GOOG - Alphabet Inc.

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real-time price. Currency in USD
1,495.39
+10.99 (+0.74%)
As of 10:47AM EST. Market open.
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Previous close1,484.40
Open1,491.00
Bid1,494.36 x 1100
Ask1,494.78 x 1100
Day's range1,489.46 - 1,502.80
52-week range1,025.00 - 1,502.80
Volume454,719
Avg. volume1,364,504
Market cap1.031T
Beta (5Y monthly)1.02
PE ratio (TTM)32.09
EPS (TTM)46.60
Earnings dateN/A
Forward dividend & yieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-dividend dateN/A
1y target est1,549.13
  • Google Cloud lands Lufthansa Group and Sabre as new customers
    TechCrunch

    Google Cloud lands Lufthansa Group and Sabre as new customers

    Google's strategy for bringing new customers to its cloud is to focus on the enterprise and specific verticals like healthcare, energy, financial service and retail, among others. Its healthcare efforts recently experienced a bit of a setback, with Epic now telling its customers that it is not moving forward with its plans to support Google Cloud, but in return, Google now got to announce two new customers in the travel business: Lufthansa Group, the world's largest airline group by revenue, and Sabre, a company that provides backend services to airlines, hotels and travel aggregators. For Sabre, Google Cloud is now the preferred cloud provider.

  • Big Tech stocks remain riskiest part of the market: BofA strategist
    Yahoo Finance

    Big Tech stocks remain riskiest part of the market: BofA strategist

    Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Facebook may be hot out of the gate in 2020, but that doesn't mean big tech doesn't come with its own unique risks, says Bank of America Merrill Lynch Head strategist Savita Subramanian.

  • Google CEO eyes major opportunity in healthcare, says will protect privacy
    Reuters

    Google CEO eyes major opportunity in healthcare, says will protect privacy

    Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet Inc and its Google subsidiary, said on Wednesday that healthcare offers the biggest potential over the next five to 10 years for using artificial intelligence to improve outcomes, and vowed that the technology giant will heed privacy concerns. U.S. lawmakers have raised questions about Google's access to the health records of tens of millions of Americans. Ascension, which operates 150 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities across the United States, is Google's biggest cloud computing customer in healthcare.

  • UK drops three places in annual global talent ranking
    Yahoo Finance UK

    UK drops three places in annual global talent ranking

    The UK comes in at number 12 in the annual Global Talent Competitiveness Index.

  • US threatens tit-for-tat levy if UK pursues 'Big Tech' tax
    Yahoo Finance UK

    US threatens tit-for-tat levy if UK pursues 'Big Tech' tax

    'If people want to just arbitrarily put taxes on our digital companies, we’ll consider arbitrarily putting taxes on car companies,' the US Treasury Secretary said.

  • Bloomberg

    Google CEO Thinks AI Will Be More a Profound Change Than Fire

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.Google’s chief executive officer has left no doubt in how important he thinks artificial intelligence will be to humanity.“AI is one of the most profound things we’re working on as humanity. It’s more profound than fire or electricity,” Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday.Alphabet, which owns Google, has had to grapple with its role in the development of AI, including managing employee revolts against its work on the technology for the U.S. government. In 2018, a group of influential software engineers successfully delayed the development of a security feature that would’ve helped the company win military contracts.Google has issued a set of AI principles that prohibit weapons work, but doesn’t rule out selling to the military. It has also pledged not to renew its Project Maven contract, which involves using artificial intelligence to analyze drone footage.Pichai, who’s led Google since 2015, took control of Alphabet after founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped down from day-to-day involvement last month.“AI is no different from the climate,” Pichai said. “You can’t get safety by having one country or a set of countries working on it. You need a global framework.”Current frameworks to regulate the technology in the U.S. and Europe are a “great start,” and countries will have to work together on international agreements, similar to the Paris climate accord, to ensure it’s developed responsibly, Pichai said.Pichai had stopped by Brussels on his way to Davos, giving a rare public speech, where he called on regulators to coordinate their approaches to artificial intelligence. The European Union is set to unveil new rules AI developers in “high risk sectors,” such as health care and transportation, according to an early draft obtained by Bloomberg.Technology such as facial recognition can be used for good, such as finding missing people, or have “negative consequences,” such as mass surveillance, he said.To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in London at athomson6@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Nate LanxonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai: ‘Privacy cannot be a luxury good’
    Yahoo Finance UK

    Google CEO Sundar Pichai: ‘Privacy cannot be a luxury good’

    The Google boss pointed to the European Union’s GDPR regulation as a good template for other similar privacy laws around the world.

  • How social media services handle political ads
    Reuters

    How social media services handle political ads

    Online platforms including Facebook and Alphabet Inc's Google face growing pressure to stop carrying political ads that contain false or misleading claims ahead of the U.S. presidential election. In the United States, the Communications Act prevents broadcast stations from rejecting or censoring ads from candidates for federal office once they have accepted advertising for that political race, although this does not apply to cable networks like CNN, or to social media sites, where leading presidential candidates are spending millions to target voters in the run-up to the November 2020 election. Facebook exempts politicians from its third-party fact-checking program, allowing them to run ads with false claims.

  • Bloomberg

    The Moneymakers of Today Versus Those of Tomorrow

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- How can institutions balance the existing businesses that pay the bills today with creating the new technologies that will pay the bills tomorrow? That was the challenge facing this week's guest on Master in Business, Safi Bahcall, a member of President Barack Obama’s council of science advisers, and author of the book, “Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries.”Bahcall said that soon after he was appointed he was told he should update Vannevar Bush’s guidelines to innovation in government. The problem was, he had no idea of who Vannevar Bush was. He dove into his history and discovered that it was Bush who had persuaded President Franklin Roosevelt to create the Office of Scientific Research and Development, which played a huge role in the war effort. The OSRD accelerated development of existing technologies and created new ones, including radar and the proximity fuse, which detonates munitions when they reach a predetermined distance from a target.Bahcall argues that too many institutions fail to transition to thinking about the future from operating in the present. The group that is making the money for the company today wants to stick with what is working and those projects that have a very high success rate. The group that is creating the game-changing products are taking chances on ideas with a very high failure rate. Bridging the two groups is the role of leadership, something that companies such as Apple and Pixar historically have done well.His favorite books can be seen here; a transcript of our conversation is here.You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on Apple iTunes, Overcast, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.Next week, we speak with Barbara Tversky, professor of psychology at Stanford and Columbia, and author of "Mind in Motion: How Action Shapes Thought." Tversky was married to the now-deceased Amos Tversky, and helped Michael Lewis research his book on Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, "The Undoing Project."To contact the author of this story: Barry Ritholtz at britholtz3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    SAP Says Companies Will See Spread of Activism From Stakeholders

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.SAP SE’s co-chief executive officer said companies will continue to face activism not only from shareholders, but increasingly from employees and consumers.“This will continue to be something that CEOs will have to understand and balance across the different stakeholders,” Jennifer Morgan said in an interview with Bloomberg News’s Stephanie Flanders on Tuesday at Davos.The Walldorf, Germany-based company attracted the interest of activists at Elliott Management Corp., which revealed a 1.2 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) stake when SAP announced a change in strategy in April.Read More: SAP’s an Old Company With New TricksActivists have been broadening their scope of engagement with companies. Protesters have been pressing BlackRock Inc. to divest from fossil fuel companies and others that contribute to climate change, while employees at Google have protested over the conduct of executives.Morgan -- who became co-CEO in October alongside Christian Klein and is the first female chief executive of a DAX-listed company said -- said user experience is set to be the new battleground.“If a company is not competing on experience its a race to the bottom”, she said. “When you’re in a consumer-led economy like the United States, for example, the disruption that we see happening for traditional industries is happening in the experience gap”.Morgan used fitness company Peloton Interactive Inc. as a good example of tapping into someone else’s experience “gap” saying they provide not just a better service but a real experience that people will pay more for.To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Syed in London at ssyed35@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.netFor 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

    Trump’s French Trade Truce Only Puts Off the Battle

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Who said Davos doesn’t make a difference? As world leaders, business executives and cheerleaders for the planet descended on the Swiss resort for the annual World Economic Forum, one diplomatic victory was being chalked up on the sidelines: A presidential truce between Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron over France’s plan to tax tech companies, which the U.S. says discriminates against its national champions.After threats of retaliatory trade tariffs on both sides, Macron took to Twitter to declare a “great” discussion with Trump that would lead to a “good agreement” on de-escalation. Trump retweeted that assessment, responding in the affirmative with “excellent!” But it’s hard to see much worth celebrating yet.What this truce amounts to isn’t exactly clear, for one thing, and it’s certainly not being trumpeted in the way that Trump’s “beautiful monster” of a phase-one deal with China was last week. Avoiding an escalation of tariffs is obviously a good thing. But Trump has already leveled so many trade threats at France and the European Union — driven by hatred of the trade surpluses they run with the U.S. — that it’s hard to feel excited at the prospect of one less gun barrel. If Trump actually ends up retracting his specific threat to hit $2.4 billion of French products with tariffs, that still doesn’t automatically guarantee protection for Airbus aircraft or German cars.It’s also not clear what Macron has gifted Trump in order to get de-escalation onto the agenda. According to the Wall Street Journal, France may have simply offered to “pause” its tech tax until a worldwide solution is agreed upon by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development — where support from the U.S. is obviously crucial. That’s not as huge a climb down as it initially seems: Paris could feasibly suspend the collection of digital tax payments due in April without scrapping the principle or the structure of its tax, as my Bloomberg News colleagues write elsewhere. But it still looks like Trump’s threats have paid off on one level.If the original sin is that today’s tech giants — Google parent Alphabet Inc., Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc. — aren’t paying their fair share in tax, we seem to be veering a long way from absolution. Things would be different if Europe could set aside its differences and agree on the fundamental good that a digital tax across its 28 members (soon to be 27) would bring. Brussels estimates global tech firms pay an average tax rate of 9.5%, compared with 23.2% for bricks-and-mortar peers. But the EU is divided on the need to overhaul the data economy, with low-tax jurisdictions like Ireland and the Netherlands resisting a common levy on digital firms.The Trump administration has shown itself adept at exploiting these divisions. France’s move to go it alone with a digital tax was politically popular, but fiscally weak. It is only expected to bring in 500 million euros ($555 million) a year, a digital drop in the ocean of France’s approximately 80 billion-euro deficit. Despite being fundamentally righteous, it allowed Trump to poke the soft underbelly of European unity by training his tariff weapon on Paris — and confronted the Macron administration with the prospect of pain for key exporters. The U.S. trade deficit with France was $16.2 billion in 2018.The pressure is now on to get consensus among more than 135 countries in the OECD-led push for an agreement on how to tax digital profits. It’s a solution favored by the likes of Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook, which speaks to how companies prefer the predictability of global solutions over patchy national ones. But until such a solution is actually agreed, it will be hard to celebrate this latest Franco-American “truce.” It has allowed France and Europe to save face by avoiding the reality of a new trade confrontation with Trump as he fights for re-election. It has offered tech firms a way to save money. But it hasn’t really saved the world from the threat of more trade wars. Davos can’t achieve everything.To contact the author of this story: Lionel Laurent at llaurent2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at mpozsgay@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Lionel Laurent is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Brussels. He previously worked at Reuters and Forbes.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.

  • Macron, Trump May Have Tariff Truce in 2020 Digital Tax Spat
    Bloomberg

    Macron, Trump May Have Tariff Truce in 2020 Digital Tax Spat

    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump agreed to a truce in their dispute over digital taxes that will mean neither France nor the U.S. will impose punitive tariffs this year.Macron said on Monday he had a “great discussion” with Trump on the issue, without giving details.“We will work together on a good agreement to avoid tariff escalation,” he said on Twitter.“Excellent!” Trump said in a reply to Macron’s post, without providing additional information. Trump is en route to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum.A White House readout of the call was notably more muted, saying only that the “two leaders agreed it is important to complete successful negotiations on the digital services tax” and “discussed other bilateral issues.” And neither a White House spokesman nor officials with the U.S. Trade Representative’s office would confirm that the U.S. president had called off his announced tariffs.Still, the possible respite may defuse transatlantic tensions that had been building between Washington and Brussels along another potential trade war front. Last week, Trump signed a cease-fire with China in phase one of a broader deal aimed at balancing trade between the world’s two largest economies.The European Union is an even bigger U.S. trading partner than China and supply chains between the two economies, particularly in automotive and financial services industries, are intertwined in ways that would make a tit-for-tat tariff dispute even more harmful to the world economy.Macron’s government still hopes to find a solution that fits within discussions at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s work on the issue, according to a French official who asked not to be identified in line with government rules.European finance ministers meeting in Brussels Tuesday will discuss progress of the OECD talks. While the OECD is still working on its proposal for taxing tech companies around the world, France pushed ahead with its own levy last year that hit U.S. internet giants like Google, Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.“We now have an agreement between the two presidents to avoid any tariff escalation and avoid any trade war,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters in Brussels before the meeting. “It’s remains a difficult negotiation -- with digital tax, the devil is in the details and we need to resolve the details.”Paris and Washington have discussed the possibility of France suspending the collection of the digital tax payments due in April as long as the U.S. refrains from imposing new tariffs, French officials said. But that wouldn’t constitute a withdrawal of the levy, they added. For its part, the French government denies its national tax is discriminatory and warned that the EU would retaliate if the U.S. imposed additional levies.The U.S. has said that the French tax discriminates against American technology companies, citing Section 301 of a 1974 American law that Trump has thus far reserved to justify tariffs against China. That opened the door to the U.S.’s threat to hit $2.4 billion of French goods with tariffs in retaliation.Among the French products targeted with duties of as much as 100% were luxury items like wine, cheese and makeup. One American wine merchant called it the biggest threat to the industry since Prohibition a century ago.For its part, the French government had warned that the EU would retaliate if the U.S. imposed additional tariffs.The dispute was another headache for European trade officials scrambling to expand their policy arsenal as the U.S. takes aim at a rules-based system for global trade that Trump argues is outdated and tilted against America. It also coincided with a change in leadership at the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm.EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan visited Washington last week for the first time in the job, partly to plead for talks rather than tariffs in disagreements like the French digital tax. At stake, he said, was transatlantic trade in goods and services valued at more than $3 billion a day.“Sounds like a fairly healthy relationship to me,” Hogan said Thursday in the U.S. capital. “So why put tariffs on these EU products to make them more expensive for your people?”The truce follows weeks of discussions between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Le Maire, who were scheduled to meet Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland, the alpine resort town where government officials and business leaders gather during the winter to discuss whatever is ailing the global economy.The dispute has ramifications outside France as other countries try to come up with ways to generate revenue from the digital economy. Mnuchin told the Wall Street Journal that the U.K. and Italy will face American tariffs if they proceed with similar levies on foreign tech firms.U.S. and EU trade relations started to sour in 2018 when the Trump administration invoked national-security considerations to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from Europe. As a U.S. military ally, the EU was infuriated and promptly retaliated with levies on iconic American brands such as Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycles and Levi Strauss & Co. jeans.A subsequent U.S. threat to wreak significantly more economic damage by targeting the European auto industry with duties on the same security grounds led to a hastily agreed truce and a pledge by both sides to work toward reducing industrial tariffs across the board.Since then, the Trump administration has refused to start the tariff-cutting negotiations unless Europe includes agriculture in them. Also, it imposed levies on EU products in retaliation over government aid to Airbus SE that was deemed illegal by the World Trade Organization, and disabled the WTO’s appellate body,The EU, meanwhile, is pressing ahead with a plan for tariffs against the U.S. in a parallel WTO case over unlawful subsidies to Boeing Co.Trump, scheduled to speak Tuesday in Davos at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, on Sunday reiterated his frustration with Europe as a trading partner.“Europe has had tremendous barriers to us doing business with them. All those barriers are coming down. They have to come down,” he told a conference of farmers in Austin, Texas. “If they don’t come down, we’re going to have to do things that are very bad for them.”He added, “Europe was, in many ways, more difficult -- and is more difficult -- than China.”(Updates with possible French concession in the 11th paragraph)\--With assistance from Jonathan Stearns, Justin Sink and Chelsea Mes.To contact the reporters on this story: Ania Nussbaum in Paris at anianussbaum@bloomberg.net;William Horobin in Paris at whorobin@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Brendan Murray, Wendy BenjaminsonFor 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.

  • Why Apple CEO Tim Cook Invested in a Shower Head
    Bloomberg

    Why Apple CEO Tim Cook Invested in a Shower Head

    (Bloomberg) -- Tim Cook rarely invests his time and money in products without the Apple Inc. logo. But when he tried a prototype shower head at his local gym about five years ago, he made an exception. Philip Winter, who helped create the Nebia shower head, recalls moving to San Francisco in 2014 to get his idea off the ground. The shower head sprays in a way that uses less water, but still keeps people warm. Crafted from materials including aluminum, the system looks like something Apple might design, if it made bathroom hardware. To develop the product, Winter persuaded gyms in Silicon Valley to run pilot tests. After installing the shower head early in the morning, he’d wait outside locker rooms to get feedback. That’s when he met Cook, who happened to use an early version at the gym in Palo Alto, California, where the Apple chief executive officer worked out most mornings.Cook was drawn to the environmental aspect, according to Winter, who asked the Apple boss if he’d be willing to make an investment.  Despite the first prototype being “crude,” the Apple CEO was excited about the product because there hadn’t been much recent innovation in the shower market. He also appreciated the design, Winter said. Cook backed Nebia Inc. about five years ago and contributed in later financing rounds, too. The startup has raised almost $8 million in total, according to Crunchbase. Winter wouldn’t disclose how much Cook invested, but said it was “significant.” The Nebia co-founder said Cook used his own money and stressed that the startup hasn’t received any formal help from Apple, which declined to comment. Still, Cook shared some of the knowledge he’s amassed leading the world’s largest technology company, advising Nebia on suppliers and pushing the startup to prioritize user experience, design and sustainability.“His emails are very long, well crafted and detailed,” Winter said.Cook also told Winter to look for other investors who believe in the product, rather than venture capitalists simply looking to make a quick return. Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, is also a Nebia backer, through the Schmidt Family Foundation. Nebia unveiled a new version of its shower system on Tuesday that is smaller and cheaper. It will cost $199, down from $499 for the current version. Winter asked Cook about four potential partnerships while developing the new model. Cook wasn’t keen about the first three, but supported a deal with faucet maker Moen because of its reputation, Winter said. To contact the author of this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at mgurman1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Alistair Barr at abarr18@bloomberg.netFor 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 Davos Bubble Swallows Anyone Who Tries to Pop It

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- “Davos is not one thing. There are many Davoses at Davos.” This haiku-like meditation on the annual Swiss junket — which is known for preaching the gospel of touchy-feely stakeholder capitalism against a backdrop of $43 hot dogs, $10,000 hotel rooms, and several hundred trips by private plane — could have come from any number of its rich, powerful and blissfully un-self-aware attendees.That it comes from a co-founder of the anti-capitalist movement Occupy Wall Street, Micah White, as part of a long explanation of why he is attending Davos this year, says a lot about why global capitalism’s biggest tent is still standing even in an age of populist anger. The Davos bubble is turning out to be quite good at swallowing those who would like to pop it — however justified their cynicism.Davos was, let’s face it, supposed to have been “canceled” by now. Last year’s event resembled one long guilt trip: Billionaires awkwardly batting away ideas like higher taxes for the rich; Sir David Attenborough telling an audience packed with private-jet users that “the Garden of Eden is no more;” and historian Rutger Bregman going viral with his description of Davos as a hypocritical talking shop. “Stop talking about philanthropy, and start talking about taxes,” he berated attendees.Well, this year, Davos is back — minus Bregman — and it’s more Davos-y than ever. The private jets are still flying in, only now they’re being asked to fill their tanks with “ Sustainable Aviation Fuel.” Davos organizer Klaus Schwab is still welcoming powerful CEOs, but has made sure to ask them to commit to a net-zero economy by 2050. The rooms will be painted with renewable sources like seaweed. The carpets will be made from end-of-life fishing nets and fluff. And lest anyone think the debates on offer have gotten more humble, there are 25 panels under the banner, “How To Save The Planet.”Davos isn’t just good at greenwashing the globalists. It’s also good at co-opting the populists. The junket has shrewdly realized that offering a stage to an anti-Davos crowd can work in its favor. Micah White, for one, is excited to dip his toe into “the most powerful gathering in the world.” He will be lecturing a money-and-politics crowd that he once wanted to smash apart on how to turn “protest into progress.” There will be other incongruities: Greta Thunberg will tread the same boards as Donald Trump; France’s Bruno Le Maire will promote a tax on tech firms in front of Google’s Sundar Pichai.It’s this veneer of exclusive neutrality that Davos clearly wants to promote as its value proposition, rather than just being a hyper-efficient version of LinkedIn. “We bring together people of influence, and we hope that they use their influence in a positive way,” Schwab told the New York Times. Or, in other words: Everyone who matters is here — even if they disagree, Davos wins in the end. Like an Alpine version of Soho House, Davos is a (not-for-profit) club that lives and dies by its guest list. White’s description of “many Davoses” includes secretive back-room meetings that don’t get filmed — a Davos within Davos, in other words.This seems intuitively strange in an era of political activism and social media, when boycotts seem to spring up out of nowhere and cause serious brand damage. Couldn’t Davos be simply replaced? Author Anand Giridharadas suggested that genuine do-gooders had no reason to be wandering into a billionaires’ tent. Instead, they could work through the United Nations to create a new global conference. “We could create a new body. We could have it rotate among certain countries,” he told Project Syndicate last year.It’s an interesting point — we could. But national versions of Davos, such as those promoted by France or Saudi Arabia, have failed at being either as neutral or as exclusive as the original. Maybe coming up with a new Davos isn’t as easy as it seems. Or maybe Davos is simply really good at protecting its brand. In 2018, the conference warned imitators that it would “use all means to protect the Davos brand against illicit appropriation.” It has preserved its image as a truly global stage, even as incidents such as a ban on Russian businessmen targeted by sanctions (later lifted) show how it’s not politics-free.White’s final warning to Davos critics is a well-aimed one: “Rejecting Davos is easy when one has not been invited to attend.” (This applies to yours truly.) Maybe the world’s most exclusive tent will only fall when it extends its membership to all-comers. Until then, expect the private jets to keep flying in — on sustainable fuel.(A division of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, runs its own event, the New Economy Forum, which has been held in Singapore and Beijing.)To contact the author of this story: Lionel Laurent at llaurent2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at mpozsgay@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Lionel Laurent is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Brussels. He previously worked at Reuters and Forbes.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.

  • Alphabet CEO backs temporary ban on facial-recognition, Microsoft disagrees
    Reuters

    Alphabet CEO backs temporary ban on facial-recognition, Microsoft disagrees

    The EU's proposal for a temporary ban on facial-recognition technology won backing from Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai on Monday but got a cool response from Microsoft President Brad Smith. While Pichai cited the possibility that the technology could be used for nefarious purposes as a reason for a moratorium, Smith said a ban was akin to using a meat cleaver instead of a scalpel to solve potential problems. "I think it is important that governments and regulations tackle it sooner rather than later and give a framework for it," Pichai told a conference in Brussels organised by think-tank Bruegel.

  • Google's Sundar Pichai doesn't want you to be clear-eyed about AI's dangers
    TechCrunch

    Google's Sundar Pichai doesn't want you to be clear-eyed about AI's dangers

    Alphabet and Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, is the latest tech giant kingpin to make a public call for AI to be regulated while simultaneously encouraging lawmakers towards a dilute enabling framework that does not put any hard limits on what can be done with AI technologies. In an op-ed published in today's Financial Times, Pichai makes a headline-grabbing call for artificial intelligence to be regulated. Simultaneously the pitch downplays any negatives that might cloud the greater good that Pichai implies AI will unlock -- presenting "potential negative consequences" as simply the inevitable and necessary price of technological progress.

  • Artificial Intelligence ‘Needs to Be Regulated,’ Says Google CEO
    Bloomberg

    Artificial Intelligence ‘Needs to Be Regulated,’ Says Google CEO

    (Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s chief executive officer urged the U.S. and European Union to coordinate regulatory approaches on artificial intelligence, calling their alignment “critical.”In a rare public speech in Brussels at an event hosted by European economic think tank Bruegel on Monday, Sundar Pichai, who is also CEO of Google, said “there is no question in my mind that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated,” but that “we don’t have to start from scratch” with entirely new rules in some cases.The comments come weeks before the EU is set to unveil its plans to legislate the technology, which could include new legally binding requirements for AI developers in “high-risk sectors,” such as healthcare and transport, according to an early draft obtained by Bloomberg. The new rules could require companies to be transparent about how they build their systems.While in Brussels, Pichai is also due to meet with Margrethe Vestager, the competition chief responsible for more than 8 billion euros ($8.9 billion) of antitrust fines levied against Google. In addition to competition, she now also oversees the bloc’s digital policies, including the plans to legislate AI.Alphabet has battled intense regulatory pressure in Europe for years. The search giant is challenging the EU’s multi-billion-dollar antitrust fines and has sought to fight off copyright and other forms of platform regulation emanating from Brussels in recent years.The Google chief cautiously welcomed plans for rules that take “a proportionate approach, balancing potential harms with social opportunities.”Facial recognition technology and so-called deep fakes-- or manipulated audio and video clips -- are two areas where AI could be used destructively, and companies have a responsibility “to get this right,” Pichai said. He said Google has released open datasets to help researchers build better tools to detect fakes and that it has chosen not to offer general-purpose facial recognition application programming interfaces.Pichai touted the company’s recent developments in AI, including a Google Health algorithm that can spot breast cancer more accurately than doctors and other research for accurately predicting the weather as well as advancements by its self-driving car unit, Waymo.The Google chief said existing rules like Europe’s privacy legislation GDPR and regulation for medical devices like AI-assisted heart monitors would serve as strong foundations for governing AI in some areas, but that for self-driving cars, governments would need to establish regulations.But Google has also come under intense criticism over how it handles users’ privacy with some of its AI projects. Google faces a U.S. federal inquiry after the Wall Street Journal in November reported how it collects the health-care data from millions of Americans to design new AI software. It’s also facing scrutiny over the methods it uses for training algorithms that run Google Assistant.To contact the reporter on this story: Natalia Drozdiak in Brussels at ndrozdiak1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, 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.

  • Google takes on AWS and Azure in India with Airtel cloud deal
    TechCrunch

    Google takes on AWS and Azure in India with Airtel cloud deal

    Google has inked a deal with India’s third-largest telecom operator as the American giant looks to grow its cloud customer base in the key overseas market that is increasingly emerging as a new cloud battleground for AWS and Microsoft . Google Cloud announced on Monday that the new partnership, effective starting today, enables Airtel to offer G Suite to small and medium-sized businesses as part of the telco’s ICT portfolio. Airtel, which has amassed over 325 million subscribers in India, said it currently serves 2,500 large businesses and over 500,000 small and medium-sized businesses and startups in the country.

  • US, Canada and UK's biggest firms only have 12 ethnic minority CEOs
    Yahoo Finance UK

    US, Canada and UK's biggest firms only have 12 ethnic minority CEOs

    The report also shows that the UK economy is losing £2.6bn due to ethnic minority discrimination.

  • Macron Has a Plan to Lure Tech Talent to France
    Bloomberg

    Macron Has a Plan to Lure Tech Talent to France

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.Emmanuel Macron’s pre-Davos summit for tech executives will hold some goodies for startups.In the third edition of his “Choose France” summit on Monday, timed to catch global CEOs in Paris on their way to the Swiss Alps’ World Economic Forum, the French president will detail measures in his 2020 budget that have improved stock options for startups in France.Macron will also plug a revamped visa regime that will give fast-track papers to tech workers for French or foreign companies and a new benchmark index, the French Tech 120, to promote the nation’s most promising ventures.Snap’s Evan Spiegel, who was given French nationality in 2018, EU digital Commissioner Thierry Breton, Netflix Inc.‘s Reed Hastings, Google’s You Tube CEO Susan Wojcicki, Lime’s Joe Kraus and other leaders from Mexico, Nigeria, Sweden, Turkey and the U.K. will attend the forum in Versailles.Entrepreneurs and executives at some of Europe’s most successful technology startups have been urging local governments to change laws to make employee stock options more attractive, in order to better compete with Silicon Valley. Macron, his Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Digital Minister Cedric O and 17 ministers will present the government’s latest measures.In November 2018, about 30 chief executives of companies including iZettle AB, Funding Circle Ltd., Supercell Oy, TransferWise Ltd., Blablacar and U.S.-based Stripe Inc., signed an open letter saying a patchwork of different rules in various European countries makes it complicated and costly for employers to dole out stock options.The French 2020 budget law, voted late last year and enacted on Jan. 1, has two major measures already to make stock options of startups more attractive. First the conditions of the so-called BSPCE, an employee shareholding tool equivalent to a stock options, have been sweetened: they will get a discount compared to the price investors paid at the last fund raising.Also, employees of foreign startups with a base in France will be able to get stock options calculated on the parent company’s performance, not just the French branch, minister Cedric O unveiled in a statement late last year, as he said France seeks to attract more tech workers and companies.“What France has done is fantastic, but we really need a pan-European solution,” Martin Mignot, Partner at Index Ventures, which has stakes in BlablaCar, told Bloomberg. “Currently, startups face the same problems every time they expand into a new country. Talk to any entrepreneur and they tell you it’s madness, it is slowing them down and it is putting them at a disadvantage to large companies.”Macron has attempted to lure more investors to France ever since his years as an economy minister in 2014, via taxes, visas, benchmark indexes, bilingual schools and the French way to welcome new comers.In September he created the “Next 40,” a listing of France’s top 40 startups with the strongest growth potential. While only a few of them are currently “unicorns,” with values topping $1 billion, the government said it expect more of them to scale.Read more: Napoleon, Chateaus on Display as France Seeks Venture CapitalOne of the key measures taken by Macron was a 30% flat tax on capital revenues from securities, savings, capital gains, and other sources. That measure got him into trouble with some of his citizens protesting against inequalities in the Yellow Vests movement that started in December 2018.The statistic institute Insee said the increase in inequality in 2018 was linked to a sharp rise in investment incomes, which benefited from the introduction of a flat tax the same year.Still, Macron has also toughened his stance on issues like taxes and privacy. He brought it up with Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook in his first months as president and repeatedly to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Macron is currently in a tug of war with U.S. President Donald Trump over his tax on digital giants.Amazon.com Inc., like other tech companies, will make their first payment of France’s new tax on digital giants in a few weeks. The government enacted a 3% levy on large tech groups that is retroactively effective from Jan. 1, 2019.(Updated with comment from Index ventures)\--With assistance from Natalia Drozdiak.To contact the reporter on this story: Helene Fouquet in Paris at hfouquet1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Vidya RootFor 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.

  • Government run health care: A cost-saver or 'unfair competition'?
    Yahoo Finance

    Government run health care: A cost-saver or 'unfair competition'?

    Amid surging health care costs and acrimonious public debate, a new study found that a public-run system would save money over time.

  • Bloomberg

    Noom Signs Up Dieters as Investors See New Wins for Weight Loss

    (Bloomberg) -- This New Year’s Day, 55,000 people signed up to lose weight with the smartphone app Noom. You’ve probably seen the ads -- it claims to have helped more than 350,000 get slimmer.Dieting, not to mention keeping weight off, is an iffy proposition, but Americans spend billions each year trying.Noom, which combines human coaches and AI, has attracted $114 million from A-list investors such as Sequoia Capital, Groupe Arnault-backed Aglaé Ventures, WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum, Serena Williams, and other prominent names that see promise in its approach and growth.The company’s founders say they’re in constant conversation with their investors who are watching the market to assess a possible IPO as soon as this year.Crowded MarketIndeed, in a competitive market, Noom has racked up impressive growth, driven in part by aggressive advertising: Noom closed 2019 with $237 million in revenue, up from $61 million and $12 million in the two previous years, respectively.“For a certain demographic, Weight Watchers is more comfortable and familiar,” said David Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. “For a younger, more digitally savvy audience, Noom is a different way to get a grip.”Shares in WW International Inc., the diet company formerly known as Weight Watchers, have more than doubled from last year’s low in June. In September, WW announced the Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus Tour with shareholder Oprah Winfrey. Investors will have to wait for WW’s fourth-quarter results in late February for a sense about early-year sign ups.Industry analysts note the cyclical nature of the dieting industry and that Noom’s robust start this year does not necessarily herald lasting success.“You’ve got a lot of program starts after the holidays, and that’s the nature of the business,” said Steven Halper, a senior health-care IT and managed care analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald.Pounds Off, Pounds On“You get in shape, you lose your weight, everyone wants to look good at the beach in the summer time, and lo and behold the weight comes back on,” Halper said. He covers Tivity Health Inc., which acquired WW rival Nutrisystem in March.Noom was founded over a decade ago by Artem Petakov, a former Google engineer, and Saeju Jeong, lover of heavy metal, who strayed from his family lineage of 29 medical doctors to be an entrepreneur.“Noom’s story didn’t initially work,” said Amy Sun, a partner at Sequoia Capital. Sequoia invested for the first time in the $58 million Series E round that Noom announced in May 2019.“They tried a whole bunch of different angles, including doing pure AI where it’s completely automated, and they tried 100% human coaches, and it wasn’t until they married the two that the company started to grow,” said Sun.The company now employs 1,600 remote, full-time coaches in 36 states.Not Peloton“The product they have today is not what they started with,” said Miyuki Matsumoto, head of U.S. investments at Groupe Arnault’s tech venture-capital arm Aglaé Ventures. The firm invested the second most after Sequoia in the most recent funding round.“We weren’t thinking we were going to get our money back in two years or less, even though that’s a possibility,” Matsumoto said.Sun notes that Sequoia is looking to capitalize on the trend of digital companies focused on helping people manage their health. Other investors saw that trend in Peloton Interactive Inc., which priced at $29 a share in its September IPO, but traded as low at $21 a share a month later.“Peloton is quite different because so much of their revenue is hardware,” Sun said. “It’s hardware plus subscription, versus Noom is all digital.”To contact the reporter on this story: Hailey Waller in New York at hwaller@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: James Ludden at jludden@bloomberg.net, Ian FisherFor 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.

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