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FortuneFortune

Fortune

September 2019

FORTUNE covers the entire field of business, including specific companies and business trends, tech innovation prominent business leaders, and new ideas shaping the global marketplace. FORTUNE is particularly well known for its exceptionally reliable annual rankings of companies. FORTUNE furthers understanding of the economy, provides implementable business strategy, and gives you the practical knowledge you need to maximize your own success.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Meredith Corporation
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20 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

access_time3 min.
translating success

IN HIS 41 YEARS ON EARTH SO FAR, Luis von Ahn has changed the world three times. People still blame him for the first. That invention, which had its public debut on Yahoo in 2000, had a mouthful of a name; the Guatemalan-born computer scientist called it a “completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart,” or “Captcha” for short. Captchas, you’ll recall, are those often-agonizing boxes of stretched and twisted letters that mortals must correctly identify and retype to gain access to certain websites. That invention, says von Ahn, has on multiple occasions provoked strangers to tell him, “Oh, my God, I hate you.” For all the fleeting angst they may have caused, though, Captchas have long been effective in preventing antisocial types from using computers—whose optical readers,…

access_time4 min.
the true cost of the trade war

TALK TO ANYONE in Trumpland, and you’ll hear that America is winning the trade war. “The economic burden is falling vastly more on them than on us,” proclaimed the President’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow in early August as the conflict escalated. But if you look past the rhetoric and crunch the numbers, a strikingly different picture emerges. The more Trump ratchets up tensions, the more he hurts the U.S. economy. By forcing U.S. companies and consumers to pay far more for everything from sneakers to steel, Trump is inflicting a heavy price that could plunge the country into recession. There are two issues: First, the way the President has structured his tariffs is creating what economists refer to as “deadweight” losses that threaten GDP growth (more on that later). Second,…

access_time2 min.
india’s wireless wonder

THERE’S A NEW KING of telecom in India: Reliance Jio Infocomm, the wireless carrier created by multibillionaire Mukesh Ambani, which ranked No. 1 on last year’s Change the World list. The network had 331 million subscribers at the end of June, exceeding Vodafone Idea (320 million customers) for the first time. Owned by Ambani’s energy and retailing giant, Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), the telecom company could become the foundation of an online and e-commerce platform in India that rivals Alibaba in China and Amazon in the U.S., analysts at UBS predict. It’s an amazing feat for the carrier, which started offering mobile service for free just three years ago before converting subscribers to still-cheap data plans in 2017. Currently, one Jio plan charges just three rupees per gigabyte of data used,…

access_time2 min.
capital offense

YOU’D BE HARD-PRESSED to find a company more committed to using the so-called public cloud than Capital One. America’s seventh-biggest bank by revenue has spent years winding down its data centers—from eight in 2014 to zero planned by the end of 2020—and relying on the on-tap resources of Amazon Web Services for computing and data storage. But now, in the wake of a data breach affecting 106 million North Americans, people are questioning whether Capital One represents a cybersecurity cautionary tale. To burrow inside Capital One’s systems, a hacker supposedly exploited a “misconfigured firewall.” Basically, the thief snuck in an open door. Both Capital One and Amazon stressed that “this type of vulnerability is not specific to the cloud.” Yet some experts, such as Evan Johnson, a security manager at startup Cloudflare,…

access_time2 min.
a crimson phenomenon

TRADITIONALISTS MAY LOOK aghast at CS50, Harvard’s introductory computer science course, which last year became the school’s most popular course of any kind. It’s taught by a young professor in jeans and a black T-shirt, David Malan, whose lectures are highly polished, fast-paced performances filled with props, demonstrations, and student involvement. Students aren’t required to attend, though; lectures are recorded in a slick, multi-camera format with production values that rival commercial TV, and most students watch them online. In addition to being Harvard’s No. 1 course, it’s offered simultaneously at Yale, with Malan teaching, an arrangement apparently unprecedented in the rival schools’ 318-year coexistence. But far from being a dumbed-down sop to spoiled students, CS50 is a carefully crafted model of how to teach any subject in today’s technological and social…

access_time2 min.
uber wants your loyalty—and cash

UBER’S PATH to profitability remains murky after it recently posted an eye-watering $5.2 billion quarterly loss. But it’s hoping its new $24.99-per-month subscription service will win over skeptical investors. The subscription offers free food delivery, unlimited electric bike and scooter rentals, and discounted car rides—and provides a more stable source of revenue for the company. “It’s a smart experiment,” says Mark Mahaney, analyst at RBC Capital Markets. If it works, Uber could better cross-market its services to customers who may otherwise be exposed to only one—something that CEO Dara Khosrowshahi continues to emphasize. The subscription also increases the opportunity to create brand loyalty, which thus far doesn’t seem to exist within the ride-hailing industry, says Tom White, analyst with D.A. Davidson. Uber is currently testing the model in Chicago and San Francisco,…

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