237.57 -2.71 (-1.13%)
Before hours: 9:25AM EDT
Commodity Channel Index
|Bid||237.75 x 800|
|Ask||237.90 x 1800|
|Day's Range||238.05 - 244.82|
|52 Week Range||137.10 - 250.15|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||1.20|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||32.97|
|Earnings Date||Jul 29, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||247.93|
David Rubenstein, the co-founder of the Carlyle Group and host of "Leadership Live," joins "Influencers with Andy Serwer" to discuss whether the stock market can keep climbing, who will win the presidential election, and why private equity gets a bad rap.
A highly anticipated ruling by Europe's top court has just landed -- striking down a flagship EU-US data flows arrangement called Privacy Shield. "The Court of Justice invalidates Decision 2016/1250 on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-US Data Protection Shield," it wrote in a press release. The CJEU's finding is that "the requirements of US national security, public interest and law enforcement have primacy, thus condoning interference with the fundamental rights of persons whose data are transferred to that third country", and that mechanisms in the EU-US Privacy Shield ostensibly intended to mitigate this interference (such as an ombudsperson role to handle EU citizens' complaints) are not up the required legal standard of 'essential equivalence' with EU law.
Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) is still a small industry. According to tech researcher IDC, global spending on AR/VR was $10.5 billion in 2019. Although the coronavirus pandemic has cast some doubt on short-term outcomes, IDC was predicting late last year that there would be a surge in global AR/VR spending to some $18.8 billion in 2020.
Allowing millions of Brazilian users of Facebook's WhatsApp to send money as easily as texts seemed a golden opportunity for the world's largest social media company. The ubiquitous messaging service was finally entering the financial services arena with a payment service in Latin America's largest economy, after years of questions over how Facebook would make money from it. The June launch, years in the planning, was meant to be the pilot for a potential global rollout - but eight days after going live, the central bank pulled the plug on it.
Though Robinhood members are known for their risk-taking, they've been building up their stakes in these four outstanding businesses in recent months.
Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems on Thursday welcomed a decision by the European Union's top court in his case against Facebook <FB.O>, saying the legal basis for more then 5,000 U.S. companies that use an EU tool to transfer Europeans' personal data to the United States for commercial use has been annulled. Europe's top court on Thursday rejected the so-called Privacy Shield agreement but upheld the validity of another tool used by hundreds of thousands of companies to transfer data worldwide. The court's decision on the Privacy Shield is based on "overreaching US surveillance laws that only protect U.S. persons but not foreigners," non-profit Noyb, which Schrems chairs, said in a statement.
Facebook Inc. (FB) has boosted production on its Oculus virtual reality (VR) headset to nearly double the amount compared to last year.According to a July 15 report from Nikkei Asian Review, the social media site has reacted to the uptick in COVID-19 cases throughout the world by calling for a production increase in the second half of 2020. This would be an increase of 50% compared to its entire produced amount for all of 2019.Nikkei’s source says that “the production forecast for the second half of this year could reach at least two million units, which is already around 1.5 times more than its total production output last year.”Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion in 2014. Meanwhile, other tech companies have also introduced their VR versions with Sony (SNE) launching its PlayStation VR in 2015. Additionally, HTC, Samsung Electronics, and Huawei Technologies all introduced various types of headsets later using smartphones for VR screens. Despite the competition, Oculus has become the market leader claiming near 35% market share.On a Q1 earnings call, April 29, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that ad revenue grew 17% annually during the quarter, while its other revenue was “driven primarily by sales of Oculus products.” He stated that Oculus reached $297 million for the quarter which was up 80% from a year ago. According to Zuckerberg, videoconferencing tools could “accelerate some of the trends” in VR despite Oculus’ use being primarily for video games. In light of the pandemic, game console makers like Nintendo (NTDOY) have experienced increased demand for its portable Nintendo Switch device amidst supply constraints. With government lockdowns in Malaysia and the Philippines, a shortage resulted in parts that led to overall delays in production. Third-party sellers cashed-in on the moment by selling the game device for more than double the price on eBay and Amazon. Oculus has also struggled to remain on retail shelves with the product immediately selling out upon availability. Zuckerberg addressed this saying, “I wish we could make more of them faster during this period.” He added, “It's possible that the pandemic accelerates some of the trends around virtual or augmented reality, but I'm not sure what will happen there long term.”Facebook is expected to unveil a new Oculus headset this month. Barclays analyst Ross Sandler noted on July 13 that Facebook’s Q2 earnings will become more “balanced and bullish.” He believes the company will benefit from COVID-19 and will continue to outperform its competitors. He reiterated a Buy rating on Facebook’s stock and raised his price target from $260 to $275 which suggests upside potential of 15%.Facebook’s stock is up 17% year-to-date with a Strong Buy analyst consensus that breaks down into 28 Buy ratings versus 4 Hold ratings and no Sell ratings. The $253.08 average price target implies 6% upside potential for the shares in the coming 12 months. (See Facebook's stock analysis on TipRanks).Related News: Sony Increasing Production On PlayStation 5 By 50%- Report Facebook Quietly Testing Instagram Reels In India- Report Nintendo To Reduce Mobile Gaming Presence, Wedbush Downgrades Stock More recent articles from Smarter Analyst: * Google Expands Android Subscription Service To Nine More Countries * Google Brings 5 Game Studios To Stadia To Make Exclusive Games * BioNTech (BNTX): Fast Track Designation Does Not Justify Current Valuation, Says J.P. Morgan * 3 Cannabis Stocks to Benefit From New York Recreational Cannabis Approval
(Bloomberg) -- The hijacking of several prominent Twitter accounts, including that of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, has again raised questions about the company’s ability to combat disinformation on its platform and rekindled concerns about potential election interference with November just four months away.Twitter Inc. and other social media sites such as Facebook Inc. were already facing scrutiny over their ability and willingness to protect the integrity of the democratic process and avoid a repeat of 2016, when Russia spread disinformation in efforts to bolster Donald Trump’s candidacy.That pressure increased on Wednesday as Biden, Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Elon Musk were among the prominent political and business leaders whose accounts were exploited to send out tweets in an apparently coordinated effort to promote a cryptocurrency scam.“What happened today should be a red flag in terms of the huge amounts of disinformation that are already rife in this election and it’s only going to get worse,” said Meredith McGehee executive director of Issue One, a non-profit focused on political reforms. “When you’re going after presidential candidates and the richest men in the world, it’s a display of their vulnerability.”Lawmakers were swift to call for the company to answer questions or for the U.S. to bolster its cybersecurity position.Democratic Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees much of U.S. technology policy, said in a tweet that Twitter “needs to explain how all of these prominent accounts were hacked.” Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York, who chairs the Oversight Committee, sent out a release noting she had just held a hearing on creating a national cyber director for the U.S.Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, a vocal tech critic who has backed Trump on accusations that the largest social media platforms have tried to silence conservative voices, wrote a letter to Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey within minutes of the hack.He urged Dorsey to get in touch with the U.S. Justice Department and FBI to secure the site, and asked about potential data theft and whether the breach affected select users or the security of the platform overall.Verified accounts such as Pallone’s and those of other members of Congress had trouble posting Wednesday evening as the company locked them down in a seeming effort to stop the unfolding scam, while Hawley’s spokeswoman, whose account does not have a blue check mark, had to tweet his letter.Who hacked Twitter and how are certainly the company’s greatest immediate concerns. But until Wednesday’s episode, users could take for granted that verified account holders were indeed who they claimed to be. And that the messaging from those accounts was, if nothing else, authentically sourced.That sense of trust may have been altered during a five-hour window when some of Twitter’s highest-profile accounts were commandeered by an intruder, said Laura Galante, founder of the cyber research firm Galante Strategies.“What’s really important now are the parameters Twitter sets to disclose these incidents to the public,” she said. “And how are you going to verify swiftly that a tweet is fake and an account has been hacked. That’s something they need to figure out now.”It’s true that voters checking Twitter may be swift to recognize false statements from Biden, Trump and other high-profile figures -- or the media will identify those statements with urgency. Yet the credibility of accounts really becomes an issue at the state and local level.“Who will notice right away if local election administrators’ accounts are hacked and used to peddle misinformation about how to vote or where?” said Darren Linvill, a professor and disinformation researcher at Clemson University. “That’s the kind of threat that can be long lasting. Even if it’s just a day, if that day is Election Day then there’s more than enough time to do damage.”Experts had bigger worries than a cryptocurrency scam following Russia’s use of fake personas in 2016 to promote false news, sow division and suppress Democratic votes. Yet lawmakers, cybersecurity researchers and good-government advocates have spent the ensuing years warning that disinformation’s tendency to spread quickly on Twitter could be a threat to the election as well as to public health amid the coronavirus pandemic.They cited not just the actions of foreign nations but domestic operatives including official campaigns, with Trump showing an eagerness to spread falsities, using tools ranging from lies to manipulated videos.The calls seemed to have moved Dorsey, whose company’s smaller size relative to Facebook or Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube means it must rely more on algorithms than humans, to enforce policies that ban manipulating elections and other forms of disinformation.In October, he announced Twitter would ban political ads on the platform even as Democrats complained that Trump was spreading lies about Biden on Facebook unchallenged.In May, Twitter fact-checked Trump’s false claims about mail-in voting, prompting the White House to issue an executive order aimed at curbing liability protections for social media services. The company has since then flagged one Trump tweet for violating its policies on glorifying violence and continued to take a more active role in monitoring his tweets.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 Opinion) -- With the $28 billion he’s raised working from home, India’s richest man wants to step into the breach created by the technology cold war between America and China. The two Silicon Valley tech giants that gave him a third of the money will help put him there. It’s an audacious plan. Politicians in many nations, including the U.S., the U.K. and India, are reluctant to let Huawei Technologies Co., which they accuse of being an instrument of the Chinese state, become embedded in the fast-speed internet networks that will run everything from power stations to autonomous cars.Ambani’s four-year-old Jio Platforms Ltd. has indigenously built its own 5G technology, the tycoon announced at Wednesday’s annual general meeting of his flagship Reliance Industries Ltd. After testing it on the 400 million 4G customers he has in India, he’ll offer it to other markets. The news18.com website, also controlled by Ambani, called the technology a “Huawei-killer,” and noted that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had praised Jio as a clean network for not using the Chinese firm’s gear.While details of Ambani’s 5G prowess and the markets he hopes to target are still fuzzy, the planned assault against handset makers is clearer. Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai made a virtual appearance at the Reliance AGM and pledged $4.5 billion for a 7.7% stake in Jio and a chance to build an Android operating system. The cheap smartphones running it will migrate 350 million Indians who still use feature phones to mobile internet. But how much customization will Google be comfortable with? If it’s a lot, the phone may be affordable but tied to Jio’s apps. Too little, and the pricing may be unattractive. Somewhere in between those extremes, it’s a threat to Xiaomi Corp. As Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Anthea Lai notes, India accounted for 35% of the Chinese vendor’s smartphone shipments last year. One more thing is now evident: WhatsApp, the messaging system of Facebook Inc., which has given Jio $5.7 billion for a near-10% stake, will drive commerce. The blueprint is again Chinese. Whatsapp’s popularity, and its ability to handle payments in real time, make it a perfect platform for Ambani to build a super-app like Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat, connecting brands with customers.The 300,000 Reliance investors who watched the AGM on JioMeet, Ambani’s cloud-conferencing clone of Zoom Video Communications Inc., probably found the sharp pivot away from hydrocarbons a bit too much to take. Ambani dropped enough hints that last year’s plan to sell 20% of his mainstay oils-to-chemicals business to Saudi Aramco was now unlikely. Given the Covid-19 situation, writing a $15 billion check would be a further strain on Aramco’s $75 billion-a-year dividend payout, as my colleague David Fickling has noted. Still, Reliance shares fell 3.8% after Ambani said the unit will be spun off and seek new investors.Reliance may get saddled with a permanent discount as a holding company of digital, retail and hydrocarbon assets, but the empire could as easily command a premium as India’s undeclared national champion. Just as Ambani wants to emulate several successful Chinese firms at once, the country’s policy makers want the same thing for the broader economy: make India the world’s factory, by lodging it into the growing chasm between the West and China. But neither the physical infrastructure, nor most of India Inc.’s balance sheet, is ready. After the pandemic, everything from a broken financial sector to grossly inadequate worker housing, healthcare and social security will compete for fiscal sops from a government trying to retain its tenuous investment-grade rating. Reliance’s capital-raising spree has made it free of net debt. It’s willing to run with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s buy-Indian agenda. Its grocery business would lift farmer incomes by direct purchasing. Jio’s cheap cloud services for small businesses would help them digitize. By connecting to JioMart, a virtual store, neighborhood shops could outgrow their limited shelf space, Ambani said. JioMeet could become as a virtual classroom to the country. Reliance also wants to supply cleaner auto fuels to end Indian cities’ crippling pollution problem.As India has learned from China, economic policy that aligns itself with the expansion of a few large capitalists is more manageable — and produces faster results — than one that has to play referee to free and open competition. By the time that throws up a winner, Vietnam and Bangladesh might corner the export opportunity that India wants to claim. India’s competitive landscape would have been broadened had Google’s Pichai bought a stake in Jio’s telecom competitor Vodafone Idea Ltd., a plan it was considering, according to a Financial Times report in May. Although that deal is probably now dead, Pichai might still pitch his own tent separately from Ambani’s. So far, he’s only decided on the handset partnership with Jio. There’s still plenty left in the $10 billion kitty he set aside for India this week.There’s also Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos. It will be surprising if, after committing $5.5 billion to the country, he bows out. As for Ambani, he still has to demonstrate that one company can be India’s answer to everything, from Zoom and Tencent to Huawei and Xiaomi, while also being a large telco like Verizon Communications Inc.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Europe's highest court ruled on Thursday that a transatlantic data transfer deal is invalid because of concerns about U.S. surveillance in a decision that could disrupt thousands of companies that rely on the agreement. The ruling effectively ends the privileged access companies in the United States had to personal data from Europe and puts the country on a similar footing to other nations outside the bloc, meaning data transfers are likely to face closer scrutiny. The so-called Privacy Shield was set up in 2016 by Washington and Brussels to protect personal data when it is sent to the United States for commercial use after a previous agreement known as Safe Harbour was ruled invalid in 2015.
(Bloomberg) -- After raising more than $20 billion for his digital venture in three months, billionaire Mukesh Ambani is readying his retail unit for global partners, as his oil-to-petrochemicals conglomerate turns to India’s billion-plus consumers for growth.Asia’s richest man and the chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd. told shareholders Wednesday that Reliance Retail Ltd. is getting inquiries from investors and may start bringing some on board in the coming months. The legacy petrochemicals business is also getting attention from potential investors even though a proposed stake sale to Aramco isn’t proceeding as planned, he said.“We’ve received strong interest from strategic and financial investors in Reliance Retail,” Ambani told the 300,000-plus people who logged into the virtual conference from 41 countries. “We will induct global partners and investors in Reliance Retail in the next few quarters.”The 63-year-old tycoon has identified technology and retail as future growth areas in a pivot away from the energy businesses he inherited from his father who died in 2002. Retail is the next frontier for Ambani, who just finished selling almost 33% of his digital venture over the past three months to a slew of investors including Silicon Valley giants Facebook Inc. and Google, valuing Jio Platforms Ltd. at $58 billion.Reliance Retail, which runs supermarkets, India’s largest consumer electronics chain store, a cash and carry wholesaler, fast-fashion outlets and an online grocery store called JioMart, reported 1.63 trillion rupees ($22 billion) in revenue in the year through March 2020. The unit operates almost 12,000 stores in nearly 7,000 towns.Although Ambani laid out a vision for a technology future for Reliance Industries at the shareholders meeting, shares of the conglomerate slumped. The tycoon confirmed that a planned sale of stake in Reliance’s oil-and-chemicals division to Saudi Arabian Oil Co. for an estimated $15 billion hadn’t progressed as planned, disappointing investors.Frenzied FundraisingThe stock fell 3.8% Wednesday, its biggest loss since May 14, paring gains from a rally spurred by the frenzied fundraising by Jio. The drop shrank Ambani’s net worth to $69 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, pushing him down the rankings to the world’s 10th richest. Earlier this week, he had briefly rocketed to No. 6, past Elon Musk, Warren Buffett and Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.Most of Ambani’s focus during the 93-minute presentation to shareholders was on technology. He, along with his children Isha and Akash Ambani, unveiled a slew of services, including a fifth-generation wireless network as early as next year and a mega video-streaming platform that will bring Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, Amazon Prime and dozens of other TV channels under one umbrella. The twins, who have been at the forefront of the fundraising efforts, also demonstrated some of the technologies.“I believe that the time has come for a truly global digital product and services company to emerge from India, and to be counted among the best in the world,” Ambani said.Read more: Can Ambani Take on Tencent, Huawei and Xiaomi?: Andy MukherjeeJio Platforms, unveiled last year, is now at the center of his ambitions to tap a billion Indians increasingly embracing mobile devices and data plans to shop online. Jio is eyeing an opportunity to shake up retail, content streaming, digital payments, education and health care.Giant RivalsThose plans would put Jio in direct competition with e-commerce giant such as Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.’s local operations. Alphabet Inc.’s Google is the latest to join Jio as an investor, with Wednesday’s announcement of a $4.5 billion investment for a 7.7% stake.“Each of the new hyper growth engines have high customer acceptance opportunity with scale, and will be multiple times current valuation, making the traditional oil and gas business a less than 20% contributor to valuation going forward,” said Chakri Lokapriya, chief investment officer at TCG Asset Management in Mumbai.Jio, which started out as a wireless carrier as its first building block back in 2016, will roll out its 5G network once airwaves are available, according to Ambani. Unlike most other carriers, Jio will use a technology developed in-house for 5G, Ambani said, leaving it immune to pressures many global telecommunications companies are facing from the U.S. over Chinese equipment vendors.Here are some of the plans laid out by Ambani:Google and Jio are partnering to build an Operating System that could power a cheap 4G/5G smartphone.JioMart, the online shopping portal, and WhatsApp will be working closely to create growth opportunities for millions of Indian small merchants and enable customers seamlessly transact with mom-and-pop storesJio Glass to bring teachers and students together in 3D virtual rooms and conduct holographic classes through our Jio Mixed Reality cloud in real-timeBroadband for enterprises and small businesses; Narrowband Internet-of-Things (NBIoT)(Updates with slide down the wealth rankings in seventh 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) -- A prosecutor on the trial team that won Roger Stone’s conviction is leaving the Justice Department following Trump administration interventions that effectively negated Stone’s prison sentence, according to people familiar with the matter.Michael Marando, who delivered part of the closing argument in Stone’s trial, will join Facebook Inc., where he will set policy on the site’s content, the people said.A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, where Marando has worked since quitting the Stone case, declined to comment on behalf of Marando and the office. A Facebook representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Marando and three other U.S. prosecutors withdrew from the Stone case in February in protest after the Justice Department, at the direction of Attorney General William Barr, overruled their sentencing recommendation for Stone in favor of a lighter prison term.A jury convicted Stone of seven felonies, including lying to Congress and tampering with witnesses in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian efforts to boost Donald Trump’s candidacy in the 2016 presidential election. After Stone pleaded publicly for Trump to spare him prison, the president commuted his sentence on July 10, four days before he was to report to prison to begin serving his 40-month term.Earlier: Roger Stone Gets Over Three Years in Jail for Trump Cover-UpProsecutors recommended a prison term of seven to nine years before Barr overruled them. Of the other three prosecutors on the team who withdrew from the case, Jonathan Kravis resigned completely from the Justice Department at the time, Aaron Zelinsky returned to his role at the U.S. attorney’s office in Baltimore, and Adam Jed returned to his position on the appellate staff in the Justice Department’s civil division. Zelinsky and Jed remain in government service.Marando earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Cornell. As a prosecutor, he was a member of the fraud and public corruption unit in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, leading several high-profile cases involving money laundering, bribery and cyberfraud.Facebook has attracted critics on the left and the right over its role in allowing the spread of false information and what it should do to crack down on it.More: Facebook to Remove Roger Stone Pages Linked to Fake AccountsFor 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.
Google platforms such as Search, YouTube, Android and Maps already have dominant market shares in India. The company undoubtedly wants to keep things that way.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. hasn’t been able to increase Black representation in technical roles by a single percentage point since starting to report diversity numbers in 2014.Black employees now comprise 1.7% of the social media company’s technical roles, up from 1.5% in 2019 and 1% in 2014, Facebook said in its latest diversity report. The demographic lags even as the company has made progress in other areas, like gender. Women now make up 24.1% of technical employees, up from 15% in 2014.It’s not for lack of trying. Maxine Williams, the global chief diversity officer, is one of the tech industry’s most long-tenured leaders in her role, and has the backing of Facebook’s management, deep investment in trend analysis, internship programs, recruiting and retention experiments. “I have support. I have resources,” she said. “I’m left with how hard the work is.”Facebook’s numbers reflect the lack of diverse representation in the industry at large. But the company is also trying to convince Black employees to join and stay while it’s under fire for its impact on society. Williams, who was recently promoted to report to Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and sits on Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s executive team, says she now is involved not just in recruiting and retention, but in thinking about how Facebook’s products affect civil rights and inclusion.Earlier this summer, some employees staged a virtual walkout to protest how the company handled U.S. President Donald Trump’s posts, concerned his language was engaging in voter suppression and stoking racial violence. The debate escalated from there, as advocacy groups including the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League urged advertisers to boycott Facebook and Instagram in July. Earlier this month, Facebook published the results of a two-year independent civil rights audit. Evaluators wrote they were “deeply concerned” about the company’s lack of action on Trump’s messages.“It’s something we definitely have to take seriously,” Williams said. “We are sort of eyes open about where we have challenges -- and people should be if they’re considering coming here -- but we’re also eyes open about what we’re good at,” which is connecting people to their loved ones. Some Black employees join Facebook and have a good experience; some don’t, and go on to speak out publicly about the pain of it, Williams said.Facebook is working to standardize more of its leadership training and worker evaluation so that an employee’s experience is less dependent on whether they happen to have a good boss. The company also started a program called Microphone, so employees can anonymously report uncomfortable moments, or microagressions, that don’t rise to the level of human resources violations. Some of the examples from reports are later used in training, Williams said.It also might help to have more people of color in management positions, she said. Facebook set a goal to increase representation by 30% in its leadership positions by 2025. That’s in addition to an existing target to have more than half of its workforce from underrepresented groups in 2024, up from 45.3% today.But after seven years on the job, Williams said it’s impossible to pinpoint her biggest hurdles or their solutions. “If I knew the answer to that I would have flipped that switch,” she said. Facebook will just keep trying all its recruiting and retention strategies at once.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.
Facebook and Sony are gearing up to increase their output of the Oculus Rift and the PlayStation 5, respectively, to meet demand sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
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Chief Global Investment Strategist at Charles Schwab Jeffrey Kleintop joins Yahoo Finance's Kristin Myers to discuss the latest market action amid the coronavirus pandemic.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- There’s clearly something wrong when a government rejects the opportunity to levy 13 billion euros ($14.9 billion) in corporate taxes and an international court says it is right to do so.The European General Court’s Wednesday ruling in favor of Apple Inc. and Ireland and against the European Commission, which had been trying to force the tech giant to pay the island nation that much in back taxes, is a reminder that the global tax regime is not fit for purpose.Back in 2016, the Commission said Ireland’s lenient approach to taxing Apple between 2003 and 2014 constituted illegal state aid. On Wednesday, the General Court decided the competition authority failed to demonstrate that Apple benefited from an unfair advantage. The Commission is likely to appeal the ruling, but if the higher European Court of Justice proceeds to absolve Apple and Ireland of any misdeeds, then it would seem to underscore the problems within the system.The ruling comes against a backdrop of tense discussions to find an international solution to the core issue: the way that multinationals, not least the U.S. West Coast technology giants, are able to shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions such as Ireland.After years of wrangling, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development proposed a shake-up last year. Countries would have the right to tax a share of the profits that were generated on their soil, even if the companies had no physical presence there. The goal is to ensure that more taxes are paid where an iPhone is sold or a Facebook ad is seen, rather than elsewhere.Lamentably, the U.S. threw the plans into disarray in June by backing out of the talks. As long as Donald Trump is president, further progress seems unlikely.The lack of an international consensus has meant that countries including the U.K., France, Italy and Spain have plowed ahead with unilateral policies on digital taxation. For all of the problems with such an approach, it may accentuate the urgent need for an international consensus.QuicktakeDigital Taxes Are The New Trade WarIt’s actually in companies’ interest for there to be a universal tax regime. Otherwise, they risk being taxed twice on the same income: on the revenue abroad, and on the profit in the country where they are domiciled, for instance.The current lack of consensus leaves gaping loopholes. Apple had long argued that its overseas revenue, much of which was funneled through Ireland, would be taxed as soon as it was repatriated to the U.S. But only after U.S. tax reform went into law in 2017 did it become certain that Apple would indeed ever repatriate that income. Otherwise, it would stay sitting in offshore accounts, largely untaxed. The commission tried to use current OECD rules in its case against Apple; Wednesday’s court decision said it failed to apply those rules correctly.Law changes in Ireland mean that the process by which Apple was able to reduce its tax exposure prior to 2014 no longer exists. But the country was fighting the case because it’s still considered to have an amenable corporate tax regime. It doesn’t want to lose that dubious accolade given it’s attracted a horde of tech firms’ European headquarters. That the EU’s second-highest court now says that it was all above board is an indictment of a status quo that needs changing.This 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/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Google struck a broad alliance with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd., agreeing to invest $4.5 billion and to cooperate on technology initiatives including the development of affordable mobile phones.The global search leader is buying 7.7% of Reliance’s digital services arm for 337.4 billion rupees, the Reliance chairman said Wednesday, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report. Asia’s richest person was joined by Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai by video, a show of support for the billionaire’s efforts to build an online giant atop its nearly 400 million users in India.Alphabet Inc.’s Google joins Facebook Inc., Intel Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. in endorsing the ambitions of Asia’s richest person, who wants to use Jio Platforms Ltd. to expand his old-economy empire into fields from 5G to e-commerce. Ambani’s Jio in turn provides global tech giants a gateway to India’s large and growing online population -- second only to China’s, whose door is shut to American services like Google and Facebook. Google, whose Android software runs on most smartphones, will now help Jio create an entry-level, affordable mobile device, executives said.“Digital revolution marks the greatest transformation in the history of mankind,” Ambani told shareholders at Reliance’s annual general meeting. “India must lead the change to create a better world. This is Jio’s purpose.”Google’s backing further burnishes Jio’s credentials in its push to upend online retail, content streaming, digital payments, education and health care in a market of more than a billion people. Jio Platforms is at the center of Ambani’s ambition to create a homegrown technology behemoth akin to China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. With Google’s contribution, his venture has now attracted somewhere close to $20 billion in recent months. Reliance’s shares were down 5% Wednesday after setting successive highs in recent weeks.“Our mission with Android has always been to bring the power of computing to everyone, and we’ve been humbled by the way Indians have embraced Android over recent years,” Pichai said. “‘The time is right to increase our commitment to India significantly, in collaboration with local companies, and partnership with Jio is the first step.”Read more: Facebook Helps Asia’s Richest Man Shed Dependence on Oil (1)Global tech leaders are looking for multiple ways to grab a slice of the Indian market, where millions of first-time internet users are added every month. Jio Platforms offers the largest base of such users who are increasingly buying consumer goods online and downloading music and video, using cheap smartphones and Jio’s own cut-price data services.“The bigger story is the market access to opportunities that Jio Platforms can provide these investors,” said Satish Meena, senior forecast analyst at Forrester Research Inc. “They are betting on the track record of Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani whose scaling up of diverse businesses from energy to retail to telecom has been nothing short of impressive,” Meena said via telephone from New Delhi.The flood of investments in Jio is closely tied to the number of internet users it has and the services it can market to them. “Jio is already connecting them to the internet, providing them with content and just starting to do commerce. It’s a very good investment opportunity for global companies,” he said.(Updates with shares from the fifth 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.