|Day's Range||195.00 - 195.00|
Alphabet’s Waymo One plans to start using driverless cars for its autonomous taxis. The service is available to a small group of customers in Phoenix.
Futures: The stock market rally has made impressive gains, but can the indexes hit all-time highs? Atlassian and Intuitive Surgical were key earnings movers late.
Microsoft stock has moved somewhat sideways over the last three months as it cools off after a stellar first half of 2019. This means that the tech giant's upcoming quarterly earnings results will likely be the next catalyst for MSFT shares...
Paul Gryglewicz, Senior Partner at Global Governance Advisors By Oliver Estreich Fast-growing companies can be surprised when their shareholder base switches from insiders and a few loyal investors to a diversified base that thinks about corporate governance much differently. The result is an onus on companies to carefully identify shareholder vote guidelines and identify any […]
With earnings due in late October, Google stock has climbed nine out of the last 11 trading days. Google stock has risen well above its 50-day moving average, and has neared a buy point.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The New Yorker and the Atlantic have never been known for their business coverage, so when both magazines published long articles about Amazon.com Inc. in their current issues it signaled that something is in the air. That something is antitrust.More precisely, what’s in the air is the question of what the government should do to rein in the tremendous power of the big four tech companies: Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Apple Inc. and Amazon.Once the province of think tanks and law reviews, this topic has become such a public concern that 48 of the 50 state attorneys general are conducting antitrust investigations, presidential hopefuls are calling for tech giants to be broken up, and general interest magazines like, well, the New Yorker and the Atlantic are asking whether the companies abuse their market power. In this particular case, the magazines are asking it about Amazon.The Atlantic article is by Franklin Foer, who has long raised concerns about Big Tech. Five years ago, for instance, he wrote a cover story for the New Republic titled “Amazon Must Be Stopped.” It focused on Amazon’s dominance over the book business.This time around, he is writing about the unbridled ambition of Amazon’s founder and chief executive officer Jeff Bezos. (The new article is “Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan.”) “Bezos’s ventures are by now so large and varied that it is difficult to truly comprehend the nature of his empire, much less the end point of his ambitions,” Foer writes. He then goes through a list. Bezos wants to conquer space with his company Blue Origin. Bezos’s ownership of the Washington Post makes him a significant media and political figure. Bezos’s brainchild, Amazon, “is the most awe-inspiring creation in the history of American business.” And so on.He also points out that while critics fear Amazon’s monopoly power, the company is loved by consumers. “A 2018 poll sponsored by Georgetown University and the Knight Foundation found that Amazon engendered greater confidence than virtually any other American institution,” he writes. I have no doubt that this is true; Amazon’s obsession with customer service instills tremendous loyalty among consumers. It’s no accident that over 100 million people now pay the company $119 a year to be Amazon Prime members. That loyalty is also one reason taking antitrust actions against Amazon would be much more difficult than going after Facebook or Google. I’ll get to some other reasons shortly.Charles Duhigg’s New Yorker article “Is Amazon Unstoppable?” is both smarter about Amazon and more pointed about its power. Duhigg captures its relentless culture, comparing it to a flywheel that never stops. He described Bezos’s efforts to ensure that Amazon never loses the feel of a scrappy startup. The phrase that came to mind as I was reading Duhigg’s article was Andy Grove’s famous dictum: “Only the paranoid survive.”Duhigg is also interested in what Amazon’s critics have to say. Amazon pays no U.S. taxes. Amazon’s work culture makes it nearly impossible for women who want children to have long careers there. Amazon’s warehouse workers are sometimes fired after being injured on the job. Amazon looks the other way when counterfeit goods are sold on its site. (In the article, Amazon’s representatives deny these allegations.)Then there’s the fact that Amazon both serves as a platform for companies wanting to sell things and sells things itself. In other words, it competes with the same companies it enables. According to Duhigg, Amazon has been known to track items that do well, and then make its own version of the same item — which it then sells at a discounted price. (Amazon denies this, too.) Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s commissioner for competition, told Duhigg that the practice “deserves much more scrutiny.”The story’s killer anecdote, at least as it concerns antitrust, is about Birkenstock USA LP’s experience with Amazon. Although Birkenstock sold millions of dollars of shoes using the Amazon platform, it was constantly hearing customer complaints that the shoes were defective. Why? Because, according to Birkenstock, Amazon allowed counterfeits to be sold on the site. Not only would Amazon not take down the counterfeit goods, but it also wouldn’t even tell Birkenstock who was selling them.Amazon also had stocked a year’s worth of Birkenstock inventory, which terrified the company. “What if Amazon decides to start selling the shoes for 99 cents, or to give them away with Prime membership, or do a buy-one-get-one-free,” wondered Birkenstock’s chief executive officer, David Kahan. “We were powerless.”Kahan’s complaints went nowhere. So he pulled Birkenstocks off Amazon. What did Amazon do? It solicited Birkenstock retailers, offering to buy shoes directly from them. Today, if you search for Birkenstocks on Amazon you’ll be deluged with choices even though the company itself refuses to do business with Amazon. I found a pair of Arizona oiled leather sandals — listed on Birkenstock's website for $135 — marked down to $60 on Amazon. Is it the real thing, or is it a counterfeit?The hard question: What do you do about this kind of behavior? On one extreme is the Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren, who believes the most appropriate solution is to break up Amazon. At the other end of the spectrum, there are still plenty of antitrust economists who believe that if a $135 sandal is being sold for $60, that’s good for consumers. They argue that the government should just stay out of the way.I’m a proponent of breaking up Facebook, mainly because I believe if you force it to disgorge two of its prized platforms, Instagram and WhatsApp, you’ll instantly create serious competitors. That could help raise the bar on privacy, data usage and other concerns. But I’m not sure that would work with Amazon.For instance, if Amazon had to separate its highly profitable cloud service, Amazon Web Services, from its retail business the power dynamic between Amazon and the companies that use its platform would remain.What’s more, it’s harder to make a classic antitrust case against Amazon than it is against Facebook and Google. According to the research firm EMarketer Inc., Amazon is expected to account for 37.7% of all online commerce in 2019. By contrast, Google controls 89% of the search market.Still, for too many retailers, Amazon has the power to control their destiny, for good or ill. As the antitrust activist Lina Khan wrote in her now-famous 2017 article in the Yale Law Journal: “History suggests that allowing a single actor to set the terms of the marketplace, largely unchecked, can pose serious hazards.” I take that assessment to mean that government intervention at Amazon is needed.To my mind, the simplest and most sensible solution is from the economist Hal Singer: Don’t allow platform companies to favor their own products over competitors’ products. Singer calls this a “nondiscrimination regime,” and models it after the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act, which prevents cable distributors from favoring their own content over content from competitors. In that scenario, a company that felt it was being discriminated against by Amazon could bring a complaint to federal regulators just as cable stations can do now. This regime has worked well for the TV industry. It could work for Amazon, too.Secondly, the government should hold Amazon accountable for counterfeits. Counterfeiting is against the law, and although Amazon told Duhigg that it spends “hundreds of millions of dollars” on anti-counterfeiting efforts it’s no secret that many deceptively labeled goods are still sold on the site. (See, for instance, this recent Wall Street Journal story.) Companies like Birkenstock have a right to expect that a platform selling its products will rigorously police counterfeits — and will identify counterfeiters so manufacturers of authentic goods can take legal action.These are solvable problems. They don’t require extreme measures. What they do require is a government with the will to transform Amazon’s platform from what it is now, a vehicle that squelches competition, to one that lets competition flower.(Corrects paragraphs 12 and 13 to accurately reflect pricing disparities between sandals sold on Birkenstock's website and those sold on Amazon.)To contact the author of this story: Joe Nocera at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Timothy L. O'Brien at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joe Nocera is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He has written business columns for Esquire, GQ and the New York Times, and is the former editorial director of Fortune. His latest project is the Bloomberg-Wondery podcast "The Shrink Next Door."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
This year’s poster child for the stock market’s love of cloud-based enterprise software has to be Zoom Video Communications. Led by a management team sprinkled with Cisco alums, including CEO and founder Eric Yuan and CFO Kelly Steckelberg, Zoom has taken on (CSCO)’ (ticker: CSCO) WebEx, (MSFT)’s (MSFT) Skype, (GOOGL)’s (GOOGL) Google Hangouts, privately held BlueJeans, and a host of other rivals. At the peak, just north of $107, Zoom shares were trading at more than 50 times anticipated revenue for this fiscal year.
Three companies were fined a total of $107,200 for reasons including not following the crane manufacturer's procedures for dismantling the structure.
Signs of hope for a Brexit deal and U.S.-China trade war updates. Some disappointing U.S. manufacturing and retail data. Q3 earnings results from the likes of Netflix. And why Google parent Alphabet is a Zack Ranks 1 (Strong Buy) stock. - Free Lunch
France wants the EU to set up a special supervisory body for big tech companies after Google has refused to pay publishes for article extracts.
Elizabeth Warren's campaign plans to limit donations from big tech firms. The presidential candidate has discussed breaking up Facebook, Google, and Amazon.
Facebook cleared a buy point in early July but have pulled back. Is the FANG stock a good buy? Here's what Facebook earnings and chart say.
With Airbnb on the road to going public in 2020, the company has positioned itself as much different that loss-generating Uber, and those big-Google-spending online travel companies, Booking Holdings and Expedia Group. But new reporting on Airbnb's first quarter of 2019 performance at the least means Airbnb will have some explaining to do on that […]
TikTok is poaching Facebook's (FB) employees, according to a CNBC report. As a result, the rivalry between the two social media businesses continues to escalate.
The company is adding merchants and growing its lead among digital wallet providers, Morgan Stanley’s James Faucette wrote in advance of its third-quarter earnings report.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Fury is the prevailing feeling of 2019. People are angry much of the time about so many things. Sometimes, though, I wonder whether the anger is misdirected.Often, the targets are companies. There’s pressure on retailers like Walmart Inc. to restrict gun sales. There’s anger at Facebook Inc. for running a misleading political ad from President Donald Trump’s campaign. Some people are furious at oil companies for not doing more to slow climate change, and at Uber Technologies Inc. for taking advantage of drivers or worsening traffic-clogged cities.I get it. Actions of powerful companies or their failures to act can have a profound impact. They are legitimate targets for popular pressure, and companies can’t simply sell potentially harmful products or run their businesses in destructive ways and ignore the consequences.But this rage is not only about those individual companies. It’s also redirected fury about inaction by policy makers.People are mad about government inaction on gun violence, but policy makers are paralyzed and anger gets channeled at Walmart. People are mad about nonsensical political speech rules, failures to make laws on personal data privacy or corporate tax avoidance, but few Americans believe Congress or regulators will do anything. Instead, people are left to vent at companies.Have we gotten to the point where U.S. elected officials are so impotent that the only recourse is to hope profit-minded companies do the right thing — and then get angry when we believe they don’t? There are policies that companies can improve on their own, including employee pay and sexual harassment prevention. There is also a need for clarity from elected officials — either on their own or in concert with big companies. Rules about political ads are one such example. I don’t want politicians to be able to mislead voters on Facebook, but the company is not solely responsible for the half-truth political attack ads that run on its services. Laws and tough regulation are a better approach than always relying on the wisdom of individual internet companies or television networks to make the tough calls.Gun policy, corporate tax avoidance, labor laws and protecting elections from cyberattacks are also matters policy makers are best placed to tackle. My Bloomberg Opinion colleague Matt Levine wrote about the oddity of members of Congress being angry at failures by the Federal Trade Commission to restrict Facebook’s data collection practices when Congress could impose those restrictions by passing a law.I don’t want policy paralysis to absolve companies of responsibility for doing bad things or preventing harm. And companies are not innocent here, either. They fight against laws and regulation, which effectively gives themselves more responsibility — and they sometimes use government inaction to justify their own.Facebook for years fought to exclude itself from rules that mandate disclosures of who is behind political ads on other media such as broadcast television. And Amazon.com Inc.’s history includes advocating for a national sales tax law — which it knew was unlikely to happen — while it employed aggressive tactics to avoid charging sales tax in many U.S. states. (Amazon gave up fighting state sales taxes around 2012.) Facebook, Google and Amazon are now advocating for federal laws that sometimes feel like self-serving attempts to muzzle state or local rules they don’t like or to pass the buck on controversial company policies. When California recently did act to pass a law that could force Uber and other companies to treat contract workers as employees, Uber vowed to fight it and made a technical legal argument that a law tailor-made for Uber doesn’t apply to the company. Those tactics aside, it is hard to thread the needle between saying companies like Facebook and Amazon are way too powerful and also relying solely on them to always make hard policy decisions. That’s why we have elections and a government.A version of this column originally appeared in Bloomberg’s Fully Charged technology newsletter. You can sign up here.To contact the author of this story: Shira Ovide at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Shira Ovide is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. She previously was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Snap has grown revenue and its userbase as larger rivals Alphabet's Google and Facebook Inc , which dominate the global digital advertising market, face regulatory scrutiny over their market control. Both Google and Facebook already offer dynamic ads. Dynamic ad platforms pick items from advertisers' product catalogs and target them automatically to people with relevant interests, removing the need to manually advertise each product individually.
A number of large developers are reportedly turning away from the smart-home gadgets made by Google-owned Nest as the company exerts more control over the business unit.
(Bloomberg) -- Catalan independence activists looking for information on how to take part in the next protest against Spain can rely on a handy, two-day old app for details on when and where to go. The only catch: the app doesn’t work on iPhones.That’s caused iPhone-wielding campaigners to ask why they’re being left out of the loop. Democratic Tsunami, the group organizing the protests, and which created the app, says it’s simply about security.The reason is that Apple’s “App Store” has restrictive policies on such applications and it has already “censored” similar mechanisms for demonstrations in Hong Kong, Democratic Tsunami said in a statement published Wednesday on social media and instant messaging platforms.The app was released on Tuesday, the day after a Spanish Supreme Court ruling sentenced nine separatist leaders to a combined 100 years in prison, sparking the street protests that have led to three days of rioting on the streets of Barcelona.Spain’s Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska has said his department would investigate who is behind Tsunami Democratic, which has mobilized big demonstrations including a major protest at Barcelona airport. Police have made 96 arrests.Android users are made to download the app through a link, without having to go to the Google app store. But downloading the app is only the first step. Once a user has it, a QR code is required to access it and the only way to get the code is from somebody who already has it -- a strategy the activists say will help limit who has access to the information.The app was made public on Tuesday and by Wednesday afternoon it had 150,000 downloads, according to the statement from Democratic Tsunami.Apple’s press office in Madrid didn’t immediately respond to emails and phone calls seeking a company response.To contact the reporter on this story: Rodrigo Orihuela in Madrid at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Charles Penty at email@example.com, Giles TurnerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.