People thought I was an idiot

Every big idea likely has a few detractors at some point. Startups that become multibillion-dollar companies are no exception.

Take, the pioneering audiov streaming company that made Mark Cuban a billionaire. When Cuban and his friend Todd Wagner took over the company in 1995, it was one of the first streaming platforms in existence, paving the way for today’s biggest streamers, from Netflix to Spotify.

Being one of the first of its kind meant it was met with some level of skepticism in the early days of the internet. “There was nobody doing it. Nobody,” Cuban told CBS’s “Sunday Morning” recently. “People thought I was an idiot.”

In 1995, Cuban was living off of the roughly $2 million in proceeds from the sale of his first tech company, MicroSolutions. Together, he and Wagner decided to invest in a streaming company called AudioNet — which soon became — because they wanted to listen online to live radio broadcasts of their alma mater Indiana University’s college basketball team. 

The company received its audio content via satellite, and digitized it before distributing it online. Eventually, expanded its offerings to include audio from other live events, like radio talk shows and rock concerts.

It only took four years for Cuban and Wagner’s investment to be validated: Yahoo acquired the startup for $5.7 billion in stock in 1999. It was bad timing for Yahoo, just ahead of the dot-com bubble’s burst — and the company ultimately discontinued the streaming service after a few years.

But it was great timing for Cuban, who sold most of his stock before the market crashed. His current net worth is estimated by Forbes as $4.6 billion.

And regardless of the service’s eventual demise, the high-profile deal helped put digital streaming on the map. “[It’s] the origin story of streaming,” Cuban told CBS.

Looking back, skepticism over the idea of streaming audio and video online was fairly common at the time. In 1995, the same year Cuban was launching his company, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates famously tried to explain the promise of the internet on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman,” only to be mocked by the comedian.

“I heard you could watch a live baseball game on the internet and I was like, ‘Does radio ring a bell?'” Letterman joked to Gates on the 1995 episode.

Cuban received similar feedback from naysayers in the mid-1990s who didn’t envision the huge role that the nascent internet, much less streaming media, would one day play in our daily lives.

“When I’d tell people the vision [for the company], they’d say, ‘You’re crazy. I’ll just turn on my TV. I’ll just turn on the radio,'” Cuban said on a 2021 episode of the “Starting Greatness” podcast.

“People would laugh at me,” he added. “[But] I had no doubt in my mind” that the idea was “a winner.”

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Jacob Chacko

Artist Name:Jacob Chacko

Culmination of blues, rock, and various other genres, combine with melodies and harmonies would best describe my style of music. Motivation of album; it is never too late to be musically creative (or other aspects in life) and to go for it without reservation. As the album cover reflects, despite challenges, there will be a brighter road ahead. Life is a gift from God, so make the best of your time and not take things for granted. In the process have fun while being good to people and your environment. Thanks for your time and consideration.

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State-run auto-IRA programs continue growing as more options launch

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Whether you have access to a retirement plan through work increasingly depends, at least partly, on where you live.

Within the last decade, 16 state legislatures have adopted retirement-savings programs targeting workers whose employers don’t offer a 401(k) plan or similar option. Some programs are up and running, while others are in the planning stages. 

Some also are voluntary for businesses to participate in. But most require companies to either offer their own 401(k) or facilitate automatically enrolling their workers — who can opt out — in individual retirement accounts through the state’s so-called auto-IRA program.

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“On average, we’ve seen one to two new state programs enacted each year and expect that trend to continue in 2023,” said Angela Antonelli, executive director of Georgetown University’s Center for Retirement Initiatives.

“We should see program assets soon exceed $1 billion, and more than 1 million saver accounts soon in 2023, and then more rapidly continue to grow as other states open,” Antonelli said.

Here’s what’s in the pipeline

Last year, Maryland and Connecticut launched their auto-IRA programs, joining Oregon, California and Illinois. Colorado and Virginia are expected to do so this year. Others — including Delaware, New Jersey and New York — are still in the planning phases.

Overall, 46 states have taken action since 2012 to either implement a program for uncovered workers, consider legislation to launch one or study their options, according to Antonelli’s organization. 

Tips for mapping out your retirement plan

About 57 million lack access to a workplace plan

Of course, there’s still a long way to go to reach all of the estimated 57 million workers who lack access to an employer-based retirement account.

While you can set up an IRA outside of employment, people are 15 times more likely to save if they can do so through a workplace plan, according to AARP.

Large companies are more likely to offer 401(k) plans. Among employers with 500 or more employees, 90% offer a plan, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That compares with 56% at firms with under 100 workers.

The auto-IRA programs address that disparity: All but the smallest firms — say, under 10 workers or those that don’t use an automated payroll system — face the mandate to participate or offer their own plan.

Some companies choose 401(k) over the state program

Federal rules encourage businesses to offer 401(k)s

While Congress has appeared loath thus far to require companies to offer a 401(k), lawmakers did include a mandate in Secure 2.0: 401(k) plans will have to automatically enroll their employees. However, it excludes existing plans, businesses with 10 or fewer workers and companies less than three years old.

Limitations to the state programs

For 401(k) plans, the contribution limit is $22,500 in 2023, with the 50-and-over crowd allowed an extra $7,500.

However, Roth IRAs — unlike traditional IRAs or 401(k) plans — also come with no penalty if you withdraw your contributions before age 59½. To withdraw earnings early, however, there could be a tax and/or penalty.

The programs also are partly borne out of necessity. Essentially, states have recognized that doing nothing means risking increased pressure on state-funded social services for retirees who are struggling financially.

“States took the lead to begin to close the access gap,” Antonelli said. “The cost of doing nothing is too great, with significant multibillion dollars in estimated budget and fiscal impacts for many states over the next 20 years due to an aging population that will have little or nothing saved for retirement.”

Food fraud secretly infiltrates America. Here’s how you can avoid it

The food in your kitchen cabinets may not be what it seems.

“I guarantee you any time a product can be passed off as something more expensive, it will be. It’s that simple,” Larry Olmsted, author of “Real Food/Fake Food,” told CNBC.

Fraudsters motivated by economic gain secretly infiltrate the global food market through a variety of means, including counterfeits, dilutions, substitution and mislabeling.

This not only harms consumers’ wallets, but it also puts public health and safety at risk.

Some estimates say food fraud affects at least 1% of the global food industry at a cost as high as $40 billion a year, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

“We might not know the overall impact of food fraud because so much of what fraudsters do is hidden from us and has been for centuries.” Kristie Laurvick, senior manager of the foods program at the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, told CNBC.

Even the FDA says it can’t estimate how often this fraud happens or its economic impact.

“Be aware of products that you put in you, on you or plug in the wall,” John Spink, director of the Food Fraud Prevention Think Tank, told CNBC.

Between 2012 and 2021, the most common type food fraud was lying about an animal’s origin and dilution or substitution, both ranking at 16% of recorded incidents by food-safety monitor Food Chain ID.

For example, dilution could entail adding a cheaper vegetable oil to an expensive extra virgin olive oil.

“If I drink scotch, I couldn’t tell you [the] difference between a $50 bottle and a $5,000 bottle. So, I know I could be deceived at that point,” Spink said.

The Food Fraud Prevention Think Tank suggests five questions a consumer can ask themselves to reduce their vulnerability to product fraud.

  1. What type of product is it? Take extra caution with any product that you put on your body, ingest or plug in the wall.
  2. Can you recognize the difference between products?
  3. Do you know the retailer or supplier? Do you trust them?
  4. Are you shopping online? If so, did you find the online supplier from a reliable source?
  5. Complain. Is the supplier legitimate? If so, they will want to know.

Watch the video above to learn more about the different types of food fraud, how the industry is preventing risk, what consumers can do and where fraud in the olive oil, spices and seafood markets may be lurking.

FAA launches investigation after two planes nearly collide at JFK airport

Grounded Delta Airlines planes are parked at gates at John F. Kennedy International Airport on January 11, 2023, in New York.

Yuki Iwamura | AFP | Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration has launched an investigation after two commercial airplanes narrowly avoided a collision at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday, a spokesperson confirmed to CNBC.

The FAA said a Boeing 737 operated by Delta Air Lines stopped its takeoff around 8:45 p.m. when air traffic controllers noticed another American Airlines aircraft crossing the runway. The Delta flight “stopped its takeoff roll approximately 1,000 feet” from the point where the American Airlines Boeing 777 had crossed, according to the FAA’s preliminary analysis.

The agency told CNBC the information is subject to change.

The National Transportation Safety Board said in a tweet Sunday that it is also investigating the incident.

Flight watcher @xJonNYC noticed the near miss and shared audio of the tense air traffic control exchange on Twitter Saturday.

“Delta 1943 cancel takeoff plans! Delta 1943 cancel takeoff plans!” one person can be heard saying.

“Rejecting,” another person responds.

A representative for Delta Air Lines said Flight 1943 was heading to the Dominican Republic, but after the aircraft stopped on the runway, it returned to the gate and customers deplaned.

The flight was delayed overnight due to crew resources and departed the next morning.

“The safety of our customers and crew is always Delta’s number one priority,” the representative said in a statement. “Delta will work with and assist aviation authorities on a full review of flight 1943 on Jan. 13 regarding a successful aborted takeoff procedure at New York-JFK. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and delay of their travels.”

A spokesperson for American Airlines said the company will defer to the FAA for comment.

Open enrollment for 2023 health coverage through exchange ends Sunday

Hoxton/Tom Merton | Hoxton | Getty Images

If you don’t have health insurance for 2023, you may still be able to get it through the public marketplace.

Open enrollment for the federal health-care exchange ends Sunday, with coverage taking effect Feb. 1. If your state operates its own exchange, you may have more time.

Most marketplace enrollees — 13 million of 14.5 million in 2022 — qualify for federal subsidies (technically tax credits) to help pay premiums. Some people may also be eligible for help with cost sharing, such as deductibles and copays on certain plans, depending on their income.

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So far, nearly 15.9 million people have signed up through the exchange during this open enrollment, which started Nov. 1. Four out of 5 customers can find 2023 plans for $10 or less per month after accounting for those tax credits, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

After the sign-up window closes, you’d generally need to experience a qualifying life event — i.e., birth of a child or marriage — to be given a special enrollment period.

For the most part, people who get insurance through the federal (or their state’s) exchange are self-employed or don’t have access to workplace insurance, or they don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.

How medical debt became normal in the U.S.

The subsidies are still more generous than before the pandemic. Temporarily expanded subsidies that were put in place for 2021 and 2022 were extended through 2025 in the Inflation Reduction Act, which became law in August.

This means there is no income cap to qualify for subsidies, and the amount anyone pays for premiums is limited to 8.5% of their income as calculated by the exchange. Before the changes, the aid was generally only available to households with income from 100% to 400% of the federal poverty level.

The marketplace subsidies that you’re eligible for are based on factors that include income, age and the second-lowest-cost “silver” plan in your geographic area (which may or may not be the plan you enroll in).

habits to start in your 20s for a successful life

Our 20s are supposed to be an exhilarating time in our lives, but more often than not, this decade feels like one long stretch of lonely, bewildering experiences, with minor existential crises sprinkled throughout.

Those years can go by quickly, but they can also be some of the most significant of your life. 

In examining dozens of life stories written by prominent, successful people shortly before their deaths, researchers at Boston University and the University of Michigan discovered the most consequential moments that determined the years ahead were most heavily concentrated during the twenty-something years. 

“Claiming your 20s is one of the simplest, yet most transformative things you do for work, for love, for your happiness, maybe even the world,” clinical psychologist Meg Jay once said during a TED Talk about the importance of this decade.

Steve Adcock leveraged his 20s to achieve his dream of retiring early and traveling across the U.S. with his wife, Courtney. 

In 2016, he and Courtney retired at 35 and 33, respectively, after accumulating about $870,000 working in information technology. With the right investments, their net worth increased to $1 million shortly after. 

Adcock credits much of his success to smart habits he adopted in his 20s. Here, Adcock shares the three habits all 20-somethings need to enjoy a long, prosperous life: 

Steve and Courtney Adcock

CNBC Make It

Switch jobs often 

Say “yes” more than you say “no” 

Your 20s are the best time to get out of your comfort zone and take risks. 

“If you have an easy, low-stress job, you’re doing it wrong,” Adcock says. “Your 20s is when you should be busting your ass, because you have more energy and fewer responsibilities than when you’re older.”

Adcock recalls almost turning down a promotion to a director-level role in his early 20s because he didn’t feel confident or ready. “I was so afraid of failure that instead of addressing what scared me, I hid behind my potential,” he says. 

He accepted the role anyway, a decision that set him up for a higher salary trajectory for the rest of his career. 

Saying “yes” to more promotions and opportunities earlier on in your career will often yield you much better results in the long run, from broadening your experience to meeting new people who can help push your career forward.

Maximize your retirement savings 

How this FIRE couple retired in their 30s with $870K in Arizona

Want to sound more assertive? Ditch these 4 phrases that make you look ‘weak or timid’: Word experts

We all have skills, opinions and ideas that we feel confident about. But whether or not other people — a boss, colleague, friend, partner or new acquaintance — feel the same depends on how you communicate.

Are you passive and let other people steamroll over you? Are you aggressive and make enemies instead of friends? Or are you passive-aggressive and irritate others by being unclear? None of these are qualities will help you sound confident.

The key is to be assertive without being overly aggressive, and you can do that by avoiding these four phrases that make you sound weak or timid:

1. “I’m sorry to ask this, but…”

When you use apologetic words (e.g., “I’m sorry, I have one last question” or “Maybe it’s just me, but…”), it can sound like you’re putting yourself down. Or it can downplay a request that you’re trying to make.

You’re better off skipping the intros. Don’t say: “I’m sorry to bother you, but can you share the report you made for the team meeting?” Just get to the request: “Can you share the report you made for the team meeting?”

Then close with a “thank you.”

2. “I could do that.”

Verbs are action words. They tell people what you’re doing or what you’re going to do. To appear stronger, choose verbs that clearly state your intentions.

For example, “will” is much stronger than “could.” Instead of “I could do that,” say “I will do that.”

Similarly, when you ask for something, “I need” is much stronger than “I want.” Why? Because you don’t want an assistant; you need an assistant. 

3. “You need to…”

When you start a request with a “you”-based statement (e.g., “You make me…” or “You cannot…”), it can come across as controlling behavior, which is sometimes the result of fear or insecurity.

“I”-based statements, however, can help you communicate how you’re feeling or what you want, without it sounding like an attack.

For example, “You need to get started on that project” sounds more commanding than the equally assertive “I’d like it if you started on that project.”

Always lead with your own feelings or actions.

4. “You always…” (or “You never…”)

Generalizations typically lead to arguments because they can cause the other person to get defensive.

If you’re unhappy about something, be specific. Instead of saying “You always forget meetings,” say “I was upset when you showed up late to Thursday’s meeting.”

You also don’t want to assign all of the blame to one person: “You ruined the presentation by not being there!”

Instead, describe the situation accurately: “By coming 10 minutes late, you made the presentation more difficult by distracting the audience.” This gives you a reputation for fairness and helps the other person see where they can improve.

More ways to sound assertive without being overly aggressive

Being thoughtful and intentional in the way you communicate will go a long way in earning respect. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  1. Say “because” when you refuse a request. It softens the “no” and confidently explains your reasoning. Instead of saying “I can’t do it,” say “I can’t do that today, because I need to prepare for a meeting this afternoon.” (Bonus points if you offer a potential solution: “How about I do that on Tuesday?”)
  2. Say “I understand” when you disagree with someone. Instead of cutting right to the chase about why you think someone is wrong, start with a softener like “I see your point” or “I get what you’re driving at.”
  3. Start with empathy. When you’re turning someone down, let them know you understand how it affects them. “I know you are busy and stressed out, but I really don’t have the time today.”
  4. When you explain a problem, use conditional statements. Follow this format: “If you do [X], then [Y] happens.” For example: “When the report wasn’t finished in time, it created a problem for the team’s sales presentation.” This helps you take the emotion out of the problem and focus on the solution. 

Kathy and Ross Petras are the brother-and-sister co-authors of the NYT bestseller “You’re Saying it Wrong,” as well as “Awkword Moments″ and “That Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means.” They co-host NPR’s award-winning podcast “You’re Saying It Wrong.” Their newest book, “A History of the World Through Body Parts,” is a quirky history of things you didn’t learn through textbooks. Follow them on Twitter @kandrpetras.

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The most-popular big tech email programs are old and vulnerable

Back in January 2021, Microsoft announced that its software, specifically the software running some Microsoft Exchange servers, had been hacked by a criminal group sponsored by the Chinese government. Further, the company said, everyone using the software was vulnerable until it was patched.

All over the world, organizations of all sizes, including small businesses, scrambled to upload patches and to figure out if they’d been infiltrated. Despite the efforts, some were still ensnared; at least 200 ransomware attacks were attributed to the hack, with some businesses losing millions as they paid the criminals.

The hack helped to highlight the vulnerability of the 32 million small businesses, many of which can’t afford to hire cybersecurity companies and that mostly rely on the built-in security features of software and hardware companies, giants like Google, Microsoft and Apple. Though the companies have made progress and the problem isn’t new, there are still vulnerabilities, especially in email and other software programs, including operating systems, that were designed long before the current rash of cybercrime and cyberespionage.

“(Society) is asking small businesses to go against nations, organized criminal groups and 16-year-olds in their basement,” says Rotem Iram, one of the founders of startup cyber insurance company At-Bay.  “The technology stack they pay for continues to fail them, and the stack takes no responsibility.”

Iram, a former Israeli intelligence officer, says big software companies ought to make their programs better out-of-the-box to fend off attackers before they reach small and medium-sized businesses.

“Yes, defaults matter,” says Brian Krebs, who runs the cybersecurity website KrebsOnSecurity. “Defaults matter because so few users ever change the default settings, beyond perhaps a password.”

Each time big software companies have changed default settings or made blanket changes with cybersecurity in mind, he points out, cybercrime fell measurably.

“When the browser makers started adding warnings to websites that didn’t use SSL certificates, we saw a mass adoption of HTTPS:// across most websites in no time,” Krebs said.

Microsoft has particular power in a handful of markets where it has enormous market share, including enterprise email. Email, though an old technology, is still used in many ransomware and phishing attacks that start by someone clicking on a link or downloading software. Microsoft dominates the enterprise email/word processing market, with more than 86% of market share, according to technology research firm Gartner. Google has nearly 13%.

In the past, Microsoft has made changes including enabling automatic updates for the operating system, shipping an antivirus product built-in and enabling the firewall by default. “But it took many years for Microsoft to see the business case for doing this, and the security case for their users,” Krebs said.

Email’s ‘old age’ is a problem

Many of the issues with today’s technology stack stem from the fact that some parts of it were developed long before cybercriminals became such a problem. “Email is an ossified product,” said Mallory Knodel, chief technology officer of the Center for Democracy & Technology, a nonpartisan group that promotes digital rights. Some of its donors are big technology companies.

Instead of building in default security features to basic software, the big companies that dominate the space have generally left it up to the cybersecurity market to layer on security, which has resulted in huge growth at a new category of companies, like CrowdStrike and Mandiant, recently acquired by Alphabet.

But Knodel says adding more controls or filters to email, in particular, might raise digital privacy concerns. “I can see people saying, ‘I don’t want Google reading my emails.”‘

In complex products, she added, new security measures can be counterproductive. “With layers of security, there can be tradeoffs and some can work at cross-purposes.”

“Microsoft takes email security very seriously,” said Girish Chander, head of Microsoft Defender for Office, in a statement to CNBC. He said the company’s strategy to combat email-borne attacks is built on three principles: research-informed product innovation, taking the fight to the attackers by taking down attack networks and focusing on helping organizations improve their posture and user resilience.

Each month, Microsoft Defender for Office 365 detects and blocks close to 40 million emails containing Business Email Compromise, or BEC, blocks 100 million emails with malicious credential phishing links and detects and thwarts thousands of user compromise activities.

The company’s data highlights how many attacks take place daily, worldwide, as well as the way the giant technology companies have also become players in cybersecurity. Google’s acquisition of Mandiant was priced at $5.4 billion. Microsoft is both the supplier of software, and the seller of services to protect it, through its Microsoft Defender for Office.

Attacks and cyber insurance premiums are increasing

Iram, who co-founded At-Bay in 2016, says he’s willing to take some heat for his criticism of Microsoft —including a phone call he says he received from Microsoft in response to his public criticism of the company. (Through its venture arm, Microsoft is also an investor in At-Bay).

He pointed to the 18 years it took for Microsoft to change a default setting in Microsoft Excel — like email, another program that’s remained largely unchanged for years — to repel attackers. Hacks of Microsoft result in claims to At-Bay, which has 25,000 policies in force, more often than Google, which includes some protections against scammers that Microsoft does not, Iram said, including a big red flag warning you about opening or sending emails to people outside your network.

But cybersecurity experts say changing defaults to more secure settings can irritate customers and result in a backlash.

In response to a question from CNBC about the Excel macros, Microsoft pointed to a blog post from February of this year where it wrote about making the security change a default setting. It temporarily rolled back the change in response to user complaints.

At-Bay is one of a number of cyber insurers that are seeing the pressures on their businesses increase as the number of attacks increases. In the worst case, insurers are warning that cybersecurity may become “uninsurable,” even compared to climate change and pandemics.

At-Bay has gross written premiums of $350 million on an annualized basis, has raised $292 million and has a $1.35 billion valuation, according to the company. Like others in the industry, At-Bay more than doubled its premiums last year as the number of data breaches and ransomware attacks increased. One of its selling points — like those of a handful of other cyber insurers, such as Embroker and Coalition — is that its insurance comes with active risk monitoring.

In the past three to five years, some cybersecurity companies focusing on the small business market, including Huntress and SolCyber, have launched, but they typically reach businesses with at least 10 employees. The vast universe of small businesses is smaller than that; about 23 million of the country’s 32 million small businesses have only one employee, the owner, though many may have regular contractors and thus, security concerns.

An FBI expert on cybersecurity recently told CNBC the vast majority of the victims in billions of dollars lost in cyberattacks tracked by the FBI in 2021 were small businesses.

“A small business encountering this kind of attack does not have the means (monetarily or technologically) to retaliate or absorb the cost,” said Jonas Edgeworth, the CTO of Embroker, by email.

How car safety can inform online security regulation

The concerns go beyond small businesses. In a highly networked society, vulnerabilities in one company, even the tiniest ones, can leap to another. In the case of the large Microsoft Exchange breach, an NPR investigation concluded that Chinese hackers were targeting U.S. companies as part of an effort to gather data on American consumers, for an unknown purpose.

As attacks become more common against small and medium-sized businesses that don’t have the resources to guard against or recover from attacks, government regulators may have to step in, Iram said.

He likened the current situation to the long and steady road that gradually made cars safer, as insurance companies, manufacturers and the federal government changed the norms for which safety features were included in the vehicles.

“Imagine if you bought a car that wasn’t safe, and the manufacturer said you should have downloaded it and patched it yourself,” he said. “Now imagine there are 50 parts. And now you need to hire a full-time mechanic to maintain it. … That’s what we’re asking small businesses to do.”

That’s an example that CISA director Jen Easterly also recently used in an interview with CNBC’s “Tech Check.”

“We get caught up in calling it cybersecurity, but it really is a matter of cyber safety, consumer safety,” Easterly said. “Technology companies who for decades have been creating products and software that are fundamentally insecure need to start creating products that are secure by design and secure by default with safety features baked in,” she said. “You can think about it like automotive. … That’s what we need as consumers to be demanding from our tech. … We’ve somehow normalized the fact that we’ve accepted that technology software and products come with dozens, hundreds, thousands of flaws and defects, and normalized the fact that places the burden of cyber safety on consumers, who are least able to understand the threat.”

Iram highlighted three areas where technology exists to increase security, but is not the default.

  • Requiring business software to have multi-factor identification on sign-ins. Currently, the federal government has moved to regulate sign-ins in finance companies and critical infrastructure firms.
  • Updating email software default settings. For example, automatically scan for wire transfer attacks, and automatically check the reputation or history of the sending email.
  • Forcing vendors to fix problems more quickly. With the Microsoft Excel issue lingering for 18 years being an example he cited.

But among Iram’s own backers, there is wariness about his criticisms of the tech giants. Shlomo Kramer, the founder of Check Point Software, and a seed investor in AtBay as well as many other cybersecurity companies, is cautious about his investee’s attacks on Microsoft. “You should buy from companies you trust,” he said. “Many international companies you should trust,” Kramer said.

The U.S. government has so far taken a cautious approach – a spokeswoman for the U.S. Cybersecurity Infrastructure Agency said it doesn’t regulate small business software, instead pointing to a blog post with guidance aimed at helping businesses large enough to have a security program manager and an IT lead.

The National Institutes of Standards & Technology has issued a complex framework for what businesses should do, voluntarily, to protect themselves from cybercriminals. It calls for encryption and controlling logins, which likely would be challenging for a small business in an industry with high turnover, such as retail, or one with only a few employees, many of them working remotely on their own computers.

“As a company, we continue to be more focused on adapting to regulation than fighting against it and look for ways to proactively meet heightened expectations,” said a Microsoft spokesperson by email.

Tesla cuts prices in U.S. and Europe to stoke sales

Jim Cramer sees Tesla under pressure as EV competition heats up

Electric vehicle maker Tesla is cutting prices in the United States and throughout Europe again, according to listings on the company’s website on Thursday night in the U.S.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on what motivated it to slash prices this week.

However, the move in the U.S. may help Tesla qualify for more federal EV tax credits, and stoke sales volume here and abroad, after competition and interest rates increased.

In Europe, Tesla cut prices on its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the U.K.

The Tesla Model Y (left) and Model 3 electric cars at the company’s official launch event in Bangkok on Dec. 7, 2022. The Model 3 is the company’s entry-level sedan. The Model Y is categorized by some as an SUV and others as a crossover.

Lillian Suwanrumpha | Afp | Getty Images

Reuters reported that in Germany, Tesla cut prices on the Model 3 and the Model Y from 1% to around 17%, depending on the configuration. Tesla’s Model 3 was the bestselling electric vehicle in Germany in December 2022, followed by the Model Y. The company beat out Volkswagen and its popular electric vehicle the ID.4 in Germany.

Tesla’s Model 3 at its discounted price is comparable to Volkswagen’s entry level electric car, the ID.3.

According to the independent EV industry researcher, TroyTeslike, the price of a new Tesla Model 3 in the U.S. has dropped between 6% and 14%, depending on configuration, and the cost of the Model Y dropped about 19%, also depending on configuration.

The Model 3 is Tesla’s entry-level sedan. The Model Y is categorized by some as a sport utility vehicle and others as a crossover. The company also lowered prices of its more expensive, Model S sedan and falcon-wing SUV Model X vehicles in the U.S.

Generally, EVs qualify for tax credits in the U.S., depending on what form factor or category they fall into, their efficiency and range (meaning the number of miles they can travel on a fully charged battery) as well as the manufacturers’ suggested retail price.

The U.S. government has delayed setting new rules about sourcing of raw materials and battery components to qualify automakers for a $7,500 clean vehicle tax credit until at least the end of March 2023.

This means that Tesla — and other EV makers — can buy parts and critical minerals from suppliers around the world for now, and still qualify for some EV subsidies. Those seeking to qualify for federal subsidies do need to complete final vehicle assembly of their electric cars in North America under current, interim rules.

The latest round of discounts by Tesla may set the company up to reap the benefits of EV tax credits in both the near and longer term. But it also risks upsetting customers who just agreed to take delivery of new electric cars from Tesla before the end of 2022 at higher prices.

Earlier this month, Tesla angered customers in China by slashing prices on its Model 3 and Model Y cars there after many had agreed to take delivery at higher prices before Dec. 31. Some of the customers staged protests and demanded rebates, but so far, Tesla has not relented, according to a Reuters report.

In late December, Tesla discounted its Model 3 and Model Y cars by about $7,500 to entice customers to take deliveries before the end of the fourth quarter. Tesla also offered some U.S. customers 10,000 miles’ worth of free charging (at Tesla Supercharging stations) if they agreed to take delivery before the year’s end.

Despite the discounts, in the fourth quarter of 2022, Tesla reported deliveries of 405,278 vehicles and production of 439,701 vehicles. The company had been telling shareholders to expect 50% in annual vehicle delivery growth over a multiyear horizon but fell shy of that annual goal and analysts’ expectations in the fourth quarter.

Tesla now operates its first U.S. vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, California, a newer one in Austin, Texas, its first overseas factory in Shanghai, and a newer one in Gruenheide, Germany.

The company’s production capacity should be much higher in 2023 than in previous years with those factories, but bearish analysts have voiced concerns over a possible “demand cliff.”

Tesla is now facing more competition, higher interest rates and slower consumer spending than in recent years, Bernstein analysts wrote in a note on Jan. 12.

They said, “We believe that many investors underestimate the magnitude of the demand challenges Tesla is facing.” However, the firm has had an “underperform” rating and price target of $150 on shares of Tesla after the company’s share price declined in recent months.

CEO Elon Musk sold billions of dollars’ worth of his Tesla shares last year, in part to finance a leveraged buyout of Twitter for around $44 billion. Since he took over Twitter and appointed himself CEO in late October, Musk has been splitting time, and sharing some resources, between the social media business and his electric car company.

Tesla plans to report its 2022 fourth-quarter results on Jan. 25, 2023, and should share its new outlook for the year ahead then.