|Day's range||99.74 - 99.74|
Many technology stocks have a reputation for resisting dividend payments. In fact, some new tech companies in this high-growth sector do not earn profits at all. Case in point, investors will likely find both high yields and dividend growth if they invest in AT&T (NYSE: T), International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM), and Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM).
Slack Technologies (NYSE: WORK) and New Relic (NYSE: NEWR) both offer services that simplify tasks for businesses. Slack's messaging and collaboration tools streamline communications between employees, and New Relic's cloud-based software tracks the performance of websites and apps. Slack benefits from the shift toward remote work, and the crisis highlights the importance of New Relic's analytics tools.
Fueled by increased demand for its notebooks from the current stay-at-home environment, tech giant Dell’s (DELL) Q1 earnings topped expectations, while video conferencing software like (ZM) and Cisco’s (CSCO) WebEx have also seen a dramatic increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, principal analyst of Futurum Research Daniel Newman joined Yahoo Finance to discuss what’s next for Dell and other tech companies as the nation starts to return to work following the pandemic.
The Nasdaq's 43% rise since late March puts the tech-heavy index far ahead of the broader S&P 500, highlighting investors' willingness to bet that tech and communication companies will emerge stronger from the pandemic. The Nasdaq index on Friday closed 2.06% higher on the day after earlier surpassing the previous intraday record high hit Feb. 19, just before fears of the coronavirus ended Wall Street's 11-year bull market. The Nasdaq on Friday ended just short of its record high closing level, also set Feb. 19.
In conjunction with its first-quarter financial results, business communication platform Slack (NYSE: WORK) this week announced a partnership with Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN). As part of the multiyear deal, Amazon Web Services (AWS) will adopt Slack's channel-based messaging solution for its employees.
The stock market posted a huge advance on Friday, lifted by an extremely optimistic outlook on the employment front. Most economists had expected dramatic job losses in May, but the employment report instead showed millions of new jobs created. For Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) and Slack Technologies (NYSE: WORK), shareholders seem to think that what's good for the broader economy might end up taking away from the long-term potential of their respective businesses.
Slack and Amazon announced a big integration late yesterday afternoon. As part of the deal, Slack will use Amazon Chime for its call feature, while reiterating its commitment to use AWS as its preferred cloud provider to run its infrastructure. At the same time, Amazon has agreed to offer Slack as an option for all internal communications.
Investors have a few good reasons to follow GameStop's (NYSE: GME) upcoming earnings report. Its announcement on Tuesday will cover a period of maximum stress on the business as most of its stores were closed to shopper traffic due to COVID-19. The video game retailer is also facing the predictable demand slump that happens right before major console upgrades from Microsoft and Sony.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. is in preliminary talks to buy a stake in No. 2 Indian carrier Bharti Airtel Ltd. for at least $2 billion, Reuters reported, joining Facebook Inc. and other U.S. giants in betting on one of the world’s fastest-growing internet arenas.The U.S. online retailer is in early-stage discussions to buy about a 5% stake in the Indian wireless operator, Reuters said, citing anonymous sources. A deal will help Amazon access Bharti’s 300 million subscribers -- a user base akin to the entire U.S. population. On Friday, the Indian carrier said in a statement it wasn’t considering any proposal to sell a stake to Amazon, referring to reports as “speculative.”American technology and investment giants have been buying stakes in Indian companies to build their presence in Asia’s second-most populous nation. Facebook agreed to invest about $5.7 billion into a unit of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. in April, while Microsoft Corp. is reportedly considering a stake in the same company.Amazon already has deep roots in India, where Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos has visited and vowed to build one of his biggest e-commerce operations outside of the U.S. Bezos, now the world’s richest man, said during a trip in January that his company would invest another $1 billion on top of the billions it’s shelled out to bring small and medium-size businesses online. Amazon is now vying with Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart to tap an increasingly affluent population adopting smartphones at a rapid clip.Read more: Jeff Bezos’s India Visit Marked by Probe and ProtestsAn Amazon spokeswoman in India declined to comment. “We routinely work with all digital and OTT players and have deep engagement with them to bring their products, content and services for our wide customer base. Beyond that there is no other activity to report,” a Bharti spokesperson said.An influx of capital would be welcome to New Delhi-based Bharti Airtel, which has come under pressure to beef up its offerings ever since Ambani’s technology venture went on a deal spree to secure about $10 billion in investment from Facebook to KKR & Co. Airtel’s billionaire Chairman Sunil Mittal may be looking to leverage the diverse businesses in his empire just as Ambani goes into overdrive to transform his oil-and-petrochemicals company into an Indian e-commerce and digital payments titan with Jio Platforms.Read more: How Facebook’s Reliance Deal Upends a $1 Trillion Digital ArenaIn its 25 years of operations, Bharti Airtel has survived frequent policy changes in one of the world’s toughest telecommunications markets. It lost its position as India’s largest wireless carrier last year to Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., which debuted in 2016 and shook up the industry with free calls and cheap data. The most recent blow to Bharti Airtel came in October, when the nation’s top court in a shock ruling ordered it to pay $3 billion in back fees.The technology ambitions of Ambani, Asia’s richest man, have turned the spotlight on his telecommunications rivals, including Vodafone Idea Ltd., the struggling Indian business of British operator Vodafone Group Plc. The Financial Times reported May 28 that Alphabet Inc.’s Google is considering acquiring a stake in that venture. Vodafone Idea said it isn’t currently considering any such proposal.Besides telecommunications, Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises has businesses spanning insurance, real estate, education and farm food.(Updates with Bharti Airtel’s comment from the 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.
(Bloomberg) -- Slack Technologies Inc. withdrew its annual billings forecast, citing business uncertainty, signaling the company isn’t confident it will benefit as much from the work-from-home era as investors expect. Shares fell 16% in extended trading.Slack had earlier projected billings of as much as $1 billion this fiscal year. Investors closely track this metric for cloud-based software companies because it gives a view of the strength of the company’s pipeline.Chief Executive Officer Stewart Butterfield has sought to strengthen his company’s market position during the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced millions of people to work and learn from home to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The software maker’s app is a combination of an office chat room and a workflow platform to automate tasks. In March, Slack simplified the design of the program in a bid to remain competitive with Microsoft Corp.’s Teams application. Slack has a growing rivalry with the world’s largest software maker, whose product bundles chat, video conferencing and other collaboration tools.“The second half of the year is just too complex,” Butterfield said in an interview. “There are significant tailwinds, there’s some headwinds, and it’s hard to know how that factors out. If you set that aside, I think this is a generational shift in how people work and we’ll be able to play a major role in that going forward.”Investors also were disappointed by Slack’s annual revenue forecast of $855 million to $870 million, up just slightly from the company’s projection in mid-March. Analysts, on average, estimated $856.5 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“Slack’s withdrawal of full-year billings guidance looks conservative to us and likely suggests a pull-forward of revenue amid faster new-customer additions due to remote work,” Mandeep Singh, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, wrote Thursday in a note. Microsoft is also pricing Teams cheaply, which may cause Slack to lose a higher number of customers than usual, he said. Microsoft bundles Teams with its 365 productivity suite.In the fiscal first quarter, sales gained 50% to $201.7 million, the San Francisco-based company said Thursday in a statement. Analysts estimated $187 million. The company reported a loss, excluding some items, of 2 cents a share, in the period ended April 30, compared with analysts’ projections of a loss of 6 cents.Slack now has more than 122,000 paying customers, an increase of 28% compared with a year earlier. The company said the number of clients who spend more than $100,000 for the platform jumped 49% to 963.Slack’s results were especially disappointing because Zoom Video Communications Inc., a video-conferencing software maker, on Tuesday projected soaring revenue for the rest of the year. Investors expected Slack to greatly benefit from the boom in remote work as well, but many of the company’s customers are small- and mid-sized businesses, which have struggled during the pandemic.The company also announced a major partnership with Amazon.com Inc., which will make Slack available to all of its employees. Some of Amazon’s workers already use the service. Amazon Web Services, the cloud-computing arm of the retail giant, is now Slack’s preferred cloud vendor. The appmaker will use a raft of AWS products, including Chime, an audio and video call service, to power the backend of Slack calls.Shares fell to a low of $31.30 in extended trading after closing at $37.94 Thursday in New York. The stock has climbed 69% this year.“I can’t care about the stock price on the level of individual days,” Butterfield said when asked about the reaction to earnings. “I just wouldn’t be able to do my job. I care about where the share price is five years from now and 10 years from now. This is just a very volatile time.”(Updates with comments from CEO starting in fourth 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.
Tencent (OTC: TCEHY) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), two of the largest tech companies in the world, have generated massive returns for investors over the past decade. Tencent's stock surged 1,360% as it expanded its gaming ecosystem and WeChat, China's most popular messaging platform. Meanwhile, Amazon's stock rose 1,820% as it dazzled investors with the growth of its e-commerce and cloud platforms.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. federal and state authorities are asking detailed questions about how to limit Google’s power in the online search market as part of their antitrust investigations into the tech giant, according to rival DuckDuckGo Inc.Gabriel Weinberg, chief executive officer of the privacy-focused search engine, said the company has spoken with state regulators, and talked with the U.S. Justice Department as recently as a few weeks ago.Justice Department officials and state attorneys general asked the company about requiring Google to give consumers alternatives to its search engine on Android devices and in Google’s Chrome web browser, Weinberg said in an interview.“We’ve been talking to all of them about search and all of them have asked us detailed search questions,” he added.Weinberg’s comments shine a light into how the inquiry is examining Google’s core business -- online search. Bloomberg has reported that the Justice Department and Texas are already examining Google’s dominance of the digital advertising market. The Justice Department and a coalition of states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have been investigating the company for a year, and the DOJ has begun drafting a lawsuit, which could be filed in the coming months. It would kick off one of the most significant antitrust cases in the U.S. since the government sued Microsoft Corp. in 1998.The investigations have been wide-ranging and are looking into various parts of Google’s business. States including Utah and Iowa are focusing on search, according to people familiar with the matter. Texas is looking at the digital ad market and related technology.Google handles the majority of online searches in the U.S., with Microsoft’s Bing, DuckDuckGo and other providers trailing far behind. Google Search is free for users, but the company’s lead helps it charge thousands of businesses high prices for ads that run above the free web listings in results. Last year, that business generated almost $100 billion in revenue.Read more: Google Search Dominance Has Businesses Paying for Their Name“We continue to engage with the ongoing investigations led by the Department of Justice and Attorney General Paxton, and we don’t have any updates or comments on speculation,” a Google spokeswoman said. In the past, the company has said that online competition is just a click away.The Federal Trade Commission previously investigated whether Google stifled competition in the market for online search advertising, but it closed the probe in 2013 after the company agreed to relatively minor changes. However, portions of communications between FTC commissioners and staff later showed that staffers recommended bringing an antitrust lawsuit against Google.Read more: Google Should Be Afraid of Latest U.S. ScrutinyWeinberg said the questions he has fielded recently about requiring Google to present users of its tech alternatives to its own search engine suggest that’s something the government could include in a possible future settlement.“That’s one direction we think has a decent probability,” he added. The Justice Department declined to comment. Attorneys general in Utah and Iowa didn’t respond to requests for comment.In Europe, Google was fined a record $5 billion for antitrust violations in 2018. As part of that ruling, the company is required to give consumers using phones that run its Android operating system a choice of different search engines and web browsers. Competing services must bid in an auction to be included in a “choice screen.”“Could this be a precursor to similar changes in the U.S.?” Mark Shmulik, Toni Sacconaghi and other analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein, wrote in a note to investors earlier this week.Europe’s remedy has gone through various iterations and some rivals have argued that having to pay to be included in the choice screen is unfair.Read more: Google App Prompts Watched ‘Very Very Closely’ by EU’s VestagerEcosia, a not-for-profit search engine based in Germany, boycotted the auction. DuckDuckGo participated in the most recent auction, but said it may not be able to compete if prices rise.“This auction remedy, proposed by Google, was constructed to make Google money, not to provide meaningful consumer choice,” DuckDuckGo said in a blog post last week.It suggested scrapping the auction and said that an unpaid “search preference menu” has increased competition already in Russia. In 2010, Microsoft created a successful browser preference menu without an auction where the top five web browsers by market share appeared randomly, DuckDuckGo said.“While our view is that users are unlikely to switch search engines, Yandex grew their search engine share by 2,000 basis points to 58% in three years following a similar ruling in Russia,” Bernstein’s Shmulik wrote in the recent Bernstein note to investors.If the U.S. incorporates these suggestions, it could bypass Europe as the most successful regulator of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Weinberg said.“The U.S. gets criticized for being behind Europe but in reality what’s happened in Europe hasn’t worked,” the CEO added. “The U.S. not only can do it right from the start but has the opportunity to leapfrog the EU.”(Updates with analyst comment in 13th 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 COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting work-from-home trend have accelerated the growth of the video game industry in the last few months. Companies are seeing more players join the gaming fold, and with advancements in graphics technology on the horizon with the new consoles coming this fall from Sony and Microsoft, now is a good time to consider adding a few top video game stocks to your nest egg. CEO Bobby Kotick has guided Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI) to market-beating returns since taking over in the early 1990s.
All was well the first two months of the new decade before all hell broke loose, and while the global economy remains in various stages of lockdown and in recession due to you-know-what, the U.S. stock market indices have rallied to close to where they started at the onset of the year. Leading the charge in this new era are technology stocks -- specifically those helping organizations and individuals cope with shelter-in-place and work-from-home orders. Artificial intelligence (AI) was already a promising growth industry, but recent events have made the need for automation and efficient use of data more important than ever.
Not long ago, it seemed too futuristic to calculate life spans of industrial equipment under a variety of scenarios in real time. Two powerhouses in their respective fields have linked up to help manufacturing become faster and more cost-efficient. Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Azure Internet of Things (IoT) cloud system is connecting production lines to engineering teams.
In this week's episode of Influencers, Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer speaks with Koch Disruptive Technologies President, Chase Koch, about his venture capital endeavor and what the company is doing to push Koch Industries into the future.
(Bloomberg) -- Over the past four years, Lucas Joppa, Microsoft Corp.’s 37-year-old chief environmental officer, has dislocated and broken one shoulder, separated the other one, broken his right wrist, and also broken his left thumb. In early May he was pretty sure his right thumb was broken, but his hand surgeon said it was a torn ligament. It’s not that he’s clumsy or reckless—he calculates that, given the amount of time he spends on a bike or skis, his “error rate” is about 0.08%—it’s just that he has a tendency not to look before he jumps.It’s this tolerance for risk—and falling—that makes him well-suited for the unprecedented task that lies ahead. In January, Microsoft pledged to be carbon negative (removing more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits) by 2030 and to spend $1 billion on a climate investment fund, much of it aimed at bolstering carbon-removal tech, a nascent field with lots of big ideas but only a handful of companies that are trying it. It was a statement of intent more than a concrete plan. Right now none of this is possible. Joppa and his colleagues are all too aware they can’t wait to act until everything is certain. The fund plans to announce its first investment later this year.“I jump a lot, and sometimes I fall. It’s going to happen. You have to be willing to accept the risk,” Joppa says. The trick, he adds, is skipping the jumps that could kill him if they go wrong. “I’m bringing that approach to everything.”To avert climate disaster, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects overall global warming must be kept below 1.5C. It’s already at 1.16C. Even the previously unimaginable scenario we’re now living through—worldwide lockdowns to stop the Covid-19 pandemic—isn’t lowering the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Global warming hasn’t slowed, and Joppa and a lot of others say it probably won’t without the rapid adoption of carbon- sucking technology that barely exists.On a Thursday morning in April, Joppa logs on to his computer to address a videoconference of 16 people who will help determine how and whether Microsoft can meet one of the most ambitious carbon-reduction goals set by any company.“We’ve got a lot to do, not a lot of time to do it,” he tells the group.On the call are co-workers from his sustainability group, finance and business development officials who will consider investment opportunities, and experts in running Microsoft’s energy-guzzling global network of data centers. They’re joined by executives and climate scientists with Carbon Direct, a consulting company that will help Microsoft develop a 10-year plan for getting to carbon negative.Elizabeth Willmott, Microsoft’s carbon expert, lays out the company’s requirements to offset its emissions: It wants to buy access to a menu of carbon-removal techniques that include planting kelp forests and machines that draw carbon from the air and store it underground. It’s looking for options that are lasting and verifiable. Oh, and Joppa wants to do this on the cheap, paying companies $20 a ton, a fraction of what many of the options currently cost. It’s not because Microsoft doesn’t have the money for pricier options. Rather, one of its key goals is to force the innovation that enables prices to drop to a level others—without Microsoft’s $137.6 billion cash pile—can afford.“I often refer to our climate innovation fund as the self-awareness fund. We could just pay for this, but if you just use money to solve your problems, that represents an extreme lack of self-awareness to everybody else’s ability to do this,” Joppa tells the others on the call.Microsoft’s approach has won praise from climate scientists for its ambition. But the company also counts some of the worst emitters—oil and gas giants such as Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp.—among its customers, selling them software and gear they use to increase oil and gas extractions. A May 19 Greenpeace report called out Microsoft and Amazon.com Inc. for “connections to some of the world’s dirtiest oil companies for the explicit purpose of getting more oil and gas out of the ground and onto the market faster and cheaper.”Microsoft is attempting to counter this incongruity with unproven removal ideas, says Nives Dolsak, a professor of sustainability science at the University of Washington. “Their strategy is, ‘We are banking on uncertain technology that will reduce carbon from the air, and if that works out, that allows us to put certain future additional carbon into the air,’ ” she says.Joppa has heard this criticism before. It’s the biggest complaint Microsoft gets on its climate strategy. Oil and gas companies need to be part of the climate and energy solution, he says. It doesn’t make sense to cut ties.As the company leaps headlong into its plan, among the many risks it must consider are the early and unproven technology and its high prices, Joppa says, as well as the rapid pace of climate change and the small window to arrest it. “We have got to go out and make some bets on technologies that don’t exist, on technologies that are too expensive, and on markets that aren’t mature enough,” he says. “They will never be cheap enough, they will never be scaled high enough, and they will never be mature enough unless a Microsoft comes in right now and starts pushing.”Joppa grew up in rural Wisconsin and met his wife, Jamie, in second grade. School bored him until he took a college course called Extinction of Species and then threw himself into studying ecology. After a Peace Corps stint in Malawi and a doctorate he earned in three years, he began work at Microsoft’s research arm, much to the horror of some colleagues. One professor told him, “Lucas, you could have been somebody!”During almost 11 years at Microsoft, Joppa has worked to apply computing power to the Earth’s challenges. He came up with AI for Earth in 2016, a program that grants software to companies working on environmental projects. When the company’s sustainability work became a part of Microsoft’s legal department and Joppa moved with it, his nature-themed tattoos peeking out of a T-shirt stood out among a sea of khaki and button-downs. But when Microsoft decided to name its first chief environmental officer in 2018, Joppa’s scientific background and ability to work with employees from various disciplines made him the obvious choice, says Microsoft President Brad Smith.Since 2012 the company has taxed its own business units for the carbon they emit and put the proceeds into buying carbon credits and running sustainability programs, making it one of the earlier companies to take such a step. Last spring it doubled its internal carbon tax and said it would lobby for national carbon-pricing policies.But customers kept asking Microsoft to do more, and employees were also pushing. In September rival Amazon pledged to be carbon neutral by 2040, and Microsoft felt pressure to step up its own commitment, Smith says. At a meeting in November, Joppa used dire projections from the IPCC as a way to create urgency for Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella and his executive team. The world can emit only 420 more gigatons of CO2 to have a 66% chance of avoiding catastrophic warming, Joppa explained, and at the current rate that’s only a decade away.He returned with instructions to come up with a bold proposal. Along with the finance department, the team worked frenetically over the holidays on the math behind going carbon negative. “It was one thing to have the goal. It was another thing to know whether we could achieve it,” Smith says. Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood committed $1 billion for an idea she’d had: the climate investment fund.Microsoft opted for an unprecedented pledge to clean up all direct and electrical emissions since its 1975 founding by 2050. Its promise to become carbon negative by 2030 includes not only direct emissions from its buildings, data centers, and fleet of campus vehicles, but also something called Scope 3 emissions. These are more indirect, harder to calculate, and far larger. It means taking responsibility for the energy that gamers use when they play Xbox video games, for example. Microsoft doesn’t count oil and gas customers’ use of its software for drilling and exploration in Scope 3.The staff who handle Microsoft’s purchases from suppliers are working on standards for those companies to measure what they emit and planning to add incentives to spur them to do better. Microsoft also plans to work with customers on how they can be greener, which includes helping oil and gas customers with clean energy programs, Joppa says.In the past couple of years, more than 40 tech companies have set targets for limiting emissions, but Microsoft’s plans to be carbon negative by 2030 and wipe out historical emissions are the most aggressive. There are only a handful of businesses that have said they’ll be carbon negative within 10 years, including furniture maker Ikea and tax software provider Intuit Inc. Panasonic Corp. says it will be carbon negative by 2050. Payments startup Stripe Inc. has begun spending $1 million a year funding negative-emissions projects.Microsoft’s investment fund is also unusual, but its goals are similar to those of a fund led by co-founder Bill Gates, who remains an adviser to the company and has met with Joppa and other Microsoft executives to share ideas. Gates is chairman of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a $1 billion fund with investors such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Virgin Group boss Richard Branson, and Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, which owns Bloomberg Green. There are ongoing conversations between Microsoft and the fund about possible partnerships on investments, says Jonah Goldman, managing director at Gates Ventures, a private investment office for Gates. Both entities share an understanding that carbon removal is a different type of investment, and it’s important to have companies like Microsoft backing technology that isn’t an obvious short-term moneymaker.After an event in January to announce their big plans, Joppa and his team celebrated with a carbon-themed playlist featuring Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire and Heat Wave by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, then got to work figuring out how to make the promises a reality.Joppa has been reading a book on the Apollo mission to put a man on the moon, and he told his wife how jealous it made him. “They had this pure thing that brought business and science and research and engineering all together, and you could just focus on it obsessively,” he says. Jamie answered: “What are you talking about? That’s what you have to do.”On the banks of Howe Sound in British Columbia, a fan the size of a delivery truck slurps carbon out of the atmosphere. It’s part of a factory run by a company called Carbon Engineering, and it’s considered one of the most promising in the field of “direct air capture,” the segment of the carbon-capture industry that sounds the most like science fiction. Gates was an early investor in the company. Basically fans, or “injectors,” connect the air with chemicals that bond with the carbon and remove it. Right now it’s highly inefficient and expensive, with prices anywhere from $250 to $1,000 a ton. Microsoft is banking on the price going down and volume going up.Another direct-air-capture startup, Climeworks AG, has its massive fans set up in Zurich, where the captured CO2 is used to grow plants in a greenhouse. Climeworks operates three plants, but they’re only removing hundreds of tons in a year. The industry is young. In fact, the three leading companies together can’t pull 1 million tons of carbon out of the air a year, while data centers of the kind Microsoft and Amazon operate are estimated to produce more than 300 times that.“Direct air capture is like the Saturn V rocket for the moonshot,” Smith says. “If someone can perfect that, it’s going to just change the equation.” Another carbon-removal technique is bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, or BECCS, which is basically growing plants to absorb carbon and then burning that biomass for power and sequestering the resulting emissions underground. The U.K.’s biggest power plant, in North Yorkshire, has a pilot project using the technology. It’s the first working example of BECCS, and it captures less than 1 ton of carbon dioxide a day.When it comes to machines that successfully remove carbon from the atmosphere today, that’s about it.By Microsoft’s account of its emissions, it needs to buy credits to remove about 2 million tons of CO2 next year—and 6 million by 2030, even though new emissions will be cut by more than half by then. There are other large companies interested in buying credits to offset their carbon sins, too. But there will not be enough carbon-removal tech credits for everyone to offset their emissions. In the near term, Microsoft plans to buy more natural carbon credits that go toward things such as planting trees before switching to tech. In July, Microsoft will begin to solicit bids for its carbon-removal business. Its interest, along with that of Stripe, Shopify Inc., and others, should help fuel investment in new projects, says Deepika Nagabhushan, program director for decarbonized fossil energy at the Clean Air Task Force, which is tracking some 26 potential carbon-capture projects. But it won’t make a difference overnight. “Even if Microsoft announces today that they are going to buy [a certain] number of credits from a direct-air-capture project, it’s going to take a couple of years for a project to even develop.”On Joppa’s conference call, the team from Carbon Direct reminds Microsoft that the low price will make their short-term goals harder. Julio Friedmann, Carbon Direct’s chief scientist, notes most of the available projects in BECCS and direct air capture cost many times Microsoft’s $20-a-ton budget. And other companies need to offer investment funds like Microsoft’s. “You can do a lot with a billion, but you cannot create a gigaton-scale industry with a billion dollars, no matter how smart and savvy the investments are,” Friedmann, who’s also a researcher at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, says in an interview.The price is also lower than many experts have modeled for the economic damage each ton of carbon is likely to cause.But Joppa wants to use Microsoft’s purchasing power and its investments to push the price down to a level other buyers can afford. If carbon-capture tech is something only the Microsofts of the world can afford, he worries that the world will fail to contain warming. “Markets work because we make them work,” he says. They work because people put in positive incentives and help juice supply and demand. “You don’t just wish it to be so, and it happens.”Microsoft expects to make mistakes both in investments and carbon-removal choices. Willmott, the carbon expert of the group, says the company wants to be transparent about its successes and failures so others can learn from them.The coronavirus-induced shutdown has made Joppa more certain that radical action is needed quickly. CO2 emissions are down—about 8% of the estimated total for the year will never be emitted, according to the International Energy Agency. Although that’s not enough to make a dent in overall warming, the slowdown has led to cleaner air and clearer skies, and confinement has made the outdoors a welcome respite.“I hope there’s something lasting about it,” he says. “We’ve given people now an experience with a healthier planet, and I hope that’s going to be hard to take away.”There’s another risk in this whole project, of course—that time runs out. Is this plan achievable in the time we have? “It better be,” Joppa says. “I’m existentially worried about the cost of failure.” —With Emily Chasan, Leslie Kaufman, and Akshat Rathi 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.
Microsoft (MSFT) closed the most recent trading day at $185.36, moving +0.24% from the previous trading session.
Internet stock are hot since they continue to gain from digital transformation