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Alibaba Group Holding Limited
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Bank of America Corporation
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The Home Depot, Inc.
The Boeing Company
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Adobe Systems Incorporated
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Amarin Corporation plc
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. lawmakers led by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley are negotiating a potential revival of expired tax breaks in last-minute negotiations over a government spending bill.The talks, which were held on Saturday, are focused on reinstating the so-called tax extenders, a move that could be a boon to the biofuel, alcoholic beverage and short-line railroad industries that were hoping to see renewal of valuable credits and deductions, according to a person familiar with the discussions.“Chairman Grassley has been leading bicameral negotiations on tax extenders and is working to make sure they are included in the year-end appropriations package,” Michael Zona, a spokesman for Grassley, said Saturday in a email. “Dropping tax extenders like biodiesel would be a major setback and may push more plants that employ thousands of Americans toward bankruptcy.”The negotiations are taking place as the House and Senate seek to strike a deal that would fund the government before the current stopgap package expires on Friday. The tax breaks lapsed at the end of 2017. Since then, businesses have been expecting Congress to retroactively extend the benefits as lawmakers have repeatedly done in years past. So far, no relief has materialized.The talks present a particularly acute boost to the biodiesel sector -- including Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. and Renewable Energy Group Inc. -- which is advocating for a retroactive extension of a $1 per gallon tax credit for biodiesel. Several plants have begun slashing production and laying off workers as a result of the two-year lapse of the tax credit.It also could also buoy tax breaks for those thinking of buying electric cars from General Motors Co. and Tesla Inc., which had been lobbying for an extension of a lucrative consumer tax credit for electric vehicle purchases. The $7,500 credit is still in effect, but Congress has capped the number of credits at 200,000 for each manufacturer. Both GM and Tesla have already reached the threshold.Beer, wine and spirits producers could also see their two-year tax break revived. The 2017 tax overhaul temporarily lowered the excise tax for brewers, wine makers and distillers. The provision, which has strong bipartisan support, is credited with helping the craft beverage industry expand.Others hoping to use the year-end spending bill as a vehicle for their tax credit includes the solar industry, which is preparing to see it’s 30% investment tax credit start decreasing next year.\--With assistance from Kaustuv Basu.To contact the reporters on this story: Laura Davison in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Erik Wasson in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at firstname.lastname@example.org, Steve GeimannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Using Nvidia, Netflix and Facebook, see timely tips on investing in stocks hidden within the holiday classics featuring Rudolph, Frosty and Scrooge.
(Bloomberg) -- Each morning, workers at Google get an internal newsletter called the “Daily Insider.” Kent Walker, Google’s top lawyer, set off a firestorm when he argued in the Nov. 14 edition that the 21-year old company had outgrown its policy of allowing workers to access nearly any internal document. “When we were smaller, we all worked as one team, on one product, and everyone understood how business decisions were made,” Walker wrote. “It's harder to give a company of over 100,000 people the full context on everything.”Many large companies have policies restricting access to sensitive information to a “need-to-know” basis. But in some segments of Google’s workforce, the reaction to Walker’s argument was immediate and harsh. On an internal messaging forum, one employee described the data policy as “a total collapse of Google culture.” An engineering manager posted a lengthy attack on Walker’s note, which he called "arrogant and infantilizing." The need-to-know policy "denies us a form of trust and respect that is again an important part of the intrinsic motivation to work here,” the manager wrote.The complaining also spilled into direct action. A group of Google programmers created a tool that allowed employees to choose to alert Walker with an automated email every time they opened any document at all, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. The deluge of notifications was meant as a protest to what they saw as Walker’s insistence on controlling the minutiae of their professional lives. “When it comes to data security policies, we’ve never intended to prevent employees from sharing technical learnings and information and we are not limiting anyone’s ability to raise concerns or debate the company’s activities,” said a Google spokeswoman in an email. “We have a responsibility to safeguard our user, business and customer information and these activities need to be done in line with our policies on data security.” The actions are just the latest chapter in an internal conflict that has been going on for almost two years. About 20,000 employees walked out last fall over the company’s generous treatment of executives accused of sexual harassment, and a handful quit over Google’s work on products for the U.S. military and a censored search engine for the Chinese market. Earlier this year, Google hired IRI Consultants, a firm that advises employers on how to combat labor organizing, and it recently fired four employees for what it said was violation of its policies on accessing sensitive data.The extent of Google’s employee rebellion is hard to measure—the company has tried to portray it as the work of a handful of malcontents from the company’s junior ranks. Nor are the company’s message boards unilaterally supportive of revolt. “We want to focus on our jobs when we come into the workplace rather than deal with a new cycle of outrage every few days or vote on petitions for or against Google’s latest project,” wrote one employee on an internal message board viewed by Bloomberg News. Still, the company seems stuck in a cycle of escalation. Walker’s internal critics say his Nov. 14 email is part of a broader erosion of one of Google’s most distinctive traits—its extreme internal transparency. The fight also illustrates the lack of trust between Google’s leadership and some of its employees, according to interviews with over a dozen current and former employees, as well as internal messages shared with Bloomberg News on the condition it not publish the names of employees who participated.The conflict comes as Google is changing in other ways, too. On Dec. 3, Sundar Pichai, who took over as Google’s chief executive office in 2015, became the head of Alphabet, its parent company. His elevation marks the end of the active involvement of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who established Google’s distinctive culture when they founded the company as Stanford graduate students. Pichai has at times supported internal activism. He spoke at an employee protest against the Trump administration’s immigration policies and apologized to employees for Google’s track record on sexual harassment. His executives met repeatedly with critics of the company’s military work. Some Google managers began signaling that they're losing patience with internal activism even before the firings, according to one person who worked with them. Executives have not met with dissenting staff leadership in many weeks, according to one of the employees.While Walker wrote in the “Daily Insider” that organizations have to change as they grow, he simultaneously argued that the policies he described had always existed. “It was that way since the early days of Google, and it’s that way now,” he wrote. This particularly offended several long-time Googlers, who said on internal message boards that Walker’s comments didn’t square with their own memories. For some of them, the incident illustrated a broader breakdown in their trust of leadership. “I want to believe that executive management is saying everything—disclosing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” said Bruce Hahne, a Google technical project manager. “I don’t think we are currently under those conditions.”Hahne, 51, doesn’t meet the Google management’s profile of internal protestors. He joined the company in 2005, a year after Pichai, partly because he was attracted to its mission to organize the world’s information. His disillusionment crept in gradually during the company’s myriad controversies. In an online essay, Hahne compared Google to a “rogue machine” that was “originally created for good but whose psyche has turned corrupt and destructive,” much like Hal 9000 from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. “You don’t treat a rogue machine like family,” wrote Hahne, “instead you come up with a plan, you disable or dismantle the dysfunctional parts of the machine, and you seek to reprogram the machine to serve its original purpose.” When it was founded two decades ago, Google established an unusual corporate practice. Nearly all of its internal documents were widely available for workers to review. A programmer working on Google search could for instance, dip into the software scaffolding of Google Maps to crib some elegant block of code to fix a bug or replicate a feature. Employees also had access to notes taken during brainstorming sessions, candid project evaluations, computer design documents, and strategic business plans. (The openness doesn’t apply to sensitive data such as user information.)The idea came from open-source software development, where the broader programming community collaborates to create code by making it freely available to anyone with ideas to alter and improve it. The philosophy came with technical advantages. “That interconnected way of working is an integral part of what got Google to where it is now,” said John Spong, a software engineer who worked at Google until this July.Google has flaunted its openness as a recruiting tool and public relations tactic as recently as 2015. "As for transparency, it’s part of everything we do," Laszlo Bock, then the head of Google human relations, said in an interview that year. He cited the immediate access staff have to software documentation, and said employees "have an obligation to make their voices heard."Google’s open systems also proved valuable for activists within the company, who have examined its systems for evidence of controversial product developments and then circulated their findings among colleagues. Such investigations have been integral to campaigns against the projects for the Pentagon and China. Some people involved in this research refer to it as "internal journalism."Management would describe it differently. In November, Google fired four engineers who it said had been carrying out “systematic searches for other employees’ materials and work. This includes searching for, accessing, and distributing business information outside the scope of their jobs.” The engineers said they were active in an internal campaign against Google’s work with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and denied violating the company’s data security policies.Rebecca Rivers, one of the fired employees, said she initially logged into Google’s intranet, a web portal open to all staff, and typed the terms: “CBP” and “GCP,” for Google Cloud Platform. “That’s how simple it was,” she said. “Anyone could have stumbled onto it easily,” she said.In an internal email describing the firings, Google accused one employee of tracking a colleague’s calendar without permission, gathering information about both personal and professional appointments in a way that made the targeted employee feel uncomfortable. Laurence Berland, one of the employees who was fired recently, acknowledged he had accessed internal calendars, but said they were not private. He used them to confirm his suspicions that the company was censoring employees. Berland, who first joined Google in 2005, added that he felt the company was punishing him for breaking a rule that didn’t exist at the time of the alleged violations. Google declined to identify the four employees it fired, but a company spokeswoman said the person who tracked calendars accessed unauthorized information.Other employees say they are now afraid to click on certain documents from other teams or departments because they are worried they could later be disciplined for doing so, a fear the company says is unfounded. Some workers have interpreted the policies as an attempt to stifle criticism of particular projects, which they allege amounts to a violation of the company’s code of conduct. These employees point to a clause in the code that actively encourages dissent: “Don’t be evil, and if you see something that you think isn’t right—speak up!” Workers are "trying to report internally on problematic situations, and in some cases are not being allowed to make that information useful and accessible,” said Hahne. There is now a “climate of fear” inside Google offices, he said.Google’s permissive workplace culture became the prime example of Silicon Valley’s brand of employment. But transparency is hardly universal. Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. demand that workers operate in rigid silos to keep the details of sensitive projects from leaking to competitors. Engineers building a phone’s camera may have no idea what the people building its operating system are doing, and vice versa. Similar restrictions are common at government contractors and other companies working with clients who demand discretion.The specifics of Google’s business operations traditionally haven’t required this level of secrecy, but that is changing. Google’s cloud business in particular requires it to convince business clients it can handle sensitive data and work on discrete projects. This has brought it more in line with its secrecy-minded competitors. The protests themselves have also inspired new restrictions, as executives have looked to cut off the tools of the activists it argues are operating in bad faith.Google’s leaders have acknowledged the delicacy of adjusting a culture that has entrenched itself over two decades. “Employees today are much, much more active in the governance in the company,” Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO and chair, said at an event at Stanford University in October. Amy Edmonson, a professor of leadership and management at Harvard Business School, said that Google’s idealistic history increases the burden on its executives to bring along reluctant employees as it adopts more conventional corporate practices. “It’s just really important that if you’re going to do something that is perceived as change that you’re going to explain it,” she said.Bock, the company’s former HR director who is now CEO of Humu, a workplace software startup, suggested that Google hasn’t succeeded here. “Maybe Alphabet is just a different company than it used to be,” he wrote in an email to Bloomberg News. “But not everyone’s gotten the memo.” (Corrects Berland comment in 19th paragraph.)\--With assistance from Josh Eidelson.To contact the authors of this story: Ryan Gallagher in London at email@example.comMark Bergen in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Brustein at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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The chair of a U.S. congressional panel wrote to Alphabet's Google and to Apple on Friday to ask what if any disclosures mobile apps are required to make regarding overseas ties, a concern that follows reports of Chinese investment in popular apps such as TikTok and Grindr. Rep. Stephen Lynch, chairman of a subcommittee of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee, said in a statement that he had asked both Google and Apple to tell Congress whether they required app developers to disclose any non-U.S. ties. Concern over China acquiring sensitive data about U.S. citizens through social media apps is one of several sore areas in relations between the United States and China even as U.S. President Donald Trump's trade war with China fans suspicion between the world's two largest economies.
The U.S. auto safety agency said on Friday it will investigate a 12th Tesla crash that may be tied to the vehicle's advanced Autopilot driver assistance system after a Tesla Model 3 rear-ended a parked police car in Connecticut last week. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) special crash investigation program will investigate the Dec. 7 crash of a 2018 Tesla Model 3 on Interstate 95 in Norwalk, Connecticut, the agency confirmed. Autopilot had been engaged in at least three Tesla vehicles that were involved in U.S. crashes since 2016.
U.S. President Donald Trump's limited trade deal with China removes a major hurdle for Apple and other technology stocks that have already surged this year to record highs. China has agreed to boost imports of U.S. energy, pharmaceutical and agricultural products, although Chinese officials offered no details on the amount of U.S. goods Beijing had agreed to buy. If it is signed, Trump's long-awaited deal will be a relief to Apple, among the U.S. companies with the most to lose in the trade war between the world's two largest economies, along with chipmakers who make the components in its devices, which are mostly made in China.
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Army will spend $111 million next year in a new contract with Palantir Technologies Inc., deepening ties between Peter Thiel’s data analytics company and the Pentagon.The new Defense Department deal will represent about 10% of Palantir’s revenue next year, according to people familiar with the company’s finances. It’s the first step in what could be a four-year, $440 million deal with the Army.The Silicon Valley company will provide software to connect human resources, supply chains and other Army operations systems into a single dashboard. The Army considered earlier proposals for related work from Accenture Plc, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and Microsoft Corp.“We started Palantir in 2004 to help the war fighter and solve difficult problems,” Doug Philippone, head of Palantir’s global defense business, said in an emailed statement. “In helping the Army make better use of its own data, we accomplish both goals.”The Defense deal solidifies a relationship between the U.S. government and the Palo Alto, California-based company, which was co-founded and partly bankrolled by Thiel. The billionaire venture capitalist and adviser to President Donald Trump has chastised other technology companies, in particular Alphabet Inc.’s Google, for their reluctance to work with the Defense Department. After Google abandoned a Pentagon effort known as Project Maven, Palantir stepped in to help develop video recognition software as part of the project, a move reported earlier by Business Insider.On Saturday, a company spokeswoman said Palantir will run its first-ever commercials, which will air during the Army-Navy football game, in a bid to show its support for the U.S. military.In recent years, Palantir has sought to work more with companies and be less reliant on government contracts. Airbus SE and Merck KGaA are among its customers, but government clients still make up a significant portion of revenue.To contact the reporter on this story: Lizette Chapman in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at email@example.com, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. antitrust enforcers are examining Google’s conduct in the online shopping comparison market as they continue their probe of the search giant.Richard Stables, chief executive officer of the shopping comparison site Kelkoo Group, said he spent more than an hour with Justice Department officials on Thursday to discuss how Alphabet Inc. allegedly hurt his European-based business.The meetings show that the Justice Department, which opened its investigation of Google with a document seeking a wide swath of information on the company, has an interest in at least one of three landmark European antitrust cases.A Justice Department spokesman said the department has had numerous productive meetings with third parties, but declined to comment on specific discussions.Stables said he also met with congressional staff members for lawmakers on antitrust committees in the House and Senate earlier this week.In 2017, the European Union fined Google 2.4 billion euros ($2.8 billion) and ordered the company to stop promoting its own shopping search results over those of competitors. Stables, who has been trying to convince the EU to toughen its remedy, outlined to the U.S. antitrust enforcers what he said was harm to consumers stemming from Google’s practices.Google’s practice of elevating its own services raises prices for consumers by limiting access to rival shopping comparison sites, Stables said.In the meetings, Stables said he raised concerns that Google could squash not just other European comparison sites, but also travel companies, searches for local businesses and services, and other firms in the U.S.U.S. companies that fear Google have been reluctant to speak out, he said, but he was was willing to help enforcers in Washington understand the market because the political moment made him more optimistic about getting a remedy.In addition to the Justice Department and Congress, 48 state attorneys general are probing Google, and some Democratic presidential candidates have ramped up their rhetoric on the dominance of tech giants.The states began their investigation by focusing on Google’s position in online ads, but some states have recently broadened their focus.Google spokesman Jose Castaneda directed reporters to a September blog post when Google Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker pledged to work with antitrust officials.(Updates with context on the states’ investigation, in second-to-last paragraph. An earlier version corrected the day of the meeting, in second paragraph)\--With assistance from David McLaughlin.To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at firstname.lastname@example.org;Naomi Nix in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ros KrasnyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc. is pursuing mediation to settle investor litigation alleging the company let senior leaders at Google get away with sexual harassment and misconduct for years.Company directors this year set up a special committee to evaluate the claims after several shareholder groups sued, alleging that the board failed in its duties by allowing harassment, approving big payouts to departing executives and keeping the details under wraps. The committee recommended that the case go through private mediation, a closed-door process, according to a filing in California state court in San Jose.Both sides agreed to extend Alphabet’s deadline to respond to the claims until Feb. 14 to accommodate the mediation, according to the filing.Google’s handling of sexual harassment and misconduct has been a major flashpoint over the last two years. Thousands of employees walked off the job last year to protest the company’s policies after a New York Times report detailed how Google paid Android founder Andy Rubin $90 million in severance even after an employee accused him of sexual harassment.Google has since changed some of its policies and no longer bars employees from signing away their right to bring complaints in court.A Google spokesman declined to comment on the litigation. Louise Renne, a lawyer representing investors, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.The lead case is In Re Alphabet Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation, 19CV341522, California Superior Court, Santa Clara County (San Jose).To contact the reporters on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in New York at email@example.com;Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, ;David Glovin at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter Blumberg, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Mercedes-Benz is putting off the U.S. debut of its first electric vehicle by a year in the latest sign of just how difficult a time automakers are having replicating Tesla Inc.’s success.Daimler AG’s luxury brand will start sales of the EQC crossover in 2021 rather than early next year. The German carmaker said in an emailed statement that it’s made the strategic decision to first support growing demand for the model in Europe, where deliveries began earlier this year.The world’s top-seller of premium autos has touted the EQC and the series of battery-powered models it has planned under the EQ sub-brand as an answer both to Tesla and its traditional rivals. But the initial electric vehicles Jaguar and Audi introduced in the U.S. market this year have underwhelmed on the sales charts, failing to keep up even with Tesla’s years-old Model S and X.Daimler has at least 10 purely battery-powered cars planned through 2022 to help meet tougher emissions rules around the globe. But while regulatory pressure is picking up, U.S. demand has been tepid for models other than Tesla’s lower-priced Model 3. Consumers continue to harbor concerns about limited driving range, long charging times and high sticker prices.Jaguar has sold 2,418 I-Pace SUVs in the U.S. this year through November, while Audi has delivered 4,623 e-tron crossovers, according to InsideEVs. By contrast, the website estimates that Tesla has sold about 111,650 Model 3 sedans.Luxury-car makers’ biggest retailers are divided over the outlook for electric cars in the U.S. In February, the president of Sonic Automotive Inc., the fifth-largest U.S. dealership group in the country, wondered aloud on an earnings call whether Tesla had built a cult following for its cars and said the brand needed to be taken seriously by BMW and others.But in October, Roger Penske, the chief executive officer of Penske Automotive Group Inc., said the I-Pace hasn’t sold as expected and that consumers have been canceling orders for the e-tron.“They’re expensive, and everyone has range anxiety, and to me, what’s going to be the residual value at the end?” Penske said during an earnings call. “The growth is going to be slow.”Automotive News first reported Mercedes’s decision to delay the EQC earlier Friday.\--With assistance from Christoph Rauwald.To contact the reporter on this story: Gabrielle Coppola in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at firstname.lastname@example.org, Chester DawsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Boeing Co has decided it will not compete as a prime contractor to replace the Pentagon's aging U.S.-based Minuteman III missile system, paving the way for Northrop Grumman Corp to win a contract worth tens of billions of dollars. Friday marked the deadline to submit proposals to continue work on the replacement of the nearly half-century-old intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system as the military embarks on a costly modernization of its aging atomic weapons. Boeing said in a statement that it was disappointed it was unable to submit a bid.
The U.S. auto safety agency said Friday it will investigate a 12th Tesla crash that may be tied to the vehicle's advanced Autopilot driver assistance system after a Tesla Model 3 rear-ended a parked police car in Connecticut on Saturday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration special crash investigation program will investigate the Dec. 7 crash of a 2018 Tesla Model 3 on Interstate 95 in Norwalk, Connecticut, the agency confirmed. The agency’s special crash investigation team has inspected 12 crashes involving Tesla vehicles where it was believed Autopilot was engaged at the time of the incident.
Dec.13 -- Google fired four employees for what the technology giant said were violations of its data-security policies, escalating tension between management and activist workers at a company once revered for its open corporate culture. Rebecca Rivers, a former Google employee, and Bloomberg's Mark Bergen appear on "Bloomberg Technology."
Dec.13 -- Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives and Bloomberg's Alistair Barr talk about how Apple will be impacted by the U.S. trade war deal with China. They appear on "Bloomberg Technology."