|Day's Range||245.00 - 245.00|
Democrats and Republicans have voiced increasing antipathy over Section 230 -- and it could mean costly political trouble for Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Deutsche Bank <DBKGn.DE> said on Tuesday it has agreed a strategic, multi-year partnership with Google <GOOGL.O> to give the German lender access to cloud services and drive innovation in technology-based financial products for clients. Earlier this year, Deutsche invited bids from Google, Microsoft <MSFT.O>, and Amazon <AMZN.O> to overhaul the bank's outdated and fragmented technology networks. The deal is part of a 13 billion euro ($14.70 billion)technology investment Deutsche has planned up to 2022 as it restructures to recover from years of losses.
Futures: Fireworks continued on Wall Street, as Leaderboard stocks Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Tesla led the Nasdaq to a new high. Three other Leaderboard stocks broke out.
(Bloomberg) -- ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok will pull its viral video app from Hong Kong’s mobile stores in coming days, becoming the first internet service to withdraw after Beijing enacted sweeping powers to crack down on national security threats.That announcement came after internet giants from Facebook Inc. to Google and Twitter Inc. voiced opposition to national security legislation that grants the Hong Kong government sweeping powers to police the online and public spheres. TikTok, which has insisted it operates independently of Beijing despite its Chinese ownership, may be able to argue the withdrawal is a move to escape requests to censor content or share user data.But its retreat could also benefit the Communist Party by removing a forum pro-democracy protesters have used to post videos calling for an independent Hong Kong. The Chinese-owned company didn’t explain its decision but said its Hong Kong exit could occur within days.“In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” a spokesperson for the service said.ByteDance, the world’s most valuable startup, operates some of the world’s most popular social media platforms. TikTok in just a few years became the destination of choice for mainly younger Americans and lip-syncing, dancing Indians. Its Chinese-only twin Douyin and other services such as Toutiao have grown into major venues for more than 1.5 billion people in its home country and beyond.But that virality is provoking scrutiny around the globe about both its control of valuable personal data -- particularly of youths -- and censorship policies deemed pro-Beijing. On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told Fox News “we’re certainly looking” at a ban on Chinese social media apps including TikTok. It’s also the largest and most prominent of 59 Chinese services India has banned, reflecting growing tensions between the neighboring countries after a deadly border skirmish in the Himalayas.Sensor Tower data showed that as of September 2019, TikTok had about 1.8 million downloads in Hong Kong, a city of 7.4 million people. It’s unclear if ByteDance plans a substitute for TikTok -- Douyin, its closest cousin, is available only in China.On Tuesday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam sidestepped a question about how her administration will respond to decisions by Google, Facebook and Twitter to suspend processing user data requests, over concerns about suppression of free speech. Pompeo blasted the Communist Party’s “Orwellian censorship” in a statement.While TikTok’s withdrawal may be viewed as support for the pro-free speech camp, the Chinese-owned service -- which likes to portray itself as mainly a fun venue for self-made music videos -- has come under fire repeatedly for censorship.TikTok has faced persistent allegations its decisions on content align with Beijing’s priorities. It has targeted videos related to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the mistreatment of Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region,and standoffs at the India-China border. Last year, a ByteDance spokesman told Bloomberg TikTok didn’t remove videos from the Hong Kong protests for political reasons, saying they may have instead been taken down for violating guidelines around violent, graphic, shocking or sensational content.TikTok in June took a major step toward burnishing the service by hiring Kevin Mayer, the architect of Walt Disney Co.’s direct-to-consumer video strategy. Mayer, who runs TikTok globally, may help smooth relations with U.S. lawmakers and interest groups while attracting talent and new content to speed its international expansion.(Updates with details on TikTok’s business from the second paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Google, Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Twitter Inc. won’t process user data requests from the Hong Kong government amid concerns that a new security law could criminalize protests.Last Wednesday, when the law took effect, Google paused production on any new information requests from Hong Kong authorities, said a spokesperson for the Alphabet Inc. unit. “We’ll continue to review the details of the new law,” the spokesperson added.It’s unclear what types of actions will violate the new law, but police arrested a man last week for brandishing a Hong Kong independence flag. Protesters have rallied against the law, and the government has threatened fines and imprisonment for service providers that fail to remove messages. In response, the U.S. has revoked some trade benefits with Hong Kong related to sensitive technology. American officials have expressed fears that the new law signals Beijing’s intention to take full control of Hong Kong, which has operated with more autonomy and freedom than cities on the mainland.Microsoft is pausing responses to such data requests as it examines the new law, a company spokesperson said in a statement. The company said it “typically received only a relatively small number of requests from Hong Kong authorities, but we are pausing our responses to these requests as we conduct our review.”In 2019, the Hong Kong government requested data from Google users 105 times, according to the company’s reported figures.Facebook typically works with law enforcement to follow local laws where the company operates, but said it has paused sharing user data with Hong Kong authorities while it conducts a “human-rights” assessment. The pause applies to all Facebook properties, including its core social network, Instagram and WhatsApp.“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We have a global process for government requests and in reviewing each individual request, we consider Facebook’s policies, local laws and international human-rights standards.”Twitter operates in much the same way and paused data requests immediately following the law’s implementation last week, a Twitter spokesperson said, adding that the company has “grave concerns regarding both the developing process and the full intention of this law.”Facebook and Twitter don’t operate in China but do in Hong Kong, where they have offices. Google has a significant presence in Hong Kong, which includes sales staff that works with Chinese companies running digital advertising outside of China.(Updates with Microsoft’s statement in the fourth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Palantir Technologies Inc. said it filed confidentially with U.S. regulators for a public stock listing, taking a major step toward a market debut that has been many years in the making.The secretive Silicon Valley company, which sells data analysis software used by governments and large companies worldwide, is seeking to go public by the fall, Bloomberg previously reported, though the timing could change.Palantir has been weighing a direct listing of its shares on an exchange against an initial public offering, people with knowledge of the deliberations have said.The company said in a statement Monday that it had filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a “public listing” of its stock, wording that has been used by other companies planning to pursue a direct listing. Such announcements typically specify a company is planning an IPO when that is the case. Palantir may still decide to pursue a traditional IPO to raise capital for the business.Palantir is in the process of raising $961 million, $550 million of which it has already secured, according to a filing earlier this month with the SEC. That includes a $500 million investment from Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings Inc. and $50 million from Fujitsu Ltd.Those sums make listing the stock directly a more accessible path for Palantir, following in the footsteps of Spotify Technology SA and Slack Technologies Inc.A direct listing wouldn’t let Palantir raise money by issuing new shares, but it would allow it to bypass an investor roadshow and other formalities of an IPO, while letting current stockholders sell their shares at the opening bell rather than waiting until the end of a lock-up period.Billionaire Peter Thiel founded Palantir in 2003 with a group of business partners including Alex Karp, the chief executive officer. In 2015, Palantir reached a valuation of $20 billion, though in recent years stockholders have sold blocks of shares for much less. It isn’t clear what valuation the company would seek in going public.Breaking EvenThe company told investors this year that it expects to break even in 2020 on revenue of about $1 billion.In June, Palantir added three directors including the first woman to serve on its board, former Wall Street Journal reporter Alexandra Wolfe Schiff.Dozens of law enforcement and government agencies around the world use Palantir to compile and search for data on citizens with the intent of combating crime, hunting terrorists and in recent months, tracking the spread of Covid-19. The pandemic has boosted business as companies use its products to help determine how to reopen.However, Palantir is highly controversial for the way its tools have been used to compromise privacy and enable surveillance. Its use by police and immigration officials, in particular, has sparked numerous protests.Valuation ConcernThe Palo Alto, California-based company had long resisted a public offering to avoid getting valued as a consultancy, and to stay out of the public eye as it worked toward profitability, people familiar with the matter have said.Its dependence on engineers customizing software for each client and bloated cost structure also resulted in consistent annual losses. That heightened the possibility that it wouldn’t be valued as a software company despite its Silicon Valley credentials.That changed last year, with customers using a new more automated product that has put Palantir on the path toward profitability.Palantir’s funders include Founders Fund, the venture capital firm started by Thiel. Other investors include Morgan Stanley, BlackRock Inc. and Tiger Global Management.Thiel, a co-founder of Pay PayPal Holdings Inc., has helped launch or advance Silicon Valley firms including Facebook Inc., where he has been a board member since 2004. Through Founders Fund and other investments, his influence has been extended to an array of technology companies. Thiel has also served as an adviser to President Donald Trump, chastising other technology companies, in particular Alphabet Inc.’s Google, for their reluctance to work with the Defense Department.(Updates with statement details in fourth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Once high-flying Chinese game-streaming platform Chushou TV has shuttered, becoming the latest casualty in a market increasingly dominated by Tencent Holdings Ltd.The mobile-focused streaming network’s demise on July 2 comes just two years after it received $120 million in investment from backers including Alphabet Inc.’s Google. The company, whose name translates as “tentacle,” has asked streamers who play exclusively on the platform to switch to Tencent-backed video-sharing app Kuaishou, according to an in-app notice viewed by Bloomberg News. Chushou and Google representatives didn’t respond to requests for comment sent via email.Chushou’s downfall further underscores Tencent’s supremacy in China’s game-streaming market, which iResearch estimates will generate 23.6 billion yuan ($3.4 billion) in revenue by the end of this year. Now, Tencent effectively controls the two largest platforms -- Huya Inc. and DouYu International Holdings Ltd. -- and has its own esports site eGame. In addition, the social media behemoth has stakes in fast-growing video services Kuaishou and Bilibili Inc., both of which are vying for more gaming content. Chushou said in 2018 it had 8 million unique streamers and 90 million registered users on its platform.Read more: The Billion-Dollar Race to Become China’s Amazon TwitchChina’s streaming companies live and die on fans splurging on virtual gifts to tip performers, leading to bidding wars over the top professional gamers and putting an enormous strain on smaller platforms. Last year, No. 3 player Panda TV also succumbed to competitive forces and shut down its service. Tencent, whose WeChat messaging service is the social media starting point for more than a billion people, can market its services broadly and has forged close ties with influencers, advertisers and content providers across the country.Chushou streamers complained recently online that they’ve not received their cut of virtual-gifting revenue for months and at least one influencer agency is suing Chushou for breach of contract. Last month, Shanghai Xiaren Internet Technology Ltd. secured a court order to freeze 5 million-yuan worth of assets owned by Chushou operator Hangzhou Kaixun Technology Ltd., according to court documents viewed by Bloomberg News. Other investors in Hangzhou-based Chushou include Qiming Venture Partners, GGV Capital, Shunwei Capital and Baidu Inc.’s Netflix-style iQiyi service.Tencent dominates at home but its streaming and social media efforts haven’t progressed far abroad -- something it may be looking to address. The WeChat operator has been quietly testing a mobile-focused streaming network in the U.S. since at least March. Called Trovo Live, the new service closely resembles Twitch in its appearance and functionality, and sports Tencent’s own portfolio of popular games including Fortnite and PUBG Mobile.(Updates with details on Tencent’s business in the fourth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Social media platforms and messaging apps including Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Google and Twitter will deny law enforcement requests for user data in Hong Kong as they assess the effect of a new national security law enacted last week.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. said it is “assessing” a new Hong Kong security law that has sparked concern about criminalizing protests.The Cupertino, California-based technology giant also said it has not received requests for Hong Kong user data since the law kicked in last week, and noted that it doesn’t get requests directly from the government there.“Apple has always required that all content requests from local law enforcement authorities be submitted through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in place between the United States and Hong Kong,” the company said. Under that process, “the U.S. Department of Justice reviews Hong Kong authorities’ requests for legal conformance.”On Monday, other tech companies, including Google, Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. said they would pause processing user data requests from the Hong Kong government as they review the new law.On its website, Apple said that in the first half of 2019, it received 358 requests for user device information, 155 requests related to fraudulent transactions, and two requests for account data from Hong Kong.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The chief executive officers of Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Apple Inc. will testify on July 27 before a congressional panel investigating competition in the technology industry, according to an announcement from the House Judiciary Committee.Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook are likely to face a torrent of critical questions from lawmakers on the panel’s antitrust subcommittee as the investigation builds a case for revamping antitrust enforcement.Bezos may be in for a particularly tough session. Unlike the other chiefs, the world’s richest man will be addressing Congress for the first time, and his company has sparred with subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline over previous testimony by another company official and allegations of anticompetitive conduct.The appearances may be virtual, according to the Monday evening announcement, which said additional details on the format would be forthcoming.“Given the central role these corporations play in the lives of the American people, it is critical that their CEOs are forthcoming,” said Cicilline and Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler in a joint statement. “As we have said from the start, their testimony is essential for us to complete this investigation.”Some of the companies had been reluctant to send their top executives even though Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, has said he would be willing to subpoena CEOs. He has said he wants to use their appearances to inform a final report recommending changes to antitrust law.Antitrust scrutiny of giant technology companies is accelerating. Facebook and Alphabet’s Google both face competition inquiries by federal enforcers and nearly all 50 states. Amazon is under investigation in California, Bloomberg has reported, and both the e-commerce giant and Apple are facing scrutiny from the European Union.The Judiciary Committee had previously announced that the four men would testify, but had not set a date or format.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The chief executives of Amazon.com <AMZN.O>, Apple <AAPL.O>, Alphabet's Google <GOOGL.O> and Facebook <FB.O> will appear before a U.S. House of Representatives panel on July 27, the committee said in a statement on Monday. Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Sundar Pichai and Apple's Tim Cook will appear before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee as part of its probe into the companies, the statement said.
On another strong day for the broad market on Monday, stocks were led higher by the three most highly valued U.S. companies—Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.com.
NVIDIA and two other tech giants will give your portfolio valuable exposure to the growing AI market.
The programme will offer "unprecedented flexibility" to 80,000 workers in Japan, says Fujitsu.
Here is a sneak peek into four tech stocks, which hold promise for stellar performances in the upcoming earnings season despite the coronavirus crisis.
(Bloomberg) -- Major brands are getting caught up in the MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault that’s sweeping through video-game streaming, the fast-growing but insular world of watching amateurs and professionals play live online.In the past month, dozens of women -- often, former girlfriends or fellow streamers -- have accused more than 150 people of everything from rape to groping underage girls to cheating.Nvidia Corp., which makes powerful chips used in gaming PCs and runs a gaming service, is among the big companies contending with the problem. The company was working on a sponsorship project this year with Samuel Earney, a streamer on Amazon.com Inc.’s Twitch platform. Then the allegations hit.On June 22, a former girlfriend accused Earney, known on Twitch as IAmSp00n, of sexual and emotional abuse. She said he lorded his sponsorship deal with an unnamed PC-part manufacturing company over her as part of that mistreatment.The ex-girlfriend’s statement helped to explain the apology Earney had issued the previous day. “My actions haven’t been proper or appropriate,” he said, adding that he would ask his sponsors and partners to remove him “from programs and services so that they aren’t held responsible.” Soon after, Twitch closed his account; the site wouldn’t provide reasons for the ban.“We have ceased all engagement with Samuel Earney (IAmSp00n),” Nvidia said in a statement. “We condemn such behavior and commend those who come forward to support the safety of our gaming community.”Twitch BansNvidia isn’t alone. Twitch, by far the largest streaming site, recently banned a handful of streamers and said it will report some cases to the authorities. Facebook Gaming banned one streamer as well, and is investigating some personalities from rival service Mixer who are supposed to join the platform. Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube said it’s investigating allegations as well; many streamers banned elsewhere still have a presence there. All streaming sites’ terms of service prohibit harassment of other users, and many of the accusers are also streamers.While the streaming industry has been accused of sexism and harassment of women for years, in the past many accusers faced a backlash, said Isabelle Briar, who streamed under the name of LadyNasse before retiring recently.“You may speak up about something, and you might want to work with a brand, but you get turned down, and you don’t know why,” Briar said. “This can damage your hireability.”But this time around -- possibly because of the broader MeToo movement in entertainment and business -- “reaction was wildly different,” she said. Accusers have received a wave of support in comments on Twitter and elsewhere. And some brands are breaking ties with the accused, withdrawing the advertising and sponsorship fees that make up the lion’s share of the most popular streamers’ earnings.Many industry insiders say this is just the tip of the iceberg, in large part due to streaming culture, particularly among gamers.“Every streamer feels the need to push some sort of boundary in order to differentiate themselves,” said Lewis Ward, an analyst at IDC. “You are trying to fix something that’s embedded into gaming culture.”Apologies, DenialsSome of the accused streamers have posted lengthy apologies. Others deny any wrongdoing. Facebook said on June 22 it suspended streamer Michael “Thinnd” McMahon while it investigates abuse allegations from an ex-partner. McMahon categorically denied the allegations. He now advertises his YouTube channel on Twitter, instead.Headsets maker 1More, a past sponsor, said McMahon’s contract expired more than a year ago. “To our knowledge we have not sponsored any other streamers accused of harassment, nor would we if the information was brought to our attention,” 1More said in a statement. “We hold our partners to a high standard, and will continue to do so for any future sponsorships.”After being accused of sexual misconduct, Omeed Dariani, chief executive officer of the streamer-management firm Online Performers Group, vacated his position. “I believe women, I recognize that I am not innocent and have contributed,” he said in a tweet. Today, OPG’s website lists no clients, amid reports that many streamers have left the company. OPG and Dariani didn’t respond to requests for comment.On June 29, OPG said it hired a consulting firm to investigate claims against Dariani. In the past, the firm had helped streamers strike deals with the likes of Yum! Brands Inc.’s Taco Bell, according to San Diego Business Journal. Taco Bell didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.As a result of all this, major brands are expected to step up their vetting.“Sponsoring streamers has been sort of the Wild West over the past few years,” said Doug Clinton, managing partner at Loup Ventures, a research-driven venture-capital firm. “The industry has grown so quickly, I think brands have been forced to adapt to the opportunity and probably take some chances that they may not be as comfortable with in the future.”Still, small and thirsty brands may not be so picky -- simply because having a streamer gulp down your drink, wear your glasses or point out your gaming gear during a session is marketing gold.“When trying to target gamers, there aren’t many better ways than through streaming,” said Matthew Kanterman, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- As U.S. authorities ready the biggest antitrust case of the new century, there are lessons to be learned from Europe’s attempt to inject more competition into search, one of the most lucrative digital markets.Two years after a record fine and an order to give Europeans more choice, Alphabet Inc.’s Google retains a vice-like grip on this business. In May 2018, just before the European Commission acted, Google had 97% of the mobile search market in the region, according to StatCounter. Its share for May this year was even higher.“We don’t want them to copy the current EU model because it’s fundamentally flawed,” said Gabriel Weinberg, chief executive officer of rival search service DuckDuckGo, referring to the Justice Department and state regulators. The firm spoke recently with those authorities about Google’s dominance.How U.S. regulators proceed, and whether they learn from Europe’s experience, will help determine the fate of what is likely to be the most important antitrust case since the DOJ sued Microsoft Corp. more than two decades ago. With more than $100 billion in cash, and quarterly profit exceeding $6 billion, big fines have little impact on Google. So regulators are increasingly looking to remedies that may change the company’s behavior and offer consumers more choice. The DOJ reached out to at least one European company, Ecosia, to discuss versions of Google’s remedy in the EU case, the German search engine has said.In 2018, Europe’s antitrust authorities focused on the subtle but important factors that solidified Google’s grip on the region’s mobile search market. Getting a service pre-installed on smartphones often leads to big user gains, as does appearing on the home screens of handsets. Google has used deals tied to its popular Android mobile operating system to ensure its search engine gets such prized placements, leaving little room for rivals.The EU ordered Google to stop bundling its search and browser apps with Android. Google reacted by charging phone manufacturers to license Android. It also opted to appease regulators by offering choice to users -- but only on new Android phones from March 1 and only via a “choice screen” of three alternative search apps shown once when people switch on the handsets for the first time.There’s a precedent for approaches like this working. In 2017, Russia’s antitrust watchdog ordered Google to let competing search engines and other apps be pre-installed on Android smartphones in the country. The company also had to create a “choice window” for devices already in the market, so users could choose their default search engine when they next updated the software on their devices. Since that ruling, Russia’s Yandex NV has grown its search market share in the country by 20 percentage points to 58%, according to Bernstein Research estimates.Europe’s choice screen has failed to produce similar results so far. In March and April, rivals DuckDuckGo, Givero and Seznam.cz AS won slots to appear but got no new downloads for their search apps. DuckDuckGo was offered to customers across Europe while Givero bid to appear only in Denmark and Seznam in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.In May, Seznam said it got fewer than 1,000 downloads. Two other search providers said the choice screen has brought them no new customers. They asked not to be identified, citing a non-disclosure agreement with Google. Another search app, PrivacyWall, saw “no major market share shifts,” according to CEO Jonathan Wu. Microsoft’s Bing, a well-financed and capable challenger to Google, has barely appeared on the choice screen, winning just one slot in the U.K. from May to June. Microsoft and other search companies declined to comment.Bernstein analysts have already concluded that the choice screen is “unlikely to be a major disrupter to Google in its current form,” according to a June 18 research note.Google declined to give details on how many times the choice screen has been shown to European consumers. Android “provides people with unprecedented choice in deciding which applications they install, use and set as default on their devices,” the company said. “In developing the Choice Screen for Europe, we carefully balanced providing users with yet more choice while ensuring that we can continue to invest in developing and maintaining the open-source Android platform for the long-term.”The internet giant may be maintaining its lead in Europe because consumers think it has the best search engine. Google invests billions of dollars a year to provide quick, accurate answers to queries. Wall Street analysts often say users would switch back to Google after using alternatives, and they’ve been right before. However, the case of Yandex suggests otherwise. Many Android phone owners in Russia have been using Yandex’s search engine for at least a year and the market share data indicate there’s been no big switch back to Google.It isn’t the European Commission’s job to force Google to be smaller or less dominant. Instead, the antitrust authority tries to set up mechanisms to trigger more choice and remove roadblocks. That means even if the choice screen is seen billions of times by consumers in the region, Google’s market share could remain at 97%.“The European Union probably did the best job they could with the rules that they had,” said Aitor Ortiz, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “The problem is maybe the rules were not fit for the purpose.”The real reason the European choice screen has flopped so far is that the remedy was designed poorly, according to Google rivals in the region.While Russia ordered Google to show consumers search alternatives on Android phones, the EU merely asked Google to choose how it could remedy alleged bad behavior and a lack of competition. Google mimicked a pop-up menu first used in 2009 by Microsoft to resolve an EU antitrust probe into web browsers. Showing users other browser options even helped Google’s Chrome gain ground against Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.Microsoft didn’t charge rivals to appear in this browser choice screen and showed as many as 12 rivals. In contrast, Google is using a paid auction to pick rival apps for each country. The highest bidders appear in three slots on the Android choice screen alongside Google. The company only gets paid when another app is downloaded, but it also gets valuable data on rivals’ business strategies.The approach “lets the fox watch the hens,” said Brian Schildt Laursen, owner of Denmark-based Givero. Apps “have to tell Google what markets are important to us, and what we are willing to pay to get into these markets.”“A general misunderstanding was that EU citizens from March 1 had a free choice of search engine on Android,” he added. “This was not the case.”Successful bidders are supposed to get monthly invoices from Google showing how many of their apps have been downloaded. That data should help rivals tweak their bidding strategies. But DuckDuckGo’s Weinberg said these reports have been pretty useless so far. “We’ve gotten two that are just flat zero,” he said. “We have not seen any real activations or any evidence that any real user has seen the preference menu.”DuckDuckGo has proposed changes that include scrapping the auction and replacing it with a non-pay-to-play model that includes far more than four search options for consumers.Weinberg and Schildt Laursen also blame another part of the process for delaying new Android phones that come with the choice screen. Unlike the Russian order, which applied to existing handsets, the EU remedy gives consumers a one-time prompt that will only pop up on new phones.Android phone manufacturers must update their software and get Google to sign off on the new versions before shipping the latest devices. This means few smartphones even have the choice screen yet. The Covid-19 pandemic has also curbed purchases of new handsets and disrupted some production, adding to delays.Schildt Laursen said no new Android phones with the choice screen have come out in Denmark. DuckDuckGo and PrivacyWall said the only phone that has been approved and shipped to Europe recently is the Xiaomi Mi 10, which is relatively pricey and not widely available.The problems with the Android auction echo another EU antitrust order for Google’s shopping search that critics say enriches Google without delivering much real traffic to competing product search firms. While the EU hasn’t weighed in on whether these remedies are effective, it is preparing a legal pathway that would let it demand fast changes to anticompetitive behavior instead of big fines.Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s top antitrust official, has voiced frustration about her inability to increase competition in tech markets. During a recent webinar, she blamed the pandemic for the initial poor results of the choice screen remedy, saying “very few Android phones have been shipped due to the Covid crisis.”More phones and more time may give a clearer picture on whether users will pick another search app when they are given the choice, she argued.For DuckDuckGo’s Weinberg, though, there’s already one clear lesson for the U.S.: Do it differently.A choice screen done right “could actually work,” he said.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The first time Apple mentioned antitrust issues in Securities and Exchange Commission filings was Dec. 12, 1980. In its prospectus, Apple disclosed a lawsuit for $70 million—roughly $210 million in today’s dollars—filed by a disgruntled distributor in Oklahoma who claimed Apple pressured it to drop competitive products. Forty years later, (AAPL) (ticker: AAPL) Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has agreed to testify before a congressional antitrust committee that has been investigating his company for more than a year, looking into its behavior and assessing whether existing antitrust and competition laws are adequate.
JoAnne Feeney, Partner and Portfolio Manager at Advisors Capital Management, joins The Final Round to discuss her top picks in the tech sector and areas to look for opportunity.
Alphabet's (GOOGL) division Google plans to invest in an e-commerce giant, PT Tokopedia, in a bid to bolster its presence in Southeast Asia.