It’s the last day of our Online Summit, and we are announcing a special final panel: At 4 p.m. Eastern, watch the N.B.A. star LeBron James and Sherrilyn Ifill of the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund speak with Andrew about the election and the More than a Vote campaign, which Mr. James founded to help make voting more accessible. More details about this and today’s other sessions below.
The future of the economy, Big Tech, racial justice and voting rights
On the second day of the DealBook Online Summit, more top leaders from business, policy and culture will appear on our virtual stage. Here’s the lineup:
9:15-10 a.m. Eastern — The Path Forward
Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase on addressing America’s biggest economic challenges.
10-10:30 a.m. — What’s Next for Washington
Senator Elizabeth Warren on the post-election policy outlook. (Streaming rescheduled from yesterday.)
11-11:30 a.m. — The Architect
Ruth Porat, the Alphabet and Google C.F.O., on running a tech giant in 2020.
Noon to 12:40 p.m. — Life in the Metaverse
Tim Sweeney of Epic Games on fostering innovation in the age of Big Tech.
2-3 p.m. — Race and Corporate America
The former Xerox chief Ursula Burns, the rapper and activist Killer Mike and the Vista Equity Partners founder Robert Smith on what businesses can do to address racial inequality.
4-4:30 p.m. — More Than a Vote
The N.B.A. star LeBron James and Sherrilyn Ifill, the president and director-counsel of the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund, on the More than a Vote campaign, which opened up sports arenas for the first time as polling locations, making voting more accessible.
HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING
Pfizer releases the final results of its Covid-19 vaccine trial. The drugmaker said today that its treatment was 95 percent effective and had no serious side effects, two weeks after its initial findings propelled hopes about coronavirus vaccines. Pfizer said it planned to apply for F.D.A. emergency authorization “within days,” and could have enough doses for 25 million people available by year end.
Apple halves its App Store fees for small developers. The company said it would charge a 15 percent commission on app sales for developers who brought in $1 million or less in the past year. Apple has been accused of abusing its control of the App Store by developers like Epic Games — whose C.E.O., Tim Sweeney, happens to be speaking at the DealBook Online Summit today (we’ll be sure to ask him about it).
Mars is buying the maker of Kind bars for $5 billion. DealBook was the first to report that the company behind M&M’s and Snickers will take full control of Kind, which touts its snacks as free from artificial flavors and preservatives. It’s a bet on the continued rise of the healthy snacking industry.
Judy Shelton’s Fed nomination suffers another setback. President Trump’s pick for the central bank’s board of governors failed to advance to a final vote on Tuesday, after two Republican senators voted against, while two others were quarantining after being exposed to the coronavirus.
Dolly Parton, Covid-19 vaccine investor. The singer has drawn praise for funding research that produced Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, which the company said this week was 95 percent effective. The back story: She donated $1 million to Vanderbilt, and that helped pay for early research into the treatment. Now try singing “Vaccine” to the tune of “Jolene.”
Day 1 at the summit
The speakers had plenty of newsworthy things to say on the first day of our inaugural Online Summit. (There were also a few technical glitches, and we’re sorry for those.) Here are yesterday’s highlights, including links to the full sessions:
‘We’re all in this together …’
America’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, resists politicizing the public health measures to prevent the coronavirus’s spread. “I’m not going to change the divisiveness in this country right now, but I’m going to try my best to get the people in this country to realize we’re all in this together,” he said. “We’ve got to get out of this together.”
Dr. Fauci suggested that with effective vaccines seemingly around the corner, health measures should be bolstered, not relaxed. That means the country needs to take “a uniform approach” to the pandemic rather than “a disjointed” state-by-state response. (A delayed presidential transition is not helping, he suggested.)
The looming holiday season makes traveling and gathering tempting, he said, and people will have to make choices about what risks they are willing to take. But there is “light at the end of the tunnel,” he said, with “some degree of normality” possible by fall next year. “Now is the time to double down” on safety and “put away Covid fatigue,” he said. His family is planning a Zoom Thanksgiving.
‘In the short run, I’m pessimistic …’
Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s billionaire founder and C.E.O., was early to sound the alarm about the dangers of Covid-19. He said he was still worried enough to have steered the Japanese conglomerate to stockpile nearly $80 billion in cash. Things are now looking up, he said, especially with the prospect of effective vaccines. But, he added, “I want to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.”
The investor also opened up on some of his biggest mistakes. Among them are turning down an opportunity to buy 30 percent of Amazon before its I.P.O. — “I’m so stupid,” he said with a chuckle — and pouring billions into WeWork before the co-working business needed a bailout. That said, Mr. Son still expressed admiration for Adam Neumann, WeWork’s controversial co-founder: “I’m a big believer that he will be successful and that he has learned a lot from his prior life.”
‘The election was always, for us, an artificial deadline …’
Albert Bourla, the Pfizer chief executive, said that he was never personally pressured to meet the Trump administration’s timeline to announce a Covid-19 vaccine before the election, though he was certainly aware of it. “The election was always, for us, an artificial deadline,” he said. “It may have been important for the president, but not for us.”
Mr. Bourla also addressed a stock sale he made last week, on the day that his company’s initial vaccine trial results were announced. The sale had been authorized in August and was executed automatically when the stock hit a certain price. It was his first such sale in a decades-long career at Pfizer, and the arrangements are common, he said. But given the awkard optics of the timing of it, he added, “I regret that I sold.”
‘Over 30 percent of days in the office will go away …’
On the panel with Mr. Bourla, Bill Gates said that people’s habits might never be the same after the pandemic. “My prediction would be that over 50 percent of business travel and over 30 percent of days in the office will go away,” he said. “There will be ways that you can work from home a lot of the time.”
He was taken aback at how some Americans have reacted to public health measures. “I wouldn’t have expected mask wearing to become controversial,” Mr. Gates said, and put some of the blame on political leaders. “I wouldn’t have expected the administration to find sort of the wildest fringe opinion possible.”
Fellow panelist Heidi Larson, the director of the Vaccine Confidence Project, noted the difficulties of getting people to trust health advice. “There is not a lot of appetite for more compulsion,” she said. “I think there is a lot of resistance to the idea of control.” But her work suggests that mistrust can be overcome with communication, she said: “We learned a lot with the polio eradication initiative about getting as local as you can and listening.”
Dropping the shield?
The Senate Judiciary Committee peppered Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey with 127 questions over more than four hours in a hearing yesterday about Section 230, the law that shields tech companies from liability for what their users post.
It revealed how the companies intend to handle President Trump’s social media when he is no longer in office. As a world leader, Mr. Trump can post content that violates Twitter’s rules, subject to labeling. But “if an account suddenly is not a world leader anymore, that particular policy goes away,” Mr. Dorsey told senators. Facebook will not change how it moderates Mr. Trump’s posts, Mr. Zuckerberg said.
Content moderation was the major theme. Democrats asked about increasing moderation efforts around topics like hate speech 12 times, while Republicans made 37 inquiries into viewpoint censorship and decreased scrutiny. The remaining questions about policing content did not indicate a clear desire for either more or less moderation. But there appears to be a bipartisan appetite for revising the law in the next Congress.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said that Section 230 “has to be changed” to get “transparency in the system.” Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, said: “Change is going to come. No question. And I plan to bring aggressive reform to 230.”
THE SPEED READ
Deutsche Börse agreed to buy a majority stake in Institutional Shareholder Services, the proxy advisory group, valuing the company at €1.9 billion ($2.3 billion). (FT)
Cerberus Capital Management is said to be in talks to buy Co-Operative Bank, the embattled British lender. (Sky News)
Politics and policy
Lobbyists and consultants are highlighting their ties to President-elect Joe Biden in pitches to companies and foreign governments. (NYT)
Roger Ferguson, a leading contender for a top economic position in the Biden administration, will retire from the money manager TIAA. (WSJ)
Twitter is rolling out a disappearing-tweets feature. (NYT)
Silicon Valley executives and activists are pushing to have a seat at the table with the Biden administration. (Recode)
Best of the rest
The F.D.A. has given emergency approval to the first Covid-19 test that can be done at home, with results in 30 minutes. (NYT)
The pandemic has put extra economic burdens on one group in particular: women. (NYT)
“Inside the Chaotic, Cutthroat Gray Market for N95 Masks” (NYT Magazine)
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