GOOGL Jan 2022 1700.000 call

OPR - OPR Delayed price. Currency in USD
135.29
+9.29 (+7.37%)
As of 1:44PM EDT. Market open.
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous close126.00
Open126.00
Bid129.00
Ask139.00
Strike1,700.00
Expiry date2022-01-21
Day's range132.10 - 135.29
Contract rangeN/A
Volume10
Open interestN/A
  • At the heart of Trump's Twitter spat, a 'shocking level of bipartisan support' for Big Tech change
    Yahoo Finance

    At the heart of Trump's Twitter spat, a 'shocking level of bipartisan support' for Big Tech change

    Democrats and Republicans have voiced increasing antipathy over Section 230 -- and it could mean costly political trouble for Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

  • U.S. tech chiefs to testify before House antitrust panel on July 27 - committee
    Reuters

    U.S. tech chiefs to testify before House antitrust panel on July 27 - committee

    The chief executives of Amazon.com <AMZN.O>, Apple <AAPL.O>, Alphabet's Google <GOOGL.O> and Facebook <FB.O> will appear before a U.S. House of Representatives panel on July 27, the committee said in a statement on Monday. Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Sundar Pichai and Apple's Tim Cook will appear before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee as part of its probe into the companies, the statement said.

  • Apple Assessing New Hong Kong Law as Others Pause Data Responses
    Bloomberg

    Apple Assessing New Hong Kong Law as Others Pause Data Responses

    (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. said it is “assessing” a new Hong Kong security law that has sparked concern about criminalizing protests.The Cupertino, California-based technology giant also said it has not received requests for Hong Kong user data since the law kicked in last week, and noted that it doesn’t get requests directly from the government there.“Apple has always required that all content requests from local law enforcement authorities be submitted through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in place between the United States and Hong Kong,” the company said. Under that process, “the U.S. Department of Justice reviews Hong Kong authorities’ requests for legal conformance.”On Monday, other tech companies, including Google, Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. said they would pause processing user data requests from the Hong Kong government as they review the new law.On its website, Apple said that in the first half of 2019, it received 358 requests for user device information, 155 requests related to fraudulent transactions, and two requests for account data from Hong Kong.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.

  • Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Google CEOs to Testify to House July 27
    Bloomberg

    Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Google CEOs to Testify to House July 27

    (Bloomberg) -- The chief executive officers of Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Apple Inc. will testify on July 27 before a congressional panel investigating competition in the technology industry, according to an announcement from the House Judiciary Committee.Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook are likely to face a torrent of critical questions from lawmakers on the panel’s antitrust subcommittee as the investigation builds a case for revamping antitrust enforcement.Bezos may be in for a particularly tough session. Unlike the other chiefs, the world’s richest man will be addressing Congress for the first time, and his company has sparred with subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline over previous testimony by another company official and allegations of anticompetitive conduct.The appearances may be virtual, according to the Monday evening announcement, which said additional details on the format would be forthcoming.“Given the central role these corporations play in the lives of the American people, it is critical that their CEOs are forthcoming,” said Cicilline and Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler in a joint statement. “As we have said from the start, their testimony is essential for us to complete this investigation.”Some of the companies had been reluctant to send their top executives even though Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, has said he would be willing to subpoena CEOs. He has said he wants to use their appearances to inform a final report recommending changes to antitrust law.Antitrust scrutiny of giant technology companies is accelerating. Facebook and Alphabet’s Google both face competition inquiries by federal enforcers and nearly all 50 states. Amazon is under investigation in California, Bloomberg has reported, and both the e-commerce giant and Apple are facing scrutiny from the European Union.The Judiciary Committee had previously announced that the four men would testify, but had not set a date or format.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 chiefs to testify before House antitrust panel on July 27: committee
    Reuters

    U.S. tech chiefs to testify before House antitrust panel on July 27: committee

    The chief executives of Amazon.com <AMZN.O>, Apple <AAPL.O>, Alphabet's Google <GOOGL.O> and Facebook <FB.O> will appear before a U.S. House of Representatives panel on July 27, the committee said in a statement on Monday. Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Sundar Pichai and Apple's Tim Cook will appear before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee as part of its probe into the companies, the statement said.

  • Google, Facebook, Twitter Pause Hong Kong Data Requests
    Bloomberg

    Google, Facebook, Twitter Pause Hong Kong Data Requests

    (Bloomberg) -- Google, Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. won’t process user data requests from the Hong Kong government amid concerns that a new security law could criminalize protests.Last Wednesday, when the law took effect, Google paused production on any new information requests from Hong Kong authorities, said a spokesperson for the Alphabet Inc. unit. “We’ll continue to review the details of the new law,” the spokesperson added.It’s unclear what types of actions will violate the new law, but police arrested a man last week for brandishing a Hong Kong independence flag. Protesters have rallied against the law, and the government has threatened fines and imprisonment for service providers that fail to remove messages. In response, the U.S. has revoked some trade benefits with Hong Kong related to sensitive technology. American officials have expressed fears that the new law signals Beijing’s intention to take full control of Hong Kong, which has operated with more autonomy and freedom than cities on the mainland.In 2019, the Hong Kong government requested data from Google users 105 times, according to the company’s reported figures.Facebook typically works with law enforcement to follow local laws where the company operates, but said it has paused sharing user data with Hong Kong authorities while it conducts a “human-rights” assessment. The pause applies to all Facebook properties, including its core social network, Instagram and WhatsApp.“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We have a global process for government requests and in reviewing each individual request, we consider Facebook’s policies, local laws and international human-rights standards.”Twitter operates in much the same way and paused data requests immediately following the law’s implementation last week, a Twitter spokesperson said, adding that the company has “grave concerns regarding both the developing process and the full intention of this law.”Facebook and Twitter don’t operate in China but do in Hong Kong, where they have offices. Google has a significant presence in Hong Kong, which includes sales staff that works with Chinese companies running digital advertising outside of China.(Updates with Google statement in 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.

  • 3 Ways Buying Fractional Shares Can Make You a Better Investor
    Motley Fool

    3 Ways Buying Fractional Shares Can Make You a Better Investor

    Taking a chance on this relatively new investing trend can improve your skills while limiting your risk.

  • 4 Large-Cap Technology Stocks to Buy This Earnings Season
    Zacks

    4 Large-Cap Technology Stocks to Buy This Earnings Season

    Here is a sneak peek into four tech stocks, which hold promise for stellar performances in the upcoming earnings season despite the coronavirus crisis.

  • Bloomberg

    #MeToo Claims Upend Amazon, Nvidia Ties to Gamer Personalities

    (Bloomberg) -- Major brands are getting caught up in the MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault that’s sweeping through video-game streaming, the fast-growing but insular world of watching amateurs and professionals play live online.In the past month, dozens of women -- often, former girlfriends or fellow streamers -- have accused more than 150 people of everything from rape to groping underage girls to cheating.Nvidia Corp., which makes powerful chips used in gaming PCs and runs a gaming service, is among the big companies contending with the problem. The company was working on a sponsorship project this year with Samuel Earney, a streamer on Amazon.com Inc.’s Twitch platform. Then the allegations hit.On June 22, a former girlfriend accused Earney, known on Twitch as IAmSp00n, of sexual and emotional abuse. She said he lorded his sponsorship deal with an unnamed PC-part manufacturing company over her as part of that mistreatment.The ex-girlfriend’s statement helped to explain the apology Earney had issued the previous day. “My actions haven’t been proper or appropriate,” he said, adding that he would ask his sponsors and partners to remove him “from programs and services so that they aren’t held responsible.” Soon after, Twitch closed his account; the site wouldn’t provide reasons for the ban.“We have ceased all engagement with Samuel Earney (IAmSp00n),” Nvidia said in a statement. “We condemn such behavior and commend those who come forward to support the safety of our gaming community.”Twitch BansNvidia isn’t alone. Twitch, by far the largest streaming site, recently banned a handful of streamers and said it will report some cases to the authorities. Facebook Gaming banned one streamer as well, and is investigating some personalities from rival service Mixer who are supposed to join the platform. Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube said it’s investigating allegations as well; many streamers banned elsewhere still have a presence there. All streaming sites’ terms of service prohibit harassment of other users, and many of the accusers are also streamers.While the streaming industry has been accused of sexism and harassment of women for years, in the past many accusers faced a backlash, said Isabelle Briar, who streamed under the name of LadyNasse before retiring recently.“You may speak up about something, and you might want to work with a brand, but you get turned down, and you don’t know why,” Briar said. “This can damage your hireability.”But this time around -- possibly because of the broader MeToo movement in entertainment and business -- “reaction was wildly different,” she said. Accusers have received a wave of support in comments on Twitter and elsewhere. And some brands are breaking ties with the accused, withdrawing the advertising and sponsorship fees that make up the lion’s share of the most popular streamers’ earnings.Many industry insiders say this is just the tip of the iceberg, in large part due to streaming culture, particularly among gamers.“Every streamer feels the need to push some sort of boundary in order to differentiate themselves,” said Lewis Ward, an analyst at IDC. “You are trying to fix something that’s embedded into gaming culture.”Apologies, DenialsSome of the accused streamers have posted lengthy apologies. Others deny any wrongdoing. Facebook said on June 22 it suspended streamer Michael “Thinnd” McMahon while it investigates abuse allegations from an ex-partner. McMahon categorically denied the allegations. He now advertises his YouTube channel on Twitter, instead.Headsets maker 1More, a past sponsor, said McMahon’s contract expired more than a year ago. “To our knowledge we have not sponsored any other streamers accused of harassment, nor would we if the information was brought to our attention,” 1More said in a statement. “We hold our partners to a high standard, and will continue to do so for any future sponsorships.”After being accused of sexual misconduct, Omeed Dariani, chief executive officer of the streamer-management firm Online Performers Group, vacated his position. “I believe women, I recognize that I am not innocent and have contributed,” he said in a tweet. Today, OPG’s website lists no clients, amid reports that many streamers have left the company. OPG and Dariani didn’t respond to requests for comment.On June 29, OPG said it hired a consulting firm to investigate claims against Dariani. In the past, the firm had helped streamers strike deals with the likes of Yum! Brands Inc.’s Taco Bell, according to San Diego Business Journal. Taco Bell didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.As a result of all this, major brands are expected to step up their vetting.“Sponsoring streamers has been sort of the Wild West over the past few years,” said Doug Clinton, managing partner at Loup Ventures, a research-driven venture-capital firm. “The industry has grown so quickly, I think brands have been forced to adapt to the opportunity and probably take some chances that they may not be as comfortable with in the future.”Still, small and thirsty brands may not be so picky -- simply because having a streamer gulp down your drink, wear your glasses or point out your gaming gear during a session is marketing gold.“When trying to target gamers, there aren’t many better ways than through streaming,” said Matthew Kanterman, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.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.

  • Europe’s Failure to Tame Google’s Dominance Is a Lesson for U.S.
    Bloomberg

    Europe’s Failure to Tame Google’s Dominance Is a Lesson for U.S.

    (Bloomberg) -- As U.S. authorities ready the biggest antitrust case of the new century, there are lessons to be learned from Europe’s attempt to inject more competition into search, one of the most lucrative digital markets.Two years after a record fine and an order to give Europeans more choice, Alphabet Inc.’s Google retains a vice-like grip on this business. In May 2018, just before the European Commission acted, Google had 97% of the mobile search market in the region, according to StatCounter. Its share for May this year was even higher.“We don’t want them to copy the current EU model because it’s fundamentally flawed,” said Gabriel Weinberg, chief executive officer of rival search service DuckDuckGo, referring to the Justice Department and state regulators. The firm spoke recently with those authorities about Google’s dominance.How U.S. regulators proceed, and whether they learn from Europe’s experience, will help determine the fate of what is likely to be the most important antitrust case since the DOJ sued Microsoft Corp. more than two decades ago. With more than $100 billion in cash, and quarterly profit exceeding $6 billion, big fines have little impact on Google. So regulators are increasingly looking to remedies that may change the company’s behavior and offer consumers more choice. The DOJ reached out to at least one European company, Ecosia, to discuss versions of Google’s remedy in the EU case, the German search engine has said.In 2018, Europe’s antitrust authorities focused on the subtle but important factors that solidified Google’s grip on the region’s mobile search market. Getting a service pre-installed on smartphones often leads to big user gains, as does appearing on the home screens of handsets. Google has used deals tied to its popular Android mobile operating system to ensure its search engine gets such prized placements, leaving little room for rivals.The EU ordered Google to stop bundling its search and browser apps with Android. Google reacted by charging phone manufacturers to license Android. It also opted to appease regulators by offering choice to users -- but only on new Android phones from March 1 and only via a “choice screen” of three alternative search apps shown once when people switch on the handsets for the first time.There’s a precedent for approaches like this working. In 2017, Russia’s antitrust watchdog ordered Google to let competing search engines and other apps be pre-installed on Android smartphones in the country. The company also had to create a “choice window” for devices already in the market, so users could choose their default search engine when they next updated the software on their devices. Since that ruling, Russia’s Yandex NV has grown its search market share in the country by 20 percentage points to 58%, according to Bernstein Research estimates.Europe’s choice screen has failed to produce similar results so far. In March and April, rivals DuckDuckGo, Givero and Seznam.cz AS won slots to appear but got no new downloads for their search apps. DuckDuckGo was offered to customers across Europe while Givero bid to appear only in Denmark and Seznam in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.In May, Seznam said it got fewer than 1,000 downloads. Two other search providers said the choice screen has brought them no new customers. They asked not to be identified, citing a non-disclosure agreement with Google. Another search app, PrivacyWall, saw “no major market share shifts,” according to CEO Jonathan Wu. Microsoft’s Bing, a well-financed and capable challenger to Google, has barely appeared on the choice screen, winning just one slot in the U.K. from May to June. Microsoft and other search companies declined to comment.Bernstein analysts have already concluded that the choice screen is “unlikely to be a major disrupter to Google in its current form,” according to a June 18 research note.Google declined to give details on how many times the choice screen has been shown to European consumers. Android “provides people with unprecedented choice in deciding which applications they install, use and set as default on their devices,” the company said. “In developing the Choice Screen for Europe, we carefully balanced providing users with yet more choice while ensuring that we can continue to invest in developing and maintaining the open-source Android platform for the long-term.”The internet giant may be maintaining its lead in Europe because consumers think it has the best search engine. Google invests billions of dollars a year to provide quick, accurate answers to queries. Wall Street analysts often say users would switch back to Google after using alternatives, and they’ve been right before. However, the case of Yandex suggests otherwise. Many Android phone owners in Russia have been using Yandex’s search engine for at least a year and the market share data indicate there’s been no big switch back to Google.It isn’t the European Commission’s job to force Google to be smaller or less dominant. Instead, the antitrust authority tries to set up mechanisms to trigger more choice and remove roadblocks. That means even if the choice screen is seen billions of times by consumers in the region, Google’s market share could remain at 97%.“The European Union probably did the best job they could with the rules that they had,” said Aitor Ortiz, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “The problem is maybe the rules were not fit for the purpose.”The real reason the European choice screen has flopped so far is that the remedy was designed poorly, according to Google rivals in the region.While Russia ordered Google to show consumers search alternatives on Android phones, the EU merely asked Google to choose how it could remedy alleged bad behavior and a lack of competition. Google mimicked a pop-up menu first used in 2009 by Microsoft to resolve an EU antitrust probe into web browsers. Showing users other browser options even helped Google’s Chrome gain ground against Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.Microsoft didn’t charge rivals to appear in this browser choice screen and showed as many as 12 rivals. In contrast, Google is using a paid auction to pick rival apps for each country. The highest bidders appear in three slots on the Android choice screen alongside Google. The company only gets paid when another app is downloaded, but it also gets valuable data on rivals’ business strategies.The approach “lets the fox watch the hens,” said Brian Schildt Laursen, owner of Denmark-based Givero. Apps “have to tell Google what markets are important to us, and what we are willing to pay to get into these markets.”“A general misunderstanding was that EU citizens from March 1 had a free choice of search engine on Android,” he added. “This was not the case.”Successful bidders are supposed to get monthly invoices from Google showing how many of their apps have been downloaded. That data should help rivals tweak their bidding strategies. But DuckDuckGo’s Weinberg said these reports have been pretty useless so far. “We’ve gotten two that are just flat zero,” he said. “We have not seen any real activations or any evidence that any real user has seen the preference menu.”DuckDuckGo has proposed changes that include scrapping the auction and replacing it with a non-pay-to-play model that includes far more than four search options for consumers.Weinberg and Schildt Laursen also blame another part of the process for delaying new Android phones that come with the choice screen. Unlike the Russian order, which applied to existing handsets, the EU remedy gives consumers a one-time prompt that will only pop up on new phones.Android phone manufacturers must update their software and get Google to sign off on the new versions before shipping the latest devices. This means few smartphones even have the choice screen yet. The Covid-19 pandemic has also curbed purchases of new handsets and disrupted some production, adding to delays.Schildt Laursen said no new Android phones with the choice screen have come out in Denmark. DuckDuckGo and PrivacyWall said the only phone that has been approved and shipped to Europe recently is the Xiaomi Mi 10, which is relatively pricey and not widely available.The problems with the Android auction echo another EU antitrust order for Google’s shopping search that critics say enriches Google without delivering much real traffic to competing product search firms. While the EU hasn’t weighed in on whether these remedies are effective, it is preparing a legal pathway that would let it demand fast changes to anticompetitive behavior instead of big fines.Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s top antitrust official, has voiced frustration about her inability to increase competition in tech markets. During a recent webinar, she blamed the pandemic for the initial poor results of the choice screen remedy, saying “very few Android phones have been shipped due to the Covid crisis.”More phones and more time may give a clearer picture on whether users will pick another search app when they are given the choice, she argued.For DuckDuckGo’s Weinberg, though, there’s already one clear lesson for the U.S.: Do it differently.A choice screen done right “could actually work,” he 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.

  • 3 Stocks to Buy in the Market That Could Mint the World's First Trillionaire
    Motley Fool

    3 Stocks to Buy in the Market That Could Mint the World's First Trillionaire

    These stocks might not make you a trillionaire. But they just might make you wealthy over the long run.

  • Music Executive Scooter Braun discusses his relationship with celebrity clients
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Music Executive Scooter Braun discusses his relationship with celebrity clients

    Scooter Braun, Ithaca Holdings Chairman & SB Projects Founder, joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer'

  • Google to Invest in Tokopedia, Boost Southeast Asian Presence
    Zacks

    Google to Invest in Tokopedia, Boost Southeast Asian Presence

    Alphabet's (GOOGL) division Google plans to invest in an e-commerce giant, PT Tokopedia, in a bid to bolster its presence in Southeast Asia.

  • 3 Large-Cap Stocks to Buy in July
    Motley Fool

    3 Large-Cap Stocks to Buy in July

    Large companies with great balance sheets are looking good right now. Here are three at the top of my list.

  • Amazon, Google Face Tough Rules in India’s E-Commerce Draft
    Bloomberg

    Amazon, Google Face Tough Rules in India’s E-Commerce Draft

    (Bloomberg) -- India’s latest e-commerce policy draft includes steps that could help local startups and impose government oversight on how companies handle data.The government has been working on the policy for at least two years amid calls to reduce the dominance of global tech giants like Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc.Under rules laid out in a 15-page draft seen by Bloomberg, the government would appoint an e-commerce regulator to ensure the industry is competitive with broad access to information resources. The policy draft was prepared by the Ministry of Commerce’s Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade.The proposed rules would also mandate government access to online companies’ source codes and algorithms, which the ministry says would help ensure against “digitally induced biases” by competitors. The draft also talks of ascertaining whether e-commerce businesses have “explainable AI,” referring to the use of artificial intelligence.India’s roaring digital economy, with half a billion users and growing, is witnessing pitched battles in everything from online retail and content streaming to messaging and digital payments. Global corporations lead in each of these segments, while local startups have sought help from a sympathetic government that recently banned dozens of apps backed by Chinese technology giants.The ministry will offer the draft policy for stakeholder comments on a government website. There’s a tendency among some of the leading companies to exercise control over most of the information repository, the draft said.“It is in the interest of the Indian consumer and the local ecosystem that there are more service providers” and that “the network effects do not lead to creation of digital monopolies misusing their dominant market position,” it said.On the issue of where data is stored, the draft leaves open the question of which e-commerce platforms would have to keep information locally. “Government, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, will define the categories of e-commerce that would require mirroring or localization,” the draft said. Hosting data overseas has been a sticking point in previous drafts, which sparked criticism for being heavy-handed in helping local startups at the expense of others.E-commerce companies will be required to make data available to the government within 72 hours, which could include information related to national security, taxation and law and order, it said.The draft policy also said e-commerce platforms would be required to provide to consumers the details of sellers, including phone numbers, customer complaint contacts, email and addresses. For imported goods, the country of origin and value of work done in India should be clearly specified, the policy said.Also, foreign e-commerce companies providing live streaming services that use payment tokens should be regulated to ensure that users route such transactions through formal and regulated payment channels, it 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.

  • The 100 Greatest Things about America 2020
    Yahoo Finance

    The 100 Greatest Things about America 2020

    This Fourth of July Yahoo Finance unveils its list of 100 things that make the nation great, in no particular order.

  • Google Stays in the Augmented Reality Race with a New Acquisition
    Motley Fool

    Google Stays in the Augmented Reality Race with a New Acquisition

    The tech giant buys a struggling smart glass maker -- but it won’t necessarily launch a new version of Google Glass anytime soon.

  • Bloomberg

    Balkanization Is Bad for Facebook’s Business

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The internet, once a freewheeling global network, is becoming balkanized into national spheres of influence. This could be bad for both cross-cultural communication and U.S. tech companies.China has long protected its local internet, censoring speech behind what has become known as the Great Firewall. The government blocks U.S.-based services such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, and closely monitors the local Chinese versions. Other authoritarian and quasi-authoritarian countries -- Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Vietnam, Ethiopia – do the same. And Russia recently passed a so-called sovereign internet law that makes it much easier for the government to monitor and control online content.Now democracies may be joining in. India just banned 59 of China’s largest internet apps, including social video sharing service TikTok, reflecting rising tensions between the two giant Asian countries. It has also shut off internet to regions experiencing government crackdowns or unrest, such as Jammu and Kashmir in 2019. In Europe, major rules such as the General Data Protection Regulation are forcing internet companies to operate differently in different regions. Though this doesn’t officially ban or censor U.S.-based sites like Facebook, it does present an obstacle that could end up inhibiting the flow of information.This was probably inevitable. Different cultures perceive concepts such as privacy differently. And as U.S. global hegemony gives way to a more multipolar world, countries are going to assert their sovereignty by refusing to play by U.S. rules. Further unrest, like the protests that rocked the world in 2019 or tensions between countries such as China and India, are likely to accelerate the trend towards digital division.This could be tough on U.S. tech companies. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube don’t owe their profitability to superior technology, other than some techniques for managing large amounts of user data. They make money because they have a lot of eyeballs to which they can deliver advertisements.And they have those eyeballs because of network effects. It’s easy to make a Twitter clone -- Gab tried it a while ago, and a new entrant called Parler is trying it now. But it’s incredibly hard to get people to switch, because the first people who make the jump will find themselves mostly alone, with everyone they know and want to read still back on Twitter. Similarly, people use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media services because everyone else does.Captive advertising targets translate into enormous profits. Facebook, Inc., which dominates the social media landscape, has a profit margin that typically ranges between 20% and 40%. Its market cap as of early July was about $647 billion, or 2.6% of the entire S&P 500.Regional balkanization, though, slices through network effects. If services like Facebook are banned in some countries and heavily restricted in others, users will have less company. Most people’s contacts and friends will tend to be in the same country, but not all. And outright bans will cut some services off entirely from huge markets like China, while restrictions like GDPR will force them to invest in expensive localization.This is an unfortunate side effect of nationalism and unrest. But it’s also reason to worry about a technology industry whose profitability stems mostly from network effects, not know-how. Actual innovations, like Intel Corporation’s semiconductor manufacturing processes, Amazon.com, Inc.’s cloud computing systems, or Google LLC’s machine learning algorithms give these companies some clout:  if a country decides it doesn’t want to buy Intel’s chips, it will suffer a real economic penalty. But if a country decides to create its own Facebook clone, it will lose little, while Facebook’s American owners and workers will lose a lot.A free and open global internet may one day reemerge. In the meantime, U.S. companies and policy makers should think about how to invest in products whose value isn’t so subject to the whims of foreign authorities.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion.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.

  • Zoom’s Newest Challenger: Budding Internet Tycoon Mukesh Ambani
    Bloomberg

    Zoom’s Newest Challenger: Budding Internet Tycoon Mukesh Ambani

    (Bloomberg) -- Zoom, one of the few success stories of the Covid-19 pandemic, now faces a new competitor in an app backed by Asia’s wealthiest person Mukesh Ambani.Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd., which has scored billions of dollars of investments from Facebook Inc. to Intel Corp. for its digital businesses, has launched the JioMeet video conferencing app after beta testing. The app has already garnered more than 100,000 downloads on the Google Play Store after becoming available Thursday evening.Like Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and other services, JioMeet offers unlimited high-definition calls -- but unlike Zoom, it doesn’t impose a 40-minute time limit. Calls can go on as long as 24 hours, and all meetings are encrypted and password-protected, the company said on the JioMeet website.The launch coincided with a nationwide ban on dozens of popular apps from Chinese technology giants including ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s UC Web, on grounds they threatened security and data privacy. JioMeet went viral Friday on social media alongside the hashtag MadeinIndia.The app is one facet of Ambani’s rapidly expanding digital empire, which includes India’s largest telecom operator with nearly 400 million users. On Friday, Reliance announced Intel Capital has invested $253 million into Jio Platforms Ltd., a unit of Ambani’s oil-to-retail conglomerate. The U.S. chipmaker’s arm is the 11th investor in about as many weeks to announce its backing for the digital services platform, which has now raised about 1.2 trillion rupees ($15.7 billion).“JioMeet will be a very credible disruptor in the space,” said Utkarsh Sinha, managing director of boutique consultancy Bexley Advisors. “Just the fact that it has no time limits on calls makes it a serious challenger to Zoom, despite its entrenchment.”Jio Platforms is amassing a wide range of services from music streaming to online retail and payments, fast turning into an ecommerce juggernaut that can take on Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc on its own home turf. Like elsewhere, video conferencing apps have become lifelines for millions of Indians working in cramped homes during Covid-19 lockdowns.JioMeet is also debuting at a time Zoom users have accused the service of security flaws. It’s been accused of siding with China after deactivating accounts of pro-democracy activists in the U.S and Hong Kong, which it said was intended to comply with Chinese law.(Adds total investment in Jio 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.

  • Google-backed groups criticize Apple's new warnings on user tracking
    Reuters

    Google-backed groups criticize Apple's new warnings on user tracking

    Apple last week disclosed features in its forthcoming operating system for iPhones and iPads that will require apps to show a pop-up screen before they enable a form of tracking commonly needed to show personalized ads. Sixteen marketing associations, some of which are backed by Facebook Inc <FB.O> and Alphabet Inc's <GOOGL.O> Google, faulted Apple for not adhering to an ad-industry system for seeking user consent under European privacy rules.

  • Google, Temasek Are Said to Be in Talks to Invest in Tokopedia
    Bloomberg

    Google, Temasek Are Said to Be in Talks to Invest in Tokopedia

    (Bloomberg) -- Google and Temasek Holdings Pte are in negotiations to join a funding round of between $500 million and $1 billion for Indonesian e-commerce giant PT Tokopedia, according to people familiar with the matter.Tokopedia, the online marketplace backed by SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund, has held talks with U.S. internet giants including Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc., the people said. But Google and Temasek have been more active in their negotiations and those talks may conclude in coming weeks, they said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private.America’s largest internet corporations have looked increasingly toward Asia as growth in the U.S. and Europe slows, seeking to tap the region’s rapidly growing smartphone-savvy population. Facebook is buying a stake in India’s Jio Platforms, while its WhatsApp unit struck a deal last month to invest in ride-hailing and food delivery giant Gojek. Representatives for Tokopedia and Temasek declined to comment. Google didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.The backing of Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Singaporean state investment firm Temasek would mark a major boost for one of Southeast Asia’s biggest e-commerce operators. Tokopedia co-founder and Chief Executive Officer William Tanuwijaya built the country’s most valuable startup after Gojek after scoring early backing from SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. co-founder Jack Ma. It now plans to list shares at home as well as in another as-yet-undecided location, Tanuwijaya told Bloomberg News in October.Read more: SoftBank’s Bet on Sharing Economy Backfires With CoronavirusTokopedia came close to finalizing its latest financing this year before news emerged of a recent data theft attempt that may have affected 15 million of its users, one of the people said. It was also held back by the Covid-19 pandemic, which is rapidly changing the online shopping landscape in the world’s fourth most populous nation.E-commerce platforms are now moving quickly to serve the millions of people forced to make their first online purchases during widespread lockdowns. Singapore-based rival Shopee -- a unit of Sea Ltd. -- is catching up, while Alibaba last month appointed a longtime veteran to head up Lazada and “fight harder” as competition heats up.Indonesia has become a key battleground between the regional rivals: The country’s e-commerce market is projected to expand from $21 billion in 2019 to $82 billion by 2025, according to a recent study by Google, Temasek and Bain & Co.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.

  • His Wealth Surged by $25 Billion. Then Jack Ma’s Rival Quit
    Bloomberg

    His Wealth Surged by $25 Billion. Then Jack Ma’s Rival Quit

    (Bloomberg) -- Colin Huang’s ascent is one for the history books: In just six months, his fortune swelled by $25 billion -- one of the biggest gains among the world’s richest people.His Pinduoduo Inc., a Groupon-like shopping app he founded in 2015, has become China’s third-largest e-commerce platform, with a market value of more than $100 billion. In the first quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic caused most of the nation’s economy to grind to a halt, PDD’s active users surged 68% and revenue jumped 44%, the company said in May.Now Huang, who has overseen the firm as its American depositary receipts have more than quadrupled in less than two years, has stepped down as chief executive officer.At one point, his net worth climbed as high as $45 billion, placing him just behind China’s wealthiest people -- Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Pony Ma and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Jack Ma -- on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That’s even as PDD continued to post losses, primarily because it chases growth with the help of generous subsidies and has been known to spend more on marketing than it earns in sales.“Pinduoduo was perfectly positioned for people being stuck at home,” said Tom Ronk, CEO of Century Pacific Investments in Newport, California.Huang, who controlled 43.3% of PDD shares, has reduced his stake to 29.4%, according to a June 30 regulatory filing. His fortune now stands at $30 billion.That excludes a $2.4 billion charitable holding that he shares with PDD’s founding team, and $7.9 billion that went to Pinduoduo Partnership, of which Huang and newly named CEO Lei Chen are members. The partnership will help fund science research and management incentives, according to a letter following Huang’s resignation. The wealth estimate also excludes $3.9 billion that people familiar with the matter said was transferred to an angel investor.PDD declined to comment on Huang’s holdings or net worth.Facing ChallengesHe will remain chairman and work on the company’s long-term strategy and corporate structure to help drive the future of the e-commerce giant, PDD said.“PDD is still facing some high-level challenges in product supply, relationship with brand merchants, logistics and payments,” said Shawn Yang, an analyst at Blue Lotus Capital Advisors. “Colin may want to focus more on these issues.”PDD’s success hinges on deals, which have become particularly popular with customers looking for bargains as the world’s second-largest economy slows. Most of its users come from smaller Chinese cities, and the app gives them extra discounts when they recommend a product through social networks and get friends to buy the same item.Fen Liu, a homemaker in Quanzhou, a provincial city in Fujian, said she accrued enough coupons with her friends’ help to reduce the price of a suitcase to zero.“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my suitcase arrive in the mail,” she said. “It’s made me a loyal Pinduoduo user ever since.”‘Bargain Hunters’While PDD’s aggressive price-reduction strategies have helped win over people with lower incomes, they may stifle the company’s efforts to attract wealthier consumers, according to Charlie Chen and Veronica Shen, analysts at China Renaissance Securities in Hong Kong.“PDD’s users are largely bargain hunters reluctant to buy large-ticket items,” they wrote in a June 29 note, adding that the company’s image remains a key obstacle to users spending more. “We believe PDD is working to change its low-price brand image -- but this could be costly.”That may require heavy marketing and hurt margins further despite a strong user-base foundation for future growth, the analysts said. And PDD’s management has offered no clear path to profitability.Last year, the company’s “10 Billion RMB Subsidies” campaign, which is ongoing, led to a $2 billion increase in sales and marketing expenses to $3.9 billion, and those costs have been at 90% to 120% of revenue for the past two quarters, China Renaissance said.For the nation’s June 18 shopping festival, PDD provided a subsidy program with no cap across different product categories to push spending and attract more users. Other fast-growing Chinese startups -- including rival Meituan Dianping, ride-hailing app DiDi Chuxing and Starbucks Corp. competitor Luckin Coffee Inc. -- have also adopted subsidies strategies to maintain customer loyalty.Huang, 40, grew up in the eastern city of Hangzhou, where Alibaba has its headquarters. After receiving a degree at Zhejiang University, he went to the University of Wisconsin for a master’s in computer science. He began his career at Google in 2004 as a software engineer and returned to China in 2006 to help establish its operations in the country.He then became a serial entrepreneur. He started his first company in 2007, an e-commerce website called Ouku.com that he sold three years later after realizing it was too similar to thousands of others. He then launched Leqi, which helped companies market their services on websites like Alibaba’s Taobao or JD.com Inc., and a gaming firm that let users play on Tencent’s messaging app WeChat. Both took off and Huang found himself “financially free,” according to a 2017 interview.After getting an ear infection, he decided to retire in 2013 at age 33. But following a year of pondering what to do with his life -- he contemplated starting a hedge fund and moving to the U.S. -- he came up with the idea of combining e-commerce and social media. At the time, Alibaba dominated the online business, and WeChat became a must-have application on smartphones in China.The tables have turned since. In 2018, Alibaba launched a PDD-style app in an attempt to lure smaller-town users with bargains. It came months before Huang took his company public in New York, raising $1.63 billion in its July 2018 initial public offering. Since then, PDD has surged 389%, while Alibaba has gained just 13%.In 2017, Huang had said he was unlikely to spend the rest of his life at PDD. While he’s still chairman of the company, he now wants to give more responsibility to younger colleagues to keep the entrepreneurial spirit as PDD matures, he wrote in a letter to employees.“We envision Pinduoduo to be an organization that creates value for the public rather than being a showoff trophy for a few or carry too much personal color,” Huang said. “This will allow Pinduoduo to continually evolve with or without us one day.”(Updates PDD, Alibaba moves in 22nd paragraph. A previous version of this story corrected Fen Liu’s location.)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 Probe Has States Split on Strategy With U.S. Antitrust Case Looming
    Bloomberg

    Google Probe Has States Split on Strategy With U.S. Antitrust Case Looming

    (Bloomberg) -- With the U.S. Justice Department nearing a lawsuit against Alphabet Inc.’s Google for antitrust violations, a coalition of states that are conducting a parallel investigation are divided over the best strategy for taking on the internet giant, according to people familiar with the matter.While the multistate investigation into Google’s dominance of the digital advertising market is in its final stages, some state attorneys general are advocating to take more time to investigate Google’s conduct in other markets and potentially bring a broader case against the company, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing a confidential matter.The disagreement could affect whether states join a Justice Department complaint about Google. Like the states, federal antitrust enforcers have been investigating whether Google is thwarting competition in the digital advertising market, where it holds a commanding position.The Justice Department, which is coordinating with the states, wants to move quickly, two of the people said, and is on track to file a complaint this summer, another person said, though it wasn’t clear what conduct the complaint will ultimately target. The department declined to comment.“While we continue to engage with ongoing investigations, our focus is on creating free products that lower costs for small businesses and help Americans every day,” Google said in a statement.State attorneys general can play a pivotal role in enforcement cases against companies when they band together in group investigations. They joined the Justice Department in suing Microsoft Corp. in 1998 for antitrust violations. The case nearly led to the break-up of the company when a judge sided with the government. After an appeals court reversed the ruling, the Justice Department under the George W. Bush administration settled the case.Two people familiar with the states’ investigation said the split among the states reflects normal tension about the best litigation strategy. A broad complaint would cover more conduct but would take more time to complete.Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the investigation into Google’s conduct in the digital advertising market, which was announced in September on the steps of the Supreme Court. Other states, including Utah and Iowa, are focusing on internet search. Google dominates web search in the U.S., and rivals have complained that the company has prioritized its own services, such as travel and restaurant reviews, in results.Texas declined to comment. Representatives from Utah and Iowa didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.The digital advertising part of the probe focuses on Google’s control of the tools that deliver display ads across the web. Google owns much of the technology used by publishers and advertisers to buy and sell advertising space. Google has been accused of using its dominance to siphon advertising dollars from publishers.Earlier: Google Antitrust Road Map Goes to DOJ With U.S. Suit LoomingTexas is in the later stages of its probe in advertising and could join the Justice Department’s case with some states, said two of the people. States are still waiting to get a full look into the federal complaint, one of the people said.The investigations are so complex that few among the enforcers have a sense of what the Justice Department and all the states are doing, two of the people said.The investigation into online search is not advanced as far as Texas’s probe into the digital ad market, and some states are pushing for more time to investigate, said the people. At one point, states were also looking the company’s mobile operating system, Bloomberg reported last year, though it wasn’t clear whether that is an active part of the investigation.The chief executive officer of Google search rival DuckDuckGo Inc. said last month that state and federal enforcers have asked detailed questions about how to limit Google’s power in the search market as recently as the spring.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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