|Day's Range||112.00 - 112.00|
Amazon's Echo Show 5 brings Alexa to your nightstand in a smart screen packing an appealingly understated design.
Amazon may be in the middle of its Prime Day shopping bonanza, but that doesn’t mean the stock is without risk.
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said he wants Attorney General William Barr to look into businessman Peter Thiel’s allegations that Google’s work with China is “seemingly treasonous.”Trump made the comments in a cabinet meeting on Tuesday after earlier saying in a tweet that Thiel is “a great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone!”“I think we’ll all look at that,” Trump said at the meeting. “We’ll see if there’s any truth” to the claim.Thiel, one of Trump’s top Silicon Valley supporters and donors, took aim at Google and the tech industry over the companies’ focus on global markets while brushing aside U.S. interests in a speech Sunday in Washington.Thiel, a Facebook Inc. board member, singled out Google for agreeing to work closely with China, trying to get its search engine back into the country, while deciding to let lapse a U.S. Defense Department contract that gave the military access to its artificial intelligence tools.A spokesman for Google said the company doesn’t work with the Chinese military but declined to comment further.Thiel argued that the kind of AI developed by DeepMind, which like Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., should be thought of as a potential “military weapon.” He then suggested Google’s actions were “seemingly treasonous,” asking whether DeepMind or Google senior management had been “infiltrated” by foreign intelligence agencies.(Updates with shares in the third paragraph.)\--With assistance from Max Chafkin.To contact the reporter on this story: Terrence Dopp in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Shepard at firstname.lastname@example.org, Elizabeth Wasserman, Kasia KlimasinskaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Executives from tech giants Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Facebook Inc and Alphabet's Google go before the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel Tuesday to discuss competition in online markets. The committee is likely to discuss antitrust probes of the four companies under way at the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission, as well as allegations that the companies seek to thwart nascent competitors. Democrats, in particular, are expected to press Facebook about a proposed $5 billion settlement between the company and the FTC to resolve allegations that the company violated a 2011 consent agreement by inappropriately sharing information on 87 million users with the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.
President Donald Trump says his administration will “take a look” at allegations made by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel that Google-parent Alphabet Inc. has been infiltrated by the Chinese government.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. is moving a step closer to launching its long-delayed WhatsApp payments service in India after wrapping up an audit of related data practices, according to people familiar with the matter.The payments offering has been in beta mode in India since early 2018 for a million users, but the nationwide debut has been delayed, in part because of government regulations. WhatsApp is required to show a third-party auditor that all data involved in payments will be stored on servers only in India. WhatsApp is preparing to submit the report for approval to India’s banking regulator, the Reserve Bank of India, said one of the people, asking not to be named as the matter is confidential.WhatsApp is moving into a crowded and competitive field, where local startups and global players are already slugging it out. Amazon Pay and Paytm, the country’s most popular digital payments service, have already complied with the Reserve Bank’s data localization guidelines. India’s digital payments market is projected to grow five-fold and hit $1 trillion by 2023, according to a report by investment bank Credit Suisse Group AG.WhatsApp has substantial strengths including an India user base that’s estimated at more than 300 million. The Facebook unit could grab market share from rivals and shake up the industry, said Arnav Gupta, an analyst who tracks digital payments at Forrester Research.“Everybody from eight to 80 years old in India are clued into WhatsApp, giving it phenomenal reach,” said Gupta. “Besides, peer-to-peer businesses like MakeMyTrip and BookMyShow, which are already using WhatsApp, will find it very easy to route payment transactions through the messaging app.”WhatsApp declined to comment on whether or not an audit is underway. "WhatsApp looks forward to providing WhatsApp Payments based on the UPI standard to all users in India and we continue to work with our local partners towards a shared goal of supporting a more Digital India," spokesman Carl Woog said in an email.The India initiative comes after Facebook unveiled plans to introduce its own cryptocurrency, called Libra, next year with multiple partners. That project will face hurdles in India, as it does in the U.S., since the country’s central bank has banned all regulated entities from dealing in virtual currencies. But Libra is conceived as a means to let people easily send money around the world, including through its own WhatsApp payment service. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook chief executive officer, has said that “it should be as easy to send money to someone as it is to send a photo”.The India payments audit currently underway meets the regulator’s stipulation which asks that all data be stored in India including “full end-to-end transaction details / information collected / carried / processed as part of the message / payment instruction.” India’s central bank gave foreign and Indian payments services time to comply. “For the foreign leg of the transaction, if any, the data can also be stored in the foreign country, if required,” the Reserve Bank stipulated.The messaging app’s entry into India’s digital payments market has been likened to that of WeChat, given that it has a massive user base, and is also expected to reshape payments like the Chinese player did when it expanded beyond messaging. The pilot version was praised as user-friendly and threatens other players like Paytm and Google Pay which lack the vital messaging component. But it’s drawn criticism too. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder of rival Paytm Payments Bank, had claimed that WhatsApp bypassed security requirements and parent Facebook was attempting to build a walled payments garden.Separate from payments and regulation, WhatsApp has faced criticism in India. Its messaging service has been used to spread fake news and rumors, including some that said to fuel nearly two dozen lynchings in the country.To contact the reporter on this story: Saritha Rai in Bangalore at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter Elstrom, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The venture-capital business is one marked by a fundamental asymmetry, says Scott Kupor, managing partner at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz and this week's guest on Masters in Business: The average venture capitalist has done hundreds or maybe even thousands of deals; the typical entrepreneur is raising capital for the first time.This information and experience asymmetry creates issues, not only for the entrepreneur, who doesn't want to be taken advantage of, but also for the VC, who is concerned with finding and funding quality deals. Kupor, author of the new book "Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It," describes the road map for startups that want to better understand the nature of venture capital. He explains the advantages that accrue to any founder who knows how to successfully navigate the perils and pitfalls of the capital-raising process.Kupor explains why Y Combinator and other seed funds were such game changers for start-ups. As entrepreneurs became more educated, the deal funnel and gate-keeper relationship that was previously controlled by a handful of connected VCs was altered. These changes were quite significant: Since 2005, Y Combinator has backed more than 2,000 startups with a combined valuation of more than $100 billion.The influence of venture capital on the U.S. economy is hard to overstate. Venture-backed companies now spend 44% of the entire research-and-development budget for public companies, and the 656 publicly traded businesses that were VC backed make up 20% of the total market capitalization of all public companies.Kupor's favorite books are here.You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on Apple iTunes, Bloomberg, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Castbox, and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite hosts can be found here.Next week, we speak with Allison Schrager, co-founder of LifeCycle Finance Partners and author of “An Economist Walks into a Brothel: And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk.”To contact the author of this story: Barry Ritholtz at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He founded Ritholtz Wealth Management and was chief executive and director of equity research at FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Investor and Facebook director Peter Thiel has claimed that the search giant has worked with the Chinese military -- claims that the company denies.
A tiny software company claims Google spent years courting it for a partnership, urged it to build a custom version of its platform and share its source code — only to launch a competing product that infringed on the smaller company's intellectual property.
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Amazon.com Inc. faces a full-blown European Union antitrust probe as the bloc’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager prepares for a summer finale to her five-year crackdown on U.S. technology giants.The Dane, who heads the EU’s competition division, is poised to open a formal investigation into Amazon within days, according to two people familiar with the case, who asked not to be named because the process isn’t public.Vestager has hinted for months that she wanted to escalate a preliminary inquiry into how Amazon may be unfairly using sales data to undercut smaller shops on its Marketplace platform. By ramping up the probe, officials can start to build a case that could ultimately lead to fines or an order to change the way the Seattle-based company operates.“If powerful platforms are found to use data they amass to get an edge over their competitors, both consumers and the market bear the cost,” said Johannes Kleis of BEUC, the European consumer organization in Brussels.The probe comes as Qualcomm Inc. could be hit with a second hefty EU penalty as soon as next week for allegedly underpricing chips to squeeze a smaller competitor. The U.S. chipmaker was fined last year for thwarting rival suppliers to Apple Inc. and has been the subject of on-and-off antitrust scrutiny since 2005.Vestager has already slapped Google with record fines and ordered Apple to repay billions of euros in back taxes. By taking on Amazon’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, Vestager is keeping up the pressure on big tech right to the very end of her mandate, due to expire in October.Amazon and the European Commission in Brussels both declined to comment on the plans to open the probe. Qualcomm representatives declined to immediately comment.Business ModelWhile it will be the first time the EU has directly targeted Amazon’s online retail business model, it’s the third time the company has been probed by the regulator, following tax and e-book investigations.Although Google has been fined once a year for the past three years, racking up 8.2 billion euros ($9.2 billion) in penalties, the Alphabet Inc. unit still faces early-stage inquiries into local business and jobs searches. Apple also has to contend with a complaint from Spotify Technology SA and Facebook Inc. is getting questions on how it uses and shares data from apps.To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Chapman at firstname.lastname@example.org, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Peter Thiel, the technology industry’s most prominent supporter of President Donald Trump, called Elizabeth Warren the most “dangerous” Democratic presidential candidate.In a rare television interview, Thiel said Monday night that Warren, a Massachusetts senator, was the only Democrat talking about important issues like the economy.“All the others are almost equally unimpressive, in that it’s all identity politics in one flavor or another,” he told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson. “I’m most scared by Elizabeth Warren. I think she’s the one who’s actually talking about the economy, which is the only thing, the thing that I think matters by far the most.”Thiel spent most of the interview discussing the subject of a speech he gave Sunday at a conservative conference in Washington: what he called “seemingly treasonous” conduct by Google. The billionaire, who sits on the board of Facebook Inc., said the U.S. should investigate Google’s ties to China. In response, Google denied it works with the Chinese military.In 2016, Thiel established himself as a Silicon Valley pariah when he endorsed Trump for president. The venture capitalist donated $1.25 million to the campaign and spoke in support of Trump at the Republican National Convention. He reiterated his support of Trump in Sunday’s speech by praising the administration’s foreign policy, in particular the trade battle with China.During the speech, Thiel made reference to Warren, who has advocated for breaking up big technology companies including Google and Facebook. She has said concentration of corporate power punishes small businesses and average Americans. Thiel said Google employees had donated to Warren’s campaign, suggesting “a little bit of a bad conscience.”Monday’s Fox News interview concluded with Thiel’s comments about the presidential race: “Elizabeth Warren is the dangerous one.”(Updates with Thiel background in the fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Lizette Chapman in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Milian at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The Dow retreats from an intraday day high Tuesday after President Trump said the U.S. and China have `a long way to go' before reaching a trade agreement.
The president tweeted early Tuesday that the recent claims of billionaire investor Peter Thiel will be looked at.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. technology giants are headed for their biggest antitrust showdown with Congress in 20 years as lawmakers and regulators demand to know whether companies like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. use their dominance to squelch innovation.Executives from Google, Facebook, Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are set to appear Tuesday before the House antitrust panel, whose Democratic chairman is leading an investigation into the market power of the biggest tech companies and their effect on competition.The hearing harkens back to Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates’ appearance before the Senate in 1998 when Microsoft was the target of government scrutiny into its monopoly in computer operating systems. Two months later, the Justice Department filed a landmark antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft that reined in its practices and nearly led to the company’s breakup.“This is really a deep dive by the committee to understand what’s going on in the tech sector, what needs to be done in terms of antitrust enforcement but also to understand better whether there is a need for change in the law,” said Gene Kimmelman, a senior adviser at the policy group Public Knowledge, who served in the Justice Department’s antitrust division under President Barack Obama.While the executives testifying Tuesday don’t have the star power of Gates, their appearance marks the first time the largest technology companies will face questions from lawmakers amid a rising chorus of criticism that they are violating antitrust laws. That was the same accusation leveled at Microsoft two decades ago.Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline, who leads the antitrust panel, is bearing down on technology companies as antitrust enforcers prepare their own scrutiny of the industry. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, which share antitrust jurisdiction, have taken the first steps toward investigating conduct by the biggest companies, with the Justice Department taking responsibility for Google and Apple, and FTC overseeing Facebook and Amazon.For more: Far From Silicon Valley, Trustbusters Plotted Big Tech AssaultTuesday’s hearing will focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. One of the key complaints from critics of the big tech companies is that they can use their power to thwart competition from smaller rivals. Academic research has shown a steady decline in business start-ups across the economy. One possible explanation is that rising market concentration across industries effectively shuts out entry by new businesses.While some barriers to competition are inherent in any business, the key question for the antitrust committee is whether and how dominant tech platforms can intentionally raise barriers to new entrants, said Michael Kades, the director of markets and competition policy at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.A report by the University of Chicago’s Stigler Center this year found that digital markets tend to be winner-take-all in which one firm comes to dominate. That creates an incentive for the companies to edge out new challengers that could threaten that dominance.Lack of competition can lead to reduced innovation, which harms consumers over time, according to the report. “The evidence thus far does suggest that current digital platforms face very little threat of entry and are negatively impacting investment in key digital areas,” it said.For more: YouTube’s Trampled Foes Plot Antitrust RevengeOne of the authors of the Chicago report -- Yale University economist Fiona Scott Morton -- will testify Tuesday. The company executives scheduled to appear are Adam Cohen, Google’s director of economic policy, Matt Perault, head of global policy development at Facebook, Amazon associate general counsel for competition Nate Sutton, and Kyle Andeer, vice president of corporate law at Apple.E-commerce trade association NetChoice, which includes Google and Facebook, will tell the committee a different story: The reach of tech platforms gives small businesses the opportunity to target large audiences of potential customers through digital advertising. Not long ago, their only choice was expensive advertising in a local newspaper or television station, the group said.“These platforms are helping small businesses the same way a large retailer operates as an anchor for a shopping center or mall,” Carl Szabo, vice president of NetChoice, will say, according to his prepared remarks. “The larger these platforms grow means the more customers small businesses can reach with better targeting and lower costs.”Sarah Miller, deputy director of Open Markets Institute, which advocates for aggressive antitrust enforcement, countered that tech platforms are harming entrepreneurs.“These companies were the darlings of most Democrats and now the dynamic has changed profoundly,” she said. “There is really a period of learning going on in Congress, with staffers, with the broader public, around the varying ways that all of these tech companies, these tech monopolies, are destructive.”To contact the reporters on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at email@example.com;Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at email@example.com, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- England won the Cricket World Cup on Sunday, defeating New Zealand in one of the greatest one-day games ever played. The victory was characterized by the sort of risk-taking and inventiveness which Comcast Corp.’s British pay-TV arm could also use.Sky has long been the broadcast home of English Premier League soccer games. In the past 15 years, it has also hoovered up the rights to cricket matches, Formula One racing, and much more besides. Popular as these sports are in the U.K., though, they don’t have the same cultural pervasiveness as soccer. As more and more games have disappeared behind a paywall, younger viewers have switched off.This is a strategic threat to Sky, which built a pay-TV empire by charging viewers to watch English soccer matches and then adding more sports. The fewer fans there are, the more difficult it will be to attract new customers. The 4.2 billion pounds ($5.3 billion) it spent on domestic Premier League rights alone over the past three years represented almost a quarter of its total European programming costs. But there is a counter-intuitive way to head this off, particularly when it comes to less popular sports: show matches for free occasionally.The need to do this will become more pressing as the giants of Silicon Valley take their first, tentative steps into sports. Amazon.com Inc. will broadcast a handful of Premier League games next season, Facebook Inc. has deals to show Spanish soccer in India, and Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube will show some Major League Baseball games this year.The hope for the league administrators and teams that own the broadcast rights is that these new entrants offer a way out of the almost Faustian pact they have made with subscription broadcasters: in return for more money, they have had to sacrifice some of their audience. The tech firms have both huge user bases and seemingly bottomless pockets of cash. Little wonder the Premier League went so far as to give Amazon a cut-price deal to give it a taster of its appeal.Look at what happened when Sky allowed Channel Four, a British free-to-air broadcaster, to broadcast Sunday’s important match: the number of viewers doubled. Contrast that with the wider decline: Since Sky took English cricket behind a paywall in 2006, the audience for the Ashes, England’s biennial series against Australia, has fallen by almost 90%. The figures for F1 are also falling.The appetite for watching live sport on TV appears to be waning as people have got used to highlights on social media. If Sky can rekindle enthusiasm for these events among younger viewers, it would have a chance of reversing that trajectory. Give them a taste, foster their interest, and they might buy a subscription.The broadcaster, which Comcast acquired for 36 billion pounds in 2018, has time to experiment. The tech giants might take a few years to start bidding on rights for big sporting events as they establish whether the economics add up. For the broadcasters, there are inevitable risks, not least of losing existing subscribers who are happy with just the free-to-air matches. The trick will be selecting carefully which games it picks – and keeping the very best content behind the paywall.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or 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 bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.