AMZN - Amazon.com, Inc.

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real Time Price. Currency in USD
1,760.94
+0.61 (+0.03%)
At close: 4:00PM EST
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Previous Close1,760.33
Open1,765.00
Bid1,759.43 x 800
Ask1,759.90 x 1400
Day's Range1,755.00 - 1,768.88
52 Week Range1,307.00 - 2,035.80
Volume2426806
Avg. Volume2,939,082
Market Cap873B
Beta (5Y Monthly)1.52
PE Ratio (TTM)78.03
EPS (TTM)22.57
Earnings DateJan 29, 2020 - Feb 3, 2020
Forward Dividend & YieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-Dividend DateN/A
1y Target Est2,167.56
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  • Google Culture War Escalates as Era of Transparency Wanes
    Bloomberg

    Google Culture War Escalates as Era of Transparency Wanes

    (Bloomberg) -- Each morning, workers at Google get an internal newsletter called the “Daily Insider.” Kent Walker, Google’s top lawyer, set off a firestorm when he argued in the Nov. 14 edition that the 21-year old company had outgrown its policy of allowing workers to access nearly any internal document. “When we were smaller, we all worked as one team, on one product, and everyone understood how business decisions were made,” Walker wrote. “It's harder to give a company of over 100,000 people the full context on everything.”Many large companies have policies restricting access to sensitive information to a “need-to-know” basis. But in some segments of Google’s workforce, the reaction to Walker’s argument was immediate and harsh. On an internal messaging forum, one employee described the data policy as “a total collapse of Google culture.” An engineering manager posted a lengthy attack on Walker’s note, which he called "arrogant and infantilizing." The need-to-know policy "denies us a form of trust and respect that is again an important part of the intrinsic motivation to work here,” the manager wrote.The complaining also spilled into direct action. A group of Google programmers created a tool that allowed employees to choose to alert Walker with an automated email every time they opened any document at all, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. The deluge of notifications was meant as a protest to what they saw as Walker’s insistence on controlling the minutiae of their professional lives. “When it comes to data security policies, we’ve never intended to prevent employees from sharing technical learnings and information and we are not limiting anyone’s ability to raise concerns or debate the company’s activities,” said a Google spokeswoman in an email. “We have a responsibility to safeguard our user, business and customer information and these activities need to be done in line with our policies on data security.” The actions are just the latest chapter in an internal conflict that has been going on for almost two years. About 20,000 employees walked out last fall over the company’s generous treatment of executives accused of sexual harassment, and a handful quit over Google’s work on products for the U.S. military and a censored search engine for the Chinese market. Earlier this year, Google hired IRI Consultants, a firm that advises employers on how to combat labor organizing, and it recently fired four employees for what it said was violation of its policies on accessing sensitive data.The extent of Google’s employee rebellion is hard to measure—the company has tried to portray it as the work of a handful of malcontents from the company’s junior ranks. Nor are the company’s message boards unilaterally supportive of revolt. “We want to focus on our jobs when we come into the workplace rather than deal with a new cycle of outrage every few days or vote on petitions for or against Google’s latest project,” wrote one employee on an internal message board viewed by Bloomberg News.  Still, the company seems stuck in a cycle of escalation. Walker’s internal critics say his Nov. 14 email is part of a broader erosion of one of Google’s most distinctive traits—its extreme internal transparency. The fight also illustrates the lack of trust between Google’s leadership and some of its employees, according to interviews with over a dozen current and former employees, as well as internal messages shared with Bloomberg News on the condition it not publish the names of employees who participated.The conflict comes as Google is changing in other ways, too. On Dec. 3, Sundar Pichai, who took over as Google’s chief executive office in 2015, became the head of Alphabet, its parent company. His elevation marks the end of the active involvement of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who established Google’s distinctive culture when they founded the company as Stanford graduate students. Pichai has at times supported internal activism. He spoke at an employee protest against the Trump administration’s immigration policies and apologized to employees for Google’s track record on sexual harassment. His executives met repeatedly with critics of the company’s military work. Some Google managers began signaling that they're losing patience with internal activism even before the firings, according to one person who worked with them. Executives have not met with dissenting staff leadership in many weeks, according to one of the employees.While Walker wrote in the “Daily Insider” that organizations have to change as they grow, he simultaneously argued that the policies he described had always existed. “It was that way since the early days of Google, and it’s that way now,” he wrote. This particularly offended several long-time Googlers, who said on internal message boards that Walker’s comments didn’t square with their own memories. For some of them, the incident illustrated a broader breakdown in their trust of leadership. “I want to believe that executive management is saying everything—disclosing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” said Bruce Hahne, a Google technical project manager. “I don’t think we are currently under those conditions.”Hahne, 51, doesn’t meet the Google management’s profile of internal protestors. He joined the company in 2005, a year after Pichai, partly because he was attracted to its mission to organize the world’s information. His disillusionment crept in gradually during the company’s myriad controversies. In an online essay, Hahne compared Google to a “rogue machine” that was “originally created for good but whose psyche has turned corrupt and destructive,” much like Hal 9000 from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. “You don’t treat a rogue machine like family,” wrote Hahne, “instead you come up with a plan, you disable or dismantle the dysfunctional parts of the machine, and you seek to reprogram the machine to serve its original purpose.” When it was founded two decades ago, Google established an unusual corporate practice. Nearly all of its internal documents were widely available for workers to review. A programmer working on Google search could for instance, dip into the software scaffolding of Google Maps to crib some elegant block of code to fix a bug or replicate a feature. Employees also had access to notes taken during brainstorming sessions, candid project evaluations, computer design documents, and strategic business plans. (The openness doesn’t apply to sensitive data such as user information.)The idea came from open-source software development, where the broader programming community collaborates to create code by making it freely available to anyone with ideas to alter and improve it. The philosophy came with technical advantages. “That interconnected way of working is an integral part of what got Google to where it is now,” said John Spong, a software engineer who worked at Google until this July.Google has flaunted its openness as a recruiting tool and public relations tactic as recently as 2015. "As for transparency, it’s part of everything we do," Laszlo Bock, then the head of Google human relations, said in an interview that year. He cited the immediate access staff have to software documentation, and said employees "have an obligation to make their voices heard."Google’s open systems also proved valuable for activists within the company, who have examined its systems for evidence of controversial product developments and then circulated their findings among colleagues. Such investigations have been integral to campaigns against the projects for the Pentagon and China. Some people involved in this research refer to it as "internal journalism."Management would describe it differently. In November, Google fired four engineers who it said had been carrying out “systematic searches for other employees’ materials and work. This includes searching for, accessing, and distributing business information outside the scope of their jobs.” The engineers said they were active in an internal campaign against Google’s work with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and denied violating the company’s data security policies.Rebecca Rivers, one of the fired employees, said she initially logged into Google’s intranet, a web portal open to all staff, and typed the terms: “CBP” and “GCP,” for Google Cloud Platform. “That’s how simple it was,” she said. “Anyone could have stumbled onto it easily,” she said.In an internal email describing the firings, Google accused one employee of tracking a colleague’s calendar without permission, gathering information about both personal and professional appointments in a way that made the targeted employee feel uncomfortable. Laurence Berland, one of the employees who was fired recently, acknowledged he had accessed internal calendars, but said they were not private. He used them to confirm his suspicions that the company was censoring employees. Berland, who first joined Google in 2005, added that he felt the company was punishing him for breaking a rule that didn’t exist at the time of the alleged violations.  Google declined to identify the four employees it fired, but a company spokeswoman said the person who tracked calendars accessed unauthorized information.Other employees say they are now afraid to click on certain documents from other teams or departments because they are worried they could later be disciplined for doing so, a fear the company says is unfounded. Some workers have interpreted the policies as an attempt to stifle criticism of particular projects, which they allege amounts to a violation of the company’s code of conduct. These employees point to a clause in the code that actively encourages dissent: “Don’t be evil, and if you see something that you think isn’t right—speak up!” Workers are "trying to report internally on problematic situations, and in some cases are not being allowed to make that information useful and accessible,” said Hahne. There is now a “climate of fear” inside Google offices, he said.Google’s permissive workplace culture became the prime example of Silicon Valley’s brand of employment. But transparency is hardly universal. Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. demand that workers operate in rigid silos to keep the details of sensitive projects from leaking to competitors. Engineers building a phone’s camera may have no idea what the people building its operating system are doing, and vice versa. Similar restrictions are common at government contractors and other companies working with clients who demand discretion.The specifics of Google’s business operations traditionally haven’t required this level of secrecy, but that is changing. Google’s cloud business in particular requires it to convince business clients it can handle sensitive data and work on discrete projects. This has brought it more in line with its secrecy-minded competitors. The protests themselves have also inspired new restrictions, as executives have looked to cut off the tools of the activists it argues are operating in bad faith.Google’s leaders have acknowledged the delicacy of adjusting a culture that has entrenched itself over two decades. “Employees today are much, much more active in the governance in the company,” Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO and chair, said at an event at Stanford University in October. Amy Edmonson, a professor of leadership and management at Harvard Business School, said that Google’s idealistic history increases the burden on its executives to bring along reluctant employees as it adopts more conventional corporate practices. “It’s just really important that if you’re going to do something that is perceived as change that you’re going to explain it,” she said.Bock, the company’s former HR director who is now CEO of Humu, a workplace software startup, suggested that Google hasn’t succeeded here. “Maybe Alphabet is just a different company than it used to be,” he wrote in an email to Bloomberg News. “But not everyone’s gotten the memo.” (Corrects Berland comment in 19th paragraph.)\--With assistance from Josh Eidelson.To contact the authors of this story: Ryan Gallagher in London at rgallagher76@bloomberg.netMark Bergen in San Francisco at mbergen10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Brustein at jbrustein@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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  • Energy Efficiency Is a Hot Problem for Big Tech’s Data Centers
    Bloomberg

    Energy Efficiency Is a Hot Problem for Big Tech’s Data Centers

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Electrons aren’t much of a growth industry in the U.S., the second-largest electricity market in the world after China. Electricity sales rose last year, after nearly a decade of being flat or falling slightly, but are still only up 3% since 2007. There is one market, though, where demand for electrons is booming: data centers. That power-hungry growth market, though, is also where some of the world’s biggest, most capitalized and most innovative companies are bringing their might to bear. Before getting into that innovation, though, there’s a crucial equation to consider: the power usage effectiveness ratio, or PUE. PUE is a measure of a data center’s energy efficiency — the ratio of total energy used divided by energy consumed specifically for information technology activities. The theoretical ideal PUE is 1, where 100% of electricity consumption goes toward useful computation. All the other stuff — power transformers, uninterruptible power supplies, lighting and especially cooling — uses power but doesn’t compute, and as a result raises a data center’s PUE. A 2016 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study listed what was, at the time, PUE for facilities at various scales: a server sitting in a room, a server in a closet, a “hyperscale” extremely large data center. The smaller the server, the higher its ratio and the lower its efficiency. For the smallest server spaces, the PUE is above 2, meaning that more than half of its energy use is for things other than computing. For hyperscale, the PUE is 1.2 — meaning that most of the energy is going to computation. Here are that same data, expressed a bit differently, to show a server or data center’s power consumption by use. Here you can see that the smallest applications used more power for cooling than for computation. But at hyperscale data centers, more than 80% of power consumption went to IT (servers, networking and storage), and only 13% went to cooling. But now, with so much computation happening in the cloud (and, in reality, in hyperscale data centers), it’s worth finding out what today’s PUEs are and just how close they can get to that theoretical ideal of 1.0. A recent Uptime Institute survey of 1,600 data center owners and operators found that 2019’s average PUE is 1.67, and that “improvements in data center facility energy efficiency have flattened out and even deteriorated slightly in the past two years.” That PUE means that 60% of data center electricity consumption is going to IT, and the rest to cooling, lighting and so on. However, some operators are doing much better than that. Google says that its data centers have a PUE of 1.1, with some centers going as low as 1.06. There’s some seasonality in play, particularly because most of Google’s data centers are in the Northern Hemisphere; its Singapore data center has the highest PUE and is the least efficient of its sites. That’s not surprising given Singapore is hot and humid year-round. One key way to lower the cooling demand for a data center is to cool only to the temperature at which the machines are comfortable, not to where humans are most comfortable. For Google, that’s a temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s another approach, and one that draws on computation itself: machine learning. Google unleashed its DeepMind machine learning platform on the problem of data center energy efficiency three years ago; last year, it effectively turned over control to its own artificial intelligence: In 2016, we jointly developed an AI-powered recommendation system to improve the energy efficiency of Google’s already highly-optimised data centres. Our thinking was simple: even minor improvements would provide significant energy savings and reduce CO2 emissions to help combat climate change.Now we’re taking this system to the next level: instead of human-implemented recommendations, our AI system is directly controlling data centre cooling, while remaining under the expert supervision of our data centre operators. This first-of-its-kind cloud-based control system is now safely delivering energy savings in multiple Google data centres.It seems likely that more of that sort of approach will be adopted by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, IBM and other major cloud computing firms. Even with efficiency gains, data center electricity demand is voracious and growing; that growth has a number of implications for the power grid and for power utilities. The first is that many of these major consumers of electricity are also contracting for wind and solar power to meet their demand. The second is that, with many data centers clustering in locations such as Northern Virginia, data center loads are becoming a meaningful share of utility peak demand in a given service territory. Recent BloombergNEF research finds that data centers could make up 15% of Dominion Energy Inc.’s summer peak demand by 2024. Given that data center operators have every incentive to economize on electricity, utilities need to compete to provide service. Preferential — and confidential — contracts for power supply are one way to do that, with the result being that other rate payers bear the cost, as Bloomberg News reported last year. Gains in efficiency don’t mean that data center demand for electricity is going down. Their scale and growth is a testament to their power usage effectiveness. Their preferential contracts for electricity, on the other hand, feel like a testament to their effective usage of a different kind of power: buying power. Weekend readingChevron Corp.’s $10 billion to $11 billion impairment charge, related mostly to its Appalachian natural gas assets, “ushers in oil’s era of the sober-major.” Chevron has also called time on the Kitimat liquefied natural gas export plant in British Columbia, writing off years of development while also planning to sell its 50% stake. Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. has launched the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier. Tesla Inc. has lost its third general counsel in the course of a year. Vancouver-based Harbour Air Ltd.’s electric seaplane has taken flight. I looked at the environmental implications of electrifying aviation last month. Stanford University has released its 2019 Artificial Intelligence Index Report.  Venture capital fund Piva, funded by $250 million from Malaysia’s Petronas, has launched with a focus on energy and industry. Bloomberg Media will acquire CityLab, a news site covering “urban innovation and the future of cities.” Nomura Holdings Inc. will acquire sustainable technology and infrastructure boutique investment bank Greentech Capital Advisors. Hiro Mizuno, the chief investment officer of Japan’s $1.6 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund, has “embraced ESG principles so enthusiastically” that the fund will not award new mandates to managers without environmental, social and governance credentials. Considering the legacy of Xie Zhenhua, a key architect of the Paris Agreement and China’s climate negotiator for more than a decade. Greta Thunberg is Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Get Sparklines delivered to your inbox. Sign up here.To contact the author of this story: Nathaniel Bullard at nbullard@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Brooke Sample at bsample1@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Nathaniel Bullard is a BloombergNEF energy analyst, covering technology and business model innovation and system-wide resource transitions.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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  • Subscription Revenue Growth Is a Big Positive for Amazon Stock
    InvestorPlace

    Subscription Revenue Growth Is a Big Positive for Amazon Stock

    Last month, my column on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) stock was relatively bearish on the company's medium-term outlook. I contended that the company's margins were under pressure and could impact its earnings growth.With AMZN stock trading at a forward price-earnings ratio of 65, the stock is likely to fall. It is worth noting that AMZN stock has already fallen 15% from its 52-week high of $2,035. Another 10% to 15% correction from its current levels would make AMZN stock attractive for long-term investors.Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com However, there is little doubt in my mind that Amazon stock price will remain in a long-term uptrend. With its international expansion, its cloud business, and the inroads it's making with brick-and-mortar stores, Amazon stock has several positive catalysts.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips Subscription Services Revenue GrowthIn this column, I will focus on some of the company's long-term positive catalysts. One of the factors that will boost its cash flows in coming years is its subscription services revenue growth.For the first three quarters of 2019, Amazon's subscription services revenue rose 35% year-over-year to $13.9 billion. The company's Amazon Prime service is its main source of subscription revenue. But it also includes all of its other non-cloud subscription services.For all of 2019, Amazon is likely to report subscription services revenue of about $18.5 billion. Assuming its subscription services revenue jumps an average of 30% in the next five years, Amazon is poised to report revenue of $68 billion from the segment over that period. As more consumers globally subscribe to Amazon Prime to benefit from its offers and superior service, the company can easily meet that 30% estimate. * These 7 S&P 500 Stocks Will Deliver a Repeat Performance in the Next Decade For example, AMZN announced that its Amazon Fresh grocery service will be free for Prime members. Amazon had previously charged a monthly fee of $14.99 for its grocery deliveries. The change provides more free benefits to Prime members and gives them more incentive to shop from Amazon Fresh, boosting the company's groceries business.I am bullish on the company's international markets. India holds immense potential for AMZN and AMZN stock. India has a population of 1.3 billion, and Amazon has a market share of 31% there. As a major player in the country's e-commerce market, Amazon is positioned to benefit from rising e-commerce sales in India. Currently, Amazon offers Prime in India at an annual cost of $15. Even if the subscription fee remains low, India's hundreds of millions of consumers can meaningfully boost Amazon's subscription services revenue, providing a positive catalyst for AMZN stock. Amazon's International Operating Losses NarrowIn the first three quarters of 2017, Amazon's reported operating losses from its international business of $2.1 billion. That figure fell to $1.5 billion in 2018 and to $1.1 billion this year.While aggressively expanding overseas, Amazon focused on increasing its market share through intense marketing and offers. Its focus is gradually shifting to generating robust cash flows from international markets over the long-term.I believe that its international sales will continue to grow, boosting its operating profits. A possible increase in its subscription service revenue could also raise its operating profits. That would help improve its company-wide EBITDA margin and cash flows.Of course, international expansion comes with foreign exchange risk as well as regulatory risks. As an example, the Indian government has questioned Amazon on what the government alleges are "predatory prices" and "deep discount sales." Regulations can impact the company's growth in markets like China and India, in particular. My Final Thoughts on AMZN StockAMZN stock has been trading sideways, and I expect Amazon stock price to decline in the medium term. However, the stock is worth accumulating on any deep correction.I believe that the company's cash flows will continue to swell in the coming years, while its international markets will increasingly contribute to its cash flows. In addition, its healthy top-line growth will continue, while its cloud business has a great deal of potential.Its subscription services revenue will also grow at a healthy pace. Besides Amazon Prime, services like Kindle, Audible and Amazon music will contribute subscription revenue.Overall, AMZN stock should be kept on investors' radar and can be accumulated on pullbacks.As of this writing, Faisal Humayun did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * These 7 S&P 500 Stocks Will Deliver a Repeat Performance in the Next Decade * 7 Tech Stocks to Stuff Your Stocking With * 7 Sinfully Good Casino Stocks That Could Win the Jackpot in 2020 The post Subscription Revenue Growth Is a Big Positive for Amazon Stock appeared first on InvestorPlace.