Apple becomes first US company to reach $3tn valuation

New year trading pushed Apple shares to a new high of $182.80 after tripling in value in under four yearsApple became the first US company to be valued at over $3tn on Monday as the tech company continued its phenomenal share price growth, tripling in value in under four years.A pandemic-era surge in tech stocks has driven the major US tech companies to new highs, pulling US stock markets with them. Apple became the world’s first trillion dollar company in August 2018, passed $2tn in 2020 and hit its new high as trading began after the holidays and its shares passed $182.80 a piece before dipping lower. Continue reading… …

Theranos jury returns to deliberations after deadlocking on three counts

Jurors had been deliberating for seven days after the 15-week trial in which the Theranos founder faced up to 20 years in prisonThe jury weighing fraud charges against Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes told the court it is unable to reach a unanimous verdict on three of the 11 criminal counts she faces, according to a note from the panel read aloud in court on Monday morning.Jurors in the high-profile Silicon Valley trial had been deliberating for seven days after a trial that chronicled the missteps of the now-defunct blood testing startup. Over the course of 15 weeks, federal prosecutors called 29 witnesses, outlining missteps and alleged fraud Holmes committed during her 15-year reign as CEO. Continue reading… …

Crypto tycoons help drive global art market to record levels in 2021

Newly wealthy and pent-up demand from Covid-hit 2020 among reasons as sales of sought-after works boom The global art market performed at record levels in 2021, with billions of dollars being paid for works by impressionist, postwar and contemporary artists, and much of it bought by people whose wealth comes from cryptocurrencies or other technologies.More than $2.6bn (£2bn) of art was sold in two weeks by leading auction houses in New York in November. Four works by Vincent van Gogh sold for $161m, including $71.4m paid for Wooden Huts Among Olive Trees and Cypress Trees. Continue reading… …

The Italian hamlet that gives a glimpse of life before the web

Galliano di Mugello’s poor signal has endeared it to Italians, but the mayor hopes to use recent publicity to close the digital divideAt the cafe that doubles-up as a newsagent in Galliano di Mugello, a medieval hamlet in Tuscany, there are no pings from mobile phones, people aimlessly browsing the internet or uploading pictures of their cappuccino to Instagram. Instead, customers read the newspaper – their main source of information on the outside world – or talk to each other.Surrounded by Tuscany’s postcard perfect cypress trees and rolling hills, Galliano di Mugello, would be a haven for those wanting a digital detox. But the absence of mobile phone coverage is a much less endearing quirk for the 1,300 or so inhabitants, who are starting to rise up against not being able to make a call, send a text or search for something on Google on their handsets. Continue reading… …

Is that really me? The ugly truth about beauty filters

Smoother skin, slimmer faces, plumper lips … how unattainable ideals are harming young usersPopping a beautifying filter on the TikTok video she was filming seemed harmless to Mia. It made it look as though she had done her makeup, took away the hint of a double chin that always bothered her, and gently altered her bone structure to make her just that bit closer to perfect.After a while, using filters on videos became second nature – until she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror one day and realised, to her horror, she no longer recognised her own face. Continue reading… …

As a new year dawns expect a fresh assault on big tech | John Naughton

Democracies have finally begun to confront the internet giants and their unrivalled and untrammelled powerThe thing about history is that it sometimes repeats itself. As far as the tech industry is concerned, we saw that in the year just ended and it looks as though we’re about to see it again in the year that’s just begun.First things first, though: 2021 was the year in which it finally became clear that the free ride that Google and co have enjoyed for two decades was coming to an end – that tech was going to become a regulated industry. Exactly how that was going to pan out was unclear, but the direction of travel was unmistakable. Continue reading… …

Stock markets in 2021: from big tech and crypto to takeovers

The biggest moments of a year when shares rallied to record levels and deal-making soaredFTSE 100 bounces back despite Covid to finish 14.3% up in 2021The financial markets climbed a wall of worry through 2021, as investors drove up asset prices in the face of persistently high inflation, a global supply chain crisis and one of the most frenzied speculative booms in decades.Shares rallied to record levels as money poured into stocks, deal-making soared and the gamification of investing hit new heights. Here are some of the biggest moments from a rollercoaster year. Continue reading… …

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