GOOGL Jan 2022 1520.000 call

OPR - OPR Delayed price. Currency in USD
187.97
+33.97 (+22.06%)
As of 2:27PM EDT. Market open.
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Previous close154.00
Open187.97
Bid194.50
Ask204.00
Strike1,520.00
Expiry date2022-01-21
Day's range187.97 - 187.97
Contract rangeN/A
Volume1
Open interest77
  • Apple and Google block dozens of Chinese apps in India
    TechCrunch

    Apple and Google block dozens of Chinese apps in India

    Two days after India blocked 59 apps developed by Chinese firms, Google and Apple have started to comply with New Delhi's order and are preventing users in the world's second-largest internet market from accessing those apps. UC Browser, Shareit, and Club Factory and other apps that India has blocked are no longer listed on Apple's App Store and Google Play Store.

  • Facebook Accused by Black Manager of Systemic Discrimination
    Bloomberg

    Facebook Accused by Black Manager of Systemic Discrimination

    (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. was accused of systemic discrimination in hiring, compensation and promotion of Black people in a complaint to federal civil rights authorities.Thursday’s complaint to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by a Washington-based operations program manager adds pressure on the social network, which is facing an advertising boycott over its failure to remove violent, divisive, racist and discriminatory posts. Along with other major tech companies, Facebook also has been criticized for its lack of diversity.Oscar Veneszee Jr., a decorated 23-year U.S. Navy veteran hired by the company in 2017 to recruit other workers retired from the armed services, said he filed the complaint after his objections to Facebook managers over treatment of African Americans went nowhere. It was filed as a class action to represent other Black people who’ve experienced discrimination inside the company, as well as those who claim they were unfairly denied jobs with the social network.“The only way to get contributions from Black experience is to have more Black employees at the company,” Veneszee said in an interview. “I think the desire is there, but I don’t think there’s an understanding of what’s required to transition to a company that’s more open, to being diverse, bold.”Facebook said “we take any allegations of discrimination seriously and investigate every case.””We believe it is essential to provide all employees with a respectful and safe working environment,” spokesperson Pamela Austin said in an email.Facebook, along with Google and Microsoft Corp., have renewed pledges to prioritize diversity in the wake of nationwide protests and calls to end systemic racism after the police killing of George Floyd. Veneszee said he was motivated to complain to the EEOC in part by recent protests.“We are really as a country talking about getting it right this time,” Veneszee said in the interview. “As I look at our response, I don’t think it has connected to the pain deep enough in order to develop solutions that are going to be better for us as a company.”A recent Bloomberg News analysis of diversity reports published by the world’s biggest tech companies shows little progress has been made transforming them from a predominantly white and male universe, with Black workers remaining mostly absent from management ranks and underrepresented in technical roles.Read More: Zuckerberg Agrees to Meet With Groups Behind Advertising BoycottDespite success at his job and positive feedback from managers, Veneszee said in the complaint, he was denied promotions, stalled by evaluations that said he merely “meets all expectations” as he ran into hostility and discrimination.Veneszee described his frustration as a Black employee of a company where, according to Facebook’s own figures, just 1.5% of employees in technical roles in the U.S. were Black in 2019, and 3.1% were Black among senior leadership. Those percentages have barely budged even as the company has added tens of thousands to a workforce that has grown by 400% over the last five years, according to the complaint.“There’s really no representation of diversity, of Black employees in mind, all the way across the company,” he said in the interview.Veneszee recalled being forced to apologize to a white recruiter after questioning a plan for interns that listed only one of the nation’s more than 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He was told the question drove the recruiter to tears. After being routinely told that he must use the right “tone,” he said he came to realize the company is tone deaf toward Blacks.“Me asking about HCBU shouldn’t make you feel attacked, it shouldn’t offend you if we’re talking about diversity,” Veneszee said. He said it made him feel as if “the way I say things fell on a different set of ears at Facebook.”An EEOC spokesman said the agency can’t confirm or deny when complaints are filed and said they are handled confidentially.Veneszee’s lawyer, Peter Romer-Friedman of the Gupta Wessler firm, said the alleged violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the complaint should be viewed as an invitation to negotiate.The complaint seeks an independent monitor to determine if Facebook is making progress hiring more Blacks, or if stronger measures are required, he said.“We’re trying to extend an olive branch,” the lawyer said in an interview. “Oscar’s not trying to burn down the company from the inside or outside.”(Updates with company comment in 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.

  • EU regulators checking if Fitbit deal will boost Google's clout
    Reuters

    EU regulators checking if Fitbit deal will boost Google's clout

    EU regulators are checking whether Google's purchase of Fitbit might allow it to drive rival makers of wearable devices, app developers and other online service providers out of the market, and boost its dominance in online advertising and search. Healthcare providers are also being asked whether they would see Google as a rival if it is allowed to buy the fitness tracker company in a $2.1 billion deal criticised by privacy and consumer groups, according to EU documents seen by Reuters. The EU queries underscore the importance of Fitbit's <FIT.N> trove of health data generated from its devices, which are used to monitor users' daily steps, calories burned and distance travelled, and how this could further extend Alphabet Inc-owned <GOOGL.O> Google's market power into a fast-growing area.

  • Google's Latest Attempt to Fight Back Against Amazon
    Motley Fool

    Google's Latest Attempt to Fight Back Against Amazon

    Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has been stealing away Google's most valuable searches over the last several years. More product searches begin on Amazon.com than the search engine owned by Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL). In order to combat the growing popularity of product searches on Amazon, Google's offering brands and retailers free listings on its main search results.

  • Amazon's Twitch Sees Massive Surge in Engagement Amid COVID-19 Lockdowns
    Motley Fool

    Amazon's Twitch Sees Massive Surge in Engagement Amid COVID-19 Lockdowns

    With many people stuck at home during the second quarter due to the coronavirus outbreak, engagement on all manner of streaming platforms has soared. That includes popular video-streaming services, as well as Amazon.

  • Do You Really Want Google to Have Your Personal Fitness Data?
    Bloomberg

    Do You Really Want Google to Have Your Personal Fitness Data?

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- If you’re concerned about the pervasive role in daily life of technology companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, then its planned $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit Inc. is a worry.Google already owns the biggest search engine, the most popular video-streaming site (YouTube), the biggest mobile operating system (Android) and the dominant e-mail service (Gmail). All of these feed a digital-advertising business that generated $135 billion of sales last year. Do we really want to add Fitbit’s fitness tracking to its armory?A coalition of 20 organizations on Thursday urged antitrust authorities in the European Union, the U.S. and five other jurisdictions to scrutinize the takeover more closely. The EU plans to rule on the deal by July 20, although it may extend the probe if needed.The problem is that Google’s dominance in one market — digital advertising — isn’t necessarily enough, from an antitrust perspective, to block a deal in another sector. Google doesn’t currently make a health tracker or smartwatch. As such, it doesn’t compete with Fitbit. It isn’t trying to consolidate the market or cut the number of rivals. Indeed, a better capitalized Fitbit might improve competition in a smartwatch market dominated by Apple Inc.But this deal isn’t really about hardware sales: Fitbit’s $1 billion in expected 2020 revenue would represent just 0.7% of Alphabet’s total. The value from the acquisition is in the data that Fitbit is accumulating on all of its users. Knowing how far, how often and where people walk, run, cycle or swim every day could help advertisers, health insurers, city planners and plenty more besides. While Google is unlikely to sell that information directly to advertisers, it would help it build more complete advertising profiles of its users. In that sense, the fitness tracker market isn’t discrete from Google’s dominant ad-tech business. It could feed it, extending its dominance.With that in mind, regulators could impose restrictions while still clearing the deal. Aitor Ortiz, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, expects behavioral remedies will be imposed. That could mean Google promising not to merge Fitbit data with other user info without explicit consent. The tech giant takes a similar approach with Nest, a home automation company it acquired in 2014. Last year, it started encouraging users to merge their Nest data with their Google accounts.For those alarmed about Alphabet hoarding even more of our personal data, these promises probably won’t be enough. A stronger remedy would be to prohibit Google from ever extracting fitness information from a user’s devices. That’s how Apple treats fitness data from its Watch. Google insists that it wants Fitbit anyway, even without being able to farm its data. If that’s true, then it shouldn’t have any complaint about such a restriction. The purchase would still give it an entree to the smartwatch market, which will grow to $96 billion by 2027, according to Allied Market Research.Fitbit’s products also need to keep working with Apple’s mobile operating system as well as with Android. Otherwise, they would become a tool to force people to buy Android devices.This is an important test case that will be hard for regulators to get right. Past attempts at imposing behavioral remedies on the tech giants have failed: Facebook Inc. told Brussels back in 2014 that it wasn’t technically possible to merge its data with those of WhatsApp, but then it went ahead and did it anyway, accepting a paltry 110 million-euro ($124 million) fine from the European Commission for breaking its agreement. Google tends to be better behaved than Facebook, but its deep pockets give it a lot of power.Given the risks, the easiest solution might just be to block the Fitbit deal outright. But that would be legally harder to justify.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Amdocs (DOX) to Support Three's Enterprise Business in UK
    Zacks

    Amdocs (DOX) to Support Three's Enterprise Business in UK

    Amdocs' (DOX) managed transformation services will help Three UK to expand its B2B services in the United Kingdom.

  • Overpaying for TV Again? Get Used to It.
    Bloomberg

    Overpaying for TV Again? Get Used to It.

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- If you’re considering making the switch from cable TV to streaming to save money, I have some bad news for you. YouTube TV, a streaming-video service owned by Google’s parent Alphabet Inc., just raised its monthly subscription fee from an already steep $50 to an even steeper $65. To put that into perspective, the $15 rate hike is more than the price of one whole month of Netflix. Tack on the cost of an internet connection, which is needed to stream, and YouTube TV starts to look like not much more than a glorified cable package. It’s emblematic of a broader industry conundrum: a need to raise prices that are already too high from a consumer’s standpoint, yet not high enough for streaming companies to have any hope of turning a profit. YouTube TV has been a favorite among cord-cutters, in part because it tends to have fewer annoying glitches and more content. But $65 may change even some of their minds, especially with the U.S. economy sputtering. The app is in a category known as skinny bundles, which offer a few dozen live channels over the internet (though they’ve gotten chubbier over time as media giants try to stuff in all the channels they can). There’s been a proliferation of services like it in recent years, and yet none has quite been able to replicate cable affordably with the customization that consumers want. They all lose money, according to analysts, YouTube TV included. Sony’s PlayStation Vue — which was also well-liked by those who used it — shut down earlier this year, saying that it was too expensive to compete given the cost of programming.Sony probably won’t be the last company to give up on the streaming wars. Quibi, the startup created by Hollywood veteran Jeffrey Katzenberg — he was the “K” in DreamWorks SKG (the “S” was Steven Spielberg) — looks to be hanging on by a thread. The 90-day free trials that Quibi offered at its launch begin to expire July 5. Will enough consumers be willing to pay $5 a month for its service? It’s not looking likely.Quibi’s $5 may sound cheap compared to YouTube TV’s $65, but you get what you pay for, and the wide range of prices in the streaming industry is indicative of that. For example, even though Disney+ contains high-quality content from its beloved “Star Wars” and Marvel franchises, the app doesn’t have much else, hence it charges just $7 a month. At $13, Netflix still probably offers the best bang for your buck. YouTube TV did say it’s “working to build new flexible models,” which could signal different tiers of pricing in the future. In a dream world, consumers could just choose from a-la-carte menus, but that’s not in the best interest of programmers and distributors. Both sides have turned to megamergers in the last few years — AT&T-Time Warner, Charter-Time Warner Cable, CBS-Viacom, etc. — to regain negotiating power over one another and to stand a chance of taking on tech giants such as Google. Programmers use their scale to force their entire network portfolios onto streaming apps so that their less-popular ones don’t get left out.YouTube TV’s latest price increase comes on the heels of it adding eight of ViacomCBS Inc.’s top networks to its lineup, including BET, MTV and Nickelodeon, with six more niche ones on the way, including MTV Classic and TeenNick. To be fair, though, each of those is relatively inexpensive. What usually makes TV packages so costly is live sports — and that’s true even with most sports off the air this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN+ is reportedly raising its fee by $1, to $6 a month.If YouTube TV can get away with its new rate, then Netflix probably has room to raise its own price some. That prospect drove Netflix shares to a new all-time-high closing price of $485.64 on Wednesday, giving it a mind-boggling valuation of 42 times Ebitda. YouTube TV is the closest you’ll get to a traditional cable package, in that it has lots of live-TV channels, including sports, and common add-on options such as HBO and Showtime. But if you want streaming to look like cable, you’ve got to pay cable prices. Not even Google will eat those losses forever. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.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, Facebook Would Face FTC Over Policies in Democratic Bill
    Bloomberg

    Google, Facebook Would Face FTC Over Policies in Democratic Bill

    (Bloomberg) -- A top Democratic lawmaker wants to empower the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to take action against Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc., among other technology platforms, if they fail to remove content that violates their terms of service and community standards.Democratic Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, who chairs a subcommittee on consumer protection, told Bloomberg in an interview that she plans to introduce a bill in the coming days that would clarify that if technology companies fail to fulfill the “assurances” made to users in terms and conditions, community standards, advertising rules and content moderation policies, they could face enforcement from the FTC.The initiative falls into a flurry of measures that aim to limit a much-cherished liability shield for user content under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Many of the initiatives are coming from Republicans, including President Donald Trump, as a way to address their claims that social media sites silence conservative voices.“Irrespective of what Trump is saying, we’re going to move ahead in a bipartisan way to do what we need to do to protect consumers,” Schakowsky said.The FTC already polices businesses under its authority to enforce against “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” Schakowsky’s bill would clarify that Section 230 can’t be used as a defense in those cases.The idea behind the bill would be to treat Facebook’s failure to block a post advocating, say, white supremacy or Google’s inability to stop an ad for medical masks, both of which are banned, the same way the FTC treats broken promises by companies to deliver cures or cybersecurity protection. The agency can seek injunctions, consent decrees and fines for repeat offenders.Facebook and Google have extensive bans on certain kinds of content, including Covid-19 scams, medical misinformation, posts inciting violence, terrorist content, harassment, hate speech, illegal drug sales and violent and graphic content.Facebook and Instagram have also taken action to ban white-nationalist content on their social-media platforms as well, while Google bans counterfeit goods and dangerous products and says that it protects advertisers “from invalid activity and advertising fraud.”A Google representative declined to comment. Facebook representatives could not be reached for comment after business hours on Wednesday.Schakowsky’s concern, which some of her GOP colleagues share, is that technology companies will try to duck any FTC enforcement of their content-moderation policies by invoking Section 230. The provision exempts them from liability for third-party posts, but has been interpreted by courts to free companies from much scrutiny over what content they leave up or take down.“Bottom line, we want to clarify that there is no doubt that 230 is not going to be the escape hatch,” Schakowsky said.By example, Schakowsky pointed to an effort by Airbnb Inc. to escape local regulation of short-term rental listing by invoking the provision, though a federal court rebuffed the effort.An FTC spokesperson didn’t comment on the bill, but said the agency “is committed to robust enforcement of consumer protection and competition laws, including with respect to social media platforms, and consistent with our jurisdictional authority and constitutional limitations.”While the companies have stepped up enforcement in recent years, Schakowsky said that the bill is necessary because of the spread of election misinformation targeting Black voters, scams involving stimulus checks and other content that proliferates despite being banned.Schakowsky’s effort follows a bill from five Republican senators led by tech critic Josh Hawley of Missouri that would expose the platforms to customer lawsuits if they engage in “intentionally selective enforcement” of their terms and standards.And a sweeping proposal by Trump’s Justice Department would clarify that Section 230 doesn’t stop federal civil enforcement. Trump’s May executive order also aimed to expose companies to FTC enforcement, as well as to user lawsuits if the platforms “use their power over a vital means of communication to engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints.”Schakowsky agreed with criticism of the White House order, which came after Twitter Inc. slapped a fact-check on one of Trump’s tweets, as an assault on the platform’s constitutional right. Her bill would focus more narrowly on FTC enforcement, rather than exposing companies to potentially thousands of user lawsuits.Promises, PromisesWhile many tech critics have urged companies to more strongly enforce their terms of service, ad policies, community standards and other documents, some have suggested that the companies might scale those back to avoid making promises they can’t deliver and that could draw FTC scrutiny.Others suggest that the company statements don’t represent promises at all and are merely rules that users must follow.“Proving deception from community standards language is probably pretty difficult because it’s couched in best efforts rather than a promise,” said Neil Chilson, a former FTC official who defends Section 230.Schakowsky said that FTC officials have told her they welcome her attempt to clarify the agency’s authority in an area that remains little-tested. “We need to empower them,” she said.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.

  • Behind the Lens: How Google’s Street View Traveler Is Capturing the World’s Most Iconic Places
    Skift

    Behind the Lens: How Google’s Street View Traveler Is Capturing the World’s Most Iconic Places

    Sometimes a drive-by isn't enough. Google Maps has used cameras on trucks since 2007 to capture the world for its Street View. But when it comes to the world's best-known landmarks, the search giant has been taking extra steps to create virtual representations. Google sends workers to record the surroundings on foot when a vehicle […]

  • U.S., EU advocacy groups warn against Google's purchase of Fitbit
    Reuters

    U.S., EU advocacy groups warn against Google's purchase of Fitbit

    Twenty advocacy groups from the United States, Europe, Latin America and elsewhere signed a statement Wednesday urging regulators to be wary of Google's $2.1 billion bid for fitness tracker company Fitbit Inc <FIT.N> because of privacy and competition concerns. The 20 organizations - which include the U.S.-based Public Citizen, Access Now from Europe and the Brazilian Institute of Consumer Defense - argued that the deal would expand the already considerable clout in digital markets of Alphabet Inc's <GOOGL.O> Google.

  • U.K. regulators take aim at Apple's search engine deal with Google
    Reuters

    U.K. regulators take aim at Apple's search engine deal with Google

    Apple received the "substantial majority" of the 1.2 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) that Google paid to be the default search engine on a variety of devices in the United Kingdom in 2019, according to the report. The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority, in its final report investigating online platforms and digital advertising, said the arrangements between Apple and Google create "a significant barrier to entry and expansion" for Google's rivals in the search engine market.

  • China Upstart CEO Steps Down After Building $44 Billion Fortune
    Bloomberg

    China Upstart CEO Steps Down After Building $44 Billion Fortune

    (Bloomberg) -- Colin Huang stepped down as chief executive officer of Pinduoduo Inc. after building the five-year-old startup into a force in China’s e-commerce industry and, in the process, becoming one of the country’s richest people.He’s turning the role over to Lei Chen, another founder at the Shanghai-based company, effective immediately, PDD said in a letter to employees posted on its website. Huang, 40, will remain chairman.“I hope that through the management changes, we can gradually hand over more managerial duties and responsibilities to our younger colleagues, give space and opportunities for the team to grow, and drive Pinduoduo to become a more mature company with continuous entrepreneurial spirit,” Huang wrote in the letter.While tech founders often eventually cede management duties to lieutenants, Huang is handing over the reins just a few years after PDD’s start. Huang and his co-founders began the group-shopping app in 2015 at a time when Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. seemed to have a lock on the e-commerce business in China.But PDD provided an innovative service with discounted goods and customized offerings, and went public in 2018. The company’s shares have soared more than four-fold since then and its market cap is about $102 billion. Huang’s net worth is $44.3 billion, the third-highest in China, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.Analysts at Jefferies and Citigroup Inc. said the move was unexpected and a surprise. PDD’s shares were little changed in U.S. trading.Huang, previously an engineer at Google, said in the letter that he had transferred around 371 million ordinary shares currently under his name to the Pinduoduo Partnership, and that he wanted some of the stock to be used for research and social responsibility. That transfer is equal to about 7.7% of total shares, he said. In addition, Huang said he had officially set up a charity foundation and that together with the founding team, had donated to it around 114 million Pinduoduo shares, or about 2.4% of total shares.In a separate Q&A circulated to media, Huang said he would step back from day-to-day management to work on the company’s long-term strategy and corporate structure, and devote more time to fundamental research that could drive the future of PDD.A data scientist by training, Chen has served as chief technology officer since 2016. He said he will focus on growing the company’s newer business units, citing its shipping information system as an example. “This division of labor will help us steer the company in its next phase of growth and development,” Chen said.(Adds more detail 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.

  • U.S. tech chief executives expected to testify before House panel in late July
    Reuters

    U.S. tech chief executives expected to testify before House panel in late July

    The chief executives of the four U.S. tech giants -- Amazon.com, Facebook, Alphabet's Google and Apple -- will testify before the U.S. Congress in late July as part of an ongoing antitrust probe into the companies, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai of Google and Apple's Tim Cook will appear as part of the probe by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel, the sources said.

  • UK regulators take aim at Apple's search engine deal with Google
    Reuters

    UK regulators take aim at Apple's search engine deal with Google

    Apple received the "substantial majority" of the 1.2 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) that Google paid to be the default search engine on a variety of devices in the United Kingdom in 2019, according to the report. The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority, in its final report investigating online platforms and digital advertising, said the arrangements between Apple and Google create "a significant barrier to entry and expansion" for Google's rivals in the search engine market.

  • Google brings its AI-powered SmartReply feature to YouTube
    TechCrunch

    Google brings its AI-powered SmartReply feature to YouTube

    Google's SmartReply, the four-year-old, A.I.-based technology that helps suggest responses to messages in Gmail, Android's Messages, Play Developer Console and elsewhere, is now being made available to YouTube Creators. Google announced today the launch of an updated version of SmartReply built for YouTube, which will allow creators to more easily and quickly interact with their fans in the comments. The feature is being rolled out to YouTube Studio, the online dashboard creators use to manage their YouTube presence, check their stats, grow their channels and engage fans.

  • Google confirms US offices will remain closed until at least September, as COVID-19 spikes
    TechCrunch

    Google confirms US offices will remain closed until at least September, as COVID-19 spikes

    A few months back, Google announced plans to reopen some U.S. offices after the July Fourth holiday. Things have obviously not been going great in terms of the United States’ battle with COVID-19, and Google once again finds itself proceeding on the side of caution. As was first reported by Bloomberg, Google has since confirmed with TechCrunch that it will be pushing back reopening at least until September 7, after the Labor Day holiday in the States.

  • Virtual MVPDs Are Suffering the Same Fate as Traditional Cable
    Motley Fool

    Virtual MVPDs Are Suffering the Same Fate as Traditional Cable

    Google's YouTube TV is raising its monthly rate from $50 to $65. The company cited those additional channels, its deal with AT&T (NYSE: T) to offer subscribers HBO Max, as well as some new features in its price increase announcement. YouTube TV had been the lowest-priced virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) that offered a full-fledged cable subscription replacement.

  • U.S. Senate committee approves anti-child porn bill after addressing Google, Facebook encryption concerns
    Reuters

    U.S. Senate committee approves anti-child porn bill after addressing Google, Facebook encryption concerns

    The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to approve a bill aimed at ending the spread of online child sexual abuse material after attempting to address concerns from U.S. tech companies that the proposed law goes too far to weaken privacy protections for ordinary users. Tech companies such as Facebook and Alphabet's Google feared The Eliminating Abuse and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act of 2019, or EARN IT Act, would hurt their ability to offer protections like end-to-end encryption, a technology critical to the privacy of internet users . On Wednesday, Committee Chairman and lead sponsor Senator Lindsey Graham proposed an amendment in an effort to assuage concerns from the industry, which continued to oppose the bill.

  • U.S. senator to change anti-child porn bill over Google, Facebook encryption concerns: draft
    Reuters

    U.S. senator to change anti-child porn bill over Google, Facebook encryption concerns: draft

    Tech companies, currently protected from lawsuits over content posted by users, feared the original bill would hurt their ability to offer protections like end-to-end encryption. In a new draft authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, The Eliminating Abuse and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act of 2019, or EARN IT Act, makes compliance with a set of controversial "best practices" voluntary instead of mandatory for companies such as for Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google.

  • Facebook Boycott Adds to an Already Bleak Year for Advertising
    Bloomberg

    Facebook Boycott Adds to an Already Bleak Year for Advertising

    (Bloomberg) -- Long before an uproar over online hate speech prompted hundreds of marketers to cut summer social media budgets, 2020 was turning out to be a dismal year for the global advertising industry.Total ad spending will fall 12% this year, compared with a 6.2% gain in 2019, according to GroupM, a division of advertising giant WPP Plc. That’s the biggest contraction in at least a decade. As the global pandemic spread around the world and consumer spending slowed to a trickle, many corporations targeted marketing as a fast, early way to cut costs.One ad agency executive said third-quarter buying would be down 20% to 30%. New deals were being struck with “force majeure” clauses that would allow advertisers to pull out if a second wave of the virus caused new shutdowns, said the executive, who requested anonymity discussing internal financial figures. In the U.S., hopes that the virus would slow by summer are fading as states that had begun opening up move to shut down again because of a jump in cases.Against this backdrop, advertisers are making another shift. Big companies around the world have said they’ll pause spending on social media, several of them singling out Facebook Inc., because they don’t want marketing messages appearing alongside the vitriol and disinformation. Many are heeding the call from a consortium of civil rights and other advocacy groups, including Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League, to stop spending on Facebook for July to protest the company’s failure to police harmful content.The pause creates a way for many companies to take a public stance against hate while at the same time providing a concrete reason to trim marketing budgets or, in some cases, experiment with alternatives to traditional social media, such as Amazon.com Inc. or ByteDance’s TikTok. “While many brands were planning on pulling back ad spend anyways, a portion of Facebook-allocated dollars may end up on Snapchat, Pinterest, Amazon, Walmart, etc.,” Mark Shmulik, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, wrote in a recent research note.Ad budgets are an indicator of corporate sentiment toward the world economy. Confidence and growth leads to bigger budgets and higher ad prices. Ad spending cratered in March and April as businesses shut and people stayed home to comply with lockdown orders.In interviews earlier in the year, ad execs were mostly hopeful that the pain would end once quarantines lifted and the economy rebounded. But behind the scenes, the picture was more bleak. Ad agencies, which choose how and when to spend the money companies entrust to them, have cut thousands of jobs. Ad executives who had spent money on spots meant to run during now-canceled sports events tried to recoup the money and find new outlets for it, according to people interviewed by Bloomberg who asked not to be identified discussing private negotiations.Despite the larger advertising pullback, a pause for social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter Inc. and YouTube creates an opening for ad upstarts on the digital side. Packaged foods company Conagra Brands Inc. pulled Facebook advertisements, redirecting the money to search and e-commerce ads, a category most likely to benefit online rivals Google and Amazon.Ben & Jerry’s, a division of Unilever, was one of the early brands to join the StopHateForProfit campaign. “The marketing dollars that would have been spent on Facebook will be spent on other channels, including possibly some Black-owned media outlets,” said Chris Miller, the activism manager at Ben & Jerry’s.Even if the boycotts gain momentum and persist for more than a month, Google and Facebook are still likely to benefit in the long-term from the disruption wrought by the pandemic. That’s because these companies offer advertisers the most flexible and direct way to reach consumers; spending can be paused or ramped up on a moment’s notice. The tech giants also benefit from the millions of small businesses that rely heavily on them for day-to-day business and don’t necessarily need to take a public stand on moral issues. “They may grab an even greater market share post COVID-19 than the strong gains we are currently projecting,” Michael Nathanson, an analyst at MoffettNathanson LLC, said of Facebook and Google.The more traditional parts of the ad ecosystem, which still account for around half of advertising spending, are in a riskier position.For the TV industry, the advertising outlook for the rest of 2020 will depend on two still-unanswered questions. One is how much the pandemic-driven recession will accelerate cable-TV cord-cutting. With unemployment high, more people are expected to cancel their TV subscriptions as they tighten their household budgets. That would hurt viewership and the advertising dollars that go with it. The bigger audiences as a result of people being confined to their homes has already started to fall for just about all programming except news as more people venture outdoors again.The other big question is the return of sports. As long as professional and college football starts up again this fall, media companies like Fox Corp., Comcast Corp., Walt Disney Co. and ViacomCBS will likely see a rebound in advertising revenue, analysts say. Brands spent over $4 billion on TV commercials during NFL games last year.Still, some big TV advertisers could be less willing to jump back this year at all. Carmakers like General Motors and Ford, for instance, have been among the top buyers of TV commercials. The global pandemic has disrupted their supply chains and raised doubts about consumers making big purchases like cars.Media companies and TV networks are now under pressure to make their contracts more flexible. TV networks typically prevent advertisers from pulling all of their money out on short notice. That frustrated many advertisers this spring when the pandemic first kicked off the recession. Now, advertisers are pushing for the right to pull more of their money out of a TV network with fewer days notice in case the coronavirus worsens the economic picture. They will, however, likely pay a higher price for that flexibility, according to one TV executive.That could send them back to the digital platforms, regardless of all the commitments to boycott Facebook.“Brands can stop TV ads but they can’t stop things being on social,” said Arron Shepherd, co-founder of global social media and influencer marketing agency Goat.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.

  • EU throws new rule book at Google, tech giants in competition search
    Reuters

    EU throws new rule book at Google, tech giants in competition search

    Exasperated by its failure to loosen Google's market grip, despite more than $8 billion in fines, the European Union is lining up new rules to level the playing field for rivals. Driven in large part by a conclusion that multiple antitrust actions against Google have been ineffectual, the EU's new strategy aims to lay down ground rules for data-sharing and how digital marketplaces operate. "It is indeed to prevent a situation like the ones we have had with the Google cases so that we still would have competition," the EU's digital chief as well as its top antitrust enforcer Margrethe Vestager told Reuters last month.

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