|Bid||1,238.04 x 2200|
|Ask||1,239.99 x 1200|
|Day's range||1,227.08 - 1,241.05|
|52-week range||977.66 - 1,296.97|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||0.96|
|PE ratio (TTM)||25.03|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||N/A|
(Bloomberg) -- A House panel investigating big tech companies for potential antitrust violations is seeking information from customers of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook about the state of competition in digital markets and the adequacy of existing enforcement, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg.It’s the latest development in the bipartisan congressional investigation being conducted by House antitrust subcommittee chair David Cicillini, a Democrat from Rhode Island.The eight-page survey doesn’t mention any companies by name, but it seeks information about the industries they dominate such as mobile apps and app stores, search engines, digital advertising, social media, messaging, online commerce and logistics as well as cloud computing.The survey asks respondents to identify the top five providers for the various digital services and how much it paid each of those providers since Jan. 1 2016. It also asks for any allegations of antitrust violations or business practices that hurt competition. The committee offered respondents the possibility of confidentiality if they desired.Assessing AntitrustThe survey appears geared toward businesses that pay the big technology companies for services such as cloud computing, digital advertising and help selling mobile apps and products online. It doesn’t appear to focus on general retail consumers that buy products from Amazon or iPhones from Apple.It also shows how regulators are relying on customers and competitors of Big Tech to help them better understand digital markets and and how dominant players can stifle competition. The Federal Trade Commission has been quietly interviewing online merchants that sell goods on Amazon to better understand the business.The questionnaire shows the House panel trying to assess the grip big technology companies have in various markets, a first step in probing for antitrust violations. If the panel finds competition is so scant that the customers of big technology companies have no viable alternatives, it justifies further scrutiny of business practices as well as mergers and acquisitions.The questions also suggest the panel is open to examining how antitrust laws are applied in digital markets and if enforcement and laws need to be updated.A Google spokesman declined to comment. Apple didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Amazon and Facebook both declined to comment, but pointed to previous comments by executives in which both companies said they welcomed government scrutiny and maintain they exist in markets with healthy competition. Emails to representatives for the House committee weren’t immediately answered.The survey sent to customers follows the public disclosure of letters the House antitrust subcommittee sent to Google parent Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. Those letters, posted online, seek detailed information about acquisitions, business practices, executive communications, previous probes and lawsuits. The letters followed a July hearing in which lawmakers grilled tech executives.The House panel has been the most visible of various probes of technology companies. Representative Cicilline has been a vocal critic.Speaking at an antitrust conference in Washington, D.C. last week, he said, “you would be amazed” at the number of companies that have come forward with concerns about the potentially unfair way that big tech companies compete. Some have even expressed fear that the tech giants will respond with economic retaliation if the smaller companies’ concerns are made public, Cicilline said, without providing more detail.The House panel’s probe is part of a broader examination of the control companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook have over the U.S. economy. The FTC is investigating Amazon and Facebook while the Justice Department is probing Google. Separately, 50 state attorneys general have announced an antitrust probe of Google.\--With assistance from Naomi Nix and Ben Brody.To contact the reporter on this story: Spencer Soper in Seattle at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, Ian FisherFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Google has agreed to make a one-time settlement of over $945 million euros to the French ministry. The ministry accused Google of evading taxes.
(Bloomberg) -- Stanford University received a $50,000 donation from a foundation funded by deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a spokesman said Friday.The donation came in 2004, two years before allegations involving Epstein’s sexual conduct with young girls started making news. The gift went to the university’s physics department. “The funds were expended shortly thereafter and we have no record of any other gifts to the university from him or his foundations,” a Stanford University spokesman said in an email. News of the donation emerges as educational institutions are coming to grips with their relationship with the disgraced financier, who committed suicide last month in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. Epstein, who was 66, cultivated relationships with scientists and technologists, holding conferences and attending events with leading thinkers such as the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. Last month, Stanford was among institutions that told BuzzFeed that they had searched financial records and couldn’t find evidence of an Epstein donation. A Stanford spokesman said BuzzFeed had requested information about gifts after 2006, when Epstein was charged for the first time. The school said it also told the reporter of the 2004 donation.On Thursday, Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow said the university was reviewing millions of dollars in Epstein donations, all of which came before his 2008 guilty plea in Florida. Also on Thursday, Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Rafael Reif said he signed a 2012 thank-you letter to Epstein for a donation, but has no memory of it. MIT launched its own review into Epstein donations last month.Joi Ito, the director of the MIT Media Lab, resigned from his post on Sept. 7 after the New Yorker reported that the Media Lab’s ties to Epstein ran deeper than Ito had disclosed. In August, Reif said MIT had received $800,000 from Epstein-linked foundations. In early September Ito said he had also received $1.2 million from Epstein for outside investment funds he controlled. In an email to Axios on Thursday, Hoffman said he last interacted with Epstein in 2015, and that all his few interactions came at the request of Ito, with the goal of fundraising for the Media Lab. Hoffman said Ito had told him that MIT had vetted Epstein.“By agreeing to participate in any fundraising activity where Epstein was present, I helped to repair his reputation and perpetuate injustice,” Hoffman told Axios. “For this, I am deeply regretful.”Since Epstein’s arrest in July, many technology figures have rushed to distance themselves from the financier. Stanford, in the heart of Silicon Valley, has become the breeding ground for tech titans from Hewlett-Packard to Google. This year, it was caught up in a bribery scandal alleging rich parents could pay a middleman for admission to a handful of elite schools. Federal prosecutors alleged that a now-fired sailing coach accepted donations for the sailing program in exchange for smoothing the application process for some students.Epstein’s COUQ Foundation Inc. made the donation to Stanford. The same charity gave to a wide variety of causes, including the Clinton Foundation, the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Save Darfur Coalition, according to filings.To contact the author of this story: Sarah McBride in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Anne VanderMey at email@example.com, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Lawmakers asked Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple for a broad range of documents, another step in Congress's anti-trust investigation of the big tech companies.
This week has been rough for big tech companies. On Monday, 50 states and territories announced that they're launching an antitrust investigation into Google.
(Bloomberg) -- Music videos can’t pay their way to the top of YouTube’s charts anymore.The online video giant said it will no longer count views from paid advertisements in its one-day record tallies, ending a controversial music-industry practice -- and diminishing a sales stream for YouTube.The unit of Alphabet Inc.’s Google has touted its role as a promotional channel for pop-music stardom. Many artists and record labels would pay to run debut songs as YouTube ads, boosting viewership and the odds of topping the site’s closely watched charts. YouTube executives began rethinking its record tallies recently, Bloomberg News reported earlier.Indian rapper Badshah seemed to break YouTube’s one-day record in July, netting more than 75 million views with his hit “Paagal,” but the site didn’t give him the official honor. Badshah acknowledged paying for ads to promote the clip.In a blog post on Friday, YouTube said it was adjusting its policy to “provide more transparency to the industry” and be more consistent with the companies, such as Nielsen, whose popularity tallies determine the royalties record labels and artists receive. YouTube said it wouldn’t retroactively change past record holders.\--With assistance from Lucas Shaw.To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Bergen in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, John J. Edwards III, Lisa WolfsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- A House panel conducting a broad antitrust investigation of the technology sector is demanding that companies turn over a trove of internal records about their business practices as it ramps up scrutiny of the industry.Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline, who is leading the House antitrust subcommittee’s inquiry into large internet companies, said it is sending letters Friday to Google parent Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. asking for detailed information about acquisitions, business practices, executive communications, previous probes and lawsuits.The letters, which were addressed to the top executives of each company, mark the most aggressive demands by the House panel since June, when it began a bipartisan investigation into whether large tech platforms are harming competition.“We made it clear when we launched this bipartisan investigation that we plan to get all the facts we need to diagnose the problems in the digital marketplace,” Cicilline said in a statement. “Today’s document requests are an important milestone in this investigation as we work to obtain the information that our members need to make this determination.”The letters were also signed by the top Republican on the subcommittee, Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, as well as the top Democrat and the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, of which the antitrust panel is a part.The requests come as the technology giants find themselves swamped by antitrust inquiries by the federal government as well as state attorneys general, which announced probes of Google and Facebook this week.The lawmakers also requested executive communications about prior government probes and lawsuits and said they would not recognize attorney-client privilege as a reason for the companies to refuse to provide requested records.The panel asked Facebook about its purchases of the WhatsApp chat platform and the Instagram photo app, which were both approved by federal antitrust regulators. They asked to see communications from Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, former general counsel Colin Stretch and policy chief Kevin Martin.The committee wants to know whether Google is shutting out rivals on its platforms or imposing restrictions that could harm competition. It asked for discussions by executives about whether non-Google companies with competing ad technology can participate in Google ad auctions or place ads on YouTube. The lawmakers also asked for discussions about any agreements between Android and smartphone manufacturers that give Google exclusive rights to collect data from devices.The lawmakers asked about 24 Google products and services, including its mobile operating system Android, Gmail, the Google Play store, YouTube and its mapping service Waze. The letter seeks information on executives’ discussions of major acquisitions including ad technology company DoubleClick, YouTube and Android.Asked about the request, Google pointed to a Sept. 6 blog post by top lawyer Kent Walker, who said the company’s “services help people, create more choice, and support thousands of jobs and small businesses across the United States.”The other companies didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.The panel asked for details about 12 of Apple’s products and services, including its App Store, Apple Watch, iPhone, Mac and Siri. It wants to see communications to and from Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and 13 other executives about policies and decisions involving the company’s App Store, such as the algorithm that determines the search ranking of apps and whether to allow other app stores on the iPhone. They also requested records about Apple’s offer to replace ailing iPhone batteries.The lawmakers’ request to Amazon focuses on the company’s online marketplace, including how it handles proprietary data of third-party sellers on its platform and how its product search algorithm works. They demand answers about Amazon’s 2018 deal to sell new Apple devices on its website, which has also attracted questions from the Federal Trade Commission.The lawmakers seek information about acquisitions by Amazon, including audio book company Audible, upscale grocery store chain Whole Foods, and pharmacy delivery company PillPack.The antitrust panel has already held a hearing on the effect of digital platforms such as Google and Facebook on the news industry, as well as a session on innovation and entrepreneurship in July that featured appearances by executives from Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.(Updates with Google response in 11th paragraph)\--With assistance from David McLaughlin.To contact the reporters on this story: Naomi Nix 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, Mark Niquette, Kathleen HunterFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
September 13 was China's Mid-Autumn Festival. Some investors may be expressing gratitude for the recent trade war decisions made by Jinping and Trump.
Intellectual property theft by Chinese companies in the guise of producing goods for the American tech giants is the rationale behind the Trump administration's imposition of tariffs.
Investing.com -- The House Judiciary Committee has asked Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) for a broad swathe of documents related to various business issues, ramping up its antitrust scrutiny of the Internet giants.
(Bloomberg) -- China’s Uber-for-trucks startup Full Truck Alliance said it’s weighing an initial public offering after breaking even from May, defying a sector-wide downturn.The company, which is backed by SoftBank Group Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., said its improved financial performance dovetailed with its decision not to follow through on a plan to raise as much as $1 billion in a private round, Chief Financial Officer Richard Zhang said during an interview with Bloomberg TV.“We broke even both in the accounting and cash flow sense,” said Zhang. “I don’t want to commit to a timetable here, but eventually we probably want to go for an IPO.” The company also hasn’t decided whether it will need to do a pre-IPO round, Zhang added.Despite dominating the truck-sharing sector in China, Full Truck Alliance is now confronted with the same challenges that on-demand businesses world-wide face -- proving its business model can lead to sustainable revenue and profit growth.Much also depends on conditions in the market. Bets on a once red-hot Chinese technology sector are cooling alongside waning economic growth. In July, investments made by venture capital and private equity firms dropped 60% to 407 cases, while the amount plummeted around 78% to 32.8 billion yuan ($4.6 billion), according to research consultant Zero2IPO. Investors in the sector have also been spooked by WeWork’s IPO setback.Formed by a merger between China’s two largest truck-sharing platforms -- Huochebang and Yunmanman-- the company has attracted backers including Sequoia and Alphabet Inc.’s CapitalG. It was said to be planning to raise as much as $1 billion at a valuation of about $9 billion, Bloomberg reported late last year. Zhang confirmed the company didn’t complete that round, adding that Full Truck Alliance’s valuation stood at $6.4 billion post-money after it raised funds in April 2018.By creating a marketplace that connects millions of mostly independent truckers, the company makes money by charging a fee when brokering transactions, and from servicing drivers by selling top-up toll cards and directing them to service stations.The company is also expanding into automotive technology and is now the largest external investor in autonomous trucking startup Plus.AI. The Cupertino-based company co-founded by David Liu formed a joint-venture with China’s state-backed heavy truck manufacturer FAW Jiefang, introducing their first commercial product (a Level-2 semi-autonomous truck) earlier this month.Plus.AI is currently in talks with new investors for funding, Liu said during the interview.To contact the reporters on this story: Lulu Yilun Chen in Hong Kong at email@example.com;Yvonne Man in Hong Kong 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) -- The U.S. semiconductor industry urged President Donald Trump to make good on his promise to ease the ban on sales to China’s Huawei Technologies Co.“We encourage prompt action to issue approvals for sales that do not implicate national security concerns, particularly where there is foreign availability for competing products,” the Semiconductor Industry Association said in a letter dated Sept. 11 to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, which was seen by Bloomberg News. Intel Corp., Qualcomm Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc. and are among members of the association.China’s largest technology company has found itself at the center of a trade conflict between Beijing and Washington that’s weighing on the global economy.After meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in late June, Trump said he would loosen restrictions on Huawei export licenses and that Beijing had agreed to buy more U.S. farming goods. But neither side has followed through on those pledges, and the U.S. has since increased tariffs on Chinese goods, sparking retaliation by China.In July, Trump met with chief executives from major technology companies including Micron Technology Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google who asked for a timely decision on the resumption of sales to Huawei.Trade BlacklistAmerican businesses require a special license to supply goods to Huawei after the U.S. added the Chinese company to a trade blacklist in May over national-security concerns.Huawei is the third-largest buyer globally of U.S. semiconductors, the association said in the letter. Sales to Huawei of “non-sensitive” products ranging from mobile phones to smart-watches “do not implicate national security concerns,” the group said. The ban is making it more difficult for U.S. firms to compete against foreign rivals that don’t face the same restrictions, according to the letter.Delays in awarding the special licenses could weaken the U.S. semiconductor industry because it will lead to lower profits, forcing some companies to cut research and eroding their dominance in the global market, the association said.To contact the reporters on this story: Jenny Leonard in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Ian King in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org, Sarah McGregor, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Broadcom Inc. reported modest quarterly sales growth and reiterated a muted forecast for the rest of the fiscal year, indicating the trade war between China and the U.S. is still suppressing demand for semiconductors.Sales in the period ended Aug. 4 rose 9% to $5.52 billion, the San Jose, California-based company said Thursday in a statement. Before certain items, profit was $5.16 a share. That compares with average analyst estimates for per-share profit of $5.13 on sales of $5.52 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Broadcom said it still expects revenue in fiscal 2019 to be $22.5 billion, a lowered projection it made in June. The company no longer gives quarterly predictions and instead updates its annual target at the end of each quarter. Shares declined about 1.3% in extended trading.Chief Executive Officer Hock Tan has built a $100 billion company through a spate of acquisitions, including his purchase of part of Symantec Corp. for $10.7 billion in August. While Broadcom has one of the broadest reaches in the technology industry, that diversity hasn’t made it immune to the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China and blacklisting of Huawei Technologies Co., which is hammering Tan’s semiconductor business.“We believe demand has bottomed out but will continue to remain at these levels due to the current uncertain environment,” Tan said in the statement. There’s little visibility due to the trade war and no sense of a “sharp recovery around the corner,” he added on a conference call.About half of the chips Broadcom sells are either used in China or sent through factories there on the way to becoming part of electronic devices sold around the world. Last year, Huawei accounted for about $900 million of Broadcom’s sales, Tan has said.The chipmaker’s position as a major manufacturer of components for Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. means its orders are seen as a gauge of confidence in future demand from some of the world’s largest smartphone makers. It’s also one of the leading suppliers of networking components used by large data-center operators such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud division.Tan said that there is a “seasonal uptick” in demand for phone parts because of the launch of new models from his “large North American customer,” using his typical reference for Apple. Orders at this point are typical of the buildup ahead of a phone release, and sales of the devices will determine demand in the future. Apple’s iPhone 11 goes on sale Sept. 20.Three months ago, Tan pared back his revenue forecast for the year, indicating that sales in each of the remaining quarters would be a billion dollars lighter than previously expected. That has held back Broadcom’s stock, which is up 18% this year, compared with a 39% advance by the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index.In the current circumstances, the company will prioritize paying down debt over buying back shares, Chief Financial Officer Tom Krause said on the conference call. Doing so is important to retaining the company’s investment-grade credit rating.Net income in the fiscal third quarter declined to $715 million, or $1.71 a share, from $1.2 billion, or $2.71, a year earlier, Broadcom said. Chip unit sales were about $4.4 billion in the recent period, accounting for 79% of the company’s total revenue. They were down 4.7% from a year earlier.(Updates with comments from executives starting in fifth paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Ian King in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
GameStop (GME) shares have been sliding after the video game retailer reported disappointing Q2 earnings after the closing bell on Tuesday.
(Bloomberg) -- It’s a classic Silicon Valley story: A shoestring operation disrupts the way business has traditionally been done, smashing experts’ expectations while drawing wary glances from sober-minded analysts.Except this time the product isn’t some new gadget or app, it’s a presidential candidate. Since he began his unorthodox campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination, New York entrepreneur Andrew Yang has broken with a lot of traditional advice about campaign proposals, fundraising and public relations. And so far, it’s kind of worked.Endorsements from big names like Elon Musk, along with many small individual donations from software engineers—among the biggest givers to his campaign—have catapulted him into the middle of the winnowing pack of remaining Democratic candidates. He’s managed to win over the tech industry’s support while making its negative impact on society his central focus, and he’ll be on the debate stage on Thursday night, trying to convince everyone he can fix it. An outsider with zero political experience, Yang has outlasted a senator, two governors and three members of the House in the crowded Democratic field. He’s currently beating two senators, former liberal heartthrob Beto O’Rourke and Tom Steyer, the billionaire burning through his own cash while floundering in the polls. And Yang’s fundraising and poll numbers were strong enough to qualify for nationally televised debates three times. But it’s the next phase that proves trickiest, in both tech and politics. Yang, who is currently at 2.5% in a Real Clear Politics aggregation of polls, needs to scale up quickly, building more name recognition and financial support before the primary season starts. In short, it’s time for Yang to go public. His plan to do so involves a campaign centered on one big idea: a $1,000 check sent monthly to every U.S. citizen over the age of 18, no strings attached. But he’s also touting more than 150 other proposals such as legalizing marijuana, creating a postal banking system, paying college athletes, eliminating the penny and making Puerto Rico a state. It’s those ideas that make more traditional pundits view Yang as a fringe candidate—Yang is undoubtedly the first presidential campaign to have taken a stance on circumcision, even if he later backtracked on it. But an embrace of oddball causes may also be part of the secret to Yang’s success so far.Connor Farrell, a progressive fundraising consultant for Left Rising in Washington, D.C., said that Yang’s campaign features the kind of niche ideas with passionate fan bases that drive online donations. Those voters can be reached much more efficiently through free viral videos and memes than can, say, potential supporters of former Vice President Joe Biden who prioritize electability. And they’re easier to convert into small-dollar donors who can be tapped again and again, Farrell said.“Candidates who advertise about a specific issue have an easier time targeting the people that are likely to give to them,” he said. “You’ll make more money spending less money.” Yang recently sat down with Bloomberg in a cramped conference room in San Francisco to talk about his ideas. Surrounded by stacks of his book The War on Normal People, the former tech entrepreneur quickly launched into his case that the tech sector bears responsibility for many of America’s problems.Retail jobs vaporizing and shopping malls closing? That’s Amazon. Suicide and mental health issues on the rise? That’s Facebook. Journalism on the decline? Google’s ad network carries a bunch of responsibility for that. And, he argues, there’s worse to come, as automation comes for clerical, call center, retail, food preparation and trucking jobs. “It’s not immigrants causing these problems,” Yang said, in counterpoint to President Donald Trump. “It’s technology.”And then he turns to his solution, which his campaign calls the Freedom Dividend but Yang informally describes as a “tech check.” To help pay for its estimated cost of about $255 billion per month, he wants to ditch corporate taxes on earnings and instead institute a value-added tax, or VAT, a tax on consumption. The VAT is used by a majority of developed counties, but is considered a non-starter in the U.S. for both parties: Republicans look at it as a tax hike, and Democrats believe it’s regressive because poor people’s consumption represents more of their income. Yang argues that if the tax were set at 10% (or about half the amount Europe charges) it would easily cover his $12,000 annual stipend for every American.While Yang believes the tech sector has created a lot of problems, he also thinks it’s uniquely positioned to solve some. Yang wants to allow voting by mobile phone using blockchain security. He favors net neutrality, letting consumers have a property right to their own data and increased investment in quantum computing and encryption technologies. He wants to bolster artificial intelligence to remain competitive with China and create a new agency to monitor the addictive nature of smartphones and social media.And, more importantly, he doesn’t rail against the companies’ creators themselves. It’s a neat trick: He vilifies the effects of innovation while absolving the innovators, saying that’s a job for government regulators. “This is a natural place where the government needs to come in and set parameters,” Yang told Bloomberg. “If you ask [tech companies] to self-regulate, they would literally be doing their shareholders a massive disservice if they were to scale back in any meaningful way.”To help garner support for such policies, Yang wants to create an agency to educate elected officials on artificial intelligence, data privacy, online ad networks and other technology topics they often don’t understand but are expected to craft laws to regulate. Such misunderstanding, he suggests, is what led candidate Elizabeth Warren to propose a break up of big tech earlier this year. “She’s recommending 20th century solutions to 21st century problems,” he said of Warren. “It’s not like breaking Google up into four mini-Googles would somehow improve the marketplace because no one wants to use the fourth best search engine. There’s a reason why we’re not using Bing.” Yang has early roots in the tech industry. He grew up in upstate New York, a self-described nerd who often spent more time with computers than people. His father, who worked at International Business Machines Corp. and generated 69 patents, encouraged his son’s early interest in technology. After Yang earned a law degree from Columbia University, he found he didn’t like being a lawyer and launched a startup allowing people to donate to celebrities’ favorite charities (it failed), then he drifted to a health care startup and eventually joined an online test prep company as an employee. By the time test titan Kaplan Test Prep bought it a few years later in 2009, Yang had risen to become its chief executive. He used part of his windfall to start a non-profit called Venture For America, matching recent college graduates with tech startups in sometimes-overlooked cities like St. Louis, Detroit and Pittsburgh.The people most likely to donate to Yang’s campaign have job titles like programmer, developer and software engineer. Many of them have jobs at Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp., but Yang also has a steady stream of contributions from workers with the same jobs at companies around the country, such as Capital One Financial Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp. and Walmart Inc.He's also gotten support from tech workers at small startups, ranging from companies developing artificial intelligence platforms to apps that teach "Unified Mindfulness," a meditation technique.Workers at tech firms contributed $321,664 to Yang through the end of June, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. That was less than the $1.3 million the sector gave to Pete Buttigieg, tops among Democratic presidential candidates, and about as much as Joe Biden, who is polling far higher but whose late entry into the race gave him less time to raise money.Like most of his rivals, Yang's big three locations for raising money are the New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco metro areas, but tech enclaves rank higher on his list than they do for other candidates. Seattle is fourth and the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area—the heart of Silicon Valley—is seventh.Richard Shank is one of those donors. A software developer in Beaverton, Ore., he was working on a project to automate school scheduling and listening to a Ray Kurzweil audiobook a few years ago when he had a realization that automation was going to cause a lot more disruption to the economy. After reading more on the issue, Shank, 50, settled on the universal basic income—sometimes called UBI, or in Yang’s case, the “tech check”—as a solution. He backed Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in 2016 in part because he’d said favorable things about the idea, but when he heard Yang on Sam Harris’ podcast, Shank had finally found his candidate.“I was immediately sold,” he said. “UBI is probably the single most important issue in this race.” Shank listened to the audiobook of The War on Normal People and checked out every podcast interview with the Yang that he could find. He sets aside a portion of each paycheck to send to Yang’s campaign, and is about $1,000 toward his goal of hitting the Federal Election Commission maximum of $2,800.Neil Malhotra, a political economy professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, has studied political attitudes in Silicon Valley and the tech sector. One study of tech founders in Silicon Valley found that they favor low regulation to allow businesses to innovate but they also support redistributing wealth and are liberal on social issues. A separate study found similar attitudes among computer science majors at Stanford.“If you look at the Yang campaign, it’s very consistent with what we found,” Malhotra said. Yang may not like social media’s effects on society, but his campaign is certainly benefiting from them. Online, fans have blended his image with funny and sometimes outrageous messages that spread fast on Twitter and Reddit as well as more controversial sites like 4chan. Yang’s campaign staff say they try to keep tabs on the ever-multiplying memes, but have no control over what gets published, where or how fast it spreads. “As important as social media and everything is, the core driver is still email and fundraising,” said Digital Director Eric Ming, who leads the campaign’s efforts in social media, digital advertising, email and online engagement. He said he and his team don’t generally make memes, but see the power of the images in real time.When a meme strikes a chord, like the image of a boyfriend doing a double take on a new girl (Yang) while walking with his girlfriend (Trump), it spreads quickly, contributing to the candidate’s digital fame. One clip of Yang dancing the Cupid Shuffle in a women’s exercise class got 1.6 million views. A slow-motion video of Yang standing barefoot on his deck kicking off a water bottle cap without knocking over the bottle got 1.4 million. Another video shows supporters hoisting him above their heads, enabling him to crowdsurf his political rally like a rockstar.They may seem trivial, but like any media appearance, viral clips can drive voters to learn more about the candidate. These images play an outsized role in driving political decisions, according to Joel Penney, an associate professor at Montclair State University and author of The Citizen Marketer: Promoting Political Opinion in the Social Media Age.Penney described memes as amateur-produced political ads that played a “massive” role in helping Trump win the last election. Their power, he says, lies in their simplicity. It’s an easy way of consuming often complex information that’s easy to share, is topical and hits emotional triggers.“Memes get votes,” Penney said. “It’s not a one-to-one correlation, but it’s absolutely what’s shaping meaning and perceptions.” (Updates with donation information in the 24th paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected a cost estimate for a universal basic income.)\--With assistance from Bill Allison.To contact the authors of this story: Lizette Chapman in San Francisco at email@example.comRyan Beckwith in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at email@example.com, Brad StoneFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.