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According to the Washington Post, Amazon put $1.5 million toward Seattle City Council races this cycle, via a business-interest group to support an opponent of that spent nearly half a million dollars in support of Kshama Sawant, who has pledged to raise taxes on the retail giant. In the end, Amazon lost the race.

Questions:

  1. What party is Kshama affiliated with?
  2. How much of the vote did she receive?
  3. Explain her “head tax ” and why big business is against her.

Source:

Knowles, H. (2019). Amazon spent $1.5 million on Seattle City Council races. The socialist it opposed has won. The Washington Post, Nov. 10 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/11/10/amazon-spent-million-seattle-city-council-races-socialist-it-opposed-has-won/)

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This week, Aventura Technologies in Long Island, allegedly tried to conceal the fact that Chinese-made surveillance and security equipment were made in America.

Questions:

  1. Agents from which bureaus raided the company?
  2. How long has the scheme been going on and how does that compare to the ACFE’s average time for this type of fraud?
  3. Who were the company’s largest customers?
  4. How much has the company averaged in revenues?

Source:

Sprouse, W. (2019). New York Tech Company Charged with Selling Chinese Equipment to U.S. Military. CFO, Nov. 7 (Retrievable online at https://www.cfo.com/fraud/2019/11/new-york-tech-company-charged-with-selling-chinese-equipment-to-u-s-military/)

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According to Business Insider, the Wall Street Journal reports that Google has teamed up with the hospital system Ascension to collect personal health information on millions of Americans, as part of Project Nightingale.

Questions:

  1. For you, what is the most troubling issue related to this story?
  2. Can you explain how it would be possible for Ascension to allow Google use of the consumer data without their consent and still comply with HIPAA?
  3. How large is Ascension in terms of operating revenue?
  4. What did Google say that it would use the data for?

Source:

Feinstein, C. (2019). Google and a massive hospital system are reportedly collecting private health data on millions of Americans in secret. BusinessInsider.com, Nov. 11 (Retrievable online at https://www.businessinsider.com/google-ascension-collecting-private-health-data-wall-street-journal-2019-11)

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Rogue Creamery, which took the top prize at the World Cheese Awards with its Rogue River Blue produced in Oregon, has seen sales and interest jump.

Questions:

  1. Which countries won this honor for the two years prior to this year?
  2. Where are the World Cheese Awards judged?
  3. How much are Rogue Creamery’s sales up since the award was announced?
  4. How should Rogue account for the award in its accounting records?
  5. How many other cheeses and countries entered the contest?
  6. How old is the Rogue Creamery?

Source:

Holson, L.M. The World’s Best Cheese? It’s Blue and Comes From Oregon. The New York Times, Nov. 1 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/01/dining/best-cheese-rogue-river-blue.html)

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According to the New York Times, the end of Barney’s, the famed department store, involved executives crisscrossing the globe, all-night strategy sessions, last-minute alliances, and attempts to sway public opinion. However, all these attempts led to bankruptcy.

Questions:

  1. What happened to Barney’s in bankruptcy court?
  2. How many full-time employees will be affected?
  3. Gene Pressman, a member of Barney’s founding family, thought about buying the store, but what issue prevented him from buying it?
  4. What firm is known for buying the intellectual property of flailing retailers and was the major buyer of Barney’s?
  5. What does the company in Question 4 do with the intellectual property? How do you think the buyer should record this in the accounting records?

Source:

Friedman, V. and S. Maheshwari. (2019). Barney’s New York is Sold for Scrap, Ending an Era. The New York Times, Nov. 1 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/01/business/media/barneys-bankruptcy-authentic-brands.html)

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According to the New York Times, Google said on Nov. 1 that it is acquiring Fitbit, the maker of fitness-tracking devices, for $2.1 billion to close the gap with Apple in the growing market for wearable electronics and to add muscle to its expanding hardware business.

Questions:

  1. Why is the deal is likely to face regulatory scrutiny? On what basis?
  2. How old is the Fitbit company?
  3. What product is a direct competitor to FitBit?
  4. What is the market share of FitBit versus its direct competitor identified in question 3?
  5. If Google fails to secure permission from the SEC to buy FitBit, how much will it have to pay FitBit?
  6. If you were Google’s CFO, how would you account for the amount of money pledged in Question No. 5 above?  

Source:

Wakabayashi, D. and Adam Satariano. (2019). Google to Buy Fitbit for $2.1 Billion. The New York Times, Nov. 1 (Retrievable online at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/01/technology/google-fitbit.html)

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According to the Washington Post, many small companies tied to the housing market are seeing a slowdown in business, one that’s forecast to continue well into 2020.

Questions:

  1. How much did the sales of existing homes fall during September?
  2. How has the median sales price for a home changed since a year ago?
  3. How long is this decline expected to last?

Source:

Rosenberg, J. (2019). Rising home prices, falling sales hurting small businesses. The Washington Post, Oct. 28 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/rising-home-prices-falling-sales-hurting-small-businesses/2019/10/28/5cf96d50-f993-11e9-9e02-1d45cb3dfa8f_story.html)

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According to the Washington Post, two Southwest Airlines pilots allegedly hid a camera in a plane’s lavatory and live-streamed the video to an iPad mounted on the windshield of the cockpit aboard a flight, according to a lawsuit filed by a flight attendant.

Questions:

  1. What type of suit is this?
  2. When did this incident happen?
  3. Despite the question about employment status of the pilots, who is ultimately hurt by these actions?
  4. Could there potentially be additional lawsuits related to this incident?

Source:

Lazo, L. (2019). Two Southwest pilots hid a camera in a plane’s lavatory and live-streamed video to the cockpit, according to lawsuit. The Washington Post, Oct. 27 (Retrievable online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2019/10/27/two-southwest-pilots-hid-camera-planes-lavatory-live-streamed-video-cockpit-according-lawsuit/ )

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For $250, you can now buy Apple’s AirPods wireless headphones, which are a smaller set of headphones with water resistance, active noise cancellation, and new touch functionality for phone users.

Questions:

  1. According to the article, how much did the price increase over the previous model?
  2. What other competitors does the article mention?
  3. Which function mentioned appeals to you the most and why?
  4. Is the premium over other competitors worth it to you? Why or why not?

Source:

Gilbert, B. Apple just unveiled ‘Pro’ AirPods that cost almost $100 more and have a brand-new design. Businessinsider.com, Oct. 28 (Retrievable online at https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-airpods-pro-details-price-release-date-2019-10)

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Last week, Italy approved a new tax on giant digital companies, which President Donald Trump has threatened to retaliate against.

Questions:

  1. According to draft legislation, what are some of the U.S. companies that will be obliged to pay a 3% levy on internet transactions?
  2. How much is the Italian government expected to recoup from the tax?
  3. What was the deal that France and the United States reached in August regarding internet companies?
  4. What is the OECD’s position on taxing internet companies?

Source:

Fonte, G. (2019). Italy to introduce web tax on digital giants from 2020. Reuters, Oct. 16 (Retrievable online at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-italy-budget-web-tax/italy-to-introduce-web-tax-on-digital-giants-from-2020-idUSKBN1WV138#targetText=ROME%20(Reuters)%20%2D%20Italy%20approved,threats%20of%20retaliation%20from%20Washington.&targetText=O)%2C%20to%20pay%20a%203,text%20of%20the%20draft%20budget.)