Apple numbers, Brexit battles and the banker whose job fell through

Planet Business: Some companies are enjoying a quarterly earnings mic drop

Image of the week: Choose your player

The anti-Brexit protester in her telltale beret comes face-to-face with the Union Jack flag-turned-cape of the pro-Brexit “leave means leave” protester in a demonstration near the Houses of Parliament in London on Tuesday, which, even by the standards of Brexit, was not the most flattering of showcases for the British political system.

Logic not really being a key element of Brexit, MPs rejected a number of potentially useful amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill and passed two next-to-useless ones that essentially contradict one another. Meanwhile, the EU's deputy chief negotiator Sabine Weyand, in warning that the withdrawal agreement could not be reopened, noted that in Westminster "much of the conversation is uninhibited by any knowledge of what is actually in the withdrawal agreement". Ouch.

In numbers: Apple pie

1.4 billion Number of Apple active devices that exist in world. Some 900 million of these are active iPhones, while the rest are Macs, iPads, Apple TVs, Apple Watches and – remember these? – iPods.

15 Percentage drop in revenues for iPhones in the latest quarter, according to figures released this week. An economic slowdown in China got some of the blame.


$19.97 billion Amount of quarterly profit Apple still managed to scrape together.

Getting to know: Andrea Orcel

Andrea Orcel is an Italian investment banker who was supposed to become the next chief executive of Spanish bank Santander. There was just one problem: some time after it made the job offer, Santander got its calculator out and decided it couldn't afford him.

Orcel had been due a pretty big whack of deferred remuneration from his previous job as head of UBS’s investment bank and Santander was meant to compensate him for this lost pay, but then it went all “you want how much?” and rescinded the job offer.

Orcel, who quit UBS in September, is said to have received a contractual letter from Santander that agreed a €50 million sign-on package and he's now looking for lawyers to represent him in a breach-of-contract case. Who knew you couldn't trust banks?

The list: Beating expectations

The latest corporate earnings season is, like winter, well under way this week, and while some companies find themselves out in the cold, others appear to be safely sitting by the hearth toasting their hands on the friendly fire.

1. Boeing The world's largest aircraft manufacturer is flying high thanks to a boom in air travel.

2. Alibaba China's biggest e-commerce company also had a good quarter in the period that includes its annual Singles' Day promotion, a festival of self-gifting for single people that must surely be destined for this part of the world.

3. LVMH Chinese slowdown? What Chinese slowdown? Luxury goods maker LVMH hasn't noticed one.

4. Philips The Dutch company used to be known for its light bulbs, but those days are over. It's now a healthcare electronics company enjoying "fantastic margins".

5. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ticket revenues are up, on-board revenues likewise, and now it says its newest, biggest ship, the Symphony of the Seas, is "a perception remixing, memory-maxing mic drop".