|Day's range||2.5100 - 2.5100|
Amazon's (AMZN) film production division, Amazon Studios orders the fourth season of its original comedy show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Google has told its Turkish business partners it will not be able to work with them on new Android phones to be released in Turkey, after the Turkish competition board ruled that changes Google made to its contracts were not acceptable. Turkey's competition authority had fined Google 93 million lira ($17.4 million) in September 2018 for violating competition law with its mobile software sales. Turkey's competition board ruled on Nov. 7 that changes which Google made in its contracts with its business partners in line with the board's demands were inadequate as they still did not allow changes to the default search engine.
(Bloomberg) -- A YouTuber in Taiwan said his Chinese talent agency is demanding he remove a video in which he addressed Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen as president, the latest clash over China’s assertions of territorial control in Asia.Chen Chia-chin, better known as Potter King, published a video on Facebook and YouTube Saturday, showing Tsai visiting his media startup. He used his signature humorous pickup lines and repeatedly addressed Tsai as “president,” which is in fact her title.His Chinese agency, Papitube, demanded he not use the word in his videos, nullified his contract and took over his Weibo account without his consent, Chen wrote in a Sunday post on his Facebook page. Facebook and YouTube are banned in mainland China.”I have told them not to interfere with our content,” Chen wrote. “We totally cannot accept this. This is absurd.”The incident is the latest in a growing number of attempts by Chinese officials and companies to impose political views beyond the reach of mainland censors. While Taiwan and China split amid a civil war in 1949, Beijing continues to exert claims over self-governing Taiwan and bristles at any language or action that bestows Taiwan with the image of sovereignty. Global brands such as Calvin Klein, Coach and Givenchy drew the ire of Chinese internet users after implying the island is its own country.Papitube criticized Chen in a post on its official Weibo account on Sunday. “We strongly condemn Potter King’s inappropriate language and actions,” Papitube said. “We are ending all partnerships with Chen Chia-Chin, whom we have a contract with, effective today.”Chen declined an interview through a representative at his startup, but the chief executive officer of his media startup, Ju Yang New Media International Co., said they would not comply with Papitube’s request.“We support democracy,” said Mars Lee, Chen’s business partner. “Everyone should take this seriously because many people fought for and won democracy with their lives, time and souls. Some people think democracy is easy to obtain like air, but it is not easy at all.”In a series of screen-shots of a chat history Chen presented with his post, a contact at his Chinese agency asked that Chen delete his video of Tsai on Facebook and YouTube. The Chinese agency said the issue lies with him calling Tsai “president” and added the agency will cancel Chen’s contract. Chinese state media typically refer to Tsai as the “Taiwan leader” or “regional leader.”Papitube may be particularly sensitive to content that could alienate government officials in Beijing. One of its stars, Papi Jiang, was censored in 2016 for foul language, with the authorities demanding that she remove her videos and clean up explicit comments. Papitube didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.Tsai’s spokesman Ernesto Ting said it is only natural for Taiwanese to address their president as president. “This is a demonstration of Taiwan’s democracy and freedom,” he said.The clash comes as Beijing is more forcefully exerting its national interests abroad. Over the weekend, China’s ambassador to Germany threatened Berlin with retaliation if it excludes Huawei Technologies Co. as a supplier of 5G wireless equipment, suggesting the sales of German carmakers in China may be at risk.China’s official CCTV also pulled the broadcast of an Arsenal soccer game after star player Mesut Ozil criticized the Chinese government’s treatment of Uighur Muslims on Instagram and Twitter.Earlier this year, China’s state broadcaster dropped National Basketball Association games after Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey voiced support for Hong Kong protesters.\--With assistance from Gao Yuan.To contact the reporter on this story: Debby Wu in Taipei 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.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Each morning, workers at Google get an internal newsletter called the “Daily Insider.” Kent Walker, Google’s top lawyer, set off a firestorm when he argued in the Nov. 14 edition that the 21-year old company had outgrown its policy of allowing workers to access nearly any internal document. “When we were smaller, we all worked as one team, on one product, and everyone understood how business decisions were made,” Walker wrote. “It's harder to give a company of over 100,000 people the full context on everything.”Many large companies have policies restricting access to sensitive information to a “need-to-know” basis. But in some segments of Google’s workforce, the reaction to Walker’s argument was immediate and harsh. On an internal messaging forum, one employee described the data policy as “a total collapse of Google culture.” An engineering manager posted a lengthy attack on Walker’s note, which he called "arrogant and infantilizing." The need-to-know policy "denies us a form of trust and respect that is again an important part of the intrinsic motivation to work here,” the manager wrote.The complaining also spilled into direct action. A group of Google programmers created a tool that allowed employees to choose to alert Walker with an automated email every time they opened any document at all, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. The deluge of notifications was meant as a protest to what they saw as Walker’s insistence on controlling the minutiae of their professional lives. “When it comes to data security policies, we’ve never intended to prevent employees from sharing technical learnings and information and we are not limiting anyone’s ability to raise concerns or debate the company’s activities,” said a Google spokeswoman in an email. “We have a responsibility to safeguard our user, business and customer information and these activities need to be done in line with our policies on data security.” The actions are just the latest chapter in an internal conflict that has been going on for almost two years. About 20,000 employees walked out last fall over the company’s generous treatment of executives accused of sexual harassment, and a handful quit over Google’s work on products for the U.S. military and a censored search engine for the Chinese market. Earlier this year, Google hired IRI Consultants, a firm that advises employers on how to combat labor organizing, and it recently fired four employees for what it said was violation of its policies on accessing sensitive data.The extent of Google’s employee rebellion is hard to measure—the company has tried to portray it as the work of a handful of malcontents from the company’s junior ranks. Nor are the company’s message boards unilaterally supportive of revolt. “We want to focus on our jobs when we come into the workplace rather than deal with a new cycle of outrage every few days or vote on petitions for or against Google’s latest project,” wrote one employee on an internal message board viewed by Bloomberg News. Still, the company seems stuck in a cycle of escalation. Walker’s internal critics say his Nov. 14 email is part of a broader erosion of one of Google’s most distinctive traits—its extreme internal transparency. The fight also illustrates the lack of trust between Google’s leadership and some of its employees, according to interviews with over a dozen current and former employees, as well as internal messages shared with Bloomberg News on the condition it not publish the names of employees who participated.The conflict comes as Google is changing in other ways, too. On Dec. 3, Sundar Pichai, who took over as Google’s chief executive office in 2015, became the head of Alphabet, its parent company. His elevation marks the end of the active involvement of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who established Google’s distinctive culture when they founded the company as Stanford graduate students. Pichai has at times supported internal activism. He spoke at an employee protest against the Trump administration’s immigration policies and apologized to employees for Google’s track record on sexual harassment. His executives met repeatedly with critics of the company’s military work. Some Google managers began signaling that they're losing patience with internal activism even before the firings, according to one person who worked with them. Executives have not met with dissenting staff leadership in many weeks, according to one of the employees.While Walker wrote in the “Daily Insider” that organizations have to change as they grow, he simultaneously argued that the policies he described had always existed. “It was that way since the early days of Google, and it’s that way now,” he wrote. This particularly offended several long-time Googlers, who said on internal message boards that Walker’s comments didn’t square with their own memories. For some of them, the incident illustrated a broader breakdown in their trust of leadership. “I want to believe that executive management is saying everything—disclosing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” said Bruce Hahne, a Google technical project manager. “I don’t think we are currently under those conditions.”Hahne, 51, doesn’t meet the Google management’s profile of internal protestors. He joined the company in 2005, a year after Pichai, partly because he was attracted to its mission to organize the world’s information. His disillusionment crept in gradually during the company’s myriad controversies. In an online essay, Hahne compared Google to a “rogue machine” that was “originally created for good but whose psyche has turned corrupt and destructive,” much like Hal 9000 from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. “You don’t treat a rogue machine like family,” wrote Hahne, “instead you come up with a plan, you disable or dismantle the dysfunctional parts of the machine, and you seek to reprogram the machine to serve its original purpose.” When it was founded two decades ago, Google established an unusual corporate practice. Nearly all of its internal documents were widely available for workers to review. A programmer working on Google search could for instance, dip into the software scaffolding of Google Maps to crib some elegant block of code to fix a bug or replicate a feature. Employees also had access to notes taken during brainstorming sessions, candid project evaluations, computer design documents, and strategic business plans. (The openness doesn’t apply to sensitive data such as user information.)The idea came from open-source software development, where the broader programming community collaborates to create code by making it freely available to anyone with ideas to alter and improve it. The philosophy came with technical advantages. “That interconnected way of working is an integral part of what got Google to where it is now,” said John Spong, a software engineer who worked at Google until this July.Google has flaunted its openness as a recruiting tool and public relations tactic as recently as 2015. "As for transparency, it’s part of everything we do," Laszlo Bock, then the head of Google human relations, said in an interview that year. He cited the immediate access staff have to software documentation, and said employees "have an obligation to make their voices heard."Google’s open systems also proved valuable for activists within the company, who have examined its systems for evidence of controversial product developments and then circulated their findings among colleagues. Such investigations have been integral to campaigns against the projects for the Pentagon and China. Some people involved in this research refer to it as "internal journalism."Management would describe it differently. In November, Google fired four engineers who it said had been carrying out “systematic searches for other employees’ materials and work. This includes searching for, accessing, and distributing business information outside the scope of their jobs.” The engineers said they were active in an internal campaign against Google’s work with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and denied violating the company’s data security policies.Rebecca Rivers, one of the fired employees, said she initially logged into Google’s intranet, a web portal open to all staff, and typed the terms: “CBP” and “GCP,” for Google Cloud Platform. “That’s how simple it was,” she said. “Anyone could have stumbled onto it easily,” she said.In an internal email describing the firings, Google accused one employee of tracking a colleague’s calendar without permission, gathering information about both personal and professional appointments in a way that made the targeted employee feel uncomfortable. Laurence Berland, one of the employees who was fired recently, acknowledged he had accessed internal calendars, but said they were not private. He used them to confirm his suspicions that the company was censoring employees. Berland, who first joined Google in 2005, added that he felt the company was punishing him for breaking a rule that didn’t exist at the time of the alleged violations. Google declined to identify the four employees it fired, but a company spokeswoman said the person who tracked calendars accessed unauthorized information.Other employees say they are now afraid to click on certain documents from other teams or departments because they are worried they could later be disciplined for doing so, a fear the company says is unfounded. Some workers have interpreted the policies as an attempt to stifle criticism of particular projects, which they allege amounts to a violation of the company’s code of conduct. These employees point to a clause in the code that actively encourages dissent: “Don’t be evil, and if you see something that you think isn’t right—speak up!” Workers are "trying to report internally on problematic situations, and in some cases are not being allowed to make that information useful and accessible,” said Hahne. There is now a “climate of fear” inside Google offices, he said.Google’s permissive workplace culture became the prime example of Silicon Valley’s brand of employment. But transparency is hardly universal. Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. demand that workers operate in rigid silos to keep the details of sensitive projects from leaking to competitors. Engineers building a phone’s camera may have no idea what the people building its operating system are doing, and vice versa. Similar restrictions are common at government contractors and other companies working with clients who demand discretion.The specifics of Google’s business operations traditionally haven’t required this level of secrecy, but that is changing. Google’s cloud business in particular requires it to convince business clients it can handle sensitive data and work on discrete projects. This has brought it more in line with its secrecy-minded competitors. The protests themselves have also inspired new restrictions, as executives have looked to cut off the tools of the activists it argues are operating in bad faith.Google’s leaders have acknowledged the delicacy of adjusting a culture that has entrenched itself over two decades. “Employees today are much, much more active in the governance in the company,” Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO and chair, said at an event at Stanford University in October. Amy Edmonson, a professor of leadership and management at Harvard Business School, said that Google’s idealistic history increases the burden on its executives to bring along reluctant employees as it adopts more conventional corporate practices. “It’s just really important that if you’re going to do something that is perceived as change that you’re going to explain it,” she said.Bock, the company’s former HR director who is now CEO of Humu, a workplace software startup, suggested that Google hasn’t succeeded here. “Maybe Alphabet is just a different company than it used to be,” he wrote in an email to Bloomberg News. “But not everyone’s gotten the memo.” (Corrects Berland comment in 19th paragraph.)\--With assistance from Josh Eidelson.To contact the authors of this story: Ryan Gallagher in London at email@example.comMark Bergen in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Brustein at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The chair of a U.S. congressional panel wrote to Alphabet's Google and to Apple on Friday to ask what if any disclosures mobile apps are required to make regarding overseas ties, a concern that follows reports of Chinese investment in popular apps such as TikTok and Grindr. Rep. Stephen Lynch, chairman of a subcommittee of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee, said in a statement that he had asked both Google and Apple to tell Congress whether they required app developers to disclose any non-U.S. ties. Concern over China acquiring sensitive data about U.S. citizens through social media apps is one of several sore areas in relations between the United States and China even as U.S. President Donald Trump's trade war with China fans suspicion between the world's two largest economies.
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Army will spend $111 million next year in a new contract with Palantir Technologies Inc., deepening ties between Peter Thiel’s data analytics company and the Pentagon.The new Defense Department deal will represent about 10% of Palantir’s revenue next year, according to people familiar with the company’s finances. It’s the first step in what could be a four-year, $440 million deal with the Army.The Silicon Valley company will provide software to connect human resources, supply chains and other Army operations systems into a single dashboard. The Army considered earlier proposals for related work from Accenture Plc, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and Microsoft Corp.“We started Palantir in 2004 to help the war fighter and solve difficult problems,” Doug Philippone, head of Palantir’s global defense business, said in an emailed statement. “In helping the Army make better use of its own data, we accomplish both goals.”The Defense deal solidifies a relationship between the U.S. government and the Palo Alto, California-based company, which was co-founded and partly bankrolled by Thiel. The billionaire venture capitalist and adviser to President Donald Trump has chastised other technology companies, in particular Alphabet Inc.’s Google, for their reluctance to work with the Defense Department. After Google abandoned a Pentagon effort known as Project Maven, Palantir stepped in to help develop video recognition software as part of the project, a move reported earlier by Business Insider.On Saturday, a company spokeswoman said Palantir will run its first-ever commercials, which will air during the Army-Navy football game, in a bid to show its support for the U.S. military.In recent years, Palantir has sought to work more with companies and be less reliant on government contracts. Airbus SE and Merck KGaA are among its customers, but government clients still make up a significant portion of revenue.To contact the reporter on this story: Lizette Chapman in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at email@example.com, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. antitrust enforcers are examining Google’s conduct in the online shopping comparison market as they continue their probe of the search giant.Richard Stables, chief executive officer of the shopping comparison site Kelkoo Group, said he spent more than an hour with Justice Department officials on Thursday to discuss how Alphabet Inc. allegedly hurt his European-based business.The meetings show that the Justice Department, which opened its investigation of Google with a document seeking a wide swath of information on the company, has an interest in at least one of three landmark European antitrust cases.A Justice Department spokesman said the department has had numerous productive meetings with third parties, but declined to comment on specific discussions.Stables said he also met with congressional staff members for lawmakers on antitrust committees in the House and Senate earlier this week.In 2017, the European Union fined Google 2.4 billion euros ($2.8 billion) and ordered the company to stop promoting its own shopping search results over those of competitors. Stables, who has been trying to convince the EU to toughen its remedy, outlined to the U.S. antitrust enforcers what he said was harm to consumers stemming from Google’s practices.Google’s practice of elevating its own services raises prices for consumers by limiting access to rival shopping comparison sites, Stables said.In the meetings, Stables said he raised concerns that Google could squash not just other European comparison sites, but also travel companies, searches for local businesses and services, and other firms in the U.S.U.S. companies that fear Google have been reluctant to speak out, he said, but he was was willing to help enforcers in Washington understand the market because the political moment made him more optimistic about getting a remedy.In addition to the Justice Department and Congress, 48 state attorneys general are probing Google, and some Democratic presidential candidates have ramped up their rhetoric on the dominance of tech giants.The states began their investigation by focusing on Google’s position in online ads, but some states have recently broadened their focus.Google spokesman Jose Castaneda directed reporters to a September blog post when Google Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker pledged to work with antitrust officials.(Updates with context on the states’ investigation, in second-to-last paragraph. An earlier version corrected the day of the meeting, in second paragraph)\--With assistance from David McLaughlin.To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at firstname.lastname@example.org;Naomi Nix in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ros KrasnyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc. is pursuing mediation to settle investor litigation alleging the company let senior leaders at Google get away with sexual harassment and misconduct for years.Company directors this year set up a special committee to evaluate the claims after several shareholder groups sued, alleging that the board failed in its duties by allowing harassment, approving big payouts to departing executives and keeping the details under wraps. The committee recommended that the case go through private mediation, a closed-door process, according to a filing in California state court in San Jose.Both sides agreed to extend Alphabet’s deadline to respond to the claims until Feb. 14 to accommodate the mediation, according to the filing.Google’s handling of sexual harassment and misconduct has been a major flashpoint over the last two years. Thousands of employees walked off the job last year to protest the company’s policies after a New York Times report detailed how Google paid Android founder Andy Rubin $90 million in severance even after an employee accused him of sexual harassment.Google has since changed some of its policies and no longer bars employees from signing away their right to bring complaints in court.A Google spokesman declined to comment on the litigation. Louise Renne, a lawyer representing investors, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.The lead case is In Re Alphabet Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation, 19CV341522, California Superior Court, Santa Clara County (San Jose).To contact the reporters on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in New York at email@example.com;Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, ;David Glovin at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter Blumberg, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Amazon had a big week with government issues, a host of new deals and announcements at its annual conference and developments in India.
We found three cloud-focused software stocks using our Zacks Stock Screener that investors might want to consider buying for 2020...
(Bloomberg) -- YouTube has signed up more than 800,000 subscribers for its paid services in India since debuting in March, according to people familiar with the matter, vaulting it past some competitors in one of the world’s fastest-growing media markets.The services have been growing faster than rival paid music offerings in India, including Spotify and local players Gaana and JioSaavn, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the subscriber data hasn’t been released. Apple Music also competes in the market, but it’s been tight-lipped about its subscriber figures.Gaana, owned by Times Internet, has more than 1 million paid subscribers, according to a representative. But it’s been around for almost a decade and has more than 125 million monthly users, who mostly use the free version of the service.YouTube has long struggled to to gets users to pay for its services, especially since the company’s main website is synonymous with free videos. But the Google division has started to gain traction, and the numbers out of India suggest it’s having particular success in the world’s second-most-populous country.YouTube sells two paid services in India: YouTube Music Premium and YouTube Premium. The music service offers a library of songs on-demand, much like Spotify, as well as the ability to download tracks, listen to music without ads and play tunes while using other apps. YouTube Premium offers the traditional YouTube video service without ads -- and the ability to play clips offline. But music is the driving force behind YouTube’s appeal, especially in India.Bhushan Kumar, the Bollywood Boss Behind YouTube’s Top ChannelThe country has emerged as a battleground for online music services, which are eager to sign up users in a country with more than 1.3 billion people. Unlike China, where online media services are tightly controlled by the government, India offers a similarly massive population without the same level of regulation.Western companies such as Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube compete with local services, and will soon contend with Resso, a platform from Chinese tech giant ByteDance.ByteDance is testing Resso in India and Indonesia before rolling out a paid version of the app next year. ByteDance’s short-form video app TikTok has more than 200 million users in India, enough to be a real challenger to YouTube and Instagram.Major PresenceBut YouTube already has a big presence in India, giving it an edge as it tries to get subscribers to pay fees. More than 265 million people use the free YouTube service in the country, making it YouTube’s largest market. India is also home to the channel with the most subscribers, T-Series, the country’s largest record label. Google has plowed resources into India in its bid to find new internet users and markets.The growth is also notable because India isn’t typically hospitable to paid services. The country is one of the poorer major economies, making its average citizen very sensitive to price. The leading free music services, Gaana and JioSaavn, have tens of millions of users, but few paying subscribers.Representatives for Gaana and JioSaavn didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment.Netflix Inc., the world’s most popular paid online video service, has had to cut its price to compete in the country. It introduced a cheaper, mobile-only plan in India earlier this year and said this week it’s testing other pricing models.Netflix Is Spending $420 Million on Indian Content, CEO SaysYouTube has convinced people to pay by selling its service at a low price -- less than $2 a month -- and offering special features to subscribers. People who want to listen to music while not actively using the app -- a popular feature known as background listening -- must pay for it. The other apps offer background listening for free.Spotify has said that its Indian service has outperformed its expectations so far, though most of its growth has been from users of its free service.(Updates with Gaana subscriber figures in third paragraph.)\--With assistance from Ragini Saxena.To contact the reporter on this story: Lucas Shaw in Los Angeles at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org, Dave McCombsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. antitrust enforcers are considering going to court to stop Facebook Inc.’s plan to merge technology systems so that users can communicate across the company’s apps, according to a person familiar with the matter.The Federal Trade Commission is studying whether to seek a court order to block the company’s effort to enable messaging among users of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, said the person, who declined to be named because the investigation is confidential.Facebook’s integration plan, announced in January, has come under criticism from those who say the move would make it harder to break up Facebook as part of any antitrust case against the company. The FTC, the U.S. Justice Department and a group of states are investigating whether Facebook has violated antitrust laws.FTC Chairman Joe Simons signaled he agreed with that view in an interview with Bloomberg in August. Asked how difficult a breakup of Facebook would be once the services had been well integrated, he said it would make the case “very messy.”“It’s hard,” he said. “It’s really hard.”Simons told Bloomberg at the time that he’s willing to go to court to seek a breakup of a tech company. Any decision by the FTC to sue would need a majority vote by the five-member commission.Facebook shares fell as much as 4% after the Wall Street Journal reported on the FTC’s deliberations. The shares fell 2.7% to $196.75 in New York.Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg wants to allow users of the messaging service on Instagram to chat with those using similar functions on WhatsApp and on the original Facebook site and app. Facebook says that would allow it to better view and control foreign election interference, the spread of terrorism and other content it deems bad. Currently users can’t communicate between services.The company has already begun to integrate messaging systems for Instagram, a photo app, with Facebook Messenger, Bloomberg has reported. The massive undertaking will stitch together the underlying technology and require corporate reorganization, but won’t change much about users’ interaction with the services.Critics including co-founder Chris Hughes have focused on Facebook’s ownership of the apps and its plans to knit them more tightly together. Such detractors have cast the integration as a source of danger to user privacy. They also say it would allow the company to further abuse its dominance and fend off enforcers’ attempts to curb its behavior.Facebook says it faces robust competition, even accounting for its ownership of the services.Many technological services are able to work together even when provided by different companies -- a concept known as interoperability. Users of Google’s email service, for instance, can easily communicate with friends who get their messages through Microsoft, and phones call one another regardless of wireless providers.Mobile chatting is not as well integrated, however. Those who study competition say that interoperability between rivals bolsters competition, but Facebook’s plan would allow the company’s apps to talk to one another rather than to outside services.The Justice Department has previously pushed back on the integration plan because it will involve encrypting Instagram and Messenger and make messages invisible to Facebook the way that already occurs on WhatsApp. The department, along with officials from Australia and the U.K., said in October that the company should pause its efforts until it can ensure lawful access to user communications. Facebook said in a letter released Tuesday that it rejected that call.The FTC’s investigation of Facebook, which became public in July, is examining in part whether the social media company’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp should be unwound even though they were previously approved by the agency.Advocates for aggressive antitrust action against Facebook, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, have argued both deals allowed Facebook to fend off emerging competition by acquiring platforms that posed a threat to its dominance. Warren has said she would seek to unwind both deals if elected president in 2020.(Updates with Facebook plan starting in fifth paragraph)\--With assistance from Kurt Wagner and Sarah Frier.To contact the reporters on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at email@example.com;Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at email@example.com, Paula DwyerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc. legal chief David Drummond unloaded about $145 million of stock -- his biggest share sale on record -- in the weeks before co-founder Larry Page stepped down as chief executive officer.Drummond sold $72 million of stock in early November and an additional $73 million on Dec. 2, regulatory filings show. The latter disposal occurred a day before the Google parent announced that Sundar Pichai would succeed Page as CEO and become Drummond’s boss.While he has sold stock periodically since joining the firm in 2002, Drummond has divested almost twice as much this year as he did in 2018. He was Google’s first lawyer and ran the search giant’s legal and corporate development arms for years before shifting to Alphabet in 2015.Last year, Drummond was accused of having had a relationship with a female employee in the legal department. The woman, Jennifer Blakely, later came forward, saying Drummond abandoned her and their child and repeatedly violated rules governing workplace relationships.Drummond, 56, has said the two underwent a difficult breakup and that he never started a relationship with anyone else at company.But the details, coupled with accusations of misconduct by other senior Google executives, gave more fuel to critics who said that the company hadn’t done enough to reform a culture where powerful men weren’t penalized for inappropriate relationships or sexual misconduct. Last year, thousands of Google employees worldwide walked off the job in protest.This year, Alphabet’s board began investigating how misconduct matters were handled. The company no longer requires that workers sign away their right to challenge it in court. Some other executives accused of misconduct have left the company.A Google spokeswoman declined to comment or to make Drummond available for comment.Insider sales are closely watched by some investors to gauge management’s confidence in the business. That said, executive stock sales are hardly unusual. Most public-company bosses receive the bulk of their compensation in equity and periodically dispose of some of it to diversify their wealth.Drummond, whose most recent transactions were made under a pre-arranged stock-trading plan, has sold about 120,000 shares worth roughly $157 million so far this year. Regulatory filings suggest he collected most of those shares by exercising stock options with expiration dates from December 2020 through April 2022. The sales figures don’t exclude the cost of exercising those options.Drummond married another Google employee earlier this year, according to Axios.(Updates with stock-trading plan in 10th paragraph)\--With assistance from Mark Bergen.To contact the reporters on this story: Anders Melin in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Gerrit De Vynck in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Pierre Paulden at email@example.com, Peter Eichenbaum, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Shares of Amazon (AMZN) have slipped 6% in the past six months, while the S&P 500 climbed 9%. So when will Wall Street and investors start to think about buying Amazon stock again?
Google Cloud today announced Transfer Service, a new service for enterprises that want to move their data from on-premise systems to the cloud. This new managed service is meant for large-scale transfers on the scale of billions of files and petabytes of data. It complements similar services from Google that allow you to ship data to its data centers via a hardware appliance and FedEx or to automate data transfers from SaaS applications to Google's BigQuery service.
(Bloomberg) -- While the economy in Los Angeles County, home to Hollywood, topped the list as America’s biggest last year, the nation’s fastest-growing large county was to the north in Silicon Valley.The economy in Santa Clara County -- home to tech giants like Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google -- expanded 10.2% to $316.5 billion, according to data released Thursday by the Commerce Department that included nearly 20 years of county-level GDP data.Not only was Santa Clara the fastest-growing among all counties with populations exceeding 500,000, but it was also the country’s fifth-largest by GDP. The top 10 counties by GDP accounted for 19% of U.S. GDP, when using the national figures.GDP represents the total value of goods and services produced over a specific time and can be used to gauge economic health. On the whole, 2,375 counties saw gains in real GDP last year, while economies shrank in 717 counties. GDP was unchanged in 21.Among medium counties, or those with a population between 100,000 and 500,000, activities centered around oil and gas extraction helped Canadian County, Oklahoma, grow 21%. The Texas counties of Reeves, Loving, Winkler and Martin -- the heart of the Permian Basin, which has driven growth in U.S. oil production -- all showed GDP growth of at least 39% in 2018.However, a slowdown this year in oil and gas well drilling reduces the chances for such a repeat performance for these energy-intensive areas.For counties with a population of fewer than 100,000, Jackson County, West Virginia, grew at a stunning 86.5% in 2018, with the construction industry leading the area’s growth. The gain coincided with construction activities related to TC Energy Corp.’s Mountaineer XPress natural gas pipeline. In contrast, GDP in Grant County, North Dakota, declined 44%, as farmers suffered from a drought.\--With assistance from Vince Golle and Dominic Carey.To contact the reporter on this story: Reade Pickert in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Scott Lanman at email@example.com, Vince GolleFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Given the huge success of Disney's streaming service, investors could tap the opportune moment with consumer ETFs having the largest exposure to this global media and entertainment company.
Waymo has acquired Latent Logic, a U.K. company that spun out of Oxford University's computer science department, as the autonomous vehicle company seeks to beef up its simulation technology. The acquisition also marks the launch of Waymo's first European engineering hub, which will be in Oxford, U.K. This likely won't be the end of Waymo's expansion and investment in Europe and the U.K. The former Google self-driving project that is now an Alphabet business said it will continue to look for opportunities to grow the team in the U.K. and Europe.
Dec.13 -- Google fired four employees for what the technology giant said were violations of its data-security policies, escalating tension between management and activist workers at a company once revered for its open corporate culture. Rebecca Rivers, a former Google employee, and Bloomberg's Mark Bergen appear on "Bloomberg Technology."