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Apple must face claims it bars outside heart-rate apps from Apple Watch – U.S. judge

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A federal judge on Monday said Apple Inc must face a Silicon Valley company’s claims it illegally monopolized the U.S. market for heart rate monitoring apps for its Apple Watch.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White said AliveCor Inc, whose SmartRhythm app alerts users to irregular heartbeats, could try to prove that Apple violated federal antitrust law based on its alleged “complete control” over the market for such apps.

“AliveCor alleges that Apple made changes to the heart rate algorithm that made it effectively impossible for third parties to inform a user when to take an ECG,” or electrocardiogram, White wrote. “Plaintiff’s allegations plausibly establish that Apple’s conduct was anticompetitive.”

White also dismissed AliveCor’s separate claim that Apple maintained an illegal monopoly over ECG-capable smart watches.

The Oakland, California-based judge said this was because AliveCor’s KardiaBand wristband, which can record ECGs, “complements but does not compete” in that market.

Apple and its lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Adam Wolfson, a lawyer for AliveCor, declined to comment.

In its May 2021 lawsuit, privately held AliveCor accused Apple of changing the heart rate algorithm for the Apple Watch to gain an “unfair competitive edge” over rivals, and “put countless AliveCor users’ lives in danger.”

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, countered that it was an “uncontroversial proposition that product improvement by itself” did not violate the federal Sherman antitrust law.

The case is AliveCor Inc v Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 21-03958.

 

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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Canada's inflation rate inches up again, to new 31-year high of 6.8% – CBC News

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The cost of living continues to rise at the fastest pace in decades, with Canada’s official inflation rate rising at a 6.8 per cent annual pace in April, a new 31-year high.

Statistics Canada reported on Wednesday that the cost of living crept higher mainly because of increases in the cost of food and shelter. Food prices have risen by 9.7 per cent in the past year, while shelter costs are up by 7.4 per cent.

Global factors, including the war in Ukraine disrupting the price and supply of grains, as well as outbreaks of bird flu and extreme weather events in the United States, are combining to drive up the cost of meat and produce.

Among the increases:

  • Fresh vegetables, up 8.2 per cent
  • Fresh fruit, up 10 per cent
  • Meat, up 10.1 per cent
  • Bread, up 12.2 per cent
  • Coffee, up 13.7 per cent
  • Pasta, up 19.6 per cent.

“Rising food prices are a global issue, and we can directly correlate those increases to what’s happening in Ukraine,” economist Royce Mendes with financial services conglomerate Desjardins told CBC News in an interview on Wednesday.

“Food is shipped from all over the world to Canada,” Mendes said, “and our weakening dollar makes it more expensive to import.”

Gasoline has been a major driver of inflation of late, but pump prices actually fell by 0.7 per cent in April after spiking by more than 11 per cent the previous month. Compared to where they were a year ago, gas prices are still up by more than a third, however.

Economists had been expecting the overall inflation figure to ease slightly from March’s 6.7 per cent level, but instead it went slightly higher. That’s a troubling sign that inflation has yet to peak, even though it’s at its highest level since 1991.

The U.S. has also seen its inflation rate skyrocket in recent months, but numbers for April suggest that the wave may have crested there, with the official figure cooling to 8.3 per cent in April from 8.5 per cent in March.

“Core inflation has been accelerating in Canada for a few months now, in contrast to the U.S.,” Mendes said. “What went up still isn’t coming down in Canadian inflation, and might not any time soon.”

The high inflation number makes it even more likely that the Bank of Canada will hike its benchmark interest rate at its next policy meeting in early June.

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If Elon Musk scraps Twitter deal, here's what may happen to the stock – Yahoo Canada Finance

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Twitter investors should brace for an all-out crash in the stock price if Tesla CEO Elon Musk abandons his bid for the social media platform, warns one veteran tech analyst.

In the absence of a bid, we would not be surprised to see the stock find a floor at $22.50,” said Jefferies analyst Brent Thill said Tuesday in a new note to clients. Such a price would be about 40% lower than Twitter’s current trading level.

Musk’s outstanding deal for Twitter is for $54.20 a share.

The path is being cut for that price put forth by Thill for Twitter shares, by Musk’s own doing.

In an early morning Tweet, Musk said “Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%,” adding that “this deal cannot move forward until he does.”

The new tweet from Musk arrives after a tense exchange on the social media platform on Monday.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal wrote a long tweet thread to try to counter Musk’s claims the platform was chock full of fake accounts.

“We suspend over half a million spam accounts every day, usually before any of you even see them on Twitter,” Agrawal said in the 13-tweet thread. “We also lock millions of accounts each week that we suspect may be spam — if they can’t pass human verification challenges (captchas, phone verification, etc).”

Musk responded with a poop emoji.

Musk, the world’s richest person on paper, then followed up 14 minutes later with: “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter.”

Thill says Musk is simply trying to negotiate a lower price for Twitter. A fair value for Twitter in light of the rout in tech stocks in recent months would be $42 a share, Thill estimates.

Other analysts on Wall Street think a deal doesn’t get done.

“The chances of a deal ultimately getting done is not looking good now and it’s likely a 60%+ chance from our view Musk ultimately walks from the deal and pays the breakup fee,” Wedbush tech analyst Dan Ives said in a note to clients.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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Why You Can’t Just Order Baby Formula From Canada – Lifehacker

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Image for article titled Why You Can’t Just Order Baby Formula From Canada
Photo: The Toidi (Shutterstock)

With baby formula continuing to be in short supply, parents of infants are looking for creative ways to get their hands on that precious Enfamil—but a simple, seemingly ingenious solution that’s going viral right now will not work as described. The suggestion that’s spreading on Facebook and Twitter advises parents to go to Amazon and change their account’s country from the U.S. to Canada.

The claim is that if you do this, you will be rewarded with all kinds of baby formula-purchasing options—because Canada doesn’t have a major formula shortage. The problem, however, comes when you want to get the formula (or anything else) actually delivered from Amazon Canada. The company will only ship products within Canada, so unless you have a friend in Manitoba, it’s not going to work.

Amazon’s shipping restrictions page says:

Certain restrictions prevent us from shipping certain products to all geographical locations. Restrictions for specific items may require the purchaser to provide additional information in order to ship the item.

You might be able to find a third-party formula shipper on Amazon, but this is expensive in terms of shipping costs, and it might not be legal, depending on the kind of formula being imported.

The FDA’s role in all this

The larger issue of why the U.S. as a nation doesn’t import more baby formula is more complicated than Amazon’s rules. Only about 2% of the U.S.’s formula comes from foreign sources. February’s recall from major manufacturer Abbott threw off our delicate national formula supply chain, and correcting the problem presents some serious challenges.

If it was some other commodity, maybe more could have been imported quickly, but we’re particular about our baby formula. Formula has to meet the FDA’s nutritional standards and other requirements to be sold here. While European brands of formula generally meet or exceed the FDA’s nutritional requirements, (so much so that there’s a black market for foreign formula) the packaging and other aspects of the products are a different story.

The recall and FDA approval is only part of the story—the rest is economics.

Tariffs and dairy protection

In order to protect the U.S. dairy farming industry and U.S. formula manufacturers, the tariff on importing baby formula is set at 17.5% for most kinds of infant formula. The recently revamped NAFTA agreement actually raised the cost of importing Canadian formula, discouraging anyone from building a new plant there, and making it costly to import any excess from Canadian factories.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

While there’s no way to change tariffs quickly, the government is taking other steps to try to end the crisis. The FDA this week announced plans to ease the shortage through loosening up some of its rules (but not the ones covering nutritional requirements), and Abbot today announced its facility should be back online, with new safety standards in place, in a couple weeks.

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