Tag Archives: Apple
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese regulators on Wednesday said Apple Inc (AAPL.O) may have breached antitrust rules by forcing mobile service providers to sell its iPhones cheaply and charge higher monthly fees, denying consumers a fair choice.
The FTC, which began looking into Apple’s sales practices in 2016, did not punish Apple as the U.S. company had agreed to revise its contracts with the carriers, it said.
Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Yoshiyasu Shida; Editing by Ritsuko Ando
Warren Buffett said the following:
I call investing the greatest business in the world … because you never have to swing. You stand at the plate, the pitcher throws you General Motors (NYSE:GM) at 47! U.S. Steel (NYSE:X) at 39! And nobody calls a strike on you. There’s no penalty except opportunity lost. All day you wait for the pitch you like. Then when the fielders are asleep, you step up and hit it.”
I distinctively remember Apple (AAPL) at around $ 90 a share back in 2016. Sentiment was on the floor, commentary was circulating on mass that iPhone growth was history. Fast forward a couple of years and shares have more than doubled. I suspect few would have thought that AAPL would have recovered so quickly. However as the chart illustrates below, AAPL also suffered a steep decline in 2013 but came roaring back to life soon thereafter. Why didn’t investors “trust” the charts instead of one or two disappointing earnings reports? Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.
Then we have Gilead (GILD). Shares collapsed to close to $ 60 a share last year and have been very slow to gain momentum since then. Granted Gilead’s shares collapsed more than Apple’s and over a much longer time frame, but you can be sure that many investors doubled down on their positions or bought at levels much higher than the present share price. Apple and Gilead before these share price declines relied mostly on one product which was obviously the iPhone in AAPL and HPC cures for Gilead. So why did one stock bounce back strongly whereas the other flattered to deceive?
I think these articles are helpful because it is at these inflection points where the most fortunes are made. With AAPL, for example, you had the likes of Buffett joining the party, but then you had the likes of Carl Icahn who ran for the exit. Now both of these billionaires made a lot of money but Icahn as we can see now sold far too early.
Buffett also has stated.
“Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble.”
The problem though is that everything is so easy in hindsight. AAPL’s top line sales have come roaring back to currently stand at $ 247.41 billion over a trailing 12-month average. Gilead’s top line sales growth has deteriorated to currently stand at $ 24.69 billion (almost $ 8 billion down from its 2015 high).
Many newsletters got Gilead wrong which is why one should always make their own investing decisions. Why? Because an opinion backed by research and hours of study usually means one will stand by the position even if the going gets tough for a while. Gilead never rebounded because it ultimately cured hepatitis C. I wrote more about this here but many were caught out on this at the time.
Here though was the skinny compared to Apple. Although Gilead was generating strong cash flows from the likes of its HCV and HIV divisions, there was absolutely no link between the two segments. These two diseases are totally different and one cannot “lift up” the other, so to speak, when the likes of HCV is struggling.
We cannot though say the same about Apple. I remember its March quarter in 2016 when revenue collapsed by 13% to print the worst top line quarter since 2003. The main culprit was of course iPhone unit sales which were down 16% over a rolling quarter basis. However there were a number of reasons for the decline both in dollar amount sales and iPhone unit sales. Softness in China, currency headwinds plus also a poor product mix led to the disappointing quarter. Shares headed toward $ 90 as investors ran for the exit. However the launch of the iPhone 7 in September kept the purists hopeful.
However it wasn’t that model that turned the tide for AAPL. It was the fact that smartphone growth was still in an uptrend (still is to this day) and Apple was working really hard in the background to both coax customers from Android (through the likes of the iPhone SE) while also tie in customers more and more into its ecosystem of products. Just remember the strength of AAPL’s ecosystem today will dictate the strength of sales in the future. Gilead never had this competitive advantage and its results demonstrated this.
So when the next blip occurs, we will look at the strength of that ecosystem to see how growth rates are faring in other products. It’s all about engagement and loyalty going forward. These metrics are probably the best ones to measure when the inevitable happens and iPhone growth slows once again. As for Gilead, there still seems to be no catalyst in the cards to help growth. AAPL despite its valuation and snap back rally continues to look a far better long contender here.
Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes the latest renders of the new iPhone X for 2018, the hardware that wasn’t announced at WWDC, why iOS 12 stands for stability, the renewed focus on iPhone security, the disappointment of no new MacBooks at WWDC, and all the spoof products announced on the internet.
Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).
First Renders Of The New iPhone X
As part of Apple’s push to expand the iPhone line-up (and increase sales of the iPhone family after years of declining share), the geekerati are expecting a budget version of the iPhone X (not to be confused with an update of the iPhone SE). What will it look like? Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reveals new renders of the budget iPhone X:
What Hemmerstoffer’s images and video (embedded below) show, is a 6.1-inch design which blends the chassis of the iPhone 8 and a single rear camera with the fascia of the iPhone X, complete with Face ID facial recognition module and the distinctive notch. On the flipside, this means no Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
…Hemmerstoffer notes this currently unnamed budget iPhone X (my naming bet is simply ‘iPhone’), will also pack wireless charging, stereo speakers and a new A12 chipset. So this is basically a single-camera iPhone X for over $ 200 less.
What Wasn’t Announced At WWDC
Lots of news to come out of this week’s Worldwide Developer Conference from Apple, but before we get to what did appear, it’s important to realise what was not on show. Apple refused the opportunity to show off any new hardware. No iPads, no Macs, no MacBooks, no peripherals, and perhaps most importantly, no mid-range iPhones to replace the iPhone SE. And WWDC was the best time to announce this upcoming smartphone, as I discussed earlier this week:
Assuming Taniyama-Shimura, there are enough signs in the supply chain that an update to the iPhone SE is coming. So the question becomes not of ‘will it arrive’ but ‘when will it arrive.’
…its non-appearance at WWDC tells us a lot about the handset. iPhone sales this year need a boost. The iPhone X has not delivered the super-cycle it promised and sales are flat to slightly down year-on-year. Market share is approaching single figures, and relying on high-end handsets with high margins may be delivering financial success… but it doesn’t provide for growth or entry into new markets. The iPhone SE 2 can help balance the equation of revenue and market share by offering a low-priced gateway into Apple’s world of smartphones.
Twelve Stands For Stability
Almost all of the focus at WWDC was on software, and the vast majority of that focus was on iOS. There have not been any major changes or additions, Apple has focused on the stability of the code to rebuild the bulletproof perception of the iPhone’s operating system. Zach Epstein is glad the new release is just ‘meh’:
It’s no secret that iOS 11 has been a complete mess for Apple. It’s not the travesty that whiny anti-Apple bloggers would have you believe, of course, but there’s no question that Apple made some big mistakes in iOS 11. It has had more security holes, annoying bugs, and performance issues than any version of iOS from recent history, and many of those problems still exist in iOS 11.3 and iOS 11.4 now, more than 8 months after the software’s initial release.
We learned many months ago that performance and overall user experience were going to be Apple’s main points of focus in iOS 12. In fact, insider reports stated that Apple decided to delay the addition of several big new features in iOS 12 and push them back to subsequent releases, or maybe even until next year’s iOS 13 update. This way, Apple’s various iOS engineering teams could focus on improving performance in iOS and on refining the user experience, rather than on integrating complex new features.
Next: Security is key, a requiem for macOS, and Conan O’Brien’s new iPhone…
North Korea has been cited by several governments and organizations for its hacking activities. Now, a new study of network data shows much of the technology North Korea employs for hacking comes from the U.S.
Despite trade sanctions, North Korea’s government has found a way to obtain products from Apple, Microsoft, and Korea-based Samsung to carry out cyberattacks around the world, researchers at cybersecurity intelligence company Recorded Future revealed on Wednesday. The company found that North Korea is using Windows 10, Apple’s iPhone X, and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Plus, among other technologies, to conduct operations. However, most of the technology North Korea is using is older. For instance, Recorded Future found an iPhone 4S and Windows 7, among other products, still in use.
North Korea has been isolated from the rest of the world for decades. During that time, the country’s economy has suffered and the U.S., among others, has imposed sanctions that limit a company’s ability to export to and sell in North Korea.
To circumvent those sanctions, according to Recorded Future, North Korea has engaged in a variety of activities to obtain access to U.S. and Korean technologies.
In its report, Recorded Future said that North Korea has created fake addresses and names to sidestep sanctions — and also used shell companies and aliases outside of its borders to obtain equipment and bring it back. North Koreans living in countries where equipment from Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung can be obtained legally also play a role in the effort, according to the report.
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“Technology resellers, North Koreans abroad, and the Kim regime’s extensive criminal networks all facilitate the transfer of American technology for daily use by one of the world’s most repressive governments,” Recorded Future wrote in its report.
In other cases, however, North Korea has obtained equipment legally. Since 2002, in fact, the U.S. has exported nearly $ 484,000 in computers and electronics to North Korea.
But, since that’s hardly enough for all of the ruling party, hacking efforts, and “elites” in the country who need the technology, North Korea has employed the other schemes, Recorded Future said.
The data sheds some light on the secretive country and could explain to some degree how it’s been able to pull off some major cyberattacks. North Korea’s hackers have previously been linked to the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack that affected computers around the world. North Korea was also accused of hacking Sony in 2014.
“Unless there’s a globally unified effort to impose comprehensive sanctions on the DPRK, and multilateral cooperation to ensure that these sanctions cannot be thwarted by a web of shell companies,” Recorded Future wrote, “North Korea will be able to continue its cyberwarfare operations unabated with the aid of Western technology.”
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Dialog Semiconductor said Apple now planned to source the main power management chips (PMICs) for one of its three new iPhone models from two suppliers instead of just from the German chipmaker.
That means that Apple will order 30 percent fewer of the chips from Dialog this year than it had initially expected, Dialog said in a statement on Thursday.
The news sent its shares 3.9 percent lower in late Frankfurt trade. Dialog’s stock has lost more than half of its value over the past year on investor concerns that Apple is working on its own battery-saving chips for iPhones.
Analysts reckon Dialog derives more than half its revenue from supplying Apple with PMICs.
The reduced order volume for the PMICs will shave 5 percent off the chipmaker’s 2018 revenues, but Dialog said it still expected its 2018 revenues to grow year-on-year.
The impact on 2019 revenues is likely to be similar, Chief Executive Jalal Bagherli told analysts on a conference call.
He said Apple had not provided a reason for the change in its sourcing of chips.
“If you think about the fact that we are qualified for all three phones, that means there is no performance-related issue. It might be a statement of intent to reduce risk on having one supplier and have an alternative source,” he said.
He also said Apple had not told him who the second, new supplier of the main PMICs was but said he saw it as very likely that it was an in-house source at Apple.
Apple did not change the projected order volume for the other power management chip that Dialog is supplying for the new iPhone models – the sub-PMIC – nor for all other PMICs, including those for tablets, wearables and notebooks.
Dialog said it would continue to explore new mixed-signal opportunities outside of power management for future Apple products.
Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Adrian Croft and Alexandra Hudson
Apple didn’t need to do anything to meet the stringent requirements of the new EU law, called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force on May 25 – it already practised such good privacy hygiene that its existing precautions already passed the new obligations. However, it took the opportunity to comprehensively rethink its privacy standards, as the new privacy page reveals on the Apple website.
I mean, it’s no surprise that Apple should take privacy seriously. It’s forbiddingly secretive about its products and internal workings and it has long proclaimed that it believes that privacy is ‘a fundamental human right’.
To make this work, there’s plenty it doesn’t know about us. For each Apple Pay transaction, Apple doesn’t track who you’re paying and has no idea who you’re paying for. FaceTime conversations, iMessage threads and so on are end-to-end encrypted. Apple had asked itself why it would need to know who was saying what to whom and concluded it was none of its business.
Even journeys made on Apple Maps are encrypted so that nobody getting hold of information could work out where you go regularly or whatever. It does this by, among other things, dropping the first and last 500 or so yards from each journey once it’s completed to blur the details. And though some data is held for a time, it’s deleted after 30 days or so.
And before these new changes, Apple had recently introduced a recognisable page which warned you when data was being collected, so you were always in the loop. It’s a stark contrast to most other companies and is made easier by the fact that Apple, as it might say, owns all the pieces of the jigsaw from hardware to software.
Anyway, Apple’s response to GDPR is interesting, and sets a standard which others must strive to meet. What’s more, though it only needs to make sure its GDPR response applies to European users, Apple has said it’s going to roll it out worldwide.
First up, Apple has made it easy to find out exactly what data of yours is on its servers, from purchase history to photos on iCloud to emails and so on. With a few clicks you can download everything (apart from TV shows you’ve bought on Apple TV, for instance). If some sections turn out to be many gigabytes in size, it’ll split them into more manageable bites.
But the more interesting bits come next. First of all, if any of your data is inaccurate, you can request a correction.
You can also delete your account, if you wish. That’s not new. But there’s a new, less drastic course of action you can take where you deactivate your Apple ID account temporarily.
Why would you do this? Well, if you’re going away for a few months, perhaps or, (and please whisper this in the earshot of Apple fans), if you’ve bought an Android phone and so all that Apple data is no longer needed, once you’ve transferred it to your new phone. But, hey, maybe you’ll go back to Apple when the next, irresistible iPhone is released.
If that’s a possibility, then the temporary suspension, called deactivation, may appeal.
But bear in mind that you won’t be able to download iBooks you’ve bought from Apple while the account is deactivated. Nor can you use services which require your Apple ID like Messages and FaceTime. If you have a repair scheduled at an Apple Store, say, that will stay active but upcoming appointments in an Apple Store will be canceled.
If you pay for iCloud storage, that will continue until the next billing period after which you must review whether to keep paying or not.
Your data is not deleted but nobody, and here’s an important thing, not even Apple, can access it.
With this in mind, you’re sent a reactivation code. Lose it and, well, you’re in trouble because even Apple can’t get it back. So you can’t save it in an iMessage or Apple email. You need somewhere else safe to keep this code. All deactivations are verified, which can take up to seven days.
The Privacy section is live now and provides tools which range from useful to downright fascinating. It’s done with the obsessive detail you might expect from Apple. If you’re in the EU, you can access the new tools now and they’ll be rolled out to all users around the world in the coming months.
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Apple appears to be engaged in a battle of sorts with Valve.
In an interview with technology site Arstechnica, gaming company Valve said that Apple has removed and banned its Steam Link app from its App Store. The company said that Apple originally approved the app but after further review, found that it didn’t meet its approved guidelines.
Valve unveiled its Steam Link app earlier this month. The app allows you to stream your PC games from a computer to another device, as long as they’re both on the same network. The idea is for users to have a game running on one device but be able to play wherever they want in the home. It’s a relatively common feature with remote desktop apps that let users access another computer from their devices.
In its interview with Arstechnica, Valve said that it petitioned Apple’s ruling and pointed to those streaming apps, which are all available in the company’s App Store, as apparent proof that the Steam Link app isn’t in violation of the iPhone maker’s guidelines. Apple stood by its decision and kept the iOS app blocked from its application marketplace.
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For its part, Apple hasn’t publicly disclosed why it removed Steam Link from its App Store. The company also generally makes it a policy to not discuss specific details about why an app was removed or banned from its marketplace.
Apple did not respond to a Fortune request for comment on the Steam Link decision.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Apple is on the verge of becoming the first $ 1 trillion publicly listed U.S. company, but even if it gets there, it could soon be overtaken as Amazon.com surges from behind.
Started in the garage of co-founder Steve Jobs in 1976, the iPhone maker’s annual revenue has ballooned to $ 229 billion, greater than the gross domestic product of countries including Portugal and New Zealand.
(Big Tech Rev vs Countries’ GDP: reut.rs/2ry9qr6)
Apple’s market capitalization on Thursday topped a record $ 934 billion, following its unveiling last week of a $ 100 billion buyback budget and news that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway dramatically increased its stake in the company.
Thanks to a 12 percent rally since its quarterly report last Tuesday, the Cupertino, California company is just 8 percent short of hitting the $ 1 trillion valuation mark.
Pointing to Apple’s recent 31 percent jump in service revenue, including music streaming and online storage, CFRA analyst Angelo Zino on Wednesday upped his target price for the stock from $ 195 to $ 210, which would put Apple’s market capitalization at $ 1.03 trillion. Zino joins at least 12 other analysts with price targets putting Apple’s stock market value at 13 digits.
But Apple is in danger of being beaten to the $ 1 trillion mark – or passed soon after – by Amazon.com, the second largest listed U.S. company by market value, at $ 780 billion.
Saudi Arabian authorities, meanwhile, have said they expect a planned international initial public offering of Saudi Aramco that would value the national oil producer at about $ 2 trillion.
While $ 148 billion smaller than Apple on Friday, Amazon of late has expanded its stock price, and its sales, much more quickly than Apple. Amazon’s stock is red hot, trading recently at over 100 times expected earnings, compared to more-profitable – but slower growing – Apple’s valuation of 15 times earnings.
(Big Tech PEs:reut.rs/2wsd0YU )
Apple’s stock has risen 24 percent over the past year, fueled by optimism about the iPhone X, the company’s latest smartphone. But demand for the $ 1,000 device has underwhelmed investors, and bulls are now focused on Apple’s plan to return more cash to shareholders.
By comparison, Amazon’s stock has surged 70 percent over the past 12 months, bolstered by 31 percent revenue growth as more shopping moves online and businesses shift their IT departments to the cloud, where Amazon Web Services leads the market.
Amazon is also competing more with Apple and Google owner Alphabet as it sells music and video content, its Fire TV device and its Alexa smart home gadget.
(Big Tech Revenue: reut.rs/2wyZaE4 )
At $ 765 billion, Alphabet has the third largest market capitalization on Wall Street, with Microsoft close behind at $ 749 billion. Amazon breezed past both them both in February.
(Long-Term Market Cap:reut.rs/2rzCGxD )
Including Facebook, the five largest listed U.S. companies now account for 15 percent of the S&P 500’s $ 24 trillion market capitalization.
(Big Tech’s Outsized Weight in S&P 500: reut.rs/2rwBTOc)
To be sure, past stock gains are not a reliable predictor of future performance, and the surge in Apple’s and Amazon’s shares in recent years has been exceptional by most standards.
But if Apple’s stock were to keep growing at the pace seen over the past year, the company’s market capitalization would hit $ 1 trillion in September. Amazon would reach $ 1 trillion around October if its stock price continued to rise at the same rate as the past year, and overtake Apple soon after.
Extending forward their own one-year performances, Microsoft would not reach $ 1 trillion until early 2019, and Alphabet would take until 2020.
(Race to $ 1 Trillion Market Cap:reut.rs/2rz4WAJ )
Most Wall Street analysts are less optimistic. The mean analyst price target puts Apple’s stock 6 percent above current levels at $ 200 within the next 12 months, which would elevate its market capitalization to $ 983 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The mean price target of analysts covering Amazon is $ 1,850, a 15 percent premium over its current price, which would give it a market value of $ 898 billion. Analysts target Microsoft to rise 12 percent to reach $ 845 billion, and for Alphabet’s market value to increase 16 percent to $ 884 billion.
(Big Tech Analyst Price Targets:reut.rs/2wv224H )
Reporting by Noel Randewich, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien
Apple Watch is being credited for saving a New York man’s life.
While he was working at his family’s bowling alley business Bowlerland last month, 32-year-old William Monzidelis became dizzy and started bleeding all over his body. Soon after, the Apple Watch he was wearing sent him a notification to immediately seek medical help.
On the way to the hospital, Monzidelis started to have seizures and by the time he arrived at the hospital just 30 minutes later, he had lost 80% of his blood, according to NBC New York, which earlier reported on the harrowing story. Emergency personnel discovered he had suffered an erupted ulcer and would need a blood transfusion just to have surgery to correct it. Doctors performed the surgery and he survived.
According to Monzidelis, who was interviewed by NBC New York, the doctors told him that if he didn’t receive the Apple Watch notification, he would’ve died.
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Although the Apple Watch isn’t classified as a dedicated medical device, it has an increasing number of features aimed at monitoring a person’s health. Chief among its health-focused features is a tracker that will monitor a person’s heart activity and alert them when something is off. When Apple Watch identifies a problem, it sends an urgent notification that tells people to seek medical attention.
Monzidelis’ story isn’t unique. Earlier this week, in fact, ABC News reported that the Apple Watch saved the life of an 18-year-old woman after it recognized that her resting heart rate had jumped to 160 beats per minute. She rushed to an urgent care and then an emergency room, where she was told she had kidney failure, according to the report. If not for the Apple Watch, she would have died, doctors apparently told her.
“Stories like Deanna’s inspire us to dream bigger and push harder every day,” Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted this week in response to the ABC News article.
(Reuters) – Qualcomm Inc has broadened its use of a lower-cost licensing model for the next generation of mobile data networks, a move that could help in contentious talks with two customers including iPhone maker Apple Inc, the wireless tech company’s patent licensing chief said on Monday.
The patent business traditionally has supplied much of Qualcomm’s profit but has also spurred conflict with Apple, Samsung Electronics Ltd and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd as well as regulators in China, South Korea and the United States.
New deals could lower the licensing rate that Qualcomm receives while making the business more dependable if regulators view the terms favourably and two major customers – Apple and a company widely believed to be Huawei – resolve their disputes and resume paying Qualcomm.
“It’s a good context for dealing with the two licensee issues we have now,” Alex Rogers, the head of Qualcomm’s licensing division, told Reuters in an interview, naming Apple but leaving Huawei unnamed as is the company’s policy when a dispute hasn’t become public through a court proceeding.
Rogers did not comment directly on the likelihood of resolving either customer dispute. Apple and Huawei did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Qualcomm sells chips for mobile phones but has a second, much older business licensing technology for wireless networks. The licensing business has generated global controversy and resulted in billions of dollars in regulatory fines, some of which remain on appeal.
Handset makers can licence one of two sets of Qualcomm patents: The full suite that costs makers about 5 percent of the cost of a handset or a smaller set of so-called “standard essential patents” for 3.25 percent, which includes only the patents needed for gear to work on mobile data networks.
In the past, most of Qualcomm’s customers licensed both sets of patents to avoid lawsuits. But Qualcomm has been defusing tensions by making it easier for customers to licence just the smaller, lower-cost set of standard patents and by adding patents for the next generation 5G wireless network to the suite at no additional cost.
That essentially extends a 2015 settlement with China’s chief antitrust regulator. Qualcomm began to licence only its standard patents for 3G and 4G networks to Chinese handset makers for a rate of 3.25 percent. More than 100 device makers have signed on for such deals.
“We have not lowered the rate. What we’re doing is including more technology, more (intellectual property) in the offering without increasing the price,” Rogers added.
Qualcomm also announced last week that it would assess its patent fees against only the first $ 400 (£291) of a phone’s net selling price. Rogers said the previous price cap was $ 500, a figure that was well known among industry insiders but that Qualcomm did not make public.
“What we’re doing here is creating a foundation for stability going forward,” Rogers said, describing Qualcomm’s 5G licensing moves as “regulator friendly”.
The question now is whether more handset makers will opt for Qualcomm’s lower-cost standard patents rather than its pricier full portfolio.
“What we perceive here is there will be more of a mix than there was in the past of companies opting for (standard essential patents) only,” Rogers said. “How much more, depends on each individual company.”
While Qualcomm has made no public disclosures about the status of talks with the two major customers in licence disputes, the company’s approach to licensing patents for upcoming 5G networks will look different than its initial approaches for 3G and 4G networks of years past.
“Both of those issues (disputes) are essentially now being handled within the framework of the current programme we’re offering,” Rogers said.
Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Peter Henderson and Cynthia Osterman