|Day's range||176.20 - 176.20|
(Bloomberg) -- A drill longer than the city’s tallest skyscraper has been constructed just outside Stockholm to build a tunnel for new power cables needed to meet soaring demand. Elektra, a 240-meter (787 feet) long specially built boring machine weighing more than 1,000 tons, will pierce through the city’s rock of granite and gneiss. Drilling the tunnel rather than the more common method of blasting will create less vibration. It will run below two of the city’s universities, the exclusive Ostermalm neighborhood and the Skeppsholmen island that houses a museum of modern art.The city of about 1 million people is urgently in need of more power capacity. The population is growing by about 40,000 every year. New residential areas are boosting electricity demand, while industrial customers including new server halls, are also increasing consumption. “We’re using more and more power and the power system have to handle new kinds of production and fast changes in the use of electricity,” said Rolf Axen, project manager for the tunnel at grid operator Svenska Kraftnat. “This is one of 50 projects for electrical distribution that is important to sustain the development of the Stockholm region.”The tunnel will be 13.4 kilometers long and will run about 50 to 100 meters below the surface. It will dip underground in Danderyd, one of the city’s most affluent areas, and surface at Hammarby Sjostad, south of the trendy Sodermalm island. The high-voltage cables will connect to already existing sub stations that will help spread the power locally.Elektra will drill about 100 meters per week on average and work is due to start on Feb. 1 and continue for four years. The tunnel itself will be 5 meters in diameter. The parts for the drill arrived in November on about 30 trucks from German manufacturer Herrenknecht AG and has been assembled on site. Elektra will use grippers to advance through the 5-diameter tunnel and will be powered by a long electricity cable. The whole project will be ready by 2027, costing about 3 billion Kronor ($310 million).To contact the author of this story: Lars Paulsson in London at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Reierson at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- InterviewBit, a startup that offers online training for a career in programming, has raised $20 million from Tiger Global Management, Sequoia Capital India and others at a valuation of $110 million.The Bangalore-based outfit offers daily live-streamed classes to prepare aspiring software engineers for the notoriously competitive job interviews in their industry. It guides students with the help of remote personal mentors and, upon completion of training, looks to match them with available jobs, with no payment until they are employed. Its six-month coding bootcamp called Scaler Academy has received more than 200,000 applications since it launched in April.“India has a surfeit of engineering graduates but traditional colleges are not equipped to cater to the in-demand skills,” Abhimanyu Saxena, co-founder of InterviewBit said in a phone interview. “Companies face a huge challenge in hiring quality talent.”India has thousands of engineering colleges, but more than 80% of their graduates are deemed “unemployable” by tech companies as they lack the hands-on coding training or exposure to projects, according to a study by recruitment analysts Aspiring Minds last year. The country’s outsourcing industry employs millions, but they also need to be retrained in new skills such as artificial intelligence and mobile app development.Strong global demand for the latest software skills has seeded a novel crop of coding schools around Bangalore that offer to upgrade programming skills on a pay-after-placement basis.InterviewBit’s model makes it accessible to students and engineers without any geographical or financial constraints. Those who get placed pay a portion of their salary from the first two years to the startup. “Our most successful students come from unknown engineering colleges in smaller cities,” said Saxena.Coders from its seven batches, including one cohort in the U.S., have been placed at global technology companies including Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.The company will use the $20 million to scale up enrollment and launch in new markets.To contact the reporter on this story: Saritha Rai in Bangalore at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. started restricting employee travel to China as the deadly coronavirus continues to spread across the world’s most populous country, according to people familiar with the decision.The limits, which went into effect Monday, halt non-essential travel to China by all Facebook employees. If workers have to visit the country, they need specific approval. Facebook staff based in China, and those who recently returned from trips to the country, are also being told to work from home, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private communications. The company declined to comment.Honda Evacuates, Starbucks Stores Shut: Virus Impact on BusinessThe travel restrictions at the social media company are likely to impact its hardware division, which sells devices such as the Portal video chat hub and Oculus virtual reality headsets. Hardware requires frequent travel from the company’s Silicon Valley offices to China, where engineers and managers oversee product development, meet with suppliers and transport prototypes.Facebook’s current products likely won’t be impacted, but the move could cause engineering delays on future devices, one of the people said. The company is looking to other facilities that it has in Vietnam to pick up any work that can’t be done in China, the person added.While Facebook is one of the smaller hardware makers among the U.S. technology giants, its plight underscores the potential impact of the virus on the industry. The majority of Apple Inc.’s vast supply chain is in China and other parts of Asia. Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google also make their devices in the region.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at email@example.com;Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at email@example.com, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Amazon stock has fallen over 4% in the last six months. It appears that investors are worried about Amazon's profit. But how long will Amazon stock stay stagnant as the e-commerce powerhouse spends to speed up its delivery?
(Bloomberg) -- Byte, a new video-sharing app released Friday to compete with ByteDance Inc.’s TikTok, has rocketed to the top of Apple Inc.’s U.S. App Store.Created by Dom Hofmann, Byte reboots the deprecated Vine video-sharing service, which he co-founded in the summer of 2012 and sold to Twitter Inc. later that year. The parent company failed to find a way to make the service profitable and eventually discontinued it in 2016. Despite its brief existence, Vine became a cultural touchpoint in the U.S., with many users embracing its six-second time limit as a creative challenge. It was where controversial YouTube star Logan Paul, whose channel now has more than 20 million subscribers, got his start.Byte “ended Friday as the No. 1 free iPhone app on the U.S. App Store and is still in the top spot,” said Randy Nelson of research firm Sensor Tower. Beside the U.S., Byte is also the top free iOS app in Canada and ranks in the top 10 in Australia, New Zealand, Norway and the U.K. On Android’s Play Store, Byte is sixth among free apps in the U.S.The new app was downloaded more than 780,000 times over the weekend, with three quarters of those installs coming from the U.S., Sensor Tower estimated on Monday.The timing of Byte’s release coincides with a moment of reckoning for TikTok and its Beijing-based parent company. ByteDance is looking to hire a chief executive officer for TikTok, which is under increasing scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers wary about the influence of Chinese companies on American consumers. TikTok’s runaway popularity has been deemed to create “national security risks,” according to a letter by Senators Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton in the fall.Unlike ByteDance, which is the world’s highest-valued startup, and most other social media contenders, Byte is starting off small and its community guidelines make several references to the company’s modest budget. Still, the strong early response to Byte’s arrival -- coming with little to no advance fanfare -- suggests the community that Vine built up remains loyal to the particular six-second format. Some of the early popular videos on the platform are humorous proclamations of “Don’t post TikToks here.”(Updates with downloads in fourth paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Investors need to know what to expect from Facebook's Q4 financial results and beyond to help understand what might be next for Facebook stock...
The top stories in this digest are Intel's earnings, Netflix's surging share price, Apple's valuation concerns and the Google-Activision deal.
With probes of Alphabet Inc's Google and other major platforms underway, the U.S. Justice Department's Antitrust Division is hiring both to bulk up for the big tech probes and to replace people who left, according to two Justice Department officials with knowledge of the matter. The posting includes a link to the agency's press release announcing the probes. Big tech companies like Facebook Inc , Google, Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc face a slew of antitrust probes by the federal government, state attorneys general and Congress.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- How long should a manufacturer be responsible for maintaining support for legacy products? Consumer devices have increasingly become smart and connected, only to later be abandoned by the manufacturer. Smart suitcases have turned dumb, talking toys gone mute, and wireless security cameras bricked into paperweights. Most recently, Sonos got a lot of grief for announcing that older versions of their smart home speakers would soon lose access to services and functionality. Customers complained that they had spent thousands on their audio systems, with some products still on the market as recently as 2015.A hardware device is a one-time purchase, while software updates require continuous labor. As technology improves and devices last longer, the initial manufacturing cost may end up being a small proportion of the total lifetime cost of production. Many manufacturers have shifted to business models that treat the device sale as a loss leader for future revenue streams. Amazon can afford to underprice the Echo because it enables consumers to buy more stuff from Amazon, Google and Spotify teamed up to give away Google Home Minis, and even Apple recently lowered prices on its iPhones to grow a user base for its subscription services.At the more controversial end of the spectrum, companies like John Deere have used the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to legally prevent users from repairing their own equipment, forcing their customers to continue paying into a lucrative repair market.Sonos boxed itself into a corner early on by promising customers free software updates for life. As CEO Patrick Spence testified at a Congressional hearing earlier this month, “Our business model is simple — we sell products which people pay for once, and we make them better over time with software updates.”The company is in a particularly difficult position because Sonos began as a home audio company before the advent of smart home assistants. Its earliest speakers weren’t designed with the processing power and storage required to take advantage of today’s features. To minimize complexity, Sonos designed its audio system so that all devices in a home network would share the same software. Once one product is no longer eligible for updates, the whole setup would stop receiving updates. Sonos customers lodged public complaints and bullied the company into submission. Sonos promised to keep the updates coming.A better long-term solution for the company might be found by looking to a different coalition of rebellious customers: a group that has been quietly reverse-engineering their speakers to liberate them from the company’s software entirely. It’s not an easy task. A Sonos speaker integrates a speaker and a microprocessor running a proprietary operating system. In order to jailbreak the speaker, a user must gain access to the internal hardware and install their own software.It would no doubt please these customers were Sonos to make their legacy speakers open source. Sonos has already indicated that the company can remotely erase the software; it could similarly perform a remote reinstallation of an open-source operating system like Linux or Android. The company’s tech-savvy fans could then continue to improve the software — which could be downloaded by other users — while Sonos focuses on its core competency of manufacturing high-end speakers.In the future, device manufacturers may be less generous about promising a lifetime of free software support. After all, most technological improvements these days are done in software. When it comes to cars, the internal combustion engine hasn’t changed much since fuel injectors were introduced in the 1980s. The performance improvements seen in recent decades have come from better sensors and smarter software to interpret sensor data.Autonomous vehicles will have an even tougher sell, as it’s inevitable that self-driving technology will continue to improve after initial release. Will further updates be free, or will the vehicle manufacturer hold consumer safety for ransom?While it’s easy to insist that customers should have free access to software updates running on devices they rightfully own, it’s hard to reconcile a sustainable business model with a lifetime of free software. A device that requires a paid subscription or leaves software updates as an exercise for the customer is better than one that turns into a brick.To contact the author of this story: Elaine Ou at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Green Carmichael at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Elaine Ou is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. She is a blockchain engineer at Global Financial Access in San Francisco. Previously she was a lecturer in the electrical and information engineering department at the University of Sydney.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Alphabet (GOOGL) doesn't possess the right combination of the two key ingredients for a likely earnings beat in its upcoming report. Get prepared with the key expectations.
The FAANG stocks have been outperforming the market over the past three months buoyed by the initial U.S.-China trade deal. Hopes of better-than-expected earnings releases are also adding to the strength.
(Bloomberg) -- Sign up for Bloomberg’s daily technology newsletter here.The last two weeks have been remarkably eventful for Jeff Bezos. First, the Amazon.com Inc. co-founder’s visit to India was met with street-side protests, a new antitrust investigation into “predatory pricing and unfair trade practices” and hostile comments from the government led by India Prime Minster Narendra Modi.Then last week, Bezos’s yearlong tangle with Saudi Arabia burst into the headlines, with cybersecurity investigators concluding with “medium to high confidence” that Bezos’s iPhone was hacked via a WhatsApp message sent directly from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s account.Those are two very different situations in two separate parts of the world. But they had something in common—an overly optimistic bet (that Amazon placed, along with its Big Tech brethren) on global leaders whose dispositions turned out to be less open and, to varying degrees, more autocratic than Silicon Valley originally thought.Amazon first bet big on India in 2014, when Bezos stood on the top of a flatbed truck in ceremonial Indian wedding garb and presented the chief of his local operation with an oversized $2 billion check. Bezos met with Modi on that trip and amid mutual goodwill, seemed to believe the prime minister would loosen India’s rigorous restrictions on how foreign-owned e-commerce companies could operate.Since then, regulations in India have actually become stricter, with Modi catering to his party’s base of small business owners by limiting Amazon’s ability to sell items directly and to control its own prices. While gaining market share from Walmart Inc.-owned rival Flipkart, Amazon’s marketplace division reported steep losses in the last full fiscal year. On Bezos’s latest trip, Modi reportedly declined to meet with him.Bezos’s relationship with Saudi Arabia started with similar hopes. According to last week’s reports, Bezos and Prince Mohammed met at a 2018 dinner party in Los Angeles and exchanged phone numbers. Buoyed by the crown prince’s promise of modernizing the desert kingdom and diversifying its oil-based economy, Amazon was angling to close a $2.2 billion deal to put three data centers in the country. But that arrangement was put on ice after Saudi agents killed Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist at the Bezos-owned Washington Post. Saudi officials have said the crown prince had no involvement in the murder of Khashoggi or the cyberattack on Bezos. Now a Twitter account linked to the Saudi government is advocating for an Amazon boycott.In each country, Amazon’s agenda was complicated by the regime’s bellicosity toward coverage in the Post. But the sharp decline of its fortunes in India and Saudi Arabia is also about leaders whose true colors were much darker than they originally seemed. India under Modi recently passed a restrictive citizenship law that prevents many undocumented Muslim migrants from becoming citizens, while allowing for applicants with different religious affiliations. The Saudi government under Prince Mohammed has fueled conflict in Yemen, persecuted religious and political dissidents and unleashed coordinated Twitter attacks and other cyber tactics on its perceived enemies.Amazon wasn’t alone in pinning unrealistic hopes on these leaders. India has proved similarly challenging for Facebook Inc. The country accounts for Facebook’s largest user base, but the government has tried to force the company to identify users of the encrypted WhatsApp messaging service and threatened to introduce restrictive new rules to regulate social media. And in 2018 the Saudi crown prince cultivated many tech leaders who would likely be wary of such photo ops today.It wasn’t too long ago that tech leaders were overly optimistic about China, too. Mark Zuckerberg did a fun run for the cameras in Beijing and a meet-and-greet with President Xi Jinping. Google thought it could sneak back into China, after famously withdrawing from the country in 2010, with its secretive Dragonfly search project.Back in what now seems a simpler time, tech companies thought the world was becoming more receptive to the economic bounties and democratizing halo of the internet. But the world, and these leaders, have veered starkly away from this brand of idealism. It turned out they didn't want to be friends with Silicon Valley after all.If you read one thingWhen tech leaders tried to understand why large companies have trouble embracing new technologies, they turned to Clayton Christensen, author of the seminal book, the Innovator’s Dilemma, and several sequels. Christensen died last week at age 67 of complications from cancer treatment, according to Utah’s Deseret News.And here’s what you need to know in global technology newsYouTube got the streaming rights to some of the biggest esports leagues. Google signed a deal with Activision Blizzard to carry Call of Duty and Overwatch competitions. The Call of Duty league debuted Friday with a three-day event in Minneapolis.Salesforce encouraged employees to buy and expense a copy of the co-founder’s new book. The software company sent a memo to its 48,000 workers last fall promoting the book, Trailblazer, and offering reimbursement. On its website, Salesforce describes the book as an “instant” bestseller.Airbnb sued a real estate developer it partnered with to build apartments. The suit accuses NDG and its chief of stealing at least $1 million. The venture has long been a source of controversy for Airbnb, which is expected to go public this year.To contact the author of this story: Brad Stone in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Milian at email@example.com, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The probes revolve around monopolistic behavior that may harm consumers through Google's control of online advertising markets and search traffic. The Wall Street Journal had first reported about the meeting and said it could eventually lead the Justice Department and state attorneys general to join forces. Talks will likely include Google's dominance in online search, possible anticompetitive behavior in its Android mobile operating system, and the best division of labor as the probes move forward, the paper said, citing some of the people.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- When the world’s competition police reflect on big tech’s dealmaking over the past 15 years, you could forgive them for wondering what might have been. If Facebook Inc. hadn’t acquired WhatsApp or Instagram, or if Google hadn’t bought YouTube or DoubleClick, would there be stronger competition for the two Silicon Valley firms?It certainly seems that regulators, particularly in the U.K., are eager to avoid repeat scenarios where companies grab outsize control of an emerging market before it’s clear exactly how important or big that market may be. That’s why a 6.1 billion-pound ($8 billion) food delivery takeover may have broader implications for tech giants’ dealmaking-to-come.Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority is reviewing the Dutch firm Takeaway.com NV’s planned acquisition of Just Eat Plc, the U.K.’s online marketplace for restaurant delivery. It’s a remarkable step, given that Takeaway.com no longer has a British business, and so the two firms don’t currently compete, at least not in the U.K. The regulator, the CMA, is instead pondering hypotheticals. It’s deliberating whether, without a deal, Takeaway.com might still otherwise enter the market and add a healthy dose of competition.The move underscores a recent approach that could make it more difficult for tech giants to make acquisitions, even small ones. (Together, they’ve bought more than 250 companies in the last six years.) Companies might not obviously compete with the firm acquiring them, but the U.K. watchdog is increasingly taking into account the possibility they could become a competitor at some later stage. It seems to have listened to the findings of the government-commissioned review into digital competition last year by Jason Furman, previously economic adviser to former U.S. President Barack Obama, which recommended that the CMA should take “more frequent and firmer action to challenge mergers that could be detrimental to consumer welfare through reducing future levels of innovation and competition.”Across the Atlantic, DNA-sequencing firm Illumina Inc.’s scuppered $1.2 billion acquisition of smaller peer Pacific Biosciences of California Inc. also illustrates the challenge. Both firms are active in slightly different parts of the market, so do not directly compete: Illumina currently focuses on so-called short-read sequencing platforms, while PacBio’s expertise is in long-reads. Yet antitrust authorities in both the U.K. and U.S. pushed back against the deal because of concerns that Illumina would decide against developing its own long-read offering further down the line, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Aitor Ortiz. The firms called the deal off earlier this month.It’s healthy that technology deals are likely to attract more scrutiny. Acquisitions sometimes look like a catch-and-kill strategy: buying a startup that could become a rival before it's able to do so without necessarily using it to augment the business directly. For example, back in 2017, Facebook bought the fast-growing teen app tbh, before shutting it down just eight months later, citing low usage.But doing so presents a potential challenge for the CMA: ensuring that the U.K. remains an attractive place to found technology firms. Venture capitalists and big companies themselves often argue that a lot of startups are founded with the intention of ultimately selling themselves to a larger rival. If that exit strategy disappears, runs the argument, then they might decide to set up shop elsewhere.So far, it’s too early to determine whether that argument has any merit. And analysts still expect the Takeaway.com-Just Eat deal to complete, albeit with a slight delay. But because the CMA has the authority to impose remedies without a court case, unlike the U.S.’s Federal Trade Commission, technology firms have good reason to be wary.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Trees are an important tool to counter climate change: They capture carbon dioxide, improve biodiversity and increase groundwater. Adding a trillion trees could scrub out two-thirds of all emissions, according to scientists, and that’s why everyone from the World Economic Forum to YouTube influencers have launched large planting programs. There’s just one problem: The success rate of typical programs is often dismal. Many end up with no trees surviving to maturity.After years of experiments, John Leary believes he has found the magic ingredient to boost results: local people.Leary is the executive director of Trees for the Future (TFF), a nonprofit group founded in 1989 and based in Silver Spring, Maryland. The first few million trees Leary and his team planted were aimed at reforestation, providing carbon offsets or wildlife conservation zones. But less than 5% of the trees survived without local supervision.That led them to the Forest Garden Approach, which trains farmers to use trees as a means of improving the productivity of degraded lands. Now TFF can plant each tree for as little as 10 cents while quadrupling the earnings of locals and boosting tree survival rates. Instead of releasing carbon through using techniques like slash and burn, the farmers growing the forest gardens are capturing more than 230 tons of carbon dioxide per acre over a 20-year period.The Forest Garden Approach looks to first make poor farmers richer, rather than focusing on the number of trees planted. It’s a lesson Leary took from his previous role as a volunteer for the Peace Corps, a U.S. program aimed at promoting economic and social development abroad. “You need to get local people involved and design any project such that it also benefits the local community,” he said.So far, Leary and his team have worked with farmers to build 10,000 forest gardens, which is estimated to sequester 2.4 million tons of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period—that’s like taking 25,000 cars off U.S. roads. Projects so far have focused almost exclusively in Africa, with major projects in Senegal, Kenya and Tanzania. TFF typically targets a distressed region in a poor country. Leary’s team recruits 100 or more farmers interested in improving their farms and then provides training.In the four-year program, TFF provides educational resources tailored to their local needs and ongoing support, along with seeds and saplings. Farmers are taught how to build a “living fence”—that is, planting trees all along the edges of the farmland. The green wall keeps grazing animals (and neighbors) from plundering the farm. The trees also help retain more water in the soil.By the end of the program, each acre of farmland can boast of as many as 1,500 trees, with many bearing produce that can be eaten or sold.One of the most common reasons lands degrade is because farmers grow the wrong kind of crop, and so Leary helps them recognize what will flourish. “In most countries, there tends to be one major cash crop that has destroyed the countryside,” Leary said. “It's peanuts in Senegal and maize in Kenya and Tanzania.”He teaches farmers to move away from monoculture. They also become adept at making their own fertilizers. The upshot is that the farmers have something to sell every month of the year. That results in an increase of income and consumption of more nutritious food in their diets.“It’s clear that the major solution to climate change has to be reduction in fossil-fuel emissions,” said Dominick Spracklen, professor of biosphere-atmosphere interactions at England’s University of Leeds, who hasn’t worked with TFF. “But we will also need negative emissions, and tree planting is the main way we can get there… it’s really important that local people are involved in any tree-planting program.”In the 12 months to July 2019, Leary’s group built nearly 6,000 forest gardens containing 11 million trees. The nonprofit’s budget has grown, too. Annual contributions to TFF have doubled to $5 million last year from $2.5 million in 2017, and Leary expects to raise as much as $8 million in 2020.While Leary’s attention will continue to be on African countries, TFF has built an app that any farmer in the world (who can read English and French) can use to learn the steps needed to build a forest garden. Leary has seen a large number of downloads in India, Australia and Zambia. “Anyone with a little bit of experience in gardening or forestry can pick up what we do pretty easily,” Leary said.QuicktakeWhy deforestation mattersTo contact the columnist of this story: Akshat Rathi in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Aaron Rutkoff at email@example.com, Emily BiusoMichael TigheFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The probes revolve around monopolistic behaviour that may harm consumers through Google's control of online advertising markets and search traffic. The Wall Street Journal had first reported about the meeting and said it could eventually lead the Justice Department and state attorneys general to join forces.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Encouraging trends in emerging markets belie their volatility since the taper tantrum of 2013, when the Federal Reserve signaled it was pulling back on quantitative easing. Further turbulence is likely, despite the improving outlook for advanced economies, easing trade tensions and accommodative monetary policy.The International Monetary Fund estimates that growth in developing countries fell to 3.7% last year, the slowest pace since 2009 and well below the IMF’s July 2019 forecast of 4.1%. An expected rebound to 4.4% this year assumes highly uncertain recoveries in stressed economies such as Argentina, Iran and Turkey, as well as in countries where growth has slowed significantly — China, Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa among them.Rising friction in the Middle East, if sustained, could result in higher energy prices and supply disruptions for developing countries. India, which recently downgraded growth for the 2020-21 fiscal year to 5%, the slowest pace in a decade, imports more than 70% of its oil needs. A price rise of $10 per barrel widens the current account deficit by 0.4 % of gross domestic product. Every increase of 10% adds 0.2% to the rate of inflation, which is already above the Reserve Bank of India’s 4% target.Higher borrowing costs and a stronger U.S. currency due to haven demand would hurt developing countries. Between 2010 and 2018, low exchange-rate volatility and high interest-rate differentials caused non-bank financial institutions in emerging markets to double their U.S. dollar-denominated debt to $3.7 trillion. Much of this is unhedged.Further geopolitical risks include North Korea’s missile-rattling, challenges in Hong Kong and Taiwan to Beijing’s assertions of authority, and China’s territorial maritime disputes with its neighbors. Japan and South Korea are contesting matters arising from World War II. India’s proposed changes to citizenship laws and the status of Kashmir is fomenting domestic unrest and tensions with predominantly Muslim Pakistan and Bangladesh.Meanwhile, the spread of a new virus that originated in China threatens to depress retail sales and tourism in Asia, helping to bring a global stock rally to a halt last week.These stresses exacerbate long-term structural problems. The early 2000s and the period immediately following the global financial crisis saw a synchronized acceleration of growth across the world. But advanced economies have slowed and their long-term potential rate of expansion has fallen.The latest IMF estimates released last week have growth in advanced economies stabilizing at 1.6% in 2020-21, compared with 2.3% in 2018 and 0.1 percentage point lower than in its October forecast. Underlying this stagnation is the flagging potency of debt-fueled growth, flat productivity, limited policy options, and unfavorable demographics. Emerging economies cannot rely on historic demand for exports to drive future expansion.Despite the U.S.-China phase one trade agreement, conflicts won’t abate. Sino-American trade tensions alone will cumulatively reduce the level of global GDP by 0.8% by 2020. The Trump administration also has trade disputes with the European Union, Australia, India and Vietnam, among others. France and the U.S. are trying to de-escalate threatened tariffs on champagne and cheese in retaliation for a digital tax affecting Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc.Trade volume growth fell to about 1% in 2019, the weakest level since 2012. The retreat from a rules-based trade system and the weaponizing of trade interdependence will damage everyone.In the past 20 years, China, a crucial driver of emerging markets, went from a 10th to two-thirds the size of the U.S. economy, assisted by trade within the WTO framework. Today, China’s blacklisted Huawei Technologies Co. relies on chips designed in America while advanced economies benefit from its cheaper and often cutting-edge 5G technology. Three-quarters of the world’s smartphones, mostly made in emerging markets, use Google’s Android mobile operating system. American restrictions hurt developing nations as well as consumers in advanced economies.In a world of limited demand, irrespective of leadership or ideology, governments everywhere face a mounting anti-globalization backlash. Nationalist agendas and a shift to autarky – closed economies – will persist. A return to strong growth in trade and cross-border capital flows seems unlikely.This affects developing-world economic models. Lower-income nations focused on export-oriented industries, such as textiles and manufacturing, exploiting cheap costs. Now, weak demand and trade disputes limit this option. Higher-income developing countries face technology transfer restrictions that affect improvements in productivity. Meanwhile, automation decreases the advantages of low-skilled, cheap labor and offshoring. Bringing manufacturing home to advanced economies decreases companies’ exposure to disruption, currency fluctuation and political interference. The failure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” strategy reflects these shifts. India has failed to produce the 1 million new jobs per month needed to absorb new entrants into the workforce. Indian Railways recently received 23 million applications for 90,000 vacancies.Slower growth creates a dangerous feedback loop. Dissatisfaction with improving ordinary lives can prompt civil unrest. Countries rich in scarce resources, or having large internal markets such as China, India, and Indonesia, may muddle through.Others will struggle. Rising nationalism and protectionism are likely outcomes, and will only deepen the wedge between advanced and emerging economies. It will make an interesting if rough ride ahead for investors. To contact the author of this story: Satyajit Das at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McDowell at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Satyajit Das is a former banker and the author, most recently, of "A Banquet of Consequences."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Earlier today, Google announced that it would be redesigning the redesign of its search results as a response to withering criticism from politicians, consumers and the press over the way in which search results displays were made to look like ads. Google makes money when users of its search service click on ads. It doesn't make money when people click on an unpaid search result.
(Bloomberg) -- YouTube secured the exclusive rights to broadcast some of the biggest esports leagues, giving Google a boost in its efforts to push into the lucrative world of video games.The deal, signed between Alphabet Inc.’s Google and video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc., gives YouTube the rights to broadcast the new Call of Duty League and the already-popular Overwatch League, which was broadcast on Amazon.com Inc.’s Twitch for the past two years at a reported cost of $90 million. As part of the agreement, Google will provide cloud infrastructure for Activision’s online games. Financial terms of the multiyear deal were not disclosed.Gaming is a significant new frontier for Google. Last year, it released a game-streaming service called Stadia, which lets people play games through the internet without having to buy a console or high-powered computer. YouTube has always been a major destination for watching people play video games, but the company is trying to take even more territory by poaching well-known game players from Twitch.‘All-Out Talent War’ in Video Gaming Sparked by Ninja Defection“In 2020 Google is going all out to claim a piece of the $120 billion games market,” said Joost van Dreunen, managing director of Nielsen’s video-game research arm. “Google is off to a great start to building strong relationships with content creators which it will need to differentiate as it tries to penetrate the industry via different avenues.”The news isn’t good for Amazon, which hasn’t announced a competitor to Stadia and still faces uncertainty about its in-house gaming studio, van Dreunen said. “The longer Amazon remains on the sidelines of technological shifts in the games business, the harder it will be to capture share down the line,” he said.The deal offers a strong boost to the central thesis of Activision’s esports efforts. The publisher pitched investors on the Overwatch League and the Call of Duty League, which launches later this month, as esports equivalents to traditional sports leagues like the National Basketball Association or National Football League. Selling media rights to companies like YouTube is a central piece of how these leagues make money.Providing hosting services to Activision is also a win for Google’s cloud division, which is trailing Amazon and Microsoft Corp. in that market.(Updates with comment from analyst in the fourth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Eben Novy-Williams.To contact the reporter on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Attorneys general from nine states urged a federal judge to toss out Google’s $13 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit blaming its Street View mapping technology for a massive violation of consumer privacy.The proposed accord in a debacle that became known as “Wi-Spy” doesn’t offer compensation for millions of people whose confidential data was captured off their Wi-Fi networks by Street View vehicles. Instead, the deal divvies up funds among a handful of privacy rights organizations, a small number of individual consumers who led the case and their lawyers, the state officials said in a court filing.The lawsuit, filed a decade ago, was once called the biggest U.S. wiretap case ever and threatened the internet giant with billions of dollars in damages. The settlement was reached in July and won preliminary approval in October from U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco, who found it to be “likely fair, reasonable, and adequate.”“Without receiving any of the $13 million cash fund or any meaningful injunctive relief, class members receive no direct benefit from the settlement,” the attorneys general said.An attorney for the consumers and Google’s press office didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.Read More: Why a Dead Kennedys Punk Isn’t Buying Google’s Privacy DealsArizona State Attorney General Mark Brnovich submitted the filing, joined by Alabama, Alaska, Missouri, Ohio, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana and Louisiana. The states plan to urge Breyer to reject the deal at a Feb. 28 final approval hearing in San Francisco.Google agreed in the settlement to delete all collected data and educate people on how to set up encrypted wireless networks. But the company had already made those promises in a 2013 agreement with 39 attorneys general, according to Mark Brnovich’s filing.Any “injunctive relief is illusory,” the attorneys general said.The Street View suit is a rare instance in privacy litigation where consumers gained the upper hand, notably when the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco in 2013 rejected Google’s argument that it was legal to intercept open Wi-Fi networks because they were akin to AM/FM radio transmissions. The court’s conclusion that the federal Wiretap Act applied meant that if Google went to trial to fight the allegations and lost, it could be hit with $10,000 in damages for every violation.But in July, the plaintiffs’ lawyers said the settlement was justified, in part, because there was a risk that they could still lose the case -- and end up with nothing. They also argued that the accord would deter privacy violations and that the funds designated for privacy-oriented groups will help teach future information technology workers to “to become safeguards of internet privacy rather than exploiters of personal information communicated over the internet.”The case is In re: Google Inc. Street View Electronic Communications, 3:10-md-02184, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).To contact the reporter on this story: Malathi Nayak in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at email@example.com, Peter Blumberg, Joe SchneiderFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.