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Lenovo and Google are taking on the Amazon's Echo Spot. The pair is serving up a new smart clock designed to make you hate mornings a little less. Yahoo Finance Tech Editor Dan Howley joined 'The Final Round' to discuss.
Wall Street is typically not a fan of big government breaking up companies, but at least one equity analyst is all for it.
Google announced new features for Google My Business, its free tool that lets businesses create and edit their business profiles.
Tesla, Waymo, General Motors and Netflix are the companies to watch.
At Google's annual shareholder meeting, shareholders voted down a voluntary breakup up of the tech giant. Dan Howley joins Yahoo Finance's YFi AM to discuss.
Waymo might make its way to the top of the automotive world with the help of industry giants that chose to team up with the company. The Alphabet subsidiary has just inked a deal with Renault and Nissan to explore the development of driverless mobility services. None of the companies involved revealed details about the project other than the products they do come up with will transport people and deliver goods in France and Japan. According to Reuters , though, the partnership will also explore the development of self-driving cars for the regions. Who knows -- it might even give Waymo the chance to get in on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics robotaxi action.
Google's splashy announcement this week that it would spend $1 billion to tackle the Bay Area housing crisis prompted questions from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who sought clarification around where the new homes would be built, who owns the land currently, and whether Google had specific goals in mind for its grants.
Small tech companies fear retaliation from big tech firms like Google and Facebook Inc if they assist in an investigation into allegations the companies misuse their massive market power, the head of the U.S. House Judiciary subcommittee leading the probe said on Thursday. The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee opened an investigation into competition in digital markets early this month shortly after sources said the U.S. executive branch was gearing up for what could be an unprecedented, wide-ranging investigation of Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc, Facebook and Alphabet Inc's Google.
Alphabet unit Waymo will study self-driving car services to move people and goods with Renault and Nissan.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Silicon Valley companies don’t like anybody else having a say in their operations. Grumblings about initial public offerings are just the latest example.While the highest-profile tech IPO of the year, Uber, has thus far been a disappointment, other U.S. tech names have begun their lives as publicly traded companies trading far in excess of their IPO price. Some in Silicon Valley say that mean the bankers who handled the IPOs messed up the pricing, and not-yet-listed companies suspect they might be better off doing direct listings rather than going through the IPO process. Slack listed directly on Thursday, meaning its owners sold some of their shares rather than creating new ones through IPO intermediaries. And hey, if you can cut out the middleman while still accomplishing what you set out to do, why wouldn't you?It’s a theme beyond public listings: Large Silicon Valley companies seem to want to operate monopolistic platforms immune to pushback from governments, workers, shareholders or users.Facebook, YouTube and Twitter created open platforms and rode that business model for as long as they could – though now in the late 2010s all are facing hard questions like who should be allowed to participate, what content should be allowed or taken down, what sorts of hidden biases algorithms can have, and who should have access to user data. They could end up regulated like publishers are, or under some other approach.This generation of technology companies has also sought to change the relationship between employer and employee. While private-sector unions have been in decline in the U.S. for decades, some of these companies have taken “at will” employment a step further by relying on contract labor, as Uber and Lyft have fought to classify their drivers. Google has more temp and contract workers than full-time employees.Because these platforms are largely unregulated in the U.S., decisions about their operations are left to company management, who ultimately answer to shareholders. But Silicon Valley executives tend to insulate themselves from investor pressure. Many companies have created super-voting shares giving additional voting rights to founders and early investors, meaning that there often isn't any recourse for shareholders who are unhappy with how companies are run. Because of how much voting control Mark Zuckerberg has, he gets to operate Facebook as his own personal fiefdom.Beyond super-voting shares, Silicon Valley has also set out to change the way public markets work, to de-emphasize the role of active investors through robo-advising platforms like Wealthfront and Betterment. They're also seeking to create a “long-term stock exchange” that would, among other things, give more voting rights to long-term shareholders, mimicking the approaches taken by Zuckerberg and others.The industry’s Wild West style can’t go on forever, and it shouldn’t.Greater government involvement could incidentally push Silicon Valley toward respecting and rewarding shareholders. And although Silicon Valley complains that shareholders are short-term oriented, lofty valuations of Amazon, Tesla and many fast-growing software-as-a-service companies suggest otherwise.Regulation can increase trust in platforms, leading to more customer usage and perhaps higher advertising rates.Switching from contract workers to employees, or even unionized workers, can lead to a more dedicated, stable workforce, especially important as the U.S. labor market tightens.And even in the case of IPO underwriters, Silicon Valley is too quick to dismiss their value. Underwriters may be better able than direct listings to place shares in the hands of buyers who will hold through tough times. And in the case of cash-burning growth companies that will need to raise capital later on, having those banker and shareholder relationships may make future secondary offerings easier.A maturing Silicon Valley shouldn't be so quick to dismiss middlemen. They're not all bad.To contact the author of this story: Conor Sen at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Gray at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Conor Sen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a portfolio manager for New River Investments in Atlanta and has been a contributor to the Atlantic and Business Insider.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- A top Democrat in the U.S. House said Thursday that big tech has had “devastating effects” on everyday Americans.Speaking at an antitrust conference in Washington, Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who has opened an investigation into competition in the technology industry, said Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have acquired competitors to corner their markets.Cicilline, who is also chairman of an antitrust subcommittee, said “you would be amazed” at the number of companies that have come forward with concerns about the potentially unfair way that big tech companies compete. Some have even expressed fear that the tech giants will respond with economic retaliation if the smaller companies’ concerns are made public, Cicilline said, without providing more detail. He said Congress has retreated from its active role in shaping antitrust law.Email messages seeking comment were left with Facebook and Google.Cicilline has become a leading figure responding to the rising calls from Democrats and some Republicans for tougher competition enforcement. The Judiciary Committee is investigating competition in technology markets while the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have divided oversight of the biggest companies, the first step toward formal probes. Google and Apple Inc. went to the Justice Department, while the FTC will be responsible for Facebook and Amazon.com Inc.During a June 11 hearing that kicked off the House probe, lawmakers including Cicilline slammed online platforms for being unfair gatekeepers to content produced by traditional media outlets.“Concentration in the digital advertising market has pushed local journalism to the verge of extinction,” he said at the time.Seeking SolutionsThe major challenge of his investigation, Cicilline said Thursday, will be to find a solution to competition issues in the tech industry -- whether it’s changing antitrust laws or making sure enforcement agencies have enough resources to carry out their mission. The problems are easier to identify and harder “to develop solutions around,” he said.Cicilline said he has reached out to representatives of most of the major tech platforms and indicated that his hope is they will participate in a “meaningful way.” When asked whether he was prioritizing a company in the investigation, Cicilline said he wasn’t but mentioned Google and Facebook as particularly big and well-known.“We’ve seen some conduct of Facebook in particular, some pretty egregious behavior and a pattern of bad behavior, apology tour from the CEO and then back to bad behavior,” the representative said.His panel, Cicilline said, will explore why there hasn’t been a “serious antitrust investigation” in 20 years. “One thing I’m certain of is we are in this monopoly moment where I think people have begun to really understand the implications of this concentration in the marketplace. They expect us to address it in a thoughtful and responsible way.”Asked whether the agencies had failed, Cicilline said, “Yes. Congress has failed too, in fairness. This has been a failure by everyone.”Cicilline also weighed in on allegations of anti-conservative bias by large tech companies, which some Republicans including President Donald Trump have suggested could be a competition problem. Cicilline said there was “no evidence” to back that up.(Updates with Cicilline comments in third paragraph and details throughout.)To contact the reporters on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at email@example.com;Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at email@example.com, Mark Niquette, Paula DwyerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.