|Bid||1,215.56 x 900|
|Ask||1,217.54 x 1000|
|Day's Range||1,213.74 - 1,228.39|
|52 Week Range||970.11 - 1,289.27|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.94|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||24.54|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||1,427.52|
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. antitrust enforcers have started an in-depth review of Google’s $2.6 billion planned acquisition of a data analytics company, a further sign of greater scrutiny on big technology companies, according to people familiar with the situation.The antitrust division of the Justice Department is seeking more information from Google and Looker Data Sciences Inc. related to the deal to determine whether the tie-up harms competition, said one of the people, who asked not to be named discussing private matters.Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced June 6 it planned to buy Looker for its cloud unit, which lags far behind Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. with just 4% of the cloud-computing infrastructure market as of 2018, according to the most-recent figures from analyst Gartner Inc.The deal was expected to receive added regulatory scrutiny. The in-depth Justice Department review, known as a “second request,” comes as antitrust authorities start historic probes of Google and other large tech companies. One issue for enforcers is whether tech giants have used acquisitions of smaller firms to thwart rivals and cement their dominance. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which also enforces antitrust laws, is investigating whether Facebook Inc.’s purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp were anti-competitive.Representatives from Google, Looker and the Justice Department declined to comment.The Justice Department and a coalition of attorneys general made up of most U.S. states in the country have opened antitrust cases against Google. Those probes are mostly focused on the company’s dominant search and advertising businesses.Looker, closely held and based in Santa Cruz, California, provides tools that lets companies analyze their data stored in the cloud, a service that competes with offerings from Amazon and Microsoft. When Google announced the deal, its cloud chief, Thomas Kurian, said the company would continue to let Looker customers use other cloud providers. Google doesn’t share cloud sales.Google once spent lavishly on companies, dropping billions on device makers Motorola and Nest, as well as experimental tech like satellites and robots. More recently, the company’s acquisitions have mostly been relatively small deals in the cloud sector.It’s common for antitrust authorities to open in-depth investigations for sizable mergers, but more recently have faced criticism for allowing large tech companies to buy startups as a way to gain footholds in new markets. That charge has been aimed at Google after its takeovers of Waze, DoubleClick and YouTube. The Justice Department in July announced a broad antitrust review of the big internet platforms in search, social media and online retail.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Bergen in San Francisco at email@example.com;Sarah McBride in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org;David McLaughlin in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Sara Forden at email@example.com, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Apple stock has a $1 trillion market cap and an all-time high, though growth has slowed. Thinking about buying AAPL stock? This is what Apple earnings and stock chart show.
Benzinga is highlighting nominees for the fifth annual Benzinga Global Fintech Awards ahead of the event Nov. 19 in New York City. One nominee is the Better.com, a mortgage lending fintech. Background ...
Home automation companies are charging into everything from door locks, lights and heating systems to showers and toilets. But privacy concerns are leaving many consumers leery.
(Bloomberg) -- The young woman in Monica Mazzei’s San Francisco law office was adamant: She wanted a prenuptial agreement.Never mind that the client had barely anything to her name. What she had was a bunch of startup ideas. She and her fiancé, who already had his own small tech company, signed a prenup with clear terms, Mazzei said: “The spouse who has an idea [and] starts a business ‘owns’ that business. It’s their baby.”A few years later, Mazzei, a partner at Sideman Bancroft, was traveling through the San Francisco airport when she saw her former client on a magazine cover. Her startup had struck gold. Her husband’s business had fizzled.In Silicon Valley, where penniless programmers fervently believe their ideas are worth billions, getting rich can take priority over getting married. California law assumes that any wealth created during a marriage is community property, which should be split equally in a divorce. That’s alarming not just for young entrepreneurs but also their investors.Divorce HavocFortunately, a well-written prenup is a safeguard against post-divorce havoc, which is why more and more young couples are insisting on the agreements, according to more than half-a-dozen lawyers in the Bay Area and elsewhere. Long popular with older wealthy couples who re-marry, prenups are also being demanded by entrepreneurs who want to keep future windfalls to themselves.“I am seeing more and more young people want to enter into prenuptial agreements who do not currently have a lot of money now but plan to have a lot of money someday,” said Manhattan-based divorce attorney Jacqueline Newman.In a 2016 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 3 in 5 divorce attorneys said more clients were seeking prenups in the past three years. About half said they’d seen a spike in the number of millennials requesting the agreements.“People’s concepts and notions of fairness when it comes to privately held businesses are changing,” said Mazzei, adding she’s seen “a tremendous increase” in prenups in the past eight years. “They feel that even if they’re married, this is their passion. The agreement should be reflective of that.”‘It’s Complicated’Today’s startup founders have plenty of prenup-writing forebears to emulate. Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, who helped found personal genomics company 23andMe, had a prenup when they married in 2007. After they divorced with little fanfare in 2015, his stake in Google remained unchanged.“It’s complicated -- that’s all I can say,” Wojcicki told Bloomberg TV about the split.Oracle Corp.’s Larry Ellison has been married and divorced multiple times, but none affected his stake in the software company. Ellison is the seventh-richest person in the world with a net worth of $59.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.Still, a prenup hardly guarantees a smooth divorce. Judges can and do throw out the agreements, especially if they’re drafted poorly. “If you don’t put in the right language, a lot of prenups don’t do the job,” said Lowell Sucherman, a divorce attorney at Sucherman Insalaco in San Francisco.In 2017, One Kings Lane co-founder Alison Gelb Pincus, wife of Zynga Inc. founder Mark Pincus, challenged their premarital agreement in court while the couple was getting a divorce, according to a court filing. It’s unclear whether she prevailed as final terms of the divorce aren’t public.While venture capital firms don’t explicitly require prenups, they do demand legal language protecting their investments in the event a divorce court hands a chunk of a founder’s shares to an ex-spouse. So do other co-founders.Founders’ Control“Founders have wanted to ensure that someone else can’t suddenly come in and obtain some sort of founders’ control,” said Par-Jorgen Parson, a partner at venture capital firm Northzone, who has served on the board of Spotify Technology SA. “It’s just as often driven by the founders as by external investors. You don’t want to rock the balance of power.”Venture capital firms often demand that founders’ husbands and wives sign “spousal consent” forms. Such agreements determine who gets to vote for board members, and how and when shares can be sold. In the event of a divorce settlement (or death or disability), a founders’ spouse might end up with company shares. But, the agreements ensure that an ex can’t exercise much, if any, control over the company post-divorce.“We’re trying to make sure that people don’t become involuntary business partners with someone they don’t know, don’t like or who aren’t qualified,” said James Ficenec, a partner at Newmeyer & Dillion in Walnut Creek, California.Divorcing founders will often do anything to avoid handing over half of their shares in their startup.‘Keeping More’“Founders will try to negotiate keeping more of their shares,” said Michael Gorback, a partner at Hanson Bridgett. “You might balance it out some other way,” by paying exes in cash, a home or other investments.MacKenzie Bezos and Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos divorced earlier this year, leaving her with a 4% stake and a net worth of $34.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg index. He kept 75% of the couple’s Amazon shares, and retains voting control of those she does hold.Amazon’s stock, of course, is publicly traded, which can make divorce negotiations easier.“One issue we come across very often is, ‘How do you value a startup?’” Mazzei said. Years before an initial public offering, a startup might have no profits or even revenue to speak of. A promising company could later go under -- or eventually be worth billions.Trust, CredibilityIn a divorce, “it can be quite difficult when you have a large asset that is illiquid,” said Lyssa Grimaldo, a wealth manager at San Francisco-based Wetherby Asset Management and a certified divorce financial analyst. Adding to the problem, she said: “One partner knows more about that asset than the other.”With enough billable hours, lawyers can usually sort out the legal ramifications of divorce. They’re less helpful in containing the chaos that a founder’s marital problems might create in the workplace or business relationships.“We have companies where the founder is the brand, and trust and credibility are core to the business,” said Ed Zimmerman, partner and chair of the tech group at Lowenstein Sandler in New York. “If you are investing in a company because you think the founder is amazing,” it can be alarming to learn that he or she is facing the distraction of an acrimonious divorce or custody battle, he said.If a divorce isn’t disclosed to key investors, they can lose trust in a founder who they thought they knew well. Then there’s sometimes other nasty fallout, of the sort that companies are increasingly sensitive to in the metoo era.“It would be great if we lived in a world where people who had marital problems didn’t manifest those problems by hitting on or dating people who worked at their company,” Zimmerman said. “Those kinds of things tend to be more problematic than who gets the shares.”(Updates with adviser’s comment in 23rd paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Steverman in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Anders Melin in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Pierre Paulden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Steven Crabill, Peter EichenbaumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Waymo will start testing its self-driving vehicles in Los Angeles this week. Self-driving vehicles have a lot of promise.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Once again it’s October, which means it’s time to debate whether the economics Nobel prize is a real Nobel or an impostor. And once that tired argument is duly rehashed, we can proceed to the more interesting topic -- who might win, and how their ideas help us understand the world. Here are five strong candidates for this year’s award:No. 1. The New KeynesiansNot since 2011 has a prize been awarded to economists who primarily study the ups and downs of the business cycle, so we might be overdue. The obvious choice would be to award the prize for the creation of New Keynesian theory. This theory holds that recessions happen because businesses have difficulty adjusting their prices in response to economic disturbances.Although it’s the dominant paradigm within modern academic macroeconomics, and is used by most central banks to help set monetary policy, New Keynesianism hasn’t yet received a gold medal from Sweden. One reason might be that the theory isn’t the brainchild of a single genius, but of a large group of influential figures who each added key elements. These include Michael Woodford, Stanley Fischer, Greg Mankiw, Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, Olivier Blanchard, Guillermo Calvo, Janet Yellen, David Romer and a number of others. Picking two or three to award the prize to will be hard, but it seems inevitable that the prize committee will eventually have to recognize this incredibly influential theory.No. 2. Claudia GoldinBefore French economist Thomas Piketty ever hit the bestseller lists, Harvard University’s Claudia Goldin was writing about the rise in economic inequality. Combining the methods of labor economics and economic history, Goldin identifies increasing education as a key driver of the fall in U.S. inequality in the early 20th century, and blames a slowdown in educational attainment for the reversal of that happy trend.Goldin has also extensively studied the changing role of women in the economy, weaving together trends like delayed childbearing, increasing education and forward-looking decision-making to create the authoritative story of how and why women entered the formal workforce. She has advocated for flexible work scheduling as a way to reduce the gender pay gap. And she has theorized that workplace gender discrimination results from men being afraid that the occupations they dominate will be devalued if women enter. In an age when society is struggling to eliminate gender inequality, Goldin’s work provides a crucial road map.No. 3. David CardGreat changes have happened in the economics profession during the past three decades. The field has gone from a largely theoretical discipline to one firmly grounded in empirics and data. Although the transition is the work of many thousands of economists, perhaps no one has pointed the way forward as clearly as the University of California-Berkeley’s David Card. His landmark studies of low-skilled immigration and minimum wages changed the debate on those crucial issues, astonishing economists with the finding -- now corroborated by decades of follow-up research -- that neither is particularly damaging to local workers. Those results changed the world, but they represent only a small portion of Card’s extensive body of work. If anyone deserves to win a Nobel for the seismic shift that has changed the very meaning of economics research, it’s probably Card.No. 4. Paul MilgromThe economics Nobel tends to favor the work of pure theorists who work on the deepest problems. And few thinkers dig deeper than Stanford University’s Paul Milgrom. He was a major figure in the creation of auction theory -- probably the most empirically successful and practically useful economic theory of all time, which is now used to power everything from Google ads to federal spectrum auctions. He has also contributed deep insights to our understanding of financial markets, modeling the way that market makers interact with informed and uninformed traders, and helping to explain why trading happens in the first place. This is only the tip of the iceberg, though. Milgrom’s contributions in game theory, contract theory, labor economics, industrial organization, the economics of information and learning, and other fields are too numerous to mention or elaborate here. If he never wins the Nobel for this virtuosic career, it will be a big surprise.No. 5. Daron AcemogluDaron Acemoglu is another virtuoso, but of a very different sort. Acemoglu tackles the big questions of why nations grow and develop or stagnate and decline -- the kinds of questions that rarely if ever get definitive answers. His most important thesis is that social institutions are crucial for development and don’t change much over time -- places that develop institutions based on exploiting labor and extracting resources tend to do badly over the centuries, while those that create more inclusive systems flourish. More recently, Acemoglu has tackled the question of whether automation will make humans obsolete. He has created new models of automation in which it’s possible for robots to reduce human wages, and theorized that different types of artificial intelligence could help human workers or compete with them. Beyond those topics, Acemoglu has a vast body of work, much of it dealing with difficult and expansive topics like politics, history, culture and technological change.To contact the author of this story: Noah Smith at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
With more and more trading platforms and the growing allure of low-to-no-fee brokerages, new traders are confronted with a deluge of options when it comes to trading and investing. Cash flow is commonly broken into three separate segments: operating cash flow, investing cash flow and financing cash flow.
(Bloomberg) -- SAP SE is sticking to its new plan of keeping the company youthful, and top management isn’t being spared.The storied German software giant, Europe’s biggest tech company by market value, has spent the past few years attempting to reinvent itself. It’s working to adapt its corporate software, used by almost all of the world’s 100 most valuable brands, to the web and is taking on younger rivals in cloud-based computing.There’s also been an exodus of company veterans, which as of 12:44 a.m. Friday in Walldorf, included CEO Bill McDermott.Analysts have called the late-night news a surprise; McDermott’s contract doesn’t run out until 2021. He also unveiled a major restructuring plan in April and was expected to brief investors on the company’s strategy next month.But, as he said on a conference call after the announcement, “Ten years is a long time to be CEO.”McDermott, 58, had been with the company since 2002 when he joined as head of its North American business. At the time, he was that unit’s fourth head in three years as SAP struggled to compete with rivals like Oracle Corp., and grappled with a drop in sales of software licenses. Problems with its products were blamed for delayed shipments of Whirlpool Corp.’s appliances and even Hershey’s Halloween chocolates.In the role, he recruited a new management team, changed the way the sales department targeted customers, and ultimately boosted sales growth. When CEO Leo Apotheker unexpectedly resigned in 2010, McDermott and product-development head Jim Snabe were picked to replace him as co-CEOs. Snabe -- currently chairman of Siemens AG -- stepped down and took a spot on the board in 2014, and McDermott became sole head of the company.With nearly 100,000 employees and a sprawling business that generated about $27 billion in revenue last year, driving change has sometimes been controversial. Since 2011, McDermott spent $26 billion on six major cloud acquisitions, and was the main advocate for the $8 billion acquisition of Qualtrics International Inc., the company’s largest-ever deal.Analysts criticized the purchase as too expensive. In November, Qualtrics said it expected revenue for 2018 to exceed $400 million, a figure that wouldn’t move the needle much for SAP. McDermott defended the deal, believing that combining SAP’s sales force and a trove of operational data with Qualtrics’s customer experience feedback would accelerate growth.More recently, the company attracted the interest of activists at Elliott Management Corp., which revealed its 1.2 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) stake when SAP announced a change in strategy in April. SAP had been vague at the time, saying it planned “new initiatives to accelerate operational excellence and value creation” with a focus on “tuck-in” acquisitions.SAP underwent a management shakeup in the weeks preceding the April announcement. The president of its cloud business, 27-year SAP veteran Robert Enslin, had announced his departure earlier that month. It was later revealed he’d left for Google. A day earlier, Chief Technology Officer Bjoern Goerke, another cloud expert based in the U.S., penned a blog post saying he was leaving the company he joined as a student in 1988. Board member Bernd Leukert, a seasoned IT executive, left SAP in February.Personally, McDermott also had to weather a near-fatal accident in 2015 that cost him an eye when he fell down some stairs while carrying a water glass and nearly bled to death.His replacements are a mix of old and new guard at SAP. Christian Klein, 39, spent the past 20 years at SAP, after joining as a student in 1999. Jennifer Morgan, 48, arrived in 2004 and was the first American woman on the company’s executive board. Morgan has been seen as McDermott’s protege, rising relatively quickly through the ranks, and most recently served as the president of the all-important cloud group.Together, Klein and Morgan will have to find a way to compete with younger companies like Salesforce.com Inc. and Workday Inc. while encumbered by a traditional enterprise software business.Cloud is the company’s clear growth engine, with revenue increasing about 32% last year to about 5 billion euros. Sales from its largest business, which helps clients set up and implement SAP’s software, grew less than 1% in 2019.McDermott’s resignation was announced alongside better-than-expected preliminary third-quarter earnings results. New bookings for the company’s cloud products, a key metric that indicates future sales, grew 33% on a constant-currency business. That was more than double the pace set in the second quarter, when disappointed investors sent shares down as much as 10%.“While it is a shock to see Mr. McDermott stepping down, he is clearly handing over the reins of the business from a position of strength and we are encouraged to see that his replacements are long-term members of the SAP executive team,” said Thomas Fitzgerald, fund manager at SAP shareholder Edentree Investment Management, in a note on Friday.\--With assistance from Stefan Nicola.To contact the reporters on this story: Amy Thomson in London at email@example.com;Kit Rees in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at email@example.com, Nate LanxonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
In early October, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's campaign released a political ad that opens with leaked audio of Facebook Inc. (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking about how the company would "go to the mat and fight" if Warren is elected president in 2020 and tries to break up the firm. The clip, a part of two hours of audio from employee meetings held in July obtained by The Verge, was used to demonstrate how she has Big Tech rattled. Warren believes weak antitrust enforcement in the U.S. has helped big technology companies cement their dominance and hurt competition and innovation in the sector.
Cambridge Capital CEO Benjamin Gordon By Oliver Estreich The doomed IPO of WeWork parent We Co. is likely to pressure technology companies to embrace more robust corporate governance and discourage features such as tiered voting shares that fueled investor ire. That’s according to Benjamin Gordon, CEO of Cambridge Capital, who spoke to CorpGov on […]
From 2011 to 2018, Seattle’s tech talent pool grew nearly 60 percent, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
(Bloomberg) -- The firing of a Chinese Facebook Inc. coder who accused the social media giant of mistreating foreign employees has provoked an outpouring of outrage on domestic social media.Software engineer Yi Yin struck a chord when he posted on WeChat that he was forced out for “lack of judgment.” The 37-year-old said he got an emailed warning the same day he joined a memorial at Facebook’s Menlo Park campus for a colleague, also from China, who killed himself by jumping from the fourth floor of a company building last month.The Sept. 26 vigil had morphed into a demonstration over alleged discrimination against Facebook’s Chinese employees. Yin told Bloomberg News that HR sent the email and then called him into a meeting the day after, during which he was told to stop speaking publicly about the death because of privacy concerns.Yin got a second and “final warning” just a few days later, which he said didn’t cite any breaches of company rules or other specific reasons. He was dismissed Oct. 7. Facebook spokeswoman Pamela Austin confirmed Yin had been dismissed but denied his participation in the rally was the cause. She declined to comment on the details Yin described. Another company representative, Charlene Chian, said Facebook doesn’t comment on the specifics of personnel issues.The engineer went on social media to describe his experience, which was widely covered by Chinese media at a time tensions with the U.S. are running high and many feel Washington is trying to contain China’s ascendancy. His LinkedIn post about the firing has garnered more than 7,000 likes, with many commenting to offer him a new job.A discussion thread about his dismissal on Chinese Q&A site Zhihu has been viewed over 1.6 million times, after his tale initially spread across WeChat, which has a billion-plus users.“Facebook expects all of our employees to treat one another with respect, particularly when dealing with sensitive issues,” Facebook’s Austin said via email. “We won’t hesitate to take action to make sure all of our people feel safe and comfortable at work.”Read more: Facebook Worker Dies After Jumping From Headquarters BuildingA widely circulated video showed dozens of black-clad Chinese people gathered at Facebook’s famous “Like” sign at 1 Hacker Way during last month’s memorial for the deceased, a 38-year-old software engineer. The mourners placed flowers under the billboard and chanted slogans including “We deserve the truth” and “Chinese lives matter.” Bloomberg couldn’t verify the authenticity of the video and Austin declined to comment.But co-organizer David Jin, co-founder of Santa Clara-based cybersecurity startup Deeper Network, told Bloomberg via a Telegram message that about 400 people attended, including non-employees in the Bay Area. Jin, Yin and Austin all appeared in the video published by a Chinese online news outlet, though Yin said he was the only Facebook employee wearing a company badge.“Tech companies in Silicon Valley are almost hitting their ceilings so they have the pressure to cut jobs and increase efficiency,” Yin, who joined Facebook in July, said in a phone interview. “Chinese people usually don’t make trouble, giving the impression that we are weak and easy to pick on.”Since the suicide, current and former Facebook employees have posted online about alleged bullying of international workers at the company. The Sept. 26 rally took place days after Patrick Shyu, who claimed to be a former programmer with Facebook and Google, said in a YouTube video that Chen suffered an unfair review and was thereby blocked from a team transfer.That could potentially have hampered the prospect for renewing his H-1B work visa, forcing him to return to China, Shyu said, citing anonymous postings on Facebook’s internal messaging board. Shyu, who has said online that he too was fired from Facebook, didn’t respond to a request for comment via a Twitter message and Austin declined to comment about his allegations.\--With assistance from Kurt Wagner and Vlad Savov.To contact the reporter on this story: Zheping Huang in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Google gives itself some wiggle room in the application to build more housing or office space than it said in August.
AUSTIN/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Texas officials managing a sprawling investigation of the advertising practices at Alphabet Inc's Google have begun receiving data from the search and advertising giant after two previous probes bogged down in extended document fights. The Texas attorney general's office said that as of Thursday, it had received some data from Google but declined to discuss it further. The investigation, which involves all state attorneys general except Alabama and California, seeks to dig into the opaque business of online digital advertising, where Google is a dominant player.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook defended the company’s decision to remove a mapping app in Hong Kong, saying on Thursday that the company received “credible information” from authorities indicating the software was being used “maliciously” to attack police.Apple pulled HKmap.live from its App Store on Wednesday after flip-flopping between rejecting it and approving it earlier this month. Apple made the decision after consulting with local authorities, because it could endanger law enforcement and city residents. Cook echoed that sentiment in an email to Apple employees.“Over the past several days we received credible information, from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau, as well as from users in Hong Kong, that the app was being used maliciously to target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present,” Cook wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. He also said the app violates local laws.The company has been criticized for the move, and Cook addressed that. “These decisions are never easy, and it is harder still to discuss these topics during moments of furious public debate,” the CEO wrote. “National and international debates will outlive us all, and, while important, they do not govern the facts. In this case, we thoroughly reviewed them, and we believe this decision best protects our users.”Apple joins other foreign companies struggling to navigate the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong as protests that began in June show no sign of abating. The issue has become a red line for those doing business in China, most recently drawing the National Basketball Association into a firestorm over a tweet supporting the protesters that caused partners to stop doing business with the league and state television to halt airing games. A growing number of American giants, including Activision Blizzard Inc., find themselves embroiled in controversies over the extent to which their actions are influenced by economic considerations in a vast Chinese market.Greater China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, is Apple’s largest market after the U.S. The iPhone maker is also one of the most visible symbols of corporate America in the world’s No. 2 economy. Apple recently pulled the Taiwan flag emoji from some iPhones, underscoring the difficult balance the company must strike in supporting free speech while appeasing China.Google, which pulled out of mainland China years ago, confirmed on Thursday that the HKmap.live app is still available in the Play app store in Hong Kong. However, the internet giant removed a mobile game from the store for "attempting to make money from serious ongoing conflicts or tragedies." The game let players pretend to be Hong Kong protesters.Charles Mok, a legislative counselor in Hong Kong, said he was “deeply disappointed” by Apple’s move and contested the company’s reasons in an open letter to Cook.“There are numerous cases of innocent passersby in the neighbourhood injured by the Hong Kong Police Force’s excessive force in crowd dispersal operations,” Mok wrote in the letter, which he posted on Twitter. “Information shared using HKmap.live in fact helps citizens avoid areas where pedestrians not involved in any criminal activities might be subjected to police brutality.”Apple’s reversal came after the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper criticized Apple for letting the app into its store. Protesters in the city used HKmap.live to monitor police whereabouts and it facilitated illegal activities, the People’s Daily said in a commentary late Tuesday. But the app’s developers rejected that view.“We disagree with Apple’s claim that our app endangered anyone” in Hong Kong, the developer said in a statement.Asked about Apple removing the app specifically, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reiterated Beijing’s stance. “Recent events in Hong Kong are extreme, violent acts, challenging Hong Kong’s rule of law and order, threatening the safety of Hong Kong’s people, damaging Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity,” he said. “We should oppose such violence instead of supporting or condoning them.”Here’s the memo in full:Team,You have likely seen the news that we made the decision to remove an app from the App Store entitled HKmap.live. These decisions are never easy, and it is harder still to discuss these topics during moments of furious public debate. It’s out of my great respect for the work you do every day that I want to share the way we went about making this decision.It is no secret that technology can be used for good or for ill. This case is no different. The app in question allowed for the crowdsourced reporting and mapping of police checkpoints, protest hotspots, and other information. On its own, this information is benign. However, over the past several days we received credible information, from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau, as well as from users in Hong Kong, that the app was being used maliciously to target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present. This use put the app in violation of Hong Kong law. Similarly, widespread abuse clearly violates our App Store guidelines barring personal harm.We built the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for every user. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously, and it’s one that we aim to preserve. National and international debates will outlive us all, and, while important, they do not govern the facts. In this case, we thoroughly reviewed them, and we believe this decision best protects our users.(Updates with Google decision on mobile game in seventh paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Gurman in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at email@example.com, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Global PC shipments grow for a second quarter in a row, even as the industry struggled with supply issues, according to trade research data Thursday.
Health care is lagging other sectors in reform and adoption of technology, but the biggest issue confronting the system is affordability, industry executives said on Thursday.
(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. employees are circulating a letter supporting an effort to get its GitHub subsidiary to cancel a contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the latest effort among tech-company staff to influence corporate policy on government work.The letter reflects concerns that Microsoft’s sales to the agency implicate the software maker in the government’s detention of immigrants. On Wednesday, GitHub employees protested the renewal of a roughly $200,000 contract with ICE after GitHub Chief Executive Officer Nat Friedman released an email defending the decision.“As the parent company to Github, this contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) makes all of us working at Microsoft complicit to the unethical detainment of tens of thousands of immigrants and the various abuses that ICE subjects them to,” read the letter, which was viewed by Bloomberg News. “Through our technology, we've already been contributing to the terrorism of ICE agents on our country's immigrant population. We've been doing so for years.” It then calls on GitHub and Microsoft to cancel the contract.The employees behind the letter asked to remain anonymous citing a fear of retaliation. Microsoft had no immediate comment.The letter marks another sign of tension between rank-and-file tech workers and software giants, including Microsoft rivals Amazon.com Inc. and Google, which are increasingly aiming for lucrative government contracts. Microsoft employees also circulated an earlier petition asking the company not to bid on a massive Pentagon cloud-computing contract, called JEDI, and against efforts to sell its HoloLens augmented reality goggles to the U.S. Army. Microsoft executives have said that the company will continue to supply tech to the U.S. military.The recent episode, however, is the first to involve GitHub, which makes a popular open-source software and has prided itself on a corporate culture that deifies programmers. The unit has its own management team and is run with some degree of independence from Microsoft.In his email, Friedman said that ICE was using software management tool GitHub Enterprise Server and not the company’s more hands-on consulting services. “We do not know the specific projects that the on-premises GitHub Enterprise Server license is being used with, but recognize it could be used in projects that support policies we both agree and disagree with,” he wrote in a note published Wednesday. Friedman also pledged the company will donate $500,000 to nonprofits that help immigrant groups hurt by the policies. Microsoft has been outspoken in its opposition to some of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, including a travel ban that affects mostly muslim-majority countries. The company is a named plaintiff in the case opposing the termination of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which the Supreme Court will hear this term. Microsoft President Brad Smith received applause this week at a Seattle conference when discussing that stance.At the same time, the company is a large supplier of software to the U.S. government and is in contention not just for JEDI but for a second massive military contract called DEOS, which will provide email, calendar and collaboration tools. Earlier this week, Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella spoke at the company’s Government Leaders Summit in Washington to tout work with the Interior Department and USDA. To contact the authors of this story: Mark Bergen in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgDina Bass in Seattle at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Molly Schuetz at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jillian WardFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Facebook’s (FB) privacy problems continue to attract fines. Last week, Turkey hit the company with a fine of 1.6 million Turkish lira ($282,000).
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. pulled the plug on an app that shows police activity in Hong Kong, reversing course yet again as violent pro-democracy protests wrack the city.The U.S. company said Thursday it decided to remove HKmap.live from its App Store after consulting with local authorities, because it could endanger law enforcement and city residents. That marks a return to its original position, where it initially rejected the app. After an outcry, the iPhone maker allowed it to run for a few days before Thursday’s decision. The see-sawing is unusual for Apple, which exercises rigid control over its app store, the foundation of its global iPhone ecosystem.Apple joins other foreign companies struggling to navigate the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong as protests that began in June show no sign of abating. The issue has become a red line for those doing business in China, most recently drawing the National Basketball Association into a firestorm over a tweet that’s caused partners to stop doing business with the league and state television to halt airing its games. A growing number of American giants, including Activision Blizzard Inc., find themselves embroiled in controversies over the extent to which their actions are influenced by economic considerations in a vast Chinese market.“Many concerned customers in Hong Kong have contacted us about this app and we immediately began investigating it,” Apple said in a statement. “The app displays police locations and we have verified with the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau that the app has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement. This app violates our guidelines and local laws, and we have removed it from the App Store.”Greater China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, is Apple’s largest market after the U.S. The iPhone maker is also one of the most visible symbols of corporate America in the world’s No. 2 economy. Apple recently pulled the Taiwan flag emoji from some iPhones, underscoring the difficult balance the company must strike in supporting free speech while appeasing China. Google, which pulled out of mainland China years ago, confirmed on Thursday that the HKmap.live app is still available in the Play app store in Hong Kong.Charles Mok, a legislative counselor in Hong Kong, said he was “deeply disappointed” by Apple’s move and contested the company’s reasons in an open letter to Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.“There are numerous cases of innocent passersby in the neighbourhood injured by the Hong Kong Police Force’s excessive force in crowd dispersal operations,” Mok wrote in the letter, which he posted on Twitter. “Information shared using HKmap.live in fact helps citizens avoid areas where pedestrians not involved in any criminal activities might be subjected to police brutality.”Read more: Moment of Truth on China Is Coming for Rest of Corporate AmericaApple’s reversal came after the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper criticized Apple for letting the app into its store. Protesters in the city used HKmap.live to monitor police whereabouts and it facilitated illegal activities, the People’s Daily said in a commentary late Tuesday. But the app’s developers rejected that view.“We disagree with Apple’s claim that our app endangered anyone” in Hong Kong, the developer said in a statement.Asked about Apple removing the app specifically, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reiterated Beijing’s stance. “Recent events in Hong Kong are extreme, violent acts, challenging Hong Kong’s rule of law and order, threatening the safety of Hong Kong’s people, damaging Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity,” he said. “We should oppose such violence instead of supporting or condoning them.”How Far Hong Kong’s Emergency Law Can Go (Online Too): QuickTake(Updates with Mok letter to Apple CEO in sixth paragraph.)\--With assistance from April Ma and Sharon Chen.To contact the reporters on this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at email@example.com;Mark Gurman in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Alphabet Inc's Google expects to triple its customer workforce to support cloud computing services in Latin America by the end of next year, Google Cloud's director in Brazil, João Bolonha, said on Thursday. "This growth has already started and we’ve been expanding teams in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Colombia," he told journalists at the Google Cloud Summit in São Paulo. "Inside Latin America, Brazil is our largest market (in cloud computing) and the one with the fastest growth," Bolonha said, adding that customer consumption of cloud computing solutions rose over 300% in 2018.