The Betting Begins on Apple Pay’s Success: 
Part 1 - London as a Test Case for Apple Pay

In a prior post, ThatChuckWilliams.com explored whether The iPhone 6 and Apple Pay Can Fix Online Credit Card Fraud and Data Breaches? After explaining how it works, my conclusion, was that Apple Pay represents a significant step forward in terms of data security and preventing online credit card fraud.

With Apple having filed for an Apple Pay patent for Near Field Communication (NFC) protocols and hardware, and Apple Pay’s rollout today (October 20) via the iOS 8.1 update, arguments are being made regarding the likelihood of ApplePay’s success or failure. Apple Pay fans believe that Apple’s secure technology will lead to Apple Pay’s success, while skeptics believe that low adoption rates by consumers, retailers, or in various countries will doom Apple Pay, much like Google Wallet (out for 3 years but little used). 

This is the first of several posts that examines these arguments. Let’s begin with the likelihood of Apple Pay’s success in a key non-U.S. Market, London. 

Read More

Scotland Decides to Stay with United Kingdom: Business Reacts

From the Wall Street Journal:

  • The result means the U.K. has avoided the chaos that might have occurred as Scotland sought to extricate itself from 307 years of integration. There will be no panic over what Scotland's currency is, no rows over how to divide the debt. The removal of that kind of uncertainty should be good for the U.K. economy and for markets. European leaders too will likely be breathing a sigh of relief as they have avoided having to grapple with the awkward question of Scottish membership of the European Union. See more at Scotland Votes "No" to Independence but U.K. Political Risk Remains – Heard on the Street.
  • "There can be no doubt that many businesses will breathe a sigh of relief," said Simon Walker, the director general of the Institute of Directors, a U.K. business group. He added that a thorny debate about Scotland's future currency and protracted negotiations about the shape of the Scottish economy had been avoided, although there were still significant changes on the cards. See more at Business Leaders Relieved After Scotland Vote.

From the London-Based Telegraph:

  • If the SNP (Scottish National Party) had lowered the voting age to zero, it might have won. Ok, so this wasn’t about business, but it’s snarky. Read it all, Scottish Independence Referendum: 14 Things We Learnt.
  • Investors cheered Scotland’s decision not to splinter the 307-year-old Union, although worries about the transformation of the UK’s political landscape tempered the market’s initial excitement. See Relief Rally As Scots Reject Break-Up But Devo Max Remains A Worry.
  • The psephologists will be picking over the whys, wherefores and what-ifs of the Scottish referendum for years to come. But one thing is inarguable: rarely has business played a bigger role in a British political event… and It would, of course, be an overstatement to claim that it was the UK’s business community “wot won it”. But it is hard to imagine that the number, force and timing of the warnings made by a wide variety of executives didn’t convince more than a few undecided voters. From The Executives Who Made It Their Business To Speak Out On Scotland.

From the Financial Times:

  • In the short term, the No vote has maintained the status quo and averted the scenarios that investors and economists most feared: a plunge in the pound, capital flight from Scotland and a period of deep uncertainty that could have undermined Britain’s recovery. Economists think some pent-up demand could be released now those risks have abated, particularly in Scotland, where some business investments and house purchases had been put on hold. See Scotland’s No Vote Keeps Uk Economy On Track.

From the New York Times:

  • Adrian Grace, the chief executive of the insurer Aegon UK, said he was looking forward to getting back to regular business after the distractions of the referendum. “There’s no doubt that it would have taken a large proportion of our time over the next two or three years, with enormous cost,” he said in an interview Friday morning. See After a Night of Suspense for Business Leaders in Scotland, a Return to Normal.
  • “We’ve taken what could have been an enormous amount of uncertainty and weighty issues and traded it for a smaller amount of uncertainty and weighty issues,” said Malcolm Barr, an economist at JPMorgan Chase. See Europe’s Markets Rise, Then Sputter After Scotland Votes No.

Can the iPhone 6 and Apple Pay Fix Online Credit Card Fraud and Data Breaches?

Can the iPhone 6 and Apple Pay Fix Online Credit Card Fraud and Data Breaches?

Here at ThatChuckWilliams.com, I've written several times about data security and online credit card fraud:

* Start Memorizing PIN Numbers for Your Credit Cards
* Sun Tzu - “All Warfare is Based on Deception” - Nude iCloud Photos, Home Depot and VirusTotal.com: Unintended Consequences and Internet Security

Last week, one of my credit cards needed to be cancelled and reissued because several thousand dollars of fraudulent purchases were made in Central America at the exact same time that I was leaving a trail of daily purchases (coffee, lunch, etc.) in London, where my wife and I are fortunate to be spending some time with family.

So, I was professionally and personally interested in Apple's announcement of its new Apple Pay mobile payments system.  We'll see what happens in practice, but at this point I'm convinced that this will be a major step forward.  Here's why:

Read More

The Business Issues Linking (the Possibility of) Scottish Independence and U.S. Corporate Tax Inversions

With 3 days to go before Scots go to the polls to decide on Scottish independence (i.e., Scotland leaving the UK to become an independent, sovereign country), it's an understatement to observe that the UK media and political establishments are melting down.  Likewise, many but not all U.S. politicians are apoplectic about corporate tax inversions in which a U.S. headquartered firm buys a foreign company (often smaller) and then relocates its headquarters and corporate charter to the foreign company's country to take advantage of lower corporate tax rates. 

So, what's the link between these two  seemingly unrelated issues in separate countries?  We'll get there.  But first, a quick primer on Scottish independence and corporate tax inversions.

Read More

Sun Tzu - “All Warfare is Based on Deception” - Nude iCloud Photos, Home Depot and VirusTotal.com: Unintended Consequences and Internet Security

Sun Tzu - “All Warfare is Based on Deception” - Nude iCloud Photos, Home Depot and VirusTotal.com: Unintended Consequences and Internet Security

In the last few days, we’ve learned that numerous celebrities had their iPhone/iCloud photos hacked and posted. If this ever becomes a problem for you, first, don’t tell me (please), then see How to Keep Photos of Your Naked Body Off the Internet, which despite the title is safe for work and has good advice on protecting your cloud data.  

Also, Home Depot has suffered a data breach that “may end up being far larger than Target’s” data breach in November and December of 2013. Indeed, analysis of the credit card information being sold online by KrebsonSecurity.com suggests that all Home Depot stores were hacked  “A comparison of the ZIP code data between the unique ZIPs represented on Rescator’s site, and those of the Home Depot stores shows a staggering 99.4 percent overlap.”

With those stories as background, Wired has a very interesting article on Google’s VirusTotal.com, which hackers are using to make sure their malware can’t be detected by virus checkers and other malware detection software and apps...

Read More