Trading places. After a five-year run filled with undeniable successes and just a few challenges, Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and No. 12 on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list, is out. In a surprise announcement, the company said Ahrendts, the former CEO of Burberry, was leaving “for new personal and professional pursuits.” HR head Deirdre O’Brien, a 30-year Apple veteran and one of only two remaining women in the company’s senior management, will add head of retail to her portfolio. Separately, Apple agreed to pay $571 million in back taxes to France following a multi-year audit.
The golden child. As rumored, Spotify announced on Tuesday it was buying professional podcast producer Gimlet Media. In addition, the music streaming giant also added Anchor, a podcast creation platform aimed at smaller creators and amateurs. “Spotify will now become the leading global podcast publisher with more shows than any other company,” CEO Daniel Ek wrote in a blog post. “These levers of growth have the potential to double the size of our industry.” Better work those lever quickly, Daniel. The company also disclosed disappointing fourth quarter results, even with revenue up 30% to $1.7 billion and the number of premium subscriber growing 36% to 96 million. Spotify’s shares lost 7% in premarket trading on Wednesday.
The haunted mansion. Elsewhere on Wall Street, Snap got as much needed boost, reporting fourth quarter revenue rose 36% to $390 million even as its daily average users stagnated at 186 million. Snap’s stock, down 49% over the past year, jumped 24% in premarket trading on Wednesday. The news was less good for video game maker Electronic Arts as net bookings of $1.3 billion were up 11% but less than analysts expected. And forecast bookings of $1.2 billion for next quarter also disappointed. EA’s shares, down 26% over the past year, lost another 16%.
Life. Thank god, the long drought of yawning face and pinching hand emojis is finally ending. The list of new emojis for 2019 from the Unicode Consortium, which won’t actually be available on your phone for some more months yet, also included a waffle, otter, and drop of blood.
Tower heist. Digital currency startup Zerocoin Electric Coin Company quietly patched a flaw in its Zcash last year that could have allowed unlimited counterfeiting, Fortune reports. CEO Bryce “Zooko” Wilcox says he doesn’t think anyone actually exploited the flaw to make fake cryptocurrency tokens.
Coming to America. The front page of the Internet needs some more cash. Reddit is raising up to $300 million of private backing from investors led by Tencent at a valuation of about $3 billion, TechCrunch reports.
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