|Bid||0.00 x 1100|
|Ask||0.00 x 900|
|Day's range||203.50 - 206.11|
|52-week range||142.00 - 233.47|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||1.09|
|PE ratio (TTM)||17.20|
|Earnings date||30 Jul 2019|
|Forward dividend & yield||3.08 (1.50%)|
|1y target est||212.08|
Rep. David Cicilline, chairman of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, has a lot of questions for Facebook as
Anglo-German chip designer Dialog Semiconductor on Wednesday raised its second-quarter earnings outlook, citing strong revenue and gains from a transfer of assets to iPhone maker Apple. The operating profit includes $28 million in one-offs, including $16 million on the transfer of assets to Apple and $12 million from non-recurring engineering contracts. Dialog completed a $600 million deal in April to transfer programmers and patents to Apple.
A Congolese army officer arrived in the village of Kafwaya in June and warned residents not to trespass on a major Chinese copper and cobalt mine next door. Deploying soldiers to clear tens of thousands of illegal informal miners from mining concessions is a new approach by the authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo, who have wrestled with the problem for decades.
(Bloomberg) -- Twitter and Square Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey addressed Apple Inc. employees at the iPhone maker’s headquarters Tuesday, a signal of the strong ties between the Silicon Valley giants.Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter Inc. and Square Inc., is one of several speakers talking to select Apple employees as part of an ongoing series, people familiar with the matter said. The billionaire spoke with staff from the marketing department, they said, asking not to be identified discussing internal matters.While the address itself didn’t point to a new partnership between Dorsey’s companies and Apple, it was indicative of their bond and existing collaboration. Apple promoted Twitter as an iOS app coming to the Mac this fall, and the social media service is deeply integrated into both the iPhone and iPad. Apple was also among the first retailers to sell Square’s now-common credit-card reader. Apple and Twitter representatives declined to comment.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Gurman in San Francisco at email@example.com;Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. was challenged by a top House lawmaker over whether the online retail giant is harming competition as the biggest tech companies faced their harshest antitrust scrutiny in years on Capitol Hill.Democratic Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who chairs the House antitrust panel, put Amazon on the hot seat at a hearing Tuesday, suggesting its business model suffers from conflicts of interest and that it can use its control over data to thwart competition from third-party sellers on its platform.“You are selling your own products on a platform you control and they’re competing with products from other sellers,” Cicilline said.Amazon lawyer Nate Sutton denied the company uses data it collects on sales to favor its own products over third-party sellers. He also argued that it’s common in the retail industry for stores to sell their own brands that compete against others.Cicilline fired back: “The difference is Amazon is a trillion-dollar company that runs an online platform with real-time data on millions of purchases and billions in commerce and can manipulate algorithms on its platform and favor its own product -- that is not the same as a local retailer,” he said.The exchange, as Amazon’s Prime Day sales event extended into a second day, came at hearing where four of the biggest U.S. tech firms -- Amazon, Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc. -- defended their businesses against criticism that they are too dominant. The session marked the first time the companies have faced grilling from Congress about whether they are hindering competition.Cicilline said his inquiry is still in the fact-gathering stage but the series will eventually lead to legislative steps that go beyond self-regulation.“I think it will absolutely require some action by Congress, either by way of regulation, new statutory enactments, new resources for antitrust agencies, more likely a combination of those three things,” he told reporters after the executives testified.Cicilline is bearing down on the companies as antitrust enforcers prepare their own scrutiny after a mostly hands-off approach to the industry.The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, which share antitrust jurisdiction, have taken the first steps toward investigating conduct by the biggest companies by divvying up oversight with the Justice Department taking responsibility for Google and Apple, and FTC overseeing Facebook and Amazon.A report by the University of Chicago’s Stigler Center this year found that digital markets tend to be winner-take-all in which one firm comes to dominate. That creates an incentive for the companies to edge out new challengers that could threaten that dominance.Republican Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin on Tuesday cautioned against calls for breaking up the big technology companies.“Just because a business is big doesn’t mean that it is bad,” he said. Antitrust laws “do not exist to punish businesses just because they are big.”All four companies repeatedly insisted that they face abundant competition, from one another and from other companies. Although Amazon controls about half of U.S. e-commerce sales, Sutton pointed out the company makes up just 4% of all retail sales, with competition from Walmart Inc. and Kroger Co., among others. Facebook’s Director of Public Policy Matt Perault pointed to competition from Apple, Amazon and Google, among others.That argument met with skepticism from lawmakers. Representative Joe Neguse, a Colorado Democrat, pointed out that Facebook has the most monthly active users worldwide of any social media platform, with its Instagram, Whatsapp, and Facebook messenger in the top six.“You can understand the skepticism because when a company owns four of the largest six entities measured by active users in the world in that industry, we have a word for that, and that’s monopoly – or at least monopoly power,” he said.\--With assistance from Daniel Stoller.To contact the reporters on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. technology giants are headed for their biggest antitrust showdown with Congress in 20 years as lawmakers and regulators demand to know whether companies like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. use their dominance to squelch innovation. The House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee is holding a hearing Tuesday on the market power of the largest tech companies. Executives from Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Google and Facebook are testifying. Here’s the latest from the committee room:Facebook Denies Its Integration Plan Designed to Thwart Breakup (5:37 p.m.)Facebook’s Matt Perault denied that the company’s planned integration of its Messenger app, its WhatsApp chat service and its Instagram photo app was designed to thwart calls to break up the properties.“There are many services in the market that offer more privacy-protective services,” he told Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland. “Our pivot toward privacy with respect to inter-operating our services was because of the competition that we faced in the market.”Raskin had suggested the announcement was a “ploy” and said it coincided with growing calls to break up Facebook by splitting off WhatsApp and Instagram.Democrat David Cicilline, who chairs the panel, also asked Amazon lawyer Nate Sutton about reports that the fees merchants must pay have been increasing in recent years.“Aren’t these steady fee hikes by Amazon a pure exercise of its outsize buyer power?” Cicilline asked.Sutton said that the estimates weren’t accurate.“The fees that are necessary to be paid in our store to sell items have actually been steady for a number of years and slightly declining,” Sutton told Cicilline.Heated Exchange Over Amazon’s Third-Party Sellers (4:32 p.m.)Democrat David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who is chairing the hearing, pressed Amazon on whether its business model suffers from a conflict of interest because it sells its own products that compete directly against those from third-party sellers. That is a complaint also raised by Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.“You are selling your own products on a platform you control and they’re competing with products from other sellers,” Cicilline said.Amazon lawyer Nate Sutton said it’s common in retail for stores to sell their own brands that compete against others.Cicilline fired back: “The difference is Amazon is a trillion-dollar company that runs an online platform with real-time data on millions of purchases and billions of commerce and can manipulate algorithms on its platform and favor its own product -- that is not the same as a local retailer,” he said.Cicilline repeatedly pressed Sutton about whether the company uses data on the third-party sellers to advantage its own products. Sutton said Amazon ranks results by the same criteria and doesn’t use data to compete against sellers.“You do collect enormous data,” Cicilline said. “You’re saying you don’t use that in any way to promote Amazon products, and I remind you sir, you’re under oath.”Cicilline says companies have de facto ‘immunity’ (3:38 p.m.)Cicilline slammed the dominance of the tech companies, saying they are shielded from competitive threats because of barriers to rivals that could potentially take them on. They also use their resources to prevent startups from challenging them and pose a risk to small businesses, he said.Cicilline said the dominance of tech companies stems from policy choices. Antitrust enforcers haven’t challenged a single one of their acquisitions or sued them for anticompetitive conduct like they did with Microsoft Corp. 20 years ago, he said.“Congress and antitrust enforcers allowed these firms to regulate themselves with little oversight,” Cicilline said in his opening remarks. “As a result, the internet has become increasingly concentrated, less open, and growingly hostile to innovation and entrepreneurship.”“Together, these enforcement decisions have created a de facto immunity for online platforms,” Cicilline added.Companies argue they face widespread competition (2:56 p.m.)The four tech giants tried to head off criticism that they dominate their respective markets, as executives in prepared testimony all cited intense competition they say they face from rivals.Nate Sutton, a lawyer for Amazon, which controls about half of U.S. e-commerce sales, told the House antitrust panel that the company makes up just 4% of U.S. retail sales, with competition from Walmart Inc. and Kroger Co.Facebook’s Director of Public Policy Matt Perault pointed to competition from Apple, Amazon and Google, among others, in his remarks.The companies also touted their development of innovative products that have won over consumers and their investment in research and development. Google’s director of economic policy, Adam Cohen, said the company spent $21.4 billion on R&D, three times more than in 2013.The hearing, led by Cicilline, started at about 3 p.m. Dozens of people were waiting in line to get into the hearing room.Here’s What Tech Faces in Washington:The hearing is one of a several that big tech companies face this week in Congress as Washington calls the giants to task for a range of concerns. President Donald Trump is pressuring the companies in Twitter barrages for issues including anti-conservative bias, while the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have taken the first steps toward investigating their conduct. The Justice Department is taking responsibility for scrutiny of Google and Apple, as the FTC oversees Facebook and Amazon.Also on Tuesday, David Marcus, who leads Facebook’s Libra and block chain efforts, heard from disdainful Democrats at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on the company’s proposed cryptocurrency.Trump said Tuesday morning that his administration will look into allegations by billionaire Peter Thiel that Google’s work with China is “seemingly treasonous.”Trump has also said he wants gather tech executives at the White House.Google’s global public policy chief is scheduled to testify Tuesday before a Senate hearing focused on allegations the company engages in censorship.More on tech and antitrust: Did Big Tech Get Too Big? U.S. Joins Europe in Asking: QuickTakeTo contact the reporters on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at email@example.com;Ben Brody in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at email@example.com, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The cable killer is on the loose and releasing earnings tomorrow. Netflix (NFLX) has been on a tear over the past 5 years. This stock has displayed returns close to 500% outpacing the rest of the FANG.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. plans to fund original podcasts that would be exclusive to its audio service, according to people familiar with the matter, increasing its investment in the industry to keep competitors Spotify and Stitcher at bay.Executives at the company have reached out to media companies and their representatives to discuss buying exclusive rights to podcasts, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the conversations are preliminary. Apple has yet to outline a clear strategy, but has said it plans to pursue the kind of deals it didn’t make before.Apple all but invented the podcasting business with the creation of a network that collects thousands of podcasts from across the internet in a feed on people’s phones, smartwatches and computers. The Apple Podcast app still accounts for anywhere from 50% to 70% of listening for most podcasts, according to industry executives.The news sent shares of Spotify down as much as 2.7% to $150.09 in New York on Tuesday, marking the biggest intraday decline in three weeks. The stock had been up 36% this year through Monday’s close.After years without making substantial changes to its podcasting business, which first launched in 2005, Apple has recently focused on upgrading its app and has added new tools for podcast makers. Still, new entrants have encroached on Apple’s once-indomitable position, attracting new users by offering exclusive access to original podcasts.A representative for Cupertino, California-based Apple declined to comment.Podcasts AppApple launched Podcast Analytics last year, rolling out a service that gives podcast makers more insight into their listeners and performance. This year, Apple announced a dedicated Podcasts app for Mac computers and launched a web interface to expand the amount of people who can listen to podcasts through its service.Apple placed executive Oliver Schusser in charge of podcasts and music, with Ben Cave helping oversee the podcasting strategy.“You are nowhere in podcasting if you don’t have shows listed in Apple podcasts,” said Lex Friedman, the chief revenue officer of Art19, which provides services to podcast producers such as Wondery Media and Tribune. But given all of the recent activity by its competition, “it would surprise me if Apple didn’t do anything with exclusives.”Video ServiceApple has refrained from funding podcasts thus far to avoid the perception of playing favorites. But the tech giant has evinced an interest in funding some of the programming it distributes. The company is producing dozens of original TV shows and movies for a new video service called Apple TV+. The first of those series will debut later this year.Spotify Technology SA, already Apple’s largest rival in paid music streaming, has spent about $400 million acquiring podcast companies. It’s also funded original shows from comedian Amy Schumer, journalist Jemele Hill and hip-hop artist Joe Budden. Earlier this year, it announced a deal to host podcasts from a company founded by former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.These moves have established Spotify as the clear No. 2 player in podcasting, according to industry executives. The company has seized between 10% and 20% of listeners, and accounts for half of the audience on some shows. Other companies, including IHeartMedia, Stitcher, Pandora and Luminary, have also devoted more resources to the medium.Apple is in the midst of building a suite of media services across audio and video that tether people to its phones and other devices. Podcasting is still a small business compared with music or TV. Podcasting companies generated $479 million in advertising sales in the U.S. last year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.Growing FastBut the industry has been growing. Sales have grown 65% a year for the past three years, according to the IAB, while the number of monthly listeners to podcasts has doubled over the past five years.Still, Apple doesn’t make its own money off of the Podcasts app. It doesn’t charge for the software or run its own advertising.However, growing the Podcasts app and adding exclusives could give some consumers another reason to stick to their iPhone or subscribe to complementary paid services like Apple Music. Apple also has an advertising division focused on ads in the App Store, which theoretically could eventually be applied to Podcasts if it continues to increase its user base.(Updates with Spotify shares in fourth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Lucas Shaw in Los Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.org;Mark Gurman in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
There have been three trade war truces since the US-China trade war erupted last year. Will the current trade talks be successful?
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The venture-capital business is one marked by a fundamental asymmetry, says Scott Kupor, managing partner at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz and this week's guest on Masters in Business: The average venture capitalist has done hundreds or maybe even thousands of deals; the typical entrepreneur is raising capital for the first time.This information and experience asymmetry creates issues, not only for the entrepreneur, who doesn't want to be taken advantage of, but also for the VC, who is concerned with finding and funding quality deals. Kupor, author of the new book "Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It," describes the road map for startups that want to better understand the nature of venture capital. He explains the advantages that accrue to any founder who knows how to successfully navigate the perils and pitfalls of the capital-raising process.Kupor explains why Y Combinator and other seed funds were such game changers for start-ups. As entrepreneurs became more educated, the deal funnel and gate-keeper relationship that was previously controlled by a handful of connected VCs was altered. These changes were quite significant: Since 2005, Y Combinator has backed more than 2,000 startups with a combined valuation of more than $100 billion.The influence of venture capital on the U.S. economy is hard to overstate. Venture-backed companies now spend 44% of the entire research-and-development budget for public companies, and the 656 publicly traded businesses that were VC backed make up 20% of the total market capitalization of all public companies.Kupor's favorite books are here.You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on Apple iTunes, Bloomberg, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Castbox, and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite hosts can be found here.Next week, we speak with Allison Schrager, co-founder of LifeCycle Finance Partners and author of “An Economist Walks into a Brothel: And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk.”To contact the author of this story: Barry Ritholtz 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.Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He founded Ritholtz Wealth Management and was chief executive and director of equity research at FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Amazon.com Inc. faces a full-blown European Union antitrust probe as the bloc’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager prepares for a summer finale to her five-year crackdown on U.S. technology giants.The Dane, who heads the EU’s competition division, is poised to open a formal investigation into Amazon within days, according to two people familiar with the case, who asked not to be named because the process isn’t public.Vestager has hinted for months that she wanted to escalate a preliminary inquiry into how Amazon may be unfairly using sales data to undercut smaller shops on its Marketplace platform. By ramping up the probe, officials can start to build a case that could ultimately lead to fines or an order to change the way the Seattle-based company operates.“If powerful platforms are found to use data they amass to get an edge over their competitors, both consumers and the market bear the cost,” said Johannes Kleis of BEUC, the European consumer organization in Brussels.The probe comes as Qualcomm Inc. could be hit with a second hefty EU penalty as soon as next week for allegedly underpricing chips to squeeze a smaller competitor. The U.S. chipmaker was fined last year for thwarting rival suppliers to Apple Inc. and has been the subject of on-and-off antitrust scrutiny since 2005.Vestager has already slapped Google with record fines and ordered Apple to repay billions of euros in back taxes. By taking on Amazon’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, Vestager is keeping up the pressure on big tech right to the very end of her mandate, due to expire in October.Amazon and the European Commission in Brussels both declined to comment on the plans to open the probe. Qualcomm representatives declined to immediately comment.Business ModelWhile it will be the first time the EU has directly targeted Amazon’s online retail business model, it’s the third time the company has been probed by the regulator, following tax and e-book investigations.Although Google has been fined once a year for the past three years, racking up 8.2 billion euros ($9.2 billion) in penalties, the Alphabet Inc. unit still faces early-stage inquiries into local business and jobs searches. Apple also has to contend with a complaint from Spotify Technology SA and Facebook Inc. is getting questions on how it uses and shares data from apps.To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Chapman at firstname.lastname@example.org, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Arm Holdings, the British chip technology firm whose designs underlie mobile phone chips, is changing its licensing model to pursue a bigger customer base as more devices become connected to the internet. Arm, owned by Japan's Softbank Group Corp, licenses its chip designs and technology to firms like Qualcomm Inc , Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd , which in turn use that technology in their respective chips for smartphones and other devices. In the past, Arm required customers to pick a specific design and pay an upfront licensing fee that could cost several million dollars before getting access to it, later charging a per-chip royalty after chips went into production.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Just what is AMS AG up to?On Monday, the supplier to Apple Inc. made a short-lived, 3.7 billion-euro ($4.2 billion) effort to snatch Osram Licht AG from private equity firms Bain Capital and Carlyle Group LP, which had sewn up a lower-priced takeover of the German lighting-maker earlier this month.The abortive effort will underscore investor concerns about the company’s strategy under Chief Executive Officer Alexander Everke. The former NXP Semiconductors NV executive has spent billions of dollars trying to position AMS to capitalize on demand for new sensing technology used in the iPhone’s Face ID recognition system. But after his three years at the helm, the stock is trailing peers Finisar Corp. and Lumentum Holdings Inc.The flirtation with Osram was short and not particularly sweet. At 5:52 p.m. in London, Bloomberg News reported that AMS had made an offer for the Munich-based firm, some 11 days after Osram’s board accepted the private equity firms’ 3.4 billion-euro bid. Within 15 minutes, the target released a statement confirming it had received a non-binding offer from AMS. The company dismissed “the probability of this transaction materializing as rather low.” By midnight, AMS declared it was ending the takeover talks.Maybe the approach was an attempt to get a closer look at Osram’s books, or its 3-D sensing technology. If it was, then full credit to the lighting giant for calling Everke’s bluff, since financing for AMS’s bid wasn’t yet fully in place. While Osram said it would let the bidder perform due diligence, it was quick to emphasize that it could only do so under strict conditions.If it was a serious bid, then AMS shareholders have every right to feel bewildered. The target largely operates in the slowing automotive market, so would have hardly offset stagnating smartphone sales. Concern that the company may be more open to outsized and strategically questionable dealmaking than investors assumed helped to push the stock down by as much as 4.6% on Tuesday morning.Everke would have been asking for a lot of faith from investors to finance the deal. The company was planning to sell new stock – but would still have been left with net debt equivalent to about 27 times this year’s predicted free cash flow. This would have tried investor patience, which has already been sorely tested. AMS has spent $2 billion over three years buying companies and expanding production capacity to secure a dominant position supplying components for 3-D scanners in the latest generation of iPhones, only for sales of the handsets to promptly slow. AMS shares are 66% below their 2018 peak.In 2017, Everke predicted 2019 sales would exceed $2.7 billion, with an Ebit margin of at least 30%. After scrapping its dividend and year-ahead guidance figures in May, analysts now expect the company to report a 10% Ebit margin on sales of just $1.9 billion. Communication from management has been particularly poor, according to Hauck & Aufhaeuser Privatbank analyst Robin Brass.Everke’s short-lived move on Osram looks like a shot in the dark. If his big bet on smartphones isn’t paying off, he needs to shed some light on what his new strategy is.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. technology giants are headed for their biggest antitrust showdown with Congress in 20 years as lawmakers and regulators demand to know whether companies like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. use their dominance to squelch innovation.Executives from Google, Facebook, Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are set to appear Tuesday before the House antitrust panel, whose Democratic chairman is leading an investigation into the market power of the biggest tech companies and their effect on competition.The hearing harkens back to Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates’ appearance before the Senate in 1998 when Microsoft was the target of government scrutiny into its monopoly in computer operating systems. Two months later, the Justice Department filed a landmark antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft that reined in its practices and nearly led to the company’s breakup.“This is really a deep dive by the committee to understand what’s going on in the tech sector, what needs to be done in terms of antitrust enforcement but also to understand better whether there is a need for change in the law,” said Gene Kimmelman, a senior adviser at the policy group Public Knowledge, who served in the Justice Department’s antitrust division under President Barack Obama.While the executives testifying Tuesday don’t have the star power of Gates, their appearance marks the first time the largest technology companies will face questions from lawmakers amid a rising chorus of criticism that they are violating antitrust laws. That was the same accusation leveled at Microsoft two decades ago.Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline, who leads the antitrust panel, is bearing down on technology companies as antitrust enforcers prepare their own scrutiny of the industry. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, which share antitrust jurisdiction, have taken the first steps toward investigating conduct by the biggest companies, with the Justice Department taking responsibility for Google and Apple, and FTC overseeing Facebook and Amazon.For more: Far From Silicon Valley, Trustbusters Plotted Big Tech AssaultTuesday’s hearing will focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. One of the key complaints from critics of the big tech companies is that they can use their power to thwart competition from smaller rivals. Academic research has shown a steady decline in business start-ups across the economy. One possible explanation is that rising market concentration across industries effectively shuts out entry by new businesses.While some barriers to competition are inherent in any business, the key question for the antitrust committee is whether and how dominant tech platforms can intentionally raise barriers to new entrants, said Michael Kades, the director of markets and competition policy at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.A report by the University of Chicago’s Stigler Center this year found that digital markets tend to be winner-take-all in which one firm comes to dominate. That creates an incentive for the companies to edge out new challengers that could threaten that dominance.Lack of competition can lead to reduced innovation, which harms consumers over time, according to the report. “The evidence thus far does suggest that current digital platforms face very little threat of entry and are negatively impacting investment in key digital areas,” it said.For more: YouTube’s Trampled Foes Plot Antitrust RevengeOne of the authors of the Chicago report -- Yale University economist Fiona Scott Morton -- will testify Tuesday. The company executives scheduled to appear are Adam Cohen, Google’s director of economic policy, Matt Perault, head of global policy development at Facebook, Amazon associate general counsel for competition Nate Sutton, and Kyle Andeer, vice president of corporate law at Apple.E-commerce trade association NetChoice, which includes Google and Facebook, will tell the committee a different story: The reach of tech platforms gives small businesses the opportunity to target large audiences of potential customers through digital advertising. Not long ago, their only choice was expensive advertising in a local newspaper or television station, the group said.“These platforms are helping small businesses the same way a large retailer operates as an anchor for a shopping center or mall,” Carl Szabo, vice president of NetChoice, will say, according to his prepared remarks. “The larger these platforms grow means the more customers small businesses can reach with better targeting and lower costs.”Sarah Miller, deputy director of Open Markets Institute, which advocates for aggressive antitrust enforcement, countered that tech platforms are harming entrepreneurs.“These companies were the darlings of most Democrats and now the dynamic has changed profoundly,” she said. “There is really a period of learning going on in Congress, with staffers, with the broader public, around the varying ways that all of these tech companies, these tech monopolies, are destructive.”To contact the reporters on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at email@example.com;Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at email@example.com, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Since the U.K. decided more than three years ago to leave the European Union, the nation's savviest investors have succeeded by putting their money where Brexit matters least.Uncertainty about the date of Britain’s departure (now pushed back to Oct. 31) and the terms of the divorce has meant purging the U.K. from their holdings or limiting them to investments traditionally impervious to man-made and natural disasters. Over 38 months, British sterling depreciated 16 percent, the worst shrinkage for any similar period in 8 years. The pound remains the poorest performer in the actively-traded foreign exchange market and inferior to the No. 3 euro.Europe's strongest major economy in the 21st century became a shadow of its former self, reversing two decades preceding the June 23, 2016 referendum when the U.K. outperformed the European Union in growth and investment. London's stock and bond markets similarly languished as laggards to world benchmarks, after beating them consistently in the 20 years prior to the decision to leave the EU, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“If I give myself some credit, I would say that we acted reasonably fast liquidating U.K. shares” in 2016, said Ben Rogoff, whose Polar Capital Technology Trust PLC has been the most consistent winner out of the 212 British global funds with at least 1 billion pounds this year and during the past three years. His team's 114 percent total return (income plus appreciation) was 22 percentage points better than the Dow Jones World Technology Index, mostly because 68% of the fund is invested in the U.S., two-thirds of that in California companies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “It's all about the Internet and where do you get exposed to the Internet? The U.S. and China,” Rogoff said last month during an interview at Bloomberg in London.While Rogoff reduced his holdings of three California tech powers during the past year — Cupertino-based Apple Inc., Menlo Park-based Facebook and Santa Clara-based Advanced Micro Devices — he acquired more shares in Hong Kong-based Tencent Holdings Ltd, Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. and Tokyo-based Yahoo Japan Corp., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.The 46-year-old graduate of St. Catherine's College, Oxford, became the lead manager of the trust in 2006, “and at that time,” he said, “the U.K. weighting might have been 5% to 10%, so if you had already been backing away to the door, it's a lot easier to escape than if you built a career around being an expert in U.K. equities.” Since the Brexit referendum, he said, “There's just been a complete buyers' strike of U.K. equities.”Proof of such disdain comes with the crisis this year at the LF Woodford Equity Income Fund, Britain's most-prized investment when it was launched by star money manager Neil Woodford in 2014. The celebrated stock picker became even more prominent with his contrarian bullish stance on Brexit. The fund plummeted 31% during the past two years by holding a combination of large and small U.K. companies and has frozen redemptions indefinitely.“It's symptomatic of a broader problem,” Bank of England Governor Mark Carney told reporters earlier this month. “Our sense is that the financial-stability risks are increasing.”One U.K. investor who’s successfully resisted the trend away from domestic stocks is Nick Train, who manages Finsbury Growth & Income Trust. It returned 61% the past three years — more than twice the FTSE All-Share Index benchmark — as the most consistent one- and three-year performer among the 129 U.K.-based funds investing mostly in domestic stocks or bonds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Unlike Woodford, who doubled down on the British economy writ large, Train, a 60-year-old graduate of Queen’s College, Oxford, dramatically increased his holdings in consumer staples. These are the companies that make such essentials as food, beverages and household goods and can resist business cycles because their products always are in demand.Train, who declined to be interviewed, increased the consumer staples weighting relative to the benchmark to 27% from 23% in 2015 and he enhanced his holdings of Deerfield, Illinois-based Mondelez International Inc., which manufactures and markets packaged food products, and London-based Diageo PLC, the world's largest producer of spirits and beer, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.That's likely to be a safe bet as no one is counting on the British economy rebounding significantly from near the bottom of the EU while the uncertainty created by Brexit persists. “If you take a long view, then this may well be a great time to be investing in U.K. equity,” said Rogoff. “Thankfully, I don't have to make that binary call because there are very few U.K. companies I'm frankly interested in.”\--With assistance from Shin Pei, Richard Dunsford-White, Kateryna Hrynchak and Suzy Waite.To contact the author of this story: Matthew A. Winkler at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Matthew A. Winkler is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the editor-in-chief emeritus of Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.