|Day's range||0.4000 - 0.4000|
Zoom Video Communications is about to do its part to save the USPS.
Dec.09 -- Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition and technology czar, will review how EU antitrust regulators weigh industries, following criticism that they’ve been too rigid in fining Google and blocking mobile-phone, steel and rail deals.
(Bloomberg) -- TikTok owner ByteDance Inc. is testing a new music app in emerging markets as it tries to pull off another global sensation akin to its viral video-sharing service.Called Resso, the new app is now available in India and Indonesia, two of Asia’s most populous countries and places already keenly familiar with TikTok. Since an initial launch six months ago, Resso has been installed by about 27,000 users across the iOS App Store and Google Play, according to data compiled by Sensor Tower, which said the numbers indicate promotion of the app began in earnest at the end of November.ByteDance, the world’s most valuable startup, has been quietly developing the app to challenge the likes of Spotify and Apple Music in countries where paid music services have yet to garner large audiences. The Beijing-based company has secured rights from Indian labels T-Series and Times Music, Bloomberg News previously reported.Yet there are still no rights deals with the world’s three largest music companies -- Warner Music Group Corp., Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment -- which control the vast majority of popular music and whose catalogs would be crucial for Resso to catch on globally, according to people familiar with the matter.Record companies credit TikTok with minting a new generation of music stars, including Lil Nas X, the singer of “Old Town Road.” As it has attracted hundreds of millions of users with their music, however, those companies are now demanding ByteDance increase the licensing fees it pays.A TikTok Craze Is Minting Celebrities and Ruining Lives in IndiaUnlike Spotify, Resso displays real-time lyrics and lets users post their comments under individual songs. They can also generate music-accompanied GIFs and videos, emulating a favorite feature of TikTok. The app offers a monthly paid subscription service, which costs 119 rupees ($1.70) in India, the same as Spotify. Premium Resso users will be able to download music and listen ad-free.“Resso is currently in a beta testing phase,” a Resso representative said in a statement. “We are optimistic about its long-term prospects but we are still very early in the process and only in a limited number of developing markets.”ByteDance was valued at $75 billion last year in part because investors are confident about its reputation as a mobile app factory. But the seven-year-old startup is still on the lookout for its next major breakout hit after TikTok and news aggregator Toutiao, its first signature app. With the paid music app, ByteDance is also looking to expand its revenue stream beyond advertising to counter a slowing home economy that has dampened advertisers’ appetites.A rare global feat for a Chinese internet company, TikTok has been installed nearly 1.5 billion times since launching in 2017. New U.S. users grew 38% to 11.6 million in the third quarter, according to Sensor Tower, up from 8.4 million a year earlier.But its Chinese ownership has become a lightning rod for criticism as tensions rise between the U.S. and China over trade and technology. American politicians and teen users alike have expressed concerns about the app’s handling of user data and censorship of politically-sensitive expression.Testing out Resso in its chosen markets gives ByteDance the breathing room to scale up the service slowly and out of the intense spotlight that’s placed on its other services.\--With assistance from Muneeza Naqvi.To contact the reporters on this story: Zheping Huang in Hong Kong at email@example.com;Lucas Shaw in Los Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at email@example.com, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Today we found three 'cheap' tech stocks trading under $10 per share with the help of our Zacks Stock Screener that investors might want to buy heading into 2020...
Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) announces the launch of new studio to expand portfolio and push the boundaries of interactive entertainment.
The biggest news from last week is Google CEO Sundar Pichai taking over as CEO of Alphabet as well, and it was accompanied by other news covering labor trouble, European taxes, Verily and Waymo.
The U.S. Justice Department will review plans by Alphabet Inc-owned Google to buy fitness tracker maker Fitbit Inc for possible antitrust issues, a source told Reuters on Tuesday. The $2.1 billion deal will give search and advertising giant Google the capability to take on Apple and Samsung in the crowded market for fitness trackers and smart watches. Watchdog groups like Public Citizen and the Center for Digital Democracy, among others, have urged antitrust enforcers to block the deal on the grounds that it will give Google even more data about American consumers.
The U.S. Justice Department will review plans by Alphabet Inc-owned Google to buy fitness tracker maker Fitbit Inc for possible antitrust issues, a source told Reuters on Tuesday. The $2.1 billion (£1.64 billion) deal will give search and advertising giant Google the capability to take on Apple and Samsung in the crowded market for fitness trackers and smart watches. Watchdog groups like Public Citizen and the Center for Digital Democracy, among others, have urged antitrust enforcers to block the deal on the grounds that it will give Google even more data about American consumers.
Loon, a unit of Google's owner Alphabet Inc, which uses high-altitude balloons to provide mobile internet to remote areas, has signed a key access airspace agreement with Uganda. The deal grants Loon overflight rights crucial to its plans to provide floating balloon-enabled internet services in neighboring Kenya, the company said on Tuesday. The permissions are key to the firm's ambition of providing internet access to rural and remote populations that receive poor connectivity from traditional telecoms in Kenya, said Scott Coriell, the company's Head of Global Communications.
(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google isn’t liable for defamatory content posted on its platforms after 2009, India’s top court ruled, reaffirming immunity for Internet companies in the world’s second-most populous nation.The verdict, which reiterates a 2015 ruling, comes as a relief for social media companies, online retailers and service providers who are facing increasing pressure from the Indian government to regulate online content. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government plans to bring rules to regulate social media platforms and a law on data privacy that seek to levy heavy fines on companies in the event of violations.However, the top court ruled that Google India Pvt. Ltd. will have to face defamation charges in cases lodged before 2009, when India’s information technology laws were amended to provide online and social media service providers immunity for content posted by a third party. They will have to take down content only after a court order.“Any other view would make it a despot strangling the free flow of ideas, which is what the internet is all about,” Justices Ashok Bhushan and K.M. Joseph of the top court said in the verdict.The case originated in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh when a construction material company Visakha Industries Ltd. sued Google for a blog post against use and manufacture of asbestos cement sheets. Google appealed to the country’s top court after the state high court ruled against it. However, Google will still face the defamation charges because Visakha’s case was lodged before the 2009 amendment.Google maintained that content is neither published nor endorsed by the company and it is just a platform provider.To contact the reporter on this story: Upmanyu Trivedi in New Delhi at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Unni Krishnan at email@example.com, Abhay Singh, Pradeep KurupFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
EU antitrust regulators are considering taking a tougher line against tech giants by forcing them to do more to ensure a level playing field, a senior European Commission official said on Tuesday, a move which could affect Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google. The four U.S. tech companies are currently in EU competition enforcers' crosshairs, with rivals complaining about being shut out of key markets. The Commission has traditionally ordered companies to halt anti-competitive practices.
(Bloomberg) -- Google asked the government to eliminate rules that categorize anyone watching “child-directed” content online as under 13 while regulators revamp privacy regulations that could have a sweeping impact on the company’s YouTube video service.The Alphabet Inc. unit filed comments with the Federal Trade Commission on Monday as the agency considers changing its rules under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, which regulates how internet companies collect data on young people.In September, Google agreed to pay $170 million to the FTC to resolve claims that YouTube violated COPPA by serving targeted advertisements to children under 13. In response, YouTube agreed to end personalized ads on any videos deemed “made for kids” starting in January, a potential hit to sales for the company and its thousands of video creators. The FTC settlement also holds creators on the site responsible for future violations, which has sparked panic among some producers on YouTube’s sprawling network.In its comments, the company argued against FTC rules that automatically identify viewers younger than 13 based on the content of videos.“This does not match what we see on YouTube, where adults watch favorite cartoons from their childhood or teachers look for content to share with their students,” YouTube wrote in its public comments. “This is why we support allowing platforms to treat adults as adults if there are measures in place to help confirm that the user is an adult viewing kids content.”One critic of YouTube said the company’s response was inadequate.“This is a COPPA cop-out by Google,” Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, one of the groups that complained to the FTC about YouTube. “They should be telling creators that they apologize for involving them in their massive multiyear violation of the U.S. law.”The popularity of kids’ programming has put YouTube in an uncomfortable position. The company has maintained that the site isn’t for children, and doesn’t allow viewers under the age of 13. It created a separate app for kids, but its audience is tiny compared to the full site.After the FTC settlement, YouTube told creators that they would have to identify when videos are aimed at children under 13. When that happens, YouTube now turns off ads that rely on web browsing behavior and other targeting data, which earn more for YouTube and creators.On Monday, YouTube also asked the FTC for “balanced and clear guidelines” to help creators comply with COPPA. The company said that content not intended for kids can sometimes involve a traditional kids activity, such as gaming and art. “Are these videos ‘made for kids,’ even if they don’t intend to target kids? This lack of clarity creates uncertainty for creators,” YouTube said.YouTube doesn’t disclose its sales or break out what portion of the videos on its service are “child-directed.” Indeed, the company likely can’t automatically make such nuanced judgments on the millions of videos it runs online, despite having some of the world’s best technology for identifying and categorizing images and clips.Read more: YouTube Will Rely on Spotty AI to Comply With FTC SettlementIn recent weeks, some YouTube creators launched a campaign to tell the FTC that rewriting the COPPA rules and the settlement could hurt them financially and reduce the quality of programs. The agency has received thousands of comments on what has previously been a sleepy area of law.The FTC has issued guidance under COPPA for what constitutes videos “directed to children.” YouTubers in have expressed frustration that the definitions are still too vague.The FTC also allows sites that aren’t aimed at kids to put in place an age screening for viewers. That way, if kids do end up there, the site’s operators can reduce data collection, although children often lie about their age online. Some creators, including one of those who helped launch the petition to the FTC, have urged YouTube to adopt a comparable solution. YouTube didn’t address that on Monday in its blog. To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at firstname.lastname@example.org;Mark Bergen in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- For Li Mo, the footage of black-clad people clashing with police and vandalizing storefronts proved the final straw. The images of Hong Kong protesters fighting for greater autonomy from Beijing incensed the mainland-born postgraduate student and she could no longer remain on the sidelines. So, she joined China’s fangirl army.Ever since anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong turned violent this summer, China’s celebrity-obsessed young generation have patrolled Facebook, Twitter and Weibo, ready to pounce on perceived slights and defend their motherland. Nicknamed “fangirls” because they exhibit the same fervor most often reserved for pop-culture icons, these women and men flood social media with slogans and memes shaming brands -- sometimes with far-reaching consequences.Fangirls called out Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey for supporting Hong Kong protesters, prompting China’s state broadcaster to drop National Basketball Association games. They triggered boycotts of brands from Coach to Apple. Many got swept up by Facebook and Twitter account takedowns. And in a recent incident, the onslaught of vitriol they directed at Hong Kong pop-star Joey Yung forced her to apologize for a single Facebook selfie, but not before she got canned from a high-profile gala.The Hong Kong unrest spurred Li into action. She quickly picked up typical fangirl behavior -- endlessly liking and re-posting trending anti-protest diatribes on Weibo for example -- encouraged that hundreds of thousands shared her values. “I couldn’t remain silent any longer,” the 28-year-old said. “I don’t idolize anyone, I only idolize China.”Read More: Moment of Truth on China Is Coming for Rest of Corporate AmericaWhile many Westerners, particularly Americans, see China’s citizens as forced into supporting Beijing or muzzled from expressing their true feelings, fangirls suggest more earnest and resilient backing for their country’s government. They show how large pockets of China’s youth are rising up to defend their country against what they perceive as mistreatment and misrepresentation by outsiders, and they underscore a growing sentiment that’s shaping how China interacts with the world.China’s government has increasingly taken its propaganda efforts overseas, but fangirls’ deep convictions set them apart -- and perhaps make them more potent -- from often wooden, state-sponsored online commentators. Known as wumao, or the “50-cent army,” those bloggers are named after the amount they are said to make from each patriotic posting.The emergence of fangirls comes at a time Beijing is trying to engage younger Chinese by using rap music, cartoons and chat-app stickers to deliver Communist Party ideology. Homegrown corporations like Tencent Holdings Ltd. often aid such efforts. A system of education that often stresses the humiliation China suffered at the hands of foreigners also prepared the ground for their rise.They’re also the latest online patriots to hop the Great Firewall dividing the internet in mainland China from the rest of the world -- with a decidedly millennial twist. They call their nation “Brother Ah Zhong” (Brother China), describing it as a pop idol who debuted 5,000 years ago and now boasts a fan base of 1.4 billion.Fang Kecheng, assistant professor of communication and journalism at the Chinese University of Hong Kong sees state influence working hand-in-hand with young nationalist netizens, including fangirls who take note of the narrative on state media, then act upon it. “That’s not to say they are entirely manipulated, or being passively used as a tool,” he says. “There are things they’re searching for, such as a common identity and the ability to express their opinions.”Read More: Here’s What China Is Telling Its People About Hong Kong ProtestsJack Zhou, a 20-year-old hair stylist in central China, is one of a score of volunteer leaders of a 20,000-strong fangirl community. People like him help focus and channel raw emotions that often threaten to spill out of control. In between haircuts, he monitors a chat group of 400 users on messaging app QQ. Participants are charged with spawning content for the group’s main Weibo account. One of their latest productions is a three-minute video showcasing protester violence in Hong Kong, from setting a man on fire to ganging up on a police officer and trying to snatch his pistol. They called on those who can access sites like Facebook and YouTube to share the clip, which has English captions. “Let the world know the truth,” is their slogan.Zhou’s group has participated in several major online crusades to defend Beijing’s line on Hong Kong over the past three months, he said. They spammed Instagram accounts of pro-Beijing celebrities with emojis of the Chinese flag, infiltrated Facebook live streams to clash with pro-democracy sympathizers, and plastered Communist Party slogans on the sites of news outlets from CNN to the Washington Post. Their hard work paid off when the Communist Party’s Youth League and state media came out in praise of the campaigns, he said.Read More: China Celebrities Help Fan New Generation of NationalistsTheir motivations are widely misunderstood, said Zak Dychtwald, author of Young China: How the Restless Generation Will Change Their Country and the World. English-language media writing off Chinese pride as a product of propaganda and brainwashing only fans the flames of nationalism, he said. “There’s ardent pride in the country and fangirls want to defend it,” he added. “The energy and sentiment driving the movement in China is genuine.”Zhang Dong, 30, emigrated to Laos in 2013 to work as a tour guide after he graduated from college in China. Only then did he understand how the world depicts his country in such a “horrible” manner. Every day, he churns out dozens of posts on the accounts he registered for the purpose of discrediting Hong Kong’s protesters. He’s called them “cockroaches,” “traitors,” and “HKIS,” juxtaposing images of them with Islamic State terrorists. There’s “essentially no difference” between the two groups, he said.Zhang is proud of his independence. “I’ve never received any money from the Communist Party,” said Zhang. “If we were wumao, the Chinese government would have owed us hundreds of millions yuan by now.”Fangirls represent another front in social media giants’ efforts to curb disinformation campaigns. In August, Twitter suspended nearly 1,000 accounts originating from China, which the company identified as part of a state-backed operation to undermine Hong Kong’s protests. Facebook and Google took similar action. That take down didn’t have a lasting effect as new accounts emerged to replace those that were removed, a study from social media research firm Astroscreen shows.Read More: How Fake News and Rumors Are Stoking Division in Hong KongFangirls like Trista Wang say they have been unfairly targeted by these platforms. “Just one Chinese flag can get your account suspended,” said Wang, a traditional Chinese medicine therapist in the port city of Qingdao. She insists Facebook is biased toward Chinese patriots like her, pointing to Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s recent China-bashing remarks. “I used to have good feelings about Zuckerberg,” Wang said.A Facebook representative said the company only removes content that violates its community standards. In response to inquiries on two specific fangirl accounts that were disabled or restricted, the representative pointed to policy violations in relation to the use of fake identities, bullying and harassment. A Twitter representative said it acts against accounts for policy breaches but declined to comment on individual examples citing privacy and security reasons.Fangirls could disappear as fast as they emerged. That’s because nationalist movements are always a double-edged sword for the government, said Chinese University’s Fang. “When something self-organizes to a certain size, it becomes a taboo -- even if it’s only online.”Or they could morph into something more alarming. Zhou, the volunteer leader, has already become a kind of online vigilante, notifying the police about a China-based Weibo user expressing support for Hong Kong. He said he was content that the police quickly identified and arrested the blogger. “We must rally all the forces we can to eradicate the soil that breeds Hong Kong separatists,” he said.To contact the reporter on this story: Zheping Huang in Hong Kong at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org, Edwin Chan, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. is officially returning to the Las Vegas CES technology conference for the first time in decades to discuss its stance on consumer privacy -- rather than pitch a new hardware product.The company’s senior director of privacy Jane Horvath will be speaking on a “Chief Privacy Officer Roundtable” on Jan. 7, according to the CES agenda.Horvath, along with executives from Facebook Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., and a commissioner from the Federal Trade Commission, will discuss how companies build privacy at scale, regulation and consumer demands.Apple’s last major official appearance at CES was in 1992 when then Chief Executive Officer John Sculley gave a presentation at a Chicago version of the summit to introduce the failed Newton device.More recently, Apple’s technology has influenced CES despite the company not officially presenting. It made news last year for a privacy billboard during the Vegas event that exclaimed, “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.” Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. also touted Apple launching video streaming directly on third-party TVs.Each year, accessory makers fill the CES exhibit halls with cases and other peripherals for Apple devices. Behind the scenes, Apple managers roam the halls to identify future technology and scan the competitive landscape, while members of Apple’s supply chain team meet with component makers to potentially source parts for future devices.While Apple has taken a backstage approach to the conference, rivals including Google, Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. have used the event to promote their latest voice-based products, spur interest from potential partners and try to beat Apple to the punch ahead of major product announcements.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at email@example.com;Ed Ludlow in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at email@example.com, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.