Microsoft, hospital chain reach cloud deal

Microsoft signed Providence St. Joseph Health as a customer of its Azure and artificial intelligence tools to help the hospital chain track health data such as surgery outcomes and cancer therapies.  

Providence, which operates hospitals in seven states, will shift data and applications from its own data centers to Microsoft’s cloud as part of the five-year agreement. The company’s 119,000 doctors and caregivers will also get access to Microsoft’s Office software and its Teams chat service. 

Microsoft is wooing companies to try to catch Amazon, the largest provider of cloud computing services. (Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

This latest deal is also an attempt to use rented data storage, computing power and AI software to modernize hospitals.

Amazon is working with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston to test how AI can simplify medical care. Google is applying AI software to health data to make better predictions. 

— Bloomberg News

New York City tightens rules on taxi industry

New York City companies that finance the purchase of taxi medallions will be required to prepare written documents for all transactions and disclose conflicts of interests when brokers also act as lenders, after an investigation of the industry uncovered abuses.

More than half of the city’s taxi drivers surveyed say they’re struggling to pay monthly bills, and 26 percent are considering bankruptcy — unable to make a living with too much competition among for-hire vehicles, according to a report on the industry commissioned by Mayor Bill de Blasio (D). The mayor’s report contains no recommendations for city-aided bailouts of loans that drivers now say they can’t pay, fueling criticism that it fails to adequately address the financial crisis that many cabbies are contending with.

The value of medallions crashed with the advent of tens of thousands of competing app-based for-hire vehicles since 2014. At least nine drivers have committed suicide in the past two years as the economic crisis has worsened, including one who shot himself outside City Hall’s front gate last year.

“The mayor’s report and recommendations on the medallion predatory lending scandal fall short,” Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. “We need an immediate end to the financial devastation that drivers are facing.”

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

U.S. consumers in June lifted their inflation expectations for the first time in three months, New York Federal Reserve data showed on Monday, reducing pressure on central bankers to cut rates significantly to support economic momentum. Federal Reserve policymakers are debating whether to cut rates given uncertainty over a U.S. trade war and tepid inflation.

Saudi Arabian budget carrier Flyadeal reversed a commitment to buy as many as 50 Boeing Co. 737 Max jets, becoming the first airline to officially drop the plane since its grounding following two deadly crashes. Flyadeal will operate an entirely Airbus SE fleet, the company said Sunday in a statement, buying as many as 50 planes in the A320neo family.

SunTrust Banks, the company merging with BB&T, said it won't provide future financing to companies that manage private prisons and immigration holding facilities. SunTrust's decision follows similar moves made by Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Protesters have been urging bank executives to back away from the business, amid reports of inhumane conditions.

Papa John's International said on Monday it has appointed a McDonald's veteran to the newly created role of chief of restaurants operations, as the pizza chain remodels itself after the scandal that led to the departure of its founder, John Schnatter. Jim Norberg will be responsible for growing sales and profit margins as well as improving customer satisfaction at Papa John's, the company said.

Coming today

10 a.m.: Labor Department releases job openings and labor turnover survey for May.

Earnings: PepsiCo quarterly results.

— From news services