It was an interesting time from the world of business. The biggest news story came from the United States as the Federal Reserve announced its intentions on what to do with interest rates. The child-friendly version of YouTube was found to possibly not be appropriate for kids and Amazon announced that they are looking to make one-hour deliveries, and much more.
Here are the top five business headlines around the world from May 2015:
1. No June Rate Hike
After much speculation, Fed Chair, Janet Yellen, announced that the U.S. central bank will not raise interest rates in June, citing weak economic data and the summer month being too soon to start hiking rates. However, Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes revealed that Yellen will begin to increase rates sometime this year, which will likely be in September. The year has brought tepid economic statistics thus far, which some saying could be because the central bank has ended its quantitative easing program that generated stimulus to the markets. With that being said, Yellen contends that the economy is strong enough for a rate hike, even if it’s just a timid 25 basis points.
2. Amazon's One-Hour Delivery Promise
New Yorkers rejoice! Amazon’s Prime Now will begin to offer one-hour deliveries for food staples. Amazon launched its service this week from D’Agostino, Gourmet Garage and Billy’s Bakery, and soon Westside Market and the Italian food emporium Eataly will join its arsenal. The $7.99 service - it’s free for deliveries over two hours - will be available in 11 Manhattan zip codes. Prime Now is also available in other cities, including Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Dallas and Miami. This comes as Uber is also testing out a delivery service and McDonald’s and Starbucks have tried out delivery options with Postmates.
3. Apple vs. Samsung in Patent Spat
The patent spat drama between Apple and Samsung persists. It was reported last week that a U.S. appeals court allocated a portion of the $930 million verdict Apple won against Samsung back to a lower court. It did, however, allow a bulk of the 2012 judgment to stand. A jury ruled that Samsung infringed on Apple’s utility patents, but did order another take at the $382 million award for trade dress dilution.
"Trade dress is the totality of elements in which a product or service is packaged or presented," the court stated Monday. "The essential purpose of a trade dress is the same as that of a trademarked word: to identify the source of the product."
In other words, it was a minor win for Samsung.
4. YouTube Kids Not For Kids, Says Parents Group
For the second time this year, child and consumer advocacy groups issued a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accusing YouTube of publishing inappropriate content on its new YouTube Kids app. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy alleged that some of the content consists of pedophilia jokes, sexual language in cartoons, adult discussions regarding pornography and juggling activities with knives.
YouTube responded to the allegations and told BBC News: "We work to make the videos in YouTube Kids as family friendly as possible and take feedback very seriously. We appreciate people drawing problematic content to our attention, and make it possible for anyone to flag a video. Flagged videos are manually reviewed 24/7 and any videos that don’t belong in the app are removed."
Parents do have the option of shutting off the search function on the app.
YouTube was established in February and claimed to provide curated content suitable for children. But it soon drew criticism after some groups accused the website of showcasing branded videos from the likes of McDonald’s.
5. Six Banks Fined in Currency Manipulation
The largest fine in history took place last week as Barclay’s and six other financial institutions - Royal Bank of Scotland, JP Morgan, UBS, Citigroup and Bank of America - were ordered to pay $6 billion over manipulating foreign exchange markets.
The Financial Conduct Authority, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Department of Justice and other regulators concluded that traders at these banks rigged the euro-dollar currency benchmarks for their own profit.
Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney General, stated that nearly each day for five years beginning in 2007, currency traders had participated in a private electronic chat room in order to manipulate exchange rates. The traders had agreed not to buy or sell at various times during the trading session. This allowed the traders to protect the group’s trading positions by simply limiting the supply of or demand for currency, which minimized competition in the foreign exchange market.
It didn’t end there. Ostensibly, Bank of America traders mulled over the idea of embarking upon a similar initiative to influence prices. It was also alleged that banks shared confidential information about their customers.
The AG noted that the actions had hurt consumers, investors and institutions around the world.