|Day's range||0.0600 - 2.2500|
Earlier this year, Microsoft made waves in the corporate community by coming out with one of the most ambitious and wide-ranging strategies to reduce carbon emissions from the company's operations. Part of that plan was a $1 billion fund that would invest in climate change mitigation technologies -- specifically focused on decarbonization. According to sources -- and a LinkedIn profile search -- it appears that Brandon Middaugh is taking point on the investment fund.
(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp.’s agreement to acquire 5G software maker Affirmed Networks Inc. valued the company at about $1.35 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.Microsoft announced the deal on Thursday without disclosing financial details.Microsoft already serves telecom customers and struck an agreement with AT&T Inc. last year with the aim of moving more the carrier’s network to its platform. Microsoft has been building its cloud computing operations through acquisitions. In 2018, it bought privately held GitHub for $7.5 billion.Affirmed Networks also held talks with Samsung Electronics before its deal with Microsoft came together, one of the people said.Pete Wootton, a spokesman for Microsoft, declined to comment on the price. A representative for Affirmed Networks also declined to comment. Samsung didn’t respond to a request for comment.Microsoft shares fell 4.1% Friday to close at $149.70.The introduction of 5G is just starting, with test projects by carriers such as AT&T generally limited to select big cities. Nationwide U.S. coverage may take years. But tech giants and telecom industry incumbents have been angling for a slice of the market for edge computing and going after big corporate customers. The White House has made 5G a linchpin of its tech policy, particularly as it tries to suppress the global expansion of China’s Huawei Technologies Co.The networking industry is transitioning away from expensive fixed purpose machines that take care of specific parts of the job of managing the flow of data to software that resides in remote data centers. The aim is to make the things cheaper and more flexible.Affirmed Networks helps build virtual networks for telecom customers using 5G technology. It was founded in 2010 and had raised about $240 million in funding, according to Pitchbook Data. It raised financing just last month at a $1.35 billion valuation, people familiar with the matter said.Affirmed Networks said on Thursday that it was replacing its chief executive officer with one of its founders, Anand Krishnamurthy.Affirmed Networks, based in Acton, Massachusetts, is backed by investors including Qualcomm Ventures and Centerview Capital Technology Management, the venture arm of investment bank Centerview Partners, as well as by Lightspeed Management, CRV and Bessemer Venture Partners,(Updates with line on Samsung’s interest in fourth paragraph, adds share price in sixth 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.
The decision marks a policy change for the Redmond, Washington-based software maker, which has aimed to shape how the technology industry approaches facial recognition. Microsoft has laid out principles to guide its own development of the technology, saying it should perform without bias and must not impinge on democratic freedoms. Civil liberties groups have said police use of facial recognition could lead to unfair, arbitrary arrests and limit freedom of expression.
Yandex (YNDX) rolled out a project called Helping Hand, which will manage transportation, medicinal deliveries, and food and other essential commodity supplies to fight COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic may be taking a toll on markets right now but this temporary phase offers investors a window to buy equities that have a record of performing better than the broader markets.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- We live in troubling times. Millions are suffering from anxiety, distress and loneliness as they deal with the uncertain health and economic consequences of the global coronavirus pandemic. If ever there was a moment for the world of Nintendo, this is it.Enter “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” the latest version of Japanese giant Nintendo Co.’s virtual-life simulation game. Released last Friday for use on the company’s Switch gaming system, it has seemingly come out at the perfect time for those seeking much-needed escapism.Animal Crossing is one of Nintendo’s core storied franchises. This new version is the fifth game in the main-line series, which was first launched in 2001. In the latest iteration, gamers start out on an island, playing out a make-believe life, complete with assorted activities from fishing to collecting insects, while also socially interacting with cute cartoon animals. There are no virus outbreaks here and no dangers in social mixing. Indeed, social-media sites such as Twitter are teeming with players posting their favorite Animal Crossing scenes, showing off their dressed-up characters and tricked-out living-room furnishing,with the screenshots serving as a welcome respite from the dire real-world news posts.The enthusiasm is showing up in the sales numbers. While demand for most consumer discretionary items is faltering, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is breaking records. The title has become the fastest-selling Nintendo Switch game in history for multiple countries, according to international sales reports. Gaming media magazine Famitsu says the title sold 1.88 million copies in just three days in Japan. And major U.S. retailers are now sold out of the more expensive Switch hardware model due to the success of the game.The video-game industry as a whole is surging as stay-at-home restrictions force consumers to find suitable in-home entertainment options. But Nintendo’s family-friendly offerings seem uniquely suited for this moment; consumers may be increasingly attracted to the company’s more wholesome games, versus more graphic, violent fare. Nintendo owns many of the most valuable video-game franchises in the world that fit the feel-good bill — including Mario, Zelda and Metroid.Animal Crossing is giving a boost to Switch just as Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp. prepare to launch their next-generation gaming consoles later this year, at which point other games for use with that cutting-edge technology may gain favor. Nintendo’s Switch was released three years ago and will be at a relative disadvantage on that front. However, the industry has never been about technical specs. It always comes down to the quality and experience of the games.After a price drop in recent months, Nintendo’s stock now trades at more attractive valuation of 18 times its fiscal 2021 earnings. Animal Crossing’s success is more evidence the company’s beloved brands and customer loyalty are more powerful than ever, revealing its prospects may be brighter than believed.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tae Kim is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Barron's, following an earlier career as an equity analyst.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Let's dive into three blue chip tech stocks that might be worth buying at the moment as the Fed and the U.S. government try to provide a boost to the economy as the coronavirus spreads...
Google, Amazon and Microsoft are the landlords. Amidst the coronavirus economic crisis, startups need a break from paying rent. Revenue has stopped flowing in, capital markets like venture debt are hesitant and startups and small-to-medium sized businesses are at risk of either having to lay off huge numbers of employees and/or shut down.
Microsoft today announced that it has acquired Affirmed Networks, a company that specializes in fully virtualized, cloud-native networking solutions for telecom operators. With its focus on 5G and edge computing, Affirmed looks like the ideal acquisition target for a large cloud provider looking to get deeper into the telco business. According to Crunchbase, Affirmed raised a total of $155 million before this acquisition, and the company's more than 100 enterprise customers include the likes of AT&T, Orange, Vodafone, Telus, Turkcell and STC.
Here are five technology stocks including Microsoft (MSFT) for millennials looking to retire comfortably and capitalize on COVID-19 induced sell-off.
(Bloomberg) -- Gaming is experiencing an unprecedented boom right now, but behind the scenes, the coronavirus pandemic is hitting the $150 billion industry in subtle yet significant ways -- delaying crucial development, squeezing out smaller studios and disrupting the pipeline of new games heading into 2021.As with other sectors, Covid-19 has cleared the 2020 calendar by torpedoing marquee events like the Game Developers Conference this month and the biggest of them all, E3, in the summer. The litany of cancellations is especially painful for a business that, like the film industry, relies on flashy annual gatherings to launch big-name titles, connect publishers with creators and raise the profile of indie studios aspiring to become the next Rockstar Games.Shares in some game makers like Nintendo Co. have trended upward over the past week alongside a steep increase in playtime with government-ordered lockdowns around the world. But David Amador, who runs a one-man operation called Upfall Studios out of Lisbon, has a different perspective.“Despite the technology and communication channels at our disposal, nothing really beats the face-to-face meeting,” Amador said. “It’s an increasingly challenging market and being able to talk to customers in a casual environment and having them play our games helps a lot.”A serendipitous encounter two years ago at Gamescom, Europe’s premier gaming showcase, secured Amador a license to develop for the Nintendo Switch platform, he said. Missing events like the postponed Nordic Game Jam this year, “it’s hard to know the damage of people we won’t meet or deals not closed.” He works with freelancers when developing his games, and the trickle-down effect of missed opportunities for studios like his is a shortfall of work for designers and artists.Read more: The Virus Is Interrupting Supply Chains From Watches to Lobsters“For smaller publishers or indies like me, a chance conversation can lead to big things,” said Iain Garner, who runs Another Indie, a 12-person game publisher based in Taipei and the Chinese city of Xiamen. Like Amador, Garner was able to secure a much sought-after development license after meeting the right person at GDC, and his studio’s action game Sinner made it onto Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox Game Pass service after exhibiting at a crowded booth.He now plans to shift budget originally planned for shows to online ads and trailers. “I am not worried about us going under because of this, but I am quite sure we will take a hit overall,” he added.At a time when Valve Corp.’s Steam online gaming service is breaking records and global gaming publishers are registering increased demand due to millions of people stuck at home, the systems designed to build those companies’ future success are faltering.One game project that Upfall Studios was doing work for has been put on hold because its developers weren’t able to demo it at GDC and haven’t yet managed to pitch it remotely. Two other developers Amador has collaborated with are also struggling to secure remote calls with publishers.Before the coronavirus grew into a global pandemic, it was already interrupting the supply chain for game art and assets, as many big publishers rely on outsourcing to art studios in China, which was first to suffer the effects.Read more: Even Virtual Goods From China Are Taking a Hit From CoronavirusSuper Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai wrote in industry magazine “Famitsu” last week that the release of additional content for his blockbuster series would be delayed due to the coronavirus. Private Division, a unit of Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., said last month that its Outer Worlds action role-playing game would also be late arriving on Nintendo Co.’s Switch due to the pandemic.One major Chinese mobile game publisher had lined up a series of meetings for E3 and GDC and is now having to recreate those via much less efficient online calls, according to a person informed who asked not to be named discussing private plans. Japanese studios in particular, the person said, have insisted on meeting and signing contracts in person, pushing more projects into limbo until after virus-containment measures are relaxed.The boss of a game studio that often produces so-called AAA titles for major publishers said that the biggest business opportunities every year were on the sidelines of trade shows. Meeting dozens of prospective clients at hotels near convention centers, developers thrash out the deals that lead to game releases months down the line, said the person, asking to remain anonymous.Several of Japan’s leading game studios have tried and struggled with online tools for pitching remotely, according to multiple executives. The biggest problem, they said, is difficulty in establishing trust with new partners. This is having an impact on game platforms, which can’t expand libraries as fast as they’d like, publishers who have to fill mid- to long-term game release pipelines and indie developers who can’t secure business, they said. The executives asked not to be identified discussing non-public strategy.Complicating matters, new consoles from Microsoft and Sony Corp. slated for the end of the year mean even more development work for already hard-pressed studios, said Billy Pidgeon, analyst at Go Play Research. “EA, Activision, Ubisoft and others track games on a profit/loss basis to determine whether they will be completed on time” and they don’t hesitate to cancel ones they deem to have a low chance of profitability.For now, big publishers are assuring the public that the spread of the coronavirus disease, known as Covid-19, isn’t hampering them too badly. Ubisoft Entertainment SA said in a statement that “At the moment, the impact of COVID-19 on Ubisoft productions is minimal and has not affected our release schedule for the upcoming fiscal year.” The longer-term effects, however, are difficult to quantify.“There’s really little visibility into that right now, given we don’t know how long this will last, how effective they can be remote and how complete games are already,” said Matthew Kanterman of Bloomberg Intelligence.(Updates with developer’s comment in the seventh 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.
An international group of nearly 400 volunteers with expertise in cybersecurity formed on Wednesday to fight hacking related to the novel coronavirus. One of four initial managers of the effort, Marc Rogers, said the top priority would be working to combat hacks against medical facilities and other frontline responders to the pandemic. Also key is the defense of communication networks and services that have become essential as more people work from home, said Rogers, head of security at the long-running hacking conference Def Con and a vice president at security company Okta Inc.
WHO's initiative to develop crucial and competent software in a bid to fight the pandemic-related challenges is expected to boost players in the technology space going forward.
The U.S. government and Senate reached an agreement to inject $2 trillion of stimulus to boost the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus-induced turmoil.
(Bloomberg) -- Video-game fans suddenly have their pick of a huge menu of titles thanks to a raft of new mobile subscription services from Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Nvidia Corp.But for the more than 1 billion users of Apple’s iPhone and iPad, the only real option is Arcade, the subscription service launched by the company in September.That's because Apple imposes strict limits on the kinds of apps users can access on its devices. For example, App Store guidelines ban services that rely on streaming from the cloud. Arcade adheres to the requirements, in part, because it’s included as a feature within the App Store itself. This is the latest example of what critics say are arbitrary rules favoring Apple’s own apps at the expense of similar software from outside developers.“There’s a fraught relationship between developers and Apple precisely because of rules like this,” said David Barnard, a longtime independent developer and advocate at RevenueCat. “In some ways, I am incredibly grateful to their marketplace for helping me make millions of dollars I wouldn’t have made without it. On the flip side, them being so heavy handed at times does kill apps and does cause developers to miss out on other potential revenue.”If software developers want to reach as many consumers as possible, they have to be on Apple’s iOS. The operating system powers more than 1 billion smartphones and tablets and it’s the only way to access the iOS App Store, which accounted for 65% of app spending globally last year, according to Sensor Tower. The Cupertino, California-based company can also make or break mobile gaming businesses: More than half of the $62 billion spent on smartphone gaming last year happened on Apple products.Cloud gaming services, where users stream games live over the internet, are growing in popularity, especially as faster fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless networks proliferate. The new offerings from Microsoft, Nvidia and Google are cloud streaming-based, while Apple Arcade is not. Those other services are found on the Android operating system, which powers 2.5 billion devices worldwide. Among the popular games found there, and missing from iOS, are Red Dead Redemption 2, Gears of War 5 and Destiny 2.Asked about the challenge of reaching iPhone and iPad users with the chipmaker’s GeForce Now service, an Nvidia spokesperson said: “Ask Apple.” Apple said its “customers enjoy great apps and games from millions of developers and gaming services can absolutely launch on the App Store” if they follow the App Review Guidelines, which means that games have to be submitted individually, allowing them to appear in App Store rankings and search. The company also said it intends to continue building on its relationships with developers and providing a level playing field. “Developers can choose to reach all iPhone and iPad users over the web through Safari and other browsers on the App Store,” Apple said. But currently the new cloud-based gaming streaming services aren’t accessible through web browsers on iPhones and iPads. Whether the restrictions raise antitrust issues is another matter. The policies were in place before the latest gaming services launched, and “I don’t see it cutting one way or the other,” said David Reichenberg, an antitrust lawyer at Cozen O’Connor.Apple said there is strong competition in every category in which it makes its own apps. Arcade, only available on iOS, is $4.99 per month for more than 100 games and is a growing contributor to the company’s services revenue, which is important amid a period of reduced hardware sales growth. At least one gaming subscription offering, GameClub, has managed to get on the App Store. It licensed several old-school games, released them all on the App Store as separate apps under one developer account and offers one $4.99 subscription that works across the apps. Still, it was rejected 127 times by Apple before being approved. “The amount of effort we put into making sure the app played by Apple’s rules was no joke, it was a huge undertaking,” Eli Hodapp, GameClub’s head of business development, said.In February, Microsoft released a beta version of its gaming service, currently dubbed xCloud. It is still in free preview, but is expected to launch later this year as a paid service under the company’s Game Pass brand. A look at the software shows the contortions that it and other Arcade rivals will have to pull off to get on Apple’s system. While Microsoft’s has a catalog of 90 games available on Android, just one, Halo, appears on the iPhone test version. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft and Mountain View, California-based Google declined to comment. No Third-Party Games in ServiceThe Android variant of xCloud lets users choose from multiple games built by different publishers. A version of the app on iOS could only have games either developed or exclusively licensed by Microsoft.Apple outlines this in an App Store rule that says “games offered in a game subscription must be owned or exclusively licensed by the developer.” For example, Microsoft’s iOS service can offer Halo because Microsoft produces that game, but not Ace Combat from Bandai Namco.This restriction prevents game developers from being able to work with game partners already on other platforms. Apple said Arcade complies with all the guidelines. Microsoft makes several of its own games, but Google and Nvidia would only be able to launch if they exclusively licensed third-party titles. Google’s Stadia costs $9.99 per month and new games are added monthly. Nvidia offers free and $4.99 per month subscription tiers, but requires a user to login to a Valve Steam account to access many titles.A related guideline bans the subscription services from carrying over upgrades like levels, extra weapons and characters unless they are also available as an in-app purchase in the App Store. Like many other apps, this gives Apple a 30% cut of revenue from developers, while confusing users who play video games on multiple platforms. It also means more overhead for developers.No Single App with Playable CatalogIf a developer is able to build or license enough games for a service, they would still be prohibited from releasing an all-you-can-eat gaming subscription service on iOS that works inside of a single app.Many games are available to be downloaded individually from their creators, but consumers increasingly like to subscribe to a bundle of games at a lower monthly price — much like they’d subscribe to Apple Music instead of downloading individual songs or sign up for Netflix instead of buying specific movies.The same rule that bars non-exclusive titles requires that “each game must be downloaded directly from the App Store.” This means an app can’t include a catalog of games and must be broken up into separate apps. Apple said the guideline is to prevent games from being added or removed without review. Apple allows catalog apps for magazines, newspapers, music, videos and books."The App Store was created to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers,” Apple said. “Before they go on our store, all apps are reviewed against the same set of guidelines that are intended to protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers.”No Cloud StreamingWhile a game developer could feasibly workaround the first few games-related guidelines, Apple’s decision to block games that stream directly from the cloud is an iOS deal-killer for Microsoft’s xCloud, Google’s Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce NOW. Apple’s rules state that “thin clients for cloud-based apps are not appropriate for the App Store.” This type of app does little on the device, with most of the action offloaded to remote data centers, much like how Netflix streams movies. In contrast, each Apple Arcade game runs fully on the device without the need to stream data from the cloud.Cloud streaming works on an early test version of Microsoft’s app, but if a full app like that was submitted to the Apple App Store it would probably be rejected. Microsoft’s beta app is available currently to 10,000 users through an Apple testing service called TestFlight, which traditionally follows the same rules as the App Store.Apple says that developers that publish games on the App Store benefit from features like Siri, backups and App Store promotion. Having to build a service without cloud streaming would be a lot more work for traditional game developers and would mean they have to re-create their apps for each platform rather than leverage their existing game libraries. Apple lets devlopers use a technology called remote desktop. This is similar to cloud streaming, but instead of piping in content from a data center, the game is streamed from a Mac, Windows computer, or gaming console. This method comes with a major caveat: users can only stream from a computer or console that they own and the iPhone must be on the same network as the first device. That means you can stream a game in your living room, but not on the bus to work. That has allowed apps like Sony’s PS4 Remote Play and Valve Steam Link. Microsoft xCloud for Android has a similar option for streaming from an Xbox, but the feature is missing from the iPhone. It’s unclear why Microsoft didn’t include it. Major technology companies aren’t the only ones having trouble getting on the App Store. For months, one app from Shadow, a Paris-based cloud gaming developer, appeared to survive Apple’s rules. That changed at the end of February when Shadow’s platform was removed. Shadow relied on streaming games from PCs in a server farm, versus computers owned by users. Shadow said it’s talking to Apple about getting back on the App Store.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. is asking a federal court to require the Pentagon to broaden the scope of a reevaluation of its decision to award Microsoft Corp. a controversial $10 billion cloud-computing contract.In a filing to the U.S Court of Federal Claims made public on Tuesday, Amazon said the Pentagon should revisit the procurement “with respect to all of the errors identified by the protest” filed by the company.Earlier this month, government lawyers asked the court for permission for the Pentagon to take 120 days “to reconsider certain aspects” of its award decision. Among the issues the Defense Department wants to revisit are elements of the bidders’ price proposals and online marketplaces, according to the filing.That request came after Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith gave a boost to Amazon’s challenge in an opinion made public this month in which she wrote that the Defense Department might have misjudged part of Microsoft’s pricing proposal for the work.Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s cloud unit, filed a lawsuit in November alleging that political interference by President Donald Trump cost the company the cloud deal. The contract is valued at $10 billion over a decade. Amazon said in the suit that the Defense Department failed to fairly judge its bid because Trump viewed Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos as his “political enemy.”Amazon previously argued that Microsoft’s bid failed to comply with a government requirement that the winner’s data storage be “highly-accessible” under one of six possible price scenarios. The government argued that Amazon was elevating “superficial labels over technical performance.” In its request to revisit the contract, the government said it would allow bidders to revise a problematic part of that pricing scenario.Amazon’s Tuesday filing calls on the Pentagon to allow bidders to revise more of their pricing plans and to evaluate other alleged errors that Amazon is highlighting.The Defense Department’s “proposed corrective action focuses on allowing Microsoft to fix its fatally deficient proposal, while paralyzing AWS’s proposed pricing in the face of planned changes” to the Defense Department’s request for proposals, Amazon said. “It does not promise to address the other procurement flaws in any meaningful way.”Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said in a statement that the Pentagon’s plan to review the procurement “focuses only on providing Microsoft a ‘do-over’ on its fatally flawed bid.”Defense Department spokesman Robert Carver said in a statement that “the best and most reasonable path forward” is to accept “limited proposal revisions” before conducting a reevaluation of the bids. A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to comment.Amazon has previously asked the court to allow it to question Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Dana Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer in order to gather evidence for its case. Judge Campbell-Smith said she would pause consideration of that motion until the contract reevaluation issue was resolved.Amazon’s lawsuit seeks to prohibit the Defense Department from proceeding without a new evaluation or award decision. The Pentagon’s JEDI project is designed to consolidate the department’s cloud computing infrastructure and modernize its technology systems.(Updates with Amazon comment from ninth 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.