Financial Daily Dose 11.18.2020 | Top Story: Apple Cuts App Store Fees Amidst Antitrust Scrutiny

November 18, 2020

In a major shift (and with antitrust regulators breathing down its neck), Apple is halving the App Store fee it charges developers (from 30% to 15%) who produce “as much as $1 million in annual revenue from their apps and those who are new to the store.” Apple’s cut of App Store revenue has been a hot topic in recent months, as best exemplified in its ongoing battle with Fortnite maker Epic Games - Bloomberg and NYTimes and WSJ

Your Judy Shelton-for-Fed update saw some major drama on Tuesday, with Covid quarantines and a surprise appearance from the Vice President-elect helping defeat a procedural vote that was needed to send Shelton’s nomination forward to a confirmation vote - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch and Law360

Though encouraged by recent vaccine developments, Fed Chair Powell warned that the “increased spread of the coronavirus posed an important risk to the economy in the months ahead” during a virtual Q-and-A session this week and warned that “we’ve got a long way to go” - WSJ and NYTimes

Case in point: the coronavirus, which has wreaked economic devastation and death all across the U.S., has also “delivered a rare and ruinous one-two-three- punch” to millions of working women. Its first wave brought on job losses in industries where “women dominate—restaurants, retail businesses and health care.” Wave 2 “began taking out local and state government jobs, another area where women outnumber men.” And this most recent resurgence, which has closed child care centers and shifted learning back online, has “saddled working mothers, much more than fathers, with overwhelming household responsibilities” - NYTimes

U.S. retail sales rose for the 6th straight month, but their rather anemic .3% increase was the slowest since the recovery began and a troubling sign as a resurgent virus is forcing shoppers to turn “more cautious” and “prompting some officials to impose new restrictions, mask mandates and other mitigation strategies to slow its spread” - WSJ and Marketplace

There’s some sweet irony packed into every bite of Tuesday’s news that Mars—the “company behind M&M’s and Snickers”—is acquiring Kind North America, the maker of the Kind bar snacks “that celebrate their lack of artificial flavors and preservatives.” Terms of the deal haven’t been released, but Kind was valued at nearly $5 billion according to insiders - NYTimes and WSJ

Because disruption’s the name of the game, Amazon has announced an online pharmacy of its own—a “long-anticipated push deeper into health care that sent shares of traditional drugstores tumbling” on Tuesday - WSJ and MarketWatch and ABCNews

The Times may not be getting the access it wants when it comes to the Elysee Palace, but it scored a win in this sit-down with ECB chief Christine Lagarde, the powerful Frenchwoman who’s putting her own stamp on Europe’s central bank - NYTimes

TIAA CEO Roger Ferguson announced his retirement on Tuesday, prompting speculation that Ferguson—one of “Wall Street’s most-prominent Black executives”—may land in a Cabinet role in the incoming Biden administration – WSJ

Covid lockdown winner Robinhood is reportedly shopping around for advisers to help take the mobile-friendly trading platform public as early as Q1 2021 - Bloomberg

Highlights from Jack & Zuck’s virtual day on the Hill, including a breakdown on questions and content - NYTimes and WSJ and MarketWatch and Law360

This New Yorker piece has it all right, just in case any of you non royal-watchers out there need some convincing for tuning in to season 4 of The Crown - NewYorker

Stay safe,