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Bits: The Week in Tech: It’s Not Easy Being a Unicorn

Each week, technology reporters and columnists from The New York Times review the week’s news, offering analysis and maybe a joke or two about the most important developments in the tech industry. Want this newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here.Hello, It’s Erin Griffith, reporting, happily, from my home base in San Francisco and not the carnival of virtual assistants, shiny screens, crowded smart homes and greasy VR demos in Las Vegas. Our correspondents made the CES maze of gadgets look almost fun, which anyone who has been there before knows is an impressive feat.Back in the land of magical, billion-dollar start-up unicorns, things have been quieter,…

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Tech Fix: CES 2019: It’s the Year of Virtual Assistants and 5G

LAS VEGAS — The show must go on. That sentiment couldn’t have been stronger this week at CES, the largest consumer electronics convention in the country. The conference, which brought more than 180,000 people to Las Vegas, was a reminder of what the tech industry is best at: being optimistic about itself.ImageCreditJoe Buglewicz for The New York TimesWho cares about the abysmal stock market and growing fears that we are sliding into a recession? Check out these virtual-reality headsets, self-driving cars and big-screen TVs.Filippo Yacob, a tech entrepreneur who attended, was blasé about the state of the market. “The speed of progress and innovation happens at such…

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The Shift: Apple’s Biggest Problem? My Mom

When Apple lost more than $75 billion in market value this past week after a surprise announcement that it is expecting lower iPhone sales than originally projected, the company put most of the blame for its troubles on China, where a slowing economy and the trade war with the United States have hurt sales.But a bigger issue for Apple might exist much closer to home, in a small, leafy town in Ohio.That’s where my mom lives. She’s a relatively tech-savvy retiree and a longtime Apple fan who has used many of the company’s products over the years. I learned to type on an Apple IIGS at her…

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In Price and Value, Chinese Phone Makers Outpace Apple in Much of the World

BEIJING — To most Americans, the names are unfamiliar, maybe a little hard to pronounce: Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo.They are China’s biggest smartphone brands. Around the world — although not in the United States — they are making the handset business brutally competitive. This week, after Apple warned of disappointing iPhone sales in China, industry observers said that devices from the Chinese brands were a major culprit.As the phone market in China reaches saturation and sales shrink over all, the country’s hardware makers are pushing hard, and increasingly winning fans, in places like France, Germany, India and Southeast Asia, where consumers find that the phones can do…

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5 Reasons You Wouldn’t Want to Be in Tim Cook’s Shoes Right Now

Do not pity Timothy D. Cook. He has made hundreds of millions of dollars as Apple’s chief executive. He is regarded as one of business’s best bosses, and runs a company with a beloved brand and $130 billion in cash. Even so, he is hitting what could be the toughest time of his tenure in Apple’s corner office, and his legacy as heir to Steve Jobs will be on the line. Here are five reasons:1. His bet on China may be backfiring. The signature innovation of Apple’s late co-founder, Mr. Jobs, was the iPhone. Mr. Cook’s has been his ability to crack the Chinese market. That strategy…

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Bits: The Week in Tech: Amazon’s Burning Problems

Each week, technology reporters and columnists from The New York Times review the week’s news, offering analysis and maybe a joke or two about the most important developments in the tech industry. Want this newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here.Hi, I’m David Streitfeld, reporting from a very quiet week in Silicon Valley. The venture capitalists were at their vacation homes or exotic resorts, dreaming of riches to come. Entrepreneurs also must have taken time off, because I made it to San Jose in less than two hours, a personal record. There wasn’t even a new data privacy scandal to occupy the pundits.Amazon, however, never lets up.…

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Chinese Consumers’ Confidence Sags, Casting a Pall Over the Global Economy

HONG KONG — For years, no matter what was happening elsewhere, global companies bet billions upon billions of dollars that China’s consumers would keep spending money.Now, just when the world economy could use their financial firepower, they are holding back, worried about the country’s slowing growth, a trade war with the United States and rising amounts of personal debt.Zhao Zheng, 26, is among the cost-conscious consumers.On Thursday, Mr. Zhao, a real estate agent, was browsing smartphones made by Xiaomi, a Chinese rival to Apple that prices its handsets at a fraction of what the American tech giant charges for iPhones. He said the success in China of…

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Apple Cuts Revenue Forecast Because of Slow iPhone Sales in China

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple reduced its revenue expectations for the first time in 16 years on Wednesday because of poor iPhone sales in China, an unexpected development that underscored the slowing of China’s economy and raised fears of further turmoil in global markets.Apple’s surprise announcement was the clearest confirmation yet that the Chinese economy is in serious trouble. Beijing’s effort last spring to clamp down on credit, which sparked a slowdown, and an intensifying trade war with the United States have unnerved consumers and businesspeople alike.“Apple is a bellwether,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “The iPhone is something that everyone knows and buys, and…

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Big Tech May Look Troubled, but It’s Just Getting Started

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Silicon Valley ended 2018 somewhere it had never been: embattled.Lawmakers across the political spectrum say Big Tech, for so long the exalted embodiment of American genius, has too much power. Once seen as a force for making our lives better and our brains smarter, tech is now accused of inflaming, radicalizing, dumbing down and squeezing the masses. Tech company stocks have been pummeled from their highs. Regulation looms. Even tech executives are calling for it.In the face of such a sustained assault, this might be a good moment for Big Tech to lie low. It could devote some of its mountains of cash…

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Bits: The Week in Tech: Hostages in the U.S. and China Tech Cold War

Each week, technology reporters and columnists from The New York Times review the week’s news, offering analysis and maybe a joke or two about the most important developments in the tech industry. Want this newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here.Wise readers! I’m Raymond Zhong, a Times reporter in China — where, I contend, something is unfolding right now that carries higher stakes than any other tech story on the planet.I know, I’m biased. But hear me out.China detained another Canadian citizen this week, the third to have been snatched up in the country this month. Beijing denies it, but most people in China see the detentions…

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