GOOG Jan 2021 1090.000 put

OPR - OPR Delayed Price. Currency in USD
49.08
0.00 (0.00%)
At close: 11:36AM EST
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Previous Close49.08
Open49.08
Bid40.70
Ask48.70
Strike1,090.00
Expire Date2021-01-15
Day's Range49.08 - 49.08
Contract RangeN/A
Volume1
Open InterestN/A
  • 5 Mega Cap Stocks Hedge Funds Are Crazy About
    Insider Monkey

    5 Mega Cap Stocks Hedge Funds Are Crazy About

    One of the best tools for ordinary investors who are on the hunt for new ideas is 13F filings. Hedge funds hire some of the smartest Ivy League graduates as their analysts, have access to industry insiders whom they "consult" with, unconventional data sources that cost tens of thousands of dollars, years of experience and […]

  • Barrons.com

    Retirement Savers Are Turning to Dividend Stocks for Income. Here’s How to Use Them in Your Portfolio.

    Investors are increasingly turning to equities with cash payouts for their nest eggs. But the strategies carry risk if not done right.

  • Autonomous Taxis Become a Rough Ride for Europe
    Bloomberg

    Autonomous Taxis Become a Rough Ride for Europe

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- As recently as March, Daimler AG, the German carmaker, promised to put 10,000 autonomous taxis on the streets by 2021. But this week, Daimler chairman Ola Kaellenius announced that the company was taking a “reality check” on the project and focusing on self-driving long-haul trucks instead. It’s fine that self-driving cabs aren’t coming as fast as some expected — and it’s even better that Silicon Valley-style big talk appears to be going out of fashion.Kaellenius’s “reality check” has some solid business reasons: Daimler is cutting costs and can’t commit to a large, capital-intensive project without a clear idea of what kind of first-mover advantage it might confer. But mostly, it comes because of a long-obvious technical problem. Making sure self-driving cars aren’t a menace in city traffic is a job that’ll take more than a couple of years. Investigators are still trying to get to the bottom of the March 2018 accident in which a driverless Uber killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, and it appears Uber Inc.’s cars had been involved in dozens of previous nonfatal incidents in the course of the same testing program. No one wants to be in the same situation as Uber — so General Motors Co. subsidiary Cruise won’t be launching self-driving taxis in San Francisco this year, as previously promised, and maybe not next year, either. There's been lots of news stories about Waymo Llc, an Alphabet Inc. subsidiary, launching a self-driving taxi service in Arizona, and in April, it even put an app for it on the Google Play store. But in September, Morgan Stanley lowered Waymo’s valuation because of delays in the commercial use of its technology, and last month, Waymo chief executive John Krafcik said driverless delivery trucks could come before a taxi service.For European carmakers, which have to deal with older cities not laid out on a grid, launching autonomous taxi services appears even more daunting than for Americans. They know it’s a long way from Tempe to Amsterdam or Rome. That’s one reason Volkswagen AG, a latecomer to self-driving development, isn’t worried about being overtaken. Alexander Hitzinger, chief executive of Volkswagen’s autonomous-vehicle subsidiary, said in a recent interview that even an industry pioneer such as Waymo was “a long way away from commercializing the technology” and that Volkswagen’s autonomous vehicles would be developed by the mid-2020s.That time frame may be no more realistic than the previous hype about big 2019 and 2020 launches. Autonomous car developers can complain all they want about unpredictable human drivers and pedestrians who are causing all the accidents with their flawlessly superhuman creations, but nobody is going to clear the cities of people to give self-driving cars a spotless safety record. And making sure that, after millions of hours of training, artificial intelligence is finally able to drive like a human after a few hundred hours on the road, is not all that’s required for robotaxis to be viable. There's still the whole matter of figuring out how to reduce rather than increase urban congestion by using cars that don't “think” like humans.It’s also dangerous to adopt any kind of specific framework for the launch of automated truck services, even though that’s an easier project than taxis because the routes are fixed. The presence of humans in what is still a predominantly human world has rather unpredictable consequences for robot behavior. And the first movers have an obvious disadvantage: Like Uber with a taxi, they can get burned in ways that could set the whole business back years, and the earnings potential is unclear.None of this means, of course, that self-driving development has failed or even hit a dead end. Given enough time and a few technological breakthroughs, autonomous vehicles will be safe around actual people in actual winding, narrow, crowded streets. Engineering challenges exist to be overcome. The problem isn’t with the tech, which is moving along at a reasonably rapid pace, but with how that progress is communicated.Nobody forced experienced managers at venerable companies such as Daimler or GM to make overly optimistic statements about self-driving taxi launches. Waymo is a cash-burning startup, and it’s difficult to hold it responsible for getting ahead of itself. But the adults in the room look silly for having tried to play catch-up. There’s no reason for the big car companies to make any promises on self-driving at all. Unlike with vehicle electrification, which is part of many countries' climate policies, there’s no regulatory pressure to eliminate human drivers. And autonomous mobility-related business models are purely theoretical at this point.It would be enough for companies involved in autonomous car development to say they’re working on it. Pretty much all the big players are, to some extent. The time for any other kind of announcement will come when someone is really ready to launch a commercial service, whenever that may be. No rush.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Financial Times

    Cache crunch: Google-Citi deal could be future of banking

    The idea seems to be that customers would enjoy a whizzy Google banking interface, backed by an old-fashioned current account at Citi. Silicon Valley has already cracked payments. This phenomenon is not new: 20 years ago, Walmart tried to get into the retail banking business.

  • American City Business Journals

    The Sobrato Organization holds onto No. 1 spot in Silicon Valley charitable giving

    The rankings for this year's top Silicon Valley corporate philanthropists were announced Thursday evening at the Business Journal's Corporate Philanthropy Awards.

  • Google Gets Supreme Court Hearing in Oracle Copyright Clash
    Bloomberg

    Google Gets Supreme Court Hearing in Oracle Copyright Clash

    (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal from Alphabet Inc.’s Google in a multibillion-dollar clash that has divided Silicon Valley, agreeing to decide whether the company improperly used copyrighted programming code owned by Oracle Corp. in the Android operating system.The justices said they’ll review a federal appeals court’s conclusion that Google violated Oracle’s copyrights. Oracle says it’s entitled to at least $8.8 billion in damages.The case, which the court will resolve by July, promises to reshape the U.S. legal protections for software code, particularly the interfaces that let programs and devices communicate with one another. Google contends the appeals court ruling would make it harder to use interfaces to develop new applications.The ruling “has upended the computer industry’s longstanding expectation that developers are free to use software interfaces to build new computer programs,” Google argued.The appeals court decision reversed a jury finding that Google’s copying was a legitimate “fair use” of Oracle’s Java programming language.“There is nothing fair about taking a copyrighted work verbatim and using it for the same purpose and function as the original in a competing platform,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said in a 3-0 ruling.At issue are pre-written directions known as application program interfaces, or APIs, which provide instructions for such functions as connecting to the internet or accessing certain types of files. By using those shortcuts, programmers don’t have to write code from scratch for every function in their software, or change it for every type of device.Oracle says the Java APIs are freely available to those who want to build applications that run on computers and mobile devices. But the company says it requires a license to use the shortcuts for a competing platform or to embed them in an electronic device.“We are confident the Supreme Court will preserve long established copyright protections for original software and reject Google’s continuing efforts to avoid responsibility for copying Oracle’s innovations,” said Deborah Hellinger, an Oracle spokeswoman. “In the end, a finding that Google infringed Oracle’s original works will promote, not stifle, future innovation.”Oracle says Google was facing an existential threat because its search engine -- the source of its advertising revenue -- wasn’t being used on smartphones. Google bought the Android mobile operating system in 2005 and copied Java code to attract developers but refused to take a license, Oracle contends.‘Incalculable’ Harm“Naturally, it inflicted incalculable market harm on Oracle,” Oracle told the Supreme Court. “This is the epitome of copyright infringement, whether the work is a news report, a manual, or computer software.”Android generated $42 billion for Google between 2007 and 2016, according to Oracle court filings. Google said it welcomed the court’s decision to review the case.“We hope that the court reaffirms the importance of software interoperability in American competitiveness,” said Google’s chief legal officer, Kent Walker. “Developers should be able to create applications across platforms and not be locked into one company’s software.”At the Supreme Court, Google argues that software interfaces are categorically ineligible for copyright protection. Google also contends that the Federal Circuit restricted the “fair use” defense to copyright infringement so much as to make it impossible for a developer to reuse an interface in a new application.“What Oracle is seeking here is nothing less than complete control over a community of developers that have invested in learning the free and open Java language,” Google argued.The Trump administration is backing Oracle at the Supreme Court and urged the justices to reject the appeal. Microsoft Corp., Mozilla Corp. and Red Hat Inc. are among the companies that urged the Supreme Court to give Google a hearing.The appeal encompasses two decisions by the Federal Circuit in the six-year-long battle. The first is a 2014 decision that the programming language can be copyrighted, and the second is a 2018 ruling that overturned the jury’s verdict of “fair use.” The Supreme Court had previously rejected Google’s petition over the 2014 decision.If Oracle wins, the case will go back to a federal jury in California, where the only issue will be how much Google should pay in damages. Should Google win on either question, that would end the case.The case is Google v. Oracle America, 18-956.(Updates with company comments beginning in ninth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Naomi Nix.To contact the reporters on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at gstohr@bloomberg.net;Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth Wasserman, Jon MorganFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Airbnb Hosts Will Be Able to Pay to Fast-Track Verification of Their Listings
    Skift

    Airbnb Hosts Will Be Able to Pay to Fast-Track Verification of Their Listings

    Airbnb is moving ahead with plans to verify all of its home listings, adding its experiences offering to that pledge, the company said Friday. Still, it is grappling with how to carry this out on such a massive scale. What's more, in a recent Recode Decode podcast, CEO Brian Chesky said Airbnb plans to let […]

  • Don't be a pest: Carlyle Group co-founder and billionaire David Rubenstein on asking for money
    American City Business Journals

    Don't be a pest: Carlyle Group co-founder and billionaire David Rubenstein on asking for money

    The room was packed with the CEOs of companies that Case and his fund have invested in, as his semi-regular bus tour and investment ethos has grown into two formalized funds with big-name backers, including Rubenstein, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt, Spanx founder Sara Blakely, fellow Revolution co-founder Ted Leonsis, the Koch family and former eBay and Hewlett-Packard chief Meg Whitman. "You shouldn’t ever be saying 'I am sorry to ask you for money.' Because if you are sorry to ask somebody for money don’t ask the person for money," Rubenstein said. "There is a big difference between being a pest and bothering somebody and then being somewhat persistent," Rubenstein said.

  • U.S. Supreme Court to hear Google bid to end Oracle copyright suit
    Reuters

    U.S. Supreme Court to hear Google bid to end Oracle copyright suit

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear Google's bid to escape Oracle Corp's multi-billion dollar lawsuit accusing Google of infringing software copyrights to build the Android operating system that runs most of the world's smartphones. Google has appealed a lower court ruling reviving the suit in which Oracle has sought at least $8 billion in damages. A jury cleared Google in 2016, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington overturned that decision in 2018, finding that Google's inclusion of Oracle's software code in Android did not constitute a fair use under U.S. copyright law.

  • MarketWatch

    Supreme Court says it will hear Oracle vs. Google copyright suit

    A major copyright dispute stretching to 2010 between Oracle Corp. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google division is headed to the Supreme Court, the court said on Friday. The dispute centers on 11,500 lines of code that Google is accused of copying from Oracle's Java programming language, Oracle claims in a 9-year-old lawsuit seeking $9 billion in damages. Google, which deployed the code in Android, had won in lower courts but lost an appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which ruled last year for Oracle.

  • Reuters

    UPDATE 3-U.S. Supreme Court to hear Google bid to end Oracle copyright suit

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear Google's bid to escape Oracle Corp's multi-billion dollar lawsuit accusing Google of infringing software copyrights to build the Android operating system that runs most of the world's smartphones. Google has appealed a lower court ruling reviving the suit in which Oracle has sought at least $8 billion in damages. A jury cleared Google in 2016, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington overturned that decision in 2018, finding that Google's inclusion of Oracle's software code in Android did not constitute a fair use under U.S. copyright law.

  • Reuters

    UPDATE 2-Alphabet features self-driving garbage cans, apartment noise monitors in Toronto smart city project

    Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs has provided more details on the technology it intends to use to develop a futuristic smart city in Toronto, which includes self-driving garbage cans and infra-red sensors to track foot traffic in stores, a document released by the company on Friday said. Waterfront Toronto, the agency in charge of developing the waterfront area of Canada's biggest city, gave a tentative approval to the project two weeks ago after Sidewalk agreed to walk back many of its original proposals, including putting all data collected into an Urban Data Trust, which critics said would not be subject to adequate oversight. The 12-acre project, close to Toronto's central business district, would feature adaptive street design and responsive sounds to help blind people find their way around, the document showed.

  • Factbox: How social media sites handle political ads
    Reuters

    Factbox: How social media sites handle political ads

    In the United States, the Communications Act prevents broadcast stations from rejecting or censoring ads from candidates for federal office once they have accepted advertising for that political race, although this does not apply to cable networks like CNN, or to social media sites, where leading presidential candidates are spending millions to target voters in the run-up to the November 2020 election. Facebook exempts politicians from its third-party fact-checking program, allowing them to run ads with false claims.

  • States’ Google Antitrust Probe Will Dig Into Search, Android Too
    Bloomberg

    States’ Google Antitrust Probe Will Dig Into Search, Android Too

    (Bloomberg) -- The multi-state antitrust investigation into Google will dig into its operations in search and mobile software, going beyond an initial focus on the company’s advertising business, according to two people familiar with the probe.States including Iowa and North Carolina will take the helm to scrutinize Google’s search and Android operations, one of the people said. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will continue to lead the investigation into Google’s advertising business.State officials met Monday in Denver, where they divided the work, according to the people familiar with the investigation, who asked not to be identified so they could discuss the law enforcement information. They also heard from experts who presented a range of concerns about the company, said a third person familiar with the talks.A coalition of 48 state attorneys general opened a probe into Alphabet Inc.’s Google in September. Google is also the subject of a competition investigation by the Justice Department.CNBC reported earlier on the enforcers’ interests.Spokesmen for Google and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller declined to comment. A representative for North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and a spokeswoman for Paxton didn’t respond to requests for comment. Paxton’s office referred CNBC to comments it issued in October that said the states’ probe was focusing on ads, but that it would let facts uncovered during the course of the investigation lead the way.Google dominates web search in the U.S., and rivals have complained that the company has prioritized its own services, such as travel and restaurant reviews, in results. Google’s Android operating system runs on a majority of the world’s smartphones. While the software is free, handset makers have to install Google apps like Gmail and YouTube as part of business agreements. Rivals have complained about those deals, too.The European Union has fined Google on three separate competition cases involving the company’s practices in Android, advertising and shopping results in search.\--With assistance from David McLaughlin.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Bergen in San Francisco at mbergen10@bloomberg.net;Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at btenerellabr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Molly Schuetz, Sara FordenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Barrons.com

    Google Is Facing More Legal Scrutiny. Investors Don’t Seem Worried.

    The stock of Google parent company Alphabet are up almost 28% since the Wall Street Journal reported in June that the Justice Department was preparing an antitrust investigation of Google.

  • GuruFocus.com

    TCI Fund Bulks Up on Alphabet in 3rd Quarter

    A look at Christopher Hohn's market-beating hedge fund Continue reading...

  • Alphabet features self-driving garbage cans, apartment noise monitors in Toronto smart city project
    Reuters

    Alphabet features self-driving garbage cans, apartment noise monitors in Toronto smart city project

    Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs has provided more details on the technology it intends to use to develop a futuristic smart city in Toronto, which includes self-driving garbage cans and infra-red sensors to track foot traffic in stores, a document released by the company on Friday said. Waterfront Toronto, the agency in charge of developing the waterfront area of Canada's biggest city, gave a tentative approval to the project two weeks ago after Sidewalk agreed to walk back many of its original proposals, including putting all data collected into an Urban Data Trust, which critics said would not be subject to adequate oversight. The 12-acre project, close to Toronto's central business district, would feature adaptive street design and responsive sounds to help blind people find their way around, the document showed.

  • Report: Google antitrust probe to expand into search and Android businesses
    American City Business Journals

    Report: Google antitrust probe to expand into search and Android businesses

    The 50 state attorneys general who have launched an antitrust investigation into Google are reportedly getting ready to expand their probe to also include the Mountain View-based company's search and Android businesses, after previously explicitly focusing only on its online advertising business.

  • TheStreet.com

    [video]Supreme Court to Hear Oracle's Copyright Case Against Google

    Oracle first sued Google back in 2010 for allegedly stealing code that eventually ended up in Android phones.

  • Quantum Leap for Computing Is a Small Step for Computers
    Bloomberg

    Quantum Leap for Computing Is a Small Step for Computers

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- In a landmark paper published in 1950, the mathematician Alan Turing proposed the eponymous Turing Test to decide whether a computer can demonstrate human-like intelligence. To pass the test, the computer must fool a human judge into believing it’s a person after a five-minute conversation conducted via text. Turing predicted that by the year 2000, a computer would be able to convince 30% of human judges; that criterion became a touchstone of artificial intelligence.Although it took a bit longer than Turing predicted, a Russian chatbot presenting itself as a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy named Eugene Goostman was able to dupe 33% of judges in a competition held in 2014. Perhaps the cleverest aspect of the machine’s design was that its teenage disguise made it more likely that people would excuse its broken grammar and general silliness. Nevertheless, the strategy of misdirection comes across as transparent and superficial in conversations the chatbot had with skeptical journalists — so much so that one marvels not at the computer’s purported intelligence, but at the gullibility of the judges. Sadly, conquering the Turing Test has brought us no closer to solving AI's big problems.Last month, quantum computing achieved its own controversial milestone. This field aims to harness the laws of quantum mechanics to revolutionize computing. Classical computers rely on memory units called bits that encode either zero or one, so a state of the memory is a sequence of zeros and ones. Quantum computers, by contrast, use qubits, each of which encodes a “combination” of zero and one. In a quantum computer, multiple qubits interact, which means that each of the exponentially(1) many sequences of bits is represented simultaneously.The key question is whether this strange power can be exploited to perform computations that are beyond the reach of classical computers. Demonstrating even one such computation, however contrived, would lead to “quantum supremacy” — a term coined by physicist John Preskill of the California Institute of Technology in 2012. By this standard, Google appears to have achieved quantum supremacy. Specifically, the company said in October that its team used a 53-qubit quantum computer to generate random sequences of bits, which depend on controlled interactions between its qubits. By Google’s calculations it would take 10,000 years to carry out the same task using classical computation.(2) There is no doubt that controlling a 53-qubit quantum computer is a feat of science and engineering. As Preskill put it, “the recent achievement by the Google team bolsters our confidence that quantum computing is merely really, really hard,” rather than being “ridiculously hard.”As long as Google’s quantum computer works as intended, however, its dominance isn’t surprising — because the competition is rigged. It’s a bit like building a robotic hand that flips coins according to given parameters (such as, totally off the top of my head, the angle between the normal to the coin and the angular momentum vector), and then challenging a classical computer to generate sequences of heads and tails that obey the same laws of physics. This robot hand would perform astounding feats of coin-flipping but wouldn’t be able to do kindergarten arithmetic — and neither can Google’s quantum computer.It’s unclear, therefore, whether quantum supremacy is a meaningful milestone in the quest to build a useful quantum computer. To mention just one major obstacle (there are several), reliable quantum computing requires error correction. The catch is that quantum error correction protocols themselves demand fairly reliable qubits — and lots of them.In some ways, quantum supremacy is akin to iconic AI milestones like the Turing Test, or IBM’s chess victory over Gary Kasparov in 1997, which was also an engineering tour de force. These achievements demonstrate specialized capabilities and garner widespread attention, but their impact on the overarching goals of their respective fields may ultimately be limited.The danger is that excessive publicity creates inflated expectations of an imminent revolution in computing, despite measured commentary from experts. AI again provides historical precedent: The field has famously gone through several AI winters — decades in which talent fled and research funding ran dry — driven in large part by expectations that failed to materialize.Quantum computing research started three decades after AI, in the 1980s, and experienced a burst of excitement following the invention in 1994 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology mathematician Peter Shor of a quantum algorithm that would, in theory, crush modern cryptography. But eventually the dearth of, well, quantum computers caught up with quantum computing, and by 2005 the field was experiencing a massive downturn. The current quantum spring started only a few years ago; its signs include a surge of academic research as well as major investments by governments and tech giants like Alphabet Inc., International Business Machines Corp. and Intel Corp.Quantum computing and AI are two distinct fields — despite what whoever came up with the name Google AI Quantum would have you believe — and what is true for one isn't necessarily true for the other. But quantum computing can learn from AI's much longer career as an alternatively overhyped and underappreciated field. I am tempted to say that the chief lesson is “winter is coming,” but it is actually this: the pursuit of artificial milestones is a double-edged blade.(1) I am reminded of a mathematician’s plea to stop abusing the word “exponentially”; here I am using it in a way he would approve of.(2) The calculation was credibly disputed by IBM, but both companies agree that quantum computers are vastly more efficient than classical computers at this particular task.To contact the author of this story: Ariel Procaccia at arielpro@cs.cmu.eduTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at jlandman4@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Ariel Procaccia is an associate professor in the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University. His areas of expertise include artificial intelligence, theoretical computer science and algorithmic game theory.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Jeremy Corbyn Wants to Nationalize the Internet
    Bloomberg

    Jeremy Corbyn Wants to Nationalize the Internet

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is behind in the polls for the U.K. election so it’s unsurprising that he’s chucking out more giveaways to voters. The policy to nationalize BT Group Plc’s fixed-telecoms networks business and provide free fiber broadband to every British household is a humdinger nonetheless.Of course, the chances of this becoming reality are slim given that Corbyn’s best hope of becoming prime minister is a coalition with more moderate political parties. Yet the idea has stimulated even more debate than Labour’s previous plans to re-nationalize the railways and the energy utilities, so it’s at least worth thinking about. Taking it at face value, the policy would be a huge mistake that would achieve the opposite of its stated aim of accelerating Britain’s sluggish rollout of fiber broadband.First, there’s the cost. A Labour government would add 15 billion pounds ($19 billion) to an existing 5 billion pound broadband spending pot, according to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. Even assuming that would cover the required capital expenditure — a big assumption — it would cost at least the same again to nationalize Openreach, BT’s networks division.McDonnell says the state would pay for the acquisition by giving BT’s shareholders government bonds as compensation. Yet why would investors, especially those outside the U.K. protected by treaties against asset expropriation, exchange an 8.1% annual dividend yield from their BT stock for the less than 1% returns from U.K. gilts? The network spending itself would be funded by an increased tax on the likes of Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. But the G-20 will probably adopt new international tax standards next year to try to curb Big Tech’s avoidance tactics. So a Labour government might not even be able to whomp up these levies without breaching the new guidelines.Then there’s the speed of rolling out the networks. While the U.K. is well behind the pace on high-speed broadband rollout (it’s 10th in the European Union’s 2019 connectivity rankings), a tortured nationalization process isn’t the answer. BT would have no incentive to keep investing during that period.The same’s true for private competitors such as John Malone’s Virgin Media, Vodafone Group Plc and Comcast Corp.’s Sky. Increased competition has at least accelerated the pace of the rollout: The proportion of homes with fiber access has doubled in two years.Infrastructure investors have also been attracted by the returns promised by fiber, prompting a flurry of investment from KKR & Co., Macquarie’s infrastructure fund and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. McDonnell’s comments have certainly caused some consternation. TalkTalk Telecom Group Plc. said it had paused talks to sell a fiber project, for which Goldman-backed CityFibre Ltd. was the lead bidder. Should Labour ever get the chance to offer free broadband to everyone through a state-owned provider, tens of thousands of private sector jobs would be jeopardized. How would other companies be able to compete?And full-fiber broadband might not even really be necessary. The adoption of next-generation 5G mobile networks promises the ability to transmit far more data at far greater speeds. That would make fiber to every home redundant in parts of the country.There are better and more thoughtful ways to get fiber installed sooner: Making it easier to get permits to build the network; permanently reducing business tax rates for new fiber; and making it obligatory for customers to accept fiber upgrades. If McDonnell is willing to hand over 15 billion pounds to BT shareholders to snap up Openreach, why not use the funds to subsidize the rollout directly?To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at awebb25@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • U.K. Labour Plans to Nationalize BT’s Broadband Unit
    Bloomberg

    U.K. Labour Plans to Nationalize BT’s Broadband Unit

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Britain’s Labour party pledged to offer all consumers free fiber broadband within a decade by nationalizing phone carrier BT Group Plc’s Openreach unit at a cost of 20 billion pounds ($26 billion).BT shareholders would get newly-issued government bonds in return for their shares, Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, said in a speech in Lancaster, England on Friday. Shares of BT fell as much as 3.7%.It’s the biggest new pledge of the election campaign from Labour, which already has plans to nationalize the postal service, the railways and water and energy utilities. The broadband effort would be financed in part with taxes on multinational companies such as Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. While the proposals may win over some voters, Labour may not be in a position to implement them. It has an average of 29% support in recent polls, trailing the Conservatives at 40%.“A Labour government will make broadband free for everybody,” party leader Jeremy Corbyn said at the campaign event at Lancaster University. “This is core infrastructure for the 21st century. It’s too important to be left to the corporations.”McDonnell said the new broadband pledge would be funded by asking “tech giants like Google and Facebook to pay a bit more” in proportion to their activities in the U.K. “So if a multinational has 10% of its sales, workforce, and operations in the U.K., they’re asked to pay tax on 10% of their global profits,” McDonnell said.While Labour puts the cost of the plan at about 20 billion pounds, BT’s Chief Executive Officer Philip Jansen said the proposal would cost almost five times that amount.BT shares were down 1.6% as of 12:29 p.m. in London, suggesting shareholders aren’t too worried about the nationalization risk. That gives the company a market value of about 19 billion pounds.“These are very very ambitious ideas,” Jansen said Friday in an interview on BBC Radio 4. “The Conservative Party have their own ambitious ideas for full fiber for everybody by 2025.”“How we do it is not straightforward, it needs funding,” Jansen said, putting the cost of such a roll-out over eight years at “not short of 100 billion pounds.”Lower Value?BT has been working to speed up its own full-fiber build and Jansen said the company’s shares have fallen on the recognition that “we’re going to be investing very very heavily.” Shareholders “are nursing massive losses on their investment” in BT if they’d bought it a few years ago, he said.Investors could get burned, as Openreach’s business would likely be undervalued in an expropriation, New Street analyst James Ratzer said in an email, adding that nationalization “rarely works well for shareholders.” Analysts at Jefferies put Openreach’s value at 13.5 billion pounds, flagging annual costs for operations and to service its high pension deficit.Labour’s McDonnell said the party has taken advice from lawyers to ensure its broadband plan fits within European Union state aid rules in case the U.K. is still in the bloc when the plans are carried out.Britain LaggingCorbyn’s plan is meant to solve a connectivity gap: Britain lags far behind other European nations when it comes to full-fiber coverage, which allows for gigabit-per-second download speeds. About 8% of the country is connected -- just under 2.5 million properties, according to a September report by communications regulator Ofcom. That compares with 63% for Spain and 86% for Portugal.As policymakers and regulators have been creating conditions to spur more competition with BT, rivals including Liberty Global Plc’s Virgin Media and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.-backed CityFibre have been jumping in to commit billions of pounds to infrastructure plans.“Those plans risk being shelved overnight,” Matthew Howett, an analyst at Assembly, said in an email. “This is a spectacularly bad take by the Labour Party.”The Labour announcement caused TalkTalk Telecom Group Plc to pause talks to sell a fiber project as the industry seeks clarity.Analysts are skeptical the government could roll out fiber more effectively than private industry and Howett pointed to delays and budget overruns from a state-led effort in Australia.It’s not the first time radical ideas have been proposed for BT’s Openreach unit, a national network of copper wire and fiber-optic cable that communication providers including BT, Comcast Corp.’s Sky and Vodafone Group Plc tap into to provide home internet to customers.BT was forced to legally separate the division from the rest of the company in recent years over concerns about competition, and that it wasn’t investing fast enough to roll out fiber, and some investors have suggested the company should fully spin it out into an independent, listed business to unlock value.‘Fantasy’ PlanNicky Morgan, the Conservative cabinet minister with responsibility for digital services, dismissed Corbyn’s plan in a statement as a “fantasy” that “would cost hardworking taxpayers tens of billions” of pounds.The Conservative Party’s own proposal for full-fiber broadband across the U.K. by 2025 -- eight years ahead of a previous government goal -- has raised eyebrows across the telecom industry, as some executives and analysts expressed skepticism about whether it’s doable, whether there’s consumer demand for the ultrafast internet service and how companies would make money.‘A Disaster’TechUK, the industry’s main trade body, called Labour’s plan “a disaster” for the telecom sector. “Renationalization would immediately halt the investment being driven not just by BT but the growing number of new and innovative companies that compete with BT,” said Chief Executive Officer Julian David.The announcement will provide more fodder for the arguments by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives that a Labour government risks plunging the country into an economic crisis. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid over the weekend released analysis estimating Labour would raise spending by 1.2 trillion pounds over five years. McDonnell at the time called it “fake news.”McDonnell said Parliament would set the value of Openreach when it’s taken into public ownership and that shareholders would be compensated with government bonds.Under Labour’s plan, the roll-out would begin in areas with the worst broadband access, including rural communities, followed by towns and then by areas that are currently well-served by fast broadband.According to elections expert John Curtice, Corbyn’s chances of forming a majority government are “as close to zero” as it’s possible to get. The election is still hard to predict, and it is possible that Labour could yet win power, either on its own or with the support of smaller parties.(Updates with Corbyn remarks in fourth paragraph, McDonnell in fifth.)\--With assistance from Jennifer Ryan and Kit Rees.To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net;Thomas Seal in London at tseal@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Penty at rpenty@bloomberg.net, ;Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Frank ConnellyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • There’s Still a Bull Case for Apple Stock
    InvestorPlace

    There’s Still a Bull Case for Apple Stock

    On June 3, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock touched an intra-day low of $170.27. A little over five months later, the Apple stock price closed at $264.47 -- a 55% increase.Source: View Apart / Shutterstock.com It's worth putting those gains in context. Over that stretch, Apple stock has added roughly $420 billion in market capitalization. There are six companies in the entire world -- six -- with a greater market value than AAPL stock has added in just 164 days.Unsurprisingly, no stock ever has had a run like that. Only one company has ever come close, and it had much more help. And so the obvious question must be: Has the run gone too far? I'd tend to believe it has, but like every other skeptic, I've admittedly been wrong on Apple stock so far.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips A Historic Run for the Apple Stock PriceNo company of Apple's value -- over $700 billion even at those early June lows -- ever has posted such a steep gain in such a short time. Of course, few companies have ever been worth $700 billion. Apple was the first company to clear that level back in early 2015. Only Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) have joined it.The only one to come close to the recent run in AAPL is Microsoft, which Apple passed recently to become the world's most valuable company. MSFT stock has added roughly $400 billion in market value from December lows. But it took Microsoft stock nearly twice as long to add slightly less in market capitalization, and that company had some help. * 10 Cheap Stocks to Buy Under $10 After all, broad markets were plunging last December and since have rallied. The 57% bounce in MSFT stock from those lows has come amid a 37% rally in the Nasdaq Composite. The 55% gain in Apple stock since early June has come against just a 16% increase in that tech-heavy index. Nearly two-thirds of the run has come just since Aug. 23, during a period in which the Nasdaq has gained less than 10% while AAPL stock has risen 31%. What's Really Changed?What's interesting about the run, too, is that not all that much seems to have changed. Admittedly earnings for both the fiscal third and fourth quarters came in ahead of expectations. But neither report looks all that impressive on its face. In Q4, for instance, sales grew just 1.8% year-over-year -- and operating income declined 3%.Nor did investors react all that strongly to either release. The Apple stock price rose 2% after the third-quarter release in July -- and promptly declined 9% over the next three sessions. Q4 results sparked a two-session, 5%-plus increase that only accounts for a small portion of the torrid post-June run.Indeed, the gains have come despite the fact that the bull and bear cases for Apple stock don't seem all that different than they did six months ago. Have Bears Backed off AAPL Stock?The core bear case for Apple stock, as I detailed last year, has centered on the iPhone. That product generated 62% of revenue in fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018. Longer replacement cycles and eventually, competition from cheaper but almost-as-good rivals threatened its long-term viability.AAPL stock as a result seemed to rise and fall with iPhone product cycles, with optimism toward the stock often peaking ahead of a launch and fading soon after. Without a new iPhone to attract investor attention, it seemed, fears of declines in revenue and profits took center stage.Fiscal 2019 results hardly seem to offset that case. iPhone revenue declined 14% year-over-year, according to figures from Apple's U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Form 10-K. Product gross margin declined 2.2 points to 32.2%, driven by lower iPhone sales and the stronger dollar. That followed a 130 basis point compression in FY18, which in turn suggests unsurprisingly that the iPhone is Apple's most profitable hardware product.Due mostly to that iPhone weakness, operating profit declined nearly 10% in fiscal 2019. It's grown just 4.2% total in the last two years. Fundamentally, many Apple skeptics might argue that the results over the last two years support the bear case, despite the rising Apple share price. The Case for Apple StockOf course, investors should look forward, not backward, and AAPL bulls would argue that's exactly what they're doing. The bull case for Apple is that the company's growing services business can not only offset iPhone pressure, but drive consolidated growth.And that case, too, has been supported by recent results. Services revenue increased 16% in FY19 to over $46 billion. And those revenues are much more profitable: Gross margins of 63.7% are nearly double those of Apple products. Services drove almost exactly 30% of gross profit dollars for Apple last year, a figure that should continue to rise going forward.Meanwhile, hardware isn't dead, either. Apple's iPad sales had declined for years, but rose 16% thanks to the iPad Pro. Wearables, Home and Accessories sales, driven by the Apple Watch, jumped 41%, with the category outpacing the iPad and nearing the $25 billion in Mac revenue.So if the iPhone can even keep revenue stable or close, Apple still can grow profits at a nice clip. Services growth will help margins. Non-iPhone hardware sales increased 17% in fiscal 2019. And AAPL stock is cheap enough in that scenario to potentially keep moving higher. FY21 earnings per share estimates near $15 suggest a forward multiple under 18x, and closer to 16x backing out the company's net cash hoard of nearly $100 billion.Obviously, many investors have come around to that bull case, and have fueled the breakout in AAPL stock. That said, one wonders if the rally has gone far enough -- or too far. Apple stock now trades above the average Wall Street price target. Hardware concerns may re-emerge. Tariffs are a factor. And the company still is less than a year removed from its "biggest miss in years," when the company slashed guidance for Q1 FY19.But none of those risks have mattered so far. And perhaps they won't going forward. Even after this historic run, there's still a bull case for AAPL stock, and likely many fewer bears out there to argue against it.As of this writing, Vince Martin has no positions in any securities mentioned. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Cheap Stocks to Buy Under $10 * These 10 Stocks to Buy Make the Perfect 'Retirement' Portfolio * 5 Streaming Stocks to Buy for Huge Upside Over the Next Decade The post There's Still a Bull Case for Apple Stock appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • Google's collection of medical records sparks privacy concerns
    CBS News Videos

    Google's collection of medical records sparks privacy concerns

    The apparent whistleblower who revealed Google is collecting medical records from about 50 million Americans said "Project Nightingale" raised red flags, including a security risk of "placing medical data in the digital cloud." Google said it's using the information to improve health care and reduce medical costs, under strict privacy and security standards. Wired Editor-in-Chief Nick Thomson joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss the privacy and security concerns.