AAPL Jan 2022 270.000 call

OPR - OPR Delayed price. Currency in USD
129.00
0.00 (0.00%)
As of 3:52PM EDT. Market open.
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous close129.00
Open129.00
Bid0.00
Ask0.00
Strike270.00
Expiry date2022-01-21
Day's range127.83 - 129.00
Contract rangeN/A
Volume4
Open interestN/A
  • Stock market news live updates: Stocks mostly lower after Nasdaq sets record high
    Yahoo Finance

    Stock market news live updates: Stocks mostly lower after Nasdaq sets record high

    Stocks abruptly turned negative Thursday as fears over the economic outlook following an increase in coronavirus cases resurged. The Dow and S&P 500 wiped out their week to date gains.

  • Apple expands its free coding courses and materials for educators
    TechCrunch

    Apple expands its free coding courses and materials for educators

    Apple today announced its plans for a new, free resource aimed at helping educators of all skill levels gain the ability to teach both Swift and Xcode -- the latest in Apple's educational initiatives focused on encouraging more students to learn app development. On July 13, Apple will begin offering free online training to educators that will serve as an introduction to its Develop in Swift curriculum. This curriculum has also been completely redesigned to meet students learning styles, based on user feedback, says Apple.

  • TSMC Sales Shine After Virus Drives Demand for Datacenter Chips
    Bloomberg

    TSMC Sales Shine After Virus Drives Demand for Datacenter Chips

    (Bloomberg) -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. posted monthly revenue that suggested June-quarter sales surpassed analysts’ estimates, underscoring how its technological lead is helping the chipmaker weather the pandemic and U.S. curbs on No. 2 customer Huawei Technologies Co.Apple Inc.’s main iPhone chipmaker reported sales of NT$120.88 billion ($4.1 billion) for June on Friday. That likely means TSMC’s revenue grew about 29% to NT$310.7 billion last quarter, based on previously reported figures, beating the NT$308.8 billion analysts expect on average.TSMC, a barometer for the industry thanks to its heft in the global supply chain, had previously lowered its 2020 revenue outlook to reflect potentially the biggest global economic crisis since the Great Depression. But it said at the time it still expects robust demand for the semiconductors in datacenters hosting an unprecedented surge in online activity during the pandemic. Executives forecast revenue growth of about 30% in the June quarter while sticking to a goal of $15 billion to $16 billion for capital spending in 2020, up from last year’s $14.9 billion.What Bloomberg Intelligence SaysSales of Asian contract chipmakers TSMC, SMIC and others may beat consensus in 2H despite the longer-than-expected Covid-19 pandemic, due to rising semiconductor demand for cloud processing and video conferencing amid social-distancing requirements.\- Charles Shum, analystClick here for the research.In the longer term, the chipmaker will still have to contend with uncertainty as Covid-19 spreads across the globe, particularly as signs emerge of a second wave. TSMC however is considered relatively more resistant to a downturn thanks to a commanding position in the production of high-end chips needed for everything from datacenters and gaming to video streaming.It’s also the primary producer of cutting-edge chips for Huawei, but the Trump administration’s ban on the use of American chipmaking gear for the Chinese company threaten a business relationship that accounts for about 14% of TSMC’s revenue.Read more: Huawei Sees Dire Threat to Future From Latest Trump SalvoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • TikTok Teens Try To Trick Trump Campaign, Again
    Bloomberg

    TikTok Teens Try To Trick Trump Campaign, Again

    (Bloomberg) -- The TikTok-tivists are at it again.Thousands of users of the popular video app flocked to the Apple App Store in the last few days to flood U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign app with negative reviews. On Wednesday alone 700 negative reviews were left on the Official Trump 2020 app and 26 positive ones, according to tracking firm Sensor Tower.TikTok fans are retaliating for Trump’s threats to ban the app, which is owned by China’s Bytedance Ltd. and is hugely popular in the U.S., especially among teens. The thought of taking away a key social and entertainment hub in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to outrage.“For Gen Z and Millennials, TikTok is our clubhouse and Trump threatened it,” said Yori Blacc, a 19-year-old TikTok user in California who joined in the app protest. “If you’re going to mess with us, we will mess with you.”Blacc said the movement gained steam Wednesday when a popular TikTok user, DeJuan Booker, called on his 750,000 followers to seek revenge. He posted a step-by-step primer on how to degrade the app’s rating, notching 5.6 million views. “Gen Z don’t go down without a fight,” said Booker, who goes by @unusualbeing on TikTok. “Let’s go to war.”The Trump campaign said the effort hasn’t had any impact.“TikTok users don’t affect anything we do. What we do know is that the Chinese use TikTok to spy on its users,” said Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for the Trump Campaign. ByteDance has always denied such accusationsThe efforts to push the app low enough so that Apple will remove it from the app store may be misguided. Apple doesn’t delete apps based on their popularity. The App Store may review those that violate its guidelines or are outdated, but not if their ratings sink. A similar tactic was tried in April to protest Google Classroom by kids frustrated with quarantine home-schooling.But young people are looking for ways to make their voices heard, even if some of them can’t yet vote. Last month, many young people organized through TikTok to sign up to attend Trump’s first post-shutdown campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but then didn’t show up. The Trump campaign denied the online organizing effort contributed to lower-than-expected attendance.Nearly 60% of Gen Zers are opposed to a TikTok ban, according to a survey conducted from Tuesday to Thursday of 2,200 adults by Morning Consult Brand Intelligence. Across all ages, about a third of Americans have never heard of TikTok, while a third have a favorable impression and a third have an unfavorable view of the app, the survey found.Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. TikTok experienced connectivity issues on Thursday, according to Downdector, which measures web traffic, but the company said it had resolved them later the same day.Trump’s re-election smartphone app is a big part of the president’s unrivaled digital operation and was meant to circumvent tech companies like Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. and give the campaign a direct line to supporters. The app has helped the campaign engage Trump’s die-hard supporters, especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, by feeding them his latest tweets and promoting virtual events. Supporters can donate to the president’s campaign or earn rewards for recruiting friends like VIP seats to rallies or photos with the president.The Official Trump 2020 app has been downloaded more than 500,000 times on Google’s Android store as of June 15. Apple doesn’t publish information on downloads.Reviews with titles such as “Terrible App” or “Do Not Download!” have been flooding the App Store since late June. Official Trump 2020 now has more than 103,000 one-star reviews for an overall rating of 1.2.But the uptick of activity has also caused the app to rise in rankings. Users have to download the app to review it, vaulting it to second place on the Apple store from No. 486 on Tuesday, according to Sensor Tower.“Do I think that this is going to fundamentally change the election? No,” said Tim Lim, a veteran Democratic digital strategist. “But it goes to show that they are just as susceptible to these mass actions as anyone else. Trump is starting to see what it feels like to have a massive online army committed to defeating him.”Trump earlier this week said his administration is considering banning TikTok as one way to retaliate against China over its handling of the coronavirus. Trump’s comments came after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told Americans not to download the app unless they want to see their private information fall into “the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.” Bytedance is also facing a U.S. national security review for its acquisition of startup Musical.ly. It has denied allegations that it poses a threat to U.S. national security.Trump didn’t offer specifics about a potential decision and Pompeo seemed to walk back the idea of a ban in a later statement, saying that the U.S. efforts to protect American consumers’ data don’t relate to any one particular company.Many TikTok users say they care less about potential Chinese snooping and more about Trump taking away their digital hangout. In the U.S., TikTok has been downloaded more than 165 million times, according to Sensor Tower.“I don’t believe Trump is trying to take TikTok away because of national security, but more to retaliate against activism on the app and all the videos about him that drag him through the mud,” said Darius Jackson, an 18-year-old TikTok user in Champaign, Illinois, who asked his followers Wednesday to give Trump’s app a one-star rating.“This is the first year I’ll be able to vote and I think activism on TikTok is going to make a big difference,” Jackson said.(Updates with Trump campaign response from sixth paragraph. A previous version of the story corrected the spelling of the Illinois city in the penultimate paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Global PC Sales Climb on Rebounding Supply Chains, Rising Demand
    Bloomberg

    Global PC Sales Climb on Rebounding Supply Chains, Rising Demand

    (Bloomberg) -- Global personal computer shipments climbed in the second quarter, when vendors patched supply-chain issues and consumer demand for laptops surged with more people forced to work from home.PC makers shipped 2.8% more devices in the three-month period compared with a year earlier, for a total of 64.8 million units, according to preliminary data released Thursday by researcher Gartner Inc. Rival industry analyst IDC pegged the year-over-year increase at 11%. Both firms said the increase was fueled by particularly strong growth in Europe and the U.S.Major PC makers endured supply chain breakdowns during the first few months of 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic ground some manufacturing to a halt in the Asia-Pacific region, which produces key computer components. Vendors had little stock for some products while also facing stronger demand as billions of people around the world fled their offices to minimize the spread of Covid-19.“The strong demand driven by work-from-home as well as e-learning needs has surpassed previous expectations and has once again put the PC at the center of consumers’ tech portfolio,” Jitesh Ubrani, a research manager at IDC, said in a statement.HP Inc. and China’s Lenovo Group Ltd. each held about 25% of the global market. Gartner put Lenovo barely ahead while IDC had Palo Alto, California-based HP as No. 1 for the quarter. Dell Technologies Inc. and Apple Inc. rounded out the top four on both lists.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Runup in Tech Mega-Caps Sows Doubt Before Key Earnings
    Bloomberg

    Runup in Tech Mega-Caps Sows Doubt Before Key Earnings

    (Bloomberg) -- Some of Wall Street’s biggest stocks are coming off their best quarterly performance in years, and with the broader economy still grappling with the pandemic, analysts are starting to express some skepticism about high-profile rallies.The S&P 500 surged 20% in the second quarter, its biggest quarterly gain since 1998. While the superlative nature of the rally was partly a function of timing -- many components hit a bottom right before the end of the first quarter -- the move was fueled by tech and internet stocks, which outperformed the benchmark and have heavy weightings due to their massive market capitalizations.Apple and Amazon.com both gained more than 40% during the quarter, making it the iPhone maker’s best quarter since 2012 and Amazon’s best since 2010.On Wednesday, Deutsche Bank confessed it was “surprised at both the speed and magnitude of the rebound” in Apple shares, adding that the move “has us nervous.” Raymond James echoed this tone on Tuesday, seeing uncertainty surrounding Apple’s forecast given an expected delay in the iPhone 12, a product Nomura Instinet expects “will fall short of a supercycle.” Both Deutsche Bank and Raymond James still recommend buying Apple shares.Amazon remains a consensus favorite on Wall Street -- more than 90% of the firms tracked by Bloomberg recommend buying it -- but the degree to which the share price exceeds analysts’ average price target is near a multiyear high, suggesting that even bulls aren’t expecting much additional upside.Among other mega-cap names, Microsoft rose 29% over the second quarter, its best such showing since 2009. Both Facebook and Google-parent Alphabet notched their biggest quarterly gain since 2013, with Facebook up 36% and Alphabet up 22%, based on its Class A shares. Netflix rose 21% last quarter.All are at or near record levels, and the rallies will soon be tested as each member of the group is scheduled to post quarterly results before the end of the month, with Netflix reporting next week.Apple EstimatesFor Apple, the rally has come despite a more tepid view for its upcoming results. Wall Street expects third-quarter earnings, excluding some items, of $2.03 a share, a consensus that is down 6.8% from where it was three months ago. The consensus for revenue has declined 0.9% over the same period.While analysts debate whether the results will justify the recent gains, many of these names are seen as potential pandemic winners. Microsoft is expected to see stronger demand for its cloud-computing and workplace collaboration products as people continue to work remotely, while the e-commerce wave lifting Amazon and others is seen as outlasting the coronavirus’s impact on brick-and-mortar stores.Apple analysts also see a number of reasons to be optimistic for the long term, including the company’s services business, wearable products, and its stock-buyback program. “Overall, we believe the directionality and reasoning behind AAPL’s stock rise,” Deutsche Bank’s Jeriel Ong wrote. Still, the firm has “ambivalence at these levels.”Firms expressed a similar sentiment about Netflix, which has seen higher engagement during the pandemic. Rosenblatt Securities “struggle[s] to see the upside” from current levels given “uncertainty over how [long] this favorable environment will last.” Stifel continues “to grapple with the risk/reward profile given limited 2H visibility.”Imperial Capital downgraded the stock earlier this week, moving away from an outperform rating that it had held since starting coverage on Netflix about two years ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Following the recent advance, Netflix “will begin a fairly extensive range-bound trend as other long opportunities emerge in the media space,” the firm said.(Removes reference to Microsoft reporting next week in seventh paragraph of story originally published July 8.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Top Research Reports for Apple, Microsoft & TMobile
    Zacks

    Top Research Reports for Apple, Microsoft & TMobile

    Top Research Reports for Apple, Microsoft & TMobile

  • All Those Empty Stores Set Up Retail’s Comeback
    Bloomberg

    All Those Empty Stores Set Up Retail’s Comeback

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Once again, we're hearing the familiar predictions of the demise of retail as the pandemic brings on a deluge of  store closings, especially for those businesses with too much debt and goods that have fallen out of fashion. As long as the U.S. is running at less than full speed because of the coronavirus -- and perhaps for some time after -- it may be difficult for landlords to fill newly vacant spaces. But long-term trends in retail, hospitality and commercial real estate suggest that in economically stable communities, those spaces should eventually be occupied. It's even possible that the 2020s will accelerate the trend of successful e-tailers expanding into physical locations.The  rise in store closures -- one analysis said as many as 100,000 brick-and-mortar locations could shut by 2025 -- are the easy part to think about. Apparel company Brooks Brothers is the latest, filing for bankruptcy yesterday, while Lucky Brand Jeans filed last week. Both have closed stores and struggled with falling sales. Changes in buying patterns brought about by e-commerce along with heavy debt loads have led to the demise of countless retailers during the past decade. Clusters of bankruptcies then bring about concerned articles about the state of the retail industry -- here's one from 2009 after the bankruptcies of Circuit City, Linens 'n Things and Sharper Image. It's natural that this crisis would be seen as another moment of reckoning for retail and the commercial real estate that relies so much on it.But it's important to note that coming into this crisis there's no evidence that physical retail is an industry on death's door or even in secular decline. Retail sales -- after stripping out restaurants and non-store retailers, which includes e-commerce -- have grown modestly for a decade. Total retail employment by 2015 had recovered all of the losses inflicted by the Great Recession and has been largely steady since then, even with all the headlines of stores closing and the proliferation of self-checkout registers. Even as some categories such as electronics and apparel have struggled, others such as health and personal-care retail has continued to grow.Dining and entertainment, which might be considered as experiential retail, has done even better. As a share of total employment, leisure and hospitality jobs have grown for decades despite shifting trends in consumption and technology. Maybe something changed forever with the pandemic, but it seems premature to make that claim.Where retail has struggled most has been in communities with dwindling population and shrinking economic bases. There's nothing magical here -- communities that lose jobs and people lose retail as well, e-commerce or no e-commerce.E-commerce will likely see rapid growth this year because of the pandemic, but for the most part the shift from physical to online retail is happening slowly enough that there's enough time for the adjustment to occur without being too disruptive. It's taken 17 years for e-commerce's market share to grow from 1.8% to 11.8%. And a lot of the retailers that have gone out of business in that period had glaring weaknesses -- Sears and Toys R Us probably were doomed no matter the strength of the economy. But compare them with Nike, Apple and Lululemon, which seem unlikely to close many of their stores.It's also possible that the 2020s will see shifts that benefits physical retail at large, even if that's not necessarily good news for some struggling physical retailers. During the 2010s,  lots of stagnant, over-indebted physical retailers closed or went bankrupt while  e-commerce took off. But the growth of e-commerce also brought with it rising costs -- for online ads, for warehouse space, and for shipping and delivery costs. In other words, e-commerce's cost advantage may have been temporary.If the cost advantage disappears, e-commerce growth might slow. But turning to physical stores could be a great way for online brands to start letting consumers interact with and experience their brands directly. Store fronts can also be a great way to pick up profitable sales and act as a distribution and return hubs. A temporary glut of vacant storefronts because of the pandemic may be seen in hindsight as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pick up quality real estate. This doesn't necessarily mean Macy's will see a resurgence, but it might mean that there will be more Amazon and Wayfair physical locations a decade from now.Between the restrictions on in-person shopping amid the pandemic and the spending cuts retailers are making now, it might take a few quarters for this transformation to become more apparent. But as public-health and economic conditions improve, the next land grab for e-commerce winners might be the vacant storefronts left behind by the physical retailers they've conquered.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Conor Sen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He has been a contributor to the Atlantic and Business Insider.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

    Meet Donald Trump's New Political Football: TikTok

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s official. TikTok has become a political football.The surging social media app, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., is ensnared in the escalating tensions between China and its global rivals. Last week, India banned TikTok along with dozens of other Chinese apps, citing national security concerns. And on Monday during a Fox News interview, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned for the first time that the Trump administration is “certainly looking at” banning TikTok and other Chinese apps, warning of data-privacy issues. Trump echoed those statements on Tuesday.TikTok has said it keeps user data securely in the U.S. with backups in Singapore, and that it has never provided data to the Chinese government. In a further effort to calm stateside angst, TikTok hired former Walt Disney Co. executive Kevin Mayer this year as its chief executive officer.Still, there may be real national security implications stemming from a Chinese company owning a major American social network. ByteDance has been under review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. for its 2017 purchase of lip-synching startup Musical.ly, which was popular in the U.S. And it's now said to be facing scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department over whether it has met its commitments to protect children's privacy in a previous settlement. But before the country takes the dramatic step of banning a Chinese competitor (particularly one whose users helped prank the U.S. president earlier this year), the White House should spell out its reasoning. Otherwise, the move looks like political bluster.Some have argued that TikTok should be banned in the U.S. because Facebook Inc.’s social media site is not allowed in China. But such tit-for-tat protectionism would be short-sighted policy. American companies should win in the marketplace through better innovation, not by government assistance. Over the long run, the domestic technology industry is far better served having vigorous competition—and TikTok is certainly that—which pushes U.S. companies to create better products. Plus, a TikTok ban risks Chinese retaliation against American companies inside its borders. The list of potential targets that generate a significant portion of their sales in China is long—including Apple Inc., Starbucks Corp. and Intel Corp.On a relative basis, TikTok isn’t an obvious target in terms of data collection. Its focus is sharing creative short-form videos, like dancing and lip-syncing. The app’s algorithm surfaces relevant content, using metrics like how many similar videos you watched. And compared to an app like Facebook, TikTok doesn’t require a large amount of data entry (at least not manually).There’s also the value of the app itself, which has become a global cultural institution. From my experience, TikTok tends to be less filled with hate and disinformation, and genuinely funnier than most other platforms. (Though its avoidance of controversial topics isn’t always beneficial.) The app is also surfacing new stars: For example, a relatively unknown chef in Philadelphia was able to attract millions of viewers to his cooking videos in a matter of days. And this McFarland family’s viral Dad dancing video landed the family ad deals with Taco Bell and Gillette.A ban might not make sense on a purely political level either. TikTok is regularly on top of the Apple App Store’s most downloaded rankings. According to Sensor Tower, it has been downloaded 165 million times in the U.S. EMarketer estimates there will be 45 million regular TikTok users in the country by year-end. Restricting access could enrage millions of voters (or future voters, anyway). To avoid that, the U.S. government needs to show the evidence it has for being concerned about TikTok. Otherwise, given what we know today, the flood of teen outrage that’s sure to follow any TikTok ban would be justified.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.

  • Penny Stocks or Fractional Shares? Where to Invest Just a Few Dollars at a Time
    Motley Fool

    Penny Stocks or Fractional Shares? Where to Invest Just a Few Dollars at a Time

    Investing isn't just for wealthy people -- although the share prices of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) might indicate otherwise. Two low-dollar options are penny stocks, which have been around as long as stock markets have, and fractional shares, which are a relatively new development in the financial industry. Fractional shares are a different thing entirely.

  • Logitech (LOGI) Introduces New Peripheral Products for Apple
    Zacks

    Logitech (LOGI) Introduces New Peripheral Products for Apple

    Logitech (LOGI) unveils a wireless illuminated keyboard, a multi-device Bluetooth keyboard and a wireless mouse for various Apple operating systems.

  • Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet CEOs to Testify in Congress This Month
    Motley Fool

    Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet CEOs to Testify in Congress This Month

    The House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee is very interested in what the quartet has to say about market dominance and competition.

  • 2 Questions Spotify Bulls Have to Ask
    Motley Fool

    2 Questions Spotify Bulls Have to Ask

    Spotify (NYSE: SPOT) shares have soared following a string of podcasting deals. Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger downgraded Spotify's stock recently, believing the run-up in price isn't fully justified by its podcast investments. "We continue to believe it's unlikely Spotify will generate much earnings from podcasts," he wrote in a note.

  • TikTok Says a Quarter of Videos Removed Involve Misbehaving Kids
    Bloomberg

    TikTok Says a Quarter of Videos Removed Involve Misbehaving Kids

    (Bloomberg) -- Almost a quarter of the videos TikTok took down in 2019’s second half involved inappropriate behavior by minors, from illegal drug use to sexual activity.The Chinese-owned social video service said 24.8% of the clips removed were “depicting harmful, dangerous, or illegal behavior by minors, like alcohol or drug use, as well as more serious content we take immediate action to remove.” Another 15.6% “violated our suicide, self-harm, and dangerous acts policy,” TikTok said in its second transparency report.TikTok -- which has insisted it operates independently of Beijing despite its Chinese ownership -- has come under fire in the U.S. and India for the way it polices content on a platform used by more than a billion people. Parent ByteDance Ltd. has been accused of censoring content that may anger the Chinese government, even as scrutiny grows about its control over the personal information of youths.The report made no mention of requests related to China, where ByteDance is based but TikTok doesn’t operate. A company spokesperson said it also didn’t receive a single data request in the second half from Hong Kong, a market it’s abandoned after Beijing passed a controversial law to grant police sweeping powers over online content. This week, U.S. internet giants from Facebook Inc. to Google said they will stop processing data requests from the city’s government, signaling their opposition to the legislation. TikTok was no longer available on Apple’s and Google’s Hong Kong app stores as of Thursday.Read more: TikTok Pulling Out of Hong Kong After China Law ControversyThe video sharing app said it removed more than 49 million clips overall, according to its report on enforcement of content policy and government takedown requests. Of those removed videos, more than 16 million originated in India, a small portion of which came down after government request. TikTok said that of the total videos removed, its systems proactively caught and removed 98.2% before a user reported them, while 89.4% were taken down before they got any views.The disclosure from TikTok comes in the same week as reports that the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice have started to inquire about the company’s data practices -- specifically accusations that the app collected data on users under the age of 13. A prior iteration of the app paid $5.7 million in 2019 to settle similar claims by the FTC.“TikTok takes the issue of safety seriously for all our users,” a spokesperson said this week, “and we continue to further strengthen our safeguards and introduce new measures to protect young people on the app.” He declined to comment on whether the FTC or DOJ had approached TikTok about an investigation.Read more: TikTok Owner’s Profit Said to Hit $3 Billion as Sales DoubleFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Signal Tops Hong Kong Downloads After Fears of China Law Deepen
    Bloomberg

    Signal Tops Hong Kong Downloads After Fears of China Law Deepen

    (Bloomberg) -- Signal has become the most-downloaded app in Hong Kong after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the city that stirred fears of curbs on civil liberties.The messaging app, endorsed by whistle-blower and privacy advocate Edward Snowden, provides end-to-end encryption to secure messages from being read by a third party as they travel between users. It has topped both Apple Inc.’s and Google’s mobile app stores, according to App Annie data.Hong Kong detailed on Monday unprecedented online policing powers under the new law, including warrants for “any action” necessary to remove content deemed in violation. But the nonprofit responsible for Signal said that it won’t cooperate with any requests for user data from Hong Kong courts -- joining tech giants like Microsoft Corp. in the wake of the law’s passage -- in part because it doesn’t collect any data to begin with.“We never started turning over user data to HK police. Also, we don’t have user data to turn over,” it wrote on Twitter.Signal’s privacy-first ethos includes the app’s deliberate ignorance of what its users are doing, which goes above and beyond the likes of Telegram, another secure messenger that’s been popular in Hong Kong amid protests against the Beijing government. Virtual private networks, designed to disguise a user’s digital footprints, also saw a big spike in downloads in May as plans for the national security law started to emerge from the Chinese capital.Read more: VPN Downloads Surge in Response to Hong Kong Security LawThe controversial law went into effect June 30 and has already had a chilling effect on free expression in Hong Kong. It forbids speech and actions that might be seen as encouraging secession from China, terrorism, subversion of state power or collusion with foreign forces. Private messaging platforms have become a refuge as a result, with Hong Kongers retreating to unmonitored forms of communication.(Updates with data from App Annie in second paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Big Tech’s China Face-Off Presages an Exodus From Hong Kong
    Bloomberg

    Big Tech’s China Face-Off Presages an Exodus From Hong Kong

    (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc., Google and Twitter Inc. -- all of which are blocked in the mainland -- are now headed toward a showdown with China that could end up making Hong Kong feel more like Beijing.Hours after Hong Kong announced sweeping new powers to police the internet on Monday night, those companies plus the likes of Microsoft Corp. and Zoom Video Communications Inc. all suspended requests for data from the Hong Kong government. ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok, which has Chinese owners, announced it would pull its viral video app from the territory’s mobile stores in the coming days even as President Donald Trump threatened to ban it in the U.S.Their dilemma is stark: Bend to the law and infuriate Western nations increasingly at odds with China over political freedoms, or simply refuse and depart like Google did in China a decade ago over some of the very same issues. Much like that seismic event shook the mainland in 2010, Big Tech’s reaction now could have a much wider impact on Hong Kong’s future as a financial hub -- potentially sparking an exodus of professionals and businesses.“Google is pretty important to people here, and if that’s cut off then it’s really extremely serious,” said Richard Harris, a former director at Citi Private Bank who now runs Port Shelter Investment Management in Hong Kong. “In Hong Kong we don’t know where the boundaries are, and that’s threatening to a lot of business people.”Over the past week, Hong Kong authorities have begun explaining how they’ll enforce a law that officials in Beijing called a “sword of Damocles” hanging over China’s most strident critics. The legislation, which sparked the threat of sanctions from the Trump administration and outrage elsewhere, has had a chilling effect on pro-democracy protesters who demonstrated for months last year while also raising fresh questions for businesses.On Monday night, the Hong Kong government announced sweeping new police powers, including warrant-less searches, property seizures and online surveillance. If a publisher fails to immediately comply with a request to remove content deemed in breach of the law, police can seek a warrant to “take any action” to remove it while also demanding “the identification record or decryption assistance.”“We are absolutely headed for a showdown, and there are no indications that the Hong Kong government is particularly prepared if Facebook or another company refuses a removal request,” said James Griffiths, a journalist and author of “The Great Firewall: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet.” “These companies appear to have realized that there is no compromise they could make that would truly satisfy Beijing or make them seem trustworthy. This could make them more willing to stand up against Chinese censorship in Hong Kong.”American internet giants have made overtures toward Beijing in recent years as the market exploded, but few have so far actually acceded to China’s censorship framework.Of the rare examples, Microsoft’s LinkedIn censors content to allow it to operate a Chinese version, while Apple Inc. complies with local regulations in policing its app store and other services. Reports that Google entertained the notion of returning -- via potentially a censored version of search called Project Dragonfly -- enraged lawmakers and its own employees torpedoed the idea.Worldwide CensorshipTwitter and Facebook have never been consistently available in China, but Mark Zuckerberg also flirted with Beijing before abandoning the notion as regulatory scrutiny and a user backlash grew at home. In both instances, external factors helped scupper the feasibility of operating in the world’s No. 2 economy.“I worked hard to make this happen. But we could never come to agreement on what it would take for us to operate there, and they never let us in,” he said last year in a speech at Georgetown University. “And now we have more freedom to speak out and stand up for the values we believe in and fight for free expression around the world.”Still, the internet heavyweights are already censoring content across the world for both authoritarian regimes and western democracies, according to Ben Bland, a research fellow at the Lowy Institute in Australia. After a mass shooting last March in Christchurch, New Zealand, top social media companies joined with more than 40 countries in a concerted call to end the spread of extremist messaging online.Germany has banned online Nazi and right-wing extremist content, and most countries have blocks in place against online pornography and criminal activity. In Thailand, strict lese majeste laws lead to censorship of content deemed offensive to the royal family, while Communist-run Vietnam expunges anything deemed “anti-state.”Reputational DamageBig tech companies must gauge the importance of the markets in China and Hong Kong with possible reputational damage in other places they operate, according to Stuart Hargreaves, a law professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong who researches surveillance and privacy issues.“I do not expect to see the Great Firewall extended from mainland China to Hong Kong, at least in the medium term,” he said. “It is not necessary for Beijing’s goal of tamping down certain sentiments and would be the obvious end of Hong Kong as a global city and its particular role as an Asian finance hub.”The exit of TikTok, the viral video app that has insisted it operates independently of Beijing, could actually benefit the Communist Party by removing a forum pro-democracy protesters have used to post videos calling for an independent Hong Kong. Last year, demonstrators used the Reddit-like forum LIHKG as well as Telegram to organize leaderless protests.TikTok on Tuesday played up its U.S. ties while pushing back against comments by U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who said the government is considering a ban of the short video app. Trump later said the move may be one possible way to retaliate against China over its handling of the coronavirus.“We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked,” a TikTok spokesperson said, adding that it’s led by an American CEO.Platforms like Telegram that provide end-to-end encryption could become increasingly popular, said Joyce Nip, senior lecturer in Chinese Media Studies at the University of Sydney. Telegram said it has never shared data with Hong Kong authorities, adding that it doesn’t have servers in the territory and doesn’t store data there. Signal has become the most-downloaded messaging app in the city, topping the communications category in Apple’s and Google’s mobile app stores.‘Knife Edge’Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, didn’t answer a question Tuesday on her response to tech companies that stopped processing data requests from her government. Still, she played down any long-term impact on the city’s position as a financial hub around the same time that Pompeo released a statement blasting the Communist Party’s “Orwellian censorship” in Hong Kong.There “has been an increasing appreciation of the positive effect of this national security legislation, particularly in restoring stability in Hong Kong as reflected by some of the market sentiments in recent days,” Lam said a day after local stocks entered a bull market. “Surely this is not doom and gloom for Hong Kong.”The regulations stemmed from a new national security committee created by the law that includes Lam and Luo Huining, Beijing’s top official in the city. While China’s leaders know Hong Kong needs a free flow of information to function as a world-class financial center, “much seems to rest in the hands of the few newly empowered bureaucrats who will police the new laws,” according to Steve Vickers, chief executive officer of Steve Vickers and Associates, a political and corporate risk consultancy.“Foreign firms are on something of a knife edge here, caught between their natural affinity with freedom of information and their commercial desire to operate in the huge Chinese market,” said Vickers, a former head of the Royal Hong Kong Police Criminal Intelligence Bureau. “It is now more a matter of what is actually done, as opposed to what is being said -- by either China or the foreign IT companies -- that will be the key.”(Updates with Signal’s rise in the 19th paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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    Arm to Transfer IoT Data Unit to Softbank, Focus on Chips

    (Bloomberg) -- Arm Ltd. plans to transfer its data and device-management business to parent Softbank Group Corp. to focus on its main semiconductor operations and accelerate growth.The Internet of Things Services Group was billed by Arm as a key initiative to expand into managing information from millions of new devices being connected to the internet.The change will put Arm in a stronger position to innovate in its central business “and provide our partners with greater support to capture the expanding opportunities for compute solutions across a range of markets,’ Arm Chief Executive Officer Simon Segars said Tuesday in a statement. The transaction will require board approval, the company said.The Cambridge, England-based company is one of Softbank founder Masayoshi Son’s biggest bets. He bought Arm in 2016 for $32 billion saying that the company’s technology, which was already at the heart of all smartphones, had greater potential to grow as connectivity expands to become part of most electronics.Arm sells chip designs and also licenses the fundamentals of semiconductors that are used by companies such as Apple Inc. and Qualcomm Inc. to create their own chips.Softbank’s founder has come under pressure as some of his other projects have unraveled or fallen well short of his bullish projections. In May, Softbank reported a record operating loss triggered by the writedown of portfolio companies at its Vision Fund arm. Many Vision Fund investments, including Uber Technologies Inc., tumbled in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, which has curtailed demand for ride hailing and other sharing economy services that Son has long favored.Son has said that he planned to cash in on his investment in Arm by returning it to the public markets once it had gone through a heavy period of investment to fuel new growth. The IoT business was part of this plan. Arm’s leadership argued that the difficultly in managing new devices and exploiting related data was holding back the adoption of technology such as building sensors and connected factory equipment.Softbank’s leader has been vague about when he might sell shares in Arm. In 2018, he said it would happen in about five years.(Updates with CEO comment in the third paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.