Outfoxed


January 31, 2019

Foxconn reneged on its promise to build a $10B electronics facility in Wisconsin that promised 13k jobs. And this isn’t the first time.
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After promising Wisconsin $10B and 13k jobs, the Fox-conn artists ditch another deal

The Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn reneged on its promise to build a $10B facility in Wisconsin. 

Despite agreeing on a massive factory that President Trump called “the 8th wonder of the world,” Foxconn now plans to build a small R&D facility. 

It’s a sad but predictable outcome: The Fox-conn artists have pulled off similar scams across 3 continents.

A small-town village vs. an international tech giant

Who wins? Spoiler: It’s not Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin.

Foxconn, which supplies components to Apple, Xiaomi, Nintendo, and Nokia, announced plans to build a massive factory in the village of Mount Pleasant, WI, (pop. 26k) in 2017 after the state agreed to provide $4B in tax credits over a 15 year period.

Local village politicians hammered out a ‘deal’ with Foxconn that promised 13k jobs for Wisconsinites at a factory that would build LCD TV screens. But yesterday Foxconn announced its manufacturing plans will not materialize after all.

TV screens? More like smokescreens

“In terms of TV, we have no place in the US,” a special assistant to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou told Reuters. Instead, Foxconn plans to build a small ‘technology hub’ that will only serve as an R&D facility. 

Based on its contract, Foxconn will still receive benefits even if it under-delivers: To remain eligible for its enormous tax benefits this year, Foxconn only needs to create 520 jobs.

This leaves Wisconsin and its workers in a deep hole: Foxconn now needs 20% as many employees, and it won’t need any unskilled workers. According to budget analysts, it will take 25 years for Wisconsin taxpayers to recoup their losses.

Many promises made, few Fox given

Wisconsin politicians got played. But the Badger State isn’t the only place to get outfoxed by Foxconn: 6 other US states (and Brazil, Vietnam, and Indonesia) have fallen for Foxconn’s well-wired scheme.

Wisconsin’s woes are a good reminder that it’s nearly impossible to produce consumer electronics in America’s expensive labor market: It took far less than a Foxconn fakeout to unscrew Apple’s attempts to make ’Merican Macs.

Wisconsin got Foxed
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Apple doesn’t want any part of Facebook’s ‘research’ app

On Tuesday, TechCrunch reported that Facebook has been secretly paying people to install a “Facebook Research” app that lets the company vacuum up all of a user’s phone and web activity.

Now, Apple has banned the research app, saying Facebook violated its privacy guidelines that were strictly set last summer.

Fool Apple once…

Since 2016, Facebook has been paying users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 per month plus referral fees to sell their privacy by installing the “Facebook Research” app on their phones.

The program, which tracks how people use its own services and services of competitors, is reportedly a rewritten version of the Onavo software that Apple forced Facebook to pull from the app store last year for the same reason.

Spread the word: Mark Zuckerberg is Andy Kaufman

This time, Facebook took advantage of Apple’s “Developer Enterprise Program,” which lets approved Apple partners, like Facebook, test and distribute apps specifically for internal use, with no review or approval process from Apple because… it’s for internal use! 

Facebook carried out its data-for-cash program by masking its involvement through the use of approved 3rd-party services like Applause, BetaBound, and uTest.

Facebook claims there was nothing “‘secret’” about the program, but internal documentation that calls the app “Project Atlas” casts doubt.

   @ Me Anything
Wes Schlagenhauf, News Writer at The Hustle
@wesschlagenhauf

In the same way a repetitive joke becomes funny again, Facebook’s absurdist performance art piece of privacy scandals have become upsetting again.
Show this thread
» No way to save face…book

GameStopped: The video game chain has terminated its attempt to find a buyer

As consumers have begun to leave physical copies of games on the shelf, brick-and-mortar video game stores are slowly going the way of Blockbuster, and its main gaming hub is leaving little confidence for any hope of a restart.

GameStop has declared “game over” on its quest to find a buyer due to its inability to “secure financing at terms a buyer would find acceptable,” Bloomberg reports.

The company’s shares fell more than 27% after the announcement — the most in 16 years.

Like RPG, but you can’t respawn

The end of the search comes after months of turbulence, during which the company’s longtime CEO passed away, and his replacement quit after just 3 months on the job.

GameStop started looking for buyers in June, but, with its business model in jeopardy, there weren’t many strategic partners interested in merging with the nation’s leading seller of pre-owned Max Payne copies.

The Netflix meteor is coming

Tech giants from Apple to Amazon are racing to make the ‘Netflix of gaming’ — a streaming service that would let gamers play top video games anytime without the clunky console.

Since GameStop posted a loss of $488.6m in Q4 after a profit of $59.4m a year earlier, ambitious new platforms from Amazon and Apple could be the nail in G-Stop’s coffin.

In November, Gamestop CFO Robert Lloyd said there are less than 2 years of lease-life left for GameStop, which means it’s only a matter of time before the company takes a needle to its ballooned store portfolio.

» Out with the old, in with the n00b

The brains behind the brands: Lexicon uses sound science to name big brands

What do Gimlet, Febreze, Sonos, Truvia, and Swiffer have in common? They were all named by the same branding company: Lexicon Branding.

As brands become increasingly global, good branding is becoming even more important. Lexicon Branding, a tiny privately owned company with fewer than 50 employees, has named nearly 4k brands in 19 countries, Quartz reports.

The science of ‘sound symbolism’

Lexicon takes sounds seriously: The company spent more than $2m and 5 years traveling across the world and conducting cross-cultural research on ‘sound symbolism.’

So, what are some examples of what they found? No matter where you were born, the ‘v’ sound evokes vitality (Viagra, Virgin) while the ‘b’ and ‘t’ sounds evoke reliability (Timberland, Blackstone).

With 640k trademark applications for new brands filed every year, Lexicon argues that an original and memorable brand name can be a crucial competitive advantage in a crowded landscape.

So, what’s in a name?

For Lexicon, anywhere from $40k to $250k. The brand charges big bucks to help growing brands separate themselves from the pack.

Lexicon’s work ranges from individual product names for large companies (Subaru’s ‘Outback,’ Colgate’s ‘Optic White,’ Dreyers’ ‘Dibs’) to brand names for smaller companies (Impossible Burger, Sonos).

But even though Lexicon’s services are expensive, it’s hard to argue with the sweet, sweet sound of success: So far, businesses have sold more than $350B worth of Lexicon-named products. 

» Name-aste
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