Business briefing

The daily business briefing: November 22, 2017

The FCC's chief says the U.S. will scrap net neutrality, Uber belatedly reveals a data breach affecting 57 million, and more

1

FCC to end net neutrality rules

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday announced plans to scrap the 2015 "net neutrality" rules that barred internet service providers from blocking or slowing connections for some users, and charging more for privileged access. The Obama administration championed net neutrality, saying it was crucial for a free and open internet. Pai, a Republican appointed by President Trump in January, said the commission will vote at a Dec. 14 meeting on rescinding the rules. The move amounts to a victory for the big internet providers, including AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon, who will be able to charge different prices for certain content once net neutrality is rescinded. Major internet companies such as Google parent Alphabet and Facebook had lobbied against the change.

2

Uber paid off hackers, hid data breach affecting 57 million

Hackers stole the personal data of 50 million Uber customers and 7 million drivers in October 2016, the ride-hailing company announced Tuesday. Uber paid the hackers $100,000 to delete the data, which included names, email addresses, phone numbers, and in the case of some U.S. drivers, driver's license numbers. Uber, which is struggling to repair its image after scandals over its corporate culture, said it didn't believe any of the information had been used by criminals, but this week ousted its chief security officer and one of his deputies for their roles in keeping the incident secret. "None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it," CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement. "We are changing the way we do business."

3

Disney Animation chief takes leave after questions about conduct

Disney Animation head and Toy Story director John Lasseter announced he is taking a six-month leave of absence from Pixar after "painful" conversations. "It's never easy to face your missteps," he wrote in a memo to employees, adding: "It's been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable. That was never my intent." The Hollywood Reporter writes that it is "hard to overstate Lasseter's value to Disney. He is known as the genius behind Pixar films from Toy Story to the upcoming Coco ... and led a revival that included such gigantic hits as Frozen and Inside Out." One Pixar employee revealed Lasseter was known for "grabbing, kissing, [and] making comments about physical attributes."

4

World stocks follow U.S. shares higher

Global stocks gained on Wednesday following record highs for the three main U.S. benchmark indexes on Tuesday. The Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.6 percent, London's FTSE 100 gained 0.2 percent, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed above 30,000 for the first time in more than a decade. "Emerging markets are flying... Asia, in particular, is looking super strong," said Chris Weston of IG in a report. Tuesday's U.S. gains were led by technology stocks, including gains of more than 1 percent by Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon. Health stocks also rose. U.S. stock futures edged still higher early Wednesday, although trading was expected to be light as some traders leave early for the Thanksgiving holiday.

5

Meg Whitman stepping down as HPE CEO

Meg Whitman is stepping down as CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise early next year, the company announced Tuesday. HPE's president, Antonio Neri, will replace her starting Feb. 1. Both of them will remain on the company's board. HPE shares plunged after hours, falling by more than 6 percent after the announcement and the company's quarterly earnings report. "Now is the right time for Antonio and a new generation of leaders to take the reins of HPE," said Whitman, long one of the most high-profile women in the technology industry, in a statement. "I have tremendous confidence that they will continue to build a great company that will thrive well into the future."

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