149.50 -0.09 (-0.06%)
After hours: 5:55PM EST
|Bid||149.50 x 1000|
|Ask||149.60 x 1100|
|Day's range||148.82 - 150.29|
|52-week range||93.96 - 151.33|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||1.23|
|PE ratio (TTM)||28.22|
|Earnings date||28 Jan 2020 - 3 Feb 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||2.04 (1.36%)|
|1y target est||160.16|
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) shares have surged 34% in the last three months. Now the question is will HPE's recent run of success continue after it reports its quarterly financial results on Monday, November 25?
Let's dive into three tech stocks we found with our Zacks Stock Screener that growth investors might want to consider buying right now as the stock market remains near its new highs...
A group advocating ethical investing will ask backers of tech analytics company Palantir Technologies to push for changes to its business practices, a rare case of coordinated shareholder action against a privately held company. The Investor Alliance for Human Rights, which claims more than 150 institutional members representing $4 trillion in managed assets, faults Palantir for contracts with government agencies including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “Through its multimillion-dollar U.S. government contracts, Palantir has played a mission critical role in enabling ICE to carry out its activities,” the group said in a presentation provided to Reuters in advance of its announcement.
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. When Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates tried to build an experimental nuclear reactor in China, his plan was thwarted by U.S. foreign investment restrictions. At Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum this week, Gates described the scuttled reactor project as “a five-year setback for technology.”A chorus of industry leaders, economists and researchers echoed Gates’ cautionary tale during the event in Beijing. Trade tensions between China and the U.S. have spilled into business and economics in tangible ways, they warned, including a slower pace of technological progress and scientific research. If relations between the two superpowers don’t get back on track soon, “we’re in danger of going back to the dark ages,” said Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang. “We need to reestablish some level of trust between initiatives that can really promote and benefit the people of two countries.”Open systems will inevitably win out over closed ones, Yang argued. He also cautioned U.S. companies that doing business in China may require some uncomfortable compromises.“The challenge with doing business across countries with different value systems is really starting to be more apparent,” he said. “Foreign companies that choose to operate in China have to face the fact that you have to comply with their rules.”Several Chinese tech company officials said they still wanted to work with American companies and that together, the two countries could further technological progress. “We’re in the 5G era, let’s not go back to the 2G or 3G era, where we had different standards,” said Lenovo Chief Executive Officer Yang Yuanqing.Cooling political relations between Washington D.C. and Beijing have slowed international collaboration. In May, the U.S. subjected Huawei Technologies Co. to a variety of sanctions, citing security concerns. The company and other Chinese tech sector boosters believe the move was motivated more by fear of China’s rising influence over fifth-generation networking gear and artificial intelligence.Huawei is Micron Technology Inc.’s largest customer, and on Thursday in Beijing, Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra told Bloomberg TV that the company has no plan to move U.S.-based manufacturing out of the country to facilitate supply to China.Mehrotra was one of more than a dozen top tech company executives to attend the two-day forum, which was organized by Bloomberg Media Group, a division of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. Most were cautiously optimistic that one way or another, tech companies would find a way to work across borders.It’s important to differentiate between the stance of the U.S. government and that of industry, said Parag Khanna, Managing Partner at FutureMap. “There’s always been a ‘silicon curtain’ when it comes to social media for U.S. companies,” he said, referring to the separate ecosystems that have developed in the U.S. and China. “But on hardware side, that’s the last thing they want.”He said the head of supply chain at a major U.S. semiconductor supplier told him recently that they “don’t have a plan B for international revenue and access to a large important market like China. We have to find a way to keep selling to China.”Zhu Min, chairman of the National Institute of Financial Research at Tsinghua University, put a finer point on it. Chinese imports accounted for about 65% of the $480 billion global chip market, he pointed out. “If trade friction stops chip exports to China, I think the whole global chip industry will break down,” Zhu said.While global business leaders may want to sidestep the political and trade tensions and simply get back to making money, that no longer seems possible, said Diana Choyleva, chief economist at Enodo Economics.“This is about a clash of ideology in terms of how the different systems view the internet, data, privacy and digital governance,” she said. “Whoever wins the technology race will be the global dominant power.”A growing digital divide threatens to be expensive, as companies spend more on their own technological independence and compensate for the limitations of their domestic markets, said Hong Chen, CEO of the Hina Group, a Beijing-based advisory and private equity firm.“But it also creates opportunities,” he said. Huawei, for example, might not have built its own mobile operating system if it knew it could rely on Google’s Android operating system. American sanctions were “a wake up call,” he said, spurring Huawei to create its own operating system that now attracts a whole new generation of app developers.For smaller companies without Huawei’s deep pockets, the opportunities are more constrained. Spencer Deng, a co-founder of robotics startup Dorabot, which is backed by Kai-Fu Lee’s Sinnovation Ventures, said he built his business on the premise of unrestricted, cross-border trade.“A separate supply chain will create a slower movement of goods,” he said. “That causes a slowdown for business and it’s not good for anyone.”\--With assistance from Colum Murphy and Gao Yuan.To contact the reporter on this story: Shelly Banjo in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at email@example.com, Janet Paskin, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. will likely argue that meddling by President Donald Trump cost the company a cloud-computing contract worth as much as $10 billion as it seeks to overturn a Pentagon decision to award the work to arch-rival Microsoft Corp.Yet Amazon faces an uphill climb in basing its challenge on those grounds, as legal requirements to successfully appeal a contract award on claims of political interference are high. To prevail, losing bidders must show the agency made its decision as a result of bias -- rather than on the merits of the companies’ proposals, according to procurement experts.“There is not much of a burden of proof on what did the president say,” said David Berteau, president of Professional Services Council, a trade group that represents federal contractors. “The question the Court will look into is what did DoD do based on what the president said?”For Amazon, the fight isn’t just about a single Pentagon contract but its ability to defend its expertise in the competitive federal contracting world -- and the right to say its cloud services are safe and advanced enough to serve even the most complex and risk-averse government clients.The court challenge -- the second involving the cloud bid -- also means the Pentagon will likely have to delay starting a technology program the Defense Department has called critical to its modernization. Oracle Corp. is also appealing a July ruling from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that dismissed its legal challenge to the cloud contract.Amazon said it filed a notice on Nov. 8 with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that it plans to formally protest its loss of the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure or JEDI cloud contract. Amazon could seek to delay the start of the contract while it pursues its case.“It’s critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence,” Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said in a statement announcing the company’s decision to file a complaint. “Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias -- and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified.”In July, President Trump stunned lawmakers and technology companies when he openly questioned whether the JEDI contract was being competitively bid, citing complaints from Microsoft, Oracle Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. Trump has long criticized Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on everything from the shipping rates his company pays the U.S. Postal Service to his personal ownership of what Trump calls “the Amazon Washington Post.”It’s not enough for Amazon to allege that Pentagon employees were aware of the president’s opinion on the contract, said Charles Tiefer, a procurement law professor at the University of Baltimore Law School. The company will have to show the Defense Department took his perspective into consideration when they evaluated bids.“There is a well-developed doctrine in the Court of Federal Claims that a contract award can be challenged for bias, but it’s a difficult showing for Amazon to make,” said Tiefer. “The requirements to show bias are very high.”A new book by Guy Snodgrass, a speechwriter to former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, alleges that Trump, in the summer of 2018, told Mattis to “screw Amazon” and lock it out of the bid. Mattis didn’t do what Trump asked, Snodgrass wrote. Mattis has criticized the book, but hasn’t commented on the allegation concerning Amazon.The Pentagon JEDI cloud project is intended to modernize the Defense Department’s technology systems and speed up real-time sharing of information across the military. The contract is worth as much as $10 billion over ten years and could offer the winner a bigger foothold in the burgeoning federal cloud market.While no law prohibits a president from weighing in on a contract, federal agencies must follow strict rules about what they can and can’t consider when making an award decision.Agencies must choose vendors based on the criteria outlined in their requests for proposals to avoid inviting a successful legal challenge, according to procurement experts. In the case of JEDI, Pentagon officials said they would pick a winner based on companies’ security strategy, proposed price and execution timeline and their ability to offer portable cloud services to the war fighter among other factors.A study conducted by Rand Corp. found that the U.S Court of Federal claims sustained just 9% of contract protests against the Defense Department from 2008 through 2016. The Government Accountability Office sustained 2.6% of contract protests during the same time period, though a much larger percentage of challenges led the agency to make changes to the procurement decision or terms, according to the study.Amazon was widely seen as the leading contender for the deal because it is the commercial market leader and already won a 2013 cloud deal from the Central Intelligence Agency, paving the way for the company to earn the highest federal cloud security authorizations.The White House requested a briefing on the cloud contract after Fox News aired a sharply critical segment by Tucker Carlson in June. The Defense Department prepared a detailed document pushing back on the Fox program in preparation for the briefing, Bloomberg has reported.Dana Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer, said during his confirmation hearing in late October that to the best of his knowledge, no one from the White House reached out to any members of the JEDI cloud contract selection team. The Pentagon will likely continue to argue in court that political influence played no role in its decision to choose Microsoft.To help make its case, Amazon could examine whether there are any differences between how the companies’ bids were evaluated by lower level technical staff on the Pentagon’s JEDI selection team and what Pentagon officials with closer access to the White House decided, said Frank Murray Jr., a procurement lawyer and partner at Foley & Lardner LLP. If top Pentagon officials chose Microsoft over the recommendation of their technical employees, that would be significant piece of evidence for Amazon, Murray said.Amazon could seek documents and interviews with Pentagon staff as part of its legal challenge. Amazon could also argue that the Pentagon erred in the way that it rated the bids from the two companies on metrics such as security, price and technical capabilities.“The nuts and bolts of the case are going to be: how were the proposals evaluated? And were they reasonable?” Murray said.If Amazon’s legal challenge is successful, the judge could force the Defense Department to reevaluate the companies’ proposals or even open up the bidding process again, procurement experts said.To contact the reporter on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at email@example.com, Larry LiebertFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Shipments of Apple Inc.’s popular AirPods wireless earphones are expected to double to 60 million units in 2019, according to people familiar with the Cupertino-based company’s production plans. This has been driven in part by “much higher” than expected demand for the pricier AirPods Pro model unveiled in October.The $249 AirPods Pro -- which offer noise cancellation and water resistance -- have surpassed expectations and demand for them is pushing Apple’s assembly partners against capacity and technical constraints, a person familiar with the matter said. Multiple suppliers are competing for the business of manufacturing the Pro earphones, though some are still building up the technical proficiency. There’s currently a wait time of two to three weeks for the AirPods Pro on Apple’s U.S. website.The most advanced form of wireless headphones is called “true wireless,” defined by the absence of a wire not just between the headphones and the music source but also between the two earbuds -- and the AirPods are the category-leading example. Taiwan-based Inventec Corp. and China’s Luxshare Precision Industry Co. and Goertek Inc. manufacture the AirPods for Apple.Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller declined to comment on the product’s shipments.The pickup in AirPods sales this year has been helped by the launch of two new iterations: the Pro model in October and a $199 upgraded version of the original in March. The first AirPods were released in 2016. The runway is also mostly clear for Apple to have a successful holiday season, with Microsoft Corp. delaying its rival true wireless buds until spring and Google also not launching its new model until 2020.At the end of August, Apple was the clear leader in the global true wireless earphones market, according to Counterpoint Research. AirPods shipments have dwarfed every alternative and the Beats Powerbeats Pro, another Apple product, also feature in the top 10 sellers. While Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy Buds have emerged as a recognizable competitor, Apple moreover ranked as the most preferred brand for future purchases of true wireless headphones in the U.S., the researchers said.“Apple also edged rivals because true wireless as a category is the preferred choice over wireless earphones, due to factors like better sound quality, portability, and ease of use,” Counterpoint analyst Pavel Naiya wrote on Sept. 26.Wearables like the AirPods and Apple Watch have become a crucial growth driver for the Cupertino company, which is adapting to plateauing iPhone demand in a mature smartphone market. In the past quarter, Apple’s iPhone sales shrunk to $33.4 billion from the prior year’s $36.8 billion, whereas the Wearables, Home, and Accessories segment -- composed of the Apple Watch, AirPods, Beats, HomePod and Apple TV groups -- generated $6.5 billion in revenue, growing by 54%.Total shipments of the AirPods Pro for the year will be determined by how well and how quickly the assemblers overcome the production challenges they currently face. If the overall AirPods range hits 60 million units in 2019 as is now expected, Apple should retain its 50% share of the true wireless market, which Counterpoint expects to surpass 120 million shipments for the year.\--With assistance from Mark Gurman.To contact the reporter on this story: Debby Wu in Taipei at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at email@example.com, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. got a license to do business with Huawei Technologies Co., a step that lets the software giant continue selling some of its most important products to a Chinese company that was blacklisted by the U.S. government earlier this year.“On Nov. 20, the U.S. Department of Commerce granted Microsoft’s request for a license to export mass-market software to Huawei,” the Redmond, Washington-based company said in a statement on Thursday. “We appreciate the department’s action in response to our request.”It was not immediately clear how “mass-market” is defined in the license and the company declined to elaborate beyond the statement. Microsoft sells Windows and Office software to Huawei.This week, the U.S. Commerce Department started granting licenses to some U.S. companies that supply Huawei, one of the biggest makers of smartphones and computer-network equipment.“We’ve had 290-something requests for specific licenses,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview with Fox Business Network on Tuesday. “We’ve now been starting to send out the 20-day intent-to-deny letters and some approvals.”In May, the U.S. added Huawei to an entity list to block U.S. companies from selling components to China’s largest technology company, which it accuses of threatening America’s national security. Huawei has denied those claims.The entity listing requires U.S. firms to get a government license to sell to blacklisted firms. That has dented revenue at some U.S. companies and sown confusion about what is allowed and what isn’t. Technology industry leaders and their lawyers have pushed for clarity for months.Microsoft President Brad Smith complained in September that the U.S. was treating Huawei unfairly and refusing to explain why Huawei shouldn’t be allowed to purchase U.S. technology, including Microsoft software.A bipartisan group of senators requested that U.S. President Donald Trump suspend the approval of licenses. Doing business with Huawei poses “a serious threat to U.S. telecommunications infrastructure and national security more broadly,” the lawmakers said. They also asked that Congress be given a report outlining the criteria for determining whether or not each license would pose a threat.(Updates with details on Microsoft products in third paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Jenny Leonard in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Dina Bass in Seattle at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Margaret Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jillian WardFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump said this week it would allow some suppliers to restart sales to the Chinese telecoms giant, which was placed on a trade blacklist over national security concerns six months ago. The Commerce Department confirmed it had begun issuing licenses for some companies to sell goods to Huawei, expanding the company's supplier base and providing long-awaited clarity to the industry that once sold it billions of dollars worth of goods.
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump said this week it would allow some suppliers to restart sales to the Chinese telecoms giant, which was placed on a trade blacklist over national security concerns six months ago. The Commerce Department confirmed it had begun issuing licenses for some companies to sell goods to Huawei, expanding the company's supplier base and providing long-awaited clarity to the industry that once sold it billions of dollars worth of goods. On Wednesday, a U.S. official said it had received roughly 300 license requests, about half of which had been processed.
Despite the U.S.-China trade setback, stocks could still climb in 2019 and beyond, and the tech industry remains a key growth driver. Therefore, we searched for tech companies with our Zacks Stock Screener that also pay a dividend...
(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. delayed the launch of its Surface Earbuds, missing the 2019 holiday shopping season. The software giant is the latest company to stumble in a race to catch up with Apple Inc.’s popular AirPods.The Surface Earbuds will come out in spring 2020, not this year as previously planned. The announcement was made by Panos Panay, the company’s chief product officer, on Twitter.The wireless earbuds were announced earlier this year, and like AirPods, are cord free. The Microsoft version has a circular shape, integrates with a voice assistant and can be used to control Microsoft software like PowerPoint.At $249, the Surface Earbuds are priced the same as Apple’s new AirPods Pro, but the delay means Microsoft will be missing out on a key category this holiday season.Google has also been working to upgrade its wireless earbuds. That product will also be missing this holiday season. The company is aiming for a release in the spring at a price of $179.To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Gurman in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
HP's (HPQ) fourth-quarter fiscal 2019 results are likely to reflect high demand in the commercial PC market. However, weakness in the Printing business might have posed a threat to the stock.
(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates spoke out against protectionism in technological research around topics like artificial intelligence, arguing that open systems will inevitably win out over closed ones.In conversation with Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait at the New Economy Forum in Beijing on Thursday, Gates was skeptical about the idea that ongoing U.S.-China trade tensions could ever lead to a bifurcated system of two internets and two mutually exclusive strands of tech research and development. “It just doesn’t work that way,” said the software pioneer.“AI is very hard to put back in the bottle,” Gates said, and “whoever has an open system will get massively ahead” by virtue of being able to integrate more insights from more sources. Citing Microsoft’s AI research in Beijing, Gates pondered the rhetorical question of whether it was producing Chinese AI or American AI. In the case of Microsoft’s U.K. research campus in Cambridge and the findings it produces, he said that “almost every one of those papers is going to have some Chinese names on it, some European names on it and some Americans’ names on it.”China and the U.S. are the two leading AI superpowers that have dominated research, however cooling political relations between them have slowed the international collaboration that underpins innovation. Huawei Technologies Co., Beijing’s tech champion, has been subject to a variety of sanctions from Washington, in part because China’s rapid AI development is perceived as a rising threat.Gates said he was more worried today than five years ago about the rise of nationalist and protectionist political tendencies across the globe, and that he now wonders whether that will prove a cyclical trend or a more permanent change. Still, as far as the U.S. and China were concerned, he said he’s “even more passionate about the value of engagement than ever.”The other key takeaways from the talk:Gates said there’s “no doubt” solar and wind are key parts of a new energy mix needed to battle climate change. “Quite a bit of nuclear” may be required to fill in for fossil fuels as we move to zero carbon.But he doubts a carbon tax would be realistic in the U.S. Republicans have largely sworn off the idea and, by and large, he said, Democrats aren’t pushing it as a key priority, either.The ability of political leaders to convince their electorates of the benefits and value of globalization has “gone down,” said Gates.The New Economy Forum is being organized by Bloomberg Media Group, a division of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.To contact the reporters on this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at email@example.com;John Micklethwait in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at email@example.com, Colum Murphy, James MaygerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said the U.S. and China were in the “foothills of a Cold War,” and warned that the conflict could be worse than World War I if left to run unconstrained.“That makes it, in my view, especially important that a period of relative tension be followed by an explicit effort to understand what the political causes are and a commitment by both sides to try to overcome those,” Kissinger told a session of the New Economy Forum. “It is far from being too late for that, because we are still in the foothills of a cold war.”Kissinger said China and the U.S. were countries of a magnitude exceeding that of the Soviet Union and America, and that the world’s two largest economies, who are locked in a protracted trade war, “are bound to step on each other’s toes all over the world, in the sense of being conscious of the purposes of the other.”Solomon on 1MDB, Kissinger Warns on China-U.S. Ties: Live at NEF“So a discussion of our mutual purposes and an attempt to limit the impact of conflict seems to me essential,” he said. “If conflict is is permitted to run unconstrained the outcome could be even worse than it was in Europe. World War 1 broke out because a relatively minor crisis could not be mastered.”Kissinger, 96, said he hoped trade negotiations would provide an opening to political discussions between the two countries.“Everybody knows that trade negotiations, which I hope will succeed and whose success I support, can only be a small beginning to a political discussion that I hope will take place,” he said.QuickTake: How U.S.-China Tech Rivalry Looks Like Cold War 2.0Kissinger spoke hours after Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan addressed the NEF, saying his country was committed to peace and would follow through on policy changes despite facing challenges at home and abroad.“Between war and peace, the Chinese people firmly choose peace. Humanity cherishes peace,” he said. “We should abandon the zero-sum thinking and cold war mentality.”The U.S. and China are trying to assemble a partial trade agreement amid wider tensions ranging from human rights concerns over pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and the detention of Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region to strategic competition in the South China Sea. Kissinger said he thought a solution to the unrest in Hong Kong was possible, if not likely, and that he hoped it would be resolved via negotiation.The New Economy Forum is being organized by Bloomberg Media Group, a division of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. Other guests include Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.\--With assistance from Shelly Banjo.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: James Mayger in Beijing at firstname.lastname@example.org;Peter Martin in Beijing at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org, Karen Leigh, Daniel Ten KateFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Amazon.com Inc. loves to tinker and test. Sometimes projects that seemed like mindless fiddling — the Kindle e-reader, the Prime shopping club, its Amazon Web Services cloud-computing operation — turned out to be important advances for the company, its customers and the technology industry.Despite that history, I have to ask: Does Amazon know what it’s doing in groceries?When Amazon agreed to buy the Whole Foods supermarket chain for nearly $14 billion more than two years ago, it was regarded largely as a bold masterstroke. Groceries and other household goods are a magical category of consumer spending, with close to $1 trillion spent in the U.S. each year. The combination of large spending, the frequency of grocery shopping and its relative lack of e-commerce penetration has made groceries a prime (pun intended) target for Amazon, China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other new economy giants.So far, Amazon’s serious foray into groceries is marked by head-scratching tactics and middling financial and strategic performance. It’s still early in the supermarket era for Amazon, and it’s never wise to count the company out. Still, unlike Amazon’s history of wild experiments that became wild successes, the company doesn’t have the field of grocery innovation entirely to itself. And it remains unclear whether Amazon has a novel or sensible idea to take grocery shopping in a fresh direction. For now, Amazon has a growing grocery sprawl. Customers can buy groceries and household goods from Amazon in a tangle of spots: its eponymous website; Prime Pantry, a separate shopping club for bulky household goods; the 12-year-old Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service that is expanding; Whole Foods and its separate and expanding delivery operation; the Prime Now delivery service for orders in some cities in one or two hours; Amazon’s couple dozen Go convenience stores without cashiers; a different supermarket chain that Amazon is starting from scratch; a couple of drive-in grocery pickup kiosks in the Seattle area; and — if you’re not exhausted yet reading this list— Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that Amazon wants to take the cashier-less Go technology into larger, supermarket-sized stores.There may be a method to Amazon’s grocery madness. For now, it just looks like madness.The company’s most established grocery operation, Fresh, has languished for years. Amazon has made sensible changes at the 500-store Whole Foods chain, but there have been few of the earth-shattering retail innovations that people expected or feared at the time of that acquisition. And Amazon, which has had patchy success with online shopping outside the U.S., has a largely parochial supermarket operation.Investors barely press Amazon to explain its performance and strategy with Whole Foods and its other food initiatives, and Amazon has obliged by not saying much. Amazon’s limited financial disclosures are enough to make me wonder whether groceries sales at U.S. market leader Walmart are growing faster than those at Amazon’s relatively pipsqueak operation.Amazon’s reported third-quarter revenue growth for its physical stores, which include Whole Foods, Go stores and Amazon’s collection of bookstores — declined 1% from a year earlier after adjustments for movements in foreign currencies. This growth figure excludes Whole Foods delivery orders or purchases made for pickup in stores — fast-growing categories of grocery spending.Amazon in previous quarters provided adjusted figures that indicated its physical stores’ revenue growth was closer to 5% to 6% including online and pickup orders. Walmart in the third quarter said its U.S. grocery operation recorded a “mid-single-digit” percentage comparable sales growth — roughly the same range, you’ll notice, as Amazon’s earlier growth figures.The strategic and financial costs for Amazon’s grocery initiatives are enormous. Whole Foods was by far Amazon’s largest acquisition in its history. My Bloomberg News colleagues previously reported that Amazon has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on Go stores, and that may be a lowball figure. In Wednesday’s article, Bloomberg reported that some of the 1,000 or so people working on Go were recently told their cumulative salaries have totaled more than $1 billion since the project started in 2012.A larger, suburban-sized grocery store is what Amazon originally imagined for its cashier-less Go stores before deciding that megamarkets were overly ambitious. The smaller-format Go stores certainly have received much attention — and they are the genuinely novel idea that Amazon hasn’t showed in its other physical store attempts. Still, it’s hard to call the Go stores a success so far, and Amazon has been less ambitious with their rollout than it planned initially.The sophisticated technology behind shopping with as little human interaction as possible is a promising idea, and it could be licensed to non-Amazon supermarkets or other retail stores, as Amazon, Microsoft Corp. and other technology companies are trying. I do wonder whether retailers that compete with Amazon — essentially all retailers these days — will be willing to pay to use technology from a competitor. Those fears, and the response by technology companies and grocers to Amazon’s push into food sales, are among the signs that Amazon may have less time to tinker than it did in the past. It’s the company that everyone else watches closely, to immediately imitate or respond to what it is doing. Amazon has a long leash from investors to figure out tactics that will give the company a crack at an enormous chunk of people’s wallets. The experience of shopping for groceries definitely could use fresh ideas and approaches. I’m just not convinced that Amazon has them.To contact the author of this story: Shira Ovide at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Shira Ovide is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. She previously was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
In the third quarter, global dividends hit a record, but the annual growth has decelerated sharply, signaling that "a marked slowdown is under way."
Nov.21 -- Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates discussed protectionism in technological research around topics like artificial intelligence. Gates argued that open systems will inevitably win out over closed ones. He speaks with John Micklethwait at Bloomberg's New Economy Forum in Beijing.