

Read more about Project Maven here and about Project Dragonfly here from Business Insider.

A dramatic episode came in November 2018, when Google employees walked out en masse around the world to protest what they saw as the company's mishandling of sexual misconduct cases involving executives like Android creator Andy Rubin.

Read more about the Google Walkout here on Business Insider.

In November 2018, Pichai was asked to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee, where he addressed accusations from conservative lawmakers that Google's search results are biased. Pichai denied such claims, saying: "I lead this company without political bias and work to ensure that our products continue to operate that way."

Only time will tell if Google — which powers 90% of internet searches in the US — will continue to dominate the way we find our information online.

In December 2019, Brin and Page announced they would be stepping down from their positions at Google's parent company. They are staying members of Alphabet's Board of Directors, and still control the company thanks to their super-voting shares. Pichai will take over to be CEO of both Google and Alphabet.

Source: Business Insider

5 times to consider putting your savings in a CD for at least a year

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 4:47pm

  • A CD (certificate of deposit) is a like a locked piggy bank that pays a consistent return.
  • If you have savings that you know you're not going to spend until a future date, a CD is a good alternative to a high-yield savings account.
  • Generally, the longer you keep your money in a CD, the higher the interest rate. The best one-year CDs currently earn around 2% APY, so any term shorter than a year probably isn't worth tying up your money.
  • Money set aside for a down payment, a home renovation fund, and cash for next year's holiday purchases are a few good uses for a CD.
  • Read more personal finance coverage.

Since interest rates are down compared to last year — and likely to remain unchanged or fall even further in 2020 — it's a good time to be strategic about where you save money.

A certificate of deposit (CD) can offer good earning potential without any of the risk of a stock market investment or the variable interest rates of a high-yield savings account.

When you open a CD, you agree to lock your money up for a specific period of time — usually anywhere from three months to five years — in exchange for a fixed annual percentage yield (APY). You typically can't access your cash until the CD's maturity date without incurring a penalty, which makes it a good place to safely grow money that you need at a certain date and not before then. It can also help curb impulse spending.

Currently, the best CDs are offering between 2% and 2.25% APY for varying minimum deposits and terms between 12 months and five years. Generally, the longer the term length, the higher the rate. Any term shorter than a year probably isn't worth it right now, since the rates are comparable to the best high-yield savings accounts.

You can't add money to a CD after the initial funding period (usually between 10 and 14 days), so it's not the right type of account for actively saving money. But if you already have cash set aside for a future purchase, a CD is worth considering. Here are five times to open a CD for your savings:

1. You're waiting to buy a house

Saving for a down payment can take years. But just because you finally reach your savings goal doesn't mean you have to buy a house right away. Maybe mortgage rates aren't where you'd like them to be or you just haven't found a place you love yet. If you've decided to wait at least a year to buy a house, a CD can keep your down payment safe and earning a consistent return in the meantime.

2. You're planning a home renovation

If there's a home improvement project on your to-do list next year, but you already have the cash, consider opening a CD to earmark the savings. As long as the renovation isn't something that needs attention right away (think: a big leak or a damaged roof), then you can lock in a high interest rate now to earn more on your money while you iron out the details of the project — and actually find the time to do it.

3. You spend a lot during the holidays

The end-of-year holidays seem to get more expensive every year. Make it easier for your future self by setting aside a cash reserve now that you can use next year for shopping, booking travel, and buying gifts. Once your CD matures, you can use the cash to put toward your holiday purchases if the timing is right or replenish the fund you pulled from. 

4. You have big travel plans

If you're actively saving for a travel fund, a high-yield savings account is the way to go. But, if you've already reached your goal, or even part of it, and want to make sure the money stays safe until you're ready to jet off, try a CD. You won't be able to dip into the account for impulse spending and you'll wind up with even more money than you started with thanks to above average interest rates.

5. You're preparing for a move

Between packing supplies, movers, and buying new stuff, moving can run up a lengthy tab. But setting up a moving fund? That's something many of us plan to do, but never quite get around to.

If you know you'll be moving in the future, whether to a new state or just a new neighborhood, consider setting aside some extra cash in a CD so you can be sure there's no scrambling for money when the time comes. It doesn't need to be a ton of cash — some of the best CDs require $0 to open — but you'll need to add something to start earning a return. 

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The Mets are in talks to sell 80% of the team to billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 4:28pm

  • The New York Mets' owners are in talks to sell up to 80% of the team to the billionaire hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
  • Bloomberg said that the deal would value the baseball team at $2.6 billion and that Mets confirmed the discussions in a statement.
  • The Wilpon family took control of the team in 2002 and would retain a stake in the Mets should the deal go though, the report said.
  • Cohen would remain CEO of his hedge fund, Point72 Asset Management, according to Bloomberg.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The New York Mets' owners are in talks to sell up to 80% of the team to the billionaire hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Cohen, who already holds a stake in the Major League Baseball team, would receive a path to control the franchise, according to Bloomberg. Its principal owner, Fred Wilpon, would remain in his role for at least five years, and his son, Jeff Wilpon, would keep his job as the team's chief operating officer over the same period.

Bloomberg said that the deal would value the team at $2.6 billion and that the Mets confirmed the discussions in a statement.

Should the deal go through, the Wilpons would retain a stake in the team, according to Bloomberg. Fred Wilpon is considering the deal as part of estate and philanthropic planning, Bloomberg's source said.

Cohen would remain CEO of his hedge fund, Point72 Asset Management, Bloomberg reported. The chief executive has a net worth of $9.2 billion and is 168th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The Wilpon family took control of the Mets in 2002.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

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NOW WATCH: A big-money investor in juggernauts like Facebook and Netflix breaks down the '3rd wave' firms that are leading the next round of tech disruption

Life after WeWork: Laid-off employees take their next steps via Google docs, viral LinkedIn posts, and recruiting events hosted by ex-colleagues

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 4:24pm

  • Thousands of former WeWork employees are now searching for jobs after massive layoffs last month. 
  • Efforts to help include an in-person networking event hosted by a former WeWorker's company and other startups on Wednesday in New York. The first event in what will be a series drew about 65 ex-employees and recruiters. 
  • WeWorkers are also circulating a Google spreadsheet with nearly 200 names of employees looking for roles and 800 open jobs.
  • One former WeWork lawyer advised her peers to be proactive, online and offline. 
  • For more stories on WeWork, click here.

The mantra was simple: "We're going to be OK. We're going to be OK." 

A former WeWorker repeated the phrase to her friend as they walked into a New York networking event on Wednesday morning, two weeks after the company's major job cuts hit the US.

The 2,400 employees who were laid off are receiving four months of compensation in the US, but many aren't waiting to start job hunting. Eyeing a hiring cycle that tends to slow down before the holidays, then ramps up in January, employees said they were networking now with the hope of landing something early next quarter. 

WeWork's laid-off employees represent a flood of talent in a market with record-low unemployment, and recruiters have been circling some employees, particularly in engineering, for weeks, or even months. Some former WeWorkers said they were waiting out their garden leave, spending the next weeks traveling or relaxing before they start a job they lined up even before they were officially cut.

Others are leaning on networks, online and offline, for support. When the cuts hit, LinkedIn was flooded with supportive messages from entrepreneurs and WeWorkers, some of whom left the company years ago, offering to open their networks. One started a Google spreadsheet called #WeAreWeWork to share available roles at companies including Amazon and startups, as well as colleagues' information. Two weeks later, the sheet has 200 names and 800 open jobs, along with specific WeWork contacts. 

On Wednesday morning, about 65 former employees and recruiters gathered at a Chelsea, Manhattan, restaurant for a speed-networking event so popular that it had a waitlist. The event, called Soft Landing, was organized by two startups, KettleSpace and the talent company Uncubed.

KettleSpace, which hosts coworking spaces in 13 New York restaurants, was cofounded by the former WeWorker Dan Rosenzweig and the restaurateur Nick Iovacchini. 

"The world needs more communities coming together when things get hard," Iovacchini told Business Insider. "We feel a sense of like-mindedness with many of the folks who were at WeWork ... people who worked hard and believed in a vision." 

The 15 companies at the Wednesday event, which organizers hope can be the first in a series, included the real-estate-technology company VTS and the data company CB Insights. Event attendees also received a free three-month membership to KettleSpace, giving them a space to work as they look for a new role — or to start a new company — and free coaching from the career coach GoCoach. 

Uncubed cofounder Tarek Pertew said the three-hour event was like a "heavily curated" job fair. 

"I don't think [former WeWorkers] are going to be wanting for work, but they probably don't want to learn about companies constantly when they can come to breakfast and learn about a chunk of them over three hours," Pertew said. "It's going to feel like your career search is already activated nicely, on the back of a pretty gnarly event."

Kristin Luciano, a WeWork lawyer who was laid off, said she was not taking a passive approach. Her first step was a public LinkedIn post after the cuts, in which she highlighted her new endeavor — a legal tech platform for influencers. The short post picked up more than 125,000 views and led to conversations with multiple recruiters and venture-capital firms, Luciano said on the sidelines of the Soft Landing event. 

"It goes to show that people are not going to give you things in this world. You need to be proactive," she said, adding that she was attending the event even though no specific legal jobs were listed. "You're going to get a million job rejections. This is life." 

Get in touch: Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (646) 768-1627 using a nonwork phone, email at, or Twitter DM at @MeghanEMorris. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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Here are all the companies and divisions under Google's parent company, Alphabet, which just had a major shake-up at the top (GOOG, GOOGL)

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 3:49pm

  • Google reorganized to become Alphabet in 2015, but the way the company is structured is still rather confusing.
  • Alphabet is organized in two parts: Google and "Other Bets," which each house the various other parts of the company's business.
  • On Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai also became CEO of Alphabet, and cofounder Larry Page stepped down. 
  • Here's a breakdown of all the divisions under Alphabet. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

It's been four years since Google blew up its entire corporate structure to form a new parent company: Alphabet.

The shake-up was intended to help all of its businesses operate more efficiently, a move former CEO Larry Page was working on for years as a secret project he called "Javelin."

This move also allowed Page to step back from day-to-day operations to "focus on the bigger picture."

Now, Alphabet is a massive corporation that encompasses everything from internet-beaming hot air balloons to self-driving cars to Google Cloud. As of Tuesday, Sundar Pichai is CEO of Google and Alphabet, although cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will remain board members and hold controlling shares.

Here are all the companies and divisions within Google's parent company, Alphabet: 

SEE ALSO: Sundar Pichai is now the CEO of both Google and Alphabet. Here's his meteoric rise, in photos.

Google officially became Alphabet in October 2015, with the hope of allowing business units to operate independently and move faster. Google cofounder Larry Page was named the CEO of the umbrella company, Alphabet.

Alphabet is divided into two main units: Google and Other Bets. Other Bets is best known for its "moonshot" R&D unit, X, but it also houses several other companies. Let's start with the smaller companies under Other Bets.

Alphabet's Access division includes Google Fiber, which launched in Kansas City in 2012 and expanded to over 15 cities. Fiber offers extremely fast high-speed internet, TV, and phone service. It's billed as an alternative to traditional cable companies.

Source: Business Insider

But Alphabet has scaled back its bet on Fiber, halting expansion to new markets and eliminating hundreds of jobs. According to reports, it's due to "decreased interest from the founders." In February, Fiber left Louisville, Kentucky.

Source: Business Insider, CNBC, Fiber

Verily focuses on healthcare and disease prevention research. One of its first projects was smart contact lenses that can monitor a wearer's glucose levels, which has since been put on hold. Now, it's focusing on identifying diseases and improving user experience for patients.

Source: Verily, Bloomberg

Sidewalk Labs is an Alphabet company founded in 2015 to focus on urban innovation. Led by Dan Doctoroff, Sidewalk Labs aims to find new ways to improve cities through technology. The company is located in New York City's Hudson Yards redevelopment, and is also designing a neighborhood along Toronto's waterfront.

Source: Business Insider, Hudson Yards

Calico launched in 2013 with an ambitious goal: "cure death." The Alphabet-owned company has invested millions to develop drugs that could help prolong human life by fighting age-related diseases like cancer or Alzheimer's, and it has been collaborating with MIT's Broad Institute to study aging.

Source: Business Insider

GV is Alphabet's early-stage venture arm. Formerly known as Google Ventures, GV has more than $4.5 billion under management and has invested in more than 400 companies, including Uber, Lime, and Slack.

Source: Business Insider

Google Capital — now known as CapitalG — is Alphabet's growth equity investment fund. Its mission is purely financial returns, but unlike GV, CapitalG focuses on later-stage startups. Some of its investments include Airbnb, Glassdoor, and Thumbtack.

Source: Business Insider

The "think tank" division within Alphabet was spun off into a company called Jigsaw early in 2016. Led by Jared Cohen, Jigsaw uses technology to try to tackle geopolitical problems like online censorship, extremism, and harassment.

Source: Business Insider

DeepMind focuses on artificial intelligence research. Acquired in 2014 for $500 million, DeepMind has focused on adding artificial intelligence throughout Google products, including search. The DeepMind AI can also teach itself how to play arcade games and can play board games against humans.

Source: Business Insider

X is a secretive R&D lab, nicknamed Alphabet's moonshot factory. It's led by Astro Teller.

X has a long list wide-ranging projects, from its Everyday Robot Project to smart glasses to salt-based energy storage.

Some X projects have become full-fledged companies. Project Loon, a former X "moonshot" that is now an independent business, has a mission to bring web access to two-thirds of the world's population using internet-beaming hot air balloons.

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving car project, has labored for more than a decade to develop fully autonomous vehicles. While it began as a part of X, the self-driving car unit spun out into its own business in December 2016. Waymo partnered with Lyft on a self-driving ride service in the Phoenix area.

Source: Bloomberg, The Verge

Project Wing is also a company that originated inside X. The commercial drone delivery service made headlines in September 2016 when it flew Chipotle burritos to Virginia Tech students. Wing has had trouble though, such as accusations of harsh working conditions. The project's leader, Dave Vos, left the company in October 2016.

Read more: The alarming inside story of a failed Google acquisition, and an employee who was hospitalized

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

Titan Aerospace was acquired by Google in 2014 and renamed Project Titan as part of X. Project Titan was charged with building solar-powered drones designed to fly nonstop for years and beam internet around the world. But the project was shuttered altogether in late 2016 with the remnants of it lumped in with Project Wing.

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider, 9to5Google

Makani, which develops airborne wind turbines, spun out from X in early 2019. It runs a test site in Hawaii.

Source: Financial Times

Up next: Google itself.

All of Alphabet's "traditional" products — like Chrome, the Pixel phone, Google Home, and Google Play — are still housed under Google, which is run by CEO Sundar Pichai.

Nest Labs built smart doorbells, thermostats, and other home devices, like outdoor security cameras. The company was acquired by what is now Alphabet in 2014, and in June 2016, CEO Tony Fadell stepped down. He was replaced by Marwan Fawaz. In February 2018, it was announced Nest would be folded back into Google's hardware unit.

Source: Business Insider

Google's hardware division was formed in 2016 when Google hired former Motorola president Rick Osterloh. Osterloh was put in charge of Pixel phones, Google Home, Chromebooks, and revamping Google Glass. Google Nest also falls under his purview now. Osterloh reports directly to Pichai.

Source: Business Insider

ATAP, which stands for Advanced Technology and Projects, is a secretive Google division that works on projects like Jacquard, which makes smart fabric; Soli, which uses radar for touchless gesture control; and Spotlight Stories, which creates short VR films. ATAP now falls under Osterloh's hardware division.

Source: Business Insider

Google Cloud is Google's cloud-computing platform that competes with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. The division is a major source of investment for Google right now. Diane Greene ran Google Cloud from 2015 to 2018 — she was replaced by former Oracle exec Thomas Kurian.

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

Google Cloud houses G Suite, which includes Hangouts Meet, Calendar, Mail, Plus, Cloud Search, and Drive. According to Google, millions of businesses are now using the service.

Source: Google

Chronicle is a former X project that became a standalone Alphabet business. Its plan was to machine learning to help security teams prevent threats, but in June, it was folded into Google Cloud.

Source: Chronicle

YouTube was acquired in 2006 and remains a subsidiary of Google. The video-hosting site, run by Susan Wojcicki, has emerged as the world's No. 1 video-sharing site and the No. 2 most-visited site on the web. Analysts estimate that YouTube generates enormous revenue, but Alphabet has yet to reveal the service's financial performance.

Source: CNBC

Google's core product, web search, remains under the Google umbrella.

Google Maps is part of Google's core business and by 2016, had more than 1 billion monthly users.

Source: Business Insider

Google AdSense lets publishers earn money from online content, placing ads on publishers' webpages. Advertising drives the majority of revenue for Google.

And finally, there's Android: Google's mobile operating system. The company frequently rolls out new versions, which used to be named after different desserts, including KitKat, Lollipop, and Marshmallow. In 2019, Google rebranded Android 10, dropping the sugary names, and adding a new logo and color scheme. Apps, movies, music, and books for Android devices can be downloaded from Google's Play Store.

Source: Digital Trends

Hundreds of thousands of Americans to lose food stamps under new Trump administration policy

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 3:25pm

  • The Trump administration finalized on Wednesday a rule that would increase federal enforcement of food stamp requirements.
  • Officials said the move would cut hundreds of thousands of Americans from the safety-net program.
  • It was part of a broader Trump administration initiative to limit access to SNAP, which also includes proposals to shift its eligibility formula.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Trump administration finalized on Wednesday a rule that would increase federal enforcement of food stamp requirements, a move officials said would cut hundreds of thousands of Americans from the safety-net program. 

Under the new rule, able-bodied adults without children would face stricter work requirements for enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The Department of Agriculture estimated that up to 688,000 individuals would lose access to the program as a result of the change. 

Administration officials argued in the proposal that the food assistance was not necessary for certain groups against the backdrop of a historically strong labor market. The policy would save the government more than $5 billion over the course of five years, according to internal estimates

"We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand but not allowing it to become an indefinitely giving hand," said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. "This rule lays the groundwork for the expectation that able-bodied Americans re-enter the workforce where there are currently more job openings than people to fill them."

The move was part of a broader Trump administration initiative to limit access to SNAP, which also includes proposals to shift its eligibility formula. Democrats and low-income advocates have predicted those changes would hurt some of the most disadvantaged economic groups. 

"The Trump administration is driving the vulnerable into hunger just as the Christmas season approaches," Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, said on the floor Wednesday. "It is heartless. It is cruel." 

The US has added jobs for a record 109 consecutive months, but not all areas of the country have been lifted equally by the expansion. In an attempt to address those disparities, current laws allow governors to apply for waivers that loosen work quotas for SNAP recipients. 

The rule finalized Wednesday would make that process more selective, likely leading more states to enforce the federal requirement that recipients work or participate in a training program 20 hours per week. 

An Urban Institute study released last week estimated that up to 3.7 million Americans could lose SNAP benefits and that nearly 1 million children would be cut off from free or reduced-price school lunches as a result of the change.

The public has submitted to the Trump administration hundreds of thousands of negative comments on the policy proposal.

SEE ALSO: US private sector jobs grew at 2nd-weakest pace since 2010 in November

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NOW WATCH: A big-money investor in juggernauts like Facebook and Netflix breaks down the '3rd wave' firms that are leading the next round of tech disruption

These are the 5 big changes Sundar Pichai could make to kick off his reign as Alphabet CEO (GOOG)

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 1:07am

  • Sundar Pichai has been CEO at Google for a few years, but now he is CEO of Alphabet, its parent company.
  • While Larry Page and Sergey Brin will remain majority shareholders, Pichai will — in theory — have more latitude to make big changes at the company.
  • From Google's efforts in China to its financial transparency, here are the biggest changes Sundar Pichai could make right away.
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21 years after they created Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin handed the keys to Sundar Pichai on Tuesday. 

While Pichai was already CEO of Google for the past few years, Page and Brin occupied the top roles at Google's parent company, Alphabet. Now Pichai will have it all to himself.

Of course, Page and Brin are still the company's biggest shareholders, so Pichai won't truly be free of their oversight. How much free-rein Pichai ultimately has over the Alphabet empire, and how active Page and Brin will be from their seats in the boardroom, is probably the biggest question coming out of Tuesday's news. 

But even as we wait to see how it plays out, there are a few key places where Pichai could quickly choose to make his mark. Here are five of the biggest:

1. Google and China

Google has a long and complicated history with China, having entered the country in 2006, and then pulled out with great fanfare a few years later to protest what it said were onerous censorship rules by Beijing. When The Intercept reported that Google was secretly building a search app for the China market in 2018 many employees revolted, and Google backed off.

Brin, who emigrated from Soviet Russia as a child, was an outspoken critic of Chinese censorship. As long as he was a public face of the company, Google could not try to do business in China without completely forfeiting its credibility. With Brin out of the picture, that calculus changes. And as shareholders pressure Google to continue delivering strong revenue growth, Pichai is going to have to make a tough decision about China.

2. The military industrial complex

The flip side of the China coin for Google is the military — a business that Google has long sworn off.  The company's refusal to work with the US Department of Defense on "offensive" technology (including a $10 billion Pentagon cloud contract that it recused itself from) has left Google vulnerable to charges that it is "unpatriotic."

If Google were ever to re-enter the Chinese market, its objection to working with the US military would become even more problematic. 

A cynical, but not implausible, solution for Alphabet's new boss: Simultaneously lift the ban on military work in the US and open up for business in China. 

3. YouTube and Google Cloud financials

Google's famous lack of transparency when it comes to its various businesses is another legacy of the Page-Brin era. As Pichai looks for ways to stand out from his predecessors and to win favor with Wall Street, an easy move would be to pull back the curtain on the YouTube and Google Cloud financials. 

The company already gave a glimpse at Google Cloud in July when it said the business had reached an annual revenue run rate of $8 billion. But investors would likely celebrate more information, especially since by all indications the businesses are growing strongly.

And given how big YouTube and Cloud already are in their respective markets, it's hard to imagine that Google would be giving away any big secrets to its competitors by reporting the numbers. 

4. Goodbye to TGIF

The weekly all-hands meetings have been a Google tradition from the very early days, and has since become a Silicon Valley custom adopted by Facebook, Twitter and others. But Pichai is not bound by the same sensibilities and historical baggage that made it difficult for Page and Brin to end the tradition (even though the pair essentially stopped attending the meetings for more than a year). 

In fact, Pichai already recently announced that the meetings would now be held on a monthly basis, instead of every week. Don't be surprised to see them go away altogether. 

5. The Alphabet name

Is it time to go end the Alphabet charade? After all, the name, and the holding company structure, was never really much more than a clever deflector shield. 

By putting all the expensive, cash-burning moonshot projects like self-driving cars and solar-powered internet balloons into a holding company, Google could tell investors it wasn't really wasting its focus and capital on expensive side projects (even though Google's advertising business still subsidizes all these efforts). 

But Pichai may see merit to uniting all his troops back under the Google flag, bringing back some of the glamour and esprit de corps that once held together the massive corporation, if only on the surface. At the very least, he could continue to re-absorb businesses and products that previously were part of Google.

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The Winklevii just hired a co-founder of Starling Bank to run Gemini's European business. Here's why the neobank exec made a jump to crypto.

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 12:01am

  • Gemini Trust, the cryptocurrency exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, just hired Julian Sawyer, co-founder and COO of UK neobank Starling Bank. Sawyer will run Gemini's European operations.
  • Gemini was founded in 2014. Similar to Coinbase, it offers users a platform to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
  • Starling was also founded in 2014, but its younger competitors have outpaced it in customer acquisition.
  • Gemini's goal is to build the future of money. Leaning on space travel imagery, they call themselves a "galaxy-changing team", and employees the "astronauts."
  • "Having the opportunity to build a bank is probably once in a career. I've done that," said Sawyer.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Gemini Trust, the cryptocurrency exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins of Facebook founding fame, just hired Julian Sawyer, co-founder and COO of UK neobank Starling Bank, to run its European operations.

While some caution of the crypto winter that followed a 2017 boom (when the price of bitcoin rose to $20,000), crypto is still hot in the fintech world. 

Coinbase was valued at $8 billion following its 2018 fundraise, and Gemini just made its first acquisition. Facebook has announced ambitions to launch its own cryptocurrency, Libra.

"I think this is the perfect time, because the crypto market is coming to age," Sawyer told Business Insider. 

In crypto, Sawyer sees unexplored crypto use cases as opportunities to take on incumbents. Sending money cross-border, for example, can take a few days with a traditional bank. Using blockchain and a stablecoin, it can be done instantly, he said. 

"Having the opportunity to build a bank is probably once in a career. I've done that," said Sawyer. "To me, it was a natural step. I've done the future of banking, so now I'll do the future of money and find out where this is going to go."

Gemini was founded in 2014. Similar to Coinbase, Gemini offers users a platform to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

Sawyer sees part of his role in building out Gemini's European footprint to be raising awareness of possible crypto use cases. Crypto is more than just bitcoin, he said. 

"If you think of the traditional bell curve of product adoption, you've got the innovators and early adopters—and we're clearly in that space I the moment and need to continue in that space—but we also need to start getting to the mass market," Sawyer said.

'Crypto Without Chaos'

Cryptocurrency requires strong and secure infrastructure, said Sawyer.

Gemini, which markets itself as the "regulated crypto exchange," has been a slow-and-steady player in the crowded and volatile bitcoin world. 

Earlier this year, Gemini launched a marketing campaign featuring slogans like "Crypto Without Chaos," and "The Revolution Needs Rules."

"It's about doing it right," said Sawyer. "You can cut corners in compliance, how you store client money, payments infrastructure, and service levels, et cetera. But that is the wrong way of building a business, and we all know that."

Referencing Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Sawyer stressed the importance of security in fintech.

"If your money, your investments, and you payments are not safe and secure, you're not going to use it," he said. "Therefore, you've got to go regulation first, security first, and compliance first."

Read more: The Winklevoss twins explain why bringing regulation to the crypto market isn't a zero-sum game

"It may take us longer. But we're not in it for the short term, we're in it for the long term," said Sawyer.

Gemini's goal is to build the future of money. Leaning on space travel imagery, it calls its employees "astronauts."

In 2018, Gemini launched the industry's first regulated "stablecoin," which is a cryptocurrency pegged 1:1 to a fiat currency like US dollars. It's called the Gemini dollar, and it's backed 1:1 to a reserve of US dollars held at State Street Bank.

Gemini hopes that embracing regulation will help bring Wall Street money into the crypto space. In 2018, JPMorgan launched its own stablecoin to move client money, and Wells Fargo followed suit in September.

Key hires

Gemini has been beefing up its executive ranks, hiring experienced leaders from financial services incumbents.

Noah Perlman came on as chief compliance officer in September after 13 years as a managing director at Morgan Stanley. Robert Cornish, who spent 17 years at ISE Holdings (a Nasdaq subsidiary) and was most recently the chief information officer of the New York Stock Exchange, joined Gemini as CTO last year.

"What the founders and executives have done is they've hired lots of really good people who come from the financial services industry," said Sawyer.

In addition to growing its European footprint, Gemini recently made its first acquisition - a blockchain startup called Nifty Gateway, also run by identical twin brothers. 

Starling has seen high turnover in its top ranks. Sawyer, who left Starling Bank in July, was one of four execs to leave the UK-based challenger bank this year. Starling, like other neobanks, is challenging the traditional brick-and-mortar retail banking models of incumbents.

Starling was founded in 2014, but its younger competitors have outpaced it in customer acquisition. Its CEO, Anne Boden, told Business Insider that the neobank was closing in on 1 million customers in September. 

Monzo, one of Starling's top UK-based competitors, secured 3 million customers in September. Germany's N26, which just launched in the US, announced 3.5 million customers in July.

Monzo was founded in 2015 by a group of former Starling execs, including Tom Blomfield (former CTO), Gary Dolman (former CFO), Paul Rippon (former CRO), Jason Bates (former chief customer officer), and Jonas Templestein (former software engineer). 

Monzo secured a $2 billion valuation after a $113 million funding round from investors including fintech accelerator Y Combinator Continuity, venture capital firm General Catalyst, and the buzzy $35 billion fintech Stripe.

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Larry Page and Sergey Brin brought in a new age of founder control over companies in Silicon Valley. Is their departure a symbol for the end of an era? (GOOGL)

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 9:44pm

  • Alphabet CEO Larry Page and President Sergey Brin announced that they were stepping back from managing Google's parent company on Tuesday, ending a 21-year stretch of founding Google, growing its ecosystem of products, and later managing its parent company. 
  • Among other things, Page and Brin are widely credited for kickstarting a new age of corporate strategy in Silicon Valley, by ensuring that they always held voting control within the company that they founded. 
  • Other founders drew inspiration from Google's dual-class share structure. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Snap's Evan Spiegl, Uber's Travis Kalanick, and WeWork's Adam Neumann all made sure they had 'high-voting' shares, so that they would not be accountable to their company's shareholders. In some cases, that decision has almost driven their companies into the ground. 
  • Page and Brin's decision to step back from the company as 'proud parents' comes at a time when Wall Street has grown disillusioned with companies fueled by the leadership and vision of their founders.
  • It could be more evidence of the end of the 'founder' era in Silicon Valley: Here's a look at other founders' less graceful exits from their companies. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Alphabet CEO Larry Page and President Sergey Brin's surprise announcement to give up their titles and step away from managing Google's parent company ended their 21-year-long stretch shaping Google's path in Silicon Valley. 

It also added evidence to suggest the end of the 'founder culture' era in Silicon Valley.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin's leadership of Google didn't just shape the technology industry but it also shaped the way in which tech companies were run. Companies drew inspiration from Google's freewheeling corporate culture, to which they credited its ability to take moonshot bets and innovate. 

Startup founders looked to Google's dual-class share structure, as a lesson in how to maintain control over their companies. Page and Brin's determination to hold on to voting control within their companies even after it debuted on the stock market, was seen as a model for other firms to follow, allowing their founder's vision to take precedence over investor or shareholder wishes. (The company would later create a third class of stock, as Page worried that he would lose voting control over the company). 

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg held on to the majority of the company's voting power. Snap's Evan Spiegl and Robert Murphy issued their company shares on the market, but shareholders hold no voting rights at all.  

Page and Brin's announcement comes at a time when Wall Street is far more wary of startup founders leading their companies. 

Although tech giant is a far cry from younger unicorns, and its cofounders have been famously absent from the company's more mundane management responsibilities for years, they still remain the face of the company, according to Andrew Frank, an analyst at Gartner.  

"Even though Google is such a huge company, it's always been identified with its founders," Frank said. Page and Brin's departure from Alphabet is "a rite of passage where the company is no longer really influenced by the culture of the founders."

Page and Brin seemed to embrace that role in their letter announcing that they were stepping down, writing that "we believe it's time to assume the role of proud parents — offering advice and love, but not daily nagging!"

To Wall Street, that's a good thing. Facebook's string of scandals and Snap's continued financial and operational struggles have raised concerns about founder culture in Silicon Valley. 

Founder culture also allowed startup founders to lead their companies unchecked, leading to often-disastrous mismanagement of company finances and strategy. Uber's Travis Kalanick, WeWork's Adam Neumann, and Theranos's Elizabeth Holmes are perhaps the most infamous examples of this scenario. 

Analysts seems to have largely embraced that perspective. 

Ivan Feinseth of Tigress Financial Partners called the announcement a "natural progression for the company's evolution," and said that Google CEO Sundar Pichai, slated to be Alphabet's next CEO, had "done a great job so far." 

Dave Heger, a senior analyst at Edward Jones said the two founders "likely felt the time was right to step down gracefully and let him take over."

Here's a look at the founders who first shook Wall Street's faith in the founder culture, and whose exits have been far less graceful: 

Adam Neumann, WeWork

Neumann's S-1 filing for WeWork's IPO drew attention to not just the company's losses but also his own extravagant lifestyle.

His web of loans, real-estate deals, and family involvement with the company initially drew scrutiny. His bizarre management style and reported alcohol and drug use at the company also weakened investor confidence. 

Neumann stepped down from his position as CEO in September and said intense scrutiny had become a distraction in running the company. He left with an exit package worth over $1 billion.

Meanwhile he left the company in shambles. WeWork's valuation has plummeted by more than 80% in the last fiscal quarter. 


Travis Kalanick, Uber

A series of scandals rocked Uber in 2017, centering around the leadership of the company's cofounder and CEO, Travis Kalanick

Uber faced a federal criminal probe into whether it used software to illegally evade regulators, widespread allegations of workplace harassment of women and people of color on staff, and a pricey lawsuit from Google over self-driving car technology. 

Many of Uber's board members saw Kalanick's leadership as a reason for the conflicts.

He was ultimately ousted by a host of the company's shareholders, including respected venture capital firms like Benchmark, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, and Menlo Ventures, The New York Times reported.




Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos

Elizabeth Holmes founded blood-testing company Theranos in 2003. 

Red flags were raised about her management of the company early on. When two would-be whistleblowers told the board that she exaggerated revenue projections, they considered replacing her with a more experienced manager, according to reporter John Carreyrou, who wrote about the incident in his book "Bad Blood."

But Holmes convinced the board to keep her, and then multiplied her shares to give herself 99% of the company's total voting rights. 

Carreyrou investigated Theranos in October 2015 and exposed how the startup, valued at $9 billion, had systematically lied about its technology to both its investors and clients. It had also lied to its employees developing the technology and fired workers who raised their voices in disagreement.  

Holmes only stepped down as CEO last summer, and the former CEO faces fraud charges from the Department of Justice. The company dissolved by September 2018. 




Salesforce touted its acquisition of Tableau in its latest earnings call, but integrating the data-analytics company might be more challenging than expected (CRM)

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 8:58pm

  • Salesforce's third quarter earnings were the company's first since acquiring Tableau earlier this year, but it's still unclear how exactly Tableau will be integrated and what impact it will have on the company's bottom line.
  • Co-CEO Keith Block said on the earnings call with investors that Salesforce intends to use the same playbook to integrate Tableau as it did with MuleSoft. "We are just beginning this integration process, but we have clear synergies from a distribution, product development and cultural standpoint," Block said. 
  • However, that integration might be more challenging than expected, says Daniel Newman, the founding partner and principal analyst at Futurum Research. He highlights Tableau's legacy on premise nature versus Salesforce's cloud first beginnings as a potential hurdle in integrating the two platforms.
  • Newman further highlights that, overall, acquisitions like Tableau will be important to fuel the company's growth going forward if it wants to meet its goal of doubling the company in five years.
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Salesforce delivered its first quarterly report card since it closed the biggest acquisition in its history, and questions about Tableau — the analytics firm Salesforce bought for $15.3 billion — were a big focus of Tuesday's earnings conference call. 

While Saleforce's Q3 results beat on the top and bottom lines, expenses from the acquisition of Tableau weighed slightly on the company's results. More importantly, analysts are still trying to get a sense of how Tableau will fit into the company's product line and help Salesforce achieve ambitious growth targets announced to great fanfare last month. 

Coming off the heels of its annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco last month, co-CEO Marc Benioff said on an earnings call with investors that he was surprised at the customer reception to Tableau he saw there. 

"So many of our customers have Tableau, I could not believe it," Benioff said on the call. "They don't have a direct relationship with Tableau ... the number of chief executive officers and CIOs who will directly came to me and my management team and ask us to go wall-to-wall with Tableau has far exceeded any expectations that we could have had." 

Salesforce acquired Tableau for $15.3 billion earlier this year — the company's largest acquisition ever, with the goal of adding data analytics and visualization capabilities to its product offerings. This was a year after it acquired MuleSoft for $6.5 billion

On the earnings call, co-CEO Keith Block highlighted the importance of collecting and analyzing data from systems that collect it, and said Tableau will help provide that service to Salesforce customers.

Tableau is different than Mulesoft

However, that integration might be more challenging than expected, Daniel Newman, the founding partner and principal analyst at Futurum Research, told Business Insider. While Salesforce was created as a cloud company, not requiring a heavy infrastructure lift, Tableau is different, he said. 

More than two-thirds of Tableau's customers still use an on premise model as opposed to using its service in the cloud, Newman said. Therefore the integration might be harder than expected and require more investment than its acquisition of Mulesoft, which was more of a logical acquisition, he added.

Some observers found reassurance in Tableau's performance in the quarter. Rob Oliver, a senior research analyst at Baird Equity Research, told Business Insider that Tableau came in above expectations this quarter, given that the two companies have just started integrating. 

On Tuesday's earnings call, Block said Salesforce intends to run the same playbook for Tableau as it did with the Mulesoft acquisition. He also highlighted the impact Tableau is having on customers like Nissan, Morgan Stanley and Home Depot and the potential opportunity there.

"We are just beginning this integration process, but we have clear synergies from a distribution, product development and cultural standpoint," Block said. 

Tableau brought an additional $308 million in revenue to Salesforce's subscription and support services for the quarter, which totaled $4.24 billion.

Overall, acquisitions like Tableau will be important to fuel the company's growth going forward, Futurum Research's Newman said. During its investor day last month, Salesforce said it intends to double the company's size in five years, forecasting $35 billion in revenue for FY 2024.

Although the company is growing and delivering earnings that are consistently slightly beating estimates, that alone is not enough to provide the necessary growth Newman said. "Ambitions to double the company, will be heavily dependent on the company making additional acquisitions," he said.

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What's next for the Google Boys? Experts see new startups, space exploration, and big causes in Larry Page and Sergey Brin's future (GOOG)

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 8:57pm

  • What's next for Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who are stepping back from key positions at the tech giant? Experts see the two Silicon Valley icons launching new startups and becoming serial entrepreneurs.
  • "I see a lot of startups under both their Christmas trees," Silicon Valley futurist Paul Saffo, a professor at the Stanford School of Engineering, told Business Insider.
  • Saffo sees the so-called Google Boys following the lead of tech pioneers such as Tesla's Elon Musk and Amazon's Jeff Bezos, who have invested heavily in space exploration projects.
  • Page and Brin could also use their enormous wealth to take on some of the world's major problems related to health, the environment, and transportation.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Two decades after launching a startup that made it easier for people to hunt for information on the Web, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are stepping back from key positions in what is now a tech behemoth.

So what's next for the Google Boys?

Tech analysts see them founding or investing in new startups and trying to tackle some of the world's big problems. After a good run at Google and Alphabet, Page and Brin can move on to other things, said Ray Wang of Constellation Research.

"They have time to think and build the next stuff," Wang said.

Building new stuff has long been a passion for both of the Google Boys. 

When Google reorganized in 2015, Brin actually took on the title of president of Google X, the tech giant's special division that focused on cutting edge technologies, from self-driving cars to robotics to internet balloons.

It's unclear what role he'll play at Google X now that he's stepping down as president. But he and Page have the resources to explore any tech horizon they wish, even without Google backing.

Page and Brin could become serial entrepreneurs

"I see a lot of startups under both their Christmas trees," said Silicon Valley futurist Paul Saffo, a professor at the Stanford School of Engineering. "They surely are not going to retire to paddle around their swimming pools. Both of these guys have heads full of ideas and plenty of more startups in them."

In fact, Page and Brin may finally have the opportunity to go down a traditional Silicon Valley path they never got to explore because of Google — that of becoming a serial founder.

The pair were in their 20s when they founded Google. While they stayed at the search giant and saw it through to maturity, many of their peers launched multiple startups. In Silicon Valley, that can be a bigger deal, Saffo said.

"If you only do one startup, you don't get a lot of credit," he said. "The question is: Are they serial entrepreneurs or not?"

The prospect that Page and Brin could now follow that path is an enticing one, Saffo said.

"I love the idea of entrepreneurs without portfolios, of stepping back and saying, 'Where can I make the most difference?' Or more precisely: 'Where can I cause the most disruption?'" he said.

Page, at least, has already made an initial foray beyond the Google campus. He's an investor in Kitty Hawk, the flying car startup that recently formed a partnership with Boeing.

But flying cars "are so 2010," Saffo said. He thinks the Google Boys will aim at bigger targets, such as outer space.

"It seems like every founder superstar needs a rocket," Saffo quipped, pointing to the space projects launched by other tech trailblazers such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the founders of Tesla and Amazon, respectively.

"Space seems to be the final frontier for successful entrepreneurs," he said.

Bill Gates could serve as their role model

For his part, Wang sees Brin becoming an active investor in startups, taking on the role of advisor and teacher.

By contrast, he said, "Larry may go try to build something."

Other iconic tech founders have taken on frontiers not directly related to the tech industry. Microsoft founder Bill Gates became one of the world's most respected philanthropists. EBay founder Pierre Omidyar created a foundation focused on social initiatives.

IDC President Crawford Del Prete, another veteran tech observer, thinks Brin and Page may follow their lead. Brin has already set up the Brin Wojcicki Foundation, which focuses on human services and Parkinson's disease. 

Going forward, Del Prete thinks the Google Boys will explore whether machine learning and artificial intelligence can be used to solve large-scale issues, such as those related to health and transportation. They could do that by forming new companies or by being public advocates and philanthropists, he said.

The Google Boys "can now move on to focus on solving very hard problems," he said. He continued: "I am sure it will be an interesting transition."

Got a tip about Google or another tech company? Contact this reporter via email at, message him on Twitter @benpimentel or send him a secure message through Signal at (510) 731-8429. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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Sundar Pichai has the chance to offer Alphabet something it's needed for a long time — leadership (GOOG)

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 8:33pm

  • Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have been missing in action for more than a year, at a time when Google and parent company Alphabet have faced some of their biggest challenges.
  • By handing the reins to Sundar Pichai, the two cofounders will give Google the leader it needs.
  • Now it's up to Pichai to prove he's equal to the task.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Alphabet's executive shakeup Tuesday was both much-needed and a long-time coming.

The parent company of Google has been dealing with a leadership vacuum for years. By firmly placing Sundar Pichai in charge, it may finally be able to focus on the myriad crises facing it.

Alphabet announced that Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google's cofounders, are stepping down from their positions as its CEO and president, respectively, effective immediately. Pichai, previously the CEO of Google, will be the undisputed man in charge at Alphabet, taking over as its CEO.

Page and Brin will remain on Alphabet's board and are expected to remain its most powerful shareholders. But they made clear in an open letter that they plan to take a hands-off approach to the company going forward and will put its future direction Pichai's hands.

"While it has been a tremendous privilege to be deeply involved in the day-to-day management of the company for so long, we believe it's time to assume the role of proud parents - offering advice and love, but not daily nagging!" they said in the letter.

Larry Page has been nowhere to be seen

As sudden as the decision was, it wasn't much of a surprise. From nearly all appearances, Page and Brin checked out of the company a long time ago.

Despite being the CEO of one of the most valuable and powerful companies on the planet — and one that's been under increasing scrutiny worldwide — Page hasn't made a public appearance on Alphabet's behalf in years. While Apple's Tim Cook, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, and other tech execs have repeatedly placed themselves in the public eye in recent years, Page has shied away from it.

When Googlers walked out by the thousands last year to protest gender discrimination, he was nowhere to be seen. When Congress called tech executives to testify about foreign interference in US elections, Page infamously skipped the hearing. Later, when the body wanted to talk with a top figure at the company about its power and its consumers' personal data, Pichai, not Page, represented Google and Alphabet. With Alphabet under fire for everything from antitrust concerns to violating the privacy of kids, Page has let others, including Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki speak for the company.

Despite being Alphabet's top executives and its controlling owners, Page and Brin even skipped the last four annual shareholder meetings.

Whatever role they've played outside the company, Page and Brin have long taken an active role inside it. For years, Google held staff-wide meetings every week where employees got a chance to query top executives about the company's policies, products, and plans.

But this year, Page and Brin started missing those meetings on a regular basis. They reportedly didn't attend a single meeting this year until the end of May.

Tensions are roiling inside Google

Many companies would likely suffer in the absence of clear leadership. But the vacuum at Alphabet has likely been felt particularly acutely.

Brin and Page were not only the leaders of Alphabet but a clear link to its past as an innovative, idealistic startup. They helped to establish the company's culture as a place where employees felt empowered to not just do their jobs, but to question and help steer its direction.

All the signs indicate that that culture is fraying amid growing distrust by employees toward Alphabet's management. Googlers were surprised and furious to learn that the company was quietly developing artificial intelligence technologies for the US military. Many were similarly shocked and outraged to find out that it was secretly developing a censored version of its search engine as part of an effort to re-enter China. And thousands walked out of their jobs last year after finding out that the company had paid millions of dollars to top executives who had been accused of sexual misconduct.

Things appear to have only gotten worse since then. Many of the leaders of the walkout movement have left the company, charging that Google retaliated against them. Googlers in Switzerland recently met to talk about forming a union — despite the company's reported efforts to quash the meeting. And the company recently fired four workers who had protested against its policies.

Alphabet facing growing scrutiny from regulators

And that's just what's going on inside Alphabet. Outside the company faces a gathering storm. It's the subject of antitrust investigations by federal, state, and European regulators. YouTube just got slapped with a record $170 million fine for allegedly violating the Child Online Privacy Protection Act.

Meanwhile, a tough new privacy law takes effect in California next month, and there's also a growing movement to put in place a similar one nationally. Both of them could crimp Google's business, which is largely derived from selling ads that it targets by collecting data on consumers.

In other words, this is a time when the company needs a clear leader to both be its public representative and to help it navigate through these challenges. Instead of taking on those roles, Page was AWOL.

It's unclear whether Pichai is up to the task, particularly that of soothing Google's roiling employee base. He recently scaled back on the frequency of the company's all-hands meetings. He initially defended the company's work on Project Dragonfly, the censored Chinese search engine, before cancelling it. After bowing to employee pressure and cancelling Project Maven, Google's AI work for the military, he secretly met with military officials to try to smooth over relations.

But to date, Pichai has been something like a caretaker at Alphabet and Google. He's been the guy holding down the fort while the commanders were away — but he wasn't really in charge. Now that he is the guy on top, he may take a different view of his responsibilities and how he approaches the company's various stakeholders.

Even if he doesn't, he's now in a position to offer Alphabet some needed direction and leadership. Those are things Page and Brin stopped giving it a long time ago.

Got a tip about Alphabet or Google? Contact this reporter via email at, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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The co-president of Los Angeles-based Wedbush Securities has resigned after less than 2 years in the role

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 8:09pm

  • Wedbush, the Los Angeles investment firm, confirmed to Business Insider that co-president Rich Jablonski had resigned on Tuesday. 
  • Co-president Gary Wedbush alerted employees of Jablonski's resignation in an email, according to a source familiar with the matter.
  • Wedbush, which is privately held and offers services including brokerage, wealth management, and investment banking, has dealt with a raft of regulatory issues in recent years. 
  • In March, Wedbush settled a charge with the Securities and Exchange Commission related to what the regulator called one now-former employee's "long-running pump-and-dump scheme targeting retail investors."
  • Visit BI Prime for more stories.

Los Angeles-based Wedbush Securities confirmed to Business Insider on Tuesday that co-president Rich Jablonski has resigned.

Co-president Gary Wedbush, the son of firm founder Edward Wedbush, alerted employees of Jablonski's resignation in an email, according to a source familiar with the matter. 

Jablonski, who was named co-president in May 2018 after the firm's founder stepped down as president, joined Wedbush in 2012 as senior vice president of correspondent services.

He led the Wedbush-owned high-speed trading provider Lime Brokerage starting in 2014, and became executive vice president of treasury before being named president. Jablonski was previously with the French financial firm Credit Agricole from 1998 to 2012, industry records show.

"Rich Jablonski has resigned his position and the firm has no further comment," a spokeswoman told Business Insider on Tuesday.

Wedbush, which is privately held and offers services including brokerage, wealth management, and investment banking, has dealt with a raft of regulatory issues in recent years.

Wedbush oversees some $2.4 billion in client assets, according to a November regulatory filing.

In March, Wedbush settled a charge with the Securities and Exchange Commission related to what the regulator called one now-former employee's "long-running pump-and-dump scheme targeting retail investors."

Two years ago, New York Stock Exchange Regulation alleged the firm failed to supervise founder Edward Wedbush's trading activities, which the regulatory body said were in violation of securities law. Wedbush, who founded the firm in 1955, stepped down last year. 

In the aftermath of its various regulatory issues, this year the firm created two new leadership roles. In July Wedbush named its first general counsel, Andrew Druch, responsible for overseeing legal, compliance, surveillance, regulatory, corporate governance, and human resources matters. He reported to Jablonski and Gary Wedbush.

The following month it installed Andrea Epinger, who was most recently a vice president with JPMorgan Private Bank, as its first head of change management and process improvement, to "accelerate growth and improve efficiency." Epinger reports to Chris Mone, the head of Wedbush's wealth management unit.

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United just ordered Airbus' newest jet to replace 50 aging Boeing 757s, while Boeing struggles to develop an alternative

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 7:28pm

United Airlines signed an order with Airbus on Tuesday for 50 of the European aviation firm's A321XLR aircraft to replace its aging fleet of Boeing 757 jets.

The order was confirmed by United Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Nocella Tuesday evening.

United's order was a major hit from a US airline for Boeing, which has an new mid-sized airplane, or "NMA," currently in development. The NMA, which is intended to offer a replacement to the 757, with a similar range and capacity, has faced development delays as Boeing scrambles to fix its troubled 737 Max family of jets.

The 737 Max has been grounded worldwide since March 2019, following the second of two fatal crashes within five months.

Although Nocella said that the Boeing NMA had been a contender to replace the 757s, the American plane maker's jet has yet to be announced. On a conference call with media, Nocella said that the airline had not "shut the door on potentially ordering the NMA" in the future, "once Boeing further refines the mission capabilities and details of the NMA."

"But that hasn't happened yet," he added.

United will take delivery of the new Airbus jets starting in 2024. The planes will primarily be based at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey and Dulles Airport in Washington, DC, flying trans-Atlantic routes. 

Airbus announced the A321XLR at the Paris Air Show in June. The plane, which is expected to enter service in 2023, will have a range of 4,700 nautical miles — about 200 miles more than the 757.

As part of the agreement signed Tuesday, United also deferred the first delivery of its order for 45 larger Airbus A350 wide-body jets from 2022 to 2027. The deliveries will coincide with the expected retirement of United's first Boeing 777 jets, Nocella said.

United has about 165 jets from the current, shorter-range Airbus A320 family in service, according to, in addition to nearly 350 Boeing 737 jets — including 14 grounded 737 Max 9 planes. Its international fleet is currently all Boeing, including 757, 767, 777, and 787 Dreamliner planes.

United does not have any current plans to replace its 767s, Nocella said. The airline is currently replacing the cabins of its 767 planes, a task it expects to complete within the next 18 months.

The 757 entered service in 1983 as a relatively large and long-range narrow-body jet. It's proven adept at serving US airlines on high-traffic trans-continental routes and certain routes from the east coast to Europe.

SEE ALSO: Boeing 737 Max: Here's the complete history of the plane that's been grounded since 2 crashes killed 346 people 5 months apart.

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Google's cofounders are stepping down from their leadership roles, but they'll remain in control of the company (GOOGL, GOOG)

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 6:21pm

  • Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are stepping down from their day-to-day management roles, they announced on Tuesday.
  • Sundar Pichai will take over as Alphabet CEO, while maintaining his current role as Google CEO.
  • Despite the change, Page and Brin remain firmly in control of Alphabet, as their combined voting power gives them a majority stake in the company.

Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are stepping down from their management roles — but they won't lose control of the company.

Google-parent Alphabet announced in a letter to shareholders on Tuesday that Page and Brin would leave their respective roles as CEO and president of the company. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, is taking over the CEO role of the parent company, Alphabet, while maintaining his role as Google CEO.

Despite the change, however, Page and Brin will remain firmly in control of Alphabet.

According to company filings, Page and Brin each own 25.9% and 25.1% of Alphabet's voting power, respectively, accounting for over half of the company's controlling shares. That's because of Alphabet's super-voting structure, which gives 10 votes per share of its Class B stock. Google confirmed to CNBC on Tuesday that the company's voting structure was not going to change as part of the leadership change.

Page and Brin, who cofounded Google in 1998, will also remain on Alphabet's board, according to Tuesday's announcement. 

"With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it's the natural time to simplify our management structure," Page and Brin said in the announcement. "We've never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there's a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President."

Although Page and Brin remain in control of Alphabet, it's unclear how involved they'll be, as both of them have been noticeably missing from the company's public events in recent years. In the announcement, however, they said they'll "remain actively involved as board members, shareholders and co-founders" of the comapny.

"In addition, we plan to continue talking with Sundar regularly, especially on topics we're passionate about!" they said in the announcement.

Page was named Alphabet's CEO in 2015, when Google reorganized to launch its parent company Alphabet. Pichai, who joined Google in 2004, was promoted to Google CEO at the same time, establishing himself as one of the most powerful leaders in Silicon Valley.

"I'm excited about Alphabet and its long term focus on tackling big challenges through technology. I'm looking forward to continuing to work with Larry and Sergey in our new roles," Pichai said in a statement. 

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Sundar Pichai is now the CEO of both Google and Alphabet. Here's his meteoric rise, in photos. (GOOG, GOOGL)

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 6:00pm

  • Sundar Pichai is now the CEO of Alphabet, Google's parent company.
  • Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin both announced that they were stepping down from their leadership roles at the company in a letter that announced Pichai will be CEO of both Google and Alphabet moving forward.
  • Pichai has been CEO of Google since 2015.
  • See the career rise and details of Pichai's life, in photos, below.

Sundar Pichai first took the helm at Google in 2015. On Tuesday, Google's cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin announced that Pichai would be taking over as Alphabet CEO, as both Page and Brin are stepping down from their leadership roles at the company.

Until December 2, Larry Page was still CEO of Google's parent company, Alphabet, and Pichai had the incredibly important job of making sure that the company's core businesses and cash cow — Search — stayed strong. Now, he's CEO of both Google and Alphabet.

So who is Pichai and how did he scale the ranks to get one of the most important jobs at one of the most important companies in the world?

Here's his story, in photos.

Jillian D'Onfro contributed to an earlier version of this article.

Pichai, whose full name is actually Pichai Sundararajan, grew up in Chennai, India. His father was as an electrical engineer and his mother a stenographer before having him and his younger brother. The family wasn't wealthy, and the boys slept together in the living room of their two-room apartment.

Source: Bloomberg, Inc.

Early on, Pichai had a talent for remembering numbers, which his family realized when he could recall every phone number he had ever dialed on their rotary phone. He will still sometimes show off his memorization skills at meetings.

Source: Bloomberg

After becoming interested in computers — the first software program he wrote was a chess game — Pichai studied metallurgical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. His success there won him a scholarship to Stanford.

Source: YouTube

Moving to California was a huge leap. "I always loved technology and while growing up I had dreams of Silicon Valley," Pichai said in a recent interview. "I used to read about it, hear stories from my uncle."

Sources: Business Insider, Bloomberg

When Pichai got to America in 1993, he couldn't believe how expensive everything was (a backpack cost $60!). He also missed his girlfriend, Anjali.

Source: Bloomberg

The two eventually got married, and now have a son, Kiran, and daughter, Kavya.

Source: The Guardian

Pichai earned his MS from Stanford, and then attended the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School for his MBA. Before Google, he had stints at Applied Materials and consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

Pichai interviewed at the Googleplex on April Fools' Day in 2004 — the same day the company launched Gmail. Everyone, Pichai included, initially thought that the free email service was one of Google's infamous pranks.

Source: Bloomberg

Pichai got his start working on Google's search toolbar. But in 2006, Microsoft created a "Doomsday" scenario for Google by making Bing the new default search engine on Internet Explorer. Pichai helped convince computer manufacturers to preinstall the Toolbar on their hardware to mitigate the effect of this change.

Source: Quora

That Internet Explorer debacle led to another big early achievement for Pichai: convincing cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to make Google build its own browser. The result, Chrome, is now the most-used option out there.

Source: Bloomberg

As a leader, Pichai was always well-liked and more focused on results instead of standing out. That "substance over overt style" attitude attracted attention, though, and he started getting more responsibility.

Source: Business Insider

Pichai then took over the Android division in 2013.

Source: Business Insider

One of the major efforts he spearheaded was Android One, Google's push to make low-cost smartphones for "the next 5 billion" people coming online.

Pichai was also incredibly instrumental in making sure Android was better integrated with Google proper. Before he took over, it was run basically as a completely separate business.

Source: Buzzfeed

Another landmark in Pichai's rise: He was reportedly instrumental in helping put together Google's $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest in 2014.

Here's a prophetic post from 2011:

Source: Bloomberg

Pichai was also behind Chrome OS, the operating system that powers Google's inexpensive Chromebook laptops.

Pichai has remained a loyal Googler despite being approached by Twitter for high-ranking roles a couple of times.

Source: Business Insider

We've been told that he would often act as Larry Page's "interpreter" — understanding Page's vision and then helping to communicate it to other teams.

Source: Business Insider

That knack and his success with Chrome, Apps, and Android led to his next important promotion in late 2014, when Page put him in charge of almost all of the company's product areas, including search, maps, Google+, commerce and ads, and infrastructure. He essentially became Page's second in command.

Source: Business Insider

Page respects Pichai. "Sundar has a tremendous ability to see what's ahead and mobilize teams around the super important stuff," he wrote in a memo announcing Pichai's promotion. "We very much see eye-to-eye when it comes to product, which makes him the perfect fit for this role."

Source: Business Insider

When the company blew up its corporate structure almost a year later, it was no surprise that Pichai got tapped to lead Google, since he was responsible for its core products.

Although he's private, Pichai is willing to speak out about certain causes that he believes in. Following some of Donald Trump's comments about immigration, he wrote a public post expressing his views: "Let's not let fear defeat our values. We must support Muslim and other minority communities in the US and around the world."

Source: Medium

And although Pichai doesn't use Instagram and rarely tweets, he was pretty active Google+ poster over the years, which gave us a little more insight into his personality.

His posts mostly highlight various Chrome rollouts, but they also reveal that he admires people like Nelson Mandela, Anthony Shadid, Dennis Ritchie, Wangari Maathai, John McCarthy, and Aaron Swartz.

We also know that he loves cricket...

...and the game "Flappy Bird." Here he is meeting with creator Dong Nguyen.

Pichai starts his day with a cup of tea and an omelette — plus a copy of the Wall Street Journal.

Source: Business Insider

Pichai was always well-liked as a leader at Google as he rose through the ranks, and was known to be more focused on results than on ego. As CEO, his popularity soared. One Googler on Quora wrote, "He is literally worshipped inside Google. Engineers love him. Product Managers love him. Business people love him."

Source: Business Insider

Pichai was one of the highest-rated CEOs on Glassdoor at one point — he received a 96% approval rating from respondents. But Google has faced ongoing unrest from its employees in recent years. He's since slipped to No. 46, and has faced criticism from Google employees over efforts to create a censored search engine for China.

Source: Business Insider

He's well-compensated for his work. In February 2016, Pichai received roughly $183 million in company stock, which will vest over the next four years. According to Bloomberg, this is the highest pay package that Google has ever given to an executive whose equity grants have been reported in filings.

Source: Business Insider, Bloomberg


In July 2017, Pichai was named to Alphabet's board of directors. "Sundar has been doing a great job as Google's CEO, driving strong growth, partnerships, and tremendous product innovation. I really enjoy working with him and I'm excited that he is joining the Alphabet board," Alphabet CEO Larry Page said at the time.

Source: Business Insider

In his home country, Pichai is seen as something of a hero. "You've done what everyone has dreamed of doing," interviewer Harsha Bhogle said while Pichai did a Q&A session with students at a Delhi University.

Source: YouTube

Here he is meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Throughout his meteoric rise, he's remained incredibly humble: "It is always good to work with people who make you feel insecure about yourself. That way, you will constantly keep pushing your limits."

Source: The Hindu

In December 2019, Alphabet CEO Larry Page and President Sergey Brin announced that were stepping down, and Pichai would become Alphabet CEO.

Page and Brin cofounded Google in 1998. They announced the change in a letter saying that Alphabet and Google "no longer need two CEOs and a President."

Pichai will serve as CEO of both Google and Alphabet. 


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