Autos: A first glimpse of Jeep’s secret pickup
A prototype of the top secret Jeep Scrambler pickup was sighted northeast of Detroit this week, said Phoebe Howard and Mark Phelan in the Detroit Free Press. “Auto industry spies have been obsessed with capturing images” of the vehicle. It’s “essentially a four-door Wrangler Unlimited SUV with a pickup bed,” and with its removable top will be the only convertible pickup on the road. The Scrambler, likely to hit the market in 2019, has been kept literally under wraps—the truck seen this week was partly hidden under camouflage wrapping.
Tech: Apple CEO goes all-in on privacy
Apple CEO Tim Cook this week urged the U.S. to enact a national data protection law, said Sam Schechner and Emre Peker in The Wall Street Journal. “Our own information—from the everyday to the deeply personal—is being weaponized against us with military efficiency,” Cook said at a privacy conference organized by the European Union, which recently passed a data protection law. Apple doesn’t rely on ads for its main business and limits the data it collects on users. But the company does collect more than $5 billion a year in licensing fees from Google—which relies heavily on personal information—by making Google’s search engine the default on Apple devices.
Retail: Did Amazon steal eBay sellers?
EBay sued Amazon this week, accusing it of “orchestrating a scheme” to poach some of eBay’s top sellers, said Kaitlyn Tiffany in Vox.com. The suit claims that some 50 Amazon employees set up eBay accounts and illegally used the site’s messaging system to woo sellers away from the platform. Lawyers for eBay say Amazon’s scheme is “not just competition—it’s also corporate sabotage.” Amazon says it is investigating the matter. In 2017, for the first time, more than half the sales on Amazon.com came from third-party sellers, putting it on a collision course with sites such as eBay and Etsy.
Economy: Higher prices in the checkout lane
The world’s biggest consumer goods companies are “trading consumers up to more expensive items,” said Saabira Chaudhuri in The Wall Street Journal. Unilever and Nestlé both reported stronger sales last week “as a wave of inflation in many markets emboldened them to raise prices.” Inflation is now running above 2 percent a year in much of the world. Procter & Gamble said it would start boosting prices, too, an about-face from an effort to “combat weak demand with lower prices on staples like Tide detergent and Gillette razors.”