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(Bloomberg) -- U.S. technology companies sent tens of thousands of documents to the House panel investigating whether they’re using their dominance to thwart competition in digital markets.Democratic Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who leads the House Judiciary antitrust panel, said Friday the information was the first portion of documents received since requests were sent in September to Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.Cicilline’s update about the review came as his committee held a hearing on how tech companies’ control and collection of consumer data affects competition. He cited practices by Facebook and Amazon as examples of how the companies can abuse data to harm competition and create an “innovation kill zone.”“We know that the abuse of data has serious ramifications for competition,” he said.The committee is examining data practices of the biggest U.S. tech firms as state and federal enforcers investigate whether Google and Facebook are violating antitrust laws. Lawyers and economists warn that the companies’ control over massive amounts of information give them an unfair advantage that lets them shut out rivals.Beyond FinesFederal Trade Commission member Rohit Chopra, a Democrat on the Republican-led body, testified Friday that enforcers need to go beyond fines to protect competition and innovation, with actions such as breaking up businesses or requiring the public availability of patents. The FTC is investigating Facebook’s conduct, including whether its past acquisitions of startups should be unwound.“Under-enforcement can really kill innovation and kill entry,” Chopra said. “When it’s harder and harder to break in, that’s just bad for small business and it’s bad for all of us.”Dominant tech companies have gained enormous competitive advantages from data, which deserves special attention from antitrust officials and lawmakers, he said.Data is KingThat was a view echoed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, who said the most dominant companies in the digital economy are those that have captured the most data.“Competitors in digital markets have a strong incentive to collect as much information on users as possible, as quickly as possible,” Nadler said. “This raises serious questions about whether it is good for society for unrelenting data collection to be the key dimension on which companies are looking to out-compete one another.”The House hearing is also considering the impact privacy rules have on how big tech companies thrive in the digital market. Roslyn Layton, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, testified that laws like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation are helping tech giants gain market share over competitors.“Policies such as GDPR, net neutrality and other misguided regulation have strengthened Silicon Valley dominance, and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will likely extend it further,” she said.Jason Furman, professor of the practice of economy policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama, said in his remarks that the major digital platforms pose “detrimental consequences” for consumers and need to be regulated to increase competition.Furman wrote a recent study for the U.K. government arguing for the creation of a new digital regulator that would tackle both privacy and competition concerns, an idea that’s gained some momentum in the U.S. and abroad.To contact the reporters on this story: Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at email@example.com;Daniel Stoller in Arlington at firstname.lastname@example.org;David McLaughlin in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ros Krasny, Steve GeimannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Microsoft (MSFT) partners Nuance Communications (NUAN) to deliver robust conversational AI and ambient intelligence technologies to transform doctor-patient interaction.
Credit card hacker group FIN7 has returned after a year of laying low. In the past the group stole card info from Chipotle, Chili's Arby's red Robin, Sonic, Trump Hotels, Whole Foods, and Hudson Bay stores.
Old Mutual selects Amazon's (AMZN) AWS as the preferred cloud provider, which highlights the reliability of the company's cloud computing services.
Solid Q3 results have encouraged firms to jack up their price targets for Netflix (NFLX), making it pricey. For small investors, we have picked media stocks that are low-priced and have growth potential.
(Bloomberg) -- Million-dollar homes in the U.S. are shrinking fast.Nowhere is that more stark than in Nashville, Tennessee, a superstar economy brimming with high-paying jobs, hip bars and new luxury downtown condos. There, $1 million buys a home that’s 28% smaller than just five years ago, according to a Zillow ranking of the 100 most-populous cities. Close behind was Oakland, California, a refuge for affluent home-shoppers seeking a cheaper alternative to San Francisco, with a 25% drop.“If you have a high number of people moving to an area, especially those with higher incomes, it can raise demand and makes these houses more expensive,” Kathryn Coursolle, an economist at Zillow, said by phone. “A million dollars is still a lot of money, especially in some areas.”At that price, buyers nationwide can expect to get 2,192 square feet, 14% less space than in 2014 but enough for a single-family home with four bedrooms and two and a half baths, a Zillow analysis showed. But $1 million buys only a 1,150-square-foot condo in San Francisco. In New York, you’d get 1,725 square feet -- expansive by Manhattan standards.Nashville buyers can expect 3,637 square feet, down from 5,029 five years ago. An influx of millennials has helped make the city one of the country’s strongest economies, with an unemployment rate of just 2.7%. Nashville is home to Vanderbilt University and a hub for hospitals and tech companies, including Amazon.com Inc., which is planning an operations center that will employ 5,000 people.Last year, New York-based investment manager AllianceBernstein announced plans to move its corporate headquarters and more than a thousand jobs to Nashville.To contact the reporter on this story: Prashant Gopal in Boston at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Giammona at firstname.lastname@example.org, Christine MaurusFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Intel stock has lagged far behind the broader semiconductor industry's 2019 climb. So let's take a look at what to expect from Intel's upcoming Q3 2019 earnings results to see if INTC stock might be set to pop...
Microsoft stock has moved somewhat sideways over the last three months as it cools off after a stellar first half of 2019. This means that the tech giant's upcoming quarterly earnings results will likely be the next catalyst for MSFT shares...
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Investors looking for signs that the worst is over for the chip sector would be pleased by what Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. served up Thursday. All of its key earnings data point to a rebound in demand, and more importantly to pragmatic inventory management after a glut last year dragged down the entire industry. TSMC’s third-quarter net income beat estimates and its fourth-quarter revenue outlook came in at the top of analysts’ expectations. But the standout headline from the company’s investor conference was its decision to boost its capital expenditure this year by close to 40%. By the end of September it had already shelled out $9.4 billion of the “more than” $11 billion it had previously expected for the full year.That may seem like a brave wager, considering a deepening trade war on two fronts — between the U.S. and China, as well as Japan and South Korea — and President Donald Trump’s campaign against TSMC’s key client, Huawei Technologies Co. Just months ago, shoppers were eschewing futuristic gadgets and putting off smartphone upgrades. But TSMC has rarely made mistakes about how to spend its capex: This plan is not only bold but smart. The world’s biggest chipmaker plans to spend a record-breaking $14 billion to $15 billion this year on the leading-edge equipment it needs to manufacture chips for devices such as Apple Inc. iPhones and Huawei’s smartphones. The company turned more aggressive, CEO C.C. Wei explained, because it sees stronger-than-expected demand for next-generation manufacturing technologies. These chips will be used in smartphones, data centers, IoT devices (think Amazon Alexa) and even cars, he said. Wei said he’s confident that the higher spending will be justified by quicker revenue growth, especially with faster fifth-generation mobile networks and handsets ready to go mainstream in the coming year. Because of the technology involved, 5G networks require more base stations than an equivalent 4G rollout, which will further help semiconductor sales.What should really cheer investors, though, are the figures that often get overlooked, namely inventory. One of the biggest problems afflicting the sector a year ago was that companies — from Apple to PC-chipmaker Intel Corp. and iPhone assembler Foxconn Technology Group — all overshot the mark when it came to buying and building chips, only to be met with lackluster demand from consumers.TSMC’s inventory, measured in Taiwan dollars, fell by 8.2% in the September quarter, the biggest drop in more than two years. Days of inventory — another measure that tracks its stockpiles — dropped to 65 days, the lowest in 18 months. This shows that there’s a smaller risk that TSMC and its clients got ahead of themselves this time. Before celebrating a new dawn for the tech sector, there is a caveat. More sales for TSMC doesn’t necessarily mean more devices being sold to end consumers. That’s because smartphones are becoming even smarter, requiring more chips inside. High-end cameras, for example, require higher-resolution sensors, which in turn means more chips within a phone to manage the power, data and memory that such functionality requires. That said, investors looking for an excuse to jump back into tech shares got exactly what they needed from TSMC. If not signs of stronger demand, evidence of pragmatic inventory management makes it look like a safer sector to place a bet.To contact the author of this story: Tim Culpan at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis 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.
(Bloomberg) -- Follow Bloomberg on LINE messenger for all the business news and analysis you need.Indonesian President Joko Widodo is set to revamp his economic team in a new cabinet that may include key opposition figures and industrialists, enabling him to push through difficult business reforms.Widodo, 58, will be sworn in for a second term Sunday, with his cabinet likely to be announced soon after. He’s expected to broaden his coalition by luring the opposition with cabinet posts in a bid to secure support for his policy agenda.Jokowi, as the president is known, heads into his final five years in office having pledged to lift economic growth, overhaul labor laws and boost investment at a time when trade tensions between the U.S. and China are hammering demand.“The team of economic managers in the cabinet will be more crucial than ever before given the immediate challenges of navigating an uncertain global backdrop,” said Euben Paracuelles, an economist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Singapore.Here’s a look at the key possible cabinet names doing the rounds in the media and among Indonesia watchers:Sri Mulyani IndrawatiJokowi has given few details about his new cabinet line-up, aside from guaranteeing in a recent interview that Indrawati, currently the finance minister, will remain in his team. It’s possible she may be promoted to the post of coordinating minister for economic affairs, a position currently held by Darmin Nasution, according to one document prepared by Jokowi’s presidential campaign.A former World Bank managing director, 57-year-old Indrawati has been credited with stabilizing the government’s finances and winning the country multiple credit-rating upgrades.Perry WarjiyoCurrently governor of the central bank, Warjiyo is a possible successor to Indrawati if she’s promoted to a more senior cabinet post, according to a list compiled by Jokowi’s presidential campaign team.Warjiyo was Jokowi’s sole nominee for governor when he was appointed to the post in May last year. He’s built his career at the central bank, dealing with a number of financial crises during his time. He led an aggressive policy response to counter last year’s emerging-market rout, raising interest rates by 175 basis points to help stabilize the currency.Chatib BasriThe former finance minister is also seen as a possible successor to Indrawati. Basri served under Jokowi’s predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, also known as SBY, and is an advocate of labor market reform and policies focused on lifting investment.Former Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo and Mirza Adityaswara, an ex-senior deputy governor, have also been cited as possible replacements for Indrawati.Nadiem MakarimThe founder of Indonesia’s first startup unicorn Gojek is touted as a possible minister in charge of either education or small- and medium-sized businesses. His addition to the cabinet would be in line with Jokowi’s publicly stated preference to include professionals and millennials in his team.Makarim, 35, has built Gojek into a $10 billion company offering everything from ride-hailing services to food delivery and digital payments. The company counts Google, JD.com Inc. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. among its investors and is seen as an icon for aspiring Indonesian entrepreneurs.Mukhamad MisbakhunMisbakhun, a member of the parliament’s finance committee during Jokowi’s first term, is considered a possible candidate to be trade minister, a post currently held by Enggartiasto Lukita. Misbakhun is a politician from the Golkar party, which has been a key member of the ruling coalition and is the second-biggest party in the parliament.Prabowo SubiantoJokowi’s heavy reform agenda has seen him reach across the aisle to opposition parties, including to Prabowo, the head of Indonesia’s main opposition party, who the president defeated for a second time in elections earlier this year.The pair have held a number of very public meetings in recent months, boosting expectations Prabowo, a former general, could bring his Great Indonesian Movement Party into the ruling coalition, and that his party could also be rewarded with several cabinet slots.Sandiaga UnoUno was Prabowo’s running mate in the 2019 presidential race and is being touted as possibly joining the new cabinet. A graduate of George Washington University, Uno is a successful businessman with big political ambitions.SBY’s son Agus Yudhoyono has also been named as possibly joining the cabinetTo contact the reporters on this story: Karlis Salna in Jakarta at email@example.com;Arys Aditya in Jakarta at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at email@example.com;Thomas Kutty Abraham at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The Q3 Snap earnings report is due on October 22. So could a positive surprise be enough to send Snap stock back toward its original price?
Some business leader say that if you choose to do business in China, you have to play by China’s rules—or expect consequences when you don't.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The New Yorker and the Atlantic have never been known for their business coverage, so when both magazines published long articles about Amazon.com Inc. in their current issues it signaled that something is in the air. That something is antitrust.More precisely, what’s in the air is the question of what the government should do to rein in the tremendous power of the big four tech companies: Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Apple Inc. and Amazon.Once the province of think tanks and law reviews, this topic has become such a public concern that 48 of the 50 state attorneys general are conducting antitrust investigations, presidential hopefuls are calling for tech giants to be broken up, and general interest magazines like, well, the New Yorker and the Atlantic are asking whether the companies abuse their market power. In this particular case, the magazines are asking it about Amazon.The Atlantic article is by Franklin Foer, who has long raised concerns about Big Tech. Five years ago, for instance, he wrote a cover story for the New Republic titled “Amazon Must Be Stopped.” It focused on Amazon’s dominance over the book business.This time around, he is writing about the unbridled ambition of Amazon’s founder and chief executive officer Jeff Bezos. (The new article is “Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan.”) “Bezos’s ventures are by now so large and varied that it is difficult to truly comprehend the nature of his empire, much less the end point of his ambitions,” Foer writes. He then goes through a list. Bezos wants to conquer space with his company Blue Origin. Bezos’s ownership of the Washington Post makes him a significant media and political figure. Bezos’s brainchild, Amazon, “is the most awe-inspiring creation in the history of American business.” And so on.He also points out that while critics fear Amazon’s monopoly power, the company is loved by consumers. “A 2018 poll sponsored by Georgetown University and the Knight Foundation found that Amazon engendered greater confidence than virtually any other American institution,” he writes. I have no doubt that this is true; Amazon’s obsession with customer service instills tremendous loyalty among consumers. It’s no accident that over 100 million people now pay the company $119 a year to be Amazon Prime members. That loyalty is also one reason taking antitrust actions against Amazon would be much more difficult than going after Facebook or Google. I’ll get to some other reasons shortly.Charles Duhigg’s New Yorker article “Is Amazon Unstoppable?” is both smarter about Amazon and more pointed about its power. Duhigg captures its relentless culture, comparing it to a flywheel that never stops. He described Bezos’s efforts to ensure that Amazon never loses the feel of a scrappy startup. The phrase that came to mind as I was reading Duhigg’s article was Andy Grove’s famous dictum: “Only the paranoid survive.”Duhigg is also interested in what Amazon’s critics have to say. Amazon pays no U.S. taxes. Amazon’s work culture makes it nearly impossible for women who want children to have long careers there. Amazon’s warehouse workers are sometimes fired after being injured on the job. Amazon looks the other way when counterfeit goods are sold on its site. (In the article, Amazon’s representatives deny these allegations.)Then there’s the fact that Amazon both serves as a platform for companies wanting to sell things and sells things itself. In other words, it competes with the same companies it enables. According to Duhigg, Amazon has been known to track items that do well, and then make its own version of the same item — which it then sells at a discounted price. (Amazon denies this, too.) Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s commissioner for competition, told Duhigg that the practice “deserves much more scrutiny.”The story’s killer anecdote, at least as it concerns antitrust, is about Birkenstock USA LP’s experience with Amazon. Although Birkenstock sold millions of dollars of shoes using the Amazon platform, it was constantly hearing customer complaints that the shoes were defective. Why? Because, according to Birkenstock, Amazon allowed counterfeits to be sold on the site. Not only would Amazon not take down the counterfeit goods, but it also wouldn’t even tell Birkenstock who was selling them.Amazon also had stocked a year’s worth of Birkenstock inventory, which terrified the company. “What if Amazon decides to start selling the shoes for 99 cents, or to give them away with Prime membership, or do a buy-one-get-one-free,” wondered Birkenstock’s chief executive officer, David Kahan. “We were powerless.”Kahan’s complaints went nowhere. So he pulled Birkenstocks off Amazon. What did Amazon do? It solicited Birkenstock retailers, offering to buy shoes directly from them. Today, if you search for Birkenstocks on Amazon you’ll be deluged with choices even though the company itself refuses to do business with Amazon. I found a pair of Arizona oiled leather sandals — listed on Birkenstock's website for $135 — marked down to $60 on Amazon. Is it the real thing, or is it a counterfeit?The hard question: What do you do about this kind of behavior? On one extreme is the Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren, who believes the most appropriate solution is to break up Amazon. At the other end of the spectrum, there are still plenty of antitrust economists who believe that if a $135 sandal is being sold for $60, that’s good for consumers. They argue that the government should just stay out of the way.I’m a proponent of breaking up Facebook, mainly because I believe if you force it to disgorge two of its prized platforms, Instagram and WhatsApp, you’ll instantly create serious competitors. That could help raise the bar on privacy, data usage and other concerns. But I’m not sure that would work with Amazon.For instance, if Amazon had to separate its highly profitable cloud service, Amazon Web Services, from its retail business the power dynamic between Amazon and the companies that use its platform would remain.What’s more, it’s harder to make a classic antitrust case against Amazon than it is against Facebook and Google. According to the research firm EMarketer Inc., Amazon is expected to account for 37.7% of all online commerce in 2019. By contrast, Google controls 89% of the search market.Still, for too many retailers, Amazon has the power to control their destiny, for good or ill. As the antitrust activist Lina Khan wrote in her now-famous 2017 article in the Yale Law Journal: “History suggests that allowing a single actor to set the terms of the marketplace, largely unchecked, can pose serious hazards.” I take that assessment to mean that government intervention at Amazon is needed.To my mind, the simplest and most sensible solution is from the economist Hal Singer: Don’t allow platform companies to favor their own products over competitors’ products. Singer calls this a “nondiscrimination regime,” and models it after the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act, which prevents cable distributors from favoring their own content over content from competitors. In that scenario, a company that felt it was being discriminated against by Amazon could bring a complaint to federal regulators just as cable stations can do now. This regime has worked well for the TV industry. It could work for Amazon, too.Secondly, the government should hold Amazon accountable for counterfeits. Counterfeiting is against the law, and although Amazon told Duhigg that it spends “hundreds of millions of dollars” on anti-counterfeiting efforts it’s no secret that many deceptively labeled goods are still sold on the site. (See, for instance, this recent Wall Street Journal story.) Companies like Birkenstock have a right to expect that a platform selling its products will rigorously police counterfeits — and will identify counterfeiters so manufacturers of authentic goods can take legal action.These are solvable problems. They don’t require extreme measures. What they do require is a government with the will to transform Amazon’s platform from what it is now, a vehicle that squelches competition, to one that lets competition flower.(Corrects paragraphs 12 and 13 to accurately reflect pricing disparities between sandals sold on Birkenstock's website and those sold on Amazon.)To contact the author of this story: Joe Nocera at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Timothy L. O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joe Nocera is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He has written business columns for Esquire, GQ and the New York Times, and is the former editorial director of Fortune. His latest project is the Bloomberg-Wondery podcast "The Shrink Next Door."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.