MSFT Jun 2021 135.000 call

OPR - OPR Delayed price. Currency in USD
41.21
-2.29 (-5.26%)
As of 2:40PM EST. Market open.
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous close43.50
Open45.94
Bid40.00
Ask43.80
Strike135.00
Expiry date2021-06-18
Day's range40.10 - 45.94
Contract rangeN/A
Volume17
Open interest1.34k
  • Oracle Reveals Funding of Dark Money Group Fighting Big Tech
    Bloomberg

    Oracle Reveals Funding of Dark Money Group Fighting Big Tech

    (Bloomberg) -- When the Internet Accountability Project popped up late last year and joined the growing crusade against Big Tech, the nonprofit group refused to say who was financing it.Turns out, at least one of its benefactors is Oracle Corp.Oracle donated between $25,000 and $99,999 last year to the internet project, according to a new political-giving report Oracle posted on its website. The group calls itself a conservative nonprofit advocating for tougher privacy rules and stronger antitrust enforcement against the internet giants.The IAP financing is just one part of an aggressive, and sometimes secretive, battle Oracle has been waging against its biggest rivals, including Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.Oracle spent years fighting to unseat Amazon as the front-runner for a lucrative Pentagon cloud contract, which was awarded to Microsoft Corp. in October.The Redwood City, California, company has also been locked in a decade-long legal dispute with Google, claiming the search-engine giant violated Oracle copyrights by including some Java programming code in the Android phone. Oracle acquired Java’s developer, Sun Microsystems Inc., in 2010.Earlier this month, IAP filed an amicus brief supporting Oracle’s position in the case. IAP said it wants to “ensure that Google respects the copyrights of Oracle and other innovators.” The U.S. Supreme Court on March 24 will hear oral arguments in the Google v. Oracle America case.The Trump administration on Feb. 19 also urged the Supreme Court to reject Google’s appeal in the case. Its brief appeared the same day that Larry Ellison, Oracle’s co-founder and chairman, hosted a high-dollar fundraiser at his Rancho Mirage estate for President Donald Trump. The event prompted about 300 Oracle employees to stage a protest the next day. The U.S. had previously supported Oracle as the case wound its way through the courts.Oracle’s donations disclosure reveals that it contributed to at least four other groups that filed supportive briefs in the Supreme Court case. Google has also donated money to at least 10 groups that have filed briefs on its behalf in the high court case.Oracle and Amazon didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment about the Oracle disclosure. Google declined to comment.IAP President Mike Davis said in a statement the group doesn’t disclose its financial backers but specified that Oracle didn’t fund its Supreme Court brief.The internet project was launched in September by Davis, a former aide to Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and Rachel Bovard, a former aide to Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. The group aims to “lend a conservative voice to the calls for federal and state governments to rein in Big Tech before it is too late,” according to its website.The IAP is a Section 501(c)(4), known as a “social-welfare” organization. That designation means it isn’t required to disclose donors as long as it doesn’t spend more than half of its money on campaign advertisements or activities to sway an election.Among other policies, IAP supports curtailing Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which shields tech companies from liability for content that users post on their platforms. The clause saves tech companies from having to review content before it’s published online, and then shields them from lawsuits if that content turns out to be problematic.Earlier: Barr Takes Aim at Legal Shield Enjoyed by Google, FacebookIn interviews and on social media, IAP has supported Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who has proposed that tech companies lose the legal immunity unless they can prove to the Federal Trade Commission that they treat their content in a politically neutral manner.Since September, IAP has tweeted at least 11 times about Hawley’s legislative efforts against Google and other tech companies. Other IAP tweets highlight instances in which Google-funded groups fought on the internet giant’s behalf.“Holy smokes you guys, DC is awash in @Google money,” Bovard tweeted in September.Davis, the group’s president, wrote last week on Townhall.com that Google’s battle with Oracle is “the poster child for what we at IAP call ‘the Great 21st Century Internet Heist.’” He said the company “is anathema to conservatives and everything we stand for,” without disclosing that his group is funded by Oracle.Earlier: It’s the Kochs vs. the Mercers in the Right’s Big Tech BrawlOracle claims Google owes it at least $8.8 billion for using the Java code without a license. Google argues it was fair to use parts of the programming language to help Android communicate more easily with other software.The case has split Silicon Valley by pitting software makers who favor stronger copyright protections against companies that rely on others’ code to produce new innovations.Other CampaignsIAP is far from the only anti-tech group Oracle has funded. It also gave between $25,000 and $99,999 to the Free and Fair Markets Initiative, according to the disclosure.Free and Fair Markets claims it is a grassroots coalition of businesses and advocacy groups fighting for a better economy. In practice, it has focused more on publicizing negative reports about Amazon. The Wall Street Journal reported that Oracle, Walmart Inc. and the Simon Property Group had financed the group.For the last two years, Oracle has also waged a multi-front battle against Amazon over the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud contract. The deal, which could be worth $10 billion over a decade, is designed to transition much of the Pentagon’s data into one commercially operated cloud system.For more: Oracle’s Catz Is Said to Talk Amazon Contract Row With TrumpAmazon was seen as the leading contender because it had already won a major cloud contract with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and had obtained high levels of security clearance. The move to Amazon’s cloud would have threatened Oracle’s legacy database business with the Defense Department.Oracle led a coalition of other tech companies, including Microsoft Corp. and International Business Machines Corp., to oppose the Pentagon’s decision to award the contract to a sole bidder. In addition to lobbying Congress and the Trump administration, Oracle also filed -- and lost -- challenges through the Government Accountability Office and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.Oracle is currently appealing a July ruling that it lacked standing to challenge the contract.(Updates with comment from IAP in paragraph 11)\--With assistance from Greg Stohr.To contact the reporters on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at nnix1@bloomberg.net;Joe Light in Washington at jlight8@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, 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.

  • Tech Daily: Regulatory & More
    Zacks

    Tech Daily: Regulatory & More

    The planned digital tax, a new bill that could impact encryption, developments on U.S. Google's antitrust case and Amazon's challenge of the JEDI contract and other news is covered in this article.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, AT&T, International Business Machines and Microsoft
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, AT&T, International Business Machines and Microsoft

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, AT&T, International Business Machines and Microsoft

  • Give Your Child a Head Start in Investing: 3 Big Brand Stocks
    Zacks

    Give Your Child a Head Start in Investing: 3 Big Brand Stocks

    Invest in big brand stocks for your children, as these stocks generally boast stable cash flow, and being big brands, consumers have confidence in their products' quality, durability and consistency.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Nvidia and Alibaba
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Nvidia and Alibaba

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Nvidia and Alibaba

  • CenturyLink Augments Cloud Solutions With Azure MSP Program
    Zacks

    CenturyLink Augments Cloud Solutions With Azure MSP Program

    CenturyLink (CTL) collaborates with Microsoft Azure's Networking Managed Service Provider Program to offer seamless cloud and networking solutions for a plethora of businesses and consumers.

  • Amazon Adopts Rivals’ Playbook to Fight JEDI Cloud Bid Loss
    Bloomberg

    Amazon Adopts Rivals’ Playbook to Fight JEDI Cloud Bid Loss

    (Bloomberg) -- A powerful executive with Amazon.com Inc. in October portrayed attempts by archrival Oracle Corp. to block her company from winning one of the biggest-ever government deals as a last-ditch attempt to rescue a business that was becoming irrelevant.Now, Amazon is borrowing a page from the playbook Oracle used to unseat it as the front-runner for an up to $10 billion, 10-year project to overhaul the military’s technological operations.Amazon filed suit in federal court in November after the Pentagon, in a surprise move, on Oct. 25 awarded the contract to Microsoft Corp. Amazon asserted that the procurement was corrupted by the intervention of President Donald Trump, whose disdain for Jeff Bezos, its chairman and chief executive officer, is widely known.“Amazon is going to the mattresses,” said Stan Soloway, a deputy undersecretary of defense under President Bill Clinton and now president of Celero Strategies, a Washington-area consulting firm. “It feels like the same scorched-earth approach” that Oracle took.Earlier, Amazon had sounded a very different note on legal challenges in the government contracts arena. Two days before it lost the award to Microsoft, Teresa Carlson, who oversees government contracting for the company’s profitable cloud-computing unit, Amazon Web Services, derided efforts by Oracle and others to cast the Pentagon’s bidding process as corrupt and rigged in Amazon’s favor.It’s “kind of sad” when losers routinely protest procurement decisions “because it delays innovation,” she told other female corporate leaders, lobbyists and government officials at a Washington conference.Amazon’s combative legal strategy includes seeking Trump’s deposition, which legal experts say is unlikely but not impossible. It hopes to block the Pentagon from putting the cloud project into effect without a new evaluation or award decision.The longer the delay, the more time it has to gather depositions from officials, win over lawmakers, influence public opinion and prevent Microsoft from doing anything on the cloud project that would be hard to reverse. It’s also claiming the Defense Department lowered its standards by choosing Microsoft.Microsoft declined to comment. Oracle didn’t respond to a request for comment. Amazon pointed to earlier statements from company spokesman Drew Herdener who said the contract evaluation was tainted by deficiencies and “unmistakable bias.”The company scored an early win on Feb. 13 when a U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge temporarily blocked Microsoft from working on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud program while the lawsuit is pending. The order, which is still sealed, says the Pentagon must stop working on the contract “until further order of the court.”The e-commerce giant’s newfound aggressiveness has surprised some observers. The company remained a champion of the project in 2018 and 2019, while Oracle mounted a fierce lobbying and public-relations effort to stop the Pentagon from awarding a sole-source contract. “I didn’t think” they would protest even if they lost, Soloway said.Over the last two years, Oracle has filed -- and lost -- challenges at the Government Accountability Office and the federal claims court. Those efforts resulted in news stories airing its claims of unethical behavior by Pentagon and Amazon officials.Oracle’s audience wasn’t only bureaucrats and judges, but also the White House, lawmakers and the general public, all of which were simultaneously being flooded with revelations about Pentagon employees who worked on the procurement in its early days and then left to work for Amazon.Amazon is similarly seeking common cause with outsiders. Its case so far has attracted briefs from Protect Democracy, an anti-corruption group, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which has sued the Trump administration numerous times for alleged ethics lapses. Both organizations say they haven’t received money from Amazon.Amazon’s court case could help amplify its perspective on the procurement the same way that Oracle’s challenges attracted media attention. “There is also potential in litigation that you are arguing to members of Congress and the public,”said Steven Schooner, a professor of procurement law at George Washington University Law School.The company has been characterizing the loss of the contract as a political, not a technical, decision. Its suit contends that Pentagon officials artificially lowered their evaluation of the company’s proposal and that Trump “launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer the JEDI contract” away from Amazon “to harm his perceived political enemy” -- Bezos.Earlier this month, Jay Carney, Amazon’s top spokesman, told CNBC that the company was taking legal action because it believes that “blatant political interference” affected the award decision. Trump has long criticized Bezos over everything from the shipping rates Amazon pays the U.S. Postal Service to his ownership of the Washington Post.While Oracle charged that Pentagon officials failed to properly investigate ethical issues surrounding the bid, Amazon goes further by arguing that bias cost it the deal. Amazon alleges that the Defense Department, swayed by Trump’s animosity, unfairly judged its bid. It cites passages in a book by the speechwriter to former Defense Secretary James Mattis, stating Trump once told Mattis to “screw Amazon” out of the bid. (Mattis has criticized the book.)“Contracting officers are accused every day of not playing by the rules but rarely that they had a vendetta,” said Charles Tiefer, a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law.Microsoft, International Business Machines Corp. and other Amazon rivals at times joined forces with Oracle to try to stop the Pentagon from awarding the cloud contract to a single company, which made Amazon the obvious front-runner.Amazon not only was the market leader in the cloud-server industry, it also had won high-level security clearances from its previous work moving the Central Intelligence Agency’s data to the cloud.The tech companies courted the press and Defense Department cloud-services buyers. The Oracle coalition also descended on Capitol Hill, appealing particularly to members of the Armed Services committees. Some of the lawmakers would later propose curtailing the Pentagon’s funding for the contract until it justified its strategy.Amazon, likewise, in June hired a Trump-connected lobbyist, Jeff Miller, just before Trump disparaged the bidding process as uncompetitive, citing complaints from Oracle, Microsoft and IBM.Oracle’s legal challenges helped Microsoft catch up technologically -- and ultimately win. During the nearly three-year process, Microsoft won new deals with large customers such as Chevron Corp., AT&T Inc. and more than a dozen intelligence agencies that bolstered its standing in the marketplace.Delay Was Microsoft’s AllyMicrosoft, in addition, invested in a portable Azure system to analyze and transfer data to the cloud from the battlefield. The delay also gave Microsoft time to attain a higher level of government security, though it still hasn’t matched Amazon’s top-secret certification.Oracle, too, may have benefited from the delays it continued to engineer even after it was eliminated. Oracle, which sells large amounts of legacy software to the Pentagon, already has a partnership with Microsoft that it could use to win more business from the Defense Department.With much of the fighting between Amazon and Oracle in the rear-view mirror, JEDI’s fate rests with the federal courts. As Amazon waits for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to decide on its request to depose Trump and Pentagon officials, Oracle is appealing a July ruling that it lacked legal standing to challenge the bidding.“People file these suits for all kinds of reasons,” Tiefer said. “You could argue that one of the things that Amazon wants is a legitimate explanation for why they lost.”\--With assistance from Dina Bass.To contact the reporter on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at nnix1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, John HarneyFor 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

    British Startup Graphcore Hits $2 Billion Valuation

    (Bloomberg) -- Graphcore Ltd., the British semiconductor firm whose chips are used to run artificial intelligence programs, has raised $150 million, bringing its valuation to $1.95 billion.The company now has $300 million in cash, which it will use to invest in research and development and global expansion, Bristol, England-based Graphcore said in a statement on Tuesday.After it raised $200 million in 2018, Graphcore was approached by additional investors who wanted to put money into the company, Chief Executive Officer Nigel Toon said in an interview.While the company has no immediate plans for an initial public offering, several of its investors, such as Baillie Gifford, have experience investing in publicly traded technology companies and are the types of shareholders the company would try to target if it were to go public at some point in the future, Toon said.“Having this additional capital on hand allows us to accelerate our investment and allows us to be in a position to support the really large customers who we’re building business with,” Toon said.Read Businessweek’s profile of Graphcore here.Programs running artificial intelligence have different requirements from traditional software. Instead of telling machines what to do step-by-step, AI learns from pools of data, making greater demands on a computer’s memory and a processor’s energy use. Chips built to run artificial intelligence programs, therefore, have to prioritize efficiency.Graphcore’s chips are designed for “less precise” computing, mimicking the way human brains work, and helping artificially intelligent machines draw conclusions more like we do. They also need more processing power.Late last year, Graphcore announced a deal with Microsoft Corp. to offer its processing units on the U.S. company’s Azure cloud platform, with financial services giant Citadel an early customer.Graphcore has been adding engineers, expanding its operations in Asia and the U.S., and ramping up its customer service force and software development arm. The firm is also building out a team in Oslo that’s creating large-scale systems connecting thousands of its processors that can take on increasingly complex problems, like those raised by natural-language processing, which is important for the digital assistants proliferating on home speakers and smartphones, and self-driving cars.The current round includes Baillie Gifford, Mayfair Equity Partners, and M&G Investments. The firm, founded in 2016, has also previously gotten investment from Microsoft, BMW and Samsung Electronics Co.To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in London at athomson6@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, 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.

  • HP Will Return $16 Billion to Investors to Parry Xerox Bid
    Bloomberg

    HP Will Return $16 Billion to Investors to Parry Xerox Bid

    (Bloomberg) -- HP Inc. announced it will return $16 billion to shareholders, primarily through buybacks, and boost cost cuts, trying to rally investors against Xerox Holdings Corp. for control of the world’s second-largest personal computer maker.HP will increase share repurchases to $15 billion from a $5 billion program announced in October. This will result in adjusted profit of $3.25 to $3.65 per share in fiscal 2022, which is about $1 more per share than analysts’ projections. HP executives also said they have engaged Xerox to discuss a potential combination on their terms, rather than succumbing to the printer maker’s hostile takeover effort.The hardware giant raised its profit forecast for fiscal 2020 to as much as $2.43 a share, excluding some expenses, bolstered by the surge of share repurchases scheduled after the company’s annual meeting. For the current period, profit will be 49 cents a share to 53 cents a share, the Palo Alto, California-based company said Monday in a statement. The forecast fell short of Wall Street’s estimate of 54 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.HP executives said supply-chain disruptions related to the coronavirus outbreak will cost the company about 8 cents a share in adjusted profit in the current quarter. HP doesn’t expect the virus known as COVID-19 to affect performance in the second half of 2020.The company also said it would raise its cost-cutting program to $1.2 billion by 2022. HP, which had 56,000 workers as of October, is in the midst of a restructuring that could result in as many as 9,000 employee dismissals.HP’s shares gained about 4% in extended trading after closing at $22.10 in New York. The stock has declined about 7% in the past 12 months.HP has repeatedly rejected Xerox’s effort to secure a $35 billion acquisition, saying it “significantly undervalues” the company. A deal would unify two icons of the technology industry that pioneered innovations consumers and office workers still use today, but have faded in an industry increasingly driven by software. Xerox has said it will launch a tender offer “on or around March 2” for HP shares valued at $24 in cash and stock. For each HP share, a holder would get $18.40 in cash and 0.149 Xerox shares. Norwalk, Connecticut-based Xerox has also started a proxy fight, nominating 11 candidates for HP’s board to help close the deal.“We had a very strong first quarter, are putting in place a very aggressive plan and we are confident we can deliver on it, as we have in the past,” HP Chief Executive Officer Enrique Lores said in an interview. “We are open to explore a combination. Any combination needs to address three issues: it needs to reflect the right value exchange, needs to have the right capital structure and needs to have the right assessment of synergy.”HP believes a deal with Xerox would only unlock $1 billion in cost savings, not the $2 billion Xerox executives have promised, because only 10% of their businesses overlap, Lores said. HP will use a combination of cash on hand and debt to fund the buybacks. Chief Financial Officer Steve Fieler said he expects to take out a “few billion” dollars of debt. The company is committed to retaining a debt ratio of 1.5 times to 2 times profit, from 1.1 times currently.Xerox’s largest investor, activist Carl Icahn, has pushed for a tie-up in any form, so long as Xerox CEO John Visentin leads the combined company.HP structured the buybacks as an incentive for investors to reject Xerox’s director candidates. If shareholders vote against the challengers, they’ll start to see a benefit from $8 billion in buybacks over the next year, according to HP. The company said it would issue a proxy statement in the next week to announce the date of its annual meeting, which is usually in April.Fiscal first-quarter profit was 65 cents a share, excluding some expenses. That surged past HP’s previous projection of as much as 56 cents for the quarter. Analysts estimated 54 cents.For a year, HP has sought to stabilize its profitable printing division, which started stumbling in February 2019 due to lower customer demand for ink and toner. Revenue declined less than 1% to $14.6 billion in the period ended Jan. 31. Sales in the printing division fell 7% to $4.7 billion, with ink supplies dropping 7% in the period ended Jan. 31. Consumer hardware revenue declined 13% and commercial devices decreased 1%.In response to the falling ink sales, HP plans to change its business model starting late this year to make some printers profitable upfront, rather than heavily discounting them and making up the difference with ink sales. The company’s cheap printers will now be incompatible with generic or counterfeit ink cartridges.HP is the leader in the printing industry, with 20.6% of the market by revenue, according to research firm Gartner Inc. Xerox is fourth, with 10% of the industry.Revenue from personal computers increased 2.4% to $9.9 billion in the quarter, despite disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak. There were sales increases across laptops, desktops and workstations. Corporate clients are upgrading their computers to adopt Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 10 operating system.(Updates with talks about a potential deal in the second paragraph.)\--With assistance from Scott Deveau.To contact the reporter on this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at ngrant20@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack, 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.

  • 3 Blue-Chip Tech Stocks for Investors to Buy Now to Fight Coronavirus Fears
    Zacks

    3 Blue-Chip Tech Stocks for Investors to Buy Now to Fight Coronavirus Fears

    Check out these three blue-chip tech stocks that investors might want to buy now to help fight heightened coronavirus fears...

  • Coronavirus Infects Equity Markets: 3 Blue Chips To Consider
    Zacks

    Coronavirus Infects Equity Markets: 3 Blue Chips To Consider

    The coronavirus is infecting the equity markets as this disease spreads past China's borders

  • Top Stock Picks for the Week of Feb 24, 2020
    Zacks

    Top Stock Picks for the Week of Feb 24, 2020

    Tracey Ryniec and Dan Laboe discuss two tech giants whose earnings outlook is bullish.

  • Bloomberg

    Does This Investment Make Me Look Good?

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- One of the trendiest ideas in finance is something called “social impact investing,” which is the idea that people should put more money into socially beneficial companies and products, and less into socially harmful ones. That hardly sounds objectionable, but I am skeptical about how much good social impact investing can do.The first risk is that social impact investing will be used to “whitewash” various harmful policies. By divesting from a particular set of companies, an investment fund loses at most a very small benefit from an additional degree of broader market diversification. The fund still is likely to earn the market rate of return on its other investments, and in the meantime it can claim virtuousness. At the same time, the funds can pursue socially harmful policies elsewhere: investing in companies that lobby for tariff protection, say, or emit less visible forms of pollution, or how about refined sugar?A second risk is that social impact investing simply redistributes wealth from investments — maybe to less socially conscientious individuals. Imagine a socially conscious investment firm that declines to participate in the initial public offering of a company that pollutes the ocean. That might create downward pressure on the price of the IPO. But there is a problem: The value of the actual investment has not declined, so at a potentially lower IPO price other investors will step in to fill the demand. In fact, those investors may have the chance to buy at a discount and earn a higher return than otherwise.The net result is that conscientious investors have missed out on a profitable opportunity, while less socially aware investors have earned more. Over time, the less socially aware investors will become richer, and their greater wealth may translate into greater political and economic influence.Maybe this effect isn’t large, but it is negative, and it will become correspondingly larger to the extent social impact investing becomes more popular (in 2018, the money pouring into sustainable investment funds quadrupled, rising to about $21 billion). That doesn’t sound like an appealing trade-off.But put that worry aside and assume that social impact investing simply makes it easier to get a solar power company off the ground with an IPO or an expansion. It’s still not clear that much has been gained. At that late point in the process, the company will succeed or it won’t, no matter what the socially conscious funds do.If anything, it would be more useful to have socially conscious research and development at the very early stages of projects. To some extent there are such investments, and I am more sanguine about being conscientious then than when companies already exist and funds are making investment decisions.It is also difficult to monitor the performance and social efficacy of the funds focused on doing good. In actively managed sustainable equity funds, for example, the most commonly held stocks are estimated to be Microsoft, Alphabet, Visa, Apple and Cisco. I have nothing against those companies, but you have to wonder exactly how much social improvement those investment funds are buying.Norway’s fossil fuel divestment is well-publicized. Less well known is that it exempted Shell and Exxon. There simply aren’t clear benchmarks for which investments to avoid, and of course some critics will portray technology companies as the embodiment of evil.Too many of the empirical arguments for social impact investing stem from a single example: South Africa under apartheid. In that case, a coordinated campaign of divestment and international economic and social pressure did hasten the end of apartheid, all for the better. But most sanctions are not very effective at achieving their stated political goals, or their effectiveness may be unclear. South Africa may have been a special case because it was relatively small and isolated, and because so many South Africans had ceased to believe in apartheid.Investment in socially beneficial activities can be worthwhile. But it ignores the question of who decides what is “beneficial,” and it is yet another example of how politics and media are becomingly increasingly performative. Everything is about looking good instead of substance. It is increasingly difficult for businesses and investment funds to perform their proper work under the glare of perpetual debate and periodic condemnation.The notion of extending that same glare to economic investments makes is hardly reassuring. I’ve yet to see a conception of social impact investing that I find convincing.To contact the author of this story: Tyler Cowen at tcowen2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tyler Cowen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the blog Marginal Revolution. His books include "Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero."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.

  • In Mumbai, Microsoft boss Nadella trumpets cloud tie-up with Reliance
    Reuters

    In Mumbai, Microsoft boss Nadella trumpets cloud tie-up with Reliance

    Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella touted the new India cloud partnership with Reliance Industries as he shared centre-stage with its chairman Mukesh Ambani at an event in India's financial capital on Monday. Microsoft struck a 10-year deal with Reliance in 2019, committing to power the oil-to-telecoms conglomerate's data centres with its Azure cloud.

  • In Mumbai, Microsoft boss Nadella trumpets cloud tie-up with India's Reliance
    Reuters

    In Mumbai, Microsoft boss Nadella trumpets cloud tie-up with India's Reliance

    Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella touted the new India cloud partnership with Reliance Industries as he shared center-stage with its chairman Mukesh Ambani at an event in India's financial capital on Monday. Microsoft struck a 10-year deal with Reliance in 2019, committing to power the oil-to-telecoms conglomerate's data centers with its Azure cloud.

  • Microsoft Stock Falls 6%
    Investing.com

    Microsoft Stock Falls 6%

    Investing.com - Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Stock fell by 6.48% to trade at $166.90 by 09:30 (14:30 GMT) on Monday on the NASDAQ exchange.

  • Google Settles With States Over Consultants in Antitrust Probe
    Bloomberg

    Google Settles With States Over Consultants in Antitrust Probe

    (Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google has reached a settlement with state attorneys general over the states’ use of consultants in their antitrust investigation of the internet search giant.Google in October went to court to restrict the Texas Attorney General’s office from disclosing sensitive information to consultants who have worked for competitors and other companies such as News Corp. and Microsoft Corp that have complained about Google to regulators.Both sides reached a settlement that places some restrictions on how the experts can access confidential business information, Google said on Friday.Google had raised concerns over Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s hiring of consultants including Cristina Caffarra, an economist with Charles River Associates. She has worked for Google adversaries News Corp. and Microsoft as well as Russia’s Yandex NV, according to court filings.“We remain concerned with the irregular way this investigation is proceeding, including unusual arrangements with advisers who work for our rivals and vocal critics,” Google said in a statement.Paxton later released a statement saying, “With this agreement, experts retained by the state will not be burdened with the unreasonable prohibitions sought by Google. They will be able to lend their important expertise to the state without fear of being frozen out of other employment within their field.”(Updates with Paxton statement, in final paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at dmclaughlin9@bloomberg.net;Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at btenerellabr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Amazon Seeks Internal Pentagon Documents in JEDI Cloud Case
    Bloomberg

    Amazon Seeks Internal Pentagon Documents in JEDI Cloud Case

    (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. has asked a court to force the government to hand over documents related to Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s decision to recuse himself from making decisions on a $10 billion cloud-services contract.In a court filing made public on Friday, Amazon seeks a trove of documents to bolster its challenge of the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud contract that was awarded to Microsoft Corp. in October.Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s cloud unit, is also asking the U.S Court of Federal Claims to require the government to turn over materials that shed light on the role that Stacy Cummings, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, played in the procurement.Cummings communicated with the team evaluating JEDI bids and worked on preparations for JEDI-related meetings involving Esper, the lawsuit said. She recused herself from working on the procurement in September 2019, according to the lawsuit.In a previous filing, government lawyers argued that Amazon is “not entitled” to all materials relating to the recusals of Cummings and Esper. They added that Cummings had a conflict with Microsoft, that “did not impact the procurement.”Other files Amazon seeks include “informal notes” between the bid selection team members, JEDI-related content on digital channels and procurement documents that were presented to Esper and Deputy Secretary David Norquist.Representatives for the Defense Department and Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.Amazon filed a lawsuit in November in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims alleging that the Defense Department failed to fairly judge its bid because President Donald Trump viewed Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos as his “political enemy.”Amazon asked the court earlier this month to allow it to question Trump, Esper, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Dana Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer.In August 2019, the newly confirmed Esper ordered a review of the procurement after Trump endorsed criticism that the Pentagon had given Amazon an unfair advantage with the contract’s design.The Pentagon announced in October that Esper would recuse himself from any decisions involving the contract to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Esper’s son worked as a consultant for International Business Machines Corp., which along with Oracle Corp., had earlier been eliminated from the competition.Three days after Esper’s recusal, the Pentagon announced it had chosen Microsoft, an upset victory for the company that many in the industry viewed as a distant second to Amazon.“A complete factual record on the bases for these recusals is especially critical in light of the well-grounded allegations AWS has made about the troubling circumstances surrounding the recusals of DoD personnel,” the lawsuit said.The Pentagon’s JEDI project is designed to consolidate the department’s cloud computing infrastructure and modernize its technology systems. Earlier this month, a judge agreed to block Microsoft from working on the contract while Amazon’s lawsuit is being litigated.To contact the reporter on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at nnix1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, 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.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    US STOCKS-Coronavirus fears, U.S. business data drag down Wall Street

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  • Reuters - UK Focus

    US STOCKS-Wall St drops as coronavirus fears, business activity data weigh

    U.S. stocks sold off on Friday as a spike in new coronavirus cases in China and other countries and as data showing U.S. business activity stalled in February fueled investors' fears about the economy. Declines on Friday were led by heavyweights Microsoft Corp , Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc for a second straight day. Chipmakers, with strong ties to China for revenue, also fell sharply, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor index falling 3%.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks slide as coronavirus fears spur safe-haven buying

    Global equity markets slumped on Friday as the fast-spreading coronavirus drove investors into safe havens, with gold hitting a fresh seven-year high and the yield on the 30-year U.S. Treasury bond sliding to an all-time low. The virus has emerged in 26 countries and territories outside mainland China, killing 11 people, according to a Reuters tally. Data shows mainland China had 889 new confirmed cases and 118 deaths, with most of those in the provincial capital of Wuhan, which remains under virtual lockdown.

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