|Day's range||127.94 - 127.94|
(Bloomberg) -- Snowflake Inc.’s database software has emerged in an annual report as the fastest-growing cloud-based software program, signaling strong corporate demand for modern tools to help analyze data.Snowflake’s use among clients more than tripled in 2019, software maker Okta Inc. said Tuesday in its annual Businesses @ Work report, which tracks the popularity of corporate software. Atlassian Corp.’s Opsgenie tool took the No. 2 spot as fastest-growing, with a gain of 194%. Alphabet Inc.’s Google Cloud came in third place and Splunk Inc. in fourth.The cloud applications market generated $121 billion of revenue in 2018, according to research firm IDC. The infrastructure market, where Google Cloud competes, produced $36 billion in annual revenue, the firm said.Snowflake makes cloud-based data warehouses, a type of database that compiles information from various sources so it can be analyzed. The company competes against Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud division and database stalwarts such as Oracle Corp. The San Mateo, California-based startup is considering going public, although the chief executive officer has said the the earliest the company could be ready for such a move would be this summer.Opsgenie makes incident management software that notifies workers about critical issues to reduce or avoid service downtime. Todd McKinnon, the chief executive officer of Okta, said the types of software on the list represent a departure from the traditional business applications that topped the survey in previous years, such as office communications platform Slack Technologies Inc. and videoconferencing company Zoom Video Communications Inc.“This was the first year where the fastest-growing things were infrastructure tools or security tools,” McKinnon said in an interview. “It’s a natural coming of age. We’ve put a bunch of apps in place. Now you have to make sure they’re secure, that users aren’t being phished, that you’re using the data in those apps for insights.”The most popular corporate apps overall, by unique monthly active users, are Microsoft Corp.’s Office 365, Workday Inc. and ServiceNow Inc. Google’s G Suite and Salesforce.com Inc. round out the top five.Increasingly, corporate developer teams are buying work tools independent of their IT organizations. The most popular developer software is the Atlassian Product Suite, Okta said. It was followed by Microsoft Corp.’s GitHub, PagerDuty Inc., New Relic Inc., and the newly public Datadog Inc.Okta crunches these numbers based on data from its 7,500 customers, which use the software to securely log into various tech systems. The report presents and analyzes data from Nov. 1, 2018, to Oct. 31, 2019.(Updates with additional details in eighth paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected the full name of Snowflake Inc. in the first paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew Pollack, Molly SchuetzFor 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) -- In July, Facebook Inc. quietly hired Miranda Sissons, a 49-year old human rights activist whose previous work has included stints at the Australian diplomatic service and the International Center for Transitional Justice. The hiring, which was never formally announced, is part of a broader effort by the company to atone for more than once failing to stop online abuse on Facebook from spilling over into real-world violence. Human rights advocates in places like Sri Lanka, the Philippines, India and Brazil have long complained that the company has refused to acknowledge mounting evidence about the dangers of digital hate. As Facebook pursued world-changing growth, particularly in developing countries, it didn’t always have local staff there, or even employees who spoke the language. In Myanmar, a wave of online hate preceded a campaign of violence against the country’s Rohingya minority that led to thousands of deaths and the displacement of over 700,000 people. An independent report Facebook commissioned in 2018 found that it bore partial responsibility for fueling the conflict. Immediately after taking the job, Sissons took a five-day trip to the country. “I was deeply, deeply aware of the criticism of Facebook’s inaction in Myanmar, and deeply aware of the struggles humankind is facing with the impact of social media,” Sissons told Bloomberg News earlier this month in her first press interview in her new role. “This is one of the greatest challenges of our time.”Sissons work is part of a broader reckoning within the technology industry, which has been forced to reexamine its role in world conflicts. Several months before Facebook hired Sissons, Twitter Inc. brought on Cynthia Wong, a former researcher at Human Rights Watch, to be its human rights director. As with Facebook, Twitter never announced the hiring. In discussions with more than a dozen people familiar with Facebook’s work on human rights, a picture emerges of a company that has been moving rapidly but, according to its skeptics, not always effectively. One Facebook employee, who asked not to be identified discussing private information, said its shortcomings have not always been the result of having too few people dedicated to human rights, but at times having so many people involved that they’re working at cross-purposes. Human rights advocates outside the company acknowledge Facebook’s effort to hire experts, and say it has become far more responsive. But they worry that internal advocates like Sissons won’t be adequately empowered, and many are withholding praise until the company makes more concrete changes. “They are hiring people who have the right knowledge, experience and sensibility to tackle human rights problems,” said Matthew Smith, chief executive of Fortify Rights, a human rights group. “So far, though, that’s clearly not enough.” Sissons’ human rights education started early. Her father was a prominent Australian historian who served in the occupation force of Hiroshima after World War II, then worked as an interpreter in the Australian-led tribunals of Japanese officials accused of war crimes. “My early childhood was completely taken up with discussions of war crimes, war criminals, the Second World War, and notions of justice,” she said.After attending the University of Melbourne, Sissons spent time in East Timor, researched Middle Eastern issues and took several posts with the Australian diplomatic corps, including a frustrating stint answering phones at an Australian embassy in Egypt. “My Arabic wasn’t very good,” she confessed. “People would ring me up and shout at me about all kinds of things, and I would have to find a solution. ” Eventually, Sissons went on to work on her own high-profile tribunal as an independent observer of the trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, and she did stints at Human Rights Watch and the Australian diplomatic corps. In 2011 Sissons switched her focus to the relationship between human rights and technology. She had been working in the Middle East, where the Arab Spring was just getting underway, and many people believed social media could shift the balance of power between citizens and oppressive regimes. It was a time of unmatched optimism about the potential of social media in political organizing.The good feelings didn't last. As early as 2014 there were credible reports emerging of coordinated incitement on Facebook against the Rohingya in Myanmar. The online abuse foreshadowed a wave of violence that began in earnest in 2016.By the time Facebook began looking for a human rights director in 2018, the conventional wisdom on tech from a few years earlier had effectively reversed. The killings in Myanmar and elsewhere, coupled with Russian-led disinformation campaigns in Donald Trump’s presidential election, had darkened popular opinion. Companies that were accustomed to being revered were suddenly being accused of simultaneously squelching free expression and tolerating active manipulation of their platforms.The tech industry’s first halting steps to control the flow of abuse initially won few fans. In an online essay in late 2018 Cynthia Wong, then senior internet researcher for Human Rights Watch, said it was time for a “moral reckoning” in Silicon Valley. “If regulators, investors, and users want true accountability, they should press for a far more radical re-examination of tech sector business models, especially social media and advertising ecosystems,” she wrote. In some cases, the companies started hiring their critics. Twitter brought on Wong as its legal director of human rights in April 2019. The company declined to make her available for an interview, and said in a statement that it was “uniquely positioned to help activist and civic-minded people around the globe make their voices heard." Other attempts at reform were wholly unsuccessful. In early 2019 Ross LaJeunesse, then Google’s global head of international relations, saw Facebook’s posting for a human rights director, and used it to argue for the creation of a similar structure at his company. He failed, and left the company soon after. LaJeunesse, who is currently running for the U.S. Senate in Maine, now says tech companies can’t handle these issues on their own. “There has to be government oversight,” he said. Sissons, who reports to Facebook’s head of global policy management Monika Bickert, has over the last several months been quietly incorporating human rights protections into Facebook’s policies, and making sure that people with human rights training are in the meetings where executives sign off on new product features. She said the company had made progress before she arrived, including the reform of its 2018 decision to begin removing misinformation in situations where it could lead to physical harm.“There are now a lot of resources in place,” Sissons said. The challenge is to quickly identify local signs of trouble, then block or slow the spread of certain content, or take swift action against particular users. “We are testing continuously in crisis environments to try and predict what resources we’ll need,” she said, “and to ensure they’re in place.” When Sissons went to Myanmar with Facebook she made a stop in Phandeeyar, a tech hub and community center in downtown Yangon. Jes Kaliebe Petersen, its CEO, said he’s been meeting with Facebook employees for years—he helped the company develop local community standards almost five years ago. But the encounters have calcified into a depressingly predictable routine. “They send a bunch of people who have never been here before, and they talk to us,” said Petersen. “And we never hear from them again.” A spokesman for Facebook said it has held many introductory meetings at the request of local advocates, and argued the company has taken significant strides in the country. Besides hiring Sissons, it shut down hundreds of pages and accounts, including that of the head of Myanmar’s army, for spreading misinformation and hatred. It has hired a Myanmar head of public policy for the first time. And it assembled a team of 100 content moderators who speak Burmese. That group will be able to “support escalations” in other languages used in the country as well, Sissons said.The company also set up an independent review board for thorny content moderation issues, and in an unusual step, commissioned independent human rights assessments of what happened in Myanmar and other trouble spots. In November 2018, it published a 60-page report on Myanmar from the nonprofit group Business for Social Responsibility, in full. “They deserve praise for putting it out there,” said Dunstan Allison-Hope the lead author of the report. “You don’t see that.” But Facebook has never made the results of a similar assessment in Sri Lanka public, despite calls to do so. Sissons declined to say whether it had plans to publish those results. And there are currently no Facebook staff members working in Myanmar full-time—something that many advocates have called for. Representatives for Facebook say its staff based in Singapore and elsewhere are regularly in Myanmar, and that it has spent well over a year taking hundreds of meetings with people in the country. One person who said he'd never gotten an invitation to meet with Facebook is Nickey Diamond, a local advocate working for Fortify Rights. Diamond said he has been the target of harassing posts from the government for years, and still faces a menacing atmosphere online. “They’re sharing my picture with the word ‘traitor’ in Burmese,” he said. “Every human rights defender is in the same situation.” The broader problem Facebook is confronting—the vigilant monitoring of an ever-evolving social network used by 2.3 billion people—can seem almost impossibly daunting. The company now has content moderators examining posts in approximately 50 languages, Sissons said, a number that is unchanged from its count last April, and is fewer than half of the languages that Facebook actively supports. Facebook has said only technological improvements can combat problems at scale. It has automated tools that scan for hate speech, as well as image recognition technology monitoring for obscene content regardless of language. About 80% of the posts that Facebook acts on for violating its hate speech policies are now first identified by its automated filters, up from about 24% a year earlier.Soon, the challenges of monitoring the spread of abusive posts could become even more difficult. Facing pressure to increase user privacy, Facebook has prioritized private communications, meaning more content is encrypted so that even the company itself won’t know what it says. In those cases, Sissons said the company is working on tools that will look for patterns associated with problematic content, so it can either remove such messages or impede them from spreading so rapidly. Facebook is aware of the scope of its challenges, said Rebecca MacKinnon, the director of Ranking Digital Rights, an online advocacy group. “Facebook is making an effort to engage. Whether that will make a difference in the real world, we’ll see,” she said. “They’re dealing with some problems that no one knows how to solve.” When Petersen of Phandeeyar met with Sissons last November in Myanmar, he came armed with a handful of suggestions for actions Facebook should take before national elections there, which are expected to take place later this year. While Peterson had been deeply engaged in the specifics for months, Sissons was still just getting her feet under her, and there wasn’t enough time in their hour-long meeting to get much resolution, he said. “There’s always lots of goals for improvements. Hopefully Miranda has a sound plan for how to get there,” said Petersen. “The thing is, we don’t really have that much time.” (Updates with context on automated content moderation in the 22nd paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected the dates of Sissons' hiring and trip to Myanmar.)To contact the author of this story: Joshua Brustein in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Anne VanderMey at firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 Opinion) -- We tend to think of language as the driver of thought, but what if it is something older? Motion has been a part of human thought ever since we could walk upright, if not before. Our Masters in Business guest this week, Barbara Tversky, professor of experimental psychology at Stanford and Columbia University, believes action is the key factor driving human cognitive development. The author of more than 200 research papers, her new book is "Mind in Motion: How Action Shapes Thought."Tversky’s research focuses on visual-spatial reasoning and collaborative cognition. She discusses the interplay of mind and body in enabling cognition. Consider gesture as an example. Tversky argues that gesturing is more than just a by-product of speech: it literally helps us to think. An experiment in her book is to try to explain out loud how to get from your house to the supermarket, train station, your office or school while you sit on your hands. It turns out to be very difficult. Without gesture, speaking is difficult, and we occasionally can’t find the words.Tversky was married to the deceased psychologist Amos Tversky, and helped Michael Lewis do his research for his book on Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, "The Undoing Project."Her favorite books can be seen here.You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on Apple iTunes, Overcast, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.Next week, we speak with Chris Davis, chairman and chief executive officer of Davis Selected Advisors LP, with more than $25 billion under management. Davis is also on the board of Coca Cola and is vice chairman of the American Museum of Natural History.To contact the author of this story: Barry Ritholtz at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Google’s response to a European Union order to give rival search apps a foothold on its Android phones may fail to steer users to alternatives, warned U.S. upstart DuckDuckGo, the only competitor to win the right to appear as another search option on new handsets across Europe.Google has to prompt users to pick alternative search and web browser apps under the terms of a 2018 EU antitrust ruling that found the company unfairly ties moneymaking services to the Android software it gives away.It chose to set up an auction format for smaller rivals where they will pay to appear as a one of three non-Google options on the choice screen across Europe from March to June.But the user experience of the screens “is designed in a way that is subconsciously influencing people to use Google more than they otherwise should or would like to,” Gabriel Weinberg, chief executive officer of DuckDuckGo, a U.S. search engine that says it doesn’t track users, said in a phone interview.“Ultimately it will not be effective if it remains like that, if only because the auction format will push out a private option and that is the number one thing besides Google that people want to select,” he said.Non-Google OptionsThe auction will be re-run every three months. DuckDuckGo and Google are the only search apps that will appear on the choice screens in 31 countries in the region.Users trying to set up their phones will be shown a choice of four search engines, without much explanation of the apps or the possibility to change their choice later, DuckDuckGo said in a separate blog post on Tuesday.By passing up other ways of designing the prompts that could draw users to non-Google options, DuckDuckGo said Google is potentially undermining the EU order’s aim to widen alternatives to its apps.Google declined to comment, referring to a detailed January blog post where it said the “choice screen design was developed in consultation with the European Commission.”The commission’s press office said regulators “will continue monitoring closely the implementation of the choice screen mechanism” which comes after discussions with Google and feedback from other companies “in particular in relation to the presentation and mechanics of the choice scree and to the selection mechanism of rival search providers.”Choice Screen“As regards DuckDuckGo, as a result of the choice screen mechanism, they will be on every new Android device in the European Economic Area, and it will be for consumers to choose which search engine to install and use,“ the EU said in an emailed statement. The EU’s Android decision also allows rival search engines to be pre-installed on phone and tablets which “was not possible before.”Weinberg said DuckDuckGo has discussed its concerns with the European Commission.’Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, told reporters on Monday that she’s “very very closely” following Google’s efforts to comply with the order. She said she’s aware of the detail of the design, adding that officials were “doubting if people would use unlimited scroll” to show a large number of alternatives.Prices rivals must pay Google to appear on the screen “came down quite dramatically in the latest auction,” she said.The EU has never formally signed off on how Google opted to comply with the order, leaving it uncertain whether the company has done enough to avoid more fines. Regulators could seek further changes to the choice screen from Google if necessary.Google’s Chrome browser partly owes its own initial surge in popularity to choice screens that Microsoft Corp. agreed to show under EU pressure to offer people an alternative to the browser it loaded on to new personal computers with its Windows software.Microsoft’s screen “wasn’t limited in choice and had 12 different browsers” and “most or all of the elements that we are suggesting here,” Weinberg said.(Update with Google and European Commission comment from ninth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Natalia Drozdiak.To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Chapman at firstname.lastname@example.org, Nate LanxonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Microsoft's (MSFT) second-quarter fiscal 2020 results are likely to reflect momentum in Azure, robust Office 365 adoption, impressive LinkedIn growth and higher Surface devices revenues.
Google Cloud will be the cloud technology provider for Accenture’s INTIENT life sciences industry platform.
Alphabet's (GOOGL) focus on search, cloud and Waymo is likely to have aided fourth-quarter earnings. However, higher expenses and litigation charges are expected to have been headwinds.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. tech giants including Alphabet Inc.’s Google led the way as corporations raised the amount of clean energy they bought in 2019 by about 40%. Moving forward, peer pressure by asset managers led by BlackRock Inc. could boost it even more.Corporations and public institutions globally acquired a record 19.5 gigawatts of clean energy through long-term power-supply agreements in 2019, easily beating a record set in 2018, according to a report Tuesday by BloombergNEF. Google topped the list with contracts for more than 2.7 gigawatts, roughly equaling the power of three nuclear reactors.In a letter to CEOs this month, BlackRock Chief Executive Larry Fink said his firm, with $7.4 trillion in assets under management, would prioritize climate change as a “defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects” and that a global climate emergency might upend business sooner than expected.“When investors like BlackRock make commitments, everyone below them doesn’t have a choice but to follow,” Kyle Harrison, the report’s lead author, said in an interview. At the same time, he said a wide range of companies are now “getting pressure from their investors, employees and from companies within their supply chain.”While tech companies dominated clean-energy procurement, a growing number of oil and gas companies are signing deals, including Occidental Petroleum Corp., Chevron Corp. and Energy Transfer Partners LP.The U.S. wasn’t the only growing market for power-supply agreements in 2019. Europe, the Middle East and Africa all had record years in 2019, according to the BloombergNEF report. In Latin America, which recorded three-fold growth, Brazil and Chile have emerged as top markets.“Corporations have purchased over 50GW of clean energy since 2008,” Jonas Rooze, lead sustainability analyst at BNEF, said in statement. “That is bigger than the power generation fleets of markets like Vietnam and Poland.”To contact the reporters on this story: Natalia Kniazhevich in New York at email@example.com;Brian Eckhouse in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Ryan at email@example.com, Reg Gale, Joe CarrollFor 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) -- 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 firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Reierson 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.
(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 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.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 firstname.lastname@example.org;Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at firstname.lastname@example.org, 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?
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...
(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 email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom 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.
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 email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Green Carmichael at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis 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.
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