GOOG Jun 2020 1440.000 put

OPR - OPR Delayed Price. Currency in USD
0.00 (0.00%)
As of 10:57AM EDT. Market open.
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Previous Close313.61
Expire Date2020-06-19
Day's Range313.61 - 313.61
Contract RangeN/A
Open InterestN/A
  • Microsoft renaming Office 365 to Microsoft 365, bringing Teams to everyone
    Yahoo Finance

    Microsoft renaming Office 365 to Microsoft 365, bringing Teams to everyone

    Microsoft is changing Office 365 to Microsoft 365 and bringing Teams to everyone.

  • Tech Billionaires Are Making Friends With Big Brother

    Tech Billionaires Are Making Friends With Big Brother

    (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.


    6 Stocks Cashing In On The $30 Trillion Impact Investing Trend

    Millennials are driving a new investment trend in markets, with a focus on greener and more socially conscious companies

  • 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.

  • Top Analyst Reports for Alphabet, Procter & Gamble & Philip Morris

    Top Analyst Reports for Alphabet, Procter & Gamble & Philip Morris

    Top Analyst Reports for Alphabet, Procter & Gamble & Philip Morris

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

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

    It’s hard to wrap your brain around $2 trillion. That’s where this visual from cost-estimating website comes in.


    Analysts Keep Lowering Estimates for Ad-Backed Internet Stocks

    On Monday, J.P. Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth made his second round of post-virus estimate cuts on companies tied to online advertising.

  • Hot Hands, Winning Streaks and Perception

    Hot Hands, Winning Streaks and Perception

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Are winning streaks real? Does the hot hand really exist or is it just our pattern recognition software run amok? How has our thinking about the statistics behind lucky runs evolved over time? Those were the questions when we spoke with this week's guest on Masters in Business, Ben Cohen, who covers the National Basketball Association for the Wall Street Journal. His new book, "The Hot Hand: The Mystery and Science of Streaks," addresses these issues and more.In 2015, an unpublished paper was making the rounds among sports geeks and statisticians. It claimed to have discovered a statistical error in the classic 1985 study, “The Hot Hand in Basketball: On the Misperception of Random Sequences,” which argued that these hot streaks were just illusory pattern perception. Cohen wrote an article on the new paper, but was wary of putting out a column about an unpublished, nonpeer reviewed paper. Once professor Andrew Gelman of Columbia University validated the math, Cohen felt he could publish.The column was a sensation, as was the paper it discussed. But Cohen couldn't get the idea out of his head, leading him to spend three years researching and writing about the ideas and math behind hot streaks. Eventually this work turned into the book.We discuss other streaks beyond sports and three-point basketball shots: Shakespeare’s plays, arcade and video games, films, career success, the gambler’s fallacy, even the Spotify/iTunes “random” shuffle.His favorite books can be seen here; a transcript of our conversation is here.You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras, on Apple iTunes, Spotify, Overcast, Google, Bloomberg and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. (Note: This was recorded March 10, before the work-at-home lockdown had begun).Next week, we speak with New York real estate specialist Jonathan Miller, discussing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the industry.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Alphabet A Stock Rises 3%

    Alphabet A Stock Rises 3% - Alphabet A (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Stock rose by 3.02% to trade at $1,144.00 by 14:52 (18:52 GMT) on Monday on the NASDAQ exchange.

  • Stock Market News for Mar 30, 2020

    Stock Market News for Mar 30, 2020

    Benchmarks ended in the negative territory on Friday as a steep rise in coronavirus cases in the United States weighed on investors' sentiments.

  • Alphabet's Google to Donate $800M to Combat Coronavirus

    Alphabet's Google to Donate $800M to Combat Coronavirus

    Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google announces that it will donate more than $800 million to produce medical supplies in an effort to fight COVID-19.

  • Google Stock: Is It A Buy Right Now Amid The Coronavirus Bear Market?
    Investor's Business Daily

    Google Stock: Is It A Buy Right Now Amid The Coronavirus Bear Market?

    Here is what fundamental and technical analysis says about buying Google stock. Amid the coronavirus bear market, digital advertising revenue may fall. But, YouTube could be a bright spot.

  • 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

    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. Yoga app Down Dog told MarketWatch that 400,000 people have signed up for free memberships in the last two weeks; 100,000 came from Spain, Italy and France, the three European countries hit hardest by COVID-19.

  • Is Salesforce Stock A Buy? Coronavirus Recession Slows Digital Transformation
    Investor's Business Daily

    Is Salesforce Stock A Buy? Coronavirus Recession Slows Digital Transformation

    CRM stock may be in better shape than many software companies as a recession looms amid the Coronavirus bear market.'s free cash flow would be solid even if corporate spending slows.


    Alphabet Upgraded: Google Parent Better Positioned Than Facebook

    Alphabet is better positioned to overcome the economic downturn presented by the coronavirus outbreak than its online-ad-revenue rival Facebook

  • MarketWatch

    Alphabet stock rises after BMO upgrade

    BMO Capital Markets analyst Daniel Salmon upgraded Alphabet Inc. shares to outperform from market perform on Monday, writing that he expects mega-cap internet companies to be popular when the economy rebounds. Salmon prefers Alphabet's stock to Facebook Inc.'s as the Google parent company has greater exposure to large businesses, whereas smaller enterprises will likely feel the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak more strongly. He also argued that Alphabet's YouTube subscription offerings should see benefit from lockdowns. Salmon still prefers Inc.'s stock over Alphabet's, writing that he expects the e-commerce giant's advertising business to be more resilient during the pandemic. Alphabet shares up up 0.6% in premarket trading Monday. The stock has dropped 17% over the past month as the S&P 500 has declined 14%.

  • Tech’s Shadow Workforce Sidelined, Leaving Social Media to the Machines

    Tech’s Shadow Workforce Sidelined, Leaving Social Media to the Machines

    (Bloomberg) -- The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the sprawling networks of contract workers who keep social-media services running smoothly. Software is picking up the slack, but Facebook Inc. and YouTube are already warning there’ll be less content moderation and slower customer support.While tech platforms believe artificial intelligence software will ultimately reduce the need for human oversight, many experts think the technology is not yet ready to take on nuanced decision-making required for tasks like content moderation. “Now it's going to be really obvious to everyone how poorly they actually work,” said Hannah Bloch-Wehba, a law professor at Drexel University who studies internet governance.Facebook has about 15,000 contract workers policing its platform. While full-time employees log on remotely, the company won’t let contractors who filter disturbing content work from home, citing privacy concerns and legal considerations. Many are employed through staffing firms such as Accenture Plc, which recently sent some Silicon Valley-based workers home to comply with a shelter-in-place order. One moderator who asked not to be named for fear of retribution said he was told the cuts would last at least three weeks. As he left the office on March 16, he wondered if he’d ever return. Accenture didn’t respond to a request for comment. Read more: Inside Silicon Valley’s Shadow WorkforceThe following day, Facebook users began complaining that their posts were being removed at curiously high rates. Jodi Rudoren, editor-in-chief of The Forward, complained on Twitter that her newspaper’s links were disappearing, cutting traffic to its website. Within hours, Facebook restored many of the links. The company blamed a glitch in its spam-moderation software, and executive Guy Rosen said it was “unrelated to any changes in our content moderator workforce.”Still, the incident undermined confidence in Facebook’s technology at a time when the company is relying more on automation. “I posted a scientific article about COVID spread and it was censored. That is some Orwellian Machine Learning you have there,” genomics scientist Kevin McKernan wrote on Twitter. “If you censor COVID, I’m off the platform forever.”Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg told reporters the next day that shortages of contract workers will mean less content moderation. With fewer people to make difficult judgment calls on what content to keep up, the company is prioritizing the most-urgent cases, such as posts recommending people drink bleach to cure Covid-19. Other problem areas, such as “back-and-forth accusations a candidate might make in an election,” will get less attention, he said. The largest U.S. internet gatekeepers have come under immense criticism in recent years for spreading toxic content and misinformation. In response, they hired thousands of contractors who work alongside software to filter out the dross. The novel coronavirus is forcing the companies to re-assess that combination. Google, which has more than 10,000 contractors, recently said it would temporarily increase the use of automated content moderation on its services, including YouTube. The internet's largest video site warned this would mean more videos will be removed. Creators can challenge these automated decisions, but YouTube said “workforce precautions will also result in delayed appeals reviews." There was a similar message at the top of the YouTube Creator Support website on March 26. Much of the public debate over content moderation has centered on social and political issues, as when YouTube's AI systems labeled footage of the Notre Dame cathedral fire a conspiracy theory last year. But it can also hurt creators who rely on YouTube and similar services like Instagram for income. YouTube's automated decisions about advertising, for instance, have sparked outrage from its stars for years. As global Covid-19 cases surged earlier this month, YouTube's systems automatically pulled ads from videos that mentioned the virus in an effort to curb misinformation. After creators protested, CEO Susan Wojcicki announced changes to the company’s guidelines to allow ads on a limited number of video channels that go through a formal approval process. “Sometimes these automated systems can make mistakes, which we know can be frustrating,” a YouTube creator support representative said in a video describing the certification procedure. On Tuesday, Forrest Starling, who runs the popular gaming YouTube channel KreekCraft, alerted YouTube that far fewer people were visiting his channel from the service’s search engine. He couldn’t get an explanation from the company, but suspected an algorithmic mishap. "It’s a very weird time in the world right now and I understand everyone there is doing the absolute best they can," he wrote in an email. "It’s just frustrating when issues like this pop up."The day after, YouTube issued a statement attributing problems like Starling’s to Covid-19 related staff shortages. “Content may not show in search, etc. until a reviewer takes a look, & w/fewer reviewers available, this is taking longer,” the company wrote on Twitter. "Completely understandable considering the circumstances," Starling said afterward.The staffing challenges for tech companies may get worse before they get better. On March 24, the government of India ordered all 1.3 billion of its citizens to stay in their homes for 21 days. The country is a significant source of remote technical and support staff for U.S. tech companies.  Read More:  How India Plans to Lock Down 1.3 Billion People in a DemocracyA YouTube spokesman described the staffing shifts as a temporary response to virus-related disruptions. Facebook’s Zuckerberg hasn’t been shy about his long-term vision of a content-review regime that relies far more on machines than humans. This holds appeal because content moderation is labor intensive and brutal, with some workers complaining of trauma from exposure to disturbing content. Regardless of the long-term prospects, people like Starling see troubling signs. On Thursday, he sent a tweet from KreekCraft’s Twitter page: “Well I woke up and YouTube crashed,” he said. He added an emoji of a face sneezing. 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.

  • SoftBank-Backed Farming Startup Plenty Is In Talks to Raise Cash

    SoftBank-Backed Farming Startup Plenty Is In Talks to Raise Cash

    (Bloomberg) -- Indoor farming startup Plenty Inc. is in talks to raise $100 million or more in a fresh round of funding, according to people familiar with the matter.SoftBank’s Vision Fund is in discussions to lead a new fundraising round for Plenty at or below the $1 billion valuation that was ascribed to it in its most recent round, said the people, who requested anonymity because the matter is private. They cautioned that no agreement has been reached, and that one may not be finalized.“Plenty does not comment on financing proposals and has not committed to any new financing rounds,” a spokeswoman for the South San Francisco-based company said in an emailed statement. “We are not in need of new equity financing, and evaluate any proposals opportunistically,” she added.A representative for the Vision Fund didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Plenty has raised about $400 million in capital over the past four years, according to PitchBook. In addition to the $100 billion Vision Fund, other backers include Data Collective, DCM, and funds that invest on behalf of Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.The startup aims to be more efficient than traditional farms, yielding more produce in a given space, while requiring less water.Last fall, Plenty said it intended to expand beyond the Bay Area and had identified Compton, Los Angeles, as the location for its next farm, with building slated to begin in late 2020.SoftBank is seeking $10 billion so its Vision Fund portfolio companies can support portfolio companies battered by the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg News reported earlier this month.Some of the Vision Fund’s companies have laid off employees this month including co-working giant WeWork and residential real estate brokerage Compass.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.

  • Netflix Watches as Instagram Unites a Quarantined World

    Netflix Watches as Instagram Unites a Quarantined World

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- “Oh, I like HER,” she says, referring to a berry-toned lipstick. Sarah Hyland, the 29-year-old funny actress best known for playing Haley Dunphy on ABC’s “Modern Family,” is trying on makeup for an Instagram Live audience while at home riding out the pandemic, seemingly as bored as the rest of us. It’s by no means a production: just Hyland in front of her cell phone, using an in-app filter that gives her eyeliner and oversize lashes, sitting at what looks to be a desk, weeding out her cosmetics collection.I don’t know why I’m watching. “Why am I watching this?,” one of her thousands of other viewers suddenly posts in the scrolling comments, as if from my thoughts to that person’s fingertips. Having our normal daily lives upended by the coronavirus has heightened the demand for entertainment — and not just Netflix. We’re looking for content that provides some semblance of human connection, intermittent LOL moments to briefly escape reality. As Kevin Roose put it in the New York Times last week, “The virus is forcing us to use the internet as it was always meant to be used.”There’s also something comforting about seeing celebrities going through the same thing as everyone else, flattening the societal hierarchy so that their feeds run alongside that of our own friends and families. Social media is a place for wholesale interaction, whether it be through memes, amateur TikTok dances, silly Snapchat snaps, Instagram boomerangs of the night’s meal or photos of the view outside, where we all suddenly wish we could be. It’s just enough pleasant distraction; we don’t have to commit our full attention to a 45-minute TV episode, especially when there’s already too much lonely, idle couch viewing happening because of the shelter-in-place orders.Kantar, a consumer research firm, is finding that as countries move deeper into the pandemic, TV viewing and social media engagement both rise by more than 60%. (At that rate, we could quickly grow bored with apps like Netflix and Disney+.) The U.S. may still be in the relatively early stages, but in Italy, one of the hardest-hit countries, Facebook Inc. said that Instagram and Facebook Live views doubled in a week. That yearning for connection is giving more adults a window into why younger people are so amused with watching their peers and celebrities just going about their lives — even when they appear to be doing nothing special at all. George Costanza would love it: videos about nothing.View this post on Instagram A post shared by Cardi B (@iamcardib) on Mar 20, 2020 at 12:31am PDTBut if that is what’s missing from Netflix and other TV, could it be that someday it’s not? Perhaps the future of streaming is to aggregate both studio-produced content and user-generated content in a way that allows you to seamlessly scroll between both. That’s how we’re starting to use entertainment, but that’s not yet how it’s delivered to us. Facebook Watch is a step toward the idea, though it has a long way to go. And Google’s YouTube is more of a video-search platform than a sit-back-and-stream service (notwithstanding its YouTube TV subscription for live programming).Quibi, a streaming app launching April 6, borrows from the brevity of user-generated social content, but leaves out the human-connection aspect. It’s the brainchild of Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, a pair of Hollywood and tech old timers, who say the name is short for “quick bites” (though it’s pronounced “qwih-bee”). All of its programs will have episodes that are 10 minutes long or less. Plenty have scoffed at the idea of Quibi trying to get 25- to 35-year-olds to pay $5 a month for an app with bite-size content that still contains ad interruptions. Yet, Katzenberg and Whitman have managed to raise nearly $2 billion for the service and have struck production deals with major studios and entertainers, including Chrissy Teigen and actress Sophie Turner.Social media used to be something college kids did on their laptops, separate from TV time. Now we all do it on our phones, often while the TV is playing. It shows that what’s missing from Netflix, Disney+ and all the other emerging streaming ecosystems is the ability to connect with one another. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Google-parent Alphabet to donate $800 million in response to coronavirus crisis

    Google-parent Alphabet to donate $800 million in response to coronavirus crisis

    The company is working with Magid Glove and Safety to produce 2 million to 3 million face masks, and will financially support efforts to boost the production capacity for lifesaving medical devices and personal protective equipment, Pichai said. The rapid outbreak, which has killed nearly 25,000 people globally, has strained healthcare systems around the world and led to a shortage of medical equipment including face masks and ventilators. The company will provide $340 million in Google ad credits to small and medium businesses active on its platform and $250 million in ad grants for the World Health Organization and many government agencies, Pichai said in a blog post.


    Capturing Our Anxious Times in Google Search

    Americans searched for ‘recession’ and ‘unemployment’ well before the data emerged to confirm their fears. And, once they were told to practice social-distancing, they turned to other search terms, a few of which reflect the rise and fall of stocks.

  • Google pledges $800M in ads, cash, Google Cloud credits for COVID-19
    American City Business Journals

    Google pledges $800M in ads, cash, Google Cloud credits for COVID-19

    The Mountain View Internet giant is giving away hundreds of millions of dollars to businesses, governments and nonprofits hit by the coronavirus pandemic.


    Ad-Spending Collapse Will Be Worse Than in the Financial Crisis, Survey Finds

    The survey, released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, asked 390 media buyers, media planners, and brand executives about their U.S. advertising plans for the rest of 2020.

  • Microsoft sees a strong spike in Skype-to-Skype calls, strong demand for remote work
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Microsoft sees a strong spike in Skype-to-Skype calls, strong demand for remote work

    Microsoft saw a 220% in Skype-to-Skype calls. Dan Howley joins Yahoo Finance to discuss.