|Day's Range||42.55 - 42.55|
The head of Facebook’s blockchain project discussed the future of Libra, regulatory hurdles and improving commerce on the platform in a wide-ranging interview with Yahoo Finance reporter Brian Cheung in Washington, DC.
The "delete Facebook" trend is on the rise again. The hashtag started popping up on Twitter again after Politico reported the company's CEO Mark Zuckerberg was meeting secretly with conservative pundits. Yahoo Finance’s Zack Guzman and Heidi Chung discuss with JMP Securities Managing Director and Equity Research Analyst Devin Ryan on YFi PM.
Despite having high-profile defections in the past week, Facebook's Libra Association proceeded with its inaugural members meeting.
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Facebook, International Business Machines, Microsoft, SAP and Accenture
Developer Jay Paul Co. took the unusual step of spending millions to completely outfit the grand penthouse to lure the most discerning — and deep-pocketed — buyers.
A software engineer at Facebook Inc. says he was fired for speaking out about his colleague’s suicide at the company's Menlo Park headquarters.
The Facebook executive behind the Libra blockchain project says its developers are designing the cryptocurrency under the assumption that it could grow large enough to present risks to the economy.
There were variations among the dozen Democratic presidential candidates, but it was clear that the wealthiest, who own the lion’s share of financial assets, were being targeted.
(Bloomberg) -- One of the sharper exchanges in Tuesday’s Democratic primary debate centered on the crucial public policy question of what to do about President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.During a broader back-and-forth over the power of large technology companies, Senator Kamala Harris repeatedly demanded that Senator Elizabeth Warren support her effort to pressure Twitter to kick President Donald Trump off the platform. In response, Warren steered the conversation to her commitment not to accept big checks from tech executives. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who had been lamenting the prevalence of smartphone addiction a moment earlier, jumped in to complain that Americans weren’t getting paid for their data. “Who remembers getting your data check in the mail?” he asked. The exchange illustrated a wider dynamic of the Democrats’ approach to tech. The candidates all agree that something needs to be done about America’s technology giants. They just can’t agree on what that something is.The need for a crackdown on large U.S. technology companies has become an area of bipartisan agreement, with Republicans and Democrats alike raising concerns about market power, privacy and the influence large tech companies have over political discourse. But unlike time-worn political flash points like abortion or gun control, the tech debate has yet to be boiled down to simple left-right bromides that candidates can repeat on the stump. The result was an unfocused conversation on the debate stage. Warren, who was treated as the frontrunner throughout the evening, has put out the clearest plans among the Democratic candidates. For months she’s been calling to break up Facebook Inc., Amazon Inc. and Google. “I'm not willing to give up and let a handful of monopolists dominate our democracy and our economy. It's time to fight back,” she said Tuesday. Yang said he agreed with her diagnosis. “Monopolies need to be dealt with,” added Tom Steyer.But the conversation quickly shifted from antitrust to privacy to election security. And candidates weren’t just thinking about breaking up Big Tech. Senator Cory Booker called for antitrust action that focused on everything from “pharma to farms” – referencing efforts to investigate consolidation in the pharmaceutical and agricultural industry. Most candidates focused their ire on Facebook and Twitter Inc. Harris’s attempt to browbeat Warren into supporting her stance on banning Trump’s Twitter account was notable for how it highlighted a parallel with Warren’s own crusade to pressure Facebook to ban misleading Trump ads on Facebook. Warren declined to comply and called out Amazon’s dominance in online shopping, saying that it held a much larger share of online sales than Walmart does of brick-and-mortar commerce. At another moment in the debate, Senator Amy Klobuchar brought up the Honest Ads Act, a bill she co-sponsored that increases disclosure requirements on who is paying for online advertisements. For his part, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke said that Facebook should be treated like a publisher, seemingly an allusion to a 1990s-era law protecting technology platforms from much legal liability for content their users post to their websites. “We would allow no publisher to do what Facebook is doing,” O’Rourke said. On the other hand, O’Rourke said that he did not see it as the role of a presidential candidate to call out particular companies that needed to be broken up. It was a subtle dig at Warren, whose explicit plan to break up the companies has clearly made her the candidate who other candidates measure their own ideas on tech against. To contact the author of this story: Eric Newcomer in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Brustein at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Last week, lawmakers warned Libra Association members that they would share liability for issues with Facebook's planned digital currency.
(Bloomberg) -- Google’s latest smartphone demonstrates how artificial intelligence and software can enhance a camera’s capabilities, one of the most important selling points of any mobile device.The Pixel 4, the latest entrant in a phone line defined by its cameras, touts an upgraded ability to zoom in when shooting photos as its biggest upgrade. But the Alphabet Inc. company isn’t going about it the way that Samsung Electronics Co., Huawei Technologies Co. or Apple Inc. have done -- instead of adding multiple cameras with complicated optics, Google has opted for a single extra lens that relies on AI and processing to fill in the quality gap.In place of the usual spec barrage, Google prefers to talk about a “software-defined camera,” Isaac Reynolds, product manager on the company’s Pixel team, said in an interview. The device should be judged by the end-product, he argued, which Google claims is a 3x digital zoom that matches the quality of optical zoom from multi-lens arrays. The Pixel 4 has two lenses with a magnification factor between them that’s less than 2x, and the tech that extends that useful range is almost entirely software.The success of the Pixel’s camera is instrumental to Google’s broader ambitions: it drives Google Photos adoption, provides more fodder for Google’s image libraries, and helps create better experiences with augmented-reality applications -- such as this year’s new on-screen walking directions in Google Maps.Google’s IPhone Retort: More Cameras and AI in New Pixel PhonesSuper Res Zoom, a feature Google launched last year, uses the slight hand movements of a photographer when capturing a shot -- usually a hurdle to creating crisp images -- as an advantage in crafting an image that’s sharper than it otherwise would be. The camera shoots a burst of quick takes, each one from a slightly different position because of the camera shake, then combines them into a single image. It’s an algorithmic trick that lets Google collect more information from imaging hardware, and potentially also a moat against any rivals trying to copy Google -- because others can’t just buy the same imaging sensors and replicate the results.To augment its reliance on AI and machine-learning tasks, Google has designed and added its own Pixel Neural Core chip for the Pixel 4 lineup. It accelerates the machine-learning speed of the device and, again, is intended to differentiate Google’s offering from other Android smartphones on the market with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor at its core.The other major tool in Google’s AI kit is called RAISR, or Rapid and Accurate Image Super Resolution, which trains AI on vast libraries of images so it can more effectively enhance the resolution of images. The system is taught to recognize particular patterns, edges and visual features, so that when it detects them in lower-quality shots, it knows how to improve them. That’s key to creating zoom with “a lot smoother quality degradation,” as Reynolds put it. With more than a billion Google Photos users, the U.S. company has a massive supply of images to train its software on.Among the other features that Google offers with the Pixel 4 is the ability to identify the faces of people that a user photographs most often and ensure that they’re prioritized when capturing new snapshots -- making sure the camera focuses on them and that their eyes aren’t closed, for instance. That use of software technology has defined Google’s devices to date and is also evident in the way Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Apple aim to employ their own AI systems.To contact the reporter on this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- India’s largest startup is ready to birth its own unicorn. That’d be unusual anywhere, but that it’s happening in India offers some hope for the country’s long-awaited tech renaissance. This is also great news for Walmart Inc. The U.S. retail behemoth paid $16 billion for 77% of India e-commerce company Flipkart Group in May last year. That deal included payments unit PhonePe — an early pioneer in the digital-wallet business — which Flipkart had acquired two years earlier. Now Walmart is engineering a spinoff as part of a $1 billion funding round that could value payment unit at up to $10 billion and give the retailer an 82% stake in PhonePe and Flipkart, India’s Economic Times reported. From one $20.8 billion company 18 months ago, India will get two unicorns at a combined value of up to $30 billion.(1)There are already indications that PhonePe has shed its Flipkart training wheels. From 50% of its transactions three years ago, Flipkart now accounts for just 0.5%, Indian media outlet The Ken reported, citing PhonePe’s head of strategy and planning. During Flipkart’s annual Big Billion Days sale last month, PhonePe’s logo no longer had top billing on the e-commerce website, according to The Ken. Instead it was listed as just one of the many payment options available to online shoppers. That PhonePe is preparing to fly solo is also a sign of India’s maturing digital sector. Not only is the company willing to directly tackle rivals such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google Pay and Facebook Inc.’s forthcoming WhatsApp payments, but it’s also managing to survive in the scary wilderness beyond the gates of Flipkart. (Survive, of course, is a relative term. It’s likely still burning cash and posting losses, though at least it can keep up with well-funded adversaries, a key measure of success at this point in the game.)More broadly, the PhonePe spinoff would strengthen the case that a homegrown hero can hold its own when foreign rivals enter. Paytm, another Indian startup, is on the verge of landing a $2 billion round of funding from investors including Ant Financial, SoftBank Group Corp. and Discovery Capital Management which could give it a $16 billion valuation, Bloomberg News reported this week.Hopefully the momentum at both PhonePe and Paytm will spur more Indian entrepreneurship, feeding a rebirth in India’s tech sector not seen since the IT-outsourcing boom two decades ago. While that gave us Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Infosys Ltd., Wipro Ltd. and dozens more, most of those businesses focused on serving foreign needs. Now, a crop of stars is emerging to meet the needs of India’s 1.3 billion people. It’s not a big step from this spinoff to an actual IPO, a development that will put India back on the global technology map.(1) This assumes no reduced valuation for Flipkart.To contact the author of this story: Tim Culpan at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential candidates vowed to rein in dominant tech companies through tougher antitrust enforcement, complaining that companies like Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are too big and powerful.The candidates said Tuesday night at the Democratic presidential debate in Ohio that the U.S. suffers from monopoly power across the economy and they supported more vigorous enforcement of antitrust laws.“We have a massive crisis in our democracy with the way these tech companies are being used, not just in terms of anti-competitive practices but also to undermine our Democracy,” said Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.The debate underscored that support for a tougher approach to dealing with big technology companies goes beyond Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has called for breaking up Facebook, Google and Amazon.Warren called out Amazon specifically for running an online marketplace and competing with third-party sellers on the platform.“You get to be the umpire in the baseball game or you get to have a team, but you don’t get to do both at the same time,” Warren said. “We need to enforce our antitrust laws. Break up these giant companies that are dominating – big tech, big pharma, big oil. all of them.”Still, there were differences among them in approach. Andrew Yang said breaking up tech companies won’t revive main street businesses. Former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke said tech companies should be treated like publishers instead of like utilities. He criticized Warren for targeting specific companies, something he said President Donald Trump has done.“We will be unafraid to break up big businesses if we have to do that,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s the role of a president or a candidate for the presidency to specifically call out which companies will be broken up.”Harris and O’Rourke criticized social media companies for unevenly enforcing their rules for political content. Their comments came days after Warren’s campaign bought Facebook ads claiming Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg had endorsed President Donald Trump -- a falsehood quickly corrected in the ad itself but used to showcase that politicians can lie on the platform.Tech companies are facing rising bipartisan pressure throughout the U.S., and the Trump administration, Congress and even the states have quickly ramped up pressure on the companies, particularly on the question of whether they use their size to squelch competition.Alphabet Inc.’s Google faces antitrust probes by the Justice Department, and a separate investigation by a group of 51 attorneys general led by Texas who have demanded documents on the company’s sprawling and lucrative digital ads business. The Federal Trade Commission is also speaking to third-party merchants who sell through Amazon, Bloomberg has reported.Both the FTC and Justice Department, which split antitrust jurisdiction, are also probing the technology sector general, as is a congressional committee led by Democratic Representative David Cicilline that issued extensive document requests to Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple Inc. in September.After years of hands-off approach by policy-makers, Washington’s concerns have followed a swift decrease in the public’s positive attitudes toward big tech. Just 50% of U.S. adults said technology companies have a positive impact on the country, down from 71% in four years earlier, according to Pew Research Center survey results released July 29. Pew has previously found that a majority of Americans think tech wields too much power.\--With assistance from Ben Brody.To contact the reporters on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at email@example.com;Naomi Nix in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sara Forden at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The Facebook Inc. executive responsible for the embattled Libra cryptocurrency said he doesn’t fault companies that pulled out of the project, adding that he’s optimistic more organizations will sign on despite intense opposition from politicians who seem to fear financial innovation.“I totally respect the fact that those businesses and those leaders have a responsibility to their shareholders, employees and stakeholders,” Facebook’s David Marcus said in a Tuesday interview with Bloomberg Television. “We are going to move forward. We are going to add more members.”Facebook suffered a setback in recent days when a quarter of the membership of Libra’s governing body, the Libra Association, defected from the effort amid pushback from regulators and lawmakers. Among those who stepped away are some of the association’s most high-profile names, including Visa Inc., Stripe Inc. and Mastercard Inc.Visa, Stripe and Mastercard received letters earlier this month from Democratic U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Brian Schatz that urged the companies to “carefully consider” how they would manage potential risks associated with Libra before proceeding with the project. Asked if he thought the letter constituted a threat from the senators to the companies, Marcus responded, "I don’t know, what did it sound like to you?" He added that such correspondence can have a chilling effect.“For these types of letters to be circulated for a thing that is an idea -- a project -- and telling people you should not explore innovation,” that is a concern, Marcus said. “The core of our financial system has not evolved much. Consumers all around the world are paying the price for it,” he added.Facebook announced its Libra plans in June, saying the digital token would give consumers a low-cost way to make payments and transfer money across the globe. Regulators and lawmakers have expressed concerns that the coin would be used to bypass money-laundering rules and might undermine central banks’ control over monetary policy.The Libra Association, which held its first meeting in Geneva this week, has said it has more than enough willing companies waiting in the wings to join the project. There are 1,500 organizations who have expressed interest in signing on, the association said, though so far only 180 of them meet the organization’s criteria.Even if new backers do sign on, Libra is still a long way from reality. Facebook executives and the Libra Association have said they won’t launch the currency until regulators in the U.S. and elsewhere have been appeased.Industry-watchers will soon get a fresh look at lawmakers’ sentiment toward Libra. Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is slated to testify before the House Financial Services Committee next week.To contact the reporters on this story: Julie Verhage in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jesse Westbrook at firstname.lastname@example.org, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
On CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime Report," Jon Najarian spoke about unusually high options activity in American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ: AAL ) and Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB ). American Airlines ...
With the Dow rising, and risks from Brexit and the trade war lower, investors are apparently ready to take a little risk. They’re selling utilities and staples and buying the market’s most risky stocks.
Senator Elizabeth Warren and former vice president Joe Biden are both critics of how Facebook runs its huge advertising business.
(Bloomberg) -- Elizabeth Warren pledged Tuesday to forgo any high-dollar fundraising events if she becomes the Democratic nominee, a move that would make her the first general-election candidate to do so and could be a high-stakes gamble against a cash-rich incumbent and a well-funded GOP apparatus.But Warren would still accept high-dollar contributions from most people who choose to write her a check without getting special access or seeing her in person. She also vowed to refuse to accept “any contributions over $200 from executives at big tech companies, big banks, private equity firms, or hedge funds.”Warren’s pledge also wouldn’t stop the party or super-PACs from raising vast amounts of money on her behalf. But it may stop wealthy donors from cutting big checks if they believe it won’t help them get access to the nominee.“When I’m the Democratic nominee for president, I’m not going to change a thing in how I run my campaign: No PACs. No federal lobbyists. No special access or call time with rich donors or big dollar fundraisers to underwrite my campaign,” Warren said in a statement released by her campaign.Still, some Democrats fear it would put the party at a huge fundraising disadvantage against President Donald Trump, who’s raking in vast sums of money from big donors by his own campaign and by super-PACs that support him.Rufus Gifford, the finance director for former President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, has said Warren’s earlier suggestions to avoid high-dollar events was “a colossally stupid decision” that would cost Democrats not only in the presidential contest but also in down-ballot races.But it also reflects her populist pitch to be a different kind of candidate who isn’t corrupted by special interest money, and so far she has proven adept at generating small-dollar contributions that are envied by her party rivals.A Warren campaign aide said the decision to accept no more than $200 from executives and big tech or financial firms was “retroactive” and any contributions above $200 from those people would be returned.The aide also said that big tech companies under this guideline will include Alphabet Inc., which is Google’s parent company; Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp., Lyft Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc.Nominees traditionally complain about the amount of time needed to raise money in a campaign and call for changes in financing presidential races, but then say they can’t “unilaterally disarm” against a well-funded opponent.Warren’s bet is that her pitch will propel her campaign in the Democratic contest -- where she’s tied with Joe Biden for the top spot -- and mobilize many of the estimated 100 million eligible voters who didn’t turn out in the 2016 election. Biden spends a significant amount of time raising money from traditional donor bases.It’s unclear how Warren’s pledge would apply to the Democratic National Committee, which can accept contributions from individuals of as much as $355,000 for various accounts, including $35,500 per donor that can be used to influence the election.And it wouldn’t apply to outside groups like super-PACs, which under federal law cannot coordinate their activities with campaigns. In 2016, Priorities USA had more than 30 individual donors who contributed more than $1 million.Obama barred contributions from registered lobbyists and corporate PACs. The DNC was outraised by its Republican counterpart in 2012 by almost $100 million, yet Obama, a popular incumbent, won overwhelmingly against rival Mitt Romney in the election. The party lifted the bans in 2016, and the DNC raised $354 million compared to $343 million for the Republican National Committee.Warren often highlights her approach to fundraising on the campaign trail, reassuring prospective voters that her campaign is fueled by them, not big dollar donors.“I don’t spend my time at fundraisers for bazilionaires and corporate executives,” Warren said during a town hall in Austin, Texas, last month. “I just don’t do it.”When asked whether her grassroots fundraising model could leave her without enough money to go against Trump in the general election, Warren was adamant that a flurry of contributions between $5 and $25 would be enough. Trump and the RNC raised $125 million in the first quarter, more than all of the major Democrats combined.“If you think it’s going to be all about scooping up a bunch of money from rich people, and then buying a bunch of TV ads, and that’s how it is someone’s gonna win, then, yeah, it looks like Trump’s doing a lot here,” Warren said recently in San Diego. “I just don’t think that’s how democracy works anymore. And I sure don’t think that’s how it’s going to work in 2020. I think it’s going to be about getting out and building a grassroots movement.”In his battle against Hillary Clinton in 2016, Bernie Sanders relied primarily on small-dollar donors to raise $235.4 million through the end of May 2016, nearly matching the $238.2 million she raised over the same period.But Clinton also had joint fundraising committees that raised millions for the Democratic National Committee and state parties.Trump is using the same arrangements to build a huge financial advantage over his rivals. His campaign and the RNC, plus a pair of joint fundraising committees that raise money for each, have taken more than $300 million through this year, according to Federal Election Commission reports and totals announced by Trump’s re-election effort.Warren has raised $60.2 million in the same period, including about $10 million she transferred from her Senate campaign.(Updates with Warren aide saying big tech donation policy was retroactive in eighth, ninth paragraphs.)To contact the reporters on this story: Sahil Kapur in Washington at email@example.com;Bill Allison in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at firstname.lastname@example.org, Max BerleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.