News 

Tesla is ending its popular referral program that rewarded owners with a load of free perks because it’s getting too expensive

“The Tesla customer referral program will end on Feb 1.,” Musk said” writes Graham Rapier for businessinsider.com. Tesla will end its customer referral program on February 1, CEO Elon Musk tweeted late Wednesday, saying it was costing the company too much money.If a referred customer buys without a test drive, Tesla will throw in another three months of free supercharging. Source: businessinsider.com

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Markets News 

The CEO of a social media firm valued at $1.8 billion has a plan to survive the mar-tech consolidation thanks to big-name clients like McDonald’s and Microsoft

“They acquired ExactTarget and some social media tools as well, but the social media market moved way too fast” writes Lauren Johnson for businessinsider.com. A few years ago, venture capital money flowed into social media, but funding has started to dry up because it’s no longer a shiny, new object for marketers. Source: businessinsider.com

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Bounty hunters track targets by buying realtime location data generated by T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T

“Posing as a potential customer, Motherboard explicitly asked a Microbilt customer support staffer whether the company offered phone geolocation for bail bondsmen” reports boingboing.net. The carriers were mired in scandal over the Securus affair last year, and pledged to clean up their act (T-Mobile CEO John Legere tweeted “I’ve personally evaluated this issue & have pledged that @tmobile will not sell customer location data to shady middlemen”).Getting real-time updates on a phone’s location can cost around $12.95. “Dirt cheap when you think about the data you can get,” the source…

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News Stocks 

Verizon’s stock surges after upbeat wireless metrics, as customer loyalty increased

“VZ, +2.65% surged 2.7% in afternoon trade Tuesday, after the telecommunications giant reported upbeat fourth-quarter wireless metrics as customer loyalty increased” writes Reporter Editor for marketwatch.com. Speaking at the Citi 2019 Global TMT West investor conference in Las Vegas, Ronan Dunne, executive vice president of Verizon Wireless, said Verizon Wireless retail postpaid net additions totaled 1.2 million and retail postpaid phone churn was 0.82% in the fourth quarter.The stock has climbed 5.9% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.97% has lost 10.3%.”In a highly…

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ZF autonomous EV venture to start output this year, names first customer

“ZF said last September that it plans to invest 12 billion euros ($13.6 billion) over the next five years in electric and autonomous vehicle technology” writes Douglas A for autonews.com. Transdev will start by having a safety driver in the vehicle, but the goal of the partners is to offer the highest level of autonomous driving allowed, a ZF spokesman said.An unspecified number of e.Go Movers will go to Transdev as the France-based mobility provider becomes the first customer for e.Go Moove GmbH, the JV that includes ZF and German…

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Economy Energy in credit default days after new customer ban

“Economy Energy has reignited concern that it may go bust after plunging into credit default just days after the supplier was slapped with a ban on signing up new customers” writes Energy Editor for telegraph.co.uk. An official notice from the market operator warned that the troubled gas and power provider does not have enough credit in place to cover the cost of trading energy for its 244,000 customers.The Coventry-based company already runs the risk of being shut down by the regulator due to its customer service woes, but the default…

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Did you buy a laptop in the Christmas sales? Lenovo and Motorola owners credit card details hacked

“Britons who bought Lenovo laptops or Motorola smartphones as Christmas presents or in the festive sales are at risk of fraud after customer credit card and personal information was leaked online” writes Jeremy Warner for telegraph.co.uk. Hundreds of thousands of full names, addresses, credit card details and phone numbers from customers in the UK, Europe and the US were taken by hackers who cracked into the company’s database and published some of its contents on New Year’s Eve.The Sunday Telegraph has contacted some of the names included in a sample…

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