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Recode Daily: Is this the end of the Age of Apple?

Plus: Bristol-Myers Squibb will buy Celgene in the largest-ever pharma acquisition; inside one of China’s censorship factories; “the definitive list of every important technology ever.”

Two apples on a board, one fresh and one old and wrinkled. Andreas Berheide / EyeEm / Getty Images

Bristol-Myers Squibb agreed to acquire Celgene in a record-sized $74 billion deal that will unite two drug makers battling for advantage in a crowded market for innovative cancer treatments. The cash-and-stock deal will be the largest pharma acquisition of all time; analysts say it could trigger a flood of biotech deals. In purchasing Celgene, Bristol will get control of one of the most successful cancer drugs of recent years, the top-selling blood-cancer therapy Revlimid, which costs more than $100,000 a year; it will also gain a promising experimental CAR-T therapy being developed by Juno Therapeutics, which Celgene acquired in a $9 billion takeover deal last year. Celgene shareholders will get an extra $9 per share in cash if regulators green light some of its drugs over the next three years. [Rebecca Spalding and Cynthia Koons / Bloomberg]

Until very recently, Apple was the most valuable corporation in the world, the first with a trillion-dollar market cap. Today, it’s the fourth-most valuable. Everyone is talking — and writing — about Apple’s admission that it will revise its Q1 earnings guidance downward: Yesterday, the stock was down nearly 10 percent, and tens of billions of dollars were shaved off Apple’s market cap overnight. M.G. Siegler forecasts a precarious and pivotal 2019 for the company. Shira Ovide thinks Apple has reached the end of its denial phase about its iPhone business. Alex Madrigal comes up with five ways to look at Apple’s surprise bummer, and John Gruber muses about how Steve Jobs might have handled the bad news. And Kara Swisher wonders: Is this the end of the Age of Apple? [Kara Swisher / The New York Times]

Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California became Speaker of the House for the second time. In her speech, Pelosi — the first and only woman to hold the post at the pinnacle of power in Congress, second in line to the US presidency — emphasized the significance of presiding over the most diverse group of lawmakers in US history. Meanwhile, on Day 13 of a partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump told Democratic leaders he could not accept their plan to end the shutdown because he “would look foolish” if he did so. Later, the House passed two bills to reopen the government — one major spending bill to fund most shuttered departments and agencies through September 30 and a stopgap measure to restart the Department of Homeland Security for a few weeks — without funding for a border wall. The measures are likely to go nowhere for now, but they will raise pressure on Republicans to come to the negotiating table. [Julie Hirschfeld Davis / The New York Times]

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai canceled his trip to next week’s CES consumer electronics showcase for the second year in a row, as a consequence of the ongoing government shutdown. Pai’s planned session with moderator Gary Shapiro from the Consumer Technology Association would have focused on “the exciting opportunities the FCC faces as the agency navigates the rapidly changing technological landscape.” Here’s a preview of the annual techfest in Las Vegas, which begins on January 8. [Makena Kelly / The Verge]

Cruise Automation, the self-driving car unit of General Motors, is partnering with food delivery service DoorDash to test out using autonomous vehicles for meal and grocery deliveries in San Francisco. The pilot program will begin in “early 2019” and will be limited to portions of the city where Cruise has already been conducting tests of its driverless vehicles. Meanwhile, PepsiCo is bypassing the vending machines and using self-driving robots to deliver snacks directly to college students at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. Students can order Baked Lay’s, SunChips or Bubly sparkling water on an app and then meet the six-wheeled robot at more than 50 locations on campus. [Andrew J. Hawkins / The Verge]

Here’s a look inside one of China’s “censorship factories,” where thousands of low-wage workers trawl the online world for forbidden content on behalf of Chinese media companies looking for anything that will provoke the government’s wrath. China has built the world’s most extensive and sophisticated online censorship systems, and staying on the safe side of the government censors is a matter of life and death for Chinese companies, which are required to censor themselves; startups like Beijing-based Beyondsoft, which employs more than 4,000 workers at its content-reviewing factories, take on the burden for other companies, 24/7. [Li Yuan / The New York Times]

Los Angeles now has an earthquake-alert app to warn residents before the Big One hits. Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled the app, called ShakeAlertLA, which sends notifications to let users know if a quake of 5.0 magnitude or greater has started, buying anywhere from a few seconds to tens of seconds before heavy shaking starts. The app does not predict earthquakes before they happen, but detects them early; the technology works by detecting P-wave energy — the first energy to emanate from an earthquake — allowing the app to detect where the earthquake is coming from and how strong it will be. Meanwhile, Southern California’s KPCC public radio just launched a podcast called ”The Big One: Your Survival Guide.” [Jessica P. Ogilvie / LAist]

Top stories from Recode

How Facebook’s slumping stock price could hurt Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropy plans. Eventually, Zuckerberg will have to choose between controlling Facebook and funding his philanthropic efforts. [Kurt Wagner]

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“The definitive list of every important technology ever.”


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