GOOGL Nov 2019 1232.500 call

OPR - OPR Delayed price. Currency in USD
70.16
0.00 (0.00%)
As of 12:11PM EDT. Market open.
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Previous close70.16
Open70.16
Bid84.80
Ask91.60
Strike1,232.50
Expiry date2019-11-29
Day's range70.16 - 70.16
Contract rangeN/A
Volume20
Open interestN/A
  • Waymo's Program to Hail Driverless Cars Keeps Expanding
    Bloomberg

    Waymo's Program to Hail Driverless Cars Keeps Expanding

    Nov.18 -- Dan Chu, Waymo Chief Product Officer, talks about the demand for driverless taxis and trucks. He appears on "Bloomberg Technology."

  • Senators Look to Shore Up Data Security
    Bloomberg

    Senators Look to Shore Up Data Security

    Nov.18 -- Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, proposed a bill to limit data that gets transferred to China and Russia. Ben Brody Kurt Wagner report on "Bloomberg Technology."

  • Behind Lazard's Unique Relationship With Google
    Bloomberg

    Behind Lazard's Unique Relationship With Google

    Nov.18 -- Over the last decade, Lazard Ltd. has quietly become Google’s go-to adviser, bringing it the cachet -- though not big fees -- of working with one of the world’s largest companies. Bloomberg's Liana Baker has more on "Bloomberg Markets: The Close."

  • Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple offer defence in congressional antitrust probe
    Reuters

    Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple offer defence in congressional antitrust probe

    WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Four top U.S. tech companies, Alphabet's Google, Facebook, Amazon.com and Apple, responded to questions from a congressional committee by defending their practices and declining to answer some questions. The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, which released the answers Tuesday, had sent the queries as part of its antitrust probe of the four giants, which face a long list of other antitrust probes. Facebook and Apple declined comment for this story while Amazon and Google had no immediate comment.

  • Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple offer defense in congressional antitrust probe
    Reuters

    Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple offer defense in congressional antitrust probe

    WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Four top U.S. tech companies, Alphabet's Google, Facebook, Amazon.com and Apple, responded to questions from a congressional committee by defending their practices and declining to answer some questions. The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, which released the answers Tuesday, had sent the queries as part of its antitrust probe of the four giants, which face a long list of other antitrust probes. Facebook and Apple declined comment for this story while Amazon and Google had no immediate comment.

  • Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple Push Back on House Tech Concerns
    Bloomberg

    Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple Push Back on House Tech Concerns

    (Bloomberg) -- Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple defended their business practices in responses to detailed questions by lawmakers conducting an inquiry into antitrust issues in the tech sector.The answers, released Tuesday by the House subcommittee overseeing the probe, come as antitrust scrutiny of the companies has escalated rapidly, with federal and state enforcers opening formal investigations into Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.The four companies received the questions from Democratic Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who chairs the panel, in September. Separately, the whole committee issued requests for extensive records on the firms’ business practices, acquisitions, executive communications and other issues. The companies also are in the process of responding to those requests.Here’s what the four firms said:GoogleDisputed the idea that it controls too much of the search market and the digital ad ecosystem.Downplayed suggestions that it prioritizes its own services.Denied that advertisers can only use Google Display & Video 360 ad service to purchase advertising inventory on its YouTube video platform, saying certain partners can buy ads directly from Google’s sales team.Denied that its search ranking system considers whether a publisher has adopted use of its Accelerated Mobile Pages -- a format that hosts web content directly inside search results. Google has said that the new format significantly accelerated loading times on websites.FacebookDefended policies that restricted some third-party app developers from using its platform, insisting it has never tied access to its data to spending on advertising even though documents from a lawsuit have told a different story.Said its changes to WhatsApp’s privacy policy were consistent with its promises not to alter the chat platform’s sharing practices.Explained that it restricted video app Vine from its platform in 2013 because it “considered Vine to be an app that replicated Facebook’s core News Feed functionality.”AmazonPushed back against criticism that it unfairly competes with third-party sellers in its marketplace with its own products, saying its decision-making for how third-party sellers are treated is driven by a desire to give consumers wide selection, low prices and convenient delivery.Defended its private-label line known as AmazonBasics, saying private-label products are a “common retail practice.” It said it “generally does not distinguish the treatment of brands” based on the brand owner.Said its algorithm for listing shopping results doesn’t consider whether a merchant uses its Fulfillment by Amazon logistics service or whether a product is Amazon’s private label.Said it prohibits its private-label business from using individual sellers’ data to make decisions about product introductions, pricing or inventory.ApplePointed out that there are many apps that compete with its own services such as web browsing, maps, music and video.Said that users cannot uninstall its Safari web browser from the iPhone or switch to another default because Safari is “an essential part of iPhone’s functionality” as an operating system app.Explained that it’s not possible to reliably repair some products “because it is not feasible to split products into its component parts without significant risk of damage to those components.”\--With assistance from Naomi Nix, Gerrit De Vynck, Joe Light, David McLaughlin and Mark Gurman.To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at btenerellabr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, Mark NiquetteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    ‘Hipster Antitrust’ Might End the Megamerger Party

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- A few months ago, a group of Democratic senators, several of them presidential candidates and all members of the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee(1), wrote a letter to Joseph Simons, the Republican chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, to criticize two monster pharma deals under regulatory review: the $63 billion Allergan PLC-AbbVie Inc. merger, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s $74 billion purchase of Celgene Corp.Consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry, the senators wrote,is occurring against a backdrop of ever-rising prescription drug spending….It is more important than ever that the FTC take appropriate action to protect consumers. The Federal Trade Commission must carefully consider whether the proposed transactions may lessen competition, stifle innovation, or harm consumers.“The proposed AbbVie/Allergan and Bristol-Myers Squibb/Celgene transactions,” they added, “raise significant antitrust issues.”The FTC has not yet ruled on the Allergan-AbbVie deal, which was only announced in June, and which the companies hope to complete in early 2020.But on Friday, Simons and the two other Republican commissioners on the five-member FTC brushed aside the concerns of the Democrats and approved the Bristol-Myers Squibb deal with Celgene. Its only condition was that Celgene sell Otezla, its blockbuster psoriasis drug, apparently because Bristol-Myers Squibb has a promising psoriasis drug of its own in a phase 3 trial. The FTC has historically frowned on merged drug companies keeping overlapping drugs, fearing excessive market control.The FTC’s two Democratic commissioners, Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, dissented, something Chopra in particular has made a habit of doing since he joined the FTC in 2018. During the Obama administration, Chopra was the student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he attempted to spur competition in student lending.  At the FTC, he quickly gained a reputation for being in the vanguard of what’s sometimes called “hipster antitrust” — the effort to infuse new thinking into the antitrust arena.Much of this new thinking has been spurred by the rise of the big three tech giants, Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, and Amazon.com Inc. Chopra has criticized the fines the FTC has levied against Facebook and YouTube (which is owned by Google), saying that “when a company can pay a fine from its ill-gotten gains, that’s not a penalty — that’s an incentive.”  He seeks remedies that will diminish their market power and permanently alter their behavior.But Chopra isn’t just focused on Big Tech. He believes that in industry after industry, concentration has gone too far. The result, he concludes, has been less innovation, higher barriers to entry for new market entrants and higher prices for consumers. And because the FTC must approve mergers in a variety of sectors — chemical companies, agricultural concerns and, yes, pharmaceuticals — he is in a position to do something about it. Or rather, he may be soon, depending on the result of the 2020 election.Which is also why his dissents are worth noting. They offer an insight into how a Democratic administration might tackle market power and industry consolidation at a time when the status quo no longer seems acceptable.At the FTC, there has long been a bipartisan consensus that so long as two drug companies didn’t have overlapping products — or if they were willing to divest them — the merger would be approved. This long-standing practice, Chopra wrote in his dissent, is no longer good enough: “Some evidence shows that these mergers have choked off innovation, creating harms that are immeasurable for those waiting for a cure.”  He then lays out all the elements of Bristol-Myers Squibb merger with Celgene that he believes the FTC should have considered:This massive $74 billion merger between Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) and Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG) may have significant implications for patients and inventors, so we must be especially vigilant. In my view, this transaction appears to be heavily motivated by financial engineering and tax considerations (as opposed to a genuine drive for greater discovery of lifesaving medications), without clear benefits to patients or the public….In addition, there are also concerns about a history of anticompetitive conduct.(2)Expansive investigation for mergers like these is time well spent.He then goes on to list the questions he believes the FTC should have tried to answer—questions that go well beyond overlapping drugs:Will the merger facilitate a capital structure that magnifies incentives to engage in anticompetitive conduct or abuse of intellectual property? Will the merger deter formation of biotechnology firms that fuel much of the industry’s innovation? How can we know the effects on competition if we do not rigorously study or investigate these and other critical questions? Given our approach, I am not confident that the Commission has sufficient information to determine the full scope of potential harms to competition of this massive merger.Here is something else Chopra believes: The FTC has plenty of statutory authority to bring antitrust actions — or block mergers on antitrust grounds. It’s just that it has rarely used that authority, preferring instead to take the same laissez faire approach as the Justice Department and the courts. “What we’re advocating is not radical,” Chopra told me recently. “It’s a restoration. We have to see this as a core part of the economic policy tool kit.”So far in this early phase of the presidential race, corporate executives have tended to focus on, say, Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax. That’s understandable, but a wealth tax will require Congress to pass a bill. So will Medicare For All, and any number of policies the various Democratic candidates hope to implement.But changing the government’s approach to antitrust — getting tougher on mergers and maybe even calling for some companies to be broken up — doesn’t require legislation. When a group of senators (some of whom also happen to be presidential candidates) writes to the FTC calling for greater scrutiny of a big pharma merger — and a leading light of the new antitrust movement is in the vanguard — it’s a pretty good bet that this is one thing that will change if there’s a new administration.Brace yourselves, Corporate America. The merger party may be coming to an end.(1) Its official name is the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights.(2) Chopra’s dissent links to this 2018 NPR article, about the steps Celgene took to keep its multiple myeloma drug, Revlimid, away from generic competition.To contact the author of this story: Joe Nocera at jnocera3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Timothy L. O'Brien at tobrien46@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joe Nocera is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He has written business columns for Esquire, GQ and the New York Times, and is the former editorial director of Fortune. His latest project is the Bloomberg-Wondery podcast "The Shrink Next Door."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Google Acquires CloudSimple, Enhances Cloud Capabilities
    Zacks

    Google Acquires CloudSimple, Enhances Cloud Capabilities

    Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google acquires CloudSimple which is likely to drive momentum across enterprise customers.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Google, Fitbit, Apple, Facebook and Amazon
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Google, Fitbit, Apple, Facebook and Amazon

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Google, Fitbit, Apple, Facebook and Amazon

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Alphabet, Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, Boeing and PetroChina
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Alphabet, Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, Boeing and PetroChina

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Alphabet, Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, Boeing and PetroChina

  • U.S. Big Tech Could Learn From Russia's Yandex
    Bloomberg

    U.S. Big Tech Could Learn From Russia's Yandex

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Yandex NV, Russia’s biggest technology company, has figured out how to avoid nationalization or a foreign ownership ban. Big Tech in the U.S. should pay attention: The governance scheme Yandex appears to have worked out in consultation with the Russian government could be a good solution for companies that are de facto public utilities under private control.Yandex, set up in 2000 to monetize a search engine developed in the 1990s by the team of co-founder Arkady Volozh, is as close as it gets in Russia to a Silicon Valley-style internet giant. For a long time, it mainly aped Google’s services for the Russian market, but it has grown into a conglomerate that developed or bought up other businesses, from marketplaces to delivery projects. It’s not just Russia’s Google but Russia’s Amazon and Russia’s Uber, too (it first outcompeted Uber’s Russian operation, then swallowed it up). In fact, when Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a “sovereign internet” law earlier this year, officially meant to keep web services functioning inside Russia should the U.S. cut the country off from the worldwide computer network, many said Yandex would be that “sovereign internet.”Yandex’s size and its ability to match the tech giants have made the company strategic for the Russian government. As early as 2009, Volozh had to protect Yandex from nationalization or from being taken over by one of Putin’s billionaire friends by issuing a “golden share,” which could block the sale of more than 25% of the company’s stock, to state-controlled Sberbank.But the government also could be helpful when Yandex needed it. In 2015, the Russian tech giant filed an antitrust complaint against Google, which had been eating into its market share on mobile, and in 2017 Google had to settle with the Russian antitrust authority, allowing Android smartphone vendors to install Yandex apps. Now, the Russian parliament is considering a bill that would ban the sale of phones and computers without pre-installed Russian software. Yandex would be the  main beneficiary.In Putin’s mind, that kind of protection comes at a price: Yandex must guarantee that it will never fall under foreign control. The previous “golden share” arrangement didn’t quite rule that out. Volozh and top employees control the company’s Class B stock, which gives them 57% of the voting power. If those shares are sold or their owners die, Class B shares will automatically convert to Class A ones, which are traded on stock exchanges, and foreign shareholders will end up with the most voting power.In July, legislator Anton Gorelkin introduced a bill that would limit the foreign ownership of strategically important internet companies to 20%. Yandex opposed it, but the government approved it, and it became clear that the bill would be passed. So Volozh began working feverishly on a solution, which was finally announced on Monday “after many months of discussion,” as Volozh wrote in a letter to employees. The company has set up a special body called the Public Interests Foundation, made up of representatives of Russia’s top math, engineering and business schools (most of them owned by the state) and Russia’s big-business lobby, the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. The foundation will have two seats out of 12 on Yandex’s board of directors, and it will have a veto on all deals involving 10% or more of Yandex stock, big intellectual property sales and any transfer of Russian citizens’ personal data.Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, denied that the Kremlin had taken part in the discussions mentioned in Volozh’s letter, but praised Yandex for appreciating the company’s “special responsibility” and the “special attention” on the part of the state that it enjoys. Immediately after the Yandex announcement, Gorelkin called the solution “elegant” and pulled his bill. All this was immediately reflected in a share price spike.This may read like a distinctively Russian story, in which a group of business founders is trying to avoid a state takeover and the Kremlin prefers not to establish formal control over the national tech champion while keeping a close eye on it. The schools provide a convenient smokescreen both for the government and for investors. But what Yandex has done isn’t only relevant within the context of Putin’s Russia. It could be seen as a template for Big Tech, even though Yandex’s market capitalization, at $13.2 billion, is only a fraction of Alphabet Inc.’s ($910.6 billion) or Facebook Inc.’s ($562.9 billion).These two companies that make up the internet’s advertising duopoly, are often discussed along with Amazon.com Inc. as public services rather than mere businesses by politicians on both the right and the left of the U.S. political spectrum. Last year, Republican Representative Steve King of Iowa proposed treating Google and Facebook as public utilities. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, would break up some of the Big Tech companies and designate some as “platform utilities” that would be banned from sharing user data with third parties and required to treat all users equally.Obviously, the tech firms are opposed to such heavy-handed regulation, but what they do on their own only brings them closer to a confrontation with governments, both in the U.S. and in Europe. Facebook’s refusal to police misleading political advertising and Google’s data-sharing practices scream for some kind of state interference. Like Yandex, the companies could act preemptively to set up governance structures that would veto business ideas viewed as damaging to society’s interests. Vesting veto powers in councils made up of the representatives of top universities and nongovernmental organizations could accomplish that purpose. If such a structure can win approval even from an authoritarian regime such as the Russian one (with the caveat that academic institutions in Russia aren’t as independent as those in the West), it could probably satisfy most Big Tech critics in democracies, too.  The alternative, as in Yandex’s case, could be far more restrictive.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at jlandman4@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Amazon's Free Music Service Stirs Up Music Streaming War
    Zacks

    Amazon's Free Music Service Stirs Up Music Streaming War

    Amazon's (AMZN) ad-supported free Amazon Music is likely to provide tough competition to Apple, Spotify, Google and Sirius XM.

  • Oracle Delays Decision to Replace Mark Hurd
    Bloomberg

    Oracle Delays Decision to Replace Mark Hurd

    (Bloomberg) -- A month after the death of Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd, Oracle Corp.’s succession plan is to leave control in the hands of Chairman Larry Ellison and Hurd’s fellow CEO Safra Catz while an internal successor is groomed, people familiar with the matter said. While Ellison has put forth five candidates, none has emerged quickly as the front-runner to join Catz as CEO, and the company is likely to appoint someone president first—or at least give that executive more time to grow into the role, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing the company’s private deliberations. Oracle has considered promoting an executive with product or technical experience, one of the people said.Hurd, Oracle’s chief salesman, died in October after taking a short medical leave. Ellison, 75, and Catz, 57, have said they are splitting Hurd’s duties. In September, Ellison promised to give five names to Oracle’s board of executives who could one day be a “next-gen” CEO. He name-checked Steve Miranda, 50, executive vice president of applications development, and Don Johnson, EVP of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, as leaders who would grow over time. Ellison, who also serves as technology chief, said at that time that the software maker would be in no rush to directly replace Hurd, and Oracle remains committed to taking a slow approach, said the people. The software maker has had only three chief executive officers in its 42-year history. Ellison presided over the company for decades before stepping down in 2014, when he was succeeded by Catz and Hurd. The latter two served as presidents before sharing the top job. Currently, Oracle doesn’t have any presidents. Ellison’s desire to promote from within makes it likely the next person appointed to be CEO will first serve as a president.“We should have people in the company that are capable of being promoted into that position,” Ellison said at a meeting with financial analysts in September. “So when there is this succession, it's not rushing out and doing a search. It's knowing we have these assets that are familiar with the company, familiar with the personnel.”While there’s no current rush in naming a CEO, Oracle could accelerate the appointment should the right candidate emerge, the people said. Ellison may be asked about a successor to Hurd at Tuesday's annual shareholder meeting at Oracle’s headquarters in Redwood City, California.Amid Catz’s aversion to public speaking and media interviews, and Ellison’s limited public appearances, Hurd played a special role in Oracle’s C-suite. The usually outgoing executive oversaw sales and regularly met with big corporate customers who spent tens of millions of dollars on Oracle’s collection of software programs. He frequently outlined the company’s vision in meetings with the press and on television.“Mark Hurd loved sales and he loved the deal,” Pat Walravens, an analyst at JMP Securities, said in an interview. “Because of that, he ended up touching so much of Oracle. That’s what they need in a successor. Safra’s got the operations. You need somebody who loves sales and is really good at it.”The management succession issue comes at an important time for Oracle. Fiscal-year revenue has increased an average of less than 1% annually in the past five years as Oracle has transitioned to cloud-based computing. The company's sales have declined year-over-year for two of the past four quarters and analysts project growth of just 1.4% in fiscal 2020. Still, investors appear satisfied—the company's shares have gained about 25% this year, matching the rise of the S&P 500.Ellison has placed great trust in Oracle’s product executives, describing some of them as “people who are really running the company.” Besides Miranda and Johnson, Ed Screven, 55, Oracle’s chief corporate architect who ensures products are consistent with the company’s strategy; Andy Mendelsohn, the EVP in charge of database server technologies; and Juan Loaiza, EVP of mission-critical database technologies, are senior leaders who are well-regarded by Ellison, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing his thinking. Many of the executives have proven their loyalty to the boss by staying at Oracle for decades, since it was a much smaller business, but they’re seen as lacking Hurd’s panache and charisma, the people added.By contrast, Loïc Le Guisquet, the chairman for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Asia Pacific and Japan, has sales experience and oversees a sprawling portion of the company’s business. Le Guisquet is set to be promoted to a new global role, said one of the people, but his new title couldn't be confirmed. Oracle didn’t respond to a request for comment on its succession plans.Given Ellison’s second title as Oracle’s CTO, and his ownership of a third of the business, he would almost certainly retain veto power over product decisions as long as he remains at the company.Thomas Kurian was seen as an heir to Ellison as the company’s president of product development until he left in September 2018 after an acrimonious split with the billionaire chairman, Bloomberg News has reported. Kurian is now CEO of Alphabet Inc.’s Google Cloud Platform. Rather than replace Kurian directly, Ellison has largely absorbed his responsibilities and now oversees the executives who reported to Kurian.If Oracle seeks a candidate other than Le Guisquet with more of Hurd’s skills, it has other strong options, the people said. David Donatelli, 54, Oracle’s EVP of the cloud business group, leads sales and marketing strategy for the company’s cloud efforts and was one of Hurd’s deputies. Rich Geraffo, 56, the EVP of a multibillion-dollar part of Oracle’s North American sales organization, also used to answer to Hurd.“We think we're in pretty good shape,” Ellison said in September. “We've got quality and quantity in our management team. These people are all slightly younger than I am. So I think hopefully they're going to be around a long time.”\--With assistance from Ashlee Vance.To contact the author of this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at ngrant20@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Pollack at apollack1@bloomberg.net, Jillian WardMolly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Google Wins Vodafone Data Deal in Battle With Amazon, Microsoft

    (Bloomberg) -- Google is taking over a chunk of Vodafone Group Plc’s data operations to help the world’s second-biggest mobile phone company identify cost savings using artificial intelligence.Vodafone will shift data processing and storage from its own premises to Google’s cloud and use Google’s real-time analysis tools to develop new services for business clients and streamline the carrier’s operations in 24 countries, the companies told Bloomberg.It will become “the brains of our business as we transform ourselves into a digital tech company,” said Simon Harris, Vodafone’s head of big data delivery.Alphabet Inc.’s Google is vying with Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. for dominance in data centers and cloud computing. Vodafone has launched an internal platform dubbed “Neuron” to aggregate and crunch the ocean of data from its customers and networks. Chief Technology Officer Johan Wibergh said Vodafone can’t do that without Google’s capabilities.The companies didn’t give the price of the contract.Many phone companies are closing their aging data centers and outsourcing the work to a new generation of huge server farms developed by U.S. tech giants. Telecom Italia SpA has partnered with Google to sell cloud and edge computing services to corporate clients. Britain’s BT Group Plc is shifting from owning its data infrastructure to partnering with tech giants and selling complementary services such as system integration and cybersecurity.The Google deal is much more cost-effective than trying to build the same technological tools in-house, said Wibergh by phone. Vodafone is not selling its own data centers as they are still being used for other things, he added.To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Seal in London at tseal@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Penty at rpenty@bloomberg.net, Thomas Pfeiffer, Jennifer RyanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    This Search Engine Is Planting Trees Every Time You Browse

    (Bloomberg) -- When fires raged across Brazil this summer and deforestation rates reached startling highs, users began downloading a small German search engine in a modest effort to counteract the devastation.Ecosia GmBH, a Berlin-based alternative to Google, donates as much as 80% of the profit it makes from running ads alongside search results to plant trees around the world.As awareness increases around the impact of climate change -- from floods wiping out harvests or droughts forcing water restrictions -- Ecosia says it’s attracting more users as a result.“It’s easy to underestimate the massive impact that planting trees can have, with reforestation found to be the cheapest and most immediately effective weapon in the fight to save the planet,” Chief Executive Officer Christian Kroll said in an interview.The company says searches on its service have increased 82% compared to last year, as people become increasingly conscious of climate issues, aided in part by teenage activist Greta Thunberg. On Aug. 22, installs of Ecosia jumped 1,150% up from daily average figures, as news outlets around the world reported about the Amazon fires in Brazil.Ecosia typically sees up to 25,000 installs per day, but on Aug. 22 that jumped to over 250,000, the company said.On average, every 45 searches on Ecosia generates enough profit to plant one tree, which costs $0.25, Kroll said. Alongside its tree-planting, the company also has a program in Brazil to prevent the spread of forest fires, paying local firefighters to snuff them out and educating people in those areas to not start them in the first place.Kroll said he started trading stocks at age 16 and studied business administration in college, before he decided to shift course after extended trips to India, Nepal and Latin America, where he was exposed to poverty and mass extinction.He used his earnings from trading to launch Ecosia 10 years ago, which has since grown to bring in revenue of more than 9 million euros ($10 million) last year. It now has more than 8 million active users, according to a spokesman, allowing the certified benefit corporation to plant more than 74 million trees around the world, including in Brazil, Madagascar, Burkina Faso and Indonesia.The company says it targets tree-planting in biodiversity hotpots to protect as many plant and animal species as possible. It works with local organizations to plant trees that target the local community’s most urgent needs, like providing jobs, firewood, food or fertile soil.Unlike Google, Ecosia doesn’t target ads to users, though doing so could earn the company more money to plant trees. It says it also aims to protect user privacy as much as possible by not tracking its users or selling their data to advertisers and by encrypting their searches.The German search engine said it’s looking into rolling out more green services, like highlighting more sustainable options for travel in search results.Another possibility it’s mulling for the future: a personal assistant with a green conscience. “But without being too annoying,” Kroll said.To contact the reporter on this story: Natalia Drozdiak in Brussels at ndrozdiak1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Kylie Jenner Is Keeping Up With the Billionaires
    Bloomberg

    Kylie Jenner Is Keeping Up With the Billionaires

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Coty Inc. just turned into Koty Inc.The American beauty group controlled by Germany’s billionaire Reimann family has agreed to pay $600 million for a majority stake in the cosmetics brand founded by Kylie Jenner, the youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan. The deal, in which Coty will acquire a 51% stake, values Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics business at about $1.2 billion, not bad for the line of lip kits the reality TV star created when still a teenager.You can see why Coty is paying up for a piece of the “Konsumer” action. Jenner, with 270 million social media followers is at the vanguard of the celebrity-influencer beauty industry, where company founders engage their fans via Instagram and YouTube and turn them into customers. Jenner — alongside other new media stars such as pop singer Rihanna, who’s partnered with LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, and the makeup artist Huda Kattan — is reshaping the beauty industry. Traditional cosmetics houses need to find ways to keep up. The mass beauty market, in which Coty has brands such as CoverGirl and MaxFactor, has been hit hard by the celebrity competition.Coty’s deal values Kylie Cosmetics at 6.7 times the last 12 months’ revenue. That compares with the 3.6 times multiple paid by Sweden’s EQT Partners for Nestle Skin Health, a brand catering for a slightly older demographic. It seems contouring for millennials is twice as valuable as hiding crow’s feet.Jenner’s company sells only make-up and skincare products currently; Coty will license it fragrances and nail merchandise too. If the new parent can broaden Kylie’s appeal into everything from false eyelashes to gel nail varnish, and pump them through its global distribution network, then it has a chance of bolstering revenue and squeezing value from the deal price. The business is already growing quickly and has an Ebitda margin of more than 25%.The danger of buying a “name” brand is that fashion is fickle. Coty’s purchase assumes that Kylie will keep inspiring young women to highlight their cheek bones and plump their lips. Yet what if she falls from favor with her young followers, who move onto the next Instagram or TikTok sensation. Already we may be past peak Kardashian, with the family’s TV show now into its 17th series.Coty is eager to stress that this is a partnership, and that Jenner will remain heavily involved. But operating inside a behemoth is very different to being an entrepreneurial startup.Let’s not forget the fate of the celebrity fragrance boom that emerged in the 2000s. These products are waning in popularity as millennials demand more personalized and artisanal scents. Coty itself has been moving away from some traditional collaborations, for example stopping producing perfumes for Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga and Celine Dion — although it still has Katy Perry in its stable.Yet perfume tie-ups were for the analogue age; capturing a Kardashian is for the digital era. Investors will hope that doesn’t also mean an acceleration of the process of falling out of fashion.\--With assistance from Chris Hughes.To contact the author of this story: Andrea Felsted at afelsted@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andrea Felsted is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She previously worked at the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • U.S. Congress seeks answers on patient privacy in Google, Ascension cloud deal
    Reuters

    U.S. Congress seeks answers on patient privacy in Google, Ascension cloud deal

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  • Google Makes Another Cloud Acquisition During Antitrust Probe
    Bloomberg

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    (Bloomberg) -- Google announced plans to buy enterprise software firm CloudSimple Inc., another sign the search giant isn’t letting a flurry of antitrust investigations interrupt its expansion strategy.CloudSimple will join Google Cloud, a priority business for the Alphabet Inc. unit. The companies didn’t disclose financial terms.The acquisition could help Google get a foothold in a corner of the cloud-computing market where larger rivals, Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc., have run ahead. CloudSimple builds tools that help companies move information, applications, databases and other systems from in-house data centers to the public cloud.The Santa Clara, California-based startup specializes in VMware virtualization software, which helps businesses run corporate networks and business software more efficiently. VMWare’s large enterprise customer base has made it an attractive partner for the leading public cloud providers, including Google.In a Google blog post announcing the deal, Ajay Patel, a VMware Inc. senior vice president, said his company will continue to work with CloudSimple.In recent months, U.S. regulators and Congress have opened multiple inquiries into Google over competition concerns, including the company’s history of acquisitions. Since those probes began, Google has announced multibillion-dollar takeovers of Looker Data Sciences Inc., a cloud company, and Fitbit Inc., a device-maker.Google has argued that it has a small market share in cloud computing, enterprise software and consumer devices. Antitrust officials cleared Google’s $2.6 billion bid for Looker in early November.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Bergen in San Francisco at mbergen10@bloomberg.net;Nico Grant in San Francisco at ngrant20@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • FTC chief says has 'multiple' investigations of tech platforms
    Reuters

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    The chairman of the Federal Trade Commission said on Monday that his agency had multiple investigations of tech platforms, in addition to its known probe of Facebook, but did not identify them. Big tech companies like Facebook, Alphabet's Google, Amazon.com and Apple face a slew of antitrust probes by the federal government, state attorneys general and congress. It has previously been reported that the FTC's focus was on Facebook and Amazon.com.

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