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Carbon neutrality will come at a steep price. Here's what Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam said on the topic at the 2020 World Economic Forum.
(Bloomberg) -- Four of the five biggest U.S. technology giants boosted their lobbying spending last year as they battled charges of unfair competition, sought to shape privacy legislation and pursued large government contracts in an increasingly hostile Washington.Facebook Inc. led spending increases by Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., and Microsoft Corp. Alphabet Inc. was the lone member of the quintet with a decline.Alphabet’s Google reported a 44% decline in 2019 spending, to $11.8 million from $21.2 million. The company spent much of last year reshuffling its Washington office, including ending its relationships with more than a dozen lobbyists at six outside firms. It also replaced Susan Molinari, a former Republican House member, with Mark Isakowitz, a onetime GOP Senate aide, to head up its Washington policy shop.The tech industry has become one of the biggest spenders in Washington and is rivaling traditional lobbying powerhouses, including the pharmaceutical industry and big business lobbies.Together, the five biggest tech companies by market value shelled out $62.2 million in 2019, 3% less than what they spent the year before. That topped the biggest spender among the business groups, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent $58.2 million to lobby in 2019.It was also more than double the $28.9 million spent by the pharmaceutical industry’s lead trade group, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which typically conducts the lion’s share of the industry’s lobbying.On a company level, the five largest U.S. drug makers -- Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Pfizer Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Eli Lilly & Co. -- spent $34.7 million in lobbying last year, 44% less than the five biggest tech companies.While the amounts spent on lobbying by the tech giants pale in comparison with the billions in revenue each company receives and, in some cases now, their trillion-dollar market values -- money can buy influence in the nation’s capital.The disclosures, which are filed quarterly with Congress, include amounts spent to weigh in on legislation or other pressing matters before Congress, the White House and Executive Branch agencies. The reports were due Tuesday.Existential ThreatsWith their broad portfolios, U.S. tech companies have been worried about everything from Trump’s trade deals to stalled privacy legislation and drone regulations. But perhaps their most existential threats are the antitrust probes.The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission are reviewing the biggest internet platforms to determine if they are harming competition. The FTC is scrutinizing Facebook and Amazon, while the Justice Department is investigating Google and is also looking at Facebook.Large coalitions of state attorneys general are likewise considering cases against Facebook and Google.For more: Justice Department Questions Publishers in Ongoing Google ProbeIn addition, the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, led by Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline, has a sprawling inquiry underway. Cicilline has hauled executives before his subcommittee and peppered the companies with exhaustive questions about their business practices.Facebook surged to the front of the pack among the tech behemoths. The social-media company spent $16.7 million last year, its highest-ever yearly spending and up 32% from $12.6 million in 2018. It lobbied on such issues as intellectual property, cybersecurity, privacy, cryptocurrency and election integrity, according to the annual lobbying disclosures.E-commerce giant Amazon was close behind Facebook, upping its spending to a record $16.1 million from $14.2 million. Despite the increase, its public policy shop has experienced a number of high-profile failures. In October, for example, Amazon learned that it lost a $10 billion Pentagon cloud contract to rival Microsoft.Amazon has blamed that loss on presidential meddling. Numerous parts of the “evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias -- and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified,” the company said in November.It doesn’t help that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and President Donald Trump have been feuding since before Trump was elected and that Bezos owns the Washington Post, which Trump sees as one of his fiercest critics.Apple RecordApple’s $7.4 million lobbying outlay last year was also a record. That amount was up 10% from $6.7 million in 2018. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has had a better working relationship with Trump than have many of his tech rivals. He was among several dozen global tech leaders who attended a breakfast with the president at the World Economic Forum conference in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday.But Cook is also in the hot seat for his company’s refusal to help the FBI unlock an encrypted iPhone used by the Saudi air force student who allegedly killed three people at a Florida naval base.Microsoft, which spent $10.2 million on lobbying last year, up from $9.5 million the year before, has largely avoided the political pitfalls of its peers. Winning the Pentagon’s lucrative cloud contract was a major victory, considering its underdog status. In August, Pentagon vendors also were awarded a contract worth as much as $7.6 billion to provide Microsoft software to the Defense Department.Privacy PushSome of the big checks Facebook, Google and others are writing in Washington are going to lobbying firms and trade groups pushing industry-friendly privacy bills. The industry hoped to see federal privacy legislation adopted last year, but that didn’t happen.California’s new privacy law went into effect Jan. 1, becoming the most influential U.S. privacy statute. New York, Washington State and others are considering their own privacy bills, which could create a patchwork of state privacy regulations, making compliance difficult for global tech giants.The tech companies, hoping to avoid that, are again lobbying Congress to adopt a federal privacy law before the 2020 elections.Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies Co., after minimal outlays, started spending heavily on lobbying in the second half of last year as it found itself in the crosshairs of the Trump administration. In May, the Commerce Department placed the company on a blacklist designed to cut it off from U.S. suppliers.Huawei spent $1.1 million in the fourth quarter and nearly $3 million for the full year, up from $165,000 in 2018. The increase was primarily to pay lobbyist Michael Esposito, who touts his connections to Trump, though the president has said he doesn’t know him.Trade WarsIn the final months of 2019, companies and trade groups intensified their lobbying on international trade issues as the Trump administration sought to end the tariff war with China and pass a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada.Earlier this year, the U.S. and China signed what they billed as the first phase of a broader trade pact that commits China to do more to crack down on the theft of American technology and avoid currency manipulation. The Senate passed Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement or USMCA, which replaced the North America Free Trade Agreement, following House passage late last year.The National Association of Manufacturers’ spending on federal lobbying rose to $8.4 million in the last three months of 2019, a nearly 313% jump compared with the third quarter, and $14.6 million in all of 2019. The trade group lobbied on both China and North American trade issues, according to its filings.\--With assistance from Naomi Nix.To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Newcomer in San Francisco at email@example.com;Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at email@example.com, ;Molly Schuetz at firstname.lastname@example.org, Paula DwyerFor 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.
Microsoft (MSFT) doesn't possess the right combination of the two key ingredients for a likely earnings beat in its upcoming report. Get prepared with the key expectations.
(Bloomberg) -- After revolutionizing software, the open-source movement is threatening to do same to the chip industry.Big technology companies have begun dabbling with RISC-V, which replaces proprietary know-how in a key part of the chip design process with a free standard that anyone can use. While it’s early days, this could create a new crop of processors that compete with Intel Corp. products and whittle away at the licensing business of Arm Holdings Plc.In December, about 2,000 people packed into a Silicon Valley conference to learn about RISC-V, a new set of instructions that control how software communicates with semiconductors. In just a few years, RISC-V has grown from a college teaching tool into an open-source standard being explored by industry giants including Google, Samsung Electronics Co., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Qualcomm Inc. and Nvidia Corp.“Most of the major companies are putting substantial efforts into RISC-V,” said Krste Asanovic, a computer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was part of the team that developed the standard. He’s co-founder of SiFive Inc., a startup that sells chip designs based on RISC-V (pronounced “risk five”).Open source harnesses the contributions of multitudes, not just the proprietary ideas of a few companies. New code is shared, so anyone can see it, improve it and build their own contributions on top of it. After being dismissed by giants like Microsoft Corp. in the 1990s, this expanding body of work has become the foundation of the internet, smartphones and many software applications. Last year, IBM bought open-source pioneer Red Hat in the biggest software deal in history. Even Microsoft got on board, acquiring GitHub, the largest repository of open-source code.Opening up even small parts of the chipmaking process is anathema to many in the $400 billion industry. But if enough companies commit to an open-source approach, that could create a shared pool of knowledge that may be hard for Intel and Arm to keep up with.Early developments focus on instruction sets, which govern the basic functions of processors. Only two have mattered for years. One is Intel‘s X86, which dominates computer processors. Buying a chip from Intel or licensee Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is the only real way to use this instruction set. And Intel is the only company that can change it.The other instruction set is the basis of all major smartphone components. It is owned by Arm, a unit of Softbank Group Corp. This can be licensed for a fee, so other companies use it to design their own chips. But again, only Arm can alter the fundamentals.This has left the rest of the industry relying on the innovation of just two companies. That was not a problem for decades because most processors were general-purpose components that got faster and more efficient each year through production advances. Those industry axioms are unraveling, though. The steady march of chip miniaturization has bumped up against the laws of physics, while artificial intelligence and a flood of data from the internet and smartphones require new ways of processing information. A fresh set of instructions will help create better chips to power driverless cars, speech recognition and other AI tasks, RISC-V’s backers say.Google is using RISC-V in its OpenTitan project, which is developing security chips for data center servers and storage devices. “There are a range of other computational tasks, such as machine learning, that could benefit from an open computing architecture,” said Urs Holzle, who has overseen the technical infrastructure of Google’s massive data centers for years.Samsung said it will use SiFive designs in chips it’s making for mobile phone components. RISC-V has appeared in microcontrollers – a basic form of a processor – that are part of more complex chips sold by Qualcomm and Nvidia. Western Digital Corp., one of the largest makers of data-storage devices, plans to use the technology in some products and has open-sourced its designs. Alibaba has announced a chip based on RISC-V and several universities have published open-source designs.There are 200 Chinese members of the RISC-V Foundation, a non-profit group created in 2015 to promote the use of the instruction set. An Indian project developed six processors using the technology.RISC-V specifications are developed, ratified and maintained by the foundation’s technical committee, made up of engineers and other contributors from several member companies. Proposed revisions are posted on GitHub. RISC-V designs can either be free or licensed. While there’s no strict requirement to stick to the official specifications, members have an incentive to make their designs compatible. This gives chip customers multiple options for the blueprints they need to design components that communicate properly with the software, according to backers of the project.It’s still very early days, though. In terms of actual chips created, sold and used, RISC-V is nowhere. Arm’s technology is in almost all the 1.4 billion smartphones made each year. More than 200 million PCs sold annually are based on Intel’s X86 instruction set.One criticism of RISC-V is that it won’t end up saving money because there’s more work involved in using open standards. This echoes complaints raised about Linux and other open-source software when they were gaining ground decades ago.Arm said the idea that RISC-V reduces costs doesn’t make sense. “Innovation goes far beyond an instruction set,” said Tim Whitfield, a vice president of strategy at the company. “Arm’s IP is highly configurable and provides our partners with the flexibility to innovate and differentiate where they can add real value while minimizing risk and cost.”Martin Fink, Western Digital’s former chief technology officer who still advises the CEO, said it’s about spurring innovation in a crucial field that’s still locked down, rather than saving money. “It’s free as in freedom not as in free beer,” he added. “It’s about community and collaboration.”Other RISC-V backers argue that the more-collaborative process will eventually reduce the cost of creating chips, especially for data center operators and other companies that are increasingly designing their own processors, according to David Patterson, a former Berkeley professor and a distinguished engineer at Google. “Companies all over the world are collaborating to develop because it saves them money,” he said.Pressure on the incumbents to step up their game might be the biggest immediate impact of RISC-V. Last year, Arm announced a try-before-you-buy plan with a much lower fee so smaller companies and academic institutions could do exploratory work using its instruction set.Intel said it is adding new instructions that will help with AI processing and other new areas. “Intel engineers have continually advanced the X86 architecture standard, providing best-in-class performance,” the company added in a statement. Qualcomm, one of Arm’s biggest customers, sees room for multiple approaches, including RISC-V, according to Keith Kressin, a senior vice president of product management at Qualcomm.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, Alistair Barr, 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.
'If people want to just arbitrarily put taxes on our digital companies, we’ll consider arbitrarily putting taxes on car companies,' the US Treasury Secretary said.
(Bloomberg) -- International Business Machines Corp. reported revenue in the fourth quarter that beat analysts’ estimates, breaking a streak of five consecutive declines as its push into the hybrid cloud market slowly starts to bear fruit. The shares jumped in extended trading.Sales were $21.8 billion in the quarter, up almost 0.1% from the same period a year earlier, the Armonk, New York-based company said in a statement Tuesday. Wall Street had forecast $21.6 billion.The increase stemmed from IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat, which it completed in the third quarter last year, helping boost the cloud and cognitive software division 8.7% from a year earlier. Total cloud revenue was $6.8 billion, the highest ever.Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty is hanging the company’s future on the market for hybrid cloud, which allows companies to store data in cloud servers on private and multiple public clouds run by its rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Corp.’s Azure. IBM spent $34 billion in 2018 to acquire Red Hat to help kick this strategy into gear. The company plans to use Red Hat to offer enhanced security services and applications in the hybrid cloud.Red Hat contributed $1 billion in revenue in the quarter ended Dec. 31, but IBM was only allowed to recognize $573 million of that due to U.S. accounting standards. IBM reported earnings excluding some costs of $4.71 a share, beating the average analyst estimate of $4.69. The company said it expects adjusted earnings per share of at least $13.35 for 2020, ahead of Wall Street’s projections for $13.29.Global Technology Services, which represents about 30% of IBM’s overall revenue, continued to decline. The technology consulting unit had revenue of $6.9 billion, which is down 4.8% from the same period last year. Global Business Services also declined, to $4.2 billion -- a 0.6% drop from a year earlier.Once the world leader in technology, IBM has lagged behind rivals for years after largely missing the cloud revolution. “The company has been struggling in a raging bull market for tech stocks,” said Ivan Feinseth, a director of research and analyst at Tigress Financial. “All types of tech companies have been growing expect for IBM.”IBM has long struggled with revenue growth, a factor that has weighed on shares. The stock rose about 4% in extended trading following the report.To contact the reporter on this story: Olivia Carville in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Molly Schuetz 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.
Facebook's role in elections and its UK expansion, Apple's Cook in Ireland, Alibaba's certification and the EU ban on facial recognition technology are the top stories.
(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.Microsoft Corp’s chief executive officer said he worries that mistrust between the U.S. and China will increase technology costs and hurt economic growth at a critical time.Using the $470 billion semiconductor industry as an example of a sector that is already globally interconnected, Satya Nadella said the two countries will have to find ways to work together, rather than creating different supply chains for each country.“All you are doing is increasing transaction costs for everybody if you completely separate,” Nadella said in an interview with Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait at Bloomberg’s The Year Ahead conference in Davos. That’s a concern as the executive said the world is on the cusp of a revolution around technology and artificial intelligence.“If we take steps back in trust or increase transaction costs around technology, all we are doing is sacrificing global economic growth,” he said.The Trump administration is considering steps to further limit the ability of U.S. companies to supply Huawei Technologies Co., China’s flagship tech company, in addition to pressuring countries around the world to avoid using its equipment for 5G mobile networks.The agreement signed last week between the U.S. and China was “not sufficient,” said Nadella, but represented “progress” on the issue of intellectual property protections for U.S. technology companies working with China.To enable different countries to use technology from outside their borders, Nadella suggested a system that relies on verification. For example, Microsoft has set up technology centers where various governments can inspect the Windows source code to satisfy themselves as to the security of the product.“There has to be a way for any country to be able to trust, through verification, the technology that they are using as part of a their infrastructure,” he said. “Mechanisms like that have to be in place, and then build trade on top of it instead of thinking of trade and trust as the same thing.”Two InternetsNadella said he worries about the development of two separate internets, noting that to some degree they already exist “and they will get amplified in the future” with massive technology companies already in place in China.The viewpoint clashes with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who has been skeptical about the idea that ongoing U.S.-China trade tensions could ever lead to a bifurcated system of two internets.China and the U.S. are the two leading AI superpowers, however the cooling political relations between them have slowed the international collaboration.Even amid the tensions, countries should find ways to establish global norms around cybersecurity -- such as agreements not to hack each other’s citizens -- privacy and responsible AI, Nadella said. “Despite whatever trade dynamic causes people to separate, you would hope people would recognize we all benefit from more global norms, not less.“ Earlier this month, in a blog post about his goals for the year, Nadella said these areas are essential to earn and sustain people’s trust.Nadella also warned that countries that fail to attract immigrants will lose out as the global tech industry continues to grow. The CEO has previously voiced concern about India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which bans undocumented Muslim migrants from neighboring countries from seeking citizenship in India while allowing immigrants from other religions to do so, calling it “sad.”“Every country is rethinking what is in their national interest,” he said. Governments need to “maintain that modicum of enlightenment and not think about it very narrowly,” Nadella said, adding that “people will only come when people know you’re an immigrant-friendly country.“However, Nadella said he remained hopeful. “I’m an India optimist,” he said. “The fact that there is a 70-year history of nation building, I think it’s a very strong foundation. I grew up in that country. I’m proud of that heritage. I’m influenced by that experience.”Carbon IssuesMicrosoft has recently unveiled plans to invest $1 billion to back companies and organizations working on technologies to remove or reduce carbon from the atmosphere, saying efforts to merely emit less carbon aren’t enough to prevent catastrophic climate change.“We will now have to make sure all our data center operations are first consuming renewable energy,” Nadella said.Microsoft and Amazon.com Inc., along with other technology companies, have been criticized for supplying software and cloud services to large oil and gas companies like Chevron Corp. and BP Plc. BlackRock Inc.’s Larry Fink has been trailed to work and public engagements by protesters decrying the investment firm for inaction on global warming and other issues.Activists have been pushing for companies to stop working with the largest producers of greenhouse gases. BlackRock has said it will cut exposure to thermal coal as the world’s largest asset manager moves to address climate change.Nadella declined to comment on whether Microsoft would stop working with the major carbon producers. “The energy transition is going to include all of us,” he said.(Updates with comment about global policies on security, privacy in 12th paragraph)To contact the reporters on this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at email@example.com;Amy Thomson in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at email@example.com, Molly SchuetzFor 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.
Intel (INTC) Q4 results are expected to have benefited from improvement in the DCG, IOTG and NSG segments. However, decline in CCG is likely to have been a headwind.
Enterprises are focusing on enhancing workspace communication to boost productivity, which puts Microsoft and Slack under the spotlight.
(Bloomberg) -- Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it's going next.Huawei Technologies Co. founder Ren Zhengfei shrugged off the threat the U.S. will impose even stricter sanctions against his company, saying he was confident China’s largest tech company can survive further attacks from Washington.Tighter restrictions on the sale of American technology to the telecommunications giant -- something the White House is considering -- will not have very significant impact on Huawei, the billionaire chief executive said during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos.“This year, the U.S. might further escalate its campaign against Huawei but I feel the impact on Huawei’s business would not be very significant,” he said in response to a question about U.S. curbs. “We’re confident we can survive further attacks.”Huawei has risen to global prominence as the No. 2 smartphone maker and a leader in the fifth-generation wireless technology that will underpin future advances from autonomous cars to robotics. It’s also become a major target for the U.S. as China’s technological prowess grew along with its ambitions, encapsulating growing tensions between the world’s two largest economies.Read more: Trump’s Blacklisting of Huawei Is Failing to Halt Its Growth (1)The Trump administration has pushed allies to ban Huawei equipment from their networks on worries about spying, and blacklisted Huawei along with a clutch of Chinese technology companies in fields from artificial intelligence to surveillance.Ren initially estimated the May 2019 blacklisting in particular could wipe $30 billion off annual revenue and threaten his company’s very survival, though he tempered that outlook in the ensuing months. Huawei mobilized a massive effort to develop in-house alternatives to American software and circuitry, while U.S. suppliers like Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. found ways to continue supplying Huawei vital components it needed to make its products.“The U.S. should not be concerned about Huawei and our position in the world,” Ren, looking at ease in a blazer and open shirt, told the panel.Read more: Huawei Engineers Go to 24-Hour Days to Beat Trump BlacklistTo contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Gao Yuan in Beijing at firstname.lastname@example.org;Edwin Chan in Hong Kong at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org, Colum MurphyFor 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) -- MassMutual Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., has launched a $100 million second fund to invest in digital health-care, fintech and enterprise software startups in Southeast Asia.It brings MassMutual Ventures’ capital under management to $350 million, including $150 million spread between the two Southeast Asian funds. The Boston-based company has backed almost 40 companies in North America, Europe, Israel and Southeast Asia.“This additional capital will allow us to invest in more startups in the region that have the ability to generate positive returns,” Doug Russell, head of MassMutual Ventures, said in a statement.Read more: MassMutual Extends Startup Bet as Haven Life Unit Acquires QuiltMassMutual Ventures Southeast Asia is led by two Singapore-based managing directors, Ryan Collins and Anvesh Ramineni. With the second fund, they plan to invest in an additional 15 to 20 companies and further support existing portfolio firms.Their fund is the latest fund to be launched for the fast-growing region, driving an influx of money as U.S. investors play catch-up with Chinese firms. Vulcan Capital, the investment firm of late Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen, opened its first international office in Singapore in August, armed with an initial $100 million to sprinkle across Southeast Asian startups.To contact the reporter on this story: Yoolim Lee in Singapore at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Colum MurphyFor 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 Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, American Express, Fidelity National Information Services, Goldman Sachs and Southern
Amazon (AMZN) Twitch witnesses decline in viewer base in fourth-quarter 2019 on account of losing popular streamers to Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook.
Google has inked a deal with India’s third-largest telecom operator as the American giant looks to grow its cloud customer base in the key overseas market that is increasingly emerging as a new cloud battleground for AWS and Microsoft . Google Cloud announced on Monday that the new partnership, effective starting today, enables Airtel to offer G Suite to small and medium-sized businesses as part of the telco’s ICT portfolio. Airtel, which has amassed over 325 million subscribers in India, said it currently serves 2,500 large businesses and over 500,000 small and medium-sized businesses and startups in the country.
BT , Danone , Microsoft and Sony are among 178 companies with top marks in the latest global ranking of transparency and action on climate change. Japan and the U.S. were the countries with the headquarters of the most 'A List' companies individually, while regionally, Europe as a bloc was home to the highest number. Companies are coming under pressure from customers and investors to step up efforts to help slow climate change in accordance with the 2015 Paris climate agreement to phase out greenhouse gas emissions by shifting away from fossil fuels.