The Week in Enterprise: Getting Vaccines From Right here to There
Move on, toilet paper: dry ice may be the next hot commodity in the pandemic economy as the first vaccine to become available will have to be stored at freezing temperatures. Here’s what you need to know for the week ahead in business and tech and keep warm out there. – Charlotte Cowles
How are you? (December 6th to 12th)
Facebook has grown too big and accused it of monopolizing its field, according to the Federal Trade Commission and over 40 states that sued the social media giant. The government said Facebook had suppressed competition by wiping out some rivals and acquiring others (such as Instagram and WhatsApp) and called for the company to be liquidated. The antitrust allegations are facing an uphill battle. Facebook pointed out that all of its acquisitions were approved by regulators at this point, arguing that the FTC couldn’t change its mind years later.
It is at this time that all the companies that wanted to go public this year finally take the plunge. And for Airbnb, it seems to be working pretty well, despite the pandemic taking a big bite off the travel business. The company’s shares exceeded expectations on Thursday, the first day of trading, with Airbnb’s market cap valued at $ 100.7 billion – the largest of the generation of “unicorn” startups that include Uber and Lyft . The offer raised $ 3.5 billion, making it the largest IPO in 2020. The DoorDash delivery service went public last week with similar success.
Mastercard and Visa no longer allow their cards to be used on the adult Pornhub website, which has reportedly featured videos of child abuse and rape (millions of other legal videos of consensual sex are also shown). Visa said it will also suspend payments from its network to MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub, until an investigation into their relationships is completed. Pornhub said earlier this week that it made changes to block non-consensual content.
What’s next? (December 13-19)
Less than a week after the Democrats proposed a $ 908 billion stimulus package drafted by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, the White House countered Tuesday with a $ 916 billion alternative. While the price tags on the two bills aren’t far from each other, the similarities usually end there. One key sticking point: the Trump administration’s proposal does not provide federal funding for additional unemployment benefits and instead offers one-time stimulus checks of $ 600 – half the amount provided by CARES earlier this year. It is impossible to say whether Congress will strike a middle ground before the end of the year when the current relief provisions like the eviction moratorium and additional payments for the unemployed expire.
The business of vaccination
Several industries are preparing for the spread of coronavirus vaccines, but the logistics are tricky. The first vaccine expected to be available, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, has to be stored in freezing temperatures – which requires many cooling systems and rapid transportation. Several airlines, including United, Delta and American, have volunteered their empty planes (which are now standing around due to the impact of the pandemic on travel) for dispensing of cans. And Walmart said it is preparing more than 5,000 of its stores for the vaccine by stocking up on freezers and dry ice.
Debate over student debt
The cancellation of some federal student loan debts is a cornerstone of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s economic policy. But Democratic leaders are now urging Mr. Biden to take executive action off up to $ 50,000 in debt per borrower once he takes office. That’s a far cry from its original promise to legislate to cancel $ 10,000 per borrower. The difference establishes the first major conflict between Mr Biden and the more liberal wing of his party.