2016 was a year to remember. We made it through yet another election season, lived through a hectic year in international affairs, and saw a few corporate mishaps.
But of all this year’s events, which ones were people paying the most attention to?
As certified data geeks, we decided to look at the numbers and find out. We drilled into the most popular articles on Owler and highlighted the top 16 stories from 2016. These 16 stories received the most engagement from our community of 1 million business professionals.
Most of the big news on Owler happened during the second half of the calendar year, as the election came to a close and the media began to speculate about the impending Donald Trump presidency. One quarter of the top stories relate to politics and business, which is natural in any year and unavoidable at the height of the election cycle.
So here you have it: our roundup of 16 of 2016’s top news stories on Owler.
This year’s biggest business story had it all: politics, a public feud, spiraling stock prices, and Air Force One. When President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that “Boeing’s costs are out of control,” the airplane manufacturer’s stock promptly plummeted by 1.4 percent (though they did recover by the end of the day). According to the article, Boeing later responded with a statement, expressing that their $170 million contract with the U.S. government is to “help determine the capabilities of this complex military aircraft that serves the unique requirements of the President of the United States.” Here, we saw the power that a single tweet has over even the largest companies, and how virtual actions can affect a business’s reality.
The World Wide Web is a tremendously modern phenomenon. And with new technology, come new ways to regulate that technology, which led to the even more modern idea of net neutrality and zero-rating, policies that are intended to do good but are often exploited. This article argues that AT&T put a new twist on the idea of zero-rating (which essentially provides users with uncapped data for certain services) by offering AT&T users free access to streaming services through DirectTV, an AT&T subsidiary (which helps promote AT&T’s interests).
Wait, what year was it, again? For now it’s still 2016, and this year Apple patented a new flip phone. But it’s not what you’re thinking–this isn’t your typical flip phone. The product sketches envisioned in the patent show a flexible OLED screen, with a foldable middle for easier portability and storability. (OLED is a new display technology that emits its own light rather than uses a backlight.) But though this made the news in 2016, the article explains that Apple actually filed this patent two years ago in 2014. Moreover, these hyper-bendable OLED screens aren’t yet possible, so perhaps we’ll see a 3D, functional version of this product make the news again in the future.
4. Wells Fargo
One of 2016’s biggest stories (and biggest scandals) was the public revelation of Wells Fargo’s illegal business practices. Last fall, the world learned that over the past four years, Wells Fargo employees opened as many as 2 million unauthorized accounts, incurring countless fees for their customers. But the story didn’t end there: as September progressed, the facts came out, and the whole operation unraveled. This story engaged our community as it touches on fraud, deceit, and misconduct The government stepped in quickly, holding Congressional hearings and investigations, resulting in CEO John Stumpf’s resignation and 185 million dollars in penalties.
Number talk… or in this case, numbers get clicks from our community members. This article looks at Microsoft’s 2016 numbers, which show improvement across the board–in sales, stock, and market share. This summer, Microsoft’s stock was on fire: up more than 20 percent in from one year prior, a welcome change for a company that had been losing market share. The article explains that Windows 10 is largely responsible for Microsoft’s renewed success which gained more market share in its first year than even the popular Windows 7. So, what changed with Windows 10? Microsoft had a limited time promotion allowing Windows 7 or 8 users to update their software for free. This move also helped support the Microsoft search engine, Bing, which reached profitability in 2016.
Over the years, Microsoft and Salesforce have maintained complicated relationship–sometimes competitors, sometimes partners, and sometimes collaborators. But in 2016, that confusing association between the two tech giants became a whole lot clearer: they were not on good terms. What happened? According to this article,Marc Benioff met with Scott Guthrie, who was then heading Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud-based operating system. And, things got complicated from there.
There’s nothing like getting the news before it breaks (which is why people love Owler, to stay ahead of the competition). Before Google unveiled their much anticipated Pixel and Pixel XL Smartphones, the UK retailer Carphone Warehouse leaked pictures and specifications of the new phones. CW’s leak revealed nearly every aspect of the new phone, showcasing everything from their exterior mirror-finish panel to features made possible by Google’s cloud-based services, including an AI-powered Assistant, new messaging (Google Allo) and video call software (Google Duo), and unlimited photo storage. They gave details regarding the Snapdragon 821 2.15GHz processor, 12-megapixel camera, HD display, and more.
This year, Amazon announced that they’ll be targeting the Australian market starting in September 2017. And while the online retailer states that they “are going to destroy the retail environment in Australia,” according to this article, their Australian competitors-to-be are both cautiously optimistic and warily skeptical. While more premium products may not be at risk, Australian corporations like JB Hi-Fi are predicted to take a huge hit, with sales falling as sharply as six percent, according to an analysis by Citi. Citi further posited that Amazon’s main value for Australian customers is their fast and hassle-free fullfillment services. However, one interviewee thinks it will likely take Amazon time to catch up with established retailers Down Under, citing possible trouble stocking desirable goods.
In September, a SpaceX Falon 9 rocket exploded during preparation for a static firing test. The causes were mysterious, and it didn’t take long for speculation about sabotage to set in. And they weren’t just crazy conspiracy theories according to this article, SpaceX employees have their questions about foul play as well, and even CEO Elon Musk tweeted out an article highlighting sabotage theories. The theories focus on competitors, such as the “prime suspect,” and even go so far as to speculate aliens were involved. .
As 2016 was an election year, politics and politicians loomed large in the news, even when it came to business. When Democratic Presidential Nominee unveiled a plan outlining an pharmaceutical oversight panel to prevent “unjustified” on life-saving drugs, Pfizer Chief Executive Ian Read stated that such a plan would be “very negative for innovation” in the pharmaceutical industry. The article explains that the Clinton Campaign denied that these regulations would cause disaster, citing Secretary Clinton’s call to “expand investments in innovation for healthcare.” Alas, the Owler community will never know how it would have played out.
11. General Motors
This year, GM announced its plans to suspend the third shift at two car factories in early 2017, which would lead to 2,000 more layoffs. The cuts are attributed to changing consumer preferences: where Americans used to buy sedans, they now prefer SUVs and trucks.
This year saw the layoffs of 14,000 Cisco Systems Employees, or 20 percent of their global workforce. The Silicon Valley staple, which produces networking hardware, is looking to transition into software. Thus, the company will require “different skill sets” than they have in the past.
There’s tech, and then there’s tech. Oracle unveiled a second generation of cloud infrastructure for third-party developers to run applications in Oracle data centers. Specifically, Oracle made the Dense IO available, which offered more than 10-fold the operating input-output capacity than did Amazon Web Services (AWS). Oracle CEO stated that “Amazon’s lead [was] over,” further explaining that the the computer technology corporation would be promoting its updated cloud infrastructure through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends May 2017.
During the 2016 election, United Technologies (UTC) found themselves under fire by Donald Trump when as this article explains, the presidential candidate publicly called out the company as demonstrative of the decline of American manufacturing. Carrier, a UTC subsidiary that makes furnaces and air conditioners, had plans to move some manufacturing jobs from their Indiana-based plant to Mexico. Post-election, Mr. Trump made a call to CEO Greg Hayes, requesting that he reevaluate his decision to move operations south of the border. In the end, UTC settled to keep the jobs in exchange for $7 million in tax credits from the State of Indiana and invest approximately $16 million into its Indiana facilities, which is projected to save 1,000 U.S.-based jobs.
Samsung’s 2016 release of the Galaxy Note 7 saw explosive results, and not in the good way. The battery on their latest smartphone was literally explosive, prompting urgent recalls for and discontinuation of the product. And in turn, news of Samsung’s problematic bursting batteries was met with worry, fear, anger, and most of all, ridicule. Even President Obama joked at the expense of the South Korean brand when speaking about the Affordable Care Act. He compared the healthcare system outlined by the ACA to a new smartphone release, referencing the imperfect nature of a first version. When it “has a few bugs,” they “update it,” he told the crowd. Then with a smirk and a giggle, he amended his statement: “Unless it catches fire–then they pull it off the market.” And despite the fact that his joke basically undermined his main point, we can all appreciate a little good spirited, culturally relevant presidential humor.
16. Ford Motors
With the election of a new American president, this article conjectures that many businesses are unsure what the future may hold for them. Generally, things haven’t been great for the American auto industry, and in late 2016, Ford reduced its profits for the second time in three months. Ford’s CFO Bob Shanks noted that Trump’s election made the world feel even more “volatile,” but it will be an “opportunity for substantial change.” He’s confident that Mr. Trump will take a “pro-growth” approach, and doesn’t think he’ll follow through with threats to tax companies like Ford on products made outside the U.S.
There we have it, folks: the top 16 most newsworthy articles from 2016! If you want to stay up to date on breaking news, events, and updates on the companies that you care about, Owler is the best source for real-time notifications about the latest news stories from all over the World Wide Web. You can sign up for free using your email address, then click on the yellow star next to a company’s name to follow them on Owler. Happy holidays and an insightful new year!