Monday, April 18, 2016
No solution yet for steel glut; Netflix predicts slower growth; Steve Jobs' mentor, Bill Campbell no more
1 No solution yet to oversupply of steel (Jennifer Rankin in The Guardian) The world’s largest steel-producing nations failed to make a breakthrough on the oversupply problem that has thrown the industry into crisis, at a meeting in Brussels.
Ministers from 34 countries, representing 93% of global steel production, attended Monday’s talks, on the day the Chinese state news agency said it was “lame and lazy” to blame China for the problem. UK Steel, the industry lobby group, criticised the failure to take detailed action, as the future of Britain’s largest steelworks, Port Talbot, hangs in the balance.
Overproduction of steel is driving plants around the world out of business and has brought the UK industry to the brink of collapse. US and European steel producers have accused China of flooding world markets with heavily subsidised steel that makes it impossible for rivals to compete.
But China rejected this argument, saying the US and European Union were “also plagued by overcapacity to differing degrees”. But in a tacit acknowledgement that China is producing too much steel, as economic growth rate falters, Beijing promised in February to cut production by 100m-150m tonnes and lay off half a million steelworkers over the next five years.
Tata Steel and the British government are searching for a buyer for the company’s UK steel assets, but chances of a rescue for the entire business are seen as remote, putting at risk 40,000 jobs connected to the Tata plant.
2 Netflix predicts slower growth (BBC) Netflix shares fell more than 9% in after-hours trading on Wall Street after the video streaming company predicted slower subscriber growth. The company said it expected to add about 500,000 customers in the US and two million internationally during the current trading quarter ending in June.
Analysts had forecast the company to add 586,000 users in the US and 3.5 million globally. In January, Netflix started a global push into 130 additional countries. The company hoped to counter slowing user growth in the US where the market is more developed. Netflix reported having 81.5 million users in the first quarter of 2016.
Netflix posted a profit of $28m for the period between January and March, up from $24m during the same time a year before. On Monday, competitor Amazon announced a new monthly subscription for its video-streaming service.
3 Steve Jobs’ mentor, Bill Campbell no more (San Francisco Chronicle) Bill Campbell, a former Ivy League football coach who became a management guru for Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and other Silicon Valley luminaries, has died. He was 75.
His death Monday was confirmed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, a venture capital firm that often called upon Campbell to help mold entrepreneurs as they tried to manage the rapid growth often triggered by their innovations.
Although he wasn't widely known outside Silicon Valley, Campbell played a pivotal role in shaping the direction of both Apple and Google, two of the world's most powerful companies. After working in marketing and sales at Apple during the 1980s, Campbell joined the company's board in 1997, shortly after Jobs returned as the company's CEO.
At the time, Apple was flirting with bankruptcy. Campbell frequently served as Jobs' sounding board during one of the most resounding corporate turnarounds in US history as Apple first redesigned its Mac computer line and then rolled out the iPod, iPhone and iPad to emerge as the world most valuable company. Campbell ended his 17-year stint on Apple's board in 2014.
While working with Apple, Campbell played a behind-the-scenes role in Google's success, too. Prompted by Kleiner Perkins, Campbell worked with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and company co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to help them work out their early differences and eventually forge one of the most successful partnerships in corporate America. Alphabet, Google's corporate parent, is now the world's second most valuable company, ranking only behind Apple.
Campbell's background gave little inkling he would become one of Silicon Valley's most influential figures. Before joining Apple, Campbell spent six seasons as the head coach of Columbia University's football team. He compiled a 12-41-1 record at Columbia, a .231 winning percentage that was more than double that of his three successors.
As a student at Columbia, Campbell was the captain and an offensive guard on the football team that went 6-3 in 1961, including a 6-1 record in the Ivy League that earned the university a share of the conference title with Harvard. It's still the only time that Columbia's football team won the Ivy League.
Even after he left football, Campbell remained known as "Coach" in Silicon Valley. Before becoming a mentor to other companies, Campbell was CEO of software maker Intuit Inc. from 1994 to 1998. He later served as that company's chairman until stepping down earlier this year.