|Bid||324.95 x 800|
|Ask||325.05 x 1000|
|Day's range||322.85 - 325.98|
|52-week range||169.49 - 327.85|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.28|
|PE ratio (TTM)||25.80|
|Earnings date||27 Apr 2020 - 03 May 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||3.08 (0.95%)|
|Ex-dividend date||06 Feb 2020|
|1y target est||334.45|
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world threatened by trade wars. Sign up here. China might have data and the U.S. might have money, but Europe has purpose.That’s the message European Union tech czar Margrethe Vestager aims to convey on Wednesday when she unveils plans to help the bloc compete with the U.S. and China’s technological might on its own terms, conforming with fundamental EU rights including strict privacy and non-discrimination rules.On the EU’s menu: new rules for AI, possible legislation for gate-keeping platforms, plans to make data centers carbon-neutral, as well as incentives for businesses to share information with the aim of forming data pools that bolster innovation.Vestager, the European Commission’s executive vice president for digital affairs, is trying to reassure anxious Europeans that she can handle concerns Europe is becoming irrelevant while Asian and American companies dominate high-tech markets.The strategy “will produce and deploy much more artificial intelligence” in Europe, but “it will not be the same” as in the U.S. and China, Vestager said in a press briefing to journalists ahead of the announcement. Based on what she knows about their practices, Chinese AI might not meet European standards, she said.Artificial intelligence has started to penetrate every part of society, from shopping suggestions and voice assistants to decisions around hiring, insurance and law enforcement, provoking concerns about privacy, accuracy, safety and fairness. The EU wants to ensure technology deployed in Europe is transparent and has human oversight, particularly for high-risk cases.In situations where the use of AI could pose risks to people’s safety or their legal or employment status, such as those involving self-driving cars or biometric identification, the EU’s requirements could include implementing conformity checks by public authorities, Vestager said.Facial Recognition RulesAccording to a recent draft of the EU document, companies could have to retrain their systems with European data sets if they can’t guarantee the facial recognition or other risky technology was developed in accordance with European values.Facial recognition has sparked an intense debate in the U.S. and Europe as police departments have started testing the technology. In the U.S., reports that police were using technology from Clearview AI -- a startup that’s scraped billions of photos from social media accounts with the aim of helping law enforcement find suspects without criminal records -- caused a backlash from privacy groups and lawmakers.The same groups are urging legislation to prevent abuses of a technology they say is often inaccurate and could restrict people’s freedom to assemble. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials warn against banning a tool that can make societies safer.With the EU’s AI white paper, Vestager said she wanted to start a debate to determine which circumstances it would be justified to deploy remote facial-recognition technology, warning that without such a debate agencies and companies would steam ahead.“Then it will just be everywhere,” Vestager said. She added that one solution for the EU could be to draw up a European-wide legal framework to govern use of the technology.Valley ViewsFollowing Wednesday’s announcement, the EU will begin a 12-week consultation, inviting the public to submit comments to their AI plans before the commission formally proposes legislation as soon as the end of the year.The EU’s plans have already drawn top executives from Silicon Valley to Brussels, including Alphabet Inc.’s Sundar Pichai, to voice their views on how AI should be regulated.Vestager and other EU officials are due to meet Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, who is capping off a trip to Europe with a visit to Brussels to discuss new regulations for the internet.Tech firms have seen before that when the EU sets sweeping laws on tech, like the General Data Protection Regulation, the impact can sprawl far beyond its borders. The EU’s GDPR has spurred similar legislation in Brazil and forced businesses selling into Europe to revise how they collect, store and process information.”EU regulation in this area is likely to have an effect similar to GDPR. People outside Europe are watching the commission,” said Mark Coeckelbergh, a professor of philosophy of media and technology at the University of Vienna. “This is a chance for the EU to set an example of regulation that supports ethical development of AI.”Other parts of the EU’s digital strategy will also serve to rein in U.S. and Chinese companies, potentially to the benefit of European business.Antitrust RulesVestager is also promising a review of antitrust rules, including potential legislation for “gate-keeping platforms,” that would give the EU the ability to crackdown on big tech. While she has fined Google, investigated Amazon.com Inc. and ordered Apple Inc. to pay a massive back-tax bill, the EU has also been criticized for failing to make real changes to how mostly U.S. tech companies have gained power in digital markets.Meanwhile, China’s rapid success in moving into new business areas, taking a global lead on technology and manufacturing where Europe and the U.S. were once ascendant, has also alarmed both Washington and Brussels. German firms have pushed for more barriers to Chinese takeovers and for looser antitrust rules that hinder consolidation between rivals, measures Vestager said she would examine.While EU officials have come to terms with the fact the next Facebook or Google probably won’t come from Europe, they are optimistic about local innovation in robotics, machinery, payments and other business-to-business companies.Plans to encourage data sharing among businesses and with governments -- also to be announced Wednesday --could further boost these firms’ leadership positions. That scheme is also designed to advance the bloc’s AI ambitions by pooling large sets of high-quality industrial data.“We are what we eat and that also goes for artificial intelligence,” Vestager said. “If you eat crappy stuff, well you’re not likely to be a fit for purpose algorithm either.”(Updates with Zuckerberg’s trip to Brussels in 15th paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Natalia Drozdiak in Brussels at firstname.lastname@example.org;Aoife White in Brussels at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org, Amy ThomsonFor 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) -- Nintendo Co. is likely to struggle to supply sufficient Switch consoles to its U.S. and European markets as soon as April due to a production bottleneck caused by the coronavirus outbreak, according to people with knowledge of the company’s supply chain.Limited component supply coming out of China is affecting output at a Nintendo assembly partner’s factory in Vietnam, which the gaming giant primarily uses to build consoles for the U.S., said the people, asking not to be named because the details are private. A shortage of components this month would affect Switch units scheduled for arrival in April, after existing inventory and current shipments of the console have sold through.The potential slowdown would deal a blow to the Kyoto-based company, which is preparing to release a major new installment in the hit Animal Crossing game franchise on Mar. 20. These first-party titles are the lifeblood of the Switch system’s popularity, sustaining its sales momentum as it enters its fourth year since launch.Nintendo apologized earlier this month when it announced that Switch hardware and accessory shipments to Japan would be constrained by a virus-imposed production shutdown in China. Those products are now out of stock across many Japanese retailers, due also in part to aggressive cashback campaigns by local mobile-payment providers.“We do not see any major impact on the shipment to the U.S. currently, but we will remain vigilant and take steps if necessary,” a Nintendo spokesperson told Bloomberg News. “It’s possible the supply would be affected by the virus if it becomes more widespread and prolonged.”Switch shipments arriving into the U.S. in February and March won’t pose any issue because they’ve already been dispatched from Asia, said the people familiar with Nintendo’s operations. But difficulty may arise with accumulating enough units for the boats departing later this month or next, which would be arriving in the U.S. in April. Shipments would not completely stop, but would be greatly reduced, according to one person.The U.S. is the company’s biggest market, accounting for 43% of its core business, while Europe and Japan account for 27% and 21%, respectively.Suppliers within Chinese factories, which provide components to a wide variety of electronics products, said they expect the virus disruption to last at least a few more weeks before they can resume full operation. Speaking on condition of anonymity, they said their primary concern is resuming production too early and finding a coronavirus infection among their returned workers, leading to an outbreak on factory floors. This exact fear was also voiced by Apple Inc.-supplier Foxconn in a recent conversation with investors.‘Nightmare’ for Global Tech: Virus Fallout Is Just BeginningOne supplier said that the supply-demand balance for its component was tight even before the virus outbreak, meaning even a few weeks of reduced production will set it back severely in fulfilling customer orders. The person said they may be forced to decline some orders if customers resume operations all at once and ask for component at the same time.To contact the reporter on this story: Takashi Mochizuki in Tokyo at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Vlad Savov, Peter ElstromFor 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 illness of an 83-year-old U.S. cruise-line traveler with the coronavirus has raised concern as more than 2,200 passengers and crew head home after being trapped at sea for almost two weeks.The first coronavirus death outside Asia, a Chinese tourist in France, and new cases in Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia suggest no let up in the outbreak.The UN’s top doctor warned the virus is unpredictable as he called for nations to get all units of government involved.Key DevelopmentsChina’s total people affected: 66,492; deaths: 1,523WHO says virus path ‘impossible to predict’Westerdam passengers blocked from leaving MalaysiaU.S. senators urge emergency funding for responseEurope Suffers First Virus Death as Fatalities Move Beyond AsiaU.S. plans to evacuate Americans on board the Diamond Princess cruise shipU.K. releases eight of nine infected patientsLocking People Up to Stop Virus Spread Could Prompt Legal FightsClick VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the novel coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here.WHO Chief Urges Broader Response (3:45 p.m. NY)World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged the international community on Saturday to make their response to the coronavirus government-wide.“This is not a job for health ministers alone. It takes a whole-of-government approach,” he said in a speech at the Munich Security Conference. “That approach must be coherent and coordinated, guided by evidence and public health priorities.”The WHO chief again praised China, saying the steps taken by the Beijing government are encouraging.“China has bought the world time. We don’t know how much time,” he said. “We’re encouraged that outside China, we have not yet seen widespread community transmission.”Liner Passengers Can’t Leave Malaysia (2:45 p.m. NY)Some passengers from the Westerdam luxury liner were blocked from leaving Malaysia after an 83-year-old U.S. woman from the ship tested positive for the coronavirus, the Dutch RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment said by phone.The travelers who left when the ship docked in Cambodia and headed to Malaysia were denied boarding an Amsterdam-bound flight from Kuala Lumpur, according to the Dutch foreign ministry. Two were Dutch citizens, both RIVM and the foreign ministry said. They remained in Malaysia, along with a group of Dutch citizens that may have had contact with the infected woman, who also remains in the country. The RIVM estimates 11 people weren’t able to board.Holland America, which operates the liner, on Saturday said everyone on the ship was tested on Feb. 10 and none had an elevated temperature, and during the cruise “no indication” of the coronavirus was evident.The ship with more than 2,200 passengers and crew was allowed by Cambodia to dock in the port city of Sihanoukville on Friday after being turned away by countries including Japan and Thailand over fears it harbored the coronavirus. The company said 236 customers and 747 crew remained on the ship on Saturday after many took charter flights to Phnom Penh to start trips home.A number of Dutch citizens are home and will be monitored daily by local authorities. The Holland America line ship had 91 Dutch passengers, a spokesman for the RIVM said.Democrats Urge Extra U.S. Virus Funds (12:30 p.m. NY)The Trump administration was “strongly urged” by Senate Democrats to seek emergency funding to fight the coronavirus, and in a letter released Saturday they criticized officials for not being forthcoming about the costs of U.S. action.A decision this month by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to shift $136 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other units showed a “need for more resources,” senators led by Patty Murray of Washington state wrote to the White House, even as administration officials “continue to assert that there are already sufficient resources.”Emergency funding would cover states’ costs to implement federal orders such as travel screening and quarantines, the lawmakers said.Ship Passengers to Be Isolated in U.S. (11:30 a.m. NY)The approximately 400 U.S. citizens aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess in Japan, who are to be evacuated by the State Department, will be housed separately from other Americans who earlier returned from China and are under 14-day isolation orders.The ship’s passengers will be screened for the coronavirus before they leave the ship in Yokohama, before takeoff, during the flight and when they land at Travis Air Force Base in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Saturday. Screening will continue for passengers transferred to Lackland base in Texas.Canada Sends 3 to Diamond Princess (11 a.m. NY)Canada’s Public Health Agency is sending three officials to assess the situation on Carnival Corp.’s Diamond Princess, quarantined in Yokohama, as more passengers are diagnosed with the coronavirus. The ship is the largest infection cluster outside China.Global Affairs Canada is working with Japan to determine next steps, spokesperson Barbara Harvey said in an email on Saturday.Some 3,500 people are on the ship. An additional 67 cases have been found, the Japanese health minister said, pushing total infections to almost 300.Westerdam Passenger Has Virus (9:55 a.m. NY)An 83-year-old U.S. citizen has been diagnosed with the coronavirus after traveling on the Westerdam, a Holland America Line ship that finally docked in Cambodia after being spurned by multiple countries.The woman and her husband were among 145 passengers who flew to Malaysia on Friday, the country’s health ministry said in a statement. She was found with symptoms and sent to a hospital where she’s in isolation in stable condition. Her 85-year-old husband tested negative but placed under observation.The Westerdam, a luxury liner, arrived in Sihanoukville early Thursday with more than 2,200 passengers and crew.Virus Path ‘Impossible to Predict’ (9:45 a.m. NY)All nations must be ready to handle coronavirus cases and prepared to prevent further transmission, according to the head of the World Health Organization.“It’s impossible to predict what direction this epidemic will take,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement at the Munich Security Conference.“We’re concerned by the continued increase of the number of cases in China,” he added, saying there has been a “lack of urgency” from the international community in funding a response.“Most of all, we’re concerned about the potential havoc this virus could wreak in countries with weaker health systems,” Tedros said. “We must use the window of opportunity we have to intensify our preparedness.”U.K. Releases All But One Patient (8:30 a.m. NY)The U.K. discharged all but one of the nine patients being treated for the coronavirus after twice testing negative, the government said Saturday. A center in Milton Keynes, north of London, still has 100 people, the NHS said.All 94 people being kept in in quarantine in Wirral after returning from China also have been released, according to the statement.5 New Singapore Cases (8 a.m. NY)Singapore confirmed five new cases of the coronavirus, all linked to previous cases, the Ministry of Health said Saturday, increasing the total people infected to 72.Epidemic Poses ‘Severe Challenges’ to China (6:44 a.m. NY)“The epidemic has posed a severe challenge to China’s economic and social development,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the Munich Security Conference. “Nonetheless, the difficulties will be temporary and short-lived. With its strong resilience and vitality, the Chinese economy is well-positioned to overcome all risks and challenges. The fundamentals sustaining sound economic growth have not changed and will not change.”Death in France First From Disease in Europe (6:15 p.m. HK)An 80-year-old Chinese tourist died in Paris, becoming the first fatality of the coronavirus in Europe, France’s health ministry said. The man’s daughter, 50, was also infected and remains in a hospital in Paris. There are now 10 remaining cases in France and four of those have been released from hospital after recovering from the virus, Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said on Saturday.China is Testing Vaccines on Animals (5 p.m. HK)China is testing some vaccines against the coronavirus on animals, Zhang Xinmin, an official with the science and technology ministry, said at a press conference on Saturday. Vaccine research has been given top priority by the central government and the ministry has coordinated with several departments to find a solution.Earlier, China said it’s administering its centuries-old traditional medicine along with Western medicines on patients affected by the coronavirus disease. Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM as the method is called, was applied on more than half of confirmed cases in Hubei. To read the full story, click here.Why Reports of Drugs for Coronavirus Are Premature: QuickTakeU.S. to Evacuate Citizens from Diamond Princess (4 p.m. HK)The State Department will evacuate its citizens and their families from the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship that’s been quarantined in Japan, the American embassy in Japan said. The ship is the largest infection cluster outside China, with an additional 67 cases reported on Saturday.Chartered aircraft will bring American passengers and crew back to the U.S., where they will be quarantined for two weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the liner has appropximately 400 U.S. citizens.To read the full story, click here.Isolation in Beijing (3:30 p.m. HK)The city of more than 21 million residents told people to quarantine themselves at home for two weeks in the latest attempt to keep the deadly coronavirus from spreading. New arrivals should stay at home for observation for 14 days because it’s sometimes unclear to authorities which provinces they may have visited or transited in, He Qinghua, an official with the ministry of public health, told reporters. He did not specify who exactly the quarantine would apply to.To read full story, click here.Lunar New Year Travel Market Plunged (3:15 p.m. HK)Air, rail and road travel market got slammed during the peak Lunar New Year season as fears about the spreading coronavirus prompted people to abandon trips.Passenger travel would likely fall 45% on-year during the 40-day travel season that ends Feb. 18, the transport ministry said. Between Jan 25. and Feb. 14, airlines carried an average of 470,000 people a day, only a quarter of last year’s volume. Passengers from Feb. 15-23 were only a tenth of the peak period.Read full story here.Cash is Quarantined Too (1:45 p.m. HK)China cut off the transfer and allocation of old bank notes across provinces, and between cities most affected by the deadly outbreak, according to Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China. The central bank also ramped up measures to sanitize old money to reduce contagion risks and added 600 billion yuan ($85.9 billion) of new cash for Hubei, the epicenter of the coronavirus, he said.WHO is Arriving in Beijing (1:30 p.m. HK)The World Health Organization and other international experts will arrive in Beijing this weekend. They will visit three provinces and cities to learn about virus protection and control measures and will make suggestions, the National Health Commission said on its website.PBOC Says Virus Won’t Cause Large Price Increases (11:44 a.m. HK)The virus outbreak is putting pressure on price stability because production has been delayed, but it won’t lead to large-scale inflationary pressures, China’s central bank said.The People’s Bank of China’s stance is unchanged and it will maintain prudent monetary policy, Deputy Governor Fan Yifei said in Beijing Saturday. The central bank is confident the effects of the outbreak can be dealt with, and the economy can be kept stable, according to a statement released before the briefing.New Zealand Extends Travel Restrictions (9:45 a.m. HK)New Zealand said temporary restrictions on travel from China have been extended for a further eight days, calling it “a precautionary approach” and a matter of public health. The country is preventing foreign nationals traveling from, or transiting through, mainland China from entering, and the position will be reviewed every 48 hours.Most Critical Time, says Health Commission Official (9:15 a.m. HK)China is entering the most critical time in its fight to contain the spreading coronavirus, Wang Hesheng, deputy director of the National Health Commission, said during a televised briefing from Wuhan. While Wang didn’t elaborate on the comment, outside of Hubei, the number of new confirmed cases have declined for the past 10 days, according to Liang Wannian, an expert at the NHC. Several other provinces have sent 217 medical teams to Wuhan as of Feb. 14, Wang said.Apple to Reopen Shanghai Store (9 a.m. HK)Apple Inc. would open one of the seven stores it has in Shanghai starting today, according to a company statement. The maker of iPhones had earlier said it will reopen stores in Beijing, according to an earlier announcement.Trump Says Xi ‘Working Very Hard’ (5 a.m. HK)President Donald Trump said Chinese leader Xi Jinping is “working very hard” on controlling the outbreak.“It’s a tremendous problem. But they’re very capable and they’ll get to it,” Trump said at a Washington event Friday with Border Patrol agents, noting he has spoken with Xi.Of Americans with the virus, “many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape,” he said.Wuhan Sharply Tightens Lockdown of Residents (1 p.m. NY)Wuhan tightened its quarantine on residents and said people will be confined to their neighborhoods except to seek medical care, work to fight the outbreak or keep vital services going. Wuhan has opened quarantine centers to house thousands of patients and others with symptoms, and Hubei province, where the city is located, has announced thousands of new cases a day, according to a statement.Wuhan residents will now be allowed to leave residential compounds only for medical care. Other cities that have put lockdowns in place have allowed people to leave every few days to buy food. Neighborhoods will be barricaded off to keep people from getting in or out, and non-residents won’t be able to enter neighborhoods that aren’t theirs.Researchers Publish New Images of the Virus (9:54 a.m. NY)U.S. researchers published new images of the coronavirus, some of the most detailed visuals yet of the pathogen.The images were released Thursday by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. They were made with scanning and transmission electron microscopes.To see more of the images, click here.\--With assistance from Pavel Alpeyev, Chelsea Mes, Yinan Zhao, Niu Shuping, Iain Rogers, Michael Bellusci and Wout Vergauwen.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Jing Yang in Shanghai at email@example.com;Dong Lyu in Beijing at firstname.lastname@example.org;Steve Geimann in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org, Anand KrishnamoorthyFor 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 former Apple Inc. chip executive sued for allegedly betraying the iPhone maker by launching a startup and poaching its employees accused the technology giant of doing the same to him.Gerard Williams III, who last year left his job as lead chip architect at Apple and co-founded Nuvia Inc., fired back with his own claims against his former employer. He says Apple tried to stop his firm from hiring its engineers while simultaneously recruiting staff from Nuvia.Apple’s lawsuit is designed to “suffocate the creation of new technologies and solutions by a new business, and to diminish the freedom of entrepreneurs to seek out more fulfilling work,” according to a filing by Williams late Thursday in state court in San Jose, California.In January, Williams failed to persuade a judge to dismiss Apple’s complaint accusing him of using company resources to create an idea for Nuvia in violation of a contract. The Cupertino, California-based company declined to comment on Williams’s latest filing, which couldn’t immediately be confirmed in court records though it was verified by a Nuvia spokesman.Read More: Apple Gains Footing in Court Feud With Ex-Executive Turned RivalNuvia is developing a chip to power cloud servers. Williams, who spent nearly a decade at Apple, says he raised the possibility of developing such technology years ago, but the idea was rejected by then-Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, and by Johny Srouji, who’s now Apple’s head of hardware technology, because they thought it would detract from the company’s work on consumer facing technology. Apple continues to hold that position today, according to Williams.After Nuvia launched, Apple’s Vice President of Silicon Engineering Sribalan Santhanam warned of “consequences” if the startup continued hiring Apple engineers, according to Williams. He also alleges the iPhone maker monitored his conversations with Apple employees and that its human resources department used a “heavy-handed campaign” to keep staff from talking to him.Williams claims he’s maintained the appropriate distance with his former employer and colleagues since leaving. Williams said Apple’s Anand Shimpi sent him numerous texts after Williams left the company, including material marked “Apple Confidential” in an April conversation. Williams said he told Shimpi this was “inappropriate and unwelcome,” according to the filing. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a query about Shimpi.Williams says Apple went to great lengths to keep him from leaving, including an offer from Srouji for a six-month paid sabbatical to stay. At a going-away party, the company gave Williams a one-off iPad engraved with signatures from top Apple executives, according to the filing.The case is Apple Inc. v. Williams III, 19-cv-352866, California Superior Court, Santa Clara County (San Jose).(Updates with details from filing in seventh paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at email@example.com;Ian King in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at email@example.com, Peter BlumbergFor 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.
Yahoo Finance is maintaining a working list companies that have been affected by the outbreak, and are expected to feel the effects through the first half of the year.
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Federal Trade Commission just ordered major technology companies to fork over details on waves of small acquisitions made during the last decade. A more sizable deal is also seen as a target for the regulator: Google’s $1.1 billion purchase of mapping app Waze.The FTC quickly approved the 2013 transaction, but antitrust experts say the regulator will take a second look because it combined two popular digital mapping services under the same corporate roof, eliminated a fast-growing Google rival and solidified the internet giant’s grip on valuable data.Bilal Sayyed, the FTC’s director for the Office of Policy Planning, told reporters on Tuesday that the agency is planning to examine many deals that were reviewed in the past, while declining to share specific examples.“Certainly, Waze is one of them,” said Robert Litan, a partner at Korein Tillery LLC and former Justice Department antitrust official. Google declined to comment.Alphabet Inc.’s Google has acquired dozens of startups over the years to add technical talent, fill product holes, gather new users and accumulate more data. Few of these transactions rang traditional antitrust alarm bells, but in aggregate they helped the company build the western world’s largest online search, digital mapping and advertising businesses. Global watchdogs are now investigating whether this dominance is harming business customers and consumers. Reassessing past acquisitions is part of this effort, and the Waze deal is a clear candidate.“It was literally Google acquiring its number one competitor in maps,” said Sally Hubbard, director of enforcement strategy at the Open Markets Institute, which is pushing for a crackdown on big internet platforms. “It was a bad deal that should have been blocked.”Back in 2013, the acquisition was a strategic coup. Google faced two existential threats at the time: social media and smartphones. Social networks, like Facebook, were stealing eyeballs and advertising, while mobile apps risked displacing key Google services, including its digital maps, that were mainly used on desktop computers. Waze was riding both trends. The startup’s mobile app drew in dedicated fans who posted frequent updates on traffic and interacted with one another, generating social and location-related data in new ways that Google couldn’t match.When Google announced the deal, Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said the “move eliminates Waze as a potential acquisition target for competitors who could use the app’s collection of data and 50 million users to bolster their own location-based products.”Antitrust regulators in the U.K. launched a more in-depth investigation of the Waze deal, asking Google to keep Waze separate from the rest of its businesses while conducting the probe. The final report from the Office of Fair Trading, published in December 2013, cited concerns from other companies that Google was knocking out a threat to its mapping service. One complainant said “the acquisition removed Google’s closest competitor.”Read more: How Tech’s New Monopolies Test Old Antitrust Thinking: QuickTakeTrustbusters didn’t have to rely on rivals. Waze Chief Executive Officer Noam Bardin offered the same assessment two months before joining Google. “We’re the only reasonable competition to [Google] in this market of creating maps that are really geared for mobile, for real-time, for consumers -- for the new world that we’re moving into,“ he said at an industry conference.A Google spokeswoman said the company’s former employees have created “more than 2,000 startups -- including companies like Pinterest, Quip and Instagram -- that’s orders of magnitude more than the number of companies we’ve acquired. We always seek to work constructively with regulators and we’re happy to provide information about our business.”In late 2012, Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook suggested his customers should use map apps, including Waze, sparking a surge of downloads.By 2013, the Israeli startup was close to a deal to pre-install its app on devices made by an unnamed smartphone company, according to the U.K. investigation. There was also the potential to work with Facebook Inc. to enable people to chat and meet up with friends driving to the same location, which could have given Waze more users, the report said. Google’s acquisition abruptly halted those initiatives.The regulator concluded that the deal would not damage competition in the U.K., citing Apple’s Maps app as a rival. But last year, it asked economists to evaluate some of its past decisions, including the Waze ruling. That study found that the U.K. agency didn’t consider how Google and Waze would make money from their maps -- even though this was already relevant when the deal happened.“The merger with Waze might have made Google an even more relevant provider of location data, reinforcing its competitive position for the provision of online advertising across all its services,” according the study from consulting firm Lear.European regulators have since targeted the data that big internet companies collect as a competition issue. If the FTC takes a similar approach, the agency could probe how much of Waze’s driving data feeds back into Google’s ads business. “These free map apps are just data-suction tools,” Hubbard said. “Regulators are starting to figure it out.”Google has kept Waze a separate service, but the internet giant has used data from the app to improve its ads, according to RBC’s Mahaney. “New ad formats in Google Maps have clear similarities to existing formats in Waze (coincidence?),” the analysts wrote in a September note to investors. “Google has now collected enough data through Waze to effectively roll out broader solutions for advertisers in Google Maps and provide them attractive returns on investment without severely impacting the user experience.”Read more: Google Flips the Switch on Maps, Its Next Big Money MakerFiona Scott Morton, a Yale University economist and former Justice Department antitrust official, said Waze may be of particular interest to the FTC because location data makes Google’s dominant Search advertising much more potent. “Another party that wanted to be good at search advertising would need a good map,” she added.On Tuesday, the FTC demanded internal documents from Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. to see if they “are making potentially anticompetitive acquisitions of nascent or potential competitors.”The regulator is eyeing deals that weren’t reported under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act, which requires companies to tell enforcement agencies about acquisitions of a certain size. While Google declared plans to buy Waze, it never filed the purchase under HSR, likely relying on an exemption related to the startup’s lack of U.S. revenue at the time.The FTC can investigate deals even when there’s no HSR filing. The agency also has the power to probe acquisitions that it cleared in the past. In some ways, the recent attention on the tech sector in Washington and Europe is an attempt to revisit the earlier laissez-faire approach to industry consolidation.“They weren’t examined carefully by the agencies,” said Scott Morton. “Now that they understand that these companies have acquired market power, they’re interested in finding out how that happened.”(Updates with comment from Google in 11th paragraph)\--With assistance from David McLaughlin and Aoife White.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Bergen in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org;Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alistair Barr at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew PollackFor 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 smartphone sales have slowed in recent years, designers have been looking to reinvent the category. But Motorola’s new $1,500 Razr shows there’s a long way to go before flagship devices like the iPhone are disrupted.The Razr is the third foldable Android phone launched by a big-name brand in recent months. The first attempts from Samsung and Huawei transformed into tablets, whereas the Razr is more of a foldable phone. Its 6.2-inch screen shuts into a small square, about half the size of an iPhone 11 Pro Max, and it benefits from deep nostalgia for the original Razr flip phone that defined the pre-iPhone era in the U.S.Novelty and portability are pluses, but that’s not enough for a $1,500 handset. As solid as it feels when shut, it’s decidedly flimsy in the hand when opened up. The foldable screen — which Motorola stresses is built to withstand daily use — feels like it might work well for several months, but not for years. Smartphone buyers increasingly expect their devices to last as long as four years, especially the most expensive models. The Razr doesn’t immediately convince that it can hold up over time.Even if durability wasn’t a concern, Motorola’s Razr suffers from compromised specifications. Its 2,510mAh battery is behind the times for a device of its size, its camera underwhelms, the Android 9 Pie operating system is not the latest and its Qualcomm 700-series Snapdragon processor isn’t top of the line despite the phone’s premium price.Samsung launched the Galaxy Z Flip on Tuesday with a similar square shape, but its inner display is larger at 6.7 inches and has a glass rather than plastic screen. In the hand, Samsung’s offering feels more refined and reliable. With a better processor, bigger battery and a price more than $100 less, the Z Flip instantly vaults ahead of the Razr.As early users of the Moto Razr have noted, the phone makes a slight, unnerving cracking sound when opened and closed. That’s something users will need to get used to. If you rub your finger along the plastic inner display, you’ll feel lumps that are part of the phone’s mechanism. Motorola says that’s normal, but it’s another something you’ll need to get used to. The upper part of the screen feels more solid when pressed than the bottom half, and the entire panel is a fingerprint magnet. The elongated screen also hampers ergonomics when trying to type something on the keyboard.The good news about the display is that its two creases can only really be seen when the screen is off. That’s a step forward from Samsung’s 2019 Galaxy Fold. Moreover, like the Fold and the Z Flip, the Razr’s screen is protected from scratches and accidental fumbles in a way that a device that doesn’t fold inward is not.Motorola’s experimentation with foldable touchscreen technology is commendable, and making it happen inside a device that closes up into a cute square is equally impressive. There’s an undeniable tactile appeal to answering and ending calls by opening and slamming a phone shut, but it’s not of huge importance in an era when most people jump directly to Twitter, TikTok or their texts.The Razr simply feels too flimsy and compromised. Its trade-offs are far too high for anyone to make the switch from an iPhone, Samsung or even one of Motorola’s own, more conventional smartphones.Foldable phones certainly have their benefits, but at this point they’re like expensive weekend cars: something additional to your daily driver and not yet essential to most people. Smartphone makers are making fast strides toward ironing out the impracticalities and compromises, and once they do, there’ll be plenty of people ready to buy in. But Motorola’s revived Razr isn’t the product to mark that inflection point.To contact the author of this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Vlad Savov at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor 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 most concerning ads on social media are not necessarily false but rather those “posing as articles,” says Vivek Shah, who runs J2 Global, an advertising and media company that owns sites including Mashable, IGN, and PCMag.
With cases like that in mind, Apple introduced a feature in 2018 that baked the "See this thing, but in your room!" concept right into iOS/iPad OS. At first, though, Quick Look was really just for that — looking. You could look at an item in AR, but that was about it.
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.If Ireland’s populist Sinn Fein party manages to form a government, Apple Inc., bankers and real-estate companies may be among the biggest losers.The party, which won the popular vote in Ireland’s general election last week, is opening discussions with others to try and form a coalition. There’s no guarantee it will find enough allies, with the established parties of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail wary of the Sinn Fein’s past links to the IRA terror group and its economic policesFianna Fail leader will seek to create a possible government with all parties except Sinn Fein, Irish media said Friday. Nonetheless, the election results spooked investors, sending bank and real-estate shares plunging. Here are a few of of those who stand to lose from a Sinn Fein-influenced government.Apple Inc.One of the country’s biggest employers, Apple was hit with a 13 billion-euro ($14.13 billion) tax bill in 2016 from the European Commission, which said it got a sweetheart deal from the Irish state. Until now, the Irish government has vehemently denied any wrong-doing and is appealing the decision.Sinn Fein criticized the government for fighting the case, saying the money should be accepted as a windfall to build homes and hospitals. It wants to stop the appeal, a move which would likely prove politically popular. However, it’s not clear that Ireland dropping its fight would end the matter. Apple is also appealing the decision, and that may well continue no matter what the Irish decide. Sinn Fein and any potential coalition partners would also need to carefully monitor whether such a move would jeopardize the 6,000 jobs the company provides in Ireland.Google Etc.Ireland’s economy is underpinned by foreign direct investment, with companies like Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. employing thousands in Dublin and elsewhere. Many of these jobs are highly paid, and so may be hit by Sinn Fein’s plan to raise taxes on employers and the wealthy.For example, the party wants to introduce a 15.75% rate of employers’ social security on the portion of salaries over 100,000 euros, bring in a 5% levy on individual incomes above 140,000 euros and abolish a tax break for the “wealthiest” workers at multinationals.There may be some push back from potential coalition partners, who might argue such measures would hurt foreign investment and eat away at the tax base. However, the party might be tempted to push on regardless, given the likely political dividend of taxing the better off.Senior BankersA stream of senior bankers such as AIB Chief Executive Officer Bernard Byrne have exited over the last two years, and that’s the put a spotlight on government pay policy in the sector.Bonuses are banned, and salaries capped at 500,000 euros per year for lenders that were bailed out by the state during the financial crisis. The government commissioned a report which set out the case for easing constraints on bankers’ compensation, and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe was considering his next move when the election was called.Now, it’s quietly accepted the prospect of any changes in the medium term is dead. During the campaign, Sinn Fein has made clear it wants the bonus ban to remain, and with pay still a lightning rod for taxpayers forced to bail out the banks, no coalition partner is going to argue against them.Bank InvestorsIn the wake of the bailout, a tax was placed on the sector. Sinn Fein wants to increase that levy, to raise an extra 50 million euros a year, and stop lenders offsetting tax bills with historic losses. It also wants to give the nation’s central bank power to cap mortgage rates and keep the government’s majority stake in AIB.Much of this would be politically popular, but again may not necessarily be straight forward. For example, banks could legally challenge any effort to treat them differently from other kind of companies. Even then though, the banks would likely hoard capital and ease back lending just in case things went wrong.Real-Estate CompaniesSinn Fein wants to raise the rate of commercial stamp duties to 12.5% from 7.5%, pushing builders and developers to construct homes rather than offices.It also wants to cut rents by as much as 1,500 euros a year, and freeze rents for three years. This too, may not be easy. One potential coalition partner, Fianna Fail, backed away from such a proposal during the campaign, arguing it was legally impossible.(Adds government formation developments in third paragraph)\--With assistance from Peter Flanagan.To contact the reporter on this story: Dara Doyle in Dublin at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org, Morwenna Coniam, Richard BravoFor 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) -- Facebook Inc.’s German unit was handed a fine of 51,000 euros ($55,500) for failing to properly nominate a data protection officer for its local office, a penalty privacy regulators said should still serve as a “warning” to others.While the punishment seems tiny for the social network giant, it targets the German unit and not the “billion-dollar parent company,” the data protection authority in Hamburg, Germany, said in its 2019 annual report published on Thursday.“This case should be a clear warning to all other companies: naming a data protection officer and telling the regulator about it are duties,” which the data protection authority takes seriously, the watchdog said in the report. “Even smaller violations like these can lead to substantial penalties.”The penalty was levied under the European Union’s new privacy rules, which took effect in May 2018. The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, gives EU data protection authorities for the first time equal powers to fine companies as much as 4% of global annual sales for the most serious violations of people’s personal data.Facebook’s “careful and professional handling of the violation” has helped avoid an even higher fine, the watchdog said. The company “immediately” stopped the violation and called for a data protection officer “which was simply not communicated,” the report said.The case questions whether “in addition to the Information and Data Protection Commissioner, the German Facebook entity also has to report the contact details of our data protection officer to the Hamburg” regulator, Facebook said in an emailed statement.“This question is discussed controversially, but we have decided to accept the fine,” it said.It’s not the first time the social media giant has been targeted by Europe’s data privacy watchdogs. It’s among the long list of U.S. companies probed by the Irish data protection commission, that also includes Google, Apple Inc. and Twitter Inc.. A case concerning Facebook’s WhatsApp is slated to be among the first to be concluded.(Updates with Facebook comment in sixth paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter ChapmanFor 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.
Big tech companies like Facebook and Google have elicited backlash from some media executives, who say the platforms reward sensational content. Vivek Shah, the chief executive at a fast-growing niche media brand, disagrees.
With its new $75 million investment from Sirius XM, SoundCloud says it's focused on being more of a "social music experience" than competing directly with the likes of Apple Music.
The daily covers the FTC investigation of big tech for antitrust activity, Amazon's motion seeking Trump testimony, coronavirus impact on Apple's Chinese manufacturing and other stories.
(Bloomberg) -- Essential Products Inc., a smartphone startup founded by Android creator Andy Rubin, has shut down.The company said it “made the difficult decision to cease operations.” Essential took its Project GEM phone, with a miniature screen and new software platform, as far as it could and sees “no clear path to deliver it to customers,” according to a blog post on Wednesday.Rubin founded Essential after leading Google’s Android mobile software business for years. He left the internet giant in 2014 after an employee accused him of sexual misconduct. Google investigated, found the allegation credible and asked him to resign, but also gave him a $90 million exit package. That inspired protests by thousands of Google employees and at least one lawsuit against the company. Rubin has denied wrongdoing.Essential raised more than $300 million from firms including Redpoint Ventures, Altimeter Capital, Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Foxconn Technology Group. Rubin’s startup incubator Playground Global was also a backer.The startup was one of the first companies to use a full-screen design for smartphones, a trend that technology giants including Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. followed. Essential devices didn’t sell well early on and it cut jobs and put itself up for sale.To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alistair Barr, Jillian WardFor 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.
Outsized stock price gains for Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp mean the two tech titans' shares have attained unusual status: a combined weight of 10% of the benchmark S&P 500 index. The S&P 500, which many use a proxy for the overall market, is a market-cap weighted index, meaning that large stocks carry more influence. The last time a year ended with two stocks amounting to at least one-tenth of the S&P 500 was 1982, according to data from Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, when IBM and AT&T amounted to about 10.9% of the index.
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Google claims the European Union unfairly ramped up a then-record 2.4 billion-euro ($2.6 billion) antitrust fine by hundreds of millions of euros using flawed number-crunching meant to punish the “gravity” of its alleged ill-treatment of shopping rivals.The EU based its fine on part of Google’s revenue from 2016, then increased the basic penalty by “the highest multiplier” possible for a monopoly-type case and then increased that figure again, Google says in documents at the bloc’s General Court, where it’s slugging it out with the regulator over the 2017 levy.Lawyers say the court clash will help set the scene for a broader crackdown on U.S. tech giants by Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner. Apple Inc. is separately battling her massive back-tax order and Amazon.com Inc. is currently being investigated for using data on third-party sellers on its platform to help its own sales.Since the first decision in 2017, the European Commission has also levied separate fines against Google for unfairly linking apps to Android software and for thwarting advertising rivals.The exact percentage of the multiplier used initially to increase Google’s fine is redacted in a print version of the report, placed outside the Luxembourg courtroom on the first part of a three-day hearing on the company’s appeal against the EU decision.So-called multipliers are usually used to increase fines for cartels where companies are found guilty of colluding to cheat customers of suppliers, viewed as an extremely serious offense under EU antitrust rules.“Even in the worst cartel fines” the “gravity multiplier rarely exceeds 20%,” according to Google.While the EU cites Google’s high market shares and the economic importance of these markets they “do not justify such a high multiplier,” according to the company.The EU in 2017 cited the need to set the penalty “at a level sufficient to ensure deterrence.”That was “unjustified,” Google said, according to the report, arguing that it “cooperated constructively” with the EU and “did not conceal the practice at issue which rules out the need for a specific deterrence component.”Google says it should never have been fined at all since the EU was using a new theory to weigh behavior the company could not have known was unlawful. The commission contends that there was nothing novel about its legal analysis and Google didn’t help the EU in any way that would have reduced the penalty.To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Luxembourg at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter Chapman, Molly SchuetzFor 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) -- It’s been almost two years since President Donald Trump announced, on March 1, 2018, that he would be imposing a 25% tariff on steel imports to the U.S. and 10% on aluminum. “We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer,” he tweeted at the time.The tariffs exempted a few countries to start, and were rolled back last May for products from Canada and Mexico, but otherwise still stand. Things have gone pretty well for the country in the meantime. For companies and workers in the U.S. steel and aluminum industries, not so much. U.S. Steel Corp.’s share price, for example, closed at its highest level in almost seven years on the day the tariffs were announced. It has since declined 80%.Not every steel and aluminum manufacturer’s stock chart makes this point quite so perfectly. The biggest U.S. steel producer, mini-mill operator Nucor Corp., saw its stock price peak in January 2018, not March, and it’s down a mere 31% since then. At the biggest U.S. aluminum producer, Alcoa Corp., the stock peaked in April 2018 and is down 74% since. Those are still sharp declines amid a generally rising stock market, though, and I was unable to find a single publicly traded U.S. steel or aluminum maker that hasn’t experienced something similar since early or mid-2018.As for the workers, primary metals manufacturers did keep adding jobs for the rest of 2018. But they began shedding them last April and now employ fewer people than when the tariffs were announced.As described in detail in the current Bloomberg Businessweek, the tariffs have directly harmed some U.S. steelmakers that depend on imported semi-finished steel slabs. For the most part, though, the industry’s troubles seem to be the product not of the metals tariffs but of a global industrial slump. The world’s biggest steelmaker, Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal SA, has also experienced a big (45%) stock-price drop since mid-2018. Also, as someone who speculated back in March 2018 that the tariffs might help metals manufacturers at the expense of the much-larger industries that use that metal, I feel obliged to report that this doesn’t seem to have happened either, at least not in terms of employment.What does strike me, though, as I think of the industry sectors that President Trump has gone to bat for in a big way with tariffs and other forms of aid — metals makers, appliance manufacturers, coal miners, and oil and gas drillers sprang immediately to mind — is that hardly any of them have been having a great time of it lately, with all those I just named shedding jobs last year.(1) Meanwhile, the giant technology companies that have been recipients chiefly of the president’s ire keep chugging right along. The causes for these differing fortunes surely go way beyond White House policy, and it’s worth reiterating that the economy overall has been growing and creating jobs. But it does raise some questions about the president’s priorities.There is an unkind saying about Trump to the effect that everything he touches dies, a reference to the many past business failures with which he has been associated. It’s not entirely true — the Manhattan real estate business is still quite alive, despite his continued involvement in it — and the direction of causality isn’t always clear. With Trump’s economic interventions, maybe it’s just that the man is drawn to things that have their glory days behind them (like golf!). As someone who chose to pursue a career in journalism, I cannot help but have some sympathy with this worldview. But nostalgia seems like a counterproductive motivation for industrial policy. Picking winners is hard enough for a government to do successfully, but you’re stacking the deck against yourself if you focus most of your attention on the losers.On Tuesday, the president seemed to change his tune a bit on big tech, celebrating the stock-market gains of the “trillion-dollar club” of Google-parent Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. I wouldn’t make too much of that — on the same day the Federal Trade Commission, controlled by Trump appointees, ordered those four companies plus Facebook Inc. to cough up details of past acquisitions for an investigation that might eventually lead to antitrust action. But if Trump ever decides to help the tech giants, look out. A clearer sell signal would be hard to imagine.(1) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was an increase in employment in oil and gas extraction over the course of 2019, but an even bigger decrease in employment in "support activities for oil and gas extraction."To contact the author of this story: Justin Fox at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Stacey Shick at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Justin Fox is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He was the editorial director of Harvard Business Review and wrote for Time, Fortune and American Banker. He is the author of “The Myth of the Rational Market.”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.