|Day's Range||62.60 - 62.60|
Stock futures: Beijing reportedly wants more talks before signing a "phase one" trade deal. Apple is at record highs while Microsoft, Google, Nvidia, Facebook, Visa are near buys.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Working in the media can be lots of fun, but it hasn’t been the greatest place to build a career over the past two decades. Employment at print publishers has plummeted with the rise of the internet, and broadcasters have downsized too. The jobs created in new media, which in Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment data fall mostly in the ungainly category of internet publishing and broadcasting and web search portals, come nowhere close to making up for the losses elsewhere since 2000.Still, there is one old media sector that has been holding up just fine: There are 11% more jobs in motion picture and sound recording industries in 2019 than there were in 2000.It sure isn’t the music business that’s driving these gains: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the industry is down almost 40% since 2001. There has been an increase in employment in motion picture and video exhibition, which may in part be due to the rise of more labor-intensive movie theaters that serve alcoholic beverages and nice food.(5) But most of job gains have come in motion picture and video production. In other words, Hollywood!The numbers above understate the total employment effect, as more jobs in motion picture and video production also mean more jobs for accountants, carpenters, caterers and all sorts of other people. And while we call it “Hollywood,” lots of the jobs are actually in New York, Atlanta and other locales.But it’s the trajectory that interests me here. Why has film and TV production held up so much better than other legacy media industries? And what’s up with that rise in the 1990s, the long flat stretch after 2000, and the rise from 2013 through 2017?In answer to the first question, Hollywood catered to a national, even global audience almost from the beginning, and thus hasn’t suffered from the collapse of local media business models in the way that newspapers and parts of broadcasting have. Relatedly, it also wasn’t so advertising-dependent, and thus has been less vulnerable to Facebook and Google’s conquest of the advertising industry. And while competition from user-generated media and video games has taken screen time away from Hollywood’s products and will continue to do so, there’s clearly still a lot of demand for high-quality narrative video.As for why Hollywood employment has risen over some periods but not others, I took a stab at annotating the chart.OK, the 1990s employment gains probably weren’t all or even mostly about HBO’s “The Larry Sanders Show.” That acclaimed comedy was an early (although far from the earliest) landmark in the rise of original series paid for by cable channels, which provided a lucrative new outlet for makers of TV series who previously had only the three big broadcast networks to sell to. Others included cartoons such as Nickelodeon’s “Ren and Stimpy” (which premiered in 1991) and MTV’s “Beavis and Butt-Head” (1993), and early reality series such as MTV’s “The Real World” (1992) and “Road Rules” (1994). Later in the decade came HBO’s high-end scripted series “Sex and the City” (1998) and “The Sopranos” (1999). Boom times for U.S. movie makers may have had as much or more impact on the 1990s jobs numbers than TV did. Domestic ticket sales rose after a flat 1980s, foreign markets grew in importance and the rise of the DVD created a big new revenue stream. From 1990 to 1998, according to consulting firm Monitor Deloitte, the number of U.S.-developed theatrical films rose 67%, from 319 to 534, while the number of U.S.-developed TV productions of all sorts rose 36%, from 397 to 541. Those higher production volumes brought pressure to cut costs. One reaction was to do more filming abroad. Another was to increase reliance on reality shows, which usually require a lot fewer people (especially unionized people such as actors and writers) than scripted programs. Competition-based reality TV first took off in Europe in the 1990s, and after CBS brought “Big Brother” (originally from the Netherlands) and “Survivor” (from the U.K. and Sweden) to the U.S. in 2000, the format for a time seemed destined to completely take over broadcast TV here. Hollywood was able to keep employment steady through this reality-TV onslaught thanks to overseas movie markets plus continued growth in the number of scripted shows on cable, but the trend did not seem to be the industry’s friend.Then Netflix came to the rescue with “House of Cards,” the first of a flood of original programming that it and rival streaming providers commissioned to lure and keep customers. The number of scripted series for television nearly doubled from 2011 to 2018, according to FX Networks, with streaming services accounting for the vast majority of the gains.Can it continue? The 495 scripted series that aired in 2018 amounted to only a modest rise over 2017’s 487, a slowdown that seems to be reflected in the jobs numbers. The past few years might turn out to have been “peak TV,” and peak employment in motion picture and video production might turn out to have come and gone.Or it might not. This has proved to be quite the resilient industry, after all. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is still projecting a 5.5% increase in motion picture and video industry(2) employment through 2018. The narrow occupational categories expected to see the biggest employment gains are:film and video editors, 3,800 new jobs producers and directors, 3,000 new jobsPart of what’s going on is that social media networks, YouTube and other nontraditional content channels — and advertisers —are hungry for programming that doesn’t require Hollywood-level production budgets but does still need people to create, direct, edit and produce it. These generally aren’t Martin-Scorsese-type jobs. Still, if you’ve always wanted to direct, it’s nice to know that you needn’t give up hope just yet.(1) The number of waiters and waitresses working in motion picture and video industries has risen from 510 in 2010 to 3,510in 2018, and the number of bartenders from 150 to 1,910.(2) That is, including distribution, exhibition and post-production as well as production.To contact the author of this story: Justin Fox at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Green Carmichael at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Justin Fox is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He was the editorial director of Harvard Business Review and wrote for Time, Fortune and American Banker. He is the author of “The Myth of the Rational Market.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- VSCO got its start in 2011 as a software program to help professional and hobby photographers edit and enhance their work, using both traditional touch-up tools and more creative ones like gauzy, colorful filters. In the past six months, it has become famous for something else. Credit the VSCOgirls.Through little effort of its own, VSCO was catapulted into the global limelight this summer. Teenagers and young women discovered that VSCO’s filters perfectly captured a certain carefree, beachy aesthetic, inspiring thousands of snapshots of long-haired girls clutching Hydro Flask water bottles and sporting Birkenstock sandals to pose in sun-kissed, wind-swept photos. As the trend gained momentum, it also turned into a meme, often coming off as a parody of itself. Posts tagged VSCOgirl flooded Instagram and TikTok, and the theme even showed up at the Global Climate Strike. The free publicity has drawn in a new cohort of users who saw the hashtag on their social media feeds and tracked down the VSCO app. They liked what they found— not only original photo-editing tools but also an online, low-pressure community of creatives. Think of it as Instagram, but with no likes or follower counts. Joel Flory, co-founder of Visual Supply Co., as it’s officially known, isn't complaining. The surge in interest has boosted the app to No. 7 in its category on Google Play and Apple Inc.’s App Store, from a rank in the double digits in May. Twenty-one million, or more than 10%, of the app’s total 200 million downloads since 2011, have come from May 1 through the end of September, according to researcher App Annie.As more young people flock to VSCO, the challenge for the company will be to leverage the audience it’s gained from Instagram and TikTok to keep and extend this new user base. And convince more people to sign up for a $20 annual subscription— without sacrificing its status as a creative sanctuary.Flory started VSCO – based in Oakland, California, and pronounced to rhyme with “Frisco” – with Greg Lutze as a place for creative professionals like themselves. In the beginning, VSCO sold filters for photographers using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to help enhance images and streamline the editing process. In 2012, they launched a mobile app and made money by charging for individual filters or packages of them. Next came the VSCO Grid, an in-house social network that allowed users to follow each other and share their work. Eventually the company added more social-media type features, such as the ability to message people and to republish other’s posts. Even as it became more like Instagram, VSCO made a conscious decision to draw some distinct lines.In fact, Flory attributes VSCO’s recent surge to all of the ways it’s different from Facebook Inc.’s Instagram, which thrives on likes, a tally of followers, sponsored influencers and ads. VSCO has none of those metrics. What attracts people to VSCO is its focus on expression and creativity without any pressure for social validation, according to Flory. “We don’t sell ads, we don’t sell data,” says Flory, 39. “We sell something that people find value in directly paying for. We’ve been very intentional about that from day one.”Some of VSCO’s 20 million weekly users have indeed found value in sharing their personal posts outside the social media circus. Jesse Calderon, 19, who has been using VSCO since 2014, said that when she was in high school people used it as a “secret Instagram,” because it was a more carefree space. Eleanor Larson, 18, said she’s had VSCO since junior high and after starting out using it just to edit photos, she now also uses it to post digital art and journal entries. VSCO is for her “work in progress,” whereas Instagram is for “finished products,” she said.While viral, monetizable social interaction and influence is what led Facebook to acquire Instagram in 2012 for almost $1 billion, there’s been a growing backlash against the need for posts to be “Instagram perfect,” and an increasing sense that social networks can encourage comparisons to an unreachable ideal. Instagram itself announced earlier this year that it was considering hiding like counts on posts, hoping to center users’ focus on the actual content shared, rather than the number of likes they get. VSCO, which Flory likes to describe as a creative community where people go to express their real selves rather than worrying how other people see them, has benefitted from the growing disillusionment with the potential negative emotional and mental-health effects of social media.Markus Cooper, 19, who runs an Instagram account with more than 2 million followers, says VSCO has been popular for years as a way to edit photos. Recently he feels like it’s become more of a social network, but “a healthier space than Instagram. Just because there’s no likes there’s no comments there’s no nothing.” Cooper recently shared his first photo on VSCO’s feed.The company has evidence it’s onto something. In a recent study, VSCO found that its users, 75% of whom are under 25, appreciate the platform as a place where they can post whatever they want without concern of judgment from their peers. It also showed 82% of Gen Z-ers – roughly those age 10 to 25 – surveyed refrained from posting things online out of fear of what others might think.Last year, VSCO’s paid subscribers reached 2 million, and Flory said the company is on pace to nearly double that this year. Paid subscribers get access to more than 130 preset filters, as well as advanced editing tools including for video. The free version offers about 10 basic filters.Revenue in 2018 doubled from the previous year to $50 million, according to Forbes – the company doesn’t disclose financial information and declined to comment on revenue. VSCO recently announced it’s opening a new office in Chicago and plans to add 20 employees to its current workforce of more than 150. Backed by $90 million in venture capital from Glynn Capital Management and Accel, VSCO was valued at $550 million in 2015, according to Pitchbook. It’s probably worth more than that today, VSCO said, without providing a more specific updated valuation. Photographer Nesrin Danan, 24, said VSCO is her go-to app for editing personal iPhone photos, although she doesn’t use it for her professional work capturing music artists including Shawn Mendes to A$AP Rocky. For Danan, VSCO has always been a place she edits images before posting elsewhere. So she was surprised at some of the comments she received when she spoke at a convention for young influencer-hopefuls, called Brand Camp, earlier this year. “They were like, ‘We don’t even post on Instagram anymore, we just post on VSCO,’” Danan recalls. The high school attendees told her that feedback such as likes and follows wasn’t important. VSCO just looked cool.John Barnett, co-founder of Chroma Labs, and a former Instagram product manager whose resume includes inventing Boomerang, says for Gen Z, “visual creation is their thing. Successful apps over the last decade that you see are apps that give teens tools to express themselves.” Of course all memes have a life cycle and sooner or later VSCOgirls will be overtaken by something else. But Flory isn’t worried. He’s seen plenty of trends come and go on VSCO and says the site is ``anything but one side, one perspective or one stereotype.” Flory says he sees it as “a win-win, because really all it is, is an opportunity that creates a sense of awareness. And once VSCO is in someone’s mind they’ll go seek out what it is.”To contact the author of this story: Kiley Roache in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Molly Schuetz at email@example.com, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), through its better-known subsidiary Google, made a slew of power purchase agreements at the start of the month backing renewable power projects around the world. It and other large corporations — like Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) and Ikea — reach deals buying renewable power from companies building generation facilities in Texas, and the companies that sell them power often turn to Texas taxing institutions for economic incentives in turn.
Walt Disney Co. (DIS), whose stock has led the market this year, is likely to rise as much as 25% from its early October trading price as the company expands its direct-to-consumer streaming strategy, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne, per Barron's. The Morgan Stanley bull reiterated his outperform rating on shares of the entertainment behemoth and a $160 price target, citing its breadth of content and production capabilities. Within that initiative, Disney+ should grow to about 15.5 million subscribers by September of next year, and 75.5 million by the end of 2024.
Alphabet has been a poor performer of late. In fact, tech giant's share price has merely risen about 7% over the past twelve months, outpacing the S&P 500 by a paltry 2 percentage points. However, the underlying enterprise is more entrenched today than it has ever been.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. antitrust enforcers have started an in-depth review of Google’s $2.6 billion planned acquisition of a data analytics company, a further sign of greater scrutiny on big technology companies, according to people familiar with the situation.The antitrust division of the Justice Department is seeking more information from Google and Looker Data Sciences Inc. related to the deal to determine whether the tie-up harms competition, said one of the people, who asked not to be named discussing private matters.Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced June 6 it planned to buy Looker for its cloud unit, which lags far behind Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. with just 4% of the cloud-computing infrastructure market as of 2018, according to the most-recent figures from analyst Gartner Inc.The deal was expected to receive added regulatory scrutiny. The in-depth Justice Department review, known as a “second request,” comes as antitrust authorities start historic probes of Google and other large tech companies. One issue for enforcers is whether tech giants have used acquisitions of smaller firms to thwart rivals and cement their dominance. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which also enforces antitrust laws, is investigating whether Facebook Inc.’s purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp were anti-competitive.Representatives from Google, Looker and the Justice Department declined to comment.The Justice Department and a coalition of attorneys general made up of most U.S. states in the country have opened antitrust cases against Google. Those probes are mostly focused on the company’s dominant search and advertising businesses.Looker, closely held and based in Santa Cruz, California, provides tools that lets companies analyze their data stored in the cloud, a service that competes with offerings from Amazon and Microsoft. When Google announced the deal, its cloud chief, Thomas Kurian, said the company would continue to let Looker customers use other cloud providers. Google doesn’t share cloud sales.Google once spent lavishly on companies, dropping billions on device makers Motorola and Nest, as well as experimental tech like satellites and robots. More recently, the company’s acquisitions have mostly been relatively small deals in the cloud sector.It’s common for antitrust authorities to open in-depth investigations for sizable mergers, but more recently have faced criticism for allowing large tech companies to buy startups as a way to gain footholds in new markets. That charge has been aimed at Google after its takeovers of Waze, DoubleClick and YouTube. The Justice Department in July announced a broad antitrust review of the big internet platforms in search, social media and online retail.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Bergen in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org;Sarah McBride in San Francisco at email@example.com;David McLaughlin in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, ;Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Apple stock has a $1 trillion market cap and an all-time high, though growth has slowed. Thinking about buying AAPL stock? This is what Apple earnings and stock chart show.
Benzinga is highlighting nominees for the fifth annual Benzinga Global Fintech Awards ahead of the event Nov. 19 in New York City. One nominee is the Better.com, a mortgage lending fintech. Background ...
Absent broader context, consumer technology giant Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) appears like a no-lose proposition. Despite some bearish calls that the Apple stock price is stretched - including my own two cents - shares have continued to defy gravity and the critics. On a year-to-date basis, AAPL is up over 50%.Source: Shutterstock Again, by any other standard, this should drive enthusiasm toward AAPL stock. Although neither our domestic nor the global economies suggest much to look forward to, Apple is defying the odds. Like the bullish case for Nike (NYSE:NKE), the company enjoys almost unprecedented, deep-seated popularity with their worldwide consumer base.Thus, even with the ugliness over the U.S.-China trade war, the Apple stock price may enjoy a reprieve. Despite pressures on the global consumer, the Apple brand has a powerful social cachet: people will sacrifice to get the latest smart device iteration from Cupertino.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips * 10 Super Boring Stocks to Buy With Super Safe Returns Moreover, Apple is delivering the goods. Last month, the company unveiled its latest flagship portable product, the iPhone 11 Pro. One of the most heavily marketed features of the 11 is its three lenses. Featuring wide, ultra wide and telephoto angles, this groundbreaking innovation amplifies the usability of the now-ubiquitous integrated camera.Given selfie culture and the popularity of video platforms like Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) YouTube, Apple finally did something to push the envelope. Theoretically, this should help lift AAPL stock.Further, the tech firm is getting into the streaming game with Apple TV+. Launching with an introductory price of only $4.99 a month, it undercuts every other streaming competitor, including the big shots Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).Are these factors reason enough to buy Apple stock? It depends on your perspective. Comprehensive Headwinds Overwhelm Apple StockLet me begin with a quick aside. Like many sports fans, I've been fascinated with the Rugby World Cup, which is held in Japan for this edition. However, incoming Typhoon Hagibis forced a match cancellation, a first in World Cup history. Hagibis also threatens at least part of the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, which is held this weekend.Prior to the match cancellation, debate erupted over how the organizers should respond to the inclement weather. And in some ways, I see a parallel with Hagibis and AAPL stock. Yes, Apple has many things going for them, and they've also proven doubters wrong.However, this victory could be short lived. As with the World Cup, a storm threatens Apple stock.Of course, I'm referring to an economic storm. While Apple products have historically performed well because folks apparently couldn't get enough of the "i-this and i-that," even these device fanatics have their financial breaking point. Given the discrepancies in per-capita spending power between the average American and Chinese consumer, the latter may face more difficulties.In an email correspondence, Victor Shih, Ph.D., associate professor of political economy at the University of California, San Diego, wrote:Both the trade war and food-driven inflation likely will crimp Chinese consumers' discretionary spending. While the trade war has slowed employment growth and wage growth, the African swine flu has driven up food prices substantially. For the average households, they are trapped between much higher food prices and uncertainties about future income. This will limit their spending on discretionary items.Put another way, AAPL stock may be on a winning path right now. But that's not guaranteed to sustain. As known pressures tighten their stranglehold, the impact will invariably filter down. How to Tackle AAPL StockAs I mentioned earlier, how you approach Apple stock depends on your perspective. To clarify, if you have a short-term timeline, AAPL could bring some quick profits. But for everyone else, I encourage you to consider some storm-watching. The headwinds working against this tech firm are unquestionably ugly.Furthermore, in years past, Apple, along with many other organizations, relied heavily on the Chinese consumer. With a population size four-times greater than the U.S., this approach made sense.But at the present juncture, China is a major risk factor. As Professor Shih noted, the average Chinese consumer is feeling the heat. Given the choice of buying food to live or buying an iPhone 11, I don't have to spell out the correct answer. Therefore, anybody who is not a day trader should probably avoid or cash out of AAPL stock.As of this writing, Josh Enomoto did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Super Boring Stocks to Buy With Super Safe Returns * 10 Winning Stocks to Buy and Stick With for the Long Haul * Don't Give Up on These 4 Cannabis Stocks The post Itas Time to Go Storm-Watching With Apple Stock appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Much of the technology we use daily was initially developed on college campuses. For a prime example of this, look no further than the internet. Many of today's tech giants including Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) simply would not exist if it weren't for the internet. While we take the internet for granted, it wasn't always here. It actually had its roots in a network called ARPANET, developed in the 1960s and 1970s to facilitate communication for the U.S. military and university-based researchers. From that backbone, the world wide web (which is now 25 years old) evolved. Even today, the World Wide Web Consortium -- tasked with maintaining open web standards -- is headed up by World Wide Web "founder" Sir Tim Berners-Lee at MIT. * 10 Super Boring Stocks to Buy With Super Safe Returns The internet is one of the biggest and farest-reaching examples, but there are plenty of other groundbreaking technologies that have been created by universities.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips Better Lithium Ion BatteriesLithium Ion batteries may have a bad rap thanks to incidents like Samsung's, exploding Galaxy Note 7, but their high power density is critical to mobile devices like smartphones and wireless headphones. Lithium Ion batteries also make Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) electric cars possible.MIT professor Yet-Ming Chiang is credited with making Lithium Ion batteries safer, much more powerful, and faster-charging than early versions thanks to his research in the university's materials sciences labs. In 2002, he co-founded A123 Systems to commercialize the new lithium Ion technology, which was soon used in batteries powering power tools, electric cars, and other devices. Hoana LifeBedSource: Shutterstock The Hoana LifeBed is compared to "Doctor McCoy's sick bay bed in Star Trek." It uses non-contact sensors embedded in the cover of a hospital bed mattress to non-invasively provide critical patient monitoring data including heart rate and respiratory rates. * 10 Cloud Stocks to Invest in the Future The real-time vital signs data provided by the LifeBed helps medical professionals to asses a patient's health and emotional state without the use of cuffs or electrodes. Commercializing technology developed at the University of Hawaii that was originally funded by U.S. military grants, Hoana was spun off as a private venture in 2001. Google SearchSource: Castleski / Shutterstock.com We've already established that Google wouldn't exist if it weren't for the internet, but it's also true that Google itself probably wouldn't exist if it weren't for Stanford University.Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page created their search engine, which used page rankings to improve results while PhD students at Stanford. With the success of the search engine - which was originally available on Stanford's website -- the pair dropped out to launch Google as a commercial venture. LCD ScreenSource: Apple LCD panels replaced CRTs to revolutionize televisions and made the laptop computer possible. Liquid crystals were discovered in 1888 and first used to create an LCD display in 1968. But it was in 1969 that a researcher at Kent State University created a "twisted nematic" LCD display that was durable and power-efficient enough to be practical. * 10 Biotech Stocks With Game-Changing Dates in Q3 This led to commercialization of LCD technology, starting with the first LCD watch display in the early 1970s. Kent State still operates the Glenn H. Brown Liquid Crystal Institute to further research into liquid crystal technology. E Ink displaysSource: Amazon E-readers like Amazon's Kindle and the Kobo Forma are built around E Ink displays. It's the E Ink display that make these devices popular, despite the competition from tablets.E Ink displays used by e-readers are high resolution, with ultra-long battery life (weeks instead of hours) and they can be read in bright light and sunlight. In addition, e-readers are much lighter than tablets and many are now waterproof as well. E Ink technology was developed at MIT by associate professor Joseph Jacobson. FacebookSource: Wachiwit / Shutterstock.com Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) isn't really a technology, but the company broke new ground, created a tech giant, and launched the era of social media -- and all the complexities that have come with it.Started by Mark Zuckerberg and several classmates while at Harvard University as a social directory for Harvard students, Facebook exploded beyond campus to become what is now a $512 billion company with over 1 billion users. In an interview, Harvard's Jonathan L. Zittrain (Computer Science professor at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in addition to being a Law professor at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School) commented about what made the university an ideal launching ground for the nascent social network: * Best Stocks for 2019: Q3 Was a Roller Coaster "The college environment made for the ideal petri dish: lots of comparatively tech-savvy people eager to get to know one another, and not as guarded about privacy, especially since the early Facebook was indeed limited to those who could show a university email address." Artificial IntelligenceSource: Shutterstock Artificial intelligence -- or AI -- has the potential to be the next game-changer in technology. AI is already making search better, making personal assistants like Siri and Alexa smarter, and helping automakers move toward autonomous driving.AI is being developed by many tech companies, but the field is also being constantly advanced by pioneering research at universities. Notable hotbeds for AI research include Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Stanford, and the University of Toronto. Researchers from these programs have also increasingly left the campus to lead the AI divisions of tech giants -- in 2015, Uber (NYSE:UBER) "gutted" Carnegie Mellon's AI and Robotics center, hiring away 50 of its staff. GPSSource: BigTunaOnline / Shutterstock.com Like the internet, GPS is one of those technologies we take for granted. It's used by everything from the military to our smartphones, and companies like Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) have built successful businesses around GPS and GPS-related products like automobile and hand-held navigation systems. * 10 High-Yield Monthly Dividend Stocks to Buy MIT's Ivan Getting leveraged his experience at MIT's Radiation Laboratory to eventually become a key figure in the development of the Global Positioning System -- GPS. Robotics Source: Shutterstock Technology doesn't get much more groundbreaking than robotics, especially the quadruped robots from Boston Dynamics. YouTube videos showing these uncanny, four-legged robots in action look like science fiction, but the company has commercialized them to carry payloads up stairs, though industrial sites and over rough terrain. Its intimidating Big Dog robot was funded by DARPA for U.S military use.Boston Dynamics got its start as a spin-off from MIT before being acquired by Google X, and then SoftBank. EntrepreneurshipSource: Shutterstock Universities can't be credited with creating entrepreneurship, but college campuses definitely drive technological innovation, foster entrepreneurs and attract investment.According to Carnegie Mellon University President Farnam Jahanian at that institution alone, faculty and students started 173 new companies between 2011 and 2016. Across the U.S., between 1996 and 2015, the economic transfer of technology from university research to the private sector contributed $1.3 trillion to U.S. gross industrial output and helped to support 4.3 million jobs. As of 2017, there were more that 200 universities and colleges with dedicated innovation or entrepreneurship centers, helping to ensure that the groundbreaking technology keeps coming.As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Super Boring Stocks to Buy With Super Safe Returns * 10 Winning Stocks to Buy and Stick With for the Long Haul * Don't Give Up on These 4 Cannabis Stocks The post 10 Groundbreaking Technologies Created by Universities appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Home automation companies are charging into everything from door locks, lights and heating systems to showers and toilets. But privacy concerns are leaving many consumers leery.
(Bloomberg) -- The young woman in Monica Mazzei’s San Francisco law office was adamant: She wanted a prenuptial agreement.Never mind that the client had barely anything to her name. What she had was a bunch of startup ideas. She and her fiancé, who already had his own small tech company, signed a prenup with clear terms, Mazzei said: “The spouse who has an idea [and] starts a business ‘owns’ that business. It’s their baby.”A few years later, Mazzei, a partner at Sideman Bancroft, was traveling through the San Francisco airport when she saw her former client on a magazine cover. Her startup had struck gold. Her husband’s business had fizzled.In Silicon Valley, where penniless programmers fervently believe their ideas are worth billions, getting rich can take priority over getting married. California law assumes that any wealth created during a marriage is community property, which should be split equally in a divorce. That’s alarming not just for young entrepreneurs but also their investors.Divorce HavocFortunately, a well-written prenup is a safeguard against post-divorce havoc, which is why more and more young couples are insisting on the agreements, according to more than half-a-dozen lawyers in the Bay Area and elsewhere. Long popular with older wealthy couples who re-marry, prenups are also being demanded by entrepreneurs who want to keep future windfalls to themselves.“I am seeing more and more young people want to enter into prenuptial agreements who do not currently have a lot of money now but plan to have a lot of money someday,” said Manhattan-based divorce attorney Jacqueline Newman.In a 2016 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 3 in 5 divorce attorneys said more clients were seeking prenups in the past three years. About half said they’d seen a spike in the number of millennials requesting the agreements.“People’s concepts and notions of fairness when it comes to privately held businesses are changing,” said Mazzei, adding she’s seen “a tremendous increase” in prenups in the past eight years. “They feel that even if they’re married, this is their passion. The agreement should be reflective of that.”‘It’s Complicated’Today’s startup founders have plenty of prenup-writing forebears to emulate. Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, who helped found personal genomics company 23andMe, had a prenup when they married in 2007. After they divorced with little fanfare in 2015, his stake in Google remained unchanged.“It’s complicated -- that’s all I can say,” Wojcicki told Bloomberg TV about the split.Oracle Corp.’s Larry Ellison has been married and divorced multiple times, but none affected his stake in the software company. Ellison is the seventh-richest person in the world with a net worth of $59.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.Still, a prenup hardly guarantees a smooth divorce. Judges can and do throw out the agreements, especially if they’re drafted poorly. “If you don’t put in the right language, a lot of prenups don’t do the job,” said Lowell Sucherman, a divorce attorney at Sucherman Insalaco in San Francisco.In 2017, One Kings Lane co-founder Alison Gelb Pincus, wife of Zynga Inc. founder Mark Pincus, challenged their premarital agreement in court while the couple was getting a divorce, according to a court filing. It’s unclear whether she prevailed as final terms of the divorce aren’t public.While venture capital firms don’t explicitly require prenups, they do demand legal language protecting their investments in the event a divorce court hands a chunk of a founder’s shares to an ex-spouse. So do other co-founders.Founders’ Control“Founders have wanted to ensure that someone else can’t suddenly come in and obtain some sort of founders’ control,” said Par-Jorgen Parson, a partner at venture capital firm Northzone, who has served on the board of Spotify Technology SA. “It’s just as often driven by the founders as by external investors. You don’t want to rock the balance of power.”Venture capital firms often demand that founders’ husbands and wives sign “spousal consent” forms. Such agreements determine who gets to vote for board members, and how and when shares can be sold. In the event of a divorce settlement (or death or disability), a founders’ spouse might end up with company shares. But, the agreements ensure that an ex can’t exercise much, if any, control over the company post-divorce.“We’re trying to make sure that people don’t become involuntary business partners with someone they don’t know, don’t like or who aren’t qualified,” said James Ficenec, a partner at Newmeyer & Dillion in Walnut Creek, California.Divorcing founders will often do anything to avoid handing over half of their shares in their startup.‘Keeping More’“Founders will try to negotiate keeping more of their shares,” said Michael Gorback, a partner at Hanson Bridgett. “You might balance it out some other way,” by paying exes in cash, a home or other investments.MacKenzie Bezos and Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos divorced earlier this year, leaving her with a 4% stake and a net worth of $34.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg index. He kept 75% of the couple’s Amazon shares, and retains voting control of those she does hold.Amazon’s stock, of course, is publicly traded, which can make divorce negotiations easier.“One issue we come across very often is, ‘How do you value a startup?’” Mazzei said. Years before an initial public offering, a startup might have no profits or even revenue to speak of. A promising company could later go under -- or eventually be worth billions.Trust, CredibilityIn a divorce, “it can be quite difficult when you have a large asset that is illiquid,” said Lyssa Grimaldo, a wealth manager at San Francisco-based Wetherby Asset Management and a certified divorce financial analyst. Adding to the problem, she said: “One partner knows more about that asset than the other.”With enough billable hours, lawyers can usually sort out the legal ramifications of divorce. They’re less helpful in containing the chaos that a founder’s marital problems might create in the workplace or business relationships.“We have companies where the founder is the brand, and trust and credibility are core to the business,” said Ed Zimmerman, partner and chair of the tech group at Lowenstein Sandler in New York. “If you are investing in a company because you think the founder is amazing,” it can be alarming to learn that he or she is facing the distraction of an acrimonious divorce or custody battle, he said.If a divorce isn’t disclosed to key investors, they can lose trust in a founder who they thought they knew well. Then there’s sometimes other nasty fallout, of the sort that companies are increasingly sensitive to in the metoo era.“It would be great if we lived in a world where people who had marital problems didn’t manifest those problems by hitting on or dating people who worked at their company,” Zimmerman said. “Those kinds of things tend to be more problematic than who gets the shares.”(Updates with adviser’s comment in 23rd paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Steverman in New York at email@example.com;Anders Melin in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Pierre Paulden at email@example.com, Steven Crabill, Peter EichenbaumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is not having a great year. The AMZN stock price has stalled out for months now. Now at around $1,744, it's well short of its earlier highs of $2,000 per share. Even in a lackluster environment for tech stocks, Amazon's performance has been notably weak.Source: Mike Mareen / Shutterstock.com There are various reasons for that. For one thing, investors are questioning some of the company's long-term growth initiatives. The foray into brick-and-mortar grocery sales via Whole Foods does not appear to be going particularly well, for example. The bloodbath in streaming stocks such as Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) has caused investors to ask how much money Amazon is willing to lose -- especially running its not especially popular streaming services for music, movies and more.Then there's political issues. President Donald Trump's administration has made Amazon a whipping boy, going after Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post in particular. Amazon's political issues won't necessarily go away if Trump leaves office, however. The company has amassed prominent Democratic critics including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and presidential candidate Andrew Yang. With nearly 50% of the U.S. e-commerce market share, it's hard to see the antitrust cloud lifting anytime soon.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips R.J. Hottovy Isn't Buying the Bearish StoryNot all analysts are concerned about the various arguments against AMZN stock, however. Morningstar's sector analyst R.J. Hottovy recently reaffirmed his $2,300 price target for AMZN stock, rating it a four-star stock (out of five) and suggesting shares are more than 25% undervalued. He reaches this conclusion by answering the following question: What happens if Amazon breaks up? * 10 Super Boring Stocks to Buy With Super Safe Returns The basis of Hottovy's recent argument is a sum-of-the-parts analysis. This is where you value each piece of a large business and see what it'd be worth if you assigned a price to each operating unit. With the threat of government antitrust action in the air, it's worth asking what happens if Amazon splits up.The largest source of value, according to Hottovy, is in Amazon Web Services. This unit alone he suggests, is worth $550 billion, or more than half of Amazon's current market cap. On a standalone basis, AWS as an independent firm would be worth more than other tech rivals including Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).In online retail, Hottovy sees Amazon's business being worth $300 billion. I can see the case for that valuation being fully justified today. In fact, if Amazon can ever get its retail profit margins up, this figure should probably be significantly higher. Prime membership, for example, which is included in this category, is a great business even if it is getting diluted by expensive battles in content streaming.For brick-and-mortar retail, he places a price tag of $20 billion now, a decent step up from the $14 billion that Amazon shelled out for Whole Foods. I'm not convinced that Amazon has generated much if any subsequent value there, but it's a rounding error to the overall stock price, so don't concentrate on it too much. There's also advertising, which he values at $120 billion. Add up all the various parts, and you get an AMZN stock price of about $2,300 per share. Does Hottovy's Overall Math Check Out?I see some of Hottovy's estimates as a touch aggressive. For example, AWS is clearly worth less than Azure would be if Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) spun it out as a separate company. Microsoft's cloud business is significantly larger than AWS and has a faster growth rate, too. So it would be worth more than AWS as an independent entity. Microsoft is worth $1 trillion as a whole company today. If you split it up, giving Azure $600 billion, the AWS comp at $550 billion looks a little optimistic.However, the place I'd push back the most is on the advertising business. Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Facebook are the clear internet duopoly here, at around 30% and 20% share respectively. No other player has more than 5%, with Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) running in third place.While Amazon is making a respectable run to gain market share, it's hard to envision Amazon's advertising today being worth $120 billion when Twitter is $30 billion. Amazon advertising may one day command a premium, but at this point, I don't see how you could remotely justify a valuation of 4x Twitter. AMZN Stock VerdictI don't own AMZN stock now. And that's been an error of omission on my part. I should have bought the dip when shares hit $1,350 last December. At more than $1,700, AMZN stock leaves me feeling ambivalent.You can certainly make a plausible case for reasonable upside in 2020. While I find Hottovy's estimates a bit optimistic, they're not too far off aside from advertising. If Amazon isn't worth $2,300 per share now, it could easily grow into that valuation in a year or two.Still, as far as mega-cap tech stock goes, FB stock seems like the much more obvious bargain at this point. The company is rapidly moving past its scandals, and revenue and profit growth has remained much stronger than expected. At 19x forward earnings, Facebook is a fast-growing company trading nearly as cheaply as the overall market. AMZN stock, by contrast, is not cheap. It could be a fine long-term buy at this price, but more needs to go right in the future for things to turn out well.At the time of this writing, Ian Bezek owned FB stock. You can reach him on Twitter at @irbezek. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Super Boring Stocks to Buy With Super Safe Returns * 10 Winning Stocks to Buy and Stick With for the Long Haul * Don't Give Up on These 4 Cannabis Stocks The post Is Amazon Stock Deeply Undervalued? This Analyst Says 'Yes.' appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Waymo will start testing its self-driving vehicles in Los Angeles this week. Self-driving vehicles have a lot of promise.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Once again it’s October, which means it’s time to debate whether the economics Nobel prize is a real Nobel or an impostor. And once that tired argument is duly rehashed, we can proceed to the more interesting topic -- who might win, and how their ideas help us understand the world. Here are five strong candidates for this year’s award:No. 1. The New KeynesiansNot since 2011 has a prize been awarded to economists who primarily study the ups and downs of the business cycle, so we might be overdue. The obvious choice would be to award the prize for the creation of New Keynesian theory. This theory holds that recessions happen because businesses have difficulty adjusting their prices in response to economic disturbances.Although it’s the dominant paradigm within modern academic macroeconomics, and is used by most central banks to help set monetary policy, New Keynesianism hasn’t yet received a gold medal from Sweden. One reason might be that the theory isn’t the brainchild of a single genius, but of a large group of influential figures who each added key elements. These include Michael Woodford, Stanley Fischer, Greg Mankiw, Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, Olivier Blanchard, Guillermo Calvo, Janet Yellen, David Romer and a number of others. Picking two or three to award the prize to will be hard, but it seems inevitable that the prize committee will eventually have to recognize this incredibly influential theory.No. 2. Claudia GoldinBefore French economist Thomas Piketty ever hit the bestseller lists, Harvard University’s Claudia Goldin was writing about the rise in economic inequality. Combining the methods of labor economics and economic history, Goldin identifies increasing education as a key driver of the fall in U.S. inequality in the early 20th century, and blames a slowdown in educational attainment for the reversal of that happy trend.Goldin has also extensively studied the changing role of women in the economy, weaving together trends like delayed childbearing, increasing education and forward-looking decision-making to create the authoritative story of how and why women entered the formal workforce. She has advocated for flexible work scheduling as a way to reduce the gender pay gap. And she has theorized that workplace gender discrimination results from men being afraid that the occupations they dominate will be devalued if women enter. In an age when society is struggling to eliminate gender inequality, Goldin’s work provides a crucial road map.No. 3. David CardGreat changes have happened in the economics profession during the past three decades. The field has gone from a largely theoretical discipline to one firmly grounded in empirics and data. Although the transition is the work of many thousands of economists, perhaps no one has pointed the way forward as clearly as the University of California-Berkeley’s David Card. His landmark studies of low-skilled immigration and minimum wages changed the debate on those crucial issues, astonishing economists with the finding -- now corroborated by decades of follow-up research -- that neither is particularly damaging to local workers. Those results changed the world, but they represent only a small portion of Card’s extensive body of work. If anyone deserves to win a Nobel for the seismic shift that has changed the very meaning of economics research, it’s probably Card.No. 4. Paul MilgromThe economics Nobel tends to favor the work of pure theorists who work on the deepest problems. And few thinkers dig deeper than Stanford University’s Paul Milgrom. He was a major figure in the creation of auction theory -- probably the most empirically successful and practically useful economic theory of all time, which is now used to power everything from Google ads to federal spectrum auctions. He has also contributed deep insights to our understanding of financial markets, modeling the way that market makers interact with informed and uninformed traders, and helping to explain why trading happens in the first place. This is only the tip of the iceberg, though. Milgrom’s contributions in game theory, contract theory, labor economics, industrial organization, the economics of information and learning, and other fields are too numerous to mention or elaborate here. If he never wins the Nobel for this virtuosic career, it will be a big surprise.No. 5. Daron AcemogluDaron Acemoglu is another virtuoso, but of a very different sort. Acemoglu tackles the big questions of why nations grow and develop or stagnate and decline -- the kinds of questions that rarely if ever get definitive answers. His most important thesis is that social institutions are crucial for development and don’t change much over time -- places that develop institutions based on exploiting labor and extracting resources tend to do badly over the centuries, while those that create more inclusive systems flourish. More recently, Acemoglu has tackled the question of whether automation will make humans obsolete. He has created new models of automation in which it’s possible for robots to reduce human wages, and theorized that different types of artificial intelligence could help human workers or compete with them. Beyond those topics, Acemoglu has a vast body of work, much of it dealing with difficult and expansive topics like politics, history, culture and technological change.To contact the author of this story: Noah Smith at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or 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 bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
With more and more trading platforms and the growing allure of low-to-no-fee brokerages, new traders are confronted with a deluge of options when it comes to trading and investing. Cash flow is commonly broken into three separate segments: operating cash flow, investing cash flow and financing cash flow.
(Bloomberg) -- SAP SE is sticking to its new plan of keeping the company youthful, and top management isn’t being spared.The storied German software giant, Europe’s biggest tech company by market value, has spent the past few years attempting to reinvent itself. It’s working to adapt its corporate software, used by almost all of the world’s 100 most valuable brands, to the web and is taking on younger rivals in cloud-based computing.There’s also been an exodus of company veterans, which as of 12:44 a.m. Friday in Walldorf, included CEO Bill McDermott.Analysts have called the late-night news a surprise; McDermott’s contract doesn’t run out until 2021. He also unveiled a major restructuring plan in April and was expected to brief investors on the company’s strategy next month.But, as he said on a conference call after the announcement, “Ten years is a long time to be CEO.”McDermott, 58, had been with the company since 2002 when he joined as head of its North American business. At the time, he was that unit’s fourth head in three years as SAP struggled to compete with rivals like Oracle Corp., and grappled with a drop in sales of software licenses. Problems with its products were blamed for delayed shipments of Whirlpool Corp.’s appliances and even Hershey’s Halloween chocolates.In the role, he recruited a new management team, changed the way the sales department targeted customers, and ultimately boosted sales growth. When CEO Leo Apotheker unexpectedly resigned in 2010, McDermott and product-development head Jim Snabe were picked to replace him as co-CEOs. Snabe -- currently chairman of Siemens AG -- stepped down and took a spot on the board in 2014, and McDermott became sole head of the company.With nearly 100,000 employees and a sprawling business that generated about $27 billion in revenue last year, driving change has sometimes been controversial. Since 2011, McDermott spent $26 billion on six major cloud acquisitions, and was the main advocate for the $8 billion acquisition of Qualtrics International Inc., the company’s largest-ever deal.Analysts criticized the purchase as too expensive. In November, Qualtrics said it expected revenue for 2018 to exceed $400 million, a figure that wouldn’t move the needle much for SAP. McDermott defended the deal, believing that combining SAP’s sales force and a trove of operational data with Qualtrics’s customer experience feedback would accelerate growth.More recently, the company attracted the interest of activists at Elliott Management Corp., which revealed its 1.2 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) stake when SAP announced a change in strategy in April. SAP had been vague at the time, saying it planned “new initiatives to accelerate operational excellence and value creation” with a focus on “tuck-in” acquisitions.SAP underwent a management shakeup in the weeks preceding the April announcement. The president of its cloud business, 27-year SAP veteran Robert Enslin, had announced his departure earlier that month. It was later revealed he’d left for Google. A day earlier, Chief Technology Officer Bjoern Goerke, another cloud expert based in the U.S., penned a blog post saying he was leaving the company he joined as a student in 1988. Board member Bernd Leukert, a seasoned IT executive, left SAP in February.Personally, McDermott also had to weather a near-fatal accident in 2015 that cost him an eye when he fell down some stairs while carrying a water glass and nearly bled to death.His replacements are a mix of old and new guard at SAP. Christian Klein, 39, spent the past 20 years at SAP, after joining as a student in 1999. Jennifer Morgan, 48, arrived in 2004 and was the first American woman on the company’s executive board. Morgan has been seen as McDermott’s protege, rising relatively quickly through the ranks, and most recently served as the president of the all-important cloud group.Together, Klein and Morgan will have to find a way to compete with younger companies like Salesforce.com Inc. and Workday Inc. while encumbered by a traditional enterprise software business.Cloud is the company’s clear growth engine, with revenue increasing about 32% last year to about 5 billion euros. Sales from its largest business, which helps clients set up and implement SAP’s software, grew less than 1% in 2019.McDermott’s resignation was announced alongside better-than-expected preliminary third-quarter earnings results. New bookings for the company’s cloud products, a key metric that indicates future sales, grew 33% on a constant-currency business. That was more than double the pace set in the second quarter, when disappointed investors sent shares down as much as 10%.“While it is a shock to see Mr. McDermott stepping down, he is clearly handing over the reins of the business from a position of strength and we are encouraged to see that his replacements are long-term members of the SAP executive team,” said Thomas Fitzgerald, fund manager at SAP shareholder Edentree Investment Management, in a note on Friday.\--With assistance from Stefan Nicola.To contact the reporters on this story: Amy Thomson in London at firstname.lastname@example.org;Kit Rees in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org, Nate LanxonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
In early October, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's campaign released a political ad that opens with leaked audio of Facebook Inc. (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking about how the company would "go to the mat and fight" if Warren is elected president in 2020 and tries to break up the firm. The clip, a part of two hours of audio from employee meetings held in July obtained by The Verge, was used to demonstrate how she has Big Tech rattled. Warren believes weak antitrust enforcement in the U.S. has helped big technology companies cement their dominance and hurt competition and innovation in the sector.
Cambridge Capital CEO Benjamin Gordon By Oliver Estreich The doomed IPO of WeWork parent We Co. is likely to pressure technology companies to embrace more robust corporate governance and discourage features such as tiered voting shares that fueled investor ire. That’s according to Benjamin Gordon, CEO of Cambridge Capital, who spoke to CorpGov on […]