The world loses Prince, Alphabet and Microsoft miss, California nut theft

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

World leaders sign the Paris climate agreement. The landmark deal, formulated last December, commits more than 150 countries to limit the global temperature rise to below 2℃. But scientists say it’s only a bare-bones approach, unlikely to avert serious consequences like heat waves, food shortages, and fast-rising seas.

Obama departs Britain for Germany. After dining with the Queen and meeting with prime minister David Cameron, the US presidnet will travel to Hannover. He’s expected to meet with chancellor Angela Merkel and deliver remarks at the Hannover Messe technology trade fair.

McDonald’s reports first quarter earnings. The fast food giant is riding high from the launch of an all-day breakfast menu. Investors will be looking to see if McDonald’s is able to sustain the trend, securing its recovery after a multi-year decline.

While you were sleeping

Prince died. The 57-year-old superstar was hospitalized with flu symptoms earlier this month, but no further information was available about the cause of his death. The music legend, born Prince Rogers Nelson, was a supremely talented multi-instrumentalist who created countless hits out of rock’n’roll, funk, and his own flamboyant charisma.

Alphabet fell short… Google’s parent company missed revenue and profit targets, sending shares down more than 5%. The company’s “other bets”—meaning everything but Google and Android—doubled in revenue, to $166 million, but their operating losses widened 4% to $657 million.

…And so did Microsoft. The company’s earnings failed to meet profit expectations, pushing shares down about 4%. Microsoft hopes to revive its fortunes by placing a big bet on software and mobile services delivered from the cloud, which is working—just not as well as investors might like.

Volkswagen reached a deal with US regulators. The German automaker agreed to buy back half a million diesel cars that had emissions-cheating systems, spending at least $10 billion, in a major breakthrough for the company’s attempt to bounce back from the scandal.

SunEdison filed for bankruptcy. The formerly high-flying solar energy company, valued at $10 billion less than a year ago, was brought down by financial irregularities and huge levels of debt. SunEdison said it plans to sell non-core assets and restructure its debt.

Quartz markets haiku

Jobless claims lowest
since ’73! It seems
good news is bad news

Quartz obsession interlude

Alison Griswold on Silicon Valley’s collapsing unicorn fantasy. “In early 2015, Fortune pegged the billion-dollar startup club at 80 members. Those ranks have since doubled… But late last year everything changed. Startups began scrambling to get their finances in order. Layoffs mounted, perks vanished.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Office perks won’t save a miserable workplace. Ping-pong tables and office baristas don’t prevent unhappy employees from leaving.

Minimum wage is a lousy way to solve income equality. A $15 minimum wage in California and New York will act as a tax increase on the poor.

Cities, not nations, are humanity’s dominant social structures. They can outlast empires, and prove that connectivity trumps size.

Surprising discoveries

The newest thing in heists is stealing nuts. Sophisticated thieves have absconded with $10 million worth of California almonds and pecans.

Prince only put one song on Spotify. The artist fought tooth-and-nail for complete ownership of his work.

An Australian politician lost his job for writing a steamy sex scene. His party dumped him after a self-published novel was exposed.

Self-driving robots will soon be running your delivery errands. Six-wheeled drones from Starship Technologies are already rolling around the streets of London.

Scientists discovered a new 600-mile coral reef. It’s at the mouth of the Amazon River, home to some of the world’s muddiest water.

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