GOOG Apr 2020 1310.000 call

OPR - OPR Delayed Price. Currency in USD
-0.4500 (-12.86%)
As of 2:55PM EDT. Market open.
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Previous Close3.5000
Expire Date2020-04-17
Day's Range3.0500 - 3.3000
Contract RangeN/A
Open Interest33
  • Why Amazon could emerge from the coronavirus pandemic 'strongest,' according to a big-tech critic 
    Yahoo Finance

    Why Amazon could emerge from the coronavirus pandemic 'strongest,' according to a big-tech critic 

    Amazon will come out of the coronavirus pandemic stronger than before, according to Big Tech critic Scott Galloway.

  • The True Cost of All Your Amazon Deliveries

    The True Cost of All Your Amazon Deliveries

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Coronavirus self-isolation is fostering a growing dependency on Inc. But it’s also refocusing attention on the human cost of having the entire stock of the “Everything Store” merely a click and a day away from your front doorstep.Amazon workers at a fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York are on strike, saying the company has not been responsive to safety concerns and demanding that the facility be closed for two weeks and sanitized. In Italy, Amazon reached an agreement with workers last week to provide additional virus containment measures and end an 11-day strike. Elsewhere, France’s labor minister has demanded an improvement to the working environment for the firm’s employees, saying that “protection conditions are insufficient.”The comments came a week after Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos outlined many of the company’s efforts to blunt the effects of coronavirus in an open letter posted on Instagram, including boosting worker pay in the U.S.Demand for Amazon delivery services has, meanwhile, given its stock better protection than its tech peers from the recent market pummeling. The shares are down 9.4% since Feb. 19, compared with the average 22% decline of Apple Inc., Google parent Alphabet Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc.The logical conclusion is that Amazon should be doing a lot more to protect its workers. It can afford to: It’s sitting on $55 billion in cash and is expected to generate another $34 billion of free cash flow this year.But the stark reality is that Amazon’s e-commerce business isn’t very profitable. Its cloud computing operations are the money-printing machine. That unit will enjoy a 28% operating margin on sales of some $46 billion this year, helped by the surge in internet usage caused by people logging on from home for longer, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jitendra Waral estimates. The company’s other $288 billion of revenue will generate operating profit of as little as $3 billion.That razor-thin profitability hints at the strict cost control upon which Amazon relies to ensure goods are delivered cheaply and quickly. Unfortunately, cost control is often a euphemism for low wages, ungenerous benefits and a squeeze on suppliers. A 2018 analysis by the Economist found that after Amazon opens a storage depot, local wages for warehouse workers fall by an average of 3%. Nor does that inspire much confidence in Amazon’s latest moves: The recently announced $2 per hour pay bump will hold only until April, while the doubling of overtime pay will expire in May — for now, at least.What’s more, workers’ negotiating power is likely to be eroded by the coronavirus crisis. The peak of U.S. labor exploitation came during the Great Depression, when everyone was scrambling for jobs, which in turn ultimately turbocharged labor organization. The number of jobseekers today is now at the highest in a half-century: A record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week of March 21, compared with 211,000 just two weeks earlier.Bezos explicitly targeted those newly unemployed in his Instagram letter, explaining that the company would hire 100,000 additional employees to cope with increased demand. So the fact that only 100 people from a workforce of 4,000 at the Staten Island site are striking is either indicative of minimal discontent or a fear of retributive job losses (the only unionized Amazon employees in the U.S. are in its film and TV productions). As if to underscore the point, Amazon fired the worker leading the strike on Monday, ostensibly for “violating social distancing guidelines.” According to Amazon, only 15 people ultimately demonstrated in the strike, of whom just nine were actual employees.The working conditions at Amazon are partly our fault as consumers. The company has groomed us to rely on next-day deliveries at no extra cost, at least if we have a subscription to its Prime service. We probably don’t ask what it takes to make that work. For all of its Kiva warehousing robots and efforts with drone distribution, Amazon still depends on hundreds of thousands of human workers around the world. You know when you receive a massive box containing just a small parcel? That’s not because of some algorithmic misstep; it’s a person in a warehouse making a quick decision on how best to deliver your package.Amazon can for sure afford to lessen the load on its workers with better pay and working conditions, but only because of the massive success of its cloud business. It's harder for rivals to do so and still turn a profit. The dilemma is accentuated by, but not peculiar to, the current crisis. If that’s to change, we as customers must also be prepared to pay higher prices — and that’s as true in good times as it is in bad.(Updates with Amazon details on size of strike.)This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Silicon Valley Wins as FCC Moves to Open Airwaves for Wi-Fi

    Silicon Valley Wins as FCC Moves to Open Airwaves for Wi-Fi

    (Bloomberg) -- Federal regulators plan to open a new airwaves swath to Wi-Fi devices in a win for Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. that see the spectrum as a fast, ubiquitous connection to the internet.Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai plans to set the new use of the so-called 6GHz airwaves to a vote by the agency at its April 23 meeting, said two people briefed on his plans who were not authorized to discuss the matter before it becomes public.The FCC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Utilities use the airwaves to manage sprawling electrical grids, and have said allowing Wi-Fi networks into the swath threatens to create interference that could jeopardize network reliability.The debate comes as the FCC works to open up more airwaves for broadband service, and for forthcoming ultrafast 5G wireless networks. The move “could be a big boost to our nation’s 5G future,” Pai said last year as he proposed the change.(Adds utilities’ concerns in fourth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Free workouts from Peloton, Nike and others to help you stay active during your quarantine

    Free workouts from Peloton, Nike and others to help you stay active during your quarantine

    Online orders for fitness equipment such as kettlebells, dumbbells and treadmills saw a 55% boost in the week spanning March 11–15 compared to the 10 days before, according to Adobe Analytics’ new Digital Economy Index released on Tuesday. March downloads of the Peloton app — which offers yoga and body strength classes if you don’t have the $2,000-plus stationary bike — are five times higher than February’s, according to data from Sensor Tower.

  • MarketWatch

    Google Cloud CEO says video-conferencing use is soaring into the clouds

    The head of Alphabet Inc.'s Google Cloud division issued a blog post Tuesday in which he said daily usage of its premium video-conferencing product Google Meet is more than 25 times what it was in January. The outbreak of COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a flood of educators using it and the free service, Google Hangouts, according to Thomas Kurian. Over the last few weeks, he said, Meet's day-over-day growth surpassed 60%.

  • Bloomberg

    Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Remove Posts From Bolsonaro

    (Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google’s YouTube have all removed posts shared by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for including coronavirus misinformation that violates the social media companies’ rules against posting harmful content.Facebook said it took down a video on Monday that had been shared to both Facebook and Instagram, in which Bolsonaro said the anti-malaria prescription drug hydroxychloroquine was an effective treatment for Covid-19. Twitter earlier had removed two tweets that also showed video of Bolsonaro praising hydroxychloroquine and encouraging the end of social distancing. On Tuesday morning, YouTube also said it had pulled two videos from Bolsonaro’s official account for violating its policies.Small studies testing the effects of hydroxychloroquine on Covid-19 patients have had mixed results, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website says the drug is “currently under investigation in clinical trials” for use as a treatment for the virus. U.S. President Donald Trump has also praised the drug, which was given emergency FDA approval to be prescribed to Covid-19 patients, though scientists have criticized the move as premature.Facebook has a policy against sharing posts that could cause users physical harm, a spokesperson said. Twitter, too, has a policy that requires people to remove tweets that recommend cures or advice that goes against the recommendations of public health authorities.“Twitter recently announced the expansion of its rules to cover content that could be against public health information provided by official sources and could put people at greater risk of transmitting Covid-19,” a Twitter spokesman said. Bolsonaro declined to comment on the Twitter removal when speaking to journalists earlier Monday.YouTube, like other social media sites, has tried to curb the flow of disinformation about the virus in recent weeks by promoting what it calls “authoritative” videos. But it has rarely taken action against videos from elected officials.“Since early February, we have manually reviewed and removed thousands of videos related to dangerous or misleading coronavirus information,” Farshad Shadloo, a YouTube spokesman, said in an email. He declined to identify the two videos removed.Twitter and Facebook have also taken a stronger stance on coronavirus misinformation than other types of controversial content, including some political postings. Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this month that fighting medical misinformation is easier because companies can follow clear guidance from the World Health Organization on what can be defined as “harmful,” instead of deciding as a company in a way that could be considered biased or restrictive of free speech.“This a very different dynamic than trying to be referee of political speech,” Zuckerberg said at the time.(Updates with details on YouTube’s removal of Bolsonaro videos.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Alphabet, Procter & Gamble, Philip Morris, Novo Nordisk and Tesla

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Alphabet, Procter & Gamble, Philip Morris, Novo Nordisk and Tesla

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Alphabet, Procter & Gamble, Philip Morris, Novo Nordisk and Tesla

  • Huawei says more U.S. pressure could result in retaliation

    Huawei says more U.S. pressure could result in retaliation

    Huawei’s chairman warned Tuesday that more U.S. moves to increase pressure on the Chinese tech giant might trigger retaliation by Beijing that could damage its worldwide industry.

  • Facebook (FB) Offers $100M for Coronavirus-Hit News Outlets

    Facebook (FB) Offers $100M for Coronavirus-Hit News Outlets

    Facebook (FB) recently announced a $100 million investment for local news organizations hit by loss in ad revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Bloomberg

    Schools Aren’t Ready for Online Learning

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Online instruction has arrived overnight in U.S. schools. And nobody’s ready for it.The problem isn’t just that school systems shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic suddenly face the huge challenge of improvising home-schooling routines on an unimagined scale. Students everywhere lack access to online tools.Many can’t afford them. And even where poverty isn’t the main barrier, few schools have developed a sophisticated digital capability. The promise of a technology revolution that would customize K-12 education to each student’s needs was sidelined early on by efforts to use technology to undermine unions, replace teachers and increase class size, alienating many educators.Training has been spotty and has left teachers and administrators unprepared. Scandals have plagued both for-profit online K-12 schools, which consistently underperform their brick-and-mortar counterparts, and for-profit online colleges. Meanwhile, the idea that universities like Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could deliver elite instruction to the masses through the massive open online courses dubbed Moocs was undermined by media hype.Especially for elementary and high schools, where large-scale systematic research on online learning has been sparse, the online-education experiment set off by the coronavirus offers an opportunity — one that won’t be fully realized until the crisis is over — for state and local governments to assess how educators married technology and teaching on the fly. As they invent their virtual classrooms, teachers and districts also have a unique opportunity to document what works and what doesn’t and to seize back the momentum from philanthropy-backed organizations that have sought to redefine public education.As schools and colleges gather students in virtual meetings using Zoom or Google Classroom, one key obstacle to online education has come into sharp focus: The shortage of computer access and internet connections in high-poverty urban centers such as Miami and Los Angeles, where about 15 percent of students lack computers or internet access, and in rural areas, including vast swaths of the South.The Los Angeles Unified School District has enough devices for only about two-thirds of K-12 classes, prompting the superintendent to ask the state for $50 million to supply the remaining students with tablets, and local internet providers for free access for L.A.-area families, about one-quarter of whom have no broadband access. In New York City, an estimated 114,000 children live in unstable housing, including homeless shelters where WiFi is sparse. The education department is expecting to roll out 300,000 internet-enabled iPads, even as some principals emptied their laptop carts so kids could take home devices before schools closed.Colleges also are wrestling with equity and access issues. The City University of New York initially suspended classes for one week to allow faculty to retool courses for distance learning. Another break announced last week was prompted by the need to get laptops and tablets to students who need them, and to forestall the possibility that students without technology access might drop out.At Los Angeles community colleges, the nation’s largest community college district serving 230,000 mostly poor students, classes also have been postponed as schools scramble to purchase and distribute technology to students and faculty. Fewer than half the system’s instructors have had any training in distance learning.Before the crisis, web-based courses and technology platforms such as Blackboard were in use on almost every U.S. college campus. College rankings are based in part on the quality of technology infrastructure and connectivity.Less is known about the scope of technology used in K-12 schools. About 310,000 students are enrolled in virtual schools, and another 420,000 students in brick-and-mortar schools take at least one online course from state-sponsored digital programs. But there’s little research on the vast number of students who use technology in classrooms with a live teacher according to the Aurora Institute, which studies educational innovation.A 2010 study, one of the last to focus on the impact of online education on U.S. high schools, found that while online courses were then widely used to make up for lost academic credits, the quality of these courses was iffy. Students’ lack of self-discipline and command of math and reading skills may be another obstacle. Online courses are more successful when they allow schools to provide courses they otherwise could not.Yet an international comparison of 15-year-olds in 31 countries found that “where it is more common for students to use the internet at school for schoolwork, students’ performance in reading declined.” Earlier online experiments, such as New York City’s Innovation Zone, launched in 2010, demonstrate both the challenges of designing engaging online education programs and why a chief benefit of technology is to expand connections among students, teachers and the outside world.The most successful iZone schools were educator-led efforts reliant on philanthropic funding that used technology as part of a broader strategy to rethink curriculum — in particular to develop interdisciplinary projects in longer time-blocks than the traditional 50-minute class, and to use technology to reach beyond school walls. For example, at Manhattan’s NYC iSchool, one nine-week module had students work on an exhibition for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero. They began by studying the history of conflict between Islamic and Western civilizations. Students then used videoconferences to interview young people around the world about their views of the terrorist attacks.Ultimately, the iZone expanded too rapidly and eventually unraveled — though the best schools continue to pursue innovative education strategies.Fostering person-to-person connections using apps like Zoom and Google Classroom are especially important now. Teachers accustomed to dominating classroom discussions will find that difficult. Instead, with standardized tests suspended and test-prep pressures eased, teachers can assign independent or small-group projects using phone and video for feedback.Tools like Google docs also “have the capacity to significantly improve teacher feedback and interaction with students,” says Nick Siewert, a consultant with Learning Matters. This is a time for educators and districts to document their education-technology experiences. After the crisis, the U.S. should finance systematic research on what worked and what didn’t, and expand its internet-funding programs.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andrea Gabor, a former editor at Business Week and U.S. News & World Report, is the Bloomberg chair of business journalism at Baruch College of the City University of New York and the author of "After the Education Wars: How Smart Schools Upend the Business of Reform."For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Fitbit announces Charge 4 device in attempt to move beyond step counts

    Fitbit announces Charge 4 device in attempt to move beyond step counts

    Fitbit Inc. is looking to move beyond counting steps with its latest wearable device. It will be the first product to be equipped with Fitbit’s (FIT) Active Zone Minutes measure, which aims to provide a gauge of activity level that is personalized based on a user’s age and resting heart rate. The feature is first coming to the Charge 4 before it is eventually rolled out to all of Fitbit’s smartwatches.

  • Tech giants such as Google, Facebook seek to defer Indian digital tax: sources

    Tech giants such as Google, Facebook seek to defer Indian digital tax: sources

    Big U.S. tech firms such as Google and Facebook plan to seek deferment of a new Indian digital tax, which has caught them off-guard as businesses battle the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, three industry sources told Reuters. India announced last week that, from Apr. 1, all foreign billings for digital services provided in the country would attract a 2% tax. Foreign billings are where companies take payment abroad for a service provided to customers in India.

  • Google Japan defends impartiality of search results amid lockdown rumors

    Google Japan defends impartiality of search results amid lockdown rumors

    Google on Tuesday defended the impartiality of its search results after users in Japan seeking to corroborate rumors of an imminent state of emergency declaration by the government were met with no results on its website. The government on Monday denied it was preparing to lock down the country on April 1 as rumored earlier. Google users found that using the search term "state of emergency declaration April 2" in Japanese was returning no results - an unusual outcome on the world's top search site and sparking further speculation of censorship by the company.


    Zoom Video Under Scrutiny for Data Privacy and Security Practices

    Zoom Video is asked by the New York attorney general's office to disclose any security measures the company has put in place to handle its recent surge in usage.

  • Bloomberg

    Theater Streams Beckett’s ‘Endgame’ to Reach Isolated Audiences

    (Bloomberg) -- London’s Old Vic theater is about to make an unusual offer to the audiences it’s turned away: watch the drama at home instead.It’s allowing people who bought tickets for Samuel Beckett’s “Endgame”, featuring Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, to see what they missed over a dedicated video platform. The show -- a bleak, one-act reflection on life and death with occasional sparks of humor -- closed two weeks early because of the coronavirus.It may not replace the live experience, but a remote audience is better than none as long as venues are shut. As the offer is just for ticket holders who don’t demand a refund, it could ease the financial hit to the historic venue from Britain’s national lockdown.The National Theatre nearby on London’s South Bank is also turning to streaming to stay connected with audiences. It’s releasing stage productions of shows including “One Man Two Guvnors” with James Corden and Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of “Treasure Island” free on YouTube in the coming weeks.If these experiments are a success, it may help convince wary stage directors to embrace streaming as a way to reach wider audiences. The National already airs some of its productions live in cinemas for less than the theater ticket price.The Old Vic is using the video production and distribution knowhow of Digital Theatre, a developer of online tools for drama teachers that’s been trying to build a consumer following for theater streaming.Cultural DemocracyMost big stage productions are captured on video in some form for posterity, learning or research purposes, said Digital Theatre Chief Executive Officer Neelay Patel. He’s now trying to get other struggling theater companies on board.“We’ll need to decide which recordings are good enough, as some of the material will not be top standard,” he said.Advocates of theater streaming see it as an exercise in cultural democracy that can bring the stage to new audiences. But it’s a challenge to produce a stage show for a remote audience in a compelling way.Part of the point of live theater is the invisible bond created by the proximity of actor and viewer, and the tension that builds when drama unfolds in a confined space. Efforts to bring theater to TV audiences have often failed over thorny questions of royalties for copyright owners, actors and technicians.The National Theatre sees its YouTube performances as a stopgap while theaters and cinemas are closed, Executive Director Lisa Burger told industry website The Stage.Still, she hopes they will “lift the spirits, bring people together and become something to talk about.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Huawei Warns of ‘Pandora’s Box’ If U.S. Curbs Taiwan Supply

    Huawei Warns of ‘Pandora’s Box’ If U.S. Curbs Taiwan Supply

    (Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co. is bracing for its most difficult year on record in 2020, when tightening U.S. sanctions and the Covid-19 pandemic threaten to slam an already slowing business.Rotating Chairman Eric Xu said he’s aware of the potential for Washington to tighten restrictions on the company, including by stopping Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. from selling chips to Huawei. The Chinese government wouldn’t tolerate such action and it would irrevocably damage the global supply chain, Xu said in some of Huawei’s strongest comments against the Trump administration’s measures so far.“If the Pandora’s box were to be opened, we’ll probably see catastrophic damage to the global supply chain -- and it won’t just be one company, Huawei, destroyed,” Xu told reporters after unveiling 2019 earnings. “I don’t think the Chinese government will just watch and let Huawei be slaughtered on a chopping board. I believe the Chinese government will also take some countermeasures.”China’s biggest tech company remains in Washington’s cross-hairs even as Covid-19 spreads across the globe. The White House is reportedly considering imposing restrictions on the sale of semiconductors to Huawei by global corporations such as TSMC and Samsung Electronics Co., a move that would effectively deprive the Chinese giant of the most advanced chip technology. That would escalate already damaging restrictions on Huawei, which on Tuesday reported net profit grew 5.6% -- the slowest pace of bottom line growth in three years.“Why can’t China ban the use of American 5G chips, base stations, smartphones and other smart devices based on the same network security reasons?” Xu said, adding he couldn’t confirm reports about curbs on TSMC.Huawei had previously reported sales growth of about 19%, to 859 billion yuan ($123 billion) in 2019, roughly the same as in the previous year. And the Shenzhen-based company’s profit improved to 62.7 billion yuan. But Xu said 2019 was its most difficult year yet, when it was forced to transform its business after expansive scrutiny and sanctions from the U.S. The effort to contain Huawei -- and by extension, China -- forced the company to turn inward.The Trump administration’s campaign to get allies such as Japan and Australia to shut out Huawei gear and phones helped drive sales in the Asia-Pacific down 13.9%, though that was more than offset by a surge at home in China.In the fourth quarter alone, which was most impacted by the U.S. prohibition on Huawei selling Android phones with Google’s mobile services, the company shipped roughly 55 million devices, calculated from the difference between its September shipments update and the year’s total. Of the 240 million Huawei and Honor phones shipped, 6.9 million had fifth-generation wireless networking, an area where the company remains a tech leader.Pelosi Joins Trump in Warning Europe of Huawei’s 5G ThreatContrary to warnings from American lawmakers and diplomats, numerous European countries like the U.K. and Switzerland have opted to use Huawei’s technology in building out their 5G networks. The U.K. and Germany have both echoed U.S. concerns about how far Huawei can be trusted with key infrastructure of the future, but those have not extended to the severity of an outright ban.Huawei faces tremendous pressure in overseas smartphone markets, where the U.S. ban on its use of Google Mobile Services severely undercuts the appeal of its devices. Without the Google Play Store and third-party app ecosystem, Huawei phones simply can’t compete with similarly capable alternatives from the likes of Samsung Electronics Co. and OnePlus. The company reported flat revenue in Europe, the Middle East and Africa alongside the drop in the Asia-Pacific. Those regions were two of its major growth engines in 2018, whereas now 59% of its sales are at home in China.China’s ambitious 5G network construction projects, which started in the second half of last year, also helped Huawei weather the international storm and sustain its core businesses.Huawei Makes End-Run Around U.S. Ban by Using Its Own ChipsFounder Ren Zhengfei initially estimated that Huawei’s May 2019 blacklisting by the U.S. could wipe $30 billion off annual revenues and threaten his company’s very survival, though he has tempered that outlook more recently. Huawei mobilized a massive effort to develop in-house alternatives to American software and circuitry, while U.S. suppliers like Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. found ways to continue supplying Huawei vital components it needed to make its products. Huawei is also selling base stations free of American technology in another effort to bypass the U.S. ban.With no relief from U.S. sanctions in sight and the coronavirus pandemic stifling business across all industries, Huawei anticipates its most difficult year yet. Chinese smartphone sales, which the company is now particularly sensitive to, are already hurting. And its global 5G installations, for which Huawei has secured more than 90 contracts worldwide, are hitting the brakes with many countries implementing lockdowns and the global economy at a standstill.(Updates with top executive’s comments from the second paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Will Facebook and Amazon Need Quarantining After Covid-19?

    Will Facebook and Amazon Need Quarantining After Covid-19?

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- There are no atheists in foxholes, and no tech regulators in a coronavirus lockdown.What was once thunderously described as “surveillance capitalism” is now a pandemic necessity. Twitch is where our children go to school; Twitter where epidemiological models are debated; and WhatsApp where we have drinks with friends. Some 40% of the world’s population is living under lockdown, according to AFP, creating exactly the kind of bored and isolated citizens whose fingers linger over their Facebook app button, as my colleague Alex Webb notes. Our personal information is hoovered up as before, but data privacy is now gone from our hierarchy of needs.Likewise, the market power that made Big Tech look so dangerous makes it look vital and dependable now. Inc., which has always wanted to be the Everything Store, is now the Only Store in cities like Paris or San Francisco, where it’s an essential lifeline for a myriad of household goods (with some restrictions) that can’t always be found in the grocery stores or drugstores that are still operating. The iniquities of the gig economy are still as outrageous as ever — as complaints by Amazon’s workers show — but there’s no mistaking the message sent by the company’s pledge to hire 100,000 more people: A firm once under fire for killing the economy now is the economy.Where does that leave the “techlash,” the drumbeat of outrage against data-extracting, competition-killing platforms banged on by consumers, small firms and government regulators? At first glance, as Wired magazine recently surmised, it’s dead — or at least in hibernation — as the focus shifts from constraining Big Tech to supporting it to ensure it can reach all of us in this time of need.In fact, we may already be seeing the contours of a new, post-virus grand bargain between Big Tech and Big State.It says something that the most high-profile move from the European Union in recent weeks has been to ask the bosses of Netflix Inc., and Alphabet Inc.’s Google and YouTube to throttle streaming quality to reduce Internet congestion. The EU’s technocrats in Brussels, the land of sweeping data-privacy laws, are now eying the use of smartphone geolocation metadata — anonymized, of course — to monitor the outbreak. Digital rules designed to boost the EU’s technological sovereignty are being re-thought, the FT reports.What the current crisis has emphasized is how much of what the tech industry’s billionaire-run corporations provide resemble essential public, or quasi-public, goods and services. As the virus has shut schools, libraries and public parks in some cities, those spaces have moved online. Information, education, and health care in these times are overwhelmingly reliant on the Internet — and by extension dependent on the FAANG firms (and Microsoft Corp.), which as of last year accounted for more than 40% of all traffic. It’s hard to imagine the genie will be put back in the bottle. Even once countries lift lockdowns, Big Tech will retain its power.Which is why, when we emerge from self-isolation to rebuild the post-Covid-19 society, we can’t just return to the earlier status quo. The virus has already prompted governments across the world to re-think where the fire hose of financial stimulus should be aimed in an emergency, with trillions in aid going to support workers, hospitals and the unemployed, not just big business. A similar re-think is due for tech platforms. If they’re going to provide essential public goods, they need to be held to a higher standard.If social media firms are our sidewalks and parks, they should be kept clean — virtually speaking — of misinformation and bad actors. If e-commerce platforms are delivering vital medical equipment for the authorities, they shouldn’t traffic in fakes or quack cures. If online marketplaces are infrastructure for small firms and gig workers, they must be run fairly. And if collecting and processing our personal data helps the greater good of healthcare, more benefits should accrue to the public by ensuring that what’s being collected, and how it’s handled, isn’t harmful. Oceans of data generated by what Stephen Roberts of the London School of Economics calls the “digital turn” of health surveillance will require new rules and explicit terms of engagement to limit abuse.The message is starting to get through to the companies themselves, which have tended to drag their feet in the past. Facebook Inc. is taking down harmful misinformation related to the new coronavirus and redirecting users to public health authorities. Amazon has banned more than one million products that falsely promised to cure the coronavirus. Google is banning promotional ads for medical masks so they aren’t hoarded by panic-buyers. A new Covid-19 data partnership between Britain’s National Health Service and tech firms, including Google and Palantir Technologies Inc., has explicitly promised to abide by EU data-privacy principles and destroy its data store after the pandemic. It will take regulatory pressure to make sure this isn’t all just for show.In return for responding more proactively to the prodding of watchdogs, Big Tech will probably find itself in less political hot water in the future, and justifiably so. The current pandemic has focused our minds on the common good and decreased polarization in several countries — in the U.S., for example, Republicans’ and Democrats’ views toward coronavirus concerns  are gradually converging. If online platforms that have historically tended toward some toxic behaviors can themselves undergo a similar refresh, it will be one step in the right direction.If there is the risk of another techlash appearing on the horizon, however, it’s that we don’t know what the long-term effects will be of Big Tech making peace with Big Brother — namely, a state that has also expanded its emergency powers, surveillance capabilities and size during the crisis. The mix could prove toxic in the long run, even if for now, it’s helping the common good. We’ll have to keep our eyes open.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Lionel Laurent is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Brussels. He previously worked at Reuters and Forbes.For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • A Smart Plan to End the U.S. Lockdown Arrives Just in Time

    A Smart Plan to End the U.S. Lockdown Arrives Just in Time

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The U.S. is finally starting to take a sensible and proactive approach toward the Covid-19 pandemic. After a disastrous initial failure, coronavirus testing has now risen to levels similar to or higher than South Korea. Meanwhile, although he almost succumbed to the temptation to reopen the economy before shutdowns had time to quell the epidemic, President Donald Trump has wisely decided to recommend that social distancing continue through the end of April. And Congress, showing rare unanimity and boldness, passed a huge relief package that will sustain most households and many businesses throughout the next couple of months.But these are all simply holding actions, temporary measures to stop the virus from spreading out of control. Even the harshest lockdown will never eliminate the virus, and if restrictions are lifted without a regime in place to suppress new outbreaks, the epidemic will simply come roaring back. Meanwhile, every day the economy remains shutdown generates more losses and creates a larger backlog of un-serviced debt. That won’t work forever; an escape plan is urgently needed.A team of experts at the American Enterprise Institute has come up with exactly such a plan, and it looks like a good one. Those experts include Scott Gottlieb and Mark McClellan, both former commissioners of the Food and Drug Administration; Lauren Silvis, who previously held several high positions at the FDA; and Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security professors Caitlin Rivers and Crystal Watson.The first and most essential part of the AEI plan is to create a system that can suppress coronavirus outbreaks without lockdowns. This will require extensive testing; the plan’s authors estimate about 750,000 tests per week. Fortunately, that sort of number is now possible:Meanwhile, new rapid tests like the one from Abbott Laboratories will reduce turnaround times so that that cases can be identified in minutes instead of days. People who test positive can immediately isolate themselves.But testing and isolating isn’t enough to halt the virus because Covid-19 becomes contagious before many infected people start showing symptoms. To really halt the spread, therefore, public health authorities will need to use an approach called contact tracing. This means finding out who an infected person has had contact with in the past few days and notifying those people that they need to get tested even if  they don't show symptoms.Traditionally, as in the fight against HIV/AIDS, contact tracing was done by hand. Coronavirus moves so quickly, however, that technological solutions may be needed to speed things up. Singapore, for example, has recently made its own contact-tracing app publicly available. This app relies on Bluetooth signals to tell who has been in close physical proximity to whom.Of course, that raises privacy concerns. That has tech leaders working on alternate solutions that do contact tracing while preserving anonymity. It’s possible that Apple and Google already have the data to do this. Meanwhile, any contact-tracing app will also have to quickly notify people that they’ve been in contact with an infected person, and (ideally) route them to the nearest testing center. Those who test positive can immediately quarantine themselves at home to prevent spreading the disease.Establishing robust test-and-trace systems can start at the local and state level. However, implementing these systems will take both money and wise policy changes. The federal government should provide generous funding to help local and state governments implement test-and-trace systems. Local governments and public-health authorities, meanwhile, must loosen their testing criteria to allow for people to be tested before they show symptoms. The AEI authors also call for a national surveillance system to tie local systems together and enable contact tracing throughout the country, as well as to help infected people quarantine themselves quickly and safely.In addition to the test-and-trace approach, governments can use antibody tests to identify individuals who have already had the virus, and thus may be able to return to work safely. Germany is already experimenting with this approach.After test-and-trace systems are in place, and new cases have fallen for 14 days or more in a row, the AEI team suggest lifting shutdowns -- but not all at once. They recommend a phased reopening of businesses, with telework, distance learning and personal social distancing continuing as much as possible, while maintaining indefinite bans on gatherings of more than 50 people. Only once a vaccine against COVID-19 is developed -- probably in mid-2021 -- can all restrictions be lifted. And if outbreaks do spiral out of control in a city or state, the AEI team recommends a swift but temporary return to shutdown.The battle against coronavirus will thus be a long one. But in a few weeks the tide may turn. The AEI plan provides a great road map for coming out of hiding and going on the offensive.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion.For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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  • Ad Sales Decrease With Covid-19 But Digital Holds The Key

    Ad Sales Decrease With Covid-19 But Digital Holds The Key

    As Covid-19 continues to ripple through the global economy, we're starting to see its effects on businesses and consumer behavior and the digital ad ecosystem is no exception. Last week, Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) and Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) warned that the coronavirus-driven downturn was driving up usage but hurting their advertising business. Consequently, Wall Street analysts have begun to slash their estimates also for the giant, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG).Social media usage Is Blowing Up, But Ads Drop Coronavirus made Twitter more valuable than ever as its daily usage has jumped by 23 percent this year. But last Monday, Twitter told investors it no longer believed in the projections it had provided to them in early February, leading Wall Street analysts to estimate a 20 percent drop in revenue. Consequently, Twitter's decline announcement was taken as an official warning to the rest of the industry about how quickly things have deteriorated with the pandemic.The equation is simple: increased viewing hours won't do anything unless companies are willing to pay money to put themselves in front of viewers.It's quite likely that both Alphabet and Facebook will see material drops in their ad businesses, in part simply because of the nature of the way their ad businesses are built.Depends On Where You Stand On the bright side, both Google and Facebook are likely to come out of this mess in much better shape than the rest of their peers because of their size. Also, big TV networks are more protected, partly due to the fact that advertisers make commitments to buy from them many months in advance, but this doesn't mean they are shielded.Streaming and Roku - The Absolute Winner Streaming is one of the rare sectors that is set to withstand this crisis. Moreover, some lucky ones could even benefit from the outbreak. Roku Inc (NASDAQ: ROKU) is likely to benefit from a huge surge in viewership along with Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLIX), Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) and its streaming peers. But additionally, the fears of an ad slump are considered overdone when it comes to Roku because it faces little competition when it comes to selling ads to companies looking for exposure to streaming TV users. Roku will also benefit from ads from other providers mentioned above, as well as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and other industry peers.In this new normal, Roku will get a large amount of ad revenue from companies such as Domino's, Inc. (NYSE: DPZ) that is booming along with other delivery-oriented companies. That revenue won't entirely make up for Roku's typical sales but its ad sales should not drop more than 15% year-over-year.Roku's commission revenue should jump as Roku gets a 20% commission from the content ordered on its website. As viewing hours soar, Roku users are more likely to pay to try out more paid channels and more movies, all of which will boost the company's commission revenue. And this increase is able to offset much of the ad revenue it will lose from the downturn.Outlook Google's few segments have been hit hard as an overall economy being brought to a standstill. Its heavily hit segments include travel, lodging, autos, retail, and many others. Past downturns have proven that almost no company is immune to severe economic shocks. Moreover, this particular health crisis has its own set of unique dynamics. Although some companies have proven agile in navigating the initial stage of this global pandemic, everyone eventually succumbs to the inevitable. And these giants are no exception.This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases - If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: Contributors - IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you're interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.comThe post Ad Sales Decrease With Covid-19 But Digital Holds The Key appeared first on IAM Newswire.Image sourced by UnsplashSee more from Benzinga * Another One Bites the Dust: Tesla Reduces Its Nevada Gigafactory Activities * How Will Traditional Automakers Transition To Electric Vehicles? * Why Now Is The Time To Look Towards Solar(C) 2020 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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  • Two. Trillion. Dollars? Here’s where all that coronavirus stimulus is going

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