FB2A.BE - FACEBOOK INC.A DL-,000006

Berlin - Berlin Delayed Price. Currency in EUR
177.72
+1.42 (+0.81%)
At close: 8:06AM CET
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Previous Close176.30
Open177.72
Bid0.00 x 0
Ask0.00 x 0
Day's Range177.72 - 177.72
52 Week Range110.39 - 184.50
Volume25
Avg. Volume15
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  • Senators Look to Shore Up Data Security
    Bloomberg

    Senators Look to Shore Up Data Security

    Nov.18 -- Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, proposed a bill to limit data that gets transferred to China and Russia. Ben Brody Kurt Wagner report on "Bloomberg Technology."

  • Sir Martin Sorrell on Political Ads
    Bloomberg

    Sir Martin Sorrell on Political Ads

    Nov.18 -- Tech companies are responsible for their content, says S4 Capital's Sir Martin Sorrell on 'Bloomberg Technology.'

  • Dow Jones Futures Fall On China Tensions; Pinduoduo, Target Earnings On Tap
    Investor's Business Daily

    Dow Jones Futures Fall On China Tensions; Pinduoduo, Target Earnings On Tap

    Futures fell on China tensions over Hong Kong. Facebook and Visa broke out Tuesday, expanding stock market leadership. Pinduoduo and Target earnings are due.

  • Bloomberg

    Google CEO Opens New Japan Campus in Tokyo’s Trendy Shibuya District

    (Bloomberg) -- Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai was in Tokyo Tuesday to inaugurate the relocation of the company’s Japanese head office to an expansive new complex in the trendy district of Shibuya.Taking up the majority of the gleaming new 35-floor Shibuya Stream skyscraper, Google has put its name on the building and dedicated two floors to a newly launched Google for Startups Campus, which is its seventh in the world and second in Asia after Seoul.Agnieszka Hryniewicz-Bieniek, the director of Google for Startups, said that the company will run an accelerator program early next year that will select 12 startups looking to scale up their work on artificial intelligence and machine learning, both critical aspects of Google’s current and future operations. She also stressed the importance of inclusiveness at an event where the Wi-Fi password was BuildInclusiveTeams.“We would like Campus Tokyo to support women founders,” she said, and that Google is proud that 37% of its Campus participants are female entrepreneurs, a higher proportion than the wider startup ecosystem. “So when they go to the next stage of growth, we’re behind them, we’re supporting them.”The Campus initiative extends Google’s effort to combine education and training for startups with evangelism for the use of its cloud and business services. Co-location with Google’s main office will make it easy for experts from Google’s developer relations and web marketing teams to make themselves available to help budding entrepreneurs, Google said.Joined by Japan’s Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Sanae Takaichi on stage, Pichai said he had toured some of the venues for next year’s Tokyo Olympics, which Google will be supporting through its various services like Google Maps and Translate. “Ultimately, we want to make sure the legacy of technology innovation extends far beyond 2020. This Google for Startups Campus is one part of that,” he said at the opening.AI has been topical in Japan recently, with SoftBank Group Corp. announcing plans to combine its Yahoo Japan internet business with Naver Corp.’s Line messaging service in an effort to create an AI tech leader capable of rivaling U.S. juggernauts like Google and Facebook Inc. On Monday, Peter Thiel visited Tokyo to introduce Palantir Technologies Japan Co., which will use AI to make sense of large volumes of unwieldy data in the fields of health and cybersecurity.Google has said the move to Shibuya Stream will double its employee headcount in Japan to beyond 2,000. The company’s first office outside the U.S. was in Tokyo, opening in 2001. It said it has “invested heavily” in Japan over the years and earlier in 2019 committed to training 10 million people in digital skills by 2022. Its so-called Grow with Google program is the Campus equivalent for individual job-seekers and students.“At Google, we are deeply committed to fostering Japanese startups,” Pichai said.(Updates with details of accelerator from second paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at vsavov5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Vlad Savov, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Facebook, IBD Stock Of The Day, Breaks Out From Cup-With-Handle Pattern
    Investor's Business Daily

    Facebook, IBD Stock Of The Day, Breaks Out From Cup-With-Handle Pattern

    Facebook is getting renewed attention after an earnings report that eased concerns about spending and revenue deceleration. Revenue jumped 29% to $17.65 billion and earnings surged 20%..

  • Nasdaq, Small Caps Lead But Dow Drags; Facebook Breaks Out
    Investor's Business Daily

    Nasdaq, Small Caps Lead But Dow Drags; Facebook Breaks Out

    Stock indexes were mixed Tuesday as the Nasdaq — helped by a breakout in Facebook stock — climbed 0.4%. But the Dow Jones Industrial Average lagged.

  • Reuters

    UPDATE 1-Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple offer defense in congressional antitrust probe

    WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Four top U.S. tech companies, Alphabet's Google, Facebook, Amazon.com and Apple, responded to questions from a congressional committee by defending their practices and declining to answer some questions. The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, which released the answers Tuesday, had sent the queries as part of its antitrust probe of the four giants, which face a long list of other antitrust probes. Facebook and Apple declined comment for this story while Amazon and Google had no immediate comment.

  • Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple offer defense in congressional antitrust probe
    Reuters

    Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple offer defense in congressional antitrust probe

    WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Four top U.S. tech companies, Alphabet's Google, Facebook, Amazon.com and Apple, responded to questions from a congressional committee by defending their practices and declining to answer some questions. The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, which released the answers Tuesday, had sent the queries as part of its antitrust probe of the four giants, which face a long list of other antitrust probes. Facebook and Apple declined comment for this story while Amazon and Google had no immediate comment.

  • Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple Push Back on House Tech Concerns
    Bloomberg

    Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple Push Back on House Tech Concerns

    (Bloomberg) -- Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple defended their business practices in responses to detailed questions by lawmakers conducting an inquiry into antitrust issues in the tech sector.The answers, released Tuesday by the House subcommittee overseeing the probe, come as antitrust scrutiny of the companies has escalated rapidly, with federal and state enforcers opening formal investigations into Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.The four companies received the questions from Democratic Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who chairs the panel, in September. Separately, the whole committee issued requests for extensive records on the firms’ business practices, acquisitions, executive communications and other issues. The companies also are in the process of responding to those requests.Here’s what the four firms said:GoogleDisputed the idea that it controls too much of the search market and the digital ad ecosystem.Downplayed suggestions that it prioritizes its own services.Denied that advertisers can only use Google Display & Video 360 ad service to purchase advertising inventory on its YouTube video platform, saying certain partners can buy ads directly from Google’s sales team.Denied that its search ranking system considers whether a publisher has adopted use of its Accelerated Mobile Pages -- a format that hosts web content directly inside search results. Google has said that the new format significantly accelerated loading times on websites.FacebookDefended policies that restricted some third-party app developers from using its platform, insisting it has never tied access to its data to spending on advertising even though documents from a lawsuit have told a different story.Said its changes to WhatsApp’s privacy policy were consistent with its promises not to alter the chat platform’s sharing practices.Explained that it restricted video app Vine from its platform in 2013 because it “considered Vine to be an app that replicated Facebook’s core News Feed functionality.”AmazonPushed back against criticism that it unfairly competes with third-party sellers in its marketplace with its own products, saying its decision-making for how third-party sellers are treated is driven by a desire to give consumers wide selection, low prices and convenient delivery.Defended its private-label line known as AmazonBasics, saying private-label products are a “common retail practice.” It said it “generally does not distinguish the treatment of brands” based on the brand owner.Said its algorithm for listing shopping results doesn’t consider whether a merchant uses its Fulfillment by Amazon logistics service or whether a product is Amazon’s private label.Said it prohibits its private-label business from using individual sellers’ data to make decisions about product introductions, pricing or inventory.ApplePointed out that there are many apps that compete with its own services such as web browsing, maps, music and video.Said that users cannot uninstall its Safari web browser from the iPhone or switch to another default because Safari is “an essential part of iPhone’s functionality” as an operating system app.Explained that it’s not possible to reliably repair some products “because it is not feasible to split products into its component parts without significant risk of damage to those components.”\--With assistance from Naomi Nix, Gerrit De Vynck, Joe Light, David McLaughlin and Mark Gurman.To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at btenerellabr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, Mark NiquetteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Top Tech Stocks for December 2019
    Investopedia

    Top Tech Stocks for December 2019

    The technology sector is made up of companies that, among other things, manufacture consumer electronics and their components, develop software, and provide information technology (IT) services like cloud hosting. Below, we'll examine the top three stocks in the tech sector for best value, fastest earnings growth, and most momentum. HP announced in November that its board of directors had unanimously rejected an unsolicited proposal from Xerox to acquire the computer manufacturing company.

  • Bloomberg

    ‘Hipster Antitrust’ Might End the Megamerger Party

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- A few months ago, a group of Democratic senators, several of them presidential candidates and all members of the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee(1), wrote a letter to Joseph Simons, the Republican chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, to criticize two monster pharma deals under regulatory review: the $63 billion Allergan PLC-AbbVie Inc. merger, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s $74 billion purchase of Celgene Corp.Consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry, the senators wrote,is occurring against a backdrop of ever-rising prescription drug spending….It is more important than ever that the FTC take appropriate action to protect consumers. The Federal Trade Commission must carefully consider whether the proposed transactions may lessen competition, stifle innovation, or harm consumers.“The proposed AbbVie/Allergan and Bristol-Myers Squibb/Celgene transactions,” they added, “raise significant antitrust issues.”The FTC has not yet ruled on the Allergan-AbbVie deal, which was only announced in June, and which the companies hope to complete in early 2020.But on Friday, Simons and the two other Republican commissioners on the five-member FTC brushed aside the concerns of the Democrats and approved the Bristol-Myers Squibb deal with Celgene. Its only condition was that Celgene sell Otezla, its blockbuster psoriasis drug, apparently because Bristol-Myers Squibb has a promising psoriasis drug of its own in a phase 3 trial. The FTC has historically frowned on merged drug companies keeping overlapping drugs, fearing excessive market control.The FTC’s two Democratic commissioners, Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, dissented, something Chopra in particular has made a habit of doing since he joined the FTC in 2018. During the Obama administration, Chopra was the student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he attempted to spur competition in student lending.  At the FTC, he quickly gained a reputation for being in the vanguard of what’s sometimes called “hipster antitrust” — the effort to infuse new thinking into the antitrust arena.Much of this new thinking has been spurred by the rise of the big three tech giants, Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, and Amazon.com Inc. Chopra has criticized the fines the FTC has levied against Facebook and YouTube (which is owned by Google), saying that “when a company can pay a fine from its ill-gotten gains, that’s not a penalty — that’s an incentive.”  He seeks remedies that will diminish their market power and permanently alter their behavior.But Chopra isn’t just focused on Big Tech. He believes that in industry after industry, concentration has gone too far. The result, he concludes, has been less innovation, higher barriers to entry for new market entrants and higher prices for consumers. And because the FTC must approve mergers in a variety of sectors — chemical companies, agricultural concerns and, yes, pharmaceuticals — he is in a position to do something about it. Or rather, he may be soon, depending on the result of the 2020 election.Which is also why his dissents are worth noting. They offer an insight into how a Democratic administration might tackle market power and industry consolidation at a time when the status quo no longer seems acceptable.At the FTC, there has long been a bipartisan consensus that so long as two drug companies didn’t have overlapping products — or if they were willing to divest them — the merger would be approved. This long-standing practice, Chopra wrote in his dissent, is no longer good enough: “Some evidence shows that these mergers have choked off innovation, creating harms that are immeasurable for those waiting for a cure.”  He then lays out all the elements of Bristol-Myers Squibb merger with Celgene that he believes the FTC should have considered:This massive $74 billion merger between Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) and Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG) may have significant implications for patients and inventors, so we must be especially vigilant. In my view, this transaction appears to be heavily motivated by financial engineering and tax considerations (as opposed to a genuine drive for greater discovery of lifesaving medications), without clear benefits to patients or the public….In addition, there are also concerns about a history of anticompetitive conduct.(2)Expansive investigation for mergers like these is time well spent.He then goes on to list the questions he believes the FTC should have tried to answer—questions that go well beyond overlapping drugs:Will the merger facilitate a capital structure that magnifies incentives to engage in anticompetitive conduct or abuse of intellectual property? Will the merger deter formation of biotechnology firms that fuel much of the industry’s innovation? How can we know the effects on competition if we do not rigorously study or investigate these and other critical questions? Given our approach, I am not confident that the Commission has sufficient information to determine the full scope of potential harms to competition of this massive merger.Here is something else Chopra believes: The FTC has plenty of statutory authority to bring antitrust actions — or block mergers on antitrust grounds. It’s just that it has rarely used that authority, preferring instead to take the same laissez faire approach as the Justice Department and the courts. “What we’re advocating is not radical,” Chopra told me recently. “It’s a restoration. We have to see this as a core part of the economic policy tool kit.”So far in this early phase of the presidential race, corporate executives have tended to focus on, say, Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax. That’s understandable, but a wealth tax will require Congress to pass a bill. So will Medicare For All, and any number of policies the various Democratic candidates hope to implement.But changing the government’s approach to antitrust — getting tougher on mergers and maybe even calling for some companies to be broken up — doesn’t require legislation. When a group of senators (some of whom also happen to be presidential candidates) writes to the FTC calling for greater scrutiny of a big pharma merger — and a leading light of the new antitrust movement is in the vanguard — it’s a pretty good bet that this is one thing that will change if there’s a new administration.Brace yourselves, Corporate America. The merger party may be coming to an end.(1) Its official name is the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights.(2) Chopra’s dissent links to this 2018 NPR article, about the steps Celgene took to keep its multiple myeloma drug, Revlimid, away from generic competition.To contact the author of this story: Joe Nocera at jnocera3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Timothy L. O'Brien at tobrien46@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joe Nocera is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He has written business columns for Esquire, GQ and the New York Times, and is the former editorial director of Fortune. His latest project is the Bloomberg-Wondery podcast "The Shrink Next Door."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • U.S. Big Tech Could Learn From Russia's Yandex
    Bloomberg

    U.S. Big Tech Could Learn From Russia's Yandex

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Yandex NV, Russia’s biggest technology company, has figured out how to avoid nationalization or a foreign ownership ban. Big Tech in the U.S. should pay attention: The governance scheme Yandex appears to have worked out in consultation with the Russian government could be a good solution for companies that are de facto public utilities under private control.Yandex, set up in 2000 to monetize a search engine developed in the 1990s by the team of co-founder Arkady Volozh, is as close as it gets in Russia to a Silicon Valley-style internet giant. For a long time, it mainly aped Google’s services for the Russian market, but it has grown into a conglomerate that developed or bought up other businesses, from marketplaces to delivery projects. It’s not just Russia’s Google but Russia’s Amazon and Russia’s Uber, too (it first outcompeted Uber’s Russian operation, then swallowed it up). In fact, when Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a “sovereign internet” law earlier this year, officially meant to keep web services functioning inside Russia should the U.S. cut the country off from the worldwide computer network, many said Yandex would be that “sovereign internet.”Yandex’s size and its ability to match the tech giants have made the company strategic for the Russian government. As early as 2009, Volozh had to protect Yandex from nationalization or from being taken over by one of Putin’s billionaire friends by issuing a “golden share,” which could block the sale of more than 25% of the company’s stock, to state-controlled Sberbank.But the government also could be helpful when Yandex needed it. In 2015, the Russian tech giant filed an antitrust complaint against Google, which had been eating into its market share on mobile, and in 2017 Google had to settle with the Russian antitrust authority, allowing Android smartphone vendors to install Yandex apps. Now, the Russian parliament is considering a bill that would ban the sale of phones and computers without pre-installed Russian software. Yandex would be the  main beneficiary.In Putin’s mind, that kind of protection comes at a price: Yandex must guarantee that it will never fall under foreign control. The previous “golden share” arrangement didn’t quite rule that out. Volozh and top employees control the company’s Class B stock, which gives them 57% of the voting power. If those shares are sold or their owners die, Class B shares will automatically convert to Class A ones, which are traded on stock exchanges, and foreign shareholders will end up with the most voting power.In July, legislator Anton Gorelkin introduced a bill that would limit the foreign ownership of strategically important internet companies to 20%. Yandex opposed it, but the government approved it, and it became clear that the bill would be passed. So Volozh began working feverishly on a solution, which was finally announced on Monday “after many months of discussion,” as Volozh wrote in a letter to employees. The company has set up a special body called the Public Interests Foundation, made up of representatives of Russia’s top math, engineering and business schools (most of them owned by the state) and Russia’s big-business lobby, the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. The foundation will have two seats out of 12 on Yandex’s board of directors, and it will have a veto on all deals involving 10% or more of Yandex stock, big intellectual property sales and any transfer of Russian citizens’ personal data.Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, denied that the Kremlin had taken part in the discussions mentioned in Volozh’s letter, but praised Yandex for appreciating the company’s “special responsibility” and the “special attention” on the part of the state that it enjoys. Immediately after the Yandex announcement, Gorelkin called the solution “elegant” and pulled his bill. All this was immediately reflected in a share price spike.This may read like a distinctively Russian story, in which a group of business founders is trying to avoid a state takeover and the Kremlin prefers not to establish formal control over the national tech champion while keeping a close eye on it. The schools provide a convenient smokescreen both for the government and for investors. But what Yandex has done isn’t only relevant within the context of Putin’s Russia. It could be seen as a template for Big Tech, even though Yandex’s market capitalization, at $13.2 billion, is only a fraction of Alphabet Inc.’s ($910.6 billion) or Facebook Inc.’s ($562.9 billion).These two companies that make up the internet’s advertising duopoly, are often discussed along with Amazon.com Inc. as public services rather than mere businesses by politicians on both the right and the left of the U.S. political spectrum. Last year, Republican Representative Steve King of Iowa proposed treating Google and Facebook as public utilities. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, would break up some of the Big Tech companies and designate some as “platform utilities” that would be banned from sharing user data with third parties and required to treat all users equally.Obviously, the tech firms are opposed to such heavy-handed regulation, but what they do on their own only brings them closer to a confrontation with governments, both in the U.S. and in Europe. Facebook’s refusal to police misleading political advertising and Google’s data-sharing practices scream for some kind of state interference. Like Yandex, the companies could act preemptively to set up governance structures that would veto business ideas viewed as damaging to society’s interests. Vesting veto powers in councils made up of the representatives of top universities and nongovernmental organizations could accomplish that purpose. If such a structure can win approval even from an authoritarian regime such as the Russian one (with the caveat that academic institutions in Russia aren’t as independent as those in the West), it could probably satisfy most Big Tech critics in democracies, too.  The alternative, as in Yandex’s case, could be far more restrictive.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at jlandman4@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Winklevoss Brothers Buy a Startup Founded by Identical Twins

    (Bloomberg) -- Crypto entrepreneurs Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss just made their first-ever acquisition, and the duo behind the company they bought couldn’t be more similar.Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster, 25, are also identical twins. While the 38-year-old Winklevoss brothers rowed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the other twins rowed in high school. That said, the Cock Fosters weren’t involved in the birthing of social network Facebook Inc.“You can’t make this stuff up,” Tyler Winklevoss said in a phone interview. “There are so many great parallels, it was just the right fit.”The two sets of twins came together over their belief in the future of so-called nifties. A niftie may be a cat from the CryptoKitties game, in which players breed the digital felines, or a token representing ownership in art, stamps and comic books -- an asset that is being kept track of via a blockchain digital ledger and is tradeable. To buy such a collectible, people typically have to open digital currency wallets, buy cryptocurrency on an exchange -- a process that can take hours and can be confusing.The Cock Fosters’ Nifty Gateway, which the Winklevoss’s Gemini Trust Co. bought for an undisclosed sum, lets anyone pay for nifties with a credit card, via a streamlined experience similar to checking out through Amazon. The company currently lets people buy nifties from Open Sea marketplace and CryptoKitties and Gods Unchained games. It doesn’t disclose its customer numbers or payment volume. But Duncan Cock Foster forecasts that nifties could one day attract 1 billion collectors. The Winklevoss expect that the market for nifties will be as big as the collectibles, art and gaming markets combined.“We believe in this future where all your assets will be on a blockchain and you may want to buy, sell and store them, and Nifty fits that vision,” Tyler Winklevoss said.While initially Gemini, with more than 220 employees, and Nifty, with three workers, will continue to operate as stand-alone companies, that could change, and some of Nifty’s features could make way into Gemini services.The Cock Foster brothers earned their bachelors of computer science and of mathematics, respectively, from different colleges in 2017 and entered the corporate world. Duncan Cock Foster worked as a developer for a consultancy for a year in San Francisco, while Griffin worked at Jet.com in the New York area, before they started Nifty in 2018.Duncan now owns about 300 nifties, and his brother -- 100. While most people currently don’t even know what the word means, the two sets of twins hope that will change.“All great companies, all great ideas there’s a period where you see a truth and many other people don’t, and you have to have that conviction,” Tyler Winklevoss said.To contact the reporter on this story: Olga Kharif in Portland at okharif@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeremy Herron at jherron8@bloomberg.net, Dave Liedtka, Rita NazarethFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    India Says Law Allows State to Snoop in WhatsApp

    (Bloomberg) -- India’s government said on Tuesday it’s “empowered” to intercept, monitor and decrypt digital information in the public interest as long as its agencies follow the law.Laws allowed federal and state governments to intercept “any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource,” G. Kishan Reddy, junior minister for India’s Ministry of Home Affairs told Parliament in a written reply when asked by an opposition lawmaker whether the government had snooped on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, and Google calls and messages.Information can only be intercepted by “authorized agencies as per due process of law, and subject to safeguards as provided in the rules,” the statement said.Reddy didn’t answer a question on whether the federal government had used the services of NSO Group’s Pegasus software to snoop on calls and messages on WhatsApp Inc’s mobile platform. Indian news reports had earlier this month listed activists and human rights lawyers who had spoken out against government policies as among those whose phones were hacked.Facebook Inc., parent of WhatsApp, informed about 1,400 users that a malware was sent on their devices using the video calling system, the company had said in a statement. Facebook has sued spyware manufacturer NSO, alleging that the Israeli company hacked into the mobile phones of users.The government can monitor digital information “in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above or for investigation of any offence,” Reddy said in his written statement to the parliament. ​No state agency has blanket permission for interception, he added. Each case is reviewed by a committee headed by the cabinet secretary in case of federal government and chief secretary of the state in case of a state government.​Facebook is currently fighting a case in India’s Supreme Court that may decide whether WhatsApp, other messaging services providers, and social media companies can be forced to trace and reveal the identity of the originator of a message. Facebook has invoked users’ right to privacy as part of its defense in the top court.India plans to introduce rules to regulate social media because it can cause “unimaginable disruption” to democracy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said in a legal document filed in the nation’s Supreme Court last month.To contact the reporter on this story: Archana Chaudhary in New Delhi at achaudhary2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Muneeza NaqviFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • How Activists Are Getting Around Iran’s Internet Blackout
    Bloomberg

    How Activists Are Getting Around Iran’s Internet Blackout

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The latest unrest in Iran is about something far more serious than rising gasoline prices. The proof is that, over the weekend, the regime took most of the country offline.NetBlocks, a nongovernmental organization that monitors digital rights, says that by Saturday, Iran’s internet connectivity was 5% of what it was earlier in the week. The clampdown began on Friday, coinciding with demonstrations and protests throughout Iran, with intermittent outages in major cities such as Tehran and Shiraz. By Saturday, the group said, it had “proceeded to a disconnection of all mobile networks followed by a near-total national internet and telecommunication blackout.” And yet the images from inside the country have kept coming. In the past few days, the rest of the world has been able to see videos from inside the country showing mass demonstrations and at times violent crackdowns from security services. “I keep getting these videos,” says Masih Alinejad, an Iranian activist who began the anti-hijab protests and is now based in Brooklyn. Anticipating the regime’s actions, many Iranians have developed a kind of digital resilience. They take advantage of networks that remain online and at times connect to the internet through satellites or service providers in neighboring countries.In some cases, Iranians are also taking advantage of the country’s two-tiered approach to internet access. Despite the near national blackout, regime and university networks have remained online. “The government people have internet,” says Mariam Memarsadeghi, co-founder of Tavaana, a web platform that works to build civil society inside of Iran. “There are good reasons to think the friends and families of people who have government connections will use them to get the word out.”Abdullah Mohtadi, the secretary general of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, says Kurdish activists use Iraqi SIM cards to gain access to the Internet. The participation of the Kurds in the national protests this time also marks a change. Kurdish Iranians have protested the regime for decades, but their protests are often against the regime’s treatment of the Kurdish minority. This time, he says, Iranian Kurdish parties are coordinating their activism with the national movement.But Alp Toker, the director of NetBlocks, warns that there is no reliable way to circumvent the regime’s restrictions. Roaming SIM cards can be cut off, he points out, while satellite internet is expensive and slow. At the same time, some apparent connections may actually be operated by the government as a ruse — tricking users into thinking their communications are safe.The U.S. government, meanwhile, is doing what it can. It has helped fund organizations such as Memarsadaghi’s, for example. It has worked to help Iranians get access to equipment that would make it easier to get online through satellite connections instead of the on-the-ground internet service providers controlled by the regime. One U.S. official tells me that the State Department has asked some of the big social media companies to suspend the accounts of Iranian regime leaders and entities as long as Iranian citizens are kept offline. Alinejad herself has called on Twitter to shut down the personal accounts of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.But banning Khamenei’s account, and those of other regime figures, is the least that Facebook and Twitter should do. It’s in their interest to develop easy-to-use technologies to circumvent internet bans such as Iran’s; Iranians use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Telegram like anyone else.More important, the digital resilience of Iran’s freedom movement is a U.S. national security issue. It’s too soon to say whether these latest convulsions will topple a regime that has made war throughout the Middle East. But it’s clear that online activism was enough of a threat to Khamenei and his deputies that he tried to turn the internet off. The rest of the world should be grateful that so many Iranians have found ways to defy his orders.To contact the author of this story: Eli Lake at elake1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Eli Lake is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering national security and foreign policy. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast and covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • FTC chief says has 'multiple' investigations of tech platforms
    Reuters

    FTC chief says has 'multiple' investigations of tech platforms

    The chairman of the Federal Trade Commission said on Monday that his agency had multiple investigations of tech platforms, in addition to its known probe of Facebook, but did not identify them. Big tech companies like Facebook, Alphabet's Google, Amazon.com and Apple face a slew of antitrust probes by the federal government, state attorneys general and congress. It has previously been reported that the FTC's focus was on Facebook and Amazon.com.

  • When John Legere Leaves, Say Goodbye to the Old T-Mobile
    Bloomberg

    When John Legere Leaves, Say Goodbye to the Old T-Mobile

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- I’m not sure which is the bigger question: What is T-Mobile US Inc. without John Legere? Or, who is John Legere without T-Mobile?“I own no other clothing,” Legere joked during a conference call Monday morning, after the wireless carrier announced that its magenta-festooned CEO will be stepping down soon. Legere’s last day will be April 30, capping a remarkably successful seven-year run during which he took T-Mobile from a distant last place among the top U.S. carriers and turned it into the fastest-growing member of the industry. He will be replaced by Mike Sievert, who is currently president and chief operating officer.Make no mistake, the CEO transition will usher in a new T-Mobile. That’s not because the visions of the two men are so different — they aren’t, and Legere has been grooming Sievert, 50, for quite some time. But T-Mobile is no longer the industry upstart, and Legere’s departure suggests that he feels his work there is almost done. The last step is to complete the acquisition of Sprint Corp., which is being held up by a group of state attorneys general rightly concerned about the potential harm the transaction may cause consumers.Legere, 61, made clear that he isn’t retiring — nor is he turning his “Slow Cooker Sunday” Facebook Live series into a full-time gig. While he said the rumors of him joining WeWork aren’t true, he has fielded a “tremendous amount” of interest from companies seeking the expertise he’s demonstrated at turning around a troubled business and generating broad enthusiasm for a brand. “I’ve got 30 or 40 years and five or six good acts left in me,” Legere, the class clown of corporate events, said on Monday’s call. When Legere joined T-Mobile in 2012, the brand was in disrepair and customers were fleeing. It looked as if the wireless carrier might never be able to catch up to Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T Inc. or Sprint. But Legere transformed T-Mobile into a self-marketing powerhouse, with he and the rest of the management team shamelessly adopting new looks as walking billboards for the company. And it worked. More important, investments in the network and novel moves to simplify customer bills altered T-Mobile’s perception from one of a budget operator of last resort to a company that’s driving industry innovation. That’s earned it customer loyalty, as evidenced by having the lowest rate of churn — or customer defections — among its peers. T-Mobile’s stock has also left the others in the dust:Over the years, Legere’s style has not only included a closet’s worth of Superman-esque T-shirts adorned with a giant letter T, but also sports coats, sneakers, a leather jacket, a chef’s hat, a sports jersey and anything that could be made hot pink or fit the company’s logo. He has 6.5 million Twitter followers — almost as many as Kris Jenner, the matriarch of the Kardashian family — and is known to respond directly to them, even occasionally dropping into calls to the customer service line. It was all part of his effort to shake up an industry that was going the way of cable-TV, with subscribers irritated by steep, overly complex monthly bills. “We saw an opportunity to disrupt a stupid, broken, arrogant industry,” a typically off-the-cuff Legere said on Monday’s call. “And T-Mobile is far from done,” he added. Though that may be for better or worse. Should the Sprint deal survive or avert the trial that’s set to begin Dec. 9, T-Mobile will gain newfound pricing power. Legere and Sievert have promised that the combined company won’t exploit this, saying that the combination instead allows them to “supercharge” what’s known as T-Mobile’s Un-carrier strategy. But the logic doesn’t quite follow. There’s little reason to believe a merger that facilitates higher prices and better profit margins wouldn’t result in exactly that, and the goodwill Legere has built up with regulators and consumers isn’t insurance enough against this scenario. Fierce competition between T-Mobile and Sprint the last few years is what benefited consumers and forced the industry to do things like offer unlimited data plans. If Sprint gets swallowed, the marketplace will be narrowed to just Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.(1)Sievert is a fine choice as CEO. But the reality is that the company he’s inheriting is different from the one Legere joined, and the days of T-Mobile’s incredible rapid growth will fade into the past, and there will be a natural shift to take advantage of its enhanced market power. So when Sievert said on Monday’s call that after the Sprint deal closes, “customers are going to the be winners,” I wouldn’t count on it. (1) Regulators have mandated that T-Mobile unload some assets to Dish Network Corp., helping set up the satellite-TV provider as a new entrant to the wireless market. But Dish is years and multiple billions of dollars away from becoming a formidable rival that can fill the hole Sprint will leave behind. It’s a weak concession that Legere was more than happy to accept.To contact the author of this story: Tara Lachapelle at tlachapelle@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at bewilliams@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Justice Department No. 2 Cites ‘Serious’ Tech Competition Issues

    (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Justice Department No. 2 official explained the reasoning behind an investigation of large technology platforms, underscoring the department’s commitment to the probe at the highest levels.Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a speech Monday at an American Bar Association antitrust forum in Washington that there are “serious and substantive issues” regarding competition by the largest online platforms. While he noted that top department officials are keeping close tabs on the inquiry, no conclusions have been reached yet about the sector, he said.“Even dynamic industries characterized by rapid technological progress can be monopolized to the detriment of consumers,” Rosen said.The Justice Department is investigating whether Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. thwart competition laws as part of its broader inquiry into digital marketplaces. Attorney General Bill Barr, who has antitrust experience, authorized the probe and is closely watching it.Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons, who spoke after Rosen, said his agency is also conducting “multiple” probes of technology companies. Facebook has disclosed it’s also being investigated by the FTC.Rosen compared the technology giants to the film industry, which was the subject of multiple antitrust actions in the 20th century. He also referenced the U.S. case against Microsoft Corp. that began in the late 90s and ended in settlement.He cited an appeals court ruling that the software giant’s “operating system was a monopoly” because it was so broadly used that consumers and developers alike were reluctant to switch to competitors.Some antitrust scholars have said that Google, Facebook and other contemporary tech giants are dominant because they benefit from so-called network effects in which platforms become more valuable the more they are used. The companies say they face robust competition.Rosen also acknowledged there are other concerns about the companies that go beyond antitrust that may need to be addressed.“We do not view antitrust law as a panacea for every problem in the digital world,” Rosen said. “We are keeping in mind other tools in areas such as privacy, consumer protection, and public safety as part of a broader review of online platforms, to whatever extent warranted.”To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at btenerellabr@bloomberg.net;David McLaughlin in Washington at dmclaughlin9@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, Mark NiquetteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Disney+ Could Bring Streaming Peace to the Wild West

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- For much of the past decade, the digital media landscape has largely been defined by disruptive companies such as Facebook, YouTube and Netflix. In the case of Facebook and YouTube, those disruptors are now seen as problematic; both face accusations that their platforms have become venues for privacy invasion, misinformation, malicious foreign actors and domestic political extremism. As the federal government weighs regulating these companies this creates an opening for platforms that are well-policed with the potential to take market share from the incumbent bad actors. That suggests the introduction of Walt Disney Co.'s new Disney+ video-streaming service couldn’t have been better timed.Disruptive platforms grew to enormous size by doing pretty much whatever they could to attract both producers and consumers of content. Restrictions on what kinds of content could be published were barriers to growth while also raising thorny ethical questions about how platforms that claimed to be neutral could moderate content on their networks. Content moderation has a big drawback: It's expensive, whether that means building technology to monitor abuse or hiring humans to do the job. It's not too surprising that companies interested in holding down costs and maximizing profits might try to avoid those costs.And it's hard to untangle and design remedies for these problems because the platforms have gone global, with hundreds of millions if not billions of users. With competing and divergent interests among consumers, content producers, advertisers, politicians and shareholders, any change from the status quo is bound to run into opposition. The result is that change ends up being much slower than many might hope.That's where Disney+ comes in. Disney’s announcement on launch day that it had signed up 10 million subscribers indicates potential demand; it's possible that the platform could gain significant market share in the streaming wars much sooner than many anticipate. It gives young parents -- or anyone else not interested in the fire hose of trash on offer elsewhere -- a trusted platform to install on their kids' or their own smartphones and tablets. Every minute spent on Disney+ is a minute not spent on other digital media platforms, lessening the influence of the latter. As the clout of Disney+ grows at the expense of the competition, it could put pressure on the latter to clean up their collective acts and put in place more safeguards.The parallel to consider here is the evolution of the music industry. Until the launch of peer-to-peer music-file-sharing company Napster in 1999, the vast majority of consumers got their music through traditional channels -- mainly radio and CDs. Then Napster and other illicit services built off the BitTorrent platform made it easier for consumers to download MP3 files at a time when major corporations were reluctant to embrace the new technologies. But downloading MP3s often exposed consumers to other types of illegally-distributed content like video games and software. That made MP3s a sort of gateway drug to other dubious online activity and content.That era didn't last long. First, Apple introduced the iTunes store in 2003, which surged in popularity with the growth of first the iPod and later the iPhone. Then, music streaming services like Spotify followed, attracting tens of millions of users. Napster has since shut down, and though black market file-sharing services still exist, most consumers would find them too much of a nuisance to deal with when it's cheap and easy to buy or stream music legitimately.If we're lucky, Disney+ could mark the point when major tech corporations decide to take control of the media ecospheres they've created. There are now a plethora of streaming services with billions of dollars invested in them, giving consumers, particularly parents, choices without some of the downsides of the large, disruptive platforms. Content creators, major corporate partners and advertisers can focus their resources on platforms that have better reputations and aren't constantly in the news for moderation and data-privacy issues. Thriving in the future may require these disruptors to abandon the Wild West ways that powered their initial rise. And who would be bothered by that?To contact the author of this story: Conor Sen at csen9@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Conor Sen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a portfolio manager for New River Investments in Atlanta and has been a contributor to the Atlantic and Business Insider.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Hedge Funds Open Kimono: 5 Best Media Stocks To Buy
    Insider Monkey

    Hedge Funds Open Kimono: 5 Best Media Stocks To Buy

    We believe one of the best tools for ordinary investors who are on the hunt for new ideas is 13F filings. Once every quarter hedge funds with at least $100 million in total positions in publicly traded US stocks/options are required to open the kimono and disclose the number of shares and the total value of […]

  • Bloomberg

    Inflation Inequality Creates Winners and Losers

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Do the poor suffer more from inflation than the rich? Recent reports to the contrary, the numbers are not complete enough to answer that question in a simple way. What’s clear is that diverging rates of price inflation are creating distinct winners and losers.Because the U.S. tech sector has advanced so much while many other parts of the economy have been relatively sluggish, the benefits from progress are now quite concentrated, though not in a way directly related to income. Rather, they accrue to people with a taste for a particular kind of novelty.Consider people who love to consume information, or, as I have labeled them, infovores. They can stay at home every night and read Wikipedia, scan Twitter, click on links, browse through Amazon reviews and search YouTube — all for free. Thirty years ago there was nothing comparable.Of course, most people don’t have those tastes. But for the minority who do, it is a new paradise of plenty. These infovores — a group that includes some academics, a lot of internet nerds and many journalists — have experienced radical deflation.Another set of major beneficiaries is people who enjoy writing for fun (as distinct from professional writers). They can write to their friends or groups of friends on WhatsApp and Facebook, all day long, also for free. You might also put “people who love to argue” in this same lucky category, though whether that translates into lasting enjoyment is a question that we could … argue about.Lovers of variety are another big winner. You can use eBay to find that obscure collectible, or browse Amazon’s vast inventory, or watch a lot of different TV programs, ranging from Spanish-language news to curling to cooking shows. In short, it is a wonderful time for those who love to browse and sample. Maybe you discover a favorite category or genre and form a deep aesthetic commitment, or maybe you just want to keep on surfing. Either way, the opportunities are unprecedented.As a side note, I belong to all of those groups: I am an infovore, I write for fun (and for other reasons) and love variety. So I have been a big winner from the last 20 years, in a disproportionate and unrepresentative way — quite apart from any changes to my income.So who might be worse off in this new American world?People who like to spend time with their friends across town are one set of losers. Traffic congestion is much worse, and so driving in Los Angeles or Washington has never been such a big burden. In-person socializing is therefore more costly. On the other hand, the chance that you have remained in touch with your very distant friends is higher, due to email and social media. Those who enjoy less frequent (but perhaps more intense?) visits are on the whole better off for that reason. It is easier than ever to go virtually anywhere in the world and have someone interesting to talk to.Another group of losers — facing super-high inflation rates — are the “cool” people who insist on living in America’s best and most advanced cities. Which might those be? New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco? You can debate that, but they have all grown much more expensive. Many smaller cities, such as Austin, Washington and Boston, are going the same route. Alternatively, if you have more of a taste for isolation or desolation, or a high tolerance for boredom, your pocketbook is not being squeezed so tightly.Medical care is another area that has created big losers and winners. If you suffer from a common malady that simply requires care and attention from the medical establishment, you may well be worse off. The price of medical care is much higher, insurance coverage is by no means guaranteed, and the system has been growing more bureaucratic and arguably more frustrating.If, on the other hand, you have some kind of “frontier” condition, requiring innovative technology or new pharmaceuticals, your chances have never been better.What is the common theme here? It is that those who love or need “the new” are often doing relatively well. Those who value the old standbys — the crosstown friend, the Manhattan brownstone, the uncomplicated visit to the local doctor to have a broken ankle set — are in a more dubious position.As a result, there is an incentive to cultivate a taste for novelty. It’s fun, to be sure, but maybe also a bit confusing and alienating. So when people feel that way, and express it in unexpected ways, perhaps we should not be altogether surprised.To contact the author of this story: Tyler Cowen at tcowen2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tyler Cowen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the blog Marginal Revolution. His books include "Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • SoftBank to Create Japan Internet Giant to Battle Global Rivals
    Bloomberg

    SoftBank to Create Japan Internet Giant to Battle Global Rivals

    (Bloomberg) -- Masayoshi Son, after backing startups around the world, is engineering a complex deal on his home turf to create a national champion that can more effectively compete with global rivals like Google and Amazon.com Inc.Son’s SoftBank Group Corp. plans to combine its Yahoo Japan internet business with Line Corp. in a deal that values the country’s leading messaging service at $11.5 billion. SoftBank and South Korea’s Naver Corp. will take Line private and then fold Line and Yahoo Japan into a new joint venture. The deal requires shareholder approvals and is scheduled to close by October 2020.The two companies said the combination is driven by a sense of crisis that global giants are increasing their grip on the technology industry and countries like Japan risk falling behind. Together, Line and Yahoo Japan, which now operates as Z Holdings Corp., will be able to share engineering resources, access broader sets of data and invest more in areas like artificial intelligence, the chief executive officers said in a Tokyo press conference.“The internet industry often operates on the winner-takes-all principle and the strong only get stronger,” said Line co-CEO Takeshi Idezawa. “Even combined, our market capital, business scale and R&D expenditures are dwarfed by the global tech giants.”At the event, the CEOs gave unusual emphasis to their corporate vulnerabilities and the incumbent risks for Japanese consumers, perhaps in an attempt to preempt government scrutiny of a deal that will combine two of the country’s largest internet companies. The chiefs said they need to join forces to mount a serious challenge to much larger rivals from the U.S. and China.“We want to become an AI tech company that leads the world from Japan,” said Kentaro Kawabe, CEO of Z Holdings. Kawabe wore a bright green tie, Line’s trademark hue, while Idezawa donned one in Yahoo Japan red.Under the proposed transaction, Z Holdings and Naver will buy out Line’s public shareholders in a tender offer at a projected 5,200 yen per share, a 13% premium to Line’s share price before news of the talks. Each company plans to spend 170 billion yen ($1.56 billion) on the bid. Naver already owns 73% of Line, while SoftBank Corp., the domestic telecom arm of Son’s business empire, holds a roughly 44% stake in Z Holdings.The companies have been in talks about a possible alliance since June and settled on the idea of a merger in August, according to the statement. After taking Line private, SoftBank and Naver will undertake a reorganization that will eventually result in a 50-50 ownership of the new company. The combined entity will hold stock in Z Holdings, which will remain public with Yahoo Japan and Line as wholly-owned subsidiaries.SoftBank and Line have increasingly competed in fields such as digital payments, and an alliance may allow them to save money on expenses like subsidies. Both companies have also been investing in artificial intelligence to improve their services. While the announcement didn’t say how the mobile payment rivalry will be resolved, it said the resulting company aims to spend 100 billion yen annually on development of AI-powered products.“Big data is key for the future of both companies,” said Koji Hirai, the head of M&A advisory firm Kachitas Corp. “The merger will enable them to create a massive repository of client data.”Idezawa and Kawabe said there are potential synergies in a number of services areas spanning media content, fintech, advertising, communications and commerce, but didn’t give further details. The combined company will also have about 20,000 employees, a major benefit in an industry where competition for talent intensifies year after year, they said.Steps to the planned merger:Step 1 - Final signing of the deal planned for DecemberStep 2 - Naver and SoftBank to buy out Line’s public shareholders and create a new 50-50 joint ventureStep 3 - SoftBank moves its stake in Z Holdings to the JV, while Z Holdings issues 2.8 billion new shares to the JVStep 4 - Line and Yahoo Japan become fully owned subsidiaries of Z Holdings, which will be owned by the JV. The companies plan to complete the deal by October 2020Silicon Valley giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook Inc. and Chinese startups have taken the lead in both pushing AI development and turning the research into commercial products. That has left most other companies scrambling to attract scarce talent and collect the data necessary to conduct research in fields like deep learning.Line and Yahoo Japan are betting they can leverage local knowledge to stay in the race in their home country and markets where their services are popular, including South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. Line and Z Holdings shares rose on the deal.Yahoo Japan was once the country’s leading search engine, web portal and major e-commerce player, but has lost ground as users migrated from PCs to smartphones. The company’s online shopping offering has been squeezed by Amazon and Rakuten Inc., while smartphone-native newcomer Mercari Inc. lured customers from its auction service. Yahoo Japan counts some 48 million daily active users across its portfolio of more than 100 mobile phone apps.Line’s origins date back to the turn of the century, when Naver dispatched Shin Jung-ho to Japan to promote its search engine technology. Shin led the company through its first decade in relative obscurity, distributing online games and dabbling in social networking services. In 2010, Line acquired Livedoor Inc., a once high-flying Japanese web portal that had fallen on hard times after its founder was thrown in jail for accounting fraud. It launched Japan’s dominant messaging service in 2011 and went public in 2016.Shin, who shares the CEO title with Takeshi Idezawa at Line, will become the newly created entity’s chief product officer. The post will give him control over the 100 billion yen AI budget and oversight of service development for both Line and Yahoo Japan.Line has 82 million monthly active users in Japan and is also the dominant messenger in Taiwan and Thailand, where it has 21 million and 45 million customers respectively. The company has been expanding into financial services by partnering with Nomura Holdings Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. It has also been developing a lineup of AI-powered hardware products, including speakers and earphones. Outlays on the new businesses have led to losses in four out of five past quarters.In the Tokyo press conference, the CEOs repeatedly spoke about getting outgunned by GAFA, or Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple Inc. They said they wouldn’t want see Japan lose out on world-leading services like search and e-commerce, but they want to create a local alternative that can address domestic needs and tastes.“GAFA’s biggest threat is the kind of loyalty they command from their users,” said Kawabe. “We want to give users a domestic AI option. By focusing on Japan’s unique challenges, we can offer services others cannot.”(Updates with the deal strategy from first paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at palpeyev@bloomberg.net;Takahiko Hyuga in Tokyo at thyuga@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Financial Times

    Facebook’s fake numbers problem — Lex in depth

    At first glance, Amy Dowd’s Facebook account appears perfectly normal. There is a smiling profile picture of a young woman surrounded by autumnal leaves and the date that she began a new job at Southeast Missouri State University.

  • New survey shows 50% of millennials trust social media influencers for brand advice
    Yahoo Finance

    New survey shows 50% of millennials trust social media influencers for brand advice

    The influencer trend isn’t going away anytime soon.