// HAPPENING TODAY
- Masochists can now download for their reading pleasure some 1.1 million comments on the FCC’s new net neutrality proposal.
- Time Warner, Viacom and Fox all report earnings.
- Wikimania kicks off in London.
Don’t Let That $40 Million Severance Package Hit You on the Way Out, Dan Hesse
Institutional Shareholder Services is going to have an aneurysm. Back in July, the corporate governance advisory firm challenged the nearly $49 million 2013 pay package the company granted CEO Dan Hesse, slagging it as excessive and “lacking connection to any performance criteria.” Hardly surprising, since it was about three times the median pay for a CEO of a comparable company. How outraged will it be to learn that Hesse’s separation package might be nearly as large? According to a June SEC filing, Hesse — who has been replaced as CEO by Brightstar’s Marcelo Claure — negotiated severance that’s currently worth at least $40 million in cash, stock and benefits.
Speaking of Dan Hesse, Remember When He Cast Himself in That Sprint Ad Campaign?
“Pretty awesome, huh?” Good times …
iPhone 6: The First Post-Steve Jobs iPhone?
Apple’s unveiling of its next-generation iPhones on Sept. 9 will be a milestone event — not just because of the hardware the company will show off, but because of how it was developed. Steve Jobs has been gone long enough now that he may not have played a role in the conception of this year’s iPhones. Given Apple’s famed opacity, it isn’t known when the decision was made to produce these models, but it seems very likely that they are the first truly post-Steve Jobs iPhones.
Don’t Worry — I’m Sure We Can Trust Google on Ethical Questions
Jason Millar, Quartz: “How should we program autonomous cars to react in difficult ethical situations? However, a more interesting question is: Who should decide how the car reacts in difficult ethical situations?”
Hmm, What Does China Want From Apple Now, I Wonder
Bloomberg: “China’s government excluded Apple Inc. iPads and MacBook laptops from the list of products that can be bought with public money because of security concerns, according to government officials familiar with the matter.”
Apple to Europe: Speaking of Taxes, Did You See How Many Taxpayers We Created?
Here’s something for the European Commission to keep in mind as it investigates Apple’s tax affairs in Ireland and the “Holy Grail of tax avoidance” it unearthed there: The company created 629,000 new jobs across Europe and paid some $6.5 billion to European app developers. Says who? Says Apple, which this morning published this very attractive Web page to remind the EC of its altruism.
Obama Finally Picks a Lane on Net Neutrality
Looks like President Barack Obama has finally figured out his stance on net neutrality: He’s opposed to the idea of paid prioritization. “One of the issues around net neutrality is whether you are creating different rates or charges for different content providers,” Obama said at an event in Washington Tuesday. “That’s the big controversy here. You have big, wealthy media companies who might be willing to pay more and also charge more for spectrum, more bandwidth on the Internet so they can stream movies faster. I personally, the position of my administration, as well as a lot of the companies here, is that you don’t want to start getting a differentiation in how accessible the Internet is to different users. You want to leave it open so the next Google and the next Facebook can succeed.” A nice change from the waffling we saw back in May, no?
And Don’t Even Ask About My Gym Membership
Peter Kafka, Re/code: “The average AOL subscriber now pays $20.86 per month, up from around $18 a few years ago. I’d like to say I can’t believe this is real. But then again, I’m the guy who still pays Netflix for a DVD subscription, and I haven’t played a DVD in years.”
Samsung: Worst. Summer. Ever.
It has been a lousy summer for Samsung. The second-quarter earnings the company reported last week were repulsive. Then it lost its spot as China’s leading smartphone vendor to Xiaomi. Now it has been ousted as the top seller of cellphones in India as well. New metrics from Counterpoint Research reveal that Micromax Informatics has claimed a 16.6 percent share of the handset market in Asia’s third-largest economy, surpassing Samsung’s 14.4 percent.
Magnet Maker to Consumer Product Safety Commission: Buckybollocks!
Shihan Qu, founder of Zen Magnets, the last remaining manufacturer of Buckyballs: “We vow to continue this legal, awareness, and lobbying battle, until our very last drop of cash-flow blood. We will combat the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s magnet prohibition until triumph, or until a glorious death of insolvency on the legal battlefield. At the very least, we’ll have one more holiday season of availability. Magnets must be respected, but need not be feared.”