AMZN -, Inc.

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real-time price. Currency in USD
+6.35 (+0.36%)
At close: 4:00PM EST

1,777.00 -1.00 (-0.06%)
After hours: 6:24PM EST

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Previous close1,771.65
Bid1,777.02 x 800
Ask1,779.44 x 1100
Day's range1,772.00 - 1,786.21
52-week range1,307.00 - 2,035.80
Avg. volume3,009,180
Market cap881.527B
Beta (3Y monthly)1.57
PE ratio (TTM)78.78
Earnings dateN/A
Forward dividend & yieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-dividend dateN/A
1y target estN/A
  • Netflix co-founder on why Disney+, others are ‘all in’ on streaming
    Yahoo Finance

    Netflix co-founder on why Disney+, others are ‘all in’ on streaming

    Netflix's co-founder and first CEO explains why media companies have no choice but to go "all in" on the streaming wars as Disney+ officially launches.

  • Trump Trade, Walmart & Nvidia Previews & Buy CASY Stock - Free Lunch

    Trump Trade, Walmart & Nvidia Previews & Buy CASY Stock - Free Lunch

    All eyes will be on President Trump Tuesday for U.S.-China trade war updates. Walmart, Nvidia, and others are set to report their quarterly earnings. And why Casey's General Stores (CASY) is a Zacks Rank 1 (Strong Buy) right now...

  • Disney Streaming Outages Mar Its First Day as Netflix Rival

    Disney Streaming Outages Mar Its First Day as Netflix Rival

    (Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co.’s much-anticipated debut of its new streaming video service was marred by early technical glitches and crashes for some users, though it was still stirring excitement and buzz on social media and worked successfully for many subscribers.New “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” was trending on social media, and Twitter users were proclaiming their excitement at finally being able to sign up and watch Disney+ after months of well-orchestrated anticipation from the Disney marketing machine.But some users reported trouble getting the app to work as soon as they tried to log on in the early hours of Tuesday morning, when the East Coast of the U.S. and Canada was waking up. Problems reported on the @DisneyPlusHelp Twitter handle ranged from “service not available” to specific issues such as “The early seasons of The Simpsons are in the wrong aspect ratio.”Disney said consumer demand for the service had exceeded its highest expectations. “While we are pleased by this incredible response, we are aware of the current user issues and are working to swiftly resolve them,” a spokeswoman said in a statement, mirroring a tweet on the help-line account.The glitches ramped up from about a hundred reported outages to more than 7,000 within the span of an hour on They had dipped to about 3,750 as of 10:20 a.m. New York time.Disney is hardly the first media company to struggle with the technical side of streaming. In 2014, HBO’s streaming service crashed during the season premiere of “Game of Thrones.” Even technology giants like Amazon and YouTube have had problems, though their glitches happened while broadcasting live sports online, which is seen as more difficult than streaming on-demand TV shows and movies. Disney bought a controlling stake in BAMTech, a leader in streaming technology, to run the back end of its online services like Disney+.Streaming services often struggle when many people try to watch at the same time, said Dan Rayburn, the principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan, who writes for the website “It’s hard because of the complexity of the workflow and doing it at scale,” Rayburn said.It’s not just streaming shows smoothly, he added, but also managing the back-end database, like whether a user had paid and setting up a profile.“If in the next two or three hours everything is cleared up, it’s not that big of a deal,” he said. “If this continues throughout the day, this is a real problem.”Crowded MarketIn its quest to turn a nearly century-old entertainment giant into a streaming leader, Disney is entering a market already crowded with heavy hitters, including Netflix Inc., and Apple Inc. And more rivals are diving in soon, such as AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. next year. The world’s largest entertainment company thinks it can seize the day with a product packed with the company’s best movies and TV shows, including “Star Wars,” Marvel and Pixar films, as well as its library of some 400 children’s movies.“I feel great about what we’ve done,” Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger told a roomful of reporters last week. “I love the app. It’s rich in content. It’s rich in brands. It’s rich in library.”Priced at $7 a month, Disney+ is a bet that the company can attract as many as 90 million subscribers worldwide in five years.It already has some key allies. Some 19 million Verizon Communications Inc. customers will be able to get the service free for the first year, thanks to a deal Disney cut with the carrier. Disney fan club members, meanwhile, got to prepay for a three-year subscription for less than $4 a month.“These are deals you just can’t beat,” said Kevin Mayer, who heads Disney’s direct-to-consumer division and has helped craft the streaming strategy.The company’s shares were up as much as 1.8% to $139.25 in New York trading Tuesday.Disney is looking to make the product accessible to as many people as possible. Customers will get to store their password in as many as 10 devices per family and watch four concurrent streams of movies or shows.The site is designed around five main “tiles,” named after the company’s key brands, including Marvel and the recently acquired National Geographic channel. Disney is spending $1 billion on new programming -- such as “The Mandalorian,” the first live-action “Star Wars” series -- in the first year alone. Disney+ also will offer the “Star Wars” movies in 4K-definition video for the first time.Unlike Netflix, which releases new seasons of programs all at once. Disney+ will put out one episode per week for its original shows. The programs will come out at midnight Pacific time on Fridays -- timing geared toward attracting a global audience, according to Ricky Strauss, Disney’s head of content and marketing for the product.A key part of Disney’s streaming strategy is bundling its services together. For $12.99, subscribers can get a package that includes Disney+, ESPN+ and the ad-supported version of Hulu. Those three services would cost about $18 a month if purchased individually.It’s all coming at great cost to the company. Mayer’s direct-to-consumer division saw its losses more than double to $740 million in the quarter that ended in September. The company doesn’t expect to make a profit on Disney+ for at least five years.But the marketing blitz for the new service seems to have paid off. UBS Group AG analyst John Hodulik surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in October and found some 86% had heard of Disney+. Nearly half were likely to subscribe.The company created its largest cross-promotional push ever, putting solicitations for the new service in Disney-owned hotels and its radio network. Disney also promoted the new service on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” Fans watched a preview of Disney+’s new “High School Musical” spinoff on ABC on Friday.“If you haven’t heard about Disney+ by Tuesday,” Strauss said last week. “I promise you will.”Among the new originals on the show is a live-action version of “Lady and the Tramp.” Normally a remake of a classic like that would get a big premiere, a theatrical run and advertising everywhere.In the streaming era, it gets dropped on a Tuesday morning. The question now is whether the Disney magic still comes through without the Hollywood glamour.Either way, Disney doesn’t have much of a choice, said David Yoffie, a professor at Harvard Business School.“Netflix has changed the nature of the game,” Yoffie said. “If they didn’t participate, they would be left behind.”\--With assistance from Brandon Kochkodin.To contact the reporters on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at;Scott Moritz in New York at;Gerry Smith in New York at gsmith233@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at, John J. Edwards IIIFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Dell Unveils Subscription Model to Counter Amazon, Microsoft

    (Bloomberg) -- Dell Technologies Inc. will offer business clients more flexible, on-demand buying options for products like servers and personal computers, seeking to counter the lure of cloud services from Inc. and Microsoft Corp.Customers will now be able to use Dell’s hardware based on their consumption, as a service, or through a subscription, the Round Rock, Texas-based company said Tuesday in a statement.Dell and its hardware peers have been under pressure to offer corporate clients the flexibility and simplicity of infrastructure cloud services. Public cloud titans such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure have cut demand for data-center hardware as more businesses look to rent computing power rather than invest in their own server farms. Rival Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. said in June that it would move to a subscription model by 2022. Research firm Gartner Inc. predicts 15% of data-center hardware deals will include pay-per-use pricing in 2022, up from 1% in 2019, Dell said.“We really think it’s an important time for Dell to simplify the way we offer our portfolio and meet customers’ needs,” Sam Grocott, Dell’s senior vice president of product marketing, said in an interview. “This type of a model – as a service – was born in the cloud. As organizations have leveraged this model in the past, they have come to like it.”Dell is making it easier for clients to upgrade their hardware since they don’t have to spend a large amount of capital expenditures upfront, but can pay a smaller amount each month that counts toward a company’s operating expenditures. For the consumption programs, customers pay for the amount of storage or computing power they use. Companies can also hire Dell to completely manage their hardware infrastructure for them.While Dell’s overall sales climbed 2% in the quarter that ended Aug. 2, demand for its servers and networking gear dropped 12% in a reversal from last year, when there was unprecedented customer interest in the products.Dell still expects the vast majority of customers to pay upfront for products in the next three to five years, Grocott said.To contact the reporter on this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at ngrant20@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at, Andrew Pollack, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Will E-Commerce Sales Drive Walmart's (WMT) Q3 Earnings?

    Will E-Commerce Sales Drive Walmart's (WMT) Q3 Earnings?

    Walmart's (WMT) e-commerce sales are likely to have grown in the third quarter of fiscal 2020. Online grocery has been a major driver.

  • TikTok Revamps Lobbying as Washington Targets Chinese Ownership

    TikTok Revamps Lobbying as Washington Targets Chinese Ownership

    (Bloomberg) -- TikTok, the popular music-video app, is building up its fledgling lobbying operations to counter stepped-up pressure in Washington over its Chinese ownership and wage an escalating battle with Facebook Inc. for viewers.The company, which registered its first lobbyist in June, is seeking to add a U.S. policy chief, plans to further expand its internal policy staff and is reshuffling outside lobbyists, according to people familiar with its plans.The policy chief position is a new one and will help shape the company’s advocacy priorities and oversee its growing lobbying operations, said two people familiar with the moves.TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Inc., also has hired Monument Advocacy, a public affairs and lobbying firm known for its expertise in technology policy, according to another person familiar with the matter. The person said TikTok is winding down its relationship with lobbyists at the law firm Covington & Burling LLP, which has close ties to Facebook.The relationship between Covington and Facebook was one reason for TikTok’s decision to break with the firm, the person said. Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan formerly co-chaired Covington’s data privacy and security practice. Facebook also hired Covington to help work on its anti-conservative bias report released in August. Covington’s Jon Kyl, a former Republican senator from Arizona, headed up that review.The lobbying push is part of TikTok’s effort to calm U.S. regulators and policy makers and try to persuade them that it’s really a U.S. company, said one of the people. Concerns are growing that TikTok could pose a national security threat because of its Chinese ownership and the risk that the government in Beijing could get access to the app’s growing troves of user data.Facebook has underscored Washington’s concerns about TikTok as it combats its own scrutiny from lawmakers and antitrust enforcers.Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg insinuated during an October speech at Georgetown University that protesters in Hong Kong use Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging platform “due to strong encryption and privacy protections,” whereas “mentions of these protests are censored, even in the U.S.” on TikTok.Monument Advocacy counts Inc. and Microsoft Corp. as clients, but doesn’t work directly with Facebook, unlike other firms TikTok spoke with, the person said. Monument does represent an industry coalition on government surveillance that includes Facebook.TikTok, Monument and Facebook declined to comment. Covington didn’t respond to requests for comment. The lobbying changes haven’t yet been disclosed in public filings.ByteDance is expanding its operations aggressively across the U.S., hiring staff in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. The app has logged more than 564 million installations this year and has been downloaded 1.45 billion times since launching, according to data from Sensor Tower, a San Francisco-based market intelligence firm that tracks the global app market.U.S. officials are reviewing whether ByteDance’s $1 billion purchase of social media startup two years ago to merge it with TikTok poses a national security risk, Bloomberg News has reported. That panel, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., or Cfius, has toughened scrutiny of acquisitions of American companies under President Donald Trump and is paying closer attention to how deals can give foreign buyers access to data about U.S. citizens.“We have no higher priority than earning the trust of users and regulators in the U.S.,” a TikTok representative said in a statement earlier this month.Lawmakers had pushed for a review, saying that TikTok poses a potential counterintelligence threat. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York wrote a letter with Republican Tom Cotton of Arkansas to U.S. Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. They expressed concerns about foreign interference in American elections and the security of user data on the app, in addition to national security fears.The company was also the focus of a hearing earlier this month during which one Republican senator blasted it as a threat to global data security.“All it takes is one knock on the door of their parent company, based in China, from a Communist Party official, for that data to be transferred to the Chinese government’s hands whenever they need it,” said Josh Hawley of Missouri, a frequent tech critic.TikTok has rejects the notion it’s controlled by the Chinese government or that U.S. user data is at risk.“We are not influenced by any foreign government, including the Chinese government,” the company wrote in a blog post last month. “TikTok does not operate in China, nor do we have any intention of doing so in the future.”ByteDance, which began lobbying this summer, registered its in-house lobbyist Eric Ebenstein in June and brought on Covington in July, paying it $110,000 during the third quarter, according to federal disclosures. The company spent a total of $120,000 on lobbying from July through September.TikTok also announced last month that it had tapped another top legal and lobbying firm -- K&L Gates LLP -- to advise it on policies around transparency and content moderation, though the firm won’t be lobbying.Former Representative Bart Gordon, a Tennessee Democrat who led the House Science and Technology Committee, is on the account, as is former Republican Representative Jeff Denham, who represented a district in California.\--With assistance from Kurt Wagner and Sarah Frier.To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at;Megan Wilson in Arlington at mwilson297@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at, Jillian Ward, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Buy Walmart Stock Ahead of Q3 Earnings with WMT Near New Highs?

    Buy Walmart Stock Ahead of Q3 Earnings with WMT Near New Highs?

    Walmart stock is up over 13% in the last three months. Now, with the firm set to report its Q3 financial results before the opening bell Thursday, let's break down Walmart to see if investors should consider buying WMT shares...

  • Streaming Wars Commence as Disney+ Nears Debut

    Streaming Wars Commence as Disney+ Nears Debut

    Disney (DIS) is set to debut its Disney+ streaming service on Tuesday, which will intensify the competition between streaming services.

  • Disney+, Netflix, Apple, HBO, & More: Who Will Win the Streaming TV War?

    Disney+, Netflix, Apple, HBO, & More: Who Will Win the Streaming TV War?

    Associate Stock Strategist Ben Rains dives into some of Disney's recent quarterly results, before we look at Disney+ and discuss which company, from Netflix to Amazon might win the streaming TV war...

  • Bloomberg

    Google Gets Access to Health Data With Ascension Partnership

    (Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google is working with one of the biggest U.S. health-care providers to develop new digital tools, giving the internet giant deep access to the personal health information of millions of Americans.The partnership with Ascension, a nonprofit, Catholic health-care provider with more than 150 hospitals in 20 states, is wide-ranging and includes developing new software that uses artificial intelligence to improve patient outcomes, Ascension said Monday in a statement. The Wall Street Journal reported the partnership earlier, and said the deal had originally been struck last year.All information-sharing complies with federal privacy laws and Ascension’s strict requirements for data handling, the health-care company said in the statement. The partnership hadn’t previously been disclosed, including to patients whose data may have been involved, the Journal reported. As part of the work, Google employees may have had access to data including hospital records and patient names, but the company declined to elaborate.Google and other big tech companies have been pushing into health care in recent years. Apple Inc. asks its Apple Watch users to opt in to studies on heart rate, while Inc. has bought an online pharmacy and partnered with other corporations on a health venture called Haven. Google, for its part, has built a significant health-care team and is experimenting with using artificial intelligence to improve health care.To contact the reporter on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in New York at gdevynck@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Amazon Confirms Plans for Store Under New Grocery Brand

    (Bloomberg) -- Inc. plans to launch a new supermarket brand distinct from the Whole Foods Market chain the company acquired two years ago, a sign of the retail giant’s hunger for a slice of the grocery market beyond high-end organic food.The company has posted four job listings for “Amazon’s first grocery store” in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. An Amazon spokeswoman confirmed the listings, and said the store would open in 2020. The brand will be distinct from Whole Foods and will have a conventional checkout line, unlike the cashierless Amazon Go convenience stores, she said. Amazon’s plans for the store were reported earlier by CNET.The e-commerce company purchased Whole Foods in a splashy $13.7 billion deal two years ago, but has yet to make much headway in the $900 billion U.S. grocery industry. The Whole Foods brand, finicky about what is allowed on store shelves based on its healthy image, clashes with Amazon’s desire to give customers whatever they want. Amazon rival Walmart Inc., which captures about 25% of all U.S. grocery spending, sells items such as Pepsi and Cheetos that shoppers can’t find at Whole Foods. Grocery industry analysts have speculated that Amazon might branch out with a new store where such products won’t be seen as betrayal to the brand.Online grocery shoppers prefer in-store pickup options to home delivery by nearly a 2-to-1 margin, and Amazon needs more stores to meet that growing demand, said David Bishop, a partner with research firm Brick Meets Click. In-store pickup requires more stores closer to shoppers -- about 3 to 5 miles from their homes -- than grocery delivery services, he said.“The reason Amazon needs to expand its physical footprint is an accelerated demand for grocery pickup service as opposed to delivery,” he said. “Shoppers have a greater sense of control when they pick up their groceries at the store in a secure location rather than worrying about it being left at their house.”Amazon’s sales from physical stores, the vast majority of which are purchases at Whole Foods stores, declined 1.3% from a year earlier to $4.19 billion in the third quarter. Amazon said the total doesn’t include online sales from Whole Foods, but the Seattle-based company doesn’t break out that figure.Woodland Hills is an upscale suburban neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Amazon planned to open dozens of grocery stores under a new brand, starting with an outpost in Los Angeles.(Updates with analyst’s comment in fifth paragraph)To contact the reporters on this story: Matt Day in Seattle at;Spencer Soper in Seattle at ssoper@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Roku, Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Apple

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Roku, Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Apple

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Roku, Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Apple

  • Bull of the Day: Chegg, Inc. (CHGG)

    Bull of the Day: Chegg, Inc. (CHGG)

    Bull of the Day: Chegg, Inc. (CHGG)

  • Bloomberg

    Nautilus ATM Flaws Could Allow Hackers Access to Cash, Data

    (Bloomberg) -- A pair of security researchers has discovered two vulnerabilities in ATMs widely used across the U.S. that could allow a determined criminal to steal cash and customer data.Brenda So and Trey Keown, of New York-based Red Balloon Security Inc., found the flaws in machines manufactured by Nautilus Hyosung America Inc., the largest provider of ATMs in the U.S. By gaining access to the same network as the target ATM, the researchers were able to obtain full control of the machine and bypass its security measures. They also discovered master keys to the ATMs for sale on -- something other researchers have previously pointed out.In a joint statement Monday, Red Balloon and Nautilus Hyosung said they had no evidence anyone has ever taken advantage of the vulnerabilities. The researchers said the flaws only affected retail versions of Nautilus ATMs, not ones used in financial institutions. According to an estimate by Red Balloon, more than 80,000 machines are vulnerable. Nautilus has more than 150,000 installed ATMs in the U.S., according to the statement.Nautilus is a subsidiary of closely held conglomerate Hyosung Corp., based in South Korea. The security flaws only exist in ATMs developed and distributed by the U.S. subsidiary.The researchers said they reported the flaws to the company in the summer and a fix was developed within a week. “Nautilus Hyosung America has already issued firmware security updates to mitigate possible threats,” the company said in the statement. Nautilus said it “notified all of its commercial customers to immediately update their ATMs with these patches,” which were first released on Sept. 4. Red Balloon said it’s working with Nautilus to improve the security of its ATMs.Red Balloon provides security to computers embedded inside a product, like a printer or ATM.Security UpdatesIt’s unclear how many ATMs have actually received the fix. To install the patch, a technician or ATM owner would have to manually insert a USB stick with the software update into the machine or download it from Nautilus, the security researchers said. Red Balloon said it won’t release a detailed breakdown of exactly how the flaws work, in order to prevent criminals from replicating their work, but may provide more technical details in the future.Ang Cui, chief executive officer and founder of Red Balloon, said updating all of the ATMs would likely be difficult. “Getting people to do security updates and firmware has been a thing that we’ve studied for a decade,” Cui said. “People just don’t want to think about it. They don’t want to do it.”The researchers also discovered a flaw in a mobile application developed by Nautilus and used by ATM owners and technicians. By exploiting the flaw, the researchers said they could access information on user accounts, ATMs -- including cash balances, location, software version -- and service requests. The information that could be gleaned from the mobile app would be very useful to a potential criminal in deciding which ATMs would be the most vulnerable and have the highest payout, the security researchers said. The flaw found in the app was in the process of being fixed, they said.“While we have no evidence this vulnerability has been utilized, Hyosung has decided to disable this service until the updated versions are released as a precautionary measure,” Keith Lennard, Nautilus Hyosung America’s vice president, head of software, said in an email. The company didn’t respond to further requests for comment.All of the vulnerabilities that were discovered could be accessed remotely, meaning an attacker would not need physical access to the ATM in order to hack it, only to be on the same network.Emptying ATMsOne of the ATM vulnerabilities discovered by Red Balloon targets a machine’s “remote management system” and would allow a criminal to steal the data of any credit card or debit card entered into the ATM as a transaction takes place. In theory, an attacker could sweep up the card data of everyone who used the ATM without being noticed.The second vulnerability was discovered in the software that powers the ATM’s peripherals, such as its cash dispenser, card reader or PIN keypad. The researchers found that an attacker could easily access the software and inject malicious commands. The potential result is emptying the ATM of all its cash -- a possibility the researchers demonstrated during a presentation at their New York office.This isn’t the first time vulnerabilities in ATMs have been discovered. According to a joint investigation published by Vice and German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk in October, criminals in Europe were able to hack a different brand of ATMs to steal cash in 2017.To contact the reporter on this story: William Turton in New York at wturton1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Martin at, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    UPDATE 1-Britain's Sainsbury's in wholesale deal with Australia's Coles

    British supermarket group Sainsbury's has struck a deal to sell packaged groceries and household products in Australia as it seeks to grow its wholesale business, it said on Monday. Sainsbury's said it has agreed a wholesale partnership with Australian retailer Coles. The UK firm's biggest wholesale deal yet will see it supply own brand products to Coles supermarkets across Australia, as well as online, from early next year.


    Stocks - Boeing, Goldman Sachs, Alibaba Fall Premarket - Stocks in focus in premarket trading on Monday:

  • Amazon's $1.5 million political gambit backfires in Seattle City Council election

    Amazon's $1.5 million political gambit backfires in Seattle City Council election

    Seattle voters, in a rebuke to heavy corporate campaign spending by, have kept progressives firmly in control of their city council, reviving chances for a tax on big businesses that the tech giant helped fend off last year. Amazon poured a record $1.5 million (£1.17 million) into a Super PAC run by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce to back a slate of candidates in the Nov. 5 council elections viewed as pro-business, or at least more corporate friendly than the incumbent council majority. Amazon, the world's leading online retailer whose chief executive is billionaire entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, accounted for more than half of nearly $2.7 million raised by the Super PAC, a group allowed to accept unlimited sums from wealthy donors in support of their favourite candidates.

  • Apple Co-Founder Says Goldman’s Apple Card Algorithm Discriminates

    Apple Co-Founder Says Goldman’s Apple Card Algorithm Discriminates

    (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., two of the most recognizable companies in tech and finance, are caught up in a growing debate over whether lenders unintentionally discriminate when they use complex models to determine how Americans borrow money.On Saturday, Bloomberg reported that a Wall Street regulator had opened a probe into Goldman’s credit card practices after a viral tweet from a tech entrepreneur alleged that the Apple Card’s algorithms discriminated against his wife.Now another high-profile user of the Apple Card -- Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak -- is calling for the government to get involved, citing excessive corporate reliance on mysterious technology.“These sorts of unfairnesses bother me and go against the principle of truth. We don’t have transparency on how these companies set these things up and operate,” Wozniak said in an interview on Sunday. “Our government isn’t strong enough on the issues of regulation. Consumers can only be represented by the government because the big corporations only represent themselves.”Wozniak said he can borrow 10 times as much as his wife on their Apple Cards even though they share bank and other credit card accounts, and that other lenders treat them equally.“Algos obviously have flaws,” Wozniak said. “A huge number of people would say, ‘We love our technology but we are no longer in control.’ I think that’s the case.”Lenders have promoted the models because they’re supposed to level the playing field among different borrowers by removing human error and focusing only on data.Apple Card only offers individual accounts and it is possible for two family members to receive significantly different credit decisions, a Goldman spokesman said. “In all cases, we have not and will not make decisions based on factors like gender,” he said.The investigation was launched in response to a series of Twitter posts from David Heinemeier Hansson that railed against the Apple Card for giving him 20 times the credit limit that his wife got. The tweets, many of which contain profanity, immediately gained traction online -- and a response on Twitter from Wozniak.Hansson didn’t disclose any specific income-related information for the couple but said they filed joint tax returns and that his wife has a better credit score than he does. Wozniak said he and his wife also file joint returns and share credit card and bank accounts.“The department will be conducting an investigation to determine whether New York law was violated and ensure all consumers are treated equally regardless of sex,” said a spokesman for Linda Lacewell, the superintendent of the NY DFS. “Any algorithm that intentionally or not results in discriminatory treatment of women or any other protected class of people violates New York law.”It’s the second such action in recent weeks from the regulator, which opened a probe against health-care giant UnitedHealth Group Inc. after a study found an algorithm favored white patients over black patients.“New technologies cannot leave certain consumers behind or entrench discrimination,” Lacewell said in a statement on Sunday. She also solicited complaints from aggrieved consumers on Twitter.Traditional lenders are increasing their use of machines to decide who gets how much credit as part of a strategy to reduce costs and boost loan applications. Meanwhile, technology companies are moving in on the financial services industry’s turf, with businesses such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google threatening banks’ lucrative business lines by offering loans and payment options.Congressional ScrutinyThe algorithms have drawn scrutiny in Congress. In June, the House Financial Services Committee heard about examples of algorithmic decision-making where researchers have found instances of bias targeting specific groups even when there was no intent to discriminate.Some lawmakers already are demanding a federal response. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat and contender to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, told federal regulators in June that the government “will have to take action to ensure that anti-discrimination laws keep up with innovation.”For Goldman, its growing ambitions for Main Street are bringing increased scrutiny and a new set of challenges it hasn’t faced previously. The Apple Card is a joint venture between Apple and the New York-based bank, which is responsible for all the credit decisions on the card. It was rolled out earlier this year -- the tech giant markets it as “created by Apple, not a bank” -- and executives at both firms hailed it as the most successful launch ever.Hansson said Goldman isn’t treating inadvertent bias seriously.“As soon as this became a PR issue, they immediately bumped up her credit limit without asking for any additional documentation,” he said of his wife in an interview Saturday. “My belief isn’t there was some nefarious person wanting to discriminate. But that doesn’t matter. How do you know there isn’t an issue with the machine-learning algo when no one can explain how this decision was made?”To contact the reporters on this story: Shahien Nasiripour in New York at;Sridhar Natarajan in New York at snatarajan15@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at, Josh Friedman, Matthew G. MillerFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Fashion entrepreneur Rachel Zoe: This is the hardest time in fashion I’ve ever seen
    Yahoo Finance

    Fashion entrepreneur Rachel Zoe: This is the hardest time in fashion I’ve ever seen

    While Rachel Zoe has been able to successfully leverage her name into a handful of businesses, she isn’t so optimistic about the fashion industry at large.

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