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Dow components Boeing and McDonald’s will report earnings before the opening bell, and tech behemoths Facebook, Microsoft and Tesla will round things out after the market close.
Chatbots have had a patchy track record in the world of tech, where early efforts not only failed to deliver on the magical idea of a computer producing the exact answers you were looking for in a chat-based Q&A, they even produced surprising (and not in a good way) results instead. Things have moved along, though, and today a startup that's built a platform to help improve chatbots' responses is announcing a round of funding from a key strategic investor, a sign of demand and evidence that its solution is working. Directly -- which has built a platform to help train companies' chatbots by crowdsourcing experts and analysing chatbot usage to better "teach" the AI systems underpinning them -- has raised $20 million in funding led by Samsung NEXT (Samsung's VC arm), with participation also from Industry Ventures, AvidBank and existing investors M12 (Microsoft's VC), Costanoa Ventures, True Ventures and Northgate.
(Bloomberg) -- Advanced Micro Devices Inc. gave a lackluster forecast for the current period, suggesting gains against larger chip rival Intel Corp. may take longer than investors had hoped.Revenue in the first three months of the year will be about $1.8 billion, plus or minus $50 million, Santa Clara, California-based AMD said Tuesday in a statement. That would fall short of the average analyst estimate of $1.87 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.AMD also said sales will increase 28% to 30% in 2020. Analysts, on average, projected annual revenue growth of 28%.Shares slipped about 3% in extended trading after the earnings report. The stock has surged to more than $50 this year, up from less than $3 at the end of 2015, as investors bet that the company’s new products, and manufacturing stumbles by Intel, would open the door to sustained market share gains.Though the quarterly outlook disappointed some investors, AMD’s revenue growth forecast reflects strong demand for server chips from cloud data center operators and personal computer makers, mirroring Intel’s report from last week.“We delivered significant margin expansion and increased profitability as we gained market share with our Ryzen and EPYC processors,” Chief Executive Officer Lisa Su said in the statement. “Our focused execution and the investments we made in our high-performance computing roadmaps position us well for continued growth in 2020 and beyond.”AMD’s shares gained 148% last year making them the best performer on the S&P 500 Index. Earlier Tuesday, the stock closed up 2.6% at $50.53.AMD has said it’s targeting double-digit market share in servers by the middle of this year. The company is trying to reclaim a meaningful position in that lucrative market after dropping to less than 1%. Server computers are the backbone of corporate networks and the giant data centers that run the internet. Chips that power them can cost more than $10,000 each.Intel’s server chip unit grew 19% in the fourth quarter and revenue from cloud-service providers, which offer computing power and storage via the internet, surged 48%. Intel’s data center business gets more revenue in a quarter than the whole of AMD reports in year.Both companies have benefited from persistently strong demand for personal computers. Global PC shipments rose 2.3% from a year earlier in the fourth quarter as companies upgraded to a new version of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system, according to research firm Gartner Inc. AMD has an even greater ability to cash in on this as it’s also the second-largest maker of chips used in computer graphics cards.On Tuesday, AMD said fourth-quarter net income rose to $170 million, or 15 cents a share, compared with $38 million, or 4 cents, a year earlier. Excluding certain items, profit in the period was 32 cents a share. Revenue gained 50% to $2.13 billion. Analysts had projected profit of 30 cents a share on sales of $2.1 billion.(Updates with comments from CEO in the sixth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Ian King in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Google’s response to a European Union order to give rival search apps a foothold on its Android phones may fail to steer users to alternatives, warned U.S. upstart DuckDuckGo, the only competitor to win the right to appear as another search option on new handsets across Europe.Google has to prompt users to pick alternative search and web browser apps under the terms of a 2018 EU antitrust ruling that found the company unfairly ties moneymaking services to the Android software it gives away.It chose to set up an auction format for smaller rivals where they will pay to appear as a one of three non-Google options on the choice screen across Europe from March to June.But the user experience of the screens “is designed in a way that is subconsciously influencing people to use Google more than they otherwise should or would like to,” Gabriel Weinberg, chief executive officer of DuckDuckGo, a U.S. search engine that says it doesn’t track users, said in a phone interview.“Ultimately it will not be effective if it remains like that, if only because the auction format will push out a private option and that is the number one thing besides Google that people want to select,” he said.Non-Google OptionsThe auction will be re-run every three months. DuckDuckGo and Google are the only search apps that will appear on the choice screens in 31 countries in the region.Users trying to set up their phones will be shown a choice of four search engines, without much explanation of the apps or the possibility to change their choice later, DuckDuckGo said in a separate blog post on Tuesday.By passing up other ways of designing the prompts that could draw users to non-Google options, DuckDuckGo said Google is potentially undermining the EU order’s aim to widen alternatives to its apps.Google declined to comment, referring to a detailed January blog post where it said the “choice screen design was developed in consultation with the European Commission.”The commission’s press office said regulators “will continue monitoring closely the implementation of the choice screen mechanism” which comes after discussions with Google and feedback from other companies “in particular in relation to the presentation and mechanics of the choice scree and to the selection mechanism of rival search providers.”Choice Screen“As regards DuckDuckGo, as a result of the choice screen mechanism, they will be on every new Android device in the European Economic Area, and it will be for consumers to choose which search engine to install and use,“ the EU said in an emailed statement. The EU’s Android decision also allows rival search engines to be pre-installed on phone and tablets which “was not possible before.”Weinberg said DuckDuckGo has discussed its concerns with the European Commission.’Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, told reporters on Monday that she’s “very very closely” following Google’s efforts to comply with the order. She said she’s aware of the detail of the design, adding that officials were “doubting if people would use unlimited scroll” to show a large number of alternatives.Prices rivals must pay Google to appear on the screen “came down quite dramatically in the latest auction,” she said.The EU has never formally signed off on how Google opted to comply with the order, leaving it uncertain whether the company has done enough to avoid more fines. Regulators could seek further changes to the choice screen from Google if necessary.Google’s Chrome browser partly owes its own initial surge in popularity to choice screens that Microsoft Corp. agreed to show under EU pressure to offer people an alternative to the browser it loaded on to new personal computers with its Windows software.Microsoft’s screen “wasn’t limited in choice and had 12 different browsers” and “most or all of the elements that we are suggesting here,” Weinberg said.(Update with Google and European Commission comment from ninth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Natalia Drozdiak.To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Chapman at firstname.lastname@example.org, Nate LanxonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Here is a sneak peek into how Facebook, Microsoft, PayPal, and ServiceNow are poised ahead of their upcoming earnings releases on Jan 29.
Today we'll take a closer look at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) from a dividend investor's perspective. Owning a...
Microsoft's (MSFT) second-quarter fiscal 2020 results are likely to reflect momentum in Azure, robust Office 365 adoption, impressive LinkedIn growth and higher Surface devices revenues.
(Bloomberg) -- InterviewBit, a startup that offers online training for a career in programming, has raised $20 million from Tiger Global Management, Sequoia Capital India and others at a valuation of $110 million.The Bangalore-based outfit offers daily live-streamed classes to prepare aspiring software engineers for the notoriously competitive job interviews in their industry. It guides students with the help of remote personal mentors and, upon completion of training, looks to match them with available jobs, with no payment until they are employed. Its six-month coding bootcamp called Scaler Academy has received more than 200,000 applications since it launched in April.“India has a surfeit of engineering graduates but traditional colleges are not equipped to cater to the in-demand skills,” Abhimanyu Saxena, co-founder of InterviewBit said in a phone interview. “Companies face a huge challenge in hiring quality talent.”India has thousands of engineering colleges, but more than 80% of their graduates are deemed “unemployable” by tech companies as they lack the hands-on coding training or exposure to projects, according to a study by recruitment analysts Aspiring Minds last year. The country’s outsourcing industry employs millions, but they also need to be retrained in new skills such as artificial intelligence and mobile app development.Strong global demand for the latest software skills has seeded a novel crop of coding schools around Bangalore that offer to upgrade programming skills on a pay-after-placement basis.InterviewBit’s model makes it accessible to students and engineers without any geographical or financial constraints. Those who get placed pay a portion of their salary from the first two years to the startup. “Our most successful students come from unknown engineering colleges in smaller cities,” said Saxena.Coders from its seven batches, including one cohort in the U.S., have been placed at global technology companies including Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.The company will use the $20 million to scale up enrollment and launch in new markets.To contact the reporter on this story: Saritha Rai in Bangalore at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Investors need to know what to expect from Facebook's Q4 financial results and beyond to help understand what might be next for Facebook stock...
On today's episode of Full Court Finance here at Zacks, we dive into everything investors need to know about Apple and Microsoft stock to help figure out if either tech giant is worth buying heading into quarterly earnings...
The top stories in this digest are Intel's earnings, Netflix's surging share price, Apple's valuation concerns and the Google-Activision deal.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Investors continue to pour funds into passive investment products that aim to replicate the performance of benchmark indexes. They’re also increasingly keen that their money gets used to influence corporations to stop damaging the planet and improve social inclusiveness. Unfortunately, many of the products designed to achieve both objectives currently fall short on the goal of responsible investing.The shift in emphasizing environmental, social and governance issues puts pressure on the index providers to come up with benchmarks that more accurately reflect the concerns investors are attempting to express by allocating capital to ESG investment products. Currently, though, even dedicated ESG indexes have shortcomings that many investors are probably unaware of.The U.S. Vegan Climate exchange-traded fund, for example, tracks a $124 billion index created by Beyond Investing that excludes companies engaged in a laundry list of potentially harmful activities, including animal exploitation, human rights abuses and fossil fuels extraction. While the $14 million ETF’s top five holdings — Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Facebook Inc., Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. — may all meet those criteria, they’re hardly the first names that spring to mind when thinking about the words vegan or climate. And there are many other examples.BlackRock Inc.’s announcement this month that it plans to prioritize sustainability in its investment decisions highlights the issue confronting index trackers. With two-thirds of its $7.4 trillion of assets managed passively, the world’s biggest asset manager acknowledged that the bulk of its cash isn’t available to pursue those goals. Harnessing that firepower will become increasingly important if the passive industry is to meet the ESG aspirations of its growing customer base.It’s even likely to radically change the industry, and sooner than people realize. To that point, Hiro Mizuno, the chief investment officer of Japan’s $1.6 trillion Global Pension Investment Fund, says the days are over when it’s enough for passive fund managers to compete simply on providing the lowest tracking errors at the lowest cost. Now they have to add value too. “The main battlefield among our passive managers is going to be in the stewardship area.” he told the Financial Times last month. BlackRock is far from alone in shifting to a more moral investing stance. A survey of 300 institutional investors, financial advisers and fund managers that use ETFs published on Monday by Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. showed that almost three-quarters of respondents expect to increase the amount allocated to ESG investments in the coming year.European participants in the BBH survey ranked ESG-themed products as the ETF category they would most like to see more supply of, while Chinese investors ranked the sector as their second most desired area of expansion, along with more funds designed to track core indexes.Money is flooding into the sector. ESG-designated assets were the fastest-growing category of ETFs listed on Deutsche Boerse AG’s Xetra market last year, with investments more than tripling to more than 23 billion euros ($25 billion). Globally, ESG ETFs have enjoyed net inflows for 52 consecutive weeks, taking in $30 billion in the past year and garnering almost $3.4 billion in the week ended Jan. 20, according to data compiled by Bloomberg LP, which competes in selling index data to investors.There are two main routes whereby ETF providers can meet the implicit demands of clients allocating money to passively managed ESG products. The first is to use their collective muscle to prompt index providers to increase the granularity of the benchmarks used to shape asset allocations. Improving the discrimination of ESG indexes would go a long way to ensuring investors aren’t being hoodwinked into products that aren’t as green or socially savvy as they first appear.The second is trickier. Excluding companies deemed to be damaging the environment or being socially irresponsibly isn’t enough to move the needle. Engaging with the boards of those firms and using the clout of a shareholding to force them to change their ways is much more effective.But that costs money, and the success of the ETF model has been founded in large part on its ability to charge ultra-low fees. If BlackRock and its peers are serious about taking their social responsibilities more seriously, investors will have to pay for the privilege — and the sellers of index trackers will need to be honest about the increased cost of that kind of activism. Let’s hope the buyers of the products decide it’s a price worth paying to do good.To contact the author of this story: Mark Gilbert at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mark Gilbert is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering asset management. He previously was the London bureau chief for Bloomberg News. He is also the author of "Complicit: How Greed and Collusion Made the Credit Crisis Unstoppable."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.