Elon Musk denies that Tim Cook ever cursed him out after a new book claims the Apple CEO hung up on him with a ‘f— you’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Apple CEO Tim Cook.

  • According to a new book, Elon Musk wanted to be CEO of Apple, and Tim Cook cursed him out.
  • Musk and Cook say they’ve never spoken.
  • Musk admits he wanted Apple to buy Tesla during the company’s “darkest days.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A new book reports that a testy phone call between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple boss Tim Cook ended abruptly with some not-so-kind words from the latter. Musk claims it never happened.

According to Tim Higgins’ “Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century,” around 2016, as Tesla struggled to ramp up production of the Model 3 sedan, Musk and Cook spoke on the phone about Apple potentially acquiring the fledgling car startup. Musk was open to a deal, but he had one condition Cook couldn’t stomach.

Musk wanted his job – he wanted to be CEO of Apple, Higgins reports, citing people familiar with Musk’s version of events.

“F— you,” Cook reportedly responded, and hung up.

Musk said in December that he wanted Apple to buy Tesla during the “darkest days of the Model 3 program,” when he was sleeping on Tesla’s factory floor as the company went through what he has called “manufacturing hell.” But, according to Musk, Cook never agreed to a meeting.

“Cook & I have never spoken or written to each other ever. There was a point where I requested to meet with Cook to talk about Apple buying Tesla,” Musk tweeted on Friday in response to the report. “There were no conditions of acquisition proposed whatsoever. He refused to meet.”

Read more: Hot EV startups like Rivian were already struggling to get cars to market – then the chip shortage hit. 4 top execs and industry experts tell us how they’re tackling the crisis.

Cook, for his part, told The New York Times in April that he had never spoken to the Tesla CEO. In “Power Play,” however, Higgins notes that Cook and Musk have been photographed sitting next to each other and that they served together on a business school advisory board in China.

Higgins also notes that it’s hard to say whether Musk’s retelling of the phone call was accurate.

“It’s hard to imagine Musk was serious about wanting to be CEO of Apple,” he said.

Penguin Random House, the book’s publisher, declined to make Higgins available for comment. A representative for Apple did not immediately return a request for comment.

Since Musk’s hunt for an Apple acquisition, Tesla’s market cap has ballooned to $685 billion, making it the most valuable car company in the world. Apple is working on an electric car of its own, a project it started in 2014.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Donald Trump was reportedly desperate to gain the approval of Silicon Valley execs soon after the 2016 election: ‘Everybody in this room has to like me’

From left: Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, and Sheryl Sandberg met with President-elect Donald Trump in December 2016 at Trump Tower
From left: Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, and Sheryl Sandberg met with then President-elect Donald Trump in December 2016 at Trump Tower

  • Former President Donald Trump wanted tech executives’ approval, The New York Times reports.
  • Trump told a meeting of tech leaders in 2016 that “everybody in this room has to like me.”
  • Trump ultimately had a strained relationship with several execs throughout his administration.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In December 2016, Donald Trump, then president-elect, invited about a dozen tech leaders for a meeting at Trump Tower in New York.

The group, which included Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Google cofounder Larry Page, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, was recorded by press photographers who captured a row of unhappy-looking tech executives.

But for Trump, it was important to gain the approval of some of the most powerful executives in the world.

“Everybody in this room has to like me,” Trump told the assembled group, according to The New York Times’ Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang, who investigated the relationship between Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and COO, Sandberg, as part of a forthcoming book about Facebook.

Read more: Facebook just changed how it reviews employee performance, and it could be a sign the social-media giant is maturing

While attendees at the meeting put a positive spin on it – Bezos said afterward that the meeting was “very productive” – things had been strained between the tech world and Trump. Bezos had suggested shipping Trump off to space aboard a Blue Origin rocket, Apple had declined to fund the Republican National Convention because of Trump, and, according to The Times, Sandberg was still in shock following Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump and barely spoke at the meeting.

Still, Trump was optimistic about working with Silicon Valley leaders during the meeting, according to The Times.

“You’ll call my people, you’ll call me. It doesn’t make any difference,” he said. “We have no formal chain of command over here.”

A 2016 Times report about the meeting said that Trump called the assembled guests a “truly amazing group of people” and told them that he was “here to help you folks do well.”

But in the years following, Trump’s relationship with many Silicon Valley leaders became increasingly strained. He made Bezos a frequent target and openly feuded with Twitter, and reportedly made his displeasure about some Facebook policies known to Zuckerberg directly. Tech leaders spoke out against Trump’s immigration policies and condemned the siege on Capitol Hill.

Soon after the riots, Silicon Valley delivered the ultimate condemnation of Trump’s policies: locking him out of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, a temporary measure that has been extended indefinitely.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple reportedly planned to open its own primary healthcare clinics and employ doctors in a project codenamed ‘Casper,’ which stalled because key people quit

Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

  • In 2016, Apple launched a plan, codenamed Casper, to offer primary-care medicine, the WSJ reported.
  • In Casper, which is making little progress, Apple wanted to open clinics and employ doctors, sources said.
  • Multiple people reportedly quit the project, and Apple is instead focusing on devices like its watch.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple has spent years trying to push into healthcare, including by launching its own clinics and employing doctors – but these plans have mostly stalled, according to a new report by The Wall Street Journal.

Apple launched a primary-care medicine project in 2016, codenamed Casper, The Journal reported, citing documents and people familiar with the plan.

Apple planned to offer primary healthcare at its own clinics staffed by Apple-employed doctors, according to the people.

In 2017 it hired Dr. Sumbul Desai from Stanford University as its vice president of health to run the effort.

The company is still working on the project but has struggled to move past a preliminary stage, they said. This is partly because multiple people have quit the project, The Journal reported.

Sources told the publication that Desai’s unit discouraged critical feedback, and that some staff had concerns that internal data showing the performance of trial clinics was inaccurate or compiled haphazardly.

An Apple spokesperson told The Journal that data integrity was at the foundation of the company’s innovations. The spokesperson said that the company was still in the early phases of its healthcare work, and said that data from Apple’s devices was being used for research that could potentially improve care.

“Many of the assertions in this report are based on incomplete, outdated, and inaccurate information,” they added.

Insider asked Apple for more detail, but did not immediately receive a response.

Read more: Amazon is weighing a push into physical pharmacies to grab a bigger slice of the $370 billion prescription market

Apple built a huge team of clinicians, engineers, and product designers to work on its healthcare projects, The Journal reported. Alongside Casper, the company also launched a digital health app earlier this year but has struggled to keep users engaged, sources said.

Apple spent months looking into how it could use health and wellness data from Apple Watch users to improve healthcare, the sources told The Journal. Under the plan, this would have been linked with both virtual and in-person care, they said, meaning that Apple would offer both primary care and continuous health monitoring.

Apple planned to offer a subscription-based personalized health program, The Journal reported, citing both documents and people familiar with the plan.

Apple first tested out the service on its own employees by taking over employee health clinics near its headquarters, sources told the publication.

Apple would have considered franchising the model to health systems and other countries if it could prove it was improving people’s health and lowering healthcare costs, according to documents seen by The Journal.

People familiar with the plans said that the tech giant was now focusing its health unit on selling devices such as the Apple Watch. It debuted a new $400 Apple Watch in September that measures blood oxygen levels and heart rhythms.

Other tech giants have tried to branch into the booming healthcare industry, too – many with limited success, as Insider’s Allana Akhtar reported.

Google Health has struggled to define its mission and figure out how to make money. There was also public backlash and a US probe into its first major partnership with health system Ascension over privacy concerns.

Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway also disbanded their joint healthcare venture, Haven, in February after it struggled to come up with ideas and lost both financial backing and key leaders.

But Amazon is making other, more successful forays into healthcare. It launched Amazon Pharmacy in November, which sends customers their prescription medicine with no delivery fee, and is developing a way to connect workers at other companies with primary care specialists for online and in-person visits, dubbed Amazon Care.

Microsoft recently bought AI firm Nuance for $19.7 billion to bolster up its healthcare unit – its second-largest acquisition ever.

Read the original article on Business Insider

18 valuable pieces of advice from the best graduation speeches of all time

issa rae
Issa Rae.

“Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer.” – Shonda Rhimes’ 2014 speech at Dartmouth College

shonda rhimes dartmouth
Shonda Rhimes at Dartmouth College.

The world’s most powerful showrunner told grads to stop dreaming and start doing.

The world has plenty of dreamers, she said. “And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, engaged, powerful people, are busy doing.” She pushed grads to be those people.

“Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer,” she advised — whether or not you know what your “passion” might be. “The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to know. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new. It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life. Perfect is boring and dreams are not real,” she said.

Read the transcript and watch the video.

“Empathy and kindness are the true signs of emotional intelligence.” – Will Ferrell’s 2017 speech at the University of Southern California

will ferrell usc
Will Ferrell at the University of Southern California.

Comedian Will Ferrell, best known for lead roles in films like “Anchorman,” “Elf,” and “Talledega Nights,” delivered a thoughtful speech to USC’s graduating class of 2018.

“No matter how cliché it may sound, you will never truly be successful until you learn to give beyond yourself,” he said. “Empathy and kindness are the true signs of emotional intelligence, and that’s what Viv and I try to teach our boys. Hey Matthias, get your hands of Axel right now! Stop it. I can see you. Okay? Dr. Ferrell’s watching you.”

He also offered some words of encouragement: “For many of you who maybe don’t have it all figured out, it’s okay. That’s the same chair that I sat in. Enjoy the process of your search without succumbing to the pressure of the result.”

He even finished off with a stirring rendition of the Whitney Houston classic, “I Will Always Love You.” He was, of course, referring to the graduates.

Read the transcript and watch the video.

“As you leave this room don’t forget to ask yourself what you can offer to make the ‘club of life’ go up? How can you make this place better, in spite of your circumstances?” – Issa Rae’s 2021 speech at Stanford University

Insecure HBO Issa Rae
Issa Rae in HBO’s “Insecure.”

In the speech, Rae pulled lyrics from Boosie Badazz, Foxx, and Webbie’s “Wipe Me Down,” which she said she and her friends played on a boombox during the “Wacky Walk” portion of their own 2007 graduation ceremony at Stanford, to illustrate the importance of seeing “every opportunity as a VIP — as someone who belongs and deserves to be here.” 

Rae particularly drew attention to one line from the song that reads, “I pull up at the club, VIP, gas tank on E, but all dranks on me. Wipe me down.”

“To honor the classic song that has guided my own life — as you leave this room, don’t forget to ask yourself what you can offer to make the ‘club of life’ go up. How can you make this place better, in spite of your circumstances?” she said. “And as you figure those things out, don’t forget to step back and wipe yourselves down, wipe each other down and go claim what’s yours like the VIPs that you are.”

Read the transcript and watch the video.

“Not everything that happens to us happens because of us.” – Sheryl Sandberg’s 2016 speech at UC Berkeley

sheryl sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg speaks during a forum in San Francisco.

During the Facebook COO’s deeply personal commencement speech about resilience at UC Berkeley, she spoke on how understanding the three Ps that largely determine our ability to deal with setbacks helped her cope with the loss of her husband, Dave Goldberg.

She outlined the three Ps as:

· Personalization: Whether you believe an event is your fault.
· Pervasiveness: Whether you believe an event will affect all areas of your life.
· Permanence: How long you think the negative feelings will last.

“This is the lesson that not everything that happens to us happens because of us,” Sandberg said about personalization. It took understanding this for Sandberg to accept that she couldn’t have prevented her husband’s death. “His doctors had not identified his coronary artery disease. I was an economics major; how could I have?”

Read the transcript and watch the video.

“If you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options.” – David Foster Wallace’s 2005 speech at Kenyon College

David Foster Wallace
David Foster Wallace at Kenyon College.

In his now-legendary “This Is Water” speech, the author urged grads to be a little less arrogant and a little less certain about their beliefs.

“This is not a matter of virtue,” Wallace said. “It’s a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default setting, which is to be deeply and literally self-centered and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self.”

Doing that will be hard, he said. “It takes will and effort, and if you are like me, some days you won’t be able to do it, or you just flat won’t want to.”

But breaking free of that lens can allow you to truly experience life, to consider possibilities beyond your default reactions.

“If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable,” he said. “But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.”

Read the transcript and watch the video.

“Be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron’s 1996 speech at Wellesley College

nora ephron
Nora Ephron.

Addressing her fellow alums with trademark wit, Ephron reflected on all the things that had changed since her days at Wellesley — and all the things that hadn’t.

“My class went to college in the era when you got a master’s degrees in teaching because it was ‘something to fall back on’ in the worst case scenario, the worst case scenario being that no one married you and you actually had to go to work,” she said. But while things had changed drastically by 1996, Ephron warned grads not to “delude yourself that the powerful cultural values that wrecked the lives of so many of my classmates have vanished from the earth.” 

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim,” she said. “Maybe young women don’t wonder whether they can have it all any longer, but in case any of you are wondering, of course you can have it all. What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications.”

Read the transcript and watch the video.

“Our problems are manmade – therefore, they can be solved by man.” – John F. Kennedy’s 1963 speech at American University

john f kennedy speech
John F. Kennedy at American University.

Against the tumult of the early ’60s, Kennedy inspired graduates to strive for what may be the biggest goal of them all: world peace.

“Too many of us think it is impossible,” he said. “Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable — that mankind is doomed — that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.”

Our job is not to accept that, he urged. “Our problems are manmade — therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants.” 

Read the transcript and watch the video.

“Err in the direction of kindness.” – George Saunders’ 2013 speech at Syracuse University

George Saunders
George Saunders.

Saunders stressed what turns out to be a deceptively simple idea: the importance of kindness. “What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness,” he said. “Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded … sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.” 

But kindness is hard, the writer said. It’s not necessarily our default. In part, he explained, kindness comes with age. “It might be a simple matter of attrition: as we get older, we come to see how useless it is to be selfish — how illogical, really.” The challenge he laid out: Don’t wait. “Speed it along,” he urged. “Start right now.”

“There’s a confusion in each of us, a sickness, really: selfishness,” Saunders said. “But there’s also a cure. So be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf — seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life.”

“Do all the other things, the ambitious things — travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop) – but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness.”

Read the transcript and watch the video.

“Life is an improvisation. You have no idea what’s going to happen next and you are mostly just making things up as you go along.” – Stephen Colbert’s 2011 speech at Northwestern University

Stephen colbert
Stephen Colbert.

The comedian and host of the “Late Show” told grads they should never feel like they have it all figured out.

“[W]hatever your dream is right now, if you don’t achieve it, you haven’t failed, and you’re not some loser. But just as importantly — and this is the part I may not get right and you may not listen to — if you do get your dream, you are not a winner,” Colbert said.

It’s a lesson he learned from his improv days. When actors are working together properly, he explained, they’re all serving each other, playing off each other on a common idea. “And life is an improvisation. You have no idea what’s going to happen next and you are mostly just making things up as you go along. And like improv, you cannot win your life,” he said.

Red the transcript and watch the video.

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” – Steve Jobs’ 2005 speech at Stanford University

Steve Jobs Commencement HD
Steve Jobs at Stanford University.

In a remarkably personal address, the Apple founder and CEO advised graduates to live each day as if it were their last.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,” he said. He’d been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year earlier.

“Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important,” he continued. “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Jobs said this mindset will make you understand the importance of your work. “And the only way to do great work is to love what you do,” he said. “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Settling means giving in to someone else’s vision of your life — a temptation Jobs warned against. “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Read the transcript and watch the video.

“We can learn to live without the sick excitement, without the kick of having scores to settle.” – Kurt Vonnegut’s 1999 speech at Agnes Scott College

Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut at Agnes Scott College.

The famed author became one of the most sought-after commencement speakers in the United States for many years, thanks to his insights on morality and cooperation. At Agnes Scott, he asked graduates to make the world a better place by respecting humanity — and living without hate. Hammurabi lived 4,000 years ago, he pointed out. We can stop living by his code.

“We may never dissuade leaders of our nation or any other nation from responding vengefully, violently, to every insult or injury. In this, the Age of Television, they will continue to find irresistible the temptation to become entertainers, to compete with movies by blowing up bridges and police stations and factories and so on,” he said.

“But in our personal lives, our inner lives, at least, we can learn to live without the sick excitement, without the kick of having scores to settle with this particular person, or that bunch of people, or that particular institution or race or nation. And we can then reasonably ask forgiveness for our trespasses, since we forgive those who trespass against us.”

The result, he said, would be a happier, more peaceful, and more complete existence.

Read the partial transcript and watch the video.

“If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.” – Oprah Winfrey’s 2008 speech at Stanford University

oprah commencement
Oprah Winfrey at Stanford University.

The media mogul told Stanford’s class of 2008 that they can’t sacrifice happiness for money. “When you’re doing the work you’re meant to do, it feels right and every day is a bonus, regardless of what you’re getting paid,” she said.

She said you can feel when you’re doing the right thing in your gut. “What I know now is that feelings are really your GPS system for life. When you’re supposed to do something or not supposed to do something, your emotional guidance system lets you know,” she said.

She explained that doing what your instincts tells you to do will make you more successful because it will drive you to work harder and will save you from debilitating stress.

“If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. That’s the lesson. And that lesson alone will save you, my friends, a lot of grief,” Winfrey said. “Even doubt means don’t. This is what I’ve learned. There are many times when you don’t know what to do. When you don’t know what to do, get still, get very still, until you do know what to do.”

Read the transcript and watch the video.

“The difference between triumph and defeat, you’ll find, isn’t about willingness to take risks – it’s about mastery of rescue.” – Atul Gawande’s 2012 speech at Williams College

Atul Gawande
Atul Gawande.

Pushing beyond the tired “take risks!” commencement cliché, the surgeon, writer, and activist took a more nuanced approach: what matters isn’t just that you take risks; it’s how you take them.

To explain, he turned to medicine.”Scientists have given a new name to the deaths that occur in surgery after something goes wrong — whether it is an infection or some bizarre twist of the stomach,” said Gawande. “They call them a ‘Failure to Rescue.’ More than anything, this is what distinguished the great from the mediocre. They didn’t fail less. They rescued more.”

What matters, he said, isn’t the failure — that’s inevitable — but what happens next. “A failure often does not have to be a failure at all. However, you have to be ready for it. Will you admit when things go wrong? Will you take steps to set them right? — because the difference between triumph and defeat, you’ll find, isn’t about willingness to take risks. It’s about mastery of rescue.”

Read the transcript and watch the video.

“Your job is to create a world that lasts forever.” – Stephen Spielberg’s 2016 speech at Harvard

Steven Spielberg Harvard commencement
Steven Spielberg at Harvard.

“This world is full of monsters,” director Steven Spielberg told Harvard graduates, and it’s the next generation’s job to vanquish them.

“My job is to create a world that lasts two hours. Your job is to create a world that lasts forever,” he said.

These monsters manifest themselves as racism, homophobia, and ethnic, class, political, and religious hatred, he said, noting that there is no difference between them: “It is all one big hate.”

Spielberg said that hate is born of an “us versus them” mentality, and thinking instead about people as “we” requires replacing fear with curiosity.

“‘Us’ and ‘them’ will find the ‘we’ by connecting with each other, and by believing that we’re members of the same tribe, and by feeling empathy for every soul,” he said.

Read the transcript and watch the video. 

“There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized.” – Conan O’Brien’s 2011 speech at Dartmouth College

conan o'brien dartmouth
Conan O’Brien at Dartmouth College.

In his hilarious 2011 address to Dartmouth College, the late-night host spoke about his brief run on “The Tonight Show” before being replaced by Jay Leno. O’Brien described the fallout as the lowest point in his life, feeling very publicly humiliated and defeated. But once he got back on his feet and went on a comedy tour across the country, he discovered something important.

“There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized,” he said.

He explained that for decades the ultimate goal of every comedian was to host “The Tonight Show,” and like many comedians, he thought achieving that goal would define his success. “But that is not true. No specific job or career goal defines me, and it should not define you,” he said.

He noted that disappointment is a part of life, and the beauty of it is that it can help you gain clarity and conviction.

“It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique,” O’Brien said. “It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can be a catalyst for profound re-invention.”

 O’Brien said that dreams constantly evolve, and your ideal career path at 22 years old will not necessarily be the same at 32 or 42 years old. 

“I am here to tell you that whatever you think your dream is now, it will probably change. And that’s okay,” he said.

Read the transcript and watch the video.

“You are your own stories.” – Toni Morrison’s 2004 speech at Wellesley College

Toni Morrison Graduation Wellesley
Toni Morrison at Wellesley College.

Instead of the usual commencement platitudes — none of which, Morrison argued, are true anyway — the Nobel Prize-winning writer asked grads to create their own narratives. 

“What is now known is not all what you are capable of knowing,” she said. “You are your own stories and therefore free to imagine and experience what it means to be human without wealth. What it feels like to be human without domination over others, without reckless arrogance, without fear of others unlike you, without rotating, rehearsing and reinventing the hatreds you learned in the sandbox.”

In your own story, you can’t control all the characters, Morrison said. “The theme you choose may change or simply elude you. But being your own story means you can always choose the tone. It also means that you can invent the language to say who you are and what you mean.” Being a storyteller reflects a deep optimism, she said — and as a storyteller herself, “I see your life as already artful, waiting, just waiting and ready for you to make it art.”

Read the transcript and watch the video.

“I wake up in a house that was built by slaves.” – Michelle Obama’s 2016 speech at the City College of New York

michelle obama city college
Michelle Obama at the City College of New York.

In her 23rd and final commencement speech as First Lady, Michelle Obama urged the Class of 2016 to pursue happiness and live out whatever version of the American Dream is right for them.

“It’s the story that I witness every single day when I wake up in a house that was built by slaves,” she said, “and I watch my daughters — two beautiful, black young women — head off to school waving goodbye to their father, the President of the United States, the son of a man from Kenya who came here to America for the same reasons as many of you: To get an education and improve his prospects in life.”

“So, graduates, while I think it’s fair to say that our Founding Fathers never could have imagined this day,” she continued, “all of you are very much the fruits of their vision. Their legacy is very much your legacy and your inheritance. And don’t let anybody tell you differently. You are the living, breathing proof that the American Dream endures in our time. It’s you.”

Read the transcript and watch the video.

“Call upon your grit. Try something.” – Tim Cook’s 2019 speech at Tulane University

Tim cook tulane
Tim Cook at Tulane University.

Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered the 2019 commencement speech for the graduates of Tulane University, offering valuable advice on success.

“We forget sometimes that our preexisting beliefs have their own force of gravity,” Cook said. “Today, certain algorithms pull toward you the things you already know, believe, or like, and they push away everything else. Push back.”

“You may succeed. You may fail. But make it your life’s work to remake the world because there is nothing more beautiful or more worthwhile than working to leave something better for humanity.”

Read the transcript and watch the video.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple will reportedly let vaccinated customers go maskless in many of its stores from Tuesday

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook

  • Apple plans to drop mask mandates for vaccinated customers at many stores from Tuesday, sources told Bloomberg.
  • Apple staff at the stores will still have to wear masks, the sources said.
  • Apple employees in some California offices will also be allowed to drop their masks, Bloomberg reported.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple plans to allow vaccinated customers to go without masks at many of its US stores from Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Staff would not ask customers to provide proof of vaccination, unnamed sources told Bloomberg.

Staff would still have to wear masks, the company has told workers, per the sources.

The sources asked to remain anonymous because they did not want to discuss company policy before its public announcement, Bloomberg reported.

Apple’s mask mandate would also be scrapped for employees based at Apple’s offices in Cupertino, California, according to an internal memo viewed by Bloomberg.

Some US retailers dropped their in-store mask mandates for customers last month, after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed its mask guidelines for fully-vaccinated people.

Walmart, Costco, and Trader Joe’s were among the retailers that lifted mask requirements for vaccinated customers.

Apple would check customers’ temperature at the door of its stores and limit occupancy to enable social distancing, Deidre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and people, said in a blogpost last month.

Apple did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Apple, Google, and Microsoft reacted to Trump-era DOJ subpoenas and requests for data on political rivals and journalists

Apple CEO Tim Cook showing President Donald Trump a computer part.
Apple CEO Tim Cook with former President Donald Trump in 2019.

  • The Trump-era Justice Department requested data from Apple, Google, and Microsoft on his rivals.
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell, whose data was sought, said Trump acted like the “most despicable dictators.”
  • Here’s how each company responded to the legal requests.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

During President Donald Trump’s years in the White House, the Department of Justice requested information from tech companies about his Democrat rivals in Congress and members of the press.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, whose data had been sought, said in a statement on Friday: “Like many of the world’s most despicable dictators, former President Trump showed an utter disdain for our democracy and the rule of law.”

Some of the world’s biggest tech companies – including Google, Apple, and Microsoft – received subpoenas or other record requests for information held by accounts belonging to the press, members of Congress, their staff members, or their families.

This is how each company reacted to those legal requests:

Apple

An Apple spokesperson on Friday said the company received grand jury subpoenas for 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, according to TechCrunch’s Zack Whittaker. Apple handed over “account subscriber information and did not provide any content such as emails or pictures.”

The company turned over metadata relating to Swalwell and Rep. Adam Schiff, according to statements from both politicians, who were among Trump’s political opponents.

Apple on Friday told CNBC that the grand jury subpoena included a gag order, keeping Apple from telling customers about the requests. The requests didn’t include information about the investigation, CNBC reported.

Swalwell said he was notified by Apple last month.

“In May, I was notified by Apple that my records were among those sought by – and turned over to – the Trump Administration as part of a politically motivated investigation into his perceived enemies,” he said on Friday.

Google

The Trump administration’s DOJ sought email logs from Google relating to four reporters at The New York Times. That request also came with a gag order, according to The Times. The newspaper reported that “no records were obtained.”

Press Secretary Jen Psaki in a June 5 statement said the White House hadn’t been made aware of the gag order.

“While the White House does not intervene in criminal investigations, the issuing of subpoenas for the records of reporters in leak investigations is not consistent with the President’s policy direction to the Department, and the Department of Justice has reconfirmed it will not be used moving forward,” she said.

Lawyers for the newspaper have filed a request to unseal the Trump-era DOJ filings preceding the data requests, The Times reported this week.

“These orders represent an extraordinary challenge to press freedom, undermining the ability of the press to report truthful information of vital public concern,” the newspaper’s court filing said.

Microsoft

Microsoft in 2017 received a subpoena for a congressional staff member’s personal email account, according to multiple reports. The reports did not identify the staffer.

In a statement sent to The Daily Mail, a Microsoft spokesperson said the company believes “customers have a constitutional right to know when the government requests their email or documents, and we have a right to tell them.”

The spokesperson added: “In this case, we were prevented from notifying the customer for more than two years because of a gag order. As soon as the gag order expired, we notified the customer who told us they were a congressional staffer.”

Insider has reached out to Apple, Google, and Microsoft for additional information.

Schiff on Friday called for an investigation into the Trump-era DOJ by the independent Inspector General, saying it would be “just the start.”

“We need a full accounting of the Trump DOJ’s abuse of power targeting Congress and the press,” Schiff said on Twitter on Friday.

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Apple employees have written a letter expressing their frustration over Tim Cook’s order to return to the office

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

  • Apple employees are revolting against CEO Tim Cook over orders to return to the office.
  • Workers say they feel “unheard” and “ignored” over the company’s new work policy.
  • According to The Verge, around 80 people were involved in writing and editing the message.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Dozens of Apple employees have written a letter signaling their frustration with a policy asking them to return to the office for three days a week from September, The Verge reported.

Workers say they’d prefer a more flexible approach, where those who want to work remotely can do so, according to the internal letter, which was obtained by the outlet.

The letter began by addressing the growing concern that Apple’s location-flexible work policy, and the messaging around it, have already forced some of the staff to quit.

“Without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being, and being empowered to do our best work, or being a part of Apple,” it added.

Employees also said they have felt “not just unheard, but at times actively ignored” over the past year in regards to communication between the company and its staff over remote work.

“It feels like there is a disconnect between how the executive team thinks about remote/location-flexible work and the lived experiences of many of Apple’s employees,” the letter said.

According to The Verge, around 80 people were involved in writing and editing the message. It all started in a Slack channel for “remote work advocates” which has approximately 2,800 members.

The complaint comes days after CEO Tim Cook announced the change in an email circulated to staff on Wednesday.

Most employees are being asked come in on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and it would be up to them whether they work from home on Wednesdays and Fridays, Cook said.

Video calls from home “simply cannot replicate” some aspects of office life, he said.

Cook’s approach to post-pandemic work stands in contrast to some of the other tech giants. In March, both Twitter and Facebook informed employees they can work from home forever, even after the pandemic subsides.

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Twitter dips its toes in the pay-to-play waters

Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Insider Tech newsletter, where we break down the biggest news in tech, including:

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Soundtrack: This week’s newsletter has been specially designed to be consumed while listening to The Toasters’ “Weekend in LA”


This week: Twitter dips its toes in the pay-to-play waters

Jack Dorsey

Perhaps you’ve noticed the expanding number of charges for video streaming subscriptions on your credit card statement. What started with a Netflix subscription has become monthly payments for a half dozen or more video services, from Apple+ and Disney+ to HBOMax and Peacock Premium.

Could the same pay-to-play fate await our social media and communications apps?

Twitter will never get rid of the free version of its product – but there’s precedent for a premium Twitter. Back in 2010 there was a thriving market of third-party Twitter “client” apps that connected to Twitter’s API and offered power users extra options. Many of these client apps cost a few bucks to download, and charged additional a la carte fees for extra features.

But: Twitter kneecapped the third-party clients market starting in 2011 by restricting access ot its API – a controversial move that was necessary for Twitter to keep people on its own site so it could build an ad business. Now, ten years later, ads aren’t enough, and Twitter is turning to a business model it once squashed.

In other social media news:

Trump is banned from Twitter forever. But he could be back on Facebook in less than two years, if he behaves and “conditions permit.”


Profile: Angel investor Jason Calacanis

Jason Calacanis

He’s loud, brash, confident, and has a string of prescient startup investments under his belt, including early bets on Uber, Robinhood and Calm. Jason Calacanis is part venture capital investor and part podcasting shock jock – and he’s a polarizing presence in Silicon Valley.

As Matt Drange and Candy Cheng report in this fascinating profile:

For many, Calacanis is someone who “cuts through the bulls—” and is shaking up Silicon Valley’s stuffy venture-capital scene. But others said the swagger can quickly turn hostile, with some founders describing experiences with Calacanis that left them questioning whether he was more committed to their success or to his own image.

Read the full story here:

Jason Calacanis went from dotcom roadkill to early investor in Uber, Calm and Robinhood. Here’s how he’s reshaping venture capital with bluster, ego, and media-savvy.


Quote of the week:

Tim Cook

“Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate.”

– Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a letter to staff obtained by The Verge, breaking the news to employees that they’ll be expected in the office at least three days a week, come September.


Snapshot: Behold the clouds of Mars

Even Mars has cloudy days. And thanks to NASA’s Curiosity rover, we can now see what it’s like to gaze up at a Martian cloud.

mars clouds above cliff photo curiosity rover
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover captured these clouds just after sunset on March 19, 2021. The image is made up of 21 individual images stitched together and color corrected so that the scene appears as it would to the human eye.

The photo above, captured at sunset on the red planet on March 19, is one of several rare photos of Martian clouds recently released by the space agency. Mars doesn’t get too many clouds because of its dry atmosphere and super thin air. But clouds do form around the Martian equator at a certain time of year, and Curiosity had its cameras ready for otherworldly weather this season.

Many of the clouds caught on camera by Curiosity had an iridescent, pearl-like color. That’s because clouds on mars are made of frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice, rather than water ice. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain.


Recommended readings:

Insiders say Oracle’s best hope in the cloud wars with Amazon is a team led with a ‘culture of fear,’ and executives are leaving

Google is making a privacy change on Android that could mean more pain for advertisers

Americans are embracing paying for everything online in installments. That’s propelling one startup, Klarna, to a valuation above $40 billion.

After Amazon’s MGM deal, experts think these 5 Hollywood giants could be Big Tech acquisition targets

People are finding out that buzzy photo-sharing app Poparazzi automatically follows all of their phone contacts, and experts say it’s a data privacy nightmare

The way to stop companies from getting attacked by ransomware is simple: outlaw ransom payments


Not necessarily in tech:

How ‘Tiger Mom’ Amy Chua became the pariah of Yale Law. A complicated story of booze, misbehaving men, and the Supreme Court.


Thanks for reading, and if you like this newsletter, tell your friends and colleagues they can sign up here to receive it.

– Alexei

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At its heart, the legal battle between Apple and ‘Fortnite’ maker Epic Games is about whether or not the iPhone is a computer

Fortnite 1984 Apple ad parody
  • Apple and “Fortnite” maker Epic Games are fighting in court over how the App Store works.
  • The three-week trial began wrapping up on Friday, with Apple CEO Tim Cook taking the stand.
  • At the heart of the fight is a fundamental disagreement on whether or not the iPhone is a computer.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Apple and “Fortnite” maker Epic Games are nearing the end of a protracted legal battle that could have major implications for the future of the App Store.

If Epic were to win the trial, Apple could be forced to allow alternative app stores on the iPhone and iPad – a result that could cost Apple billions of dollars in the long term.

At the heart of the fight is a disagreement on the nature of the iPhone: Epic argues it’s a computer, while Apple argues it’s fundamentally distinct. That argument is critical because of how the App Store operates, with Apple acting as the sole arbiter of what can and cannot be published on the iPhone.

If the iPhone is a computer, then the App Store is a monopoly, Epic’s lawyers argued. If it isn’t, and it’s a distinct category of device, then Apple says it is protecting its users by keeping alternative digital storefronts off the iPhone.

Read more: Big Tech has a new battleground: self-driving cars. Here’s how Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, and Sundar Pichai hope to capture the $290 billion market.

“Epic is here, demanding that this court force Apple to let into its App Store untested and untrusted apps and app stores,” one of Apple’s lawyers, Karen Dunn, said in opening remarks. “Apple’s unwavering commitment to safety, security, reliability and quality does not allow that – and the antitrust laws do not require it.”

Tim Cook Tim Sweeney 2x1
Both Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, right, will appear as witnesses during the trial.

On the contrary, Epic’s lawyer argued, the “walled garden” of the App Store isn’t intended for security: “It’s about business,” Katherine Forrest of law firm Cravath, Swaine, and Moore said. An expert witness interviewed by Forrest estimated Apple’s App Store margins in 2018 and 2019 to be around 75%.

Another major point of contention between the two companies: the 30% cut Apple takes from transactions on its App Store.

By refusing to open the iPhone to other app stores, Epic’s lawyers argued, the company is engaging in anticompetitive behavior. They compared Apple to a car dealership that takes a cut from gas stations every time you refuel.

Apple’s lawyers pointed to other digital storefronts, like the wildly popular Steam, as having established the 30% precedent.

“Apple did not establish the 30%,” Apple’s lawyer Karen Dunn said. “It was Steam, another game platform, that set the 30% in 2003, and by the time Apple entered the market in 2008 the 30% was, as Epic’s internal documents will show, industry standard.”

With Apple CEO Tim Cook taking the stand on Friday, witness testimonies are officially wrapped up. Lawyers for both companies are expected to deliver closing remarks on Monday.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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4 Republican lawmakers accuse Apple of being ‘a pawn in China’s malfeasance’ over customer data in a letter to CEO Tim Cook

Tim Cook   Photo by Roy Rochlin:WireImage
Apple CEO Tim Cook

  • Four Republican lawmakers have called on Apple CEO Tim Cook to reassess his dealings with China.
  • They said Apple’s customers in China had “zero protections” from government use of their data.
  • They criticized what they called Apple’s “gradual and near-total capitulation” to Beijing over customer data.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Four US House Representatives have criticized what they call Apple’s “gradual and near-total capitulation” to China over access to its customer’s data, and called on CEO Tim Cook to reassess Apple’s business dealings with the country.

Republicans Ken Buck, Scott Fitzgerald, Burgess Owens, and Dan Bishop said that Apple “continues to concede to the Chinese government’s demands,” in a letter to Cook sent on Thursday, and later shared on Twitter.

A New York Times investigation published Monday said that Cook had approved the use of servers owned by Chinese state-owned companies to store user data, and had agreed to remove encryption technology from Apple’s data server centers, according to current and former Apple employees who spoke to the publication.

Apple also agreed to censor about 50,000 apps from its App Store, and company employees were tasked with identifying apps that might offend the Chinese government, according to the paper’s sources.

The congressmen said that the company “has entwined itself with the very rights abuses it claims to oppose.”

“We urge you to consider Apple’s position as a pawn in China’s malfeasance,” the letter said.

When contacted for comment, Apple pointed Insider to a statement it made to the NYT responding to its investigation.

The tech giant said that it has “never compromised the security of our users or their data in China or anywhere we operate,” in the statement.

“We retain control of the encryption keys for our users’ data,” the company said in the statement. “Since our Chinese data centers are our newest, they feature our very latest and most sophisticated protections.”

Apple said that it had removed apps from its App Store to abide by China’s laws.

“These decisions are not always easy, and we may not agree with the laws that shape them,” it said in the statement.

Read the original article on Business Insider