Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Google earnings miss, Brazil World Cup tickets, India smartphone options

July 18, 2013
July 18, 2013

What to watch for

FIFA’s unveiling of ticket prices for the 2014 World CupThe soccer governing body has said there will not be a big increase from the cost for tickets in South Africa in 2010. But Brazilians, already incensed by what their country is paying to host next year’s event, could further protest if the prices are far outside of locals’ reach.

A new challenger in India’s smartphone market. China’s largest handset maker, ZTE, will start selling smartphones under its own brand in India for as low as 5,900 rupees ($100.) ZTE aims to become a top seller in the third largest smartphone market within three years.

Earnings from some big US industrials. General Electric is forecast to report a drop in its second-quarter profit from a year earlier, but a strong sales order book going forward. Rival Honeywell is also slated to announce its quarterly numbers.

A global economic confab in Moscow. G20 finance ministers and central bankers are expected to tackle issues including tax evasion and economic shakiness in developing markets.

While you were sleeping

A Putin critic was handed a five-year prison sentence, and Russian shares tumbled. The harshness of the sentence for Alexei Navalny, a prominent member of the opposition movement, heightened investor concerns about the rule of law in Russia. Navalny had been convicted of embezzlement, on absurd charges.

Technology giants missed analyst estimates. Google’s profits and sales increased around 16% from a year earlier, but the company continued to struggle to boost the amount of money it makes on its fast-growing mobile business. Sluggish PC sales and a $900 million write-down related to the Surface tablet marred Microsoft’s performance. Its weak quarter may leave Microsoft more vulnerable to pressure from activists.

Morgan Stanley turned in great earnings. The bank’s second-quarter profits rose 42%, aided by a jump in trading and investment banking. It also surprised investors with a plan to buy back as much as $500 million in outstanding stock.

Dell delayed the vote on a $24.4 billion buyout offer. The shareholders’ vote was pushed to July 24, signaling that directors likely hadn’t persuaded enough investors to embrace the proposal from a group including company founder Michael Dell.

The Emmys entered the internet age. Netflix’s original production House of Cards became the first online-only program to be nominated for top prizes in the annual US TV contest. The show was nominated for best drama, and two of its stars, Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, were nominated for best actor and best actress in a drama.

Quartz obsession interlude

Rachel Feltman on the bright sales prospects for less expensive models of popular smartphones: “For smartphone consumers who are deterred from the more expensive upgrades offered for their high-end phones, Mini models could offer a cheaper enticement to keep upgrading. If that happens, mid-level smartphone devices with cheaper bodies would make a lot of sense. After all, do we need our phone bodies to last for more than a year if we’re going to upgrade them every six months?” Read more here

Matters of debate

Medical school exams are deeply flawed, but they shouldn’t be junked. The tests are checkpoints that ensure young clinicians devote enough time to developing a fundamental body of medical knowledge.

A Tibetan who is a high-ranking Communist Party official has written a book exposing the crimes of the Chinese against Tibetans. His verdict: the situation is far worse than the West suspects.

Heathrow should be shut down permanently and a new airport for London built at another location. That’s the view of mayor Boris Johnson; the airport’s managers just want to build a third runway.

Madrid should host the 2020 Olympics. The selection committee should pick the Spanish capital over Istanbul and Tokyo, which are also still in the running.

There are times when it’s OK to fire employees by text message. As texting becomes more acceptable as a way to communicate with employees, more employers are using the medium to deliver bad news.

Surprising discoveries

The US Air Force learned a cost-saving trick from geese. Flying planes in formation like geese could potentially save millions of dollars.

A Japanese woman is suing the country’s biggest crime boss. She wants a refund of protection money.

A town in Colorado is mulling issuing licenses to shoot down unmanned drones. The quirky anti-surveillance proposal would pay anyone who can show the fuselage and tail of a downed drone a $100 bounty.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, other lessons learned from geese, Heathrow improvement proposals, and photos of downed drone fuselages to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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