• Uber CEO's comment about murdered journalist sparks social media backlash
    Yahoo Finance

    Uber CEO's comment about murdered journalist sparks social media backlash

    The hashtag #BoycottUber began trending on Twitter (TWTR) Monday morning after CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi “a serious mistake” during an interview with Axios.

  • Tencent Should Be Split Up
    Bloomberg

    Tencent Should Be Split Up

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- China’s most ubiquitous company is hiding one of its most valuable assets. That needs to change.Tencent Holdings Ltd., best known for the WeChat messenger that almost everyone in the country uses, has a growing fintech business. But it’s getting overshadowed by the games and social media divisions. By spinning it off into a new company, with a move to a separate listing, management could unlock as much as $230 billion in value. That would make the entity China’s fourth-largest listed company and the world’s sixth-biggest financial services firm.Such a move could help Tencent retake some of the limelight that it’s about to share with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. once that company lists in Hong Kong. Alibaba’s fintech unit, Ant Financial Services Group, already functions as a separate business with the e-commerce giant holding a 33% stake. At Tencent, fintech and business services accounted for 26% of revenue last quarter. The Shenzhen-based company is due to report third-quarter earnings late Wednesday.I estimate that revenue from Tencent’s fintech business grew in excess of 70% last year.(1)  The vast majority of that was payments. Yet Tencent also offers other products such as wealth management and has a 30% stake in WeBank, China’s first online-only bank, which was founded five years ago. Data on its fintech profits are hard to ascertain, yet information disclosed by Alibaba shows that Ant Financial was unprofitable last year, so Tencent could be in a similar boat. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The two rivals are startups in the classic sense, using fast revenue growth driven by marketing and incentives to gain ground fast. A major reason why both have lost money in recent years is due to low take rates, the commissions received from processing payments, because they’ve offered discounts to consumers and merchants. A turnaround could be near, Sanford C Bernstein senior analyst David Dai wrote in a recent series on China’s fintech sector. He estimates that a maturing market will ease cut-throat competition and allow both companies to take a greater share of the money that sloshes through their payments platforms.As a result, Tencent’s payment business (TenPay) alone could be worth $137 billion, compared to $127 billion for Ant’s AliPay, the Bernstein team figures. HSBC Holdings Plc uses two methodologies(2) to come up with an estimated value of around $128 billion. Throw in the other products, and Bernstein calculates a base-case valuation for Tencent’s fintech unit of $160 billion, going as high as $230 billion. This indicates that 40% to 58% of Tencent’s current market cap is locked up in this hitherto hidden division. Bernstein has a base case of $210 billion for Ant, reaching as high as $320 billion.Payments spinoffs have proven to be lucrative in the past. EBay Inc. proved it with PayPal Holdings Inc. in 2015, with the latter posting a 177% normalized return since then, outpacing the 145% rise in the S&P Data Processing sub-index which includes Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. PayPal also trounced both eBay (35%) and the S&P 500 (49%). Square Inc., another payments provider, has been one of the hottest stocks of the past decade, returning more than 590% since its initial public offering in 2015.A more recent example comes from India, where Walmart Inc. is reported to be spinning off payments business PhonePe from local e-commerce company Flipkart Group, which it acquired last year. That transaction could turn a $20.8 billion startup into two unicorns with a combined value of more than $30 billion. Tencent doesn’t need to rush to list this fintech unit. Appetite for mega IPOs is likely to be satiated by Alibaba’s Hong Kong listing and that of Saudi Aramco over the next few months. And there’s a long runway of big startups ready for their moment in the sun. By merely making it a separate entity, management can signal intent and allow investors to start re-rating Tencent’s stock accordingly.An offering may not even be necessary, since Tencent is already sitting on more cash than it needs. Instead, the company could distribute shares in Tencent Fintech to existing shareholders, and then directly list the stock. That’s similar to the approach advocated by activist investor Dan Loeb for a Sony Corp. split.Tencent is sitting on a bright light in this fintech unit. Time to let it shine.(Updates to include reference to third-quarter earnings schedule in third paragraph.)(1) The "others" category includes fintech, cloud, film & TV. Tencent noted that fintech is the major component and gave a figure for cloudbut not content.(2) HSBC Approach 1: valuation per user. Approach 2: Using Tencent operating margins applied to its payments business, then comparing to peers.To contact the author of this story: Tim Culpan at tculpan1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McDowell at pmcdowell10@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Buy Walmart Stock Ahead of Q3 Earnings with WMT Near New Highs?
    Zacks

    Buy Walmart Stock Ahead of Q3 Earnings with WMT Near New Highs?

    Walmart stock is up over 13% in the last three months. Now, with the firm set to report its Q3 financial results before the opening bell Thursday, let's break down Walmart to see if investors should consider buying WMT shares...

  • Streaming Wars Commence as Disney+ Nears Debut
    Zacks

    Streaming Wars Commence as Disney+ Nears Debut

    Disney (DIS) is set to debut its Disney+ streaming service on Tuesday, which will intensify the competition between streaming services.

  • Bloomberg

    Uber CEO’s Defense of Saudi Murder Sparks Calls for Boycott

    (Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said in an interview on the television show “Axios on HBO” that the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was “a mistake” by the Saudi Arabian government, and compared it to Uber’s accident with a self-driving car that killed a woman.In the interview that aired Sunday, Khosrowshahi said, “It doesn’t mean they can never be forgiven.” The CEO backtracked in a follow-up statement sent to Axios after the interview, saying: “I said something in the moment that I don’t believe.” He called Khashoggi’s murder “reprehensible” and said it “should not be forgotten.”The remarks set off calls for customers to protest the ride-hailing service. The hashtag BoycottUber was trending on Twitter in the U.S. Monday. The response is drawing parallels to a politically motivated boycott from 2017, when Uber’s perceived support of President Donald Trump and his immigration policies led to a DeleteUber campaign. More than 200,000 people removed the app during that movement.Khosrowshahi’s comments came during a discussion about Uber’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, which is the ride-hailing car company’s fifth-largest investor. The Axios interviewer, Mike Allen, asked if Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, who heads Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, should be allowed to remain on Uber’s board. Khosrowshahi called Al-Rumayyan a “very constructive” board member who provides valuable input.As the interview continued, the discussion turned to the Saudi government’s role in Khashoggi’s gruesome murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year. “I think that the government said they made a mistake,” Khosrowshahi said. “It’s a serious mistake. We’ve made mistakes too with self driving and we stopped driving and we’re recovering from that mistake. So I think that people make mistakes, it doesn’t mean that they can never be forgiven.”In March 2018 one of Uber’s cars testing autonomous driving software struck and killed a 49-year-old woman in Tempe, Arizona, as she was crossing the road. Uber paused tests of all its self-driving vehicles after the incident.(Update with Twitter hashtag in the third paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Molly Schuetz in New York at mschuetz9@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Mark Milian, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Disney+, Netflix, Apple, HBO, & More: Who Will Win the Streaming TV War?
    Zacks

    Disney+, Netflix, Apple, HBO, & More: Who Will Win the Streaming TV War?

    Associate Stock Strategist Ben Rains dives into some of Disney's recent quarterly results, before we look at Disney+ and discuss which company, from Netflix to Amazon might win the streaming TV war...

  • Adam Neumann's Older Look-Alike Might Make We Work
    Bloomberg

    Adam Neumann's Older Look-Alike Might Make We Work

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- John Legere may be exactly the kind of CEO WeWork needs. He brings much of the eccentricity and charisma that was initially appreciated about ousted founder Adam Neumann, but without all the headaches and liabilities. Is Legere ready to retire his closet of magenta T-shirts? We Co., the parent of the beleaguered office-sharing startup, is in discussions to recruit Legere, the current head of wireless carrier T-Mobile US Inc., as its next CEO,  the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The talks come after WeWork’s plans for an initial public offering imploded in grand fashion in recent weeks, as a litany of questionable decisions and conflicts of interests involving then-CEO Neumann came to light in a saga that has captivated Wall Street. WeWork, for a short time one of the world’s most valuable startups, had said in its summer IPO prospectus that its “future success depends in large part on the continued service of Adam Neumann.” Weeks later, Neumann was considered such a risk that the company decided it was better to effectively give him $1.2 billion to step away.Hiring Legere would immediately help improve WeWork’s tarnished reputation, though repairing the business is another story. Office vacancies increased in the third quarter, and the company was at risk of running out of cash next year. Legere’s garish style and hectoring on Twitter may also cause some to wonder whether he’s just another Neumann; it’s certainly hard not to notice the physical resemblance between the long hair, loud personality and signature T-shirt-and-sports-coat pairing.But few CEOs can say they’ve taken on a challenge as difficult as reviving T-Mobile — and succeeded. That’s Legere’s claim to fame. As I wrote in July 2018, even the groaners who are tired of his shtick and Twitter snark can’t argue against his track record.When Legere became CEO of T-Mobile in 2012, it was a distant fourth-place competitor in the U.S. wireless market and losing customers. Now it’s the fastest-growing member of the industry, and its displaced Sprint as the No. 3 carrier. T-Mobile’s lower-priced plans and marketing mojo have even given AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. a run for their money. In the last five years, shares of all its closest rivals advanced anywhere from 12% to 21%. T-Mobile’s nearly tripled. Legere may seem like an odd choice given that he’s spent his career working in the telecommunications and technology industries. The connection becomes clearer when considering SoftBank Group Corp.’s role. The Japanese conglomerate built by billionaire Masayoshi Son not only controls WeWork — the result of a $9.5 billion rescue package — but also Sprint Corp., T-Mobile’s closest competitor and hopeful merger partner. Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure, who is also chief operating officer of SoftBank, was tapped to help fix WeWork’s problems. He’s spent a lot of time with Legere these last two years as they worked to sway federal and state officials to support the merger of the two wireless carriers. Legere has done with T-Mobile what Claure and his predecessors couldn’t with Sprint, even as SoftBank injected billions along the way. One might think that WeWork would seek out a lower-profile leader, given the roller-coaster it has been on the past few months; Legere is anything but that. And at 61 years old, it’s a little surprising that he would consider following up such a successful run at T-Mobile with a stint at a company as troubled as WeWork. T-Mobile has become part of his identity — he’s spotted in magenta T-Mobile gear whether he’s going for runs in New York City or filming his Facebook Live cooking show from his kitchen. T-Mobile shareholders wouldn't be happy to see Legere go. Worse, there's the appearance of a conflict of interest if SoftBank is pursuing Legere while the companies are separately renegotiating the terms of the Sprint merger.That aside, it’s clear that Legere likes a challenge, and WeWork is the ultimate one.To contact the author of this story: Tara Lachapelle at tlachapelle@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at bewilliams@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Amazon Confirms Plans for Store Under New Grocery Brand

    (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. plans to launch a new supermarket brand distinct from the Whole Foods Market chain the company acquired two years ago, a sign of the retail giant’s hunger for a slice of the grocery market beyond high-end organic food.The company has posted four job listings for “Amazon’s first grocery store” in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. An Amazon spokeswoman confirmed the listings, and said the store would open in 2020. The brand will be distinct from Whole Foods and will have a conventional checkout line, unlike the cashierless Amazon Go convenience stores, she said. Amazon’s plans for the store were reported earlier by CNET.The e-commerce company purchased Whole Foods in a splashy $13.7 billion deal two years ago, but has yet to make much headway in the $900 billion U.S. grocery industry. The Whole Foods brand, finicky about what is allowed on store shelves based on its healthy image, clashes with Amazon’s desire to give customers whatever they want. Amazon rival Walmart Inc., which captures about 25% of all U.S. grocery spending, sells items such as Pepsi and Cheetos that shoppers can’t find at Whole Foods. Grocery industry analysts have speculated that Amazon might branch out with a new store where such products won’t be seen as betrayal to the brand.Online grocery shoppers prefer in-store pickup options to home delivery by nearly a 2-to-1 margin, and Amazon needs more stores to meet that growing demand, said David Bishop, a partner with research firm Brick Meets Click. In-store pickup requires more stores closer to shoppers -- about 3 to 5 miles from their homes -- than grocery delivery services, he said.“The reason Amazon needs to expand its physical footprint is an accelerated demand for grocery pickup service as opposed to delivery,” he said. “Shoppers have a greater sense of control when they pick up their groceries at the store in a secure location rather than worrying about it being left at their house.”Amazon’s sales from physical stores, the vast majority of which are purchases at Whole Foods stores, declined 1.3% from a year earlier to $4.19 billion in the third quarter. Amazon said the total doesn’t include online sales from Whole Foods, but the Seattle-based company doesn’t break out that figure.Woodland Hills is an upscale suburban neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Amazon planned to open dozens of grocery stores under a new brand, starting with an outpost in Los Angeles.(Updates with analyst’s comment in fifth paragraph)To contact the reporters on this story: Matt Day in Seattle at mday63@bloomberg.net;Spencer Soper in Seattle at ssoper@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Apple Card’s Gender-Bias Claims Look Familiar to Old-School Banks

    (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. pitches its new card as a model of simplicity and transparency, upending everything consumers think about credit cards.But for the card’s overseers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., it’s creating the same headaches that have bedeviled an industry the companies had hoped to disrupt.Social media postings in recent days by a tech entrepreneur and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak complaining about unequal treatment of their wives ignited a firestorm that’s engulfed the two giants of Silicon Valley and Wall Street, casting a pall over what the companies had claimed was the most successful launch of a credit card ever.Goldman has said it’s done nothing wrong. There’s been no evidence that the bank, which decides who gets an Apple Card and how much they can borrow, intentionally discriminated against women. But that may be the point, according to critics. The complex models that guide its lending decisions may inadvertently produce results that disadvantage certain groups.The problem -- in Washington it’s referred to as “disparate impact” -- is one the financial industry has spent years trying to address. The increasing use of algorithms in lending decisions has sharpened the years-long debate, as consumer advocates, armed with what they claim is supporting research, are pushing regulators and companies to rethink whether models are only entrenching discrimination that algorithm-driven lending is meant to stamp out.“Because machines can treat similarly-situated people and objects differently, research is starting to reveal some troubling examples in which the reality of algorithmic decision-making falls short of our expectations, or is simply wrong,” Nicol Turner Lee, a fellow at the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution, recently told Congress.Wozniak and David Heinemeier Hansson said on Twitter that their wives were given significantly lower limits on their Apple Cards, despite sharing finances and filing joint tax returns. Wozniak said he and his wife report the same income and have a joint bank account, which should mean that lenders view them as equals.One reason Goldman has become a poster child for the issue is that the Apple Card doesn’t let households share accounts -- the way much of the industry does. That could lead to family members getting significantly different credit limits. Goldman says it’s considering offering the option.With this month’s snafu, Goldman has found itself in the middle of one of the thorniest laws in finance: the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The 1974 law prohibits lenders from considering sex or marital status and was later expanded to prohibit discrimination based on other factors including race, color, religion, national origin and whether a borrower receives public assistance.The issue gained national prominence in the 1970s when Jorie Lueloff Friedman, a prominent Chicago television anchor, began reporting on her own experience with losing access to some of her credit card accounts at local retailers after she married her husband, who was unemployed at the time. She ultimately testified before Congress, saying “in the eyes of a credit department, it seems, women cease to exist and become non-persons when they get married.”FTC WarningA 2016 study by credit reporting agency Experian found that women had higher credit scores, less debt, and a lower rate of late mortgage payments than men. Still, the Federal Trade Commission has warned that women may continue to face difficulties in getting credit.Freddy Kelly, chief executive officer of Credit Kudos, a London-based credit scoring startup, pointed to the gender pay gap, where women are typically paid less than men for performing the same job, as one reason lenders may be stingy with how much they let women borrow.Using complex algorithms that take into account hundreds of variables should lead to more just outcomes than relying on error-prone loan officers who may harbor biases against certain groups, proponents say.“It’s hard for humans to manually identify these characteristics that would make someone more creditworthy,” said Paul Gu, co-founder of Upstart Network Inc., a tech firm that uses artificial intelligence to help banks make loans.Upstart uses borrowers’ educational backgrounds to make lending decisions, which could run afoul of federal law. In 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau told the company it wouldn’t be penalized as part of an ongoing push to understand how lenders use non-traditional data for credit decisions.AI PushConsumer advocates reckon that outsourcing decision-making to computers could ultimately result in unfair lending practices, according to a June memorandum prepared by Democratic congressional aides working for the House Financial Services Committee. The memo cited studies that suggest algorithmic underwriting can result in discrimination, such as one that found black and Latino borrowers were charged more for home mortgages.Linda Lacewell, the superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services, which launched an investigation into Goldman’s credit card practices, described algorithms in a Bloomberg Television interview as a “black box.” Wozniak and Hansson said they struggled to get someone on the phone to explain the decision.“Algorithms are not only nonpublic, they are actually treated as proprietary trade secrets by many companies,” Rohit Chopra, an FTC commissioner, said last month. “To make matters worse, machine learning means that algorithms can evolve in real time with no paper trail on the data, inputs, or equations used to develop a prediction.“Victims of discriminatory algorithms seldom if ever know they have been victimized,” Chopra said.To contact the reporters on this story: Shahien Nasiripour in New York at snasiripour1@bloomberg.net;Jenny Surane in New York at jsurane4@bloomberg.net;Sridhar Natarajan in New York at snatarajan15@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, Steve DicksonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    WeWork Has Talked With T-Mobile’s Legere in Search for New CEO

    (Bloomberg) -- WeWork is searching for a new chief executive officer to turn around the troubled co-working company, said people familiar with the matter. The candidates include T-Mobile US Inc. head John Legere, who has spoken with WeWork about the role, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.Legere has deep ties to WeWork majority shareholder SoftBank Group Corp., which took ownership of the company after WeWork’s initial public offering broke down. Legere is currently pushing for a contentious merger of his wireless carrier with Sprint Corp., whose majority owner is SoftBank. Sprint’s executive chairman, Marcelo Claure, was recently appointed to the same position at WeWork.But people familiar with the CEO search stressed that WeWork intends to consider many candidates. Although Legere breathed new life into T-Mobile, he has an unpredictable and antagonistic public persona, reflected on his Twitter profile and in conference appearances. He’s also another man, in a company so saturated with male management that Claure has promised to increase diversity.Representatives for SoftBank, T-Mobile and WeWork parent company We Co. declined to comment. The discussions with Legere were reported earlier Monday by the Wall Street Journal. Shares of T-Mobile fell about 2% in intraday trading, while Sprint is down 3%.Adam Neumann, the former WeWork CEO, stepped down in September under pressure from investors over apparent conflicts of interest and mismanagement of the IPO process. Two WeWork executives, Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham, took over as co-CEOs. The pair secured multimillion-dollar severance packages with the board last month.Despite getting rescue financing from SoftBank a couple weeks ago, WeWork needs to quickly rehabilitate the business and fill empty space in its offices. The company is expected to soon dismiss thousands of employees.Legere and Claure, a SoftBank executive tasked with cleaning up WeWork, have occasionally sparred in the past. Claure, the former CEO of Sprint, was a T-Mobile antagonist before becoming a potential merger partner. In 2016, he called Legere “a con artist” on Twitter. At one point, Legere told Claure to “go back to the kiddie pool.” But more recently, the two executives have appeared friendlier as they argue in favor of the Sprint-T-Mobile tie-up. In May, they were spotted jogging together in Washington.Meanwhile, Neumann is exploring a potential next act with help from the money he got in his exit from WeWork. He considered investing in Barneys New York Inc. during the luxury department store’s recent bankruptcy, people with knowledge of the matter said Monday.(Updates with shares in the fourth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Gillian Tan and Scott Moritz.To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah McBride in San Francisco at smcbride24@bloomberg.net;Ellen Huet in San Francisco at ehuet4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at mmilian@bloomberg.net, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Twitter wants your feedback on its deepfake policy plans
    Reuters

    Twitter wants your feedback on its deepfake policy plans

    Twitter's new proposal, laid out in a blog post, said it might place a notice next to tweets sharing "synthetic or manipulated media," warn people before they like or share such tweets, or add a link to a news story showing why various sources think the media is synthetic or manipulated. Twitter last year banned deepfakes in the context of intimate media: its policy prohibits images or videos that digitally manipulate an individual's face onto another person's nude body. In July, U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff wrote to the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet Inc's Google asking for the companies' plans to handle the threat of deepfake images and videos ahead of the 2020 elections.

  • Top Research Reports for Toyota, Netflix & AbbVie
    Zacks

    Top Research Reports for Toyota, Netflix & AbbVie

    Top Research Reports for Toyota, Netflix & AbbVie

  • Venezuelan foreign ministry temporarily loses access to Twitter account
    Reuters

    Venezuelan foreign ministry temporarily loses access to Twitter account

    A notice on the ministry's profile on the platform visible on Monday morning read: "Caution: This account is temporarily restricted" and cited "unusual activity" from the account. The spokeswoman said the suspension occurred between late Saturday night and Sunday morning, and that the ministry had alerted Twitter to its loss of access and requested an explanation.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Alphabet, Apple, Fitbit and Facebook
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Alphabet, Apple, Fitbit and Facebook

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Alphabet, Apple, Fitbit and Facebook

  • Dutch court orders Facebook to pull financial fraud adverts
    Reuters

    Dutch court orders Facebook to pull financial fraud adverts

    A Dutch court has ordered Facebook to remove advertisements that misuse the likeness of a local celebrity to promote fraudulent Bitcoin-related investments. Dutch billionaire tycoon John de Mol sued Facebook, saying it had failed to respond to repeated requests to pull advertisements that misused his and other local celebrities' likenesses and led to investors losing $1.7 million euros. The court ordered Facebook to pull the offending ads or be fined up to 1.1 million euros ($1.2 million).

  • Is Expedia Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE) Trading At A 31% Discount?
    Simply Wall St.

    Is Expedia Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE) Trading At A 31% Discount?

    Does the November share price for Expedia Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE) reflect what it's really worth? Today, we will...

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Roku, Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Apple
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Roku, Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Apple

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Roku, Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Apple

  • Twitter takes steps to keep UK election 'healthy and safe'
    Reuters

    Twitter takes steps to keep UK election 'healthy and safe'

    Twitter said it would make it easier to report misleading information about the voting process in Britain's Dec. 12 election, less than a month after its global ban on political advertising comes into force. The microblogging site is a vital tool for candidates, political parties and journalists to break news and fuel debate, but it has also been used to spread fake news, such as manipulated video clips, and to abuse and threaten individuals. It said last month it would stop all political advertising, making the British election one of the first major tests for the new policy.

  • Poland asks Netflix to make changes to documentary about Nazi death camp guard
    Reuters

    Poland asks Netflix to make changes to documentary about Nazi death camp guard

    Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has pressed Netflix, the U.S. streaming and production company, to make changes to a documentary that includes a map showing Nazi death camps inside the borders of modern Poland. The camps were built by the Nazis on Polish soil during their brutal occupation of Poland in World War Two, but the map used in the documentary, Morawiecki said, implied that Poland existed at that time as an independent nation within its postwar borders and thus could share responsibility for the atrocities.

  • The Apple Card Is Sexist. Blaming the Algorithm Is Proof.
    Bloomberg

    The Apple Card Is Sexist. Blaming the Algorithm Is Proof.

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Hyped as the biggest credit-card innovation in 50 years, the Apple Card is starting to look more like something from the 1960s and 1970s: Women are allegedly being granted a fraction of their spouses’ borrowing limits. It’s another troubling example of the deficiencies of machine learning.Just months after its launch, New York regulators say they’re investigating Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the bank behind the card, and the algorithm that it uses to determine credit-worthiness. Goldman denies any discrimination but that hasn’t stopped Apple Inc.’s co-founder Steve Wozniak from calling for the U.S. government to get involved. “We don’t have transparency on how these companies set these things up and operate,” he told Bloomberg News.The investigation and Wozniak’s comments came in response to a Twitter broadside from the tech entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson, in which he said the Apple Card gave him a credit limit 20 times bigger than the one for his wife. This was despite her superior credit score and their jointly filed tax returns. Wozniak says he has been given 10 times the limit granted to his wife.The bone of contention here is what Apple’s customer services representatives called, in Hansson’s telling, “the algorithm.” When he sought an explanation of why his wife was being treated differently, he was told the algorithm was accountable.How the Algorithms Running Your Life Are Biased: QuickTakeYet blaming the algorithm — while saying an exception would be made for Hansson’s wife and her credit assessment adjusted, as Apple did — seems a tacit admission that said algorithm is flawed. At the very least, it raises questions about just how “accountable” these systems are. Customers don’t know the details of how the Apple-Goldman credit-worthiness computations work, how dependent they are on artificial intelligence (or, more precisely, machine learning), what inputs they use, or even how much of the technology is proprietary to the two companies.If the system is indeed making such blatantly egregious decisions, should it really be used at all? At least when there’s human error or bias there’s a more straightforward route to correct it. While a company can interrogate a person about how they arrived at an individual decision, that’s usually not possible with machine learning. Instead you have to examine the “big data” inputs that informed the algorithm, and see if that prompted a set of biases.Of course, bias in artificial intelligence is not unique to the Apple Card. It has reared its head in the criminal justice system, the employment market, health care, facial recognition, app recommendations and beyond. In each case, understanding what prompted the prejudices is essential to fixing it. And in each case, that’s easier said than done. John Giannandrea, Apple's head of AI, said in 2017 that data bias is the greatest danger posed by machine learning.This isn’t the first consumer finance misstep for Goldman. The Wall Street firm may be at the cutting edge of finance, but its foray into consumer lending has been mired in rookie mistakes. Its consumer lending arm, Marcus, reportedly started without a team of debt collectors, leading to early losses on delinquent borrowers.Apple’s chief executive officer Tim Cook, meanwhile, has hinted that he’s seeking a partner to bring the Apple Card to Europe. The Hansson and Wozniak episodes show that would be quite a gamble. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, introduced last year, includes the “right to explanation” for consumers – exactly the thing being demanded by Hansson. A failure to provide a satisfactory reason might result in financial penalties. As we can see, with AI algorithms such explanations aren’t easily extracted.To contact the authors of this story: Alex Webb at awebb25@bloomberg.netElisa Martinuzzi at emartinuzzi@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.Elisa Martinuzzi is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering finance. She is a former managing editor for European finance at Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Turkey’s Digital Tax Will Inspire Others
    Bloomberg

    Turkey’s Digital Tax Will Inspire Others

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The global debate on innovation and regulation is about to take a new turn with a Turkish plan for an all-encompassing digital tax. The tax, which is expected to be approved by parliament this week, will apply not only to electronic marketplaces like eBay and digital-advertising giants like Google and Facebook, but also to e-commerce platforms involved in the sale of digital goods and services, like Spotify and Netflix. This goes beyond the scope of the French digital tax which entered into force a few months ago and the abortive European Union proposal of last year. Turkey’s proposed tax has rekindled the debate on the fairness of globalization and the role of international governance. The severity of the regulatory framework being contemplated is in many ways a by-product of the failure of multilateralism and its inability to redress the grievances of nations that perceive the system as being rigged against their economic interest.National governments have long grappled with the need to tax the digital behemoths. Authorities in Europe and in the emerging world are seeking a formula that would give them tax revenues that reflect the share of business conducted by these global companies on their territory. They’ve tried direct negotiations with companies, with mixed results. In the absence of common taxation rules applicable in all relevant jurisdictions for cross-border digital transactions, there have been several non-replicable, non-transparent individual deals between governments and companies. The companies have failed to achieve their aim of policy and tax predictability, governments have struggled to get the buy-in of companies for easily transposable settlements. You’d think the disparate approach to taxing internet-enabled business models and its impact on the distributional benefits of globalisation would provide an ideal opportunity for multilateral governance to demonstrate its effectiveness. The G-20, in summit declaration at Buenos Aires, has acknowledged the importance of a global deal on digital taxation. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has advanced an agenda for a set of common rules. But multilateralism has so far failed to produce the consensus needed to address ongoing divisions—whether between companies and governments, or between nations like the U.S. and China, that have nurtured large digital companies, and the rest of the world, The failure of the multilateral track has now provided an opening for non-consensual and protectionist digital policies to emerge. What can be witnessed in this area is a race to the bottom. Following the example set by France, Turkey is seeking to tax digital companies at 7.5%, more than double the French rate. What’s more, the tax is to apply regardless of whether the companies are profitable or not. It is not clear whether the proposed measures comply with Turkey’s international obligations under the World Trade Organization, or under its bilateral tax treaties. Even if they are, there are concerns that a digital tax would serve as a disincentive for foreign investment in a booming industry where Turkey had succeeded in creating a dynamic ecosystem. Turkey is home to highly successful mobile-gaming creators, as well as Turkish-language Android and IOS apps.Even so, there’s a good chance the Turkish example will be followed by governments in other emerging nations that believe that the industrialized world—and by extension, the multilateral system—has for too long been unresponsive to their anxieties about the consequences of unfair globalisation. A fragmentation of global regulations affecting the digital economy is afoot.The multilateral institutions may have one last chance to stop the trend. The OECD is holding a stakeholders meeting this week to gather views on its proposed approach to taxing the digital economy. The plan is for a set of proposals to be formally adopted by the G-20 at its meeting in Riyadh next year. But any agreement will be conditional on the Trump administration demonstrating flexibility toward the expectations of the other OECD nations. The hope is that the U.S. will ultimately see that a set of common tax rules, even if it would impact the few American digital giants, would still be a better outcome for the global economy than a grab-bag of divergent approaches to regulating and taxing digital entrepreneurship.To contact the author of this story: Sinan Ulgen at sulgen@edam.org.trTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Bobby Ghosh at aghosh73@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Sinan Ulgen is the executive chairman of Istanbul-based think tank EDAM and a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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