117.42 -0.09 (-0.08%)
After hours: 4:15PM EDT
|Bid||117.73 x 800|
|Ask||117.55 x 1200|
|Day's range||115.63 - 118.98|
|52-week range||53.15 - 137.98|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.31|
|PE ratio (TTM)||35.65|
|Earnings date||29 Oct 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.82 (0.71%)|
|Ex-dividend date||07 Aug 2020|
|1y target est||121.43|
There’s an odd tension in only being able to review half of the new iPhone lineup. Fortunately, we can extrapolate a lot about those devices from these, especially as the iPhone 12 mini is a direct mini-turization of the iPhone 12. Because of the way that Apple has bifurcated the line into ‘Pro’ and ‘non-Pro’ options, these two represent the meaty center of this particular rack of ribs.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, it’s deja vu all over again.On Tuesday morning, the U.S. Justice Department filed its highly anticipated antitrust lawsuit against Google and its parent, Alphabet Inc. Given the antitrust division’s performance during the past four years — such as suing car companies on antitrust grounds because they opposed lower emissions standards — it wouldn’t have been a surprise if the Google suit had been an empty case designed primarily to please President Donald Trump, who is itching to punish Big Tech.But what was filed is a serious piece of work that makes allegations about the company’s purported abuse of its monopoly power that will be difficult for Google to refute. There is no doubt in my mind that it was put together by the department’s career civil servants and not political henchmen. It is the culmination of a sustained investigation that lasted more than a year. It was the kind of antitrust investigation, in other words, that led to the last truly important antitrust trial: the Microsoft case 22 years ago.Yeah, deja vu.That’s not the only similarity. Google has 90% of the internet search market — just as Microsoft had 90% of the operating system market in 1998, when the government sued it. It is legal to create a monopoly in the U.S.; the law basically says that if you build a mousetrap that is so much better than everyone else’s, good for you. What is not legal is using that monopoly power to stifle competition. The crux of the case against Microsoft was that it was using its Windows monopoly to crush Netscape, a company whose browser was competing against Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.Compare that with the government’s description of Google’s anticompetitive behavior in its complaint:For a general search engine, by far the most effective means of distribution is to be the preset default general search engine for mobile and computer search access points. Even where users can change the default, they rarely do. This leaves the preset default general search engine with de facto exclusivity. As Google itself has recognized, this is particularly true on mobile devices, where defaults are especially sticky.For years, Google has entered into exclusionary agreements, including tying arrangements, and engaged in anticompetitive conduct to lock up distribution channels and block rivals. Google pays billions of dollars each year to distributors … to secure default status for its general search engine and, in many cases, to specifically prohibit Google’s counterparties from dealing with Google’s competitors.This is exactly what the government charged Microsoft with doing two decades ago. Microsoft was fighting the browser wars by paying computer manufacturers such as Dell Inc. to preinstall Internet Explorer on its machines so that it would be the default browser from day one. This behavior was so blatantly anticompetitive that Microsoft was never able to put a benign spin on it during the trial. That’s why it lost — and why it no longer uses that tactic.This is one of those instances where those who ignore history are, indeed, doomed to repeat it. Google says that the lawsuit will harm consumers and is built on “dubious antitrust arguments” — the same defense Microsoft once offered. It has plenty of money to fight to the bitter end, and it probably will. But why did it choose such exclusionary arrangements in the first place? It should have been easy enough for Google’s lawyers and executives to read up on the Microsoft case to better understand the kinds of behaviors the government was likely to find objectionable.This case is not going to go away, no matter who becomes president in January. As I wrote recently, the Democrats are primed to take on Big Tech, as they showed when the House antitrust subcommittee released a scathing 450-page report outlining what it viewed as antitrust violations by Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc. as well as Google. Chances are, in fact, that if the Democrats win the election, the case against Google will be broadened to include allegations that it favored its own services in search results over those of its competitors. This is something that companies such as Yelp have been complaining about for years, though it is not a part of this lawsuit.When the Microsoft trial ended, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ordered that Microsoft be broken up — the harshest remedy possible. Although the breakup order was overturned on appeal, the company ultimately had to agree to a long list of behavioral changes, plus three “independent, on-site, full-time computer experts to assist in enforcing” the judgment. The next few years weren’t lot of fun for anyone working for Microsoft.Google now has a choice. It can fight this lawsuit — plus the lawsuits state attorneys general are threatening to bring — for the next several years. It can see its reputation dented and further allegations aired. Its obstinancy — if that’s the path it chooses — will only embolden Democrats to write new laws aimed at curbing the power of Big Tech.Or it can learn from what happened to Microsoft and try to avoid that same fate. If Google truly believes it has the best product, then it shouldn’t need to pay Apple $8 billion to be the default search engine. It can work with Congress to help shape the new laws while acknowledging it has done things that should probably be banned.The longer Google fights, the worse it’s going to get. That’s the final lesson of the Microsoft trial.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joe Nocera is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He has written business columns for Esquire, GQ and the New York Times, and is the former editorial director of Fortune. His latest project is the Bloomberg-Wondery podcast "The Shrink Next Door."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.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The government’s quest to rein in Big Tech just took a major step forward. Two weeks after the House antitrust subcommittee issued its landmark report outlining the anticompetitive abuses of the top players, the Department of Justice made its long-awaited move against Google.The DOJ’s antitrust division announced Tuesday that it is suing Google parent Alphabet Inc. over antitrust law violations surrounding its search engine, saying the company has become “the monopoly gatekeeper of the internet.” The landmark case alleges Google abused its market-dominant position and stifled competitors, specifically citing its exclusionary distribution agreements with Apple Inc. and other technology companies that made its search engine the default option on mobile devices and browsers. Google, in a blog post rebuttal, called the suit "deeply flawed," adding consumers choose to use its free search engine because they prefer it. Eleven Republican state attorneys general signed on to the case.For months now, we’ve known that the DOJ has been preparing an antitrust case against Google. What we didn’t know was how far-reaching it would be. There was speculation that regulators would rush out a half-baked complaint to meet a political deadline. It turns out, the government is pursuing the tech giant full-on by targeting the company’s crown-jewel Google search engine. That’s good, because the situation demands it.This initial step is a savvy move. First, the government is focusing on the most pertinent issue with the largest impact — Google’s search-engine dominance. It’s a higher priority than the company’s ad-serving technology platform, which, while powerful, accounts for a smaller portion of Alphabet’s earnings and wouldn’t have been as significant for the technology industry at large. Second, the lawsuit zeroes in on Google’s most egregious behavior, including the large cash payments it makes to partners to maintain its search share. This will pay dividends as the focus helps crystalize what’s at stake and may sway public opinion and politicians to support further action.Earlier this summer, I wrote how Google’s practice of paying for platform placement was blatantly anticompetitive and should be banned. That view still stands. Bernstein estimates the internet giant pays Apple roughly $8 billion a year to make its search engine the default option for its hardware devices. A number that large for Google, which already has a monopoly-type position in the search market, is indefensible. Prohibiting such agreements that clearly suppress competition would allow smaller companies to have a chance.The government can do more, though. While specific remedies will come later in the proceedings, other issues ought to be addressed on top of these payment practices. First, Google’s use of scraping data off of third-party websites should be restricted. The act of taking other websites’ proprietary content without permission to keep users on Google’s properties doesn’t seem fair. Second, the internet giant’s practice of ranking its own services higher on its search results pages even when they are inferior should be scrutinized. The lawsuit, while a good start, is only the opening salvo in a legal battle that will extend well into the next administration, regardless of the winner of next month’s presidential election. Notably, no Democratic state attorneys generals have signed on to this DOJ lawsuit, but that’s likely because they want to file a broader complaint later. The DOJ signaled as much on a press call Tuesday, adding that the attorneys’ hesitation to join the suit wasn’t for lack of support of the arguments. Unlike the large divergence between Republicans and Democrats on social media regulation, the two parties’ positions on Google’s overreach and the need for antitrust remedies aren’t far apart.Where do things go from here? I expect a growing bipartisan consensus to form against Google, with concrete actions to curb some of the aforementioned practices. Democratic Representative David Cicilline has said he is preparing legislation based on the proposals in the recent House antitrust final report. And some Republicans have already said there are portions of the House report they can support, meaning the DOJ may conceivably get more tools to curb Google’s market power — and that of the other Big Tech behemoths such as Facebook Inc., Apple and Amazon.com Inc. — from congressional action next year as well. This process won’t be easy. But the likelihood of the government achieving effective restraints on Google’s anticompetitive abuses shouldn’t be underestimated.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tae Kim is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Barron's, following an earlier career as an equity analyst.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.