GOOGL Jun 2020 1680.000 put

OPR - OPR Delayed price. Currency in USD
255.80
+56.70 (+28.48%)
As of 10:09AM EDT. Market open.
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous close199.10
Open255.80
Bid240.40
Ask247.80
Strike1,680.00
Expiry date2020-06-19
Day's range255.80 - 255.80
Contract rangeN/A
Volume2
Open interestN/A
  • And that's really it for Google+
    TechCrunch

    And that's really it for Google+

    Last year, Google launched the beta of Currents, which was essentially a rebrand of Google+ for G Suite users, since Google+ for consumers went to meet its maker in April 2019. While Google+ was meant to be an all-purpose social network, the idea behind Currents is more akin to what Microsoft is doing with Yammer or Facebook with Workplace. To complicate matters, Google kept Google+ around, even after the launch of Currents, but in an email to G Suite admins, it has now announced that Google+ for G Suite will close its doors on July 6, after which there will be no way to opt out of Currents or revert back to Google+.

  • UK's COVID-19 health data contracts with Google and Palantir finally emerge
    TechCrunch

    UK's COVID-19 health data contracts with Google and Palantir finally emerge

    Contracts for a number of coronavirus data deals that the U.K. government inked in haste with U.S. tech giants, including Google and Palantir, plus a U.K.-based AI firm called Faculty, have been published today by openDemocracy and law firm Foxglove -- which had threatened legal action for withholding the information. Concerns had been raised about what is an unprecedented transfer of health data on millions of U.K. citizens to private tech companies, including those with a commercial interest in acquiring data to train and build AI models. In a blog post today, openDemocracy and Foxglove write that the data store contracts show tech companies were "originally granted intellectual property rights (including the creation of databases), and were allowed to train their models and profit off their unprecedented access to NHS data."

  • U.S. states lean toward breaking up Google's ad tech business - CNBC
    Reuters

    U.S. states lean toward breaking up Google's ad tech business - CNBC

    The Justice Department and nearly all state attorneys general have opened investigations into allegations that Google has broken antitrust laws. Google's shares were up 1.6% on the day. Google spokeswoman Julie Tarallo McAlister said the company continued to engage with the Justice Department and the Texas attorney general's office.

  • U.S. states lean toward breaking up Google's ad tech business: CNBC
    Reuters

    U.S. states lean toward breaking up Google's ad tech business: CNBC

    The Justice Department and nearly all state attorneys general have opened investigations into allegations that Google has broken antitrust laws. Google's shares were up 1.6% on the day. Google spokeswoman Julie Tarallo McAlister said the company continued to engage with the Justice Department and the Texas attorney general's office.

  • What is a VPN and should I use one?: Tech Support
    Yahoo Finance

    What is a VPN and should I use one?: Tech Support

    If you're looking for better online security and increased privacy, a VPN will have you covered.

  • Amazon Eyes $2 Billion Stake in Bharti Airtel: Report
    Bloomberg

    Amazon Eyes $2 Billion Stake in Bharti Airtel: Report

    (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. is in preliminary talks to buy a stake in No. 2 Indian carrier Bharti Airtel Ltd. for at least $2 billion, Reuters reported, joining Facebook Inc. and other U.S. giants in betting on one of the world’s fastest-growing internet arenas.The U.S. online retailer is in early-stage discussions to buy about a 5% stake in the Indian wireless operator, Reuters said, citing anonymous sources. A deal will help Amazon access Bharti’s 300 million subscribers -- a user base akin to the entire U.S. population. On Friday, the Indian carrier said in a statement it wasn’t considering any proposal to sell a stake to Amazon, referring to reports as “speculative.”American technology and investment giants have been buying stakes in Indian companies to build their presence in Asia’s second-most populous nation. Facebook agreed to invest about $5.7 billion into a unit of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. in April, while Microsoft Corp. is reportedly considering a stake in the same company.Amazon already has deep roots in India, where Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos has visited and vowed to build one of his biggest e-commerce operations outside of the U.S. Bezos, now the world’s richest man, said during a trip in January that his company would invest another $1 billion on top of the billions it’s shelled out to bring small and medium-size businesses online. Amazon is now vying with Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart to tap an increasingly affluent population adopting smartphones at a rapid clip.Read more: Jeff Bezos’s India Visit Marked by Probe and ProtestsAn Amazon spokeswoman in India declined to comment. “We routinely work with all digital and OTT players and have deep engagement with them to bring their products, content and services for our wide customer base. Beyond that there is no other activity to report,” a Bharti spokesperson said.An influx of capital would be welcome to New Delhi-based Bharti Airtel, which has come under pressure to beef up its offerings ever since Ambani’s technology venture went on a deal spree to secure about $10 billion in investment from Facebook to KKR & Co. Airtel’s billionaire Chairman Sunil Mittal may be looking to leverage the diverse businesses in his empire just as Ambani goes into overdrive to transform his oil-and-petrochemicals company into an Indian e-commerce and digital payments titan with Jio Platforms.Read more: How Facebook’s Reliance Deal Upends a $1 Trillion Digital ArenaIn its 25 years of operations, Bharti Airtel has survived frequent policy changes in one of the world’s toughest telecommunications markets. It lost its position as India’s largest wireless carrier last year to Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., which debuted in 2016 and shook up the industry with free calls and cheap data. The most recent blow to Bharti Airtel came in October, when the nation’s top court in a shock ruling ordered it to pay $3 billion in back fees.The technology ambitions of Ambani, Asia’s richest man, have turned the spotlight on his telecommunications rivals, including Vodafone Idea Ltd., the struggling Indian business of British operator Vodafone Group Plc. The Financial Times reported May 28 that Alphabet Inc.’s Google is considering acquiring a stake in that venture. Vodafone Idea said it isn’t currently considering any such proposal.Besides telecommunications, Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises has businesses spanning insurance, real estate, education and farm food.(Updates with Bharti Airtel’s comment from the second paragraph)For 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.

  • Google Search a Target of U.S. Antitrust Probes, Rival Says
    Bloomberg

    Google Search a Target of U.S. Antitrust Probes, Rival Says

    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. federal and state authorities are asking detailed questions about how to limit Google’s power in the online search market as part of their antitrust investigations into the tech giant, according to rival DuckDuckGo Inc.Gabriel Weinberg, chief executive officer of the privacy-focused search engine, said the company has spoken with state regulators, and talked with the U.S. Justice Department as recently as a few weeks ago.Justice Department officials and state attorneys general asked the company about requiring Google to give consumers alternatives to its search engine on Android devices and in Google’s Chrome web browser, Weinberg said in an interview.“We’ve been talking to all of them about search and all of them have asked us detailed search questions,” he added.Weinberg’s comments shine a light into how the inquiry is examining Google’s core business -- online search. Bloomberg has reported that the Justice Department and Texas are already examining Google’s dominance of the digital advertising market. The Justice Department and a coalition of states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have been investigating the company for a year, and the DOJ has begun drafting a lawsuit, which could be filed in the coming months. It would kick off one of the most significant antitrust cases in the U.S. since the government sued Microsoft Corp. in 1998.The investigations have been wide-ranging and are looking into various parts of Google’s business. States including Utah and Iowa are focusing on search, according to people familiar with the matter. Texas is looking at the digital ad market and related technology.Google handles the majority of online searches in the U.S., with Microsoft’s Bing, DuckDuckGo and other providers trailing far behind. Google Search is free for users, but the company’s lead helps it charge thousands of businesses high prices for ads that run above the free web listings in results. Last year, that business generated almost $100 billion in revenue.Read more: Google Search Dominance Has Businesses Paying for Their Name“We continue to engage with the ongoing investigations led by the Department of Justice and Attorney General Paxton, and we don’t have any updates or comments on speculation,” a Google spokeswoman said. In the past, the company has said that online competition is just a click away.The Federal Trade Commission previously investigated whether Google stifled competition in the market for online search advertising, but it closed the probe in 2013 after the company agreed to relatively minor changes. However, portions of communications between FTC commissioners and staff later showed that staffers recommended bringing an antitrust lawsuit against Google.Read more: Google Should Be Afraid of Latest U.S. ScrutinyWeinberg said the questions he has fielded recently about requiring Google to present users of its tech alternatives to its own search engine suggest that’s something the government could include in a possible future settlement.“That’s one direction we think has a decent probability,” he added. The Justice Department declined to comment. Attorneys general in Utah and Iowa didn’t respond to requests for comment.In Europe, Google was fined a record $5 billion for antitrust violations in 2018. As part of that ruling, the company is required to give consumers using phones that run its Android operating system a choice of different search engines and web browsers. Competing services must bid in an auction to be included in a “choice screen.”“Could this be a precursor to similar changes in the U.S.?” Mark Shmulik, Toni Sacconaghi and other analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein, wrote in a note to investors earlier this week.Europe’s remedy has gone through various iterations and some rivals have argued that having to pay to be included in the choice screen is unfair.Read more: Google App Prompts Watched ‘Very Very Closely’ by EU’s VestagerEcosia, a not-for-profit search engine based in Germany, boycotted the auction. DuckDuckGo participated in the most recent auction, but said it may not be able to compete if prices rise.“This auction remedy, proposed by Google, was constructed to make Google money, not to provide meaningful consumer choice,” DuckDuckGo said in a blog post last week.It suggested scrapping the auction and said that an unpaid “search preference menu” has increased competition already in Russia. In 2010, Microsoft created a successful browser preference menu without an auction where the top five web browsers by market share appeared randomly, DuckDuckGo said.“While our view is that users are unlikely to switch search engines, Yandex grew their search engine share by 2,000 basis points to 58% in three years following a similar ruling in Russia,” Bernstein’s Shmulik wrote in the recent Bernstein note to investors.If the U.S. incorporates these suggestions, it could bypass Europe as the most successful regulator of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Weinberg said.“The U.S. gets criticized for being behind Europe but in reality what’s happened in Europe hasn’t worked,” the CEO added. “The U.S. not only can do it right from the start but has the opportunity to leapfrog the EU.”(Updates with analyst comment in 13th paragraph.)For 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

    Google Shakes Up Top Search, Advertising Leadership

    (Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google is shaking up its leadership, putting control over the company’s search engine and advertising product teams under the same person and moving leaders who have been around since the company’s founding to less visible teams.Prabhakar Raghavan, who led advertising product since 2018, will replace Ben Gomes as head of search. The new advertising product chief, Jerry Dischler, will report to Raghavan, signaling that the two groups will now be run by one central leader.Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer who oversees the company’s advertising operation and large ad sales force, will continue to report to Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai. Gomes, an engineer who has been at the company for two decades, will work on educational and culture projects, according to a Google spokesman. Jen Fitzpatrick, another 20-year Google employee, will move from Maps to lead a group of engineers running the company’s internal tech infrastructure. The moves were first reported by news site Search Engine Land and confirmed by a Google spokeswoman.The executive changes are the most significant since Pichai took over the dual role of Google and Alphabet CEO after founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page stepped down. Google shares fell 1.9% at 3:36 p.m. in New York(Updates with role of chief business officer in third paragraph)For 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.

  • Google Spots Chinese Phishing Attempts on Biden Campaign Staff
    Bloomberg

    Google Spots Chinese Phishing Attempts on Biden Campaign Staff

    (Bloomberg) -- A Chinese hacking group targeted the personal email accounts of Joe Biden’s campaign staff, Google said Thursday.The company recently observed the Chinese activity against the Democratic presidential campaign, according to a company statement.Google also witnessed new Iranian phishing attempts against the personal email accounts of staff on U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign -- continuing a phenomenon first observed in October.Neither of the attempts appeared to be successful, according to Google. The company shared information with the targets of the attacks, as well as with federal law enforcement, the company said.The Biden campaign confirmed in a statement that it was aware of the reports. The campaign has known that it would be targeted with attacks of this kind and was prepared, according to the statement. The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Google’s announcement -- first shared on Twitter by Shane Huntley, who leads the company’s Threat Analysis Group -- comes amid fears that the 2020 election may face the same kind of hacking and disinformation campaigns that occurred in 2016. That year, Russian hackers infiltrated the Democratic Party and waged a covert social media campaign to sow chaos and division among U.S. voters.For 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.

  • All Facebook users can now access a tool to port data to Google Photos
    TechCrunch

    All Facebook users can now access a tool to port data to Google Photos

    Facebook's photo transfer tool is now available globally half a year on from an initial rollout in Europe, the company said today. The data portability feature enables users of the social network to directly port a copy of their photos to Google’s eponymous photo storage service via encrypted transfer, rather than needing to download and manually upload photos themselves -- thereby reducing the hassle involved with switching to a rival service. Facebook users can find the option to “Transfer a copy of your photos and videos” under the Your Facebook Information settings menu.

  • Doctors Warn U.K. Lawmakers How Covid Misinformation Can Kill
    Bloomberg

    Doctors Warn U.K. Lawmakers How Covid Misinformation Can Kill

    (Bloomberg) -- Rajeev Fernando, a medical doctor and first responder working in New York, told U.K. lawmakers that one of the biggest challenges he’d faced is public belief in conspiracy theories and bogus cures about Covid-19.“I’ve also heard too many patients say Covid-19 is just like the flu; this misinformation has kept many at home thinking this will disappear,” Fernando said. “By the time some people are hospitalized, they’re already in multi-organ failure and death is inevitable.”Executives from Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google were interviewed by British lawmakers on Thursday about how their companies handled the spread of medical misinformation during the Covid-19 pandemic.The parliamentary committee leading the investigation published a selection of evidence it had gathered in advance of the questioning from front-line medical professionals. It was strongly worded, centering around how the public has suffered as a direct result of misinformation via social media.Read more: Twitter Will Add Labels to Some Misleading Covid-19 TweetsThomas Knowles, a medical doctor in the U.K., said in his written evidence that he’d taken a call from a woman whose symptoms made him “strongly suspect that she was experiencing a heart attack,” he said.Knowles said the woman told him she wouldn’t allow emergency medics in her home to take her to hospital because her doctor had informed her that she had to shield herself because of her other health conditions, and that she’d read on Facebook that it meant she’d definitely die if she went to hospital and caught it.“I was forced to accept her right to decline treatment, and she received no specific care that I’m aware of,” he said.Read more: Google Helps Place Ads on Sites Amplifying Covid ConspiraciesFacebook ResponseMonika Bickert, Facebook’s head of product policy and counterterrorism, was also questioned about the company’s response to an aggressive post made by U.S. President Donald Trump concerning his response to the civil unrest that has swept across the country. Bickert said she wasn’t aware of an open letter published by the New York Times from dozens of former Facebook employees this week. The employees were angry the social network hadn’t followed Twitter’s example of removing the post made by Trump.“It’s a shocking indictment from a number of quite senior former employees,” lawmaker Kevin Brennan told Bickert in the hearing. “To me, it feels like there’s something rotten in the state of Facebook, but am I wrong?”“I haven’t seen the letter,” Bickert said, but added that Facebook’s decision not to remove the President’s message was because it “did not violate” the company’s “long-standing policies.”Deleted PostsGoogle, Twitter and Facebook have all said in the past that tackling the spread of misinformation on their platforms was a priority. Twitter, for instance, has hidden or deleted posts that contain what it determined potentially harmful information. Google includes links to the World Health Organization at the top of search results for information about the virus.Part of the research by the U.K. committee highlighted a statement from Duncan Maru, an epidemiologist and physician based in Nepal, who said his colleagues had treated patients suffering from consuming disinfectants “after reading online that this was a way to cure Covid-19. We can’t be fighting lies and saving lives at the same time.” Read more: 5G Virus Conspiracy Theory Drives Phone Mast Attacks in U.K.And Meenakshi Bewtra, an assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, concluded similarly: “It is extremely difficult to be fighting both the global pandemic and the infodemic on social media,” she said. “I have personally been contacted by people who have spent money they do not have on ‘remedies’ or engaged in various practices that have no efficacy whatsoever.”The written statements, published by the U.K.’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sports committee on Thursday, will inform the questions the lawmakers ask tech companies at the hearing. It follows a similar hearing in April that followed the spread of a widely discredited conspiracy theory that 5G wireless technology is contributing to the Covid-19 pandemic.(Updated with additional context throughout.)For 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.

  • Fitbit Unveils Inexpensive COVID-19 Ventilator
    Motley Fool

    Fitbit Unveils Inexpensive COVID-19 Ventilator

    The maker of health tracking devices which is being acquired by Alphabet's Google got special approval to make the emergency ventilator.

  • 3 Top Artificial Intelligence Stocks to Buy in June
    Motley Fool

    3 Top Artificial Intelligence Stocks to Buy in June

    All was well the first two months of the new decade before all hell broke loose, and while the global economy remains in various stages of lockdown and in recession due to you-know-what, the U.S. stock market indices have rallied to close to where they started at the onset of the year. Leading the charge in this new era are technology stocks -- specifically those helping organizations and individuals cope with shelter-in-place and work-from-home orders. Artificial intelligence (AI) was already a promising growth industry, but recent events have made the need for automation and efficient use of data more important than ever.

  • Happy Birthday, Mr. President: Trump Hits Record On Google Ads
    Bloomberg

    Happy Birthday, Mr. President: Trump Hits Record On Google Ads

    (Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s combative response to nationwide protests against police brutality has dominated the news in recent days, but a wave of ads on Google’s YouTube has sought to draw attention to another event: the President’s 74th birthday. In the last full week of May, Trump’s campaign spent $1.48 million on Google advertising, the highest weekly total of the 2020 campaign, according to the search giant’s data. Many of the ads take the form of a digital birthday card the president’s supporters can sign by sharing information like their email addresses.The spending surge shows how the presidential campaign season has continued on digital media even as in-person events, like the large rallies President Trump favors, have been placed on hold. In the interim, Trump’s campaign is increasing its spending, largely to accumulate potential supporters’ email addresses.Alphabet Inc.’s Google is a favorite destination. Trump’s campaign spent about the same amount on Facebook Inc., where it spent $1.48 million over the same period.During the week of May 23, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee spent $1.3 million on Google advertising, while Donald J. Trump for President Inc., another Trump campaign entity, spent $164,500, according to Google’s database.Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign spent $322,600 in the week of May 23. The campaign has pulled back its spending on Google since the primary concluded; Biden’s spending on Google hit a record of $1.72 million for the week of Super Tuesday. Biden spent about $570,000 on Facebook during the week starting May 23.The two main Trump campaign groups have spent $26.3 million on Google ads since July 2018. Over that same period, Biden’s campaign has spent $6.38 million on Google ads.Earlier this year, the Trump campaign outbid rivals to reserve the coveted ad space at the top of YouTube’s homepage in advance for election day and the days before, Bloomberg News reported earlier.A Google spokeswoman declined to comment on the candidates’ campaign spending.YouTube has taken a financial hit in recent months due to the economic downturn, but the company has noted the strong performance of “direct response” marketing -- video ads that prompt viewers to make a purchase or take an action, like Trump’s birthday card messages.“Democrats have just had a little more trouble raising money on Google versus Republicans, not due to a lack of good strategy but due to seeing better returns on other platforms,” said Julia Ager, founder and president of the Democratic digital advertising firm Sapphire Strategies.Digital political advertising has become increasingly prominent -- and controversial -- since the 2016 election. Both Google and Facebook, the market leaders, have begun to disclose more about spending levels and the types of ads candidates run.After an uproar over misleading campaign ads last year, Google banned political commercials with doctored images or “false claims.” It removed some ads from Trump and Democratic candidates in March. But Google has mostly avoided the uproar that Facebook and Twitter Inc. have faced over the past week as the two social media companies have made diverging decisions about how to handle incendiary posts from President Trump.Michael Bloomberg, the owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company for Bloomberg News, who ended his presidential bid in March, remains the top political buyer on Google since May 2018 with $62.3 million spent.For 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.

  • Google and Walmart establish dominance in India's mobile payments market as WhatsApp Pay struggles to launch
    TechCrunch

    Google and Walmart establish dominance in India's mobile payments market as WhatsApp Pay struggles to launch

    In India, it's Google and Walmart-owned PhonePe that are racing neck-and-neck to be the top player in the mobile payments market, while Facebook remains mired in a regulatory maze for WhatsApp Pay’s rollout. Google Pay had more than 75 million transacting users last month, ahead of PhonePe’s 60 million users, people familiar with the companies’ figures told TechCrunch. In comparison, SoftBank -backed Paytm's app saw 30 million transacting users last month and an average of 10 million users transacted each day, people familiar with the matter said.

  • Twitter Removed Trump Floyd Tribute Video on Copyright Issue
    Bloomberg

    Twitter Removed Trump Floyd Tribute Video on Copyright Issue

    (Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc. removed a Trump campaign video tribute to George Floyd due to a copyright claim, the latest escalation in a confrontation between the social media platform and its most influential user.The @TeamTrump account had tweeted a video collage of images and clips depicting peaceful protests, moments of mourning and law enforcement officers hugging civilians in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, an African-American man, while in police custody. Accompanied by a gentle piano soundtrack and President Donald Trump’s speech about “healing, not hatred,” it urged Americans to unite.The video, still available to view on the president’s YouTube channel, appears to have gathered most of its content from social media posts, and at least one copyright holder made a complaint to Twitter about the use of their photo, a company spokesperson told The Hill.The U.S. president has an audience of 81.7 million followers on his personal Twitter account, which he uses to celebrate accomplishments of his administration and, often, lambast opponents. In the wake of Floyd’s death and subsequent protests, he tweeted a warning that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” which Twitter deemed to have been in breach of its rules against glorifying violence and led the company to hide that message behind a warning label. Earlier, the social media giant had placed a fact-check notice on another Trump tweet, which also earned the president’s displeasure.Read more: Trump Ire Draws Eyeballs to Twitter, Where Attention Is an AssetIn retaliation for what Trump and his supporters have deemed political bias, the president issued an executive order targeting social media companies like Twitter. The move -- which could expose Twitter, Facebook Inc. and other technology giants to a flurry of lawsuits -- sparked broad condemnation from liberals and even some conservatives who accused the president of launching an unconstitutional assault on free speech. (Updates with further details from first paragraph)For 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.

  • Why Internet Stocks & ETFs Can Keep Rising
    Zacks

    Why Internet Stocks & ETFs Can Keep Rising

    Internet stock are hot since they continue to gain from digital transformation

  • Demand for all things stay-at-home may be over: Goldman Sachs
    Yahoo Finance

    Demand for all things stay-at-home may be over: Goldman Sachs

    New data suggests life is getting back to some form of normal after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Bloomberg

    Zoom's Boom Pokes Holes in the Big-Tech 'Borg' Narrative

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- One of the most feared antagonists in the “Star Trek” universe is the seemingly unstoppable alien species called the Borg. These cybernetic aliens travel the galaxy, conquering and assimilating everything in their path while greeting each new victim with the catch-phrase, “Resistance is futile.”In many ways, the prevailing narrative around Big Tech is similar to this sci-fi series villain story line. Pundits often cite how the technology giants’ vast financial resources and R&D budgets will lead to an inexorable march to control more and more of the economy. And sure, on the surface it makes sense. Apple Inc. and Google-parent Alphabet Inc. sport net cash balances of roughly $100 billion each and dominate their respective markets, generating vast profit streams from smartphones to search engines. Together with Facebook Inc., Netflix Inc. and Microsoft Corp., these behemoths also reign over the stock market with their ballooning valuations. How can any smaller company hope to compete against such power in the current difficult environment?The reality paints a much less daunting picture. It turns out that the Covid-19 era has led to an explosion of innovation and rapid growth for dozens of smaller technology companies. Many of these upstarts — from video-conferencing software maker Zoom Video Communications Inc. to cloud-computing firm Datadog Inc. — are emphatically winning even as the tech giants try to squash them. And they’re doing it in many cases by simply making a better product and having a laser focus on it. There’s a flaw in the concept that Big Tech can easily expand into new markets by leveraging the power of their core businesses. The reason is all companies – big or small – have finite top-tier engineering talent. And of course, companies tend to put their best people on their most important profit-making segments, versus any peripheral new markets, opening the door for the upstart specialists to thrive.Earlier this year, I wrote how  corporations were flocking to software vendors such as Zoom for solutions on how to get the job done at a time when their employees were forced to work from home amid lockdown restrictions. Since then, Big Tech has taken particular aim at the software company as they sought to push their own video-conferencing tools. Last month, Google added a large, blue-colored “Add Google Meet video conferencing” button any time a Google Calendar user tries to add an appointment, while its Gmail accounts with its billion-plus user base also conspicuously have Google Meet in the lower left corner at all times. Microsoft, meantime, has sought to capitalize on early security concerns with Zoom to promote its Teams product. Despite the aggressive moves, you couldn’t see any negative impact in Zoom’s results. Late Tuesday, the upstart posted April-quarter sales results that crushed Wall Street estimates. The company posted first-quarter revenue of $328 million, up 169% from a year earlier, versus the $203 million Bloomberg consensus. It also projected a sales range of $495 million to  $500 million for the current quarter, more than double the $222 million analyst estimate. Zoom shares climbed 5% on Wednesday, adding to year-to-date gains that already topped 200%.That’s just Zoom. There are plethora of cloud software names — including monitoring analytics provider Datadog and user authentication company Okta, Inc. — that are also seeing surging demand for their services and the soaring stock prices to match. These companies are building out comprehensive offerings and stronger leadership positions in their respective categories that will be harder to displace as they grow in stature. And it’s still early innings on the growth curve for many of these firms. The move to cloud-computing is a seminal paradigm shift similar in scope to the transition to mobile smartphones nearly a decade ago. Gartner said the world-wide enterprise technology market was $3.7 trillion last  year. Even if the economy contracts, it will be a large market, with lots of room for fast-growing companies to make meaningful share gains as spending shifts toward new technologies. “The trends of digital transformation and cloud migration remain very much intact over the long term and may even be accelerated or amplified,” Datadog CEO Olivier Pomel said during his May earning call with investors. Another recent example of Big Tech’s failure is Amazon.com Inc.’s foray into gaming. After years of development, the e-commerce giant released its first big-budget video game “Crucible” last month to much fanfare, even advertising the title on the front page of its website. It was meant to be the Amazon’s beachhead into the large attractive gaming market. It didn’t go well. To illustrate,  just a couple weeks after its launch “Crucible” has precipitously fallen in the Twitch charts, a key indicator of gamer engagement, to roughly 100 viewers or barely in the top 500 titles. It turned out to be a complete flop, even as Epic Games Inc.’s Fortnite remains a fan favorite.Despite the worries over Big Tech’s growing dominance, the flip side may actually be the bigger risk. Last month, I wrote how other retailers appear to be taking advantage of Amazon’s service troubles to make incursions, which has allowed them to grow their e-commerce businesses at triple-digit rates. In social media, the short-video platform TikTok has also surged in popularity. Last week, Bloomberg News reported TikTok’s parent ByteDance Ltd.’s revenue for last year more than doubled to more than $17 billion from $7.4 billion in 2018, a level of sales nearly triple that of Twitter Inc. and Snap Inc. combined. Incredibly, if TikTok continues it current growth trajectory, it has the potential to surpass some of Facebook’s key platforms within a few years. And speaking of Facebook, its latest big push into e-commerce space, Facebook Shops, relies in great deal on a partnership with online-store software maker Shopify Inc. and its extensive array of commerce tools for small businesses.History shows the tech industry’s reputation for disruption is unmatched. And if it is any guide, investors  shouldn’t overlook or underestimate the industry’s up-and-comers, even in — or should I say especially in — times like these. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tae Kim is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Barron's, following an earlier career as an equity analyst.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.

  • Google Pulls Chinese-App Remover From Android for Violations
    Bloomberg

    Google Pulls Chinese-App Remover From Android for Violations

    (Bloomberg) -- Google pulled an application from its Play Store that helps users delete Chinese games and other software from their Android smartphones, citing violations of its policies.The controversial software, Remove China Apps, had drawn millions of downloads in India as tensions between the two countries surged. The program was developed by little-known OneTouch AppLabs, based in Jaipur.China and India have been gathering thousands of troops at a disputed border in a remote area of the Himalayas. The two countries have had a long history of territorial clashes dating back decades.Remove China Apps was designed to be as straightforward as its name. After a smartphone user downloads the software, it helps identify the country of origin for apps installed on the phone, highlighting Chinese ones and suggesting steps for removal.OneTouch AppLabs did not immediately respond to questions. Its website now has a message that thanks customers for their support and confirms Google’s decision to remove the app. The app creators then provided this workaround:“TIP: Its easy to find the origin of any app by searching on google by typing origin countryStay Tuned !! Stay Safe!!”The action came not long after Alphabet Inc.’s Google removed from the Play Store an app called Mitron, which is a popular alternative to TikTok, backed by China’s ByteDance Ltd. Google cited the violation of a policy on repetitive content for the removal.“When violations of these policies are identified, we have an established process of working with developers to help them find remedies,” a Google spokesman said in a statement regarding Mitron.(Updates with comments from spokesman on Mitron in the last paragraph.)For 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.

  • Why HBO Max Isn't on Roku or Fire TV Yet
    Motley Fool

    Why HBO Max Isn't on Roku or Fire TV Yet

    AT&T (NYSE: T) launched HBO Max last week with a couple big missing pieces: You can't watch it on Roku (NASDAQ: ROKU) devices or Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) Fire TV products. CEO of AT&T's Otter Media division, Tony Goncalves, explained the dispute between HBO Max and Roku and Amazon in an interview with The Verge.

  • Zoom Transforms Hype Into Huge Jump in Sales, Customers
    Bloomberg

    Zoom Transforms Hype Into Huge Jump in Sales, Customers

    (Bloomberg) -- Zoom Video Communications Inc. demonstrated that paying customers have flocked to its virtual-meeting software, transforming the once-niche appmaker into a popular communications service and positioning it to benefit as the nature of work, school and life is upended.Zoom reported sales soared in the three months ended April 30, when the coronavirus pandemic spurred a wave of stay-at-home orders for millions of people worldwide. The company expects the trend to continue the rest of the year, and projected that revenue and profit will leapfrog investors’ earlier expectations.“A shift in work culture triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic urges corporations to pull forward adoption of cloud-based video-conferencing tools,” Boyoung Kim, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote Tuesday in a note. Zoom’s “intuitive technology and strong brand recognition should help the company pick up market share in video conferencing, outpacing the industry.”Sales in the current quarter will be as much as $500 million, the San Jose, California-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Revenue in the third and fourth fiscal quarters should be consistent with that performance, Chief Financial Officer Kelly Steckelberg said during a conference call. Overall, Zoom expects to generate as much as $1.8 billion this fiscal year, which is almost triple the size of the business last year. Analysts, on average, estimated $930.8 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Zoom’s shares jumped 6.6% to $221.80 at 11:44 a.m. Wednesday in New York after closing at a record $208.08 on Tuesday. The stock has tripled this year.Chief Executive Officer Eric Yuan has tried to ensure that his virtual-meeting platform can cope with a swell of demand from people staying home to curtail the spread of Covid-19. While security and privacy issues plagued the system early in the quarantine, Zoom has become an essential service, attracting more than 300 million participants some days, up from 10 million in December. The software maker allows gatherings of as long as 40 minutes for no charge. While Zoom has attracted more buzz than corporate rivals, the results Tuesday suggested it can attract the paying clients needed to compete against services from Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.The software maker said its potential market has expanded beyond an estimate of $43 billion by 2022 made by analyst IDC, according to a 2019 regulatory filing. And executives said they have expanded hiring plans to take advantage of the opportunity. While Steckelberg warned that the lifting of stay-at-home orders may cause fewer people to use Zoom’s software, the company said it hadn’t seen the numbers decline yet in areas that have reopened.Many educational institutions that teach through Zoom have decided to host virtual classes through at least the fall, pointing to robust demand for the app through the rest of the year. To continue growing at a torrid pace, Zoom will sell its Phone software and Rooms hardware products to existing customers, Steckelberg added. Yuan vowed not to rely on advertising to make money from its legions of free users.In the fiscal first quarter, revenue increased about 170% to $328.2 million. Analysts, on average, expected $203 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Profit, excluding some items, was 20 cents a share, compared with analysts’ average projection of 9 cents.The company said its expects adjusted profit in the fiscal year will be $355 million to $380 million, or $1.21 to $1.29 a share. Analysts had estimated 46 cents, just more than Zoom’s earlier forecast. The company has been spending to bolster its network capacity, including by buying cloud-computing services from Oracle Corp. during the pandemic. Zoom also continues to use Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud service, which provided the majority of the new capacity.Zoom’s daily meeting participants have dipped a bit below the blockbuster 300 million figure revealed in April, but Steckelberg said the company expects to consistently surpass that milestone in the future.The company said it ended the quarter with about 265,400 customers with more than 10 employees, a more than fourfold increase from the same period a year earlier. The company now has 769 corporate clients that have spent more than $100,000 on Zoom’s products over the last 12 months, about double from a year earlier.With Zoom’s popularity has come controversy over the company’s security practices. Trolls have invaded myriad meetings, religious gatherings and other events, to share pornography and shout profanity or racial epithets, in a phenomenon known as “Zoombombing.” The company highlighted or created a raft of tools users can employ to prevent the virtual attacks, including passwords and waiting rooms.There also were instances when Zoom calls were routed through servers in China even when no participant was based there and users were unwittingly sending metadata to Facebook Inc. when they signed in. Zoom put an end to both practices. The company pledged to commit to bolstering privacy over all other concerns for three months, purchasing a secure-messaging company, Keybase, to bring the highest standard of encryption to the platform, and hiring cybersecurity experts to guide safety efforts.Corporate clients will get access to Zoom’s end-to-end encryption service now being developed, but Yuan said free users won’t enjoy that level of privacy, which makes it impossible for third parties to decipher communications.“Free users for sure we don’t want to give that because we also want to work together with FBI, with local law enforcement in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose,” Yuan said on the call.(Updates with shares in the fifth paragraph.)For 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.

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