If you were feeling pretty good about life on the way into your cushy corner office gig on Monday, let some depressing musings from Alibaba's (BABA) chairman Jack Ma sink in a bit.
"In the next 30 years, the world will see much more pain than happiness," Ma said of job disruptions triggered by the rising power of the internet. "Social conflicts in the next three decades will have an impact on all sorts of industries and walks of life."
Ma made these rather unusual (for him) comments in a speech to an entrepreneurship conference in Zhengzhou, China. Hey, the guy isn't too far off here, even if his comments are as enjoyable pouring a bucket of ice water down your pants.
Take for instance the increasingly worse state of retail in the United States. What we are witnessing right now with mass bankruptcies and store closures -- fueled by the rise of Amazon (AMZN) and internet shopping -- is something most of us have never seen before. The number of retailers filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy is approaching its highest level since 2008 and 2009, according to Bloomberg data. About 2,880 stores have closed so far this year, compared with 1,153 at the same time last year, says Credit Suisse. By some estimates floating around, thousands more stores will need to close so retailers can operate profitably in the age of digital.
Hat tip to you, Mr. Ma, for keeping it real.
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The iPhone looks pretty sexy: Photos of an Apple (AAPL) iPhone 8 dummy unit (see below) are circulating on Twitter, and it allegedly has an edge-to-edge screen like the new Samsung Gear S8. Gone is the home button. Called a CNC model as App Advice points out, the photos show an iPhone made of glass and stainless steel.
Blockbuster lives, there is a god: Nine of the 12 remaining Blockbuster video rental stores operate in Alaska, reports CBS News. The stores still receive new videos, candy, etc. According to the store's manager, the stores are doing OK, as downloading content in Alaska is expensive.
There used to 9,000 Blockbuster stores worldwide. Wonder where the other three sites are located (the picture below suggests there is one open in Oregon).
Panera Bread on the march with delivery: Here's yet another good example of why JAB Holdings is buying Panera Bread (PNRA) for $7.5 billion. The sandwich and salad chain said Monday it will move to hire 10,000 delivery drivers this year, TheStreet reports. Not only that; the company has added an Uber-like tracking feature to its mobile app -- now you can track your food from the time it leaves the location, and also see the person delivering it.
Panera remains relentlessly innovative. Look out, delivery king Domino's Pizza (DPZ) -- though, to be fair to Domino's and Papa John's (PZZA) , pizza delivery has become so popular because of its affordability and how it easily feeds an entire family. Panera isn't exactly something you order if you are a mom on a budget trying to feed a family of five at 8:00 pm at night after a long day's work.
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What will cars do next: The newest cars from Mercedes-Benz could be commanded from Google Home or Amazon's Alexa voice assistants, reports Slash Gear. Imagine getting ready to leave for work in the morning, telling your Google Home to start the car, and then entering it 10 minutes later to find it all nice and toasty (or cold if it's in the summer).
Showing the Apple watch some love: While there isn't anyone on Wall Street calling for an Apple Watch "supercycle" like they are for the iPhone 8, it doesn't mean Apple's (AAPL) smartwatch should be forgotten ahead of its next iteration. Keep this in mind: for all of 2016, Canalys estimates Apple sold 11.9 million Apple Watch units, giving it 49% market share on the year.
Here is a nice rundown by Tom's Guide of possible features coming on the next Apple Watch. It's rumored to fetch between $300-$500.
China will fly one massive airplane soon: The C919 airliner, which is made by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, wrapped up its final ground trial on Sunday in Shanghai, reports CNNMoney. The maiden flight for what will be China's first large passenger airplane (see video below) is expected to be in late May.
You probably missed this, and it's not OK: Great Sunday feature by TheStreet's Lindsay Rittenhouse on Carbon, a Silicon Valley based manufacturer that is pioneering the 3D printing process. The company has some big-name backers, too, including Alphabet (GOOGL) and General Electric (GE) .
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