What's Important in the Financial World (12/13/2012)

US Treasury buildingEurope's Central Banking Authority

Europe finally has a central banking authority, a move that many politicians and economists believe will help pull the region out of its financial crisis. It is hard to argue definitely this will happen. Leaders in Europe have set a number of other plans, such as a permanent bailout authority. These have not yielded the reaction in the markets they had hoped for. And squabbling among nations after plans have been set often undermines them. According to Reuters:

Europe clinched a deal on Thursday to give the European Central Bank new powers to supervise euro zone banks from 2014, embarking on the first step in a new phase of closer integration to help underpin the euro.After more than 14 hours of talks and following months of tortuous negotiations, finance ministers from the European Union's 27 countries agreed to hand the ECB the authority to directly police at least 150 of the euro zone's biggest banks and intervene in smaller banks at the first sign of trouble.

iPhone 5 and Google Maps

The owners of Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone 5 are rejoicing. The awful map product made by Apple for its devices can now be replaced by the one from Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), which is the benchmark for superiority in the industry. The Apple debacle cost at least one senior executive at the company his job. Experts and reviewers greeted the decision by Apple to accept the Google product as a way to replace the single largest flaw in the new smartphone. The BBC reports:

Apple is also seeking to improve its own data through user feedback, but risks having less to work with if iPhone users switch to another product.

There had been speculation Apple would reject Google's app from its store for this reason.

But since iPhone sales are at the heart of Apple's fortunes, it may have felt it had more to lose than gain by allowing rival Android handsets to offer a popular app it lacked.

New Facebook Privacy Controls

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has released what it says are better privacy controls for its customers. With the company's one billion members, it should not take long for a vocal reaction to tell whether the new policy will be accepted. Facebook said:

Today's updates include Privacy Shortcuts, an easier-to-use Activity Log, and a new Request and Removal tool for managing multiple photos you're tagged in. We're also adding new in-product education that makes key concepts around controlling your sharing clearer, such as in-context reminders about how stuff you hide from timeline may still appear in news feed, search, and other places.

We continue to strive toward three main goals: bringing controls in context where you share, helping you understand what appears where as you use Facebook, and providing tools to help you act on content you don't like.

Douglas A. McIntyre


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: AAPL, FB, GOOG

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