Business briefing

The daily business briefing: October 21, 2022

Musk reportedly plans to cut Twitter staff by 75 percent, India regulator fines Google $162 million for anti-competitive Android practices, and more

1

Report: Musk plans to cut 75 percent of Twitter's staff

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told potential investors he would cut nearly 75 percent of Twitter's 7,500 workers if his deal to buy the social media company goes through, The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing interviews and documents it obtained. Twitter faces major reductions even if Musk doesn't take over. The company's current management intends to slash its payroll by $800 million by the end of 2023. Twitter has also been gearing up to cut back on data centers and other infrastructure it needs to accommodate its more than 200 million daily users. Those plans "help explain why Twitter officials were eager to sell to Musk," the Post said. "Musk's $44 billion bid, though hostile, is a golden ticket for the struggling company."

2

India regulator fines Google $161.9 million for anticompetitive Android practices

The Competition Commission of India on Thursday fined Google $161.9 million for what it described as anti-competitive practices. The competition regulator said Google abused its "dominant position in multiple markets in the Android mobile device ecosystem." It started investigating Google three and a half years ago, after receiving a complaint. The commission concluded that Google, which owns the Android operating software, has an unfair competitive advantage because it lets some of its own products, including YouTube and the Google search engine, be pre-installed on all Android-run devices. That is unfair to device manufacturers and rivals, the regulator found, because Google's Android powers 97 percent of India's 600 million smartphones. Google India said it couldn't immediately comment.

3

Courts block 2 challenges to Biden's student debt relief plan

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday rejected a challenge to President Biden's plan to forgive student loan debt for millions of Americans. Barrett, the justice with jurisdiction over the lower court involved in the case, acted alone in turning away an appeal filed by the Brown County Taxpayers Association in Wisconsin. Barrett appeared to agree with the Wisconsin district court judge that the group didn't have standing to fight Biden's plan to forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt for people making less than $125,000, and up to $10,000 more for recipients of Pell Grants. A federal district judge in Missouri on Thursday rejected a separate lawsuit filed by six Republican-led states, ruling they didn't have standing.

4

E.U. leaders address energy crisis at summit

European Union leaders met Thursday for a two-day summit on how to address an intensifying energy crisis and bring down energy prices. Members of the trading bloc agree on Russia's responsibility for squeezing natural-gas supplies and disrupting the oil market with its invasion of Ukraine. But the 27 E.U. leaders failed in hours of talks to settle disagreements among some of big member states on imposing a cap on gas prices to counter Russia's ability to shut off gas deliveries whenever it chooses. They did agree to keep pushing for a compromise. "There is a strong and unanimously shared determination to act together, as Europeans," to lower prices, secure supply, and reduce demand, said E.U. Council President Charles Michel.

5

Stock futures dip on concerns about earnings, Treasury yields

U.S. stock futures fell early Friday as investors digested corporate earnings reports and rising Treasury yields. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were down 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, at 7 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were down 1 percent. Tech shares struggled after Snap reported quarterly revenue of $1.1 billion, below expectations. Meta Platforms dropped nearly 4 percent in pre-market trading. "The mindset is quite gloomy, with stocks for sale pretty much everywhere," wrote Adam Crisafulli of Vital Knowledge, according to CNBC. "The culprit behind the negativity is earnings, with a slew of disappointments around the world." The Dow and the S&P 500 fell 0.3 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, on Thursday. The Nasdaq dropped 0.6 percent.

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