|Day's Range||131.00 - 131.00|
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc., ahead of a congressional hearing on violent content, revealed the charter for an independent oversight board that will make irreversible decisions about what posts stay up and come down, even if the company disagrees.The board, which Facebook started talking about in January and which will begin to hear cases early next year, represents the first real check on Facebook’s power to decide who gets a voice on its site. Its members -- at least 11 people at any given time and fully staffed at 40 -- will be the final word on controversial cases that affect Facebook’s 2.7 billion users. The board’s charter outlines a vision that is easier said than done.The members will “exhibit a broad range of knowledge, competencies, diversity and expertise” with no “actual or perceived” conflicts of interest that would affect their decisions on user content, according to the charter revealed Tuesday. They will “collaborate in decision-making to foster an environment of collegiality, and issue principled decisions and policy recommendations using clearly articulated reasoning.” The committee deciding on cases will include one member from the region of the post in dispute.Facebook spent months deliberating with outside experts to ensure the board acts independently, even though members are paid indirectly by the tech giant. Funding is channeled through a trust and the trustees can’t fire board members if they make bad content decisions, only if their conduct is poor. At stake is the trust of Facebook’s users, who sometimes don’t understand why posts are removed, or why questionable content they report remains online.The company is also dealing with increasingly damaging types of content -- like posts to recruit terrorists or influence elections. On Wednesday, executives from Facebook, Twitter Inc. and Google will testify before a Senate committee on violent content and extremism, after a string of mass shootings, some of which were broadcast live on social media.Kate Klonick, an assistant professor at St. John’s University Law School, has been embedded at Facebook to observe the oversight board’s creation, including sitting in on meetings with staff. She described a notable update: The board can provide feedback on Facebook policies, and the company will review that and write a public statement explaining why it did or did not change a policy as a result.“That’s actually kind of a huge deal,” Klonick said. “That’s probably the most accountable we’ve ever seen Facebook.”There are still elements that are unclear, according to Klonick. The charter references “bylaws” -- the “operational procedures of the board” -- and a Code of Conduct outlining the “norms, procedures, and proper practices” expected of board members. Neither exists right now, but both will be important to start the board off in the right direction with the right set of principles, she said.To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah Frier in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org;Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alistair Barr, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The top U.S. antitrust regulators admitted on Tuesday they had wasted time arguing over who would investigate which tech company as they take on major probes of firms like Alphabet's Google for using their market power unfairly. The hearing was a tough one for Delrahim and Joe Simons, chair of the Federal Trade Commission, who were criticized by lawmakers at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel for overlapping on the probes, and for other matters. Reuters and others reported in June that the agencies had divided up the companies, with Justice taking Google and Apple , while the FTC looked at Facebook and Amazon .
Apple-backed DiDi Chuxing has received a license to operate a fleet of self-driving cars on a pilot basis in part of the Jiading district in Shanghai.
The top U.S. antitrust regulators admitted on Tuesday they had wasted time arguing over who would investigate which tech company as they take on major probes of firms like Alphabet's Google for using their market power unfairly. The hearing was a tough one for Delrahim and Joe Simons, chair of the Federal Trade Commission, who were criticized by lawmakers at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel for overlapping on the probes, and for other matters.
A BBC investigation recently discovered dozens of YouTube videos promoting fake cancer cures. Could Google's YouTube lose advertisers?
Officials from the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission may provide more information on Tuesday afternoon about their antitrust probes that are targeting Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.
Here is what fundamental and technical analysis says about buying Google stock. There's also financial transparency, new ad products due in 2020 and stock buyback to consider.
Many became concerned about Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) stock as an attack on Saudi oil fields sent oil prices (and by extension, delivery costs) soaring. However, a Wall Street Journal report has likely overshadowed that concern due to more intense antitrust scrutiny.Source: Mike Mareen / Shutterstock.com Since Amazon stock that has traded in a range for almost a year and a half, AMZN traders could face a longer period of frustration. Struggles Continue for AmazonBad news greeted Amazon as it began Monday trading, and not just because of higher oil prices. AMZN stock fell by over 2% in Monday trading following the WSJ story alleging that Amazon changed search algorithms in such a way that would boost its products. The algorithms also bolstered products that brought higher profits to the company. This move also supposedly caused turmoil within the e-commerce giant as both lawyers and engineers pushed back against these changes.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips * 7 Momentum Stocks to Buy On the Dip If proven true, these actions could cause Amazon further pain as both U.S. and EU regulators have investigated the company for both operating a marketplace and selling products within that ecosystem. This action also contradicts years of statements from the company stating that its focus hinged on long-term profitability instead of steering customers to specific products for short-term gains.The previous quarterly report did not help matters. Amazon beat revenue estimates, however, they fell short on the bottom line and warned that Q3 would likely fail to meet expectations. This news sent AMZN stock back below the $2,000 per share level. It quickly fell close to the $1,800 per share level where it trades today.Worse, this continues the troubles for Amazon stock, which has become mired in a trading range. For almost 18 months, AMZN has traded at levels between around $1,300 per share and just over $2,000 per share. The current AMZN stock price of just over $1,800 per share places it toward the high end of the range. Can AMZN Stock Move Higher?The question for traders is, what can take AMZN stock beyond this range? Unfortunately for Amazon bulls, that path may have narrowed. To be sure, Amazon remains firmly positioned. Amazon Web Services (AWS) continues to produce the majority of company profits. It also maintains its lead over the likes of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL, NASDAQ:GOOG), and IBM (NYSE:IBM) in providing cloud services.Moreover, despite the profit warning for Q3, analysts expect earnings to grow by 17.1% for this year and 40.8% in fiscal 2020. This could support the current forward price-to-earnings (PE) ratio of just under 55 under normal circumstances. Expect Short, Medium-Term PainHowever, that PE could give traders pause with the antitrust concerns, at least on a short or medium-term basis. Due to the latest allegations, regulators will probably have a stronger case against Amazon. These accusations could lead to anything in between a slap on the wrist or an outright breakup.Moreover, traders have to assume that the company will remove the algorithms that boosted AMZN profits. I would also surmise that the earnings increases mentioned above will see downward revisions. Paying 55 times forward earnings may not pay off for investors under such circumstances. Final Thoughts on AMZN StockThough higher oil prices could hurt the company, intensified antitrust accusations will likely cause further pain for holders of AMZN stock. The allegations make penalties from regulators on both sides of the Atlantic more likely. Traders can also expect lower profits as antitrust pressure will force a change in the algorithms.Considering the scrutiny faced by Microsoft in the 1990s and early 2000s, I see a breakup as unlikely. Even if a split occurred, the breakups of Standard Oil and AT&T (NYSE:T) in the 20th century ultimately made the sum of the parts greater than the whole.However, shorter-term I see the WSJ story as a negative. From a stock perspective, it could lead investors to question whether they should pay almost 55 times forward earnings under these circumstances.Long-term, I expect AMZN stock will maintain its cloud and e-commerce leadership and post double-digit earnings growth. However, for now, investors should let the dust settle and try to buy later at a lower price.As of this writing, Will Healy did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned stocks. You can follow Will on Twitter at @HealyWriting. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Momentum Stocks to Buy On the Dip * 7 Dow Titans Breaking Higher * 5 Growth Stocks to Sell as Rates Move Higher The post Intensified Antitrust Scrutiny Could Weigh on AMZN Stock appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Workers at Amazon, Facebook, Google's parent and Microsoft pledge to walk out Friday, joining climate-change protests worldwide.
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.The new age in the labor market is shaping up as a missed opportunity in the poorer parts of Europe to stem the outflow of skilled labor.Hundreds of thousands of Serbians, Ukrainians and Romanians make a living through global freelance platforms, working for international clients that pay better than local companies. It could be a perfect way to keep the best minds from leaving their homelands for better opportunities abroad. Instead, outdated regulations force them to live on the edge of legality, and may foil efforts to slow the brain drain.Eastern Europe for centuries has been defined by a desire to catch up with the West. In the past three decades, post-communist countries have transformed their economies and became part of global supply chains. Now the rise of the gig economy offers a chance to take another leap. But the generation that’s grown up since the end of the Cold War is being dragged down by some of Europe’s most corrupt political systems.“This is the moment, just like in Star Wars, when ships make the jump” through hyperspace “from one system to another,” said Branka Andjelkovic, a co-author of Digging Into the Gig Economy in Serbia. “If you want your economy to advance and to have those people stay here, then do something.”It’s already too late for some, like Mateja Miladinovic, a 34-year-old graphic designer in Belgrade. After more than two years as a freelancer, he’s moving to Bali with his wife for a change of lifestyle with less stress from Serbian authorities. The constant pressure of an uncertain tax status within the Serbian system and a lack of access to social, health and retirement benefits were enough to convince him to leave his homeland.“I’m in a gray area,” said Miladinovic, who does magazine layout work for clients from Canada to Ethiopia. He expects to continue the same jobs from his new tropical home.Serbia, along with Ukraine and Romania, is in the vanguard of the gig economy in eastern Europe. The jobs are mostly in technology, graphics, Internet design and media and not necessarily in ride sharing or food delivery that are the hallmarks of the industry, partly because of historically low wages compared to the rest of the continent.They are also among the region’s most unstable politically, which has led to inaction on updating rigid communist-era regulations. Another common thread is widespread graft: Romania ranks 61st, Serbia is 87th, and Ukraine is 120th in Transparency International’s annual corruption perception index.Many western economies already had higher levels of protection and more flexible labor codes when the gig platforms started popping up. And they are going further: the U.K., for example, last year proposed legislation to increase protections for freelancers.California this month passed a bill that could force companies to reclassify gig workers as employees, a move that would secure labor protections. The legislation is emblematic of the debates in countries from Germany to the U.S., which are about defining the industry and regulating employer-employee relations, rather than about the legality of gig work.The good news is that Ukraine, Romania and Serbia have an abundance of high-skill workers in technology. Many of them work remotely, which so far has slowed the brain drain, according to Janine Berg, a senior labor market specialist at the International Labour Organization in Geneva.And the prospect of becoming their own masters as part of a global workforce with seemingly endless opportunities remains seductive.“Every young person that doesn’t have a job wants to be a freelancer, they want to travel the world and still be able to work,” said Belgrade-based tax expert Sofija Popara. “It’s a short-term plan, but young people are doing it more and more.”But the warnings are becoming louder. Romania needs a “redefining and reform of work relations,” according to a European Commission-financed study by the Institute for Public Policy. In Ukraine, the ILO last year urged “policy responses that can enhance the benefits of the work transformation.”The International Monetary Fund in a July study warned that countries in eastern Europe need to do more to “retain and better use the existing workforce” to combat what threatens to become a significant drop in population driven in part by outward migration.Brain drain is a common problem for Romania, Ukraine and Serbia. It contributed to 600,000 people from the three countries combined leaving in 2016 for better jobs and life prospects around the world. That’s three times more than the outflow in 2000, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.Serbia hasn’t addressed freelance workers in the labor code and the ministry hasn’t responded to questions from Bloomberg. Ukraine allows them to register and pay taxes at a favorable rate, but no protections. The new government this month promised changes by the end of the year.And while Romania is required to incorporate European Union legislation, the work has been slow amid near-constant political turmoil. The labor ministry in Bucharest said it’s working on implementation, with a deadline of Aug. 1, 2022.Even the highly skilled and technically savvy gig workers are vulnerable in the cutthroat competition for contracts. The lack of other opportunities means they have little leverage against faraway employers.“Freelancing isn’t an easy life and it’s definitely not for everyone,” said Jelena Novakovic, a graphics designer in Belgrade who works for clients typically in the U.S. or Australia.Some gig workers are trying to take control of the process. Tamara Gavric, a Belgrade architect, has also become an activist for promoting safer freelance labor. The lack of state protection is draining the profession even as it becomes more prevalent in the global workforce, she said.“The situation has to be resolved because we do not want to be underground workers,” Gavric said.Online platforms collect as much as 20% on jobs and offer little comfort to workers. A third of Ukrainian freelancers in a recent survey complained about non-payment with no recourse.“If the platform is going to arbitrate, they usually go with the side of the company,” Berg said. “There’s no regulation at all and you have oversupply, so there is a tendency for wage rates to fall.”Serbian gig workers are arguably the worst off. Without legal recognition, they are considered jobless, which can make taking out a mortgage or a credit card impossible. The only option is to register as self-employed entrepreneurs, which often means an immediate 40% tax rate.One option, of course, is trying to find a traditional job with a local company. But for Miladinovic, the magazine designer, that was never going to be the way out.“I still can’t imagine a permanent position with a company,” he said. “For the time being I can see myself only as a freelancer and depending on cash flow, we’ll see.”(Updates with comment in 22nd paragraph)\--With assistance from Irina Vilcu, Daryna Krasnolutska and Peter Laca.To contact the reporters on this story: James M. Gomez in Prague at email@example.com;Gordana Filipovic in Belgrade at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at email@example.com, Andrew LangleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Just as the Fed is set to ponder an interest rate cut amid fears of a US slowdown, the People’s Bank of China has kept its one-year interest rate steady.
A lot of analysts got it wrong about Snap (NYSE:SNAP) stock. In late 2018, Snapchat stock was in a tailspin. The prevailing sentiment was that the tech startup was about to be another cautionary tale regarding initial public offerings. What happened then has been nothing short of amazing. SNAP stock has grown nearly 200% in 2019, largely fueled by increasing quarterly revenue.Source: dennizn / Shutterstock.com Now, nearly a year later, the SNAP stock price is once again at a turning point. Only now, instead of wondering if Snap is a falling knife, investors wonder if shares have room to grow.But for Snap to see their stock price grow, it will need to generate more advertising revenue. With a growing user base among a desirable demographic, that sounds easy enough. However, this demographic is anything but traditional when it comes to advertising. That's a reason I think it's best to proceed with caution.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips Snap Has a Growing User BaseThe bullish case for Snap stock points to 13 million daily active users. That's how many active users the company added in the second quarter. This growth gave analysts a lift after a disappointing first quarter that saw Snap add just four million users. * 7 Tech Stocks You Should Avoid Now Snap's monthly user base is just above 500 million. That's more than Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) (335 million users) but still far fewer than Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) (2.4 billion). Snap has also flown under the radar while companies like Facebook and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) draw increased regulatory scrutiny.Snap's CEO Evan Spiegel commented, "Completing these transitions has established a strong foundation for growing our community, increasing engagement and growing advertising demand." Growing Ad Demand Is Easier Said than DoneSnap has been built for, and targeted to millennials and Generation Z. These generations got social media education in middle school.The attraction of Snapchat was the idea of being able to self-produce shareable content that only stays online for a short period of time. Many reject Facebook because their content stays online unless the user deletes it.Despite interacting with multiple social media channels in one day, these generations are intensely concerned about their privacy. Providing what they see as personal information is one reason why email advertising is a non-starter with this demographic. Traditional Advertising Won't WorkAs it relates to ads, these generations want to be entertained, not sold. These target audiences will not engage passively with "traditional" advertising.A recent report titled The Everything Guide to Generation Z by Vision Critical, in partnership with research firm MARU/VCR&C, provides insights into the attitudes, behaviors and value of this generation.One of the key takeaways as it relates to Snap is that 69% of Generation Z finds ads disruptive. While the word "disruptive" can be thrown around by marketers in a good way (i.e., it changes the conventional way of thinking, forcing consumers to pay attention) that is not the context here. This generation, more so than even millennials, want ads to meet them where they are in a very organic manner.Yet, Erin Gade of Yes Lifestyle Marketing reported that one in five Generation Z consumers found Snapchat influential in their purchase decision. This requires a cross-channel model that is far different from banner ads and pop-up videos. In fact, in many cases the ads aren't ads at all.As someone who's worked in marketing agencies, I can confirm that many marketers are not open to new approaches. They want traditional "push" advertising and pre-roll messages because they're measurable. But they frequently don't look at or understand the metrics that matter. It's a soft-sell approach. The payoff is more intrinsic and less measurable. Snap Needs Ad Revenue to Reach ProfitabilityThe fact that Snap is not yet profitable is not a big deal for investors. The company is not expected to be profitable until 2023. However, that revenue growth is largely going to be dependent on the company's ability to monetize their advertising. InvestorPlace contributor Vince Martin wrote in August that Snap would require at least $1 billion in additional revenue to support its current valuation. The stock is already down about 10% from its recent highs. I expect that some investors will look to engage in profit taking as the year comes to an end.The argument for Snap stock is that their target audience is devoted to technology and loyally uses the app. But this is not a captive audience and they can't be marketed to as such.Growing their user base is not enough for Snap stock. For the company to really grow, they have to find a way to monetize that base. I'm not saying it can't be done; I'm just skeptical.As of this writing, Chris Markoch did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Recession-Resistant Services Stocks to Buy * 7 Hot Penny Stocks to Consider Now * 7 Tech Stocks You Should Avoid Now The post Why Iam Taking a Wait and See Approach on Snap Stock appeared first on InvestorPlace.
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s administration has sent a letter to Saudi Arabia that sets out requirements the kingdom needs to follow in order to get U.S. nuclear technology and know-how.The baseline for any agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia will be tougher inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said at briefing in Vienna on Tuesday. The kingdom must adopt the IAEA’s so-called Additional Protocol, a set of monitoring rules followed by more than 100 countries that give inspectors wide leeway in accessing potential atomic sites.“We have sent them a letter laying out the requirements that the U.S. would have, certainly in line with what the IAEA would expect from the standpoint of additional protocol,” said Perry, who’s attending the IAEA’s annual meeting this week. “An additional protocol is what is going to be required, not only because that’s what the IAEA requires but because that’s what Congress requires. This isn’t just the Trump administration unilaterally deciding.”The remarks put pressure on the Saudi government to embrace broader monitoring of its atomic program or face difficulty fueling its first major reactor. The country is nearing completion of a low-powered research unit being built with Argentina’s state-owned INVAP SE, which needs an inspections agreement in place before it can access the low-enriched uranium it needs to operate.In the rarefied world of nuclear monitoring, the IAEA is responsible for sending hundreds of inspectors around the world to look after and maintain a vast network of cameras, seals and sensors. Their job is to account for gram levels of enriched uranium, ensuring that the key ingredient needed for nuclear power isn’t diverted into building weapons. Without submitting to tighter IAEA monitoring, the kingdom would struggle to fuel its reactor.So far, Saudi Arabian officials have declined to answer questions about when they may conclude a new IAEA safeguards deal.Saudi Arabia “supports and endorses active international cooperation with regard to the transfer of nuclear technology and expertise,” Khaled Bin Saleh Al-Sultan, president of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, said on Monday in a statement.Saudi Arabia is currently signed up to the IAEA’s so-called Small Quantities Protocol, a set of rules that will become obsolete once it needs atomic fuel for a working reactor. It hasn’t adopted the rules and procedures that would allow nuclear inspectors to access potential sites of interest.The IAEA is currently in talks with Saudi Arabia about signing a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement. That set of rules would allow the kingdom to fuel its research reactor but falls short of the Additional Protocol demanded by the U.S. for a full-scale plant, according to two diplomats familiar with the negotiations.“There’s still a period of edification that needs to go on with both citizens of the kingdom and leadership, so that they’re comfortable,” Perry said. Getting a new IAEA agreement done would show “we’re big guys and we know the requirements to play at this level.”Enrichment of uranium into nuclear fuel is at the heart of the U.S. conflict with Iran because of the technology can be easily adapted to military purposes. A tighter inspections system in Saudi Arabia would give the IAEA insight into exactly how that country’s capabilities and intentions are evolving.Perry confirmed reports that Saudi Arabia has indicated it’s interested in producing its own nuclear fuel.“I consider this to be a form of negotiation,” said Perry, who spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman before joining this week’s IAEA talks. “We have a really good professional and personal relationship.”To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Tirone in Vienna at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at email@example.com, Andrew ReiersonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- In 2014, the big U.S. tech companies did something surprising: They told the world how few women they employed. Men comprised 70% of Google’s workforce; Facebook, Apple, and Twitter looked similar. The mix was even more lopsided in more senior leadership and technical roles.Most of the business world has come to believe that workforce diversity is good for the bottom line, and tech companies hoped their new transparency would lead to more equality. It didn’t. But new research suggests that investors were paying attention.In a study published today by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, researchers there and at Northwestern found that share prices jumped when companies reported better-than-expected gender diversity; they fell when firms announced demographics that underwhelmed. The same pattern held when the academics turned their attention to finance companies. A lab experiment demonstrated the same trends, and participants reported a handful of beliefs that explained why they were more likely to invest in companies with more gender diversity.Google was the first to release its figures, and after accounting for other factors, the researchers calculated that the company’s stock fell 0.39 percentage points on the news. They projected that if Google had reported that women made up 31% of its workforce, instead of 30%, it could’ve added $375 million in market value. “This is a huge response,” said Margaret A. Neale, one of the researchers and a distinguished professor at Stanford.They also used Google as a benchmark to see how the market reacted when firms reported more or less diversity compared with an industry leader. The stock price was “affected strongly” by how companies looked compared to Google, they found. A tech firm whose workforce was 1 percentage point more diverse than Google’s saw shares gain, on average, 1.91% in the short term.After the first year companies released diversity reports, the stocks didn’t react much at all, which Neale attributed to the fact that the demographics hadn’t changed much. “Their bad news has already been priced into the stock,” Neale said.Next, the researchers turned their attention to the banks and financial firms. The researchers used data 50 financial institutions shared with the Financial Times in 2017. The big banks looked more equal than the tech companies: Women made up 54.4% of employees at JPMorgan Chase, according to the report; Bank of America was split about equally. Companies without a retail presence, like Morgan Stanley, are more lopsided.The researchers found companies with greater gender diversity saw shares rise relative to companies that reported having fewer women, the same trend they saw in the tech industry.The initial findings didn’t explain why investors reacted positively to companies with more gender balance, so the researchers devised a third lab study to try to parse the reasons. In it, they simulated the diversity report experiment, giving a dollar to participants to invest in companies based on their diversity announcements. As they’d observed in finance and tech, participants were more willing to invest in companies with more gender equality.When they measured participants’ existing ideas about diversity, they found investors’ interest in companies with more gender equality was based in beliefs that those companies are more likely to innovate, less likely to attract negative regulatory attention and less likely to settle lawsuits, among other beliefs.Considering the market benefits, the researchers conclude that organizations are systematically under-investing in gender diversity. Despite public commitments, these figures haven’t budged since companies started publicly reporting. This year, Google said women made up 31.6% of its company, up just 1.6% from five years ago.“People are not confused. They know the population of women is greater than 30%,” Neale said. “If Google moved up to 40%, there would be champagne toasts.”To contact the reporter on this story: Rebecca Greenfield in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Janet Paskin at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
A new social network has entered the already crowded field in Vietnam as the communist party squeezes U.S. tech giants Facebook and Google with a new cybersecurity law. Lotus, a social network that allows users to create content and share posts to a home page, had received 700 billion dong ($30.14 million) in funding from tech corporation VCCorp and hoped to raise another 500 billion dong, company General Director Nguyen The Tan said at the launch ceremony. "Lotus was born not to compete with Facebook or any other social networks," Tan said late on Monday.
The small print of the Google Home announcement, however, reveals that the latest move is not quite so ambitious as the first. Vijay Sankaran, chief information officer at TD Ameritrade, says the slimmed down capabilities of Google Home were partly down to the firm's experience of how clients used Alexa, Apple Business Chat and Facebook Messenger.
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Bill Gates, who knows a thing or two about antitrust investigations, doesn’t think it’s a good idea to break up the biggest U.S. tech companies as some politicians have suggested.The Microsoft Corp. co-founder and former chief executive officer battled the Justice Department for years in the late 1990s in a bruising antitrust case. At issue was the software giant’s bundling of its Internet Explorer browser to Windows as a way to maintain its dominance in PC operating systems. Ultimately Microsoft remained intact.Two decades later, Microsoft is one of the few big U.S. technology companies not under regulatory scrutiny in Washington. The Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission, state attorneys general and a congressional committee are all scrutinizing so-called Big Tech -- companies from Alphabet Inc.‘s Google to Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. -- that Washington has concluded have gotten too big and too powerful. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a presidential candidate, has made a forceful and detailed plan about how she would go about breaking them up.Gates disagrees. “You have to really think; is that the best thing?” Gates said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “If there’s a way the company’s behaving that you want to get rid of, then, you should just say, ‘Okay, that’s a banned behavior.’ But splitting the company in two, and having two people doing the bad thing-- that doesn’t seem like a solution.”Microsoft narrowly avoided a breakup when a federal appeals court reversed a lower court ruling ordering the software company to be split. The company has bounced back to top Apple Inc. and Amazon as the stock market’s most valuable company, buoyed by optimism about its cloud business, and on some investors’ belief that Microsoft is a safe haven as U.S. and European regulators sharpen their scrutiny of others in the sector.Lawmakers including David Cicilline, who is leading the House antitrust subcommittee’s inquiry into large internet companies, has asked them for detailed information about acquisitions, business practices, executive communications, previous probes and lawsuits. The panel has also asked for information from customers of those big companies, asking about mobile apps, social media, messaging, cloud computing and more. Virtually every aspect of the companies’ business is under the microscope.“It’s a pretty narrow set of things that I think breakup is the right answer to,” Gates said. “These companies are very big, very important companies. So the fact the governments are thinking about these things, that’s not a surprise.”Gates said Microsoft’s own antitrust scrutiny has made the company “more thoughtful about this kind of activity.” In his view, companies like Google and Amazon the rest are “behaving totally legally. They’re doing a lot of innovative things.”To contact the reporters on this story: Molly Schuetz in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Erik Schatzker in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Sara FordenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- India’s fragile financial system is swinging between despair and hope. Two separate incidents — both featuring the lender Yes Bank Ltd. — recently underscored the drag of past underwriting follies as well as the lift from a digital reset. It will take time, but good things will come to Indian banking as a result of the present crisis. Start with the sudden default by financier Altico Capital India Ltd. on a 199.7-million-rupee ($2.8-million) interest payment to Dubai-based Mashreqbank PSC. Clearwater Capital Partners-backed Altico, which borrows money from banks and mutual funds to make loans to property developers, called the situation a “liquidity crisis.” And that made Yes Bank investors gloomy. Based on January data, the midsize Indian bank had a 4.5-billion-rupee exposure to Altico, the third-highest after Mashreq and HDFC Bank Ltd. While HDFC Bank, the country’s most valuable lender, has the capital — and current profit — to take the occasional credit hit, Yes’s capital cushion is already frayed by dodgy loans to beleaguered shadow banks and troubled tycoons. Both these borrower groups have found it hard to refinance debt since the collapse last year of IL&FS Group, a large Indian infrastructure financier and operator. Altico’s unraveling shows that an end to credit woes is not yet in sight. At more than $200 billion, India’s world-beating pile of bad loans is bigger than Italy’s. State-run Indian banks are carrying the bulk of the burden, but at least they’re getting dollops of taxpayers’ money and being merged into fewer banking groups. A private-sector lender like Yes doesn’t have a formal public backstop. If it can’t fend for itself, the central bank could step in and force an arranged match with a better-run bank. The terms won’t be favorable to Yes shareholders. To avoid such a fate, Yes needs to raise growth capital by convincing new investors that the worst is over. And that brings us to the week’s other big incident. Yes shares jumped 13.5% after reports that One97 Communications Ltd., which owns the Indian digital payments network Paytm, may buy out a 9.6% stake in Yes from Rana Kapoor, the lender’s co-founder. Kapoor was forced to step down as CEO early this year by the Reserve Bank of India amid a controversy over bad-debt accounting. New CEO Ravneet Gill, brought in to clean up the mess, told Reuters last week that Yes was looking to sell a minority stake to “one of the world’s top three technology companies that had not previously invested in a bank.”Investors pushed the stock higher despite their many misgivings. Only two years ago, Yes had a high price-to-book multiple and an even bigger price-to-truth ratio, a term I’d coined to describe shareholders’ refusal to question the subterfuge at India’s private-sector banks. Although the banking regulator had found bad loans to be four times what Yes had disclosed in audited results, very few analysts believed something could go seriously wrong given Kapoor’s substantial stake — his skin in the game. That was then. Now, Yes is a battered lender gasping for capital. Despite the many regulatory hurdles on the way to a possible alignment with Paytm, which the latter hasn’t confirmed, a deal could help the bank break free of its checkered past — and reemerge as a digital lender. If Paytm can monetize the data of its 350 million mobile wallet users by giving them point-of-sale loans using the balance sheet of a bank — whether Yes or someone else — the payment firm will get a second wind. Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma had an early advantage as India’s mobile payments pioneer, but Walmart Inc.-owned PhonePe as well as Alphabet Inc.’s Google Pay are giving him stiff competition. Paytm’s losses are ballooning and it’s becoming evident that without old-fashioned lending, there may be no other path to profitability for a pure payments business. Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest tycoon, plans to use his rapidly growing Jio telecom network to offer customers discounts and vouchers that would be honored even by neighborhood stores. But for extending point-of-sale credit, Ambani would also need to borrow the balance sheet of a bank. For Yes, point-of-sale financing could be a growth avenue at a time when the turmoil in India’s formal and shadow banking sectors refuses to end. It’s put the brakes on what authorities were until recently claiming to be the world’s fastest-growing major economy. But alongside the despair, hope is building for a new model led by supply-chain credit, asset securitization, digital lending, and joint underwriting by finance companies (which know their borrowers) and banks (which have stable deposits). The tug of war between the past and the future of banking in India is getting interesting. What happens to Yes could be a gauge of which way the balance of power is shifting.(Corrects location of Mashreqbank PSC in 2nd paragraph to say Dubai. )To contact the author of this story: Andy Mukherjee at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McDowell at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
In a research note released yesterday, Apple (AAPL) analyst Ming Chi Kuo noted that more people from the US could choose the iPhone Pro than the iPhone 11.
(Bloomberg) -- Oracle Corp. unveiled an operating system that runs without the need for human oversight, part of a raft of new software tools meant to ease the company’s rocky transition to cloud computing.The operating system expands Oracle’s line of autonomous products beyond databases, the company’s flagship software. Chairman Larry Ellison announced the new Linux-based product Monday during remarks at OpenWorld, Oracle’s annual user conference in San Francisco.“If you eliminate human error in autonomous systems, you eliminate data theft,” Ellison said on stage. The feature makes Oracle’s products more secure than those sold by cloud leader Amazon Web Services, he said.Ellison said the operating system, which the company’s Autonomous Database runs on, will update itself without any downtime.The world’s second-largest software maker has sought to revive sales growth after years of almost stagnant revenue. Oracle hopes that a lineup of “self-driving” programs could help differentiate the company’s offerings against products from Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Those companies are the top two in the market to rent storage and computing power, which is projected to reach almost $39 billion in 2019. The tools may also entice longtime Oracle customers to upgrade their technology to take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.Oracle disclosed last week that Mark Hurd, one of the company’s two chief executive officers, would take a leave of absence to treat an unspecified illness. Ellison and Oracle’s other CEO, Safra Catz, said they would fill in for Hurd, who has overseen the company’s sales and marketing efforts.The Redwood City, California-based company also announced a variety of changes and new programs to bolster its partner ecosystem:Oracle unveiled an agreement with VMware Inc. to bring virtualization software to Oracle’s cloud, similar to deals VMware has signed with Microsoft and Google.Customers will be able to buy software made by other companies in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, which may help company partners including Cisco Systems Inc. and Palo Alto Networks Inc.Oracle also said it expanded a relationship with cybersecurity company McAfee Inc. to bring its security incident software to Oracle’s infrastructure cloud.Ellison said Oracle would offer a free version of its Cloud Infrastructure, giving developers, students and others perpetual access to the company’s autonomous database, computing and storage.The company plans to launch 20 additional cloud data-center hubs, called “regions,” by the end of 2020. Ellison said the company would have more regions around the world than AWS.Oracle will let customers run the autonomous database in their own data centers next year, and unveiled new servers with updated memory components from Intel Corp.To contact the reporter on this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.