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A growing economy coupled with new applications and convenience of online shopping could provide a catalyst to businesses that sell merchandise through online channels.
Amazon, Facebook and Google told the United States Trade Representative's office how France's digital services tax could hurt their businesses at a hearing on Monday.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. plans to roll out the Apple TV+ movie and TV subscription service by November, part of a drive to reach $50 billion in service sales by 2020. The company will introduce a small selection of shows and then expand its catalog more frequently over several months, people familiar with the matter said. A free trial is likely as Apple builds up its library, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public.The iPhone maker is entering an increasingly crowded field, led by streaming pioneer Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. In the coming months, Walt Disney Co., AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal will debut new offerings -- all targeted at the growing ranks of viewers who are canceling cable-TV subscriptions or watching on mobile devices.With its first foray into video subscriptions, Apple is weighing different release strategies for shows. The company is considering offering the first three episodes of some programs, followed by weekly installments, the people said. Netflix tends to release whole seasons at once for bingeing, while AT&T’s HBO and Disney’s Hulu often release episodes weekly. The service will launch globally in over 150 countries. Apple TV+ will be one of five major digital subscription services in Apple’s portfolio, along with Apple Music, the upcoming Apple Arcade gaming service, Apple News+ and iCloud storage subscriptions. The company also generates recurring revenue from products like AppleCare extended customer service and its bank-operated iPhone upgrade program. It will also likely start pulling in revenue from the Apple Card, which began rolling out earlier this month. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.Apple hasn’t announced pricing for Apple TV+, but is weighing $9.99 a month, the people said, which would match Apple Music and Apple News+. Netflix and Amazon Prime charge as little as $8.99, while Disney+ plans to seek $6.99 when its service debuts in November.The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Apple has set aside $6 billion for original shows and movies, without saying where it got the information. The budget for the first year of content was $1 billion, but has since expanded, it said. That’s far less than what Netflix is expected to spend this year. Analysts forecast it will lay out more than $14 billion on films and TV shows.Revenue DriveApple is pushing into services to generate added revenue from its large base of iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch users. Consumers have been slower to replace hardware recently due to higher prices, market saturation, economic headwinds and a lack of new, breakthrough features. Read More: Apple Faces Life After IPhone But Still Banks on the IPhoneThe company could head off a revenue slowdown by coaxing users to subscribe to the new services. Cupertino, California-based Apple could also potentially boost revenue by tying services to the iPhone upgrade program, which lets customers update to new models annually via monthly payment plans.Apple’s initial slate of shows will include “The Morning Show,” Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories,” “See” with Jason Momoa, “Truth Be Told” with Octavia Spencer, and a documentary series about extravagant houses called “Home.” On Monday, the company released the second trailer for “The Morning Show,” starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. The TV service will be part of Apple’s TV app, which comes installed on the company’s devices, and will also be accessible from third-party products, like Roku and Amazon Fire TV boxes, and Samsung televisions.In the fiscal third quarter, services represented a record 21% of Apple’s sales, while the iPhone continued to dip below 50% of the total.Analysts have suggested Apple TV+ could top 100 million subscribers in the next half-decade, which would make it a major challenger to Netflix and Amazon.The company is making a big commitment to video, including around $300 million alone to two seasons of “The Morning Show,” according to people familiar with the matter.(Updates with budget details in 8th paragraph.)\--With assistance from Nate Lanxon.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Gurman in San Francisco at email@example.com;Anousha Sakoui in Los Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.org;Lucas Shaw in Los Angeles at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org, Thomas PfeifferFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
on original shows and movies for its new video streaming service that it hopes will challenge the likes of Netflix, Disney and AT&T-owned HBO. The company’s new TV+ service will go live within the next two months, according to people briefed on its plans, in an attempt to pre-empt the launch of Disney Plus, which is scheduled to debut in the US in November. Apple has not yet revealed pricing or other key details for its TV+ subscription service, but said new content will be added every month after the service launches in more than 100 countries.
(Bloomberg) -- So challenging are the times for Baidu Inc. that even meager revenue growth is cause for celebration.The Chinese search leader’s shares surged as much as 10% in extended trading after it reported sales inched up 1.4% to 26.3 billion yuan ($3.8 billion) in the June quarter, versus projections for a drop. Baidu foresees current-quarter revenue of 26.9 billion yuan to 28.5 billion yuan, flat to down a tad and roughly in line with estimates.The better-than-expected results will soothe investors’ worries for now that the 19-year-old company is losing steam rapidly as China’s internet evolves from desktop to mobile. Yet it continues to grapple with a broader economic slowdown as well as competition for advertisers from Tencent Holdings Ltd. and ByteDance Inc. The latter is chipping away at Baidu’s ad sales via increasingly popular news and social media apps, and also recently launched a general search engine -- a direct challenge to Baidu’s core business.“Facing severe outside challenges and a weak macro environment, the company has initiated a series of groundbreaking changes from top to bottom, involving company structures, personnel moves and business consolidation,” Baidu Chief Executive Officer Robin Li said in a letter to employees after the results. “Despite periodic pain, these changes will have positive and profound impact, enabling Baidu to walk farther and steadier.”Read more: Baidu’s $66 Billion Dive Knocks It Out of China’s Internet Top 5Net income dropped to 2.41 billion yuan, reversing a loss in the prior quarter -- Baidu’s first since going public in 2005. The company enjoyed a near-monopoly in online search after Alphabet Inc.’s Google exited China in 2010 but has in past years suffered a plethora of troubles from a regulatory clampdown over healthcare ads to the departure of a slew of top executives including Xiang Hailong, a 14-year veteran who ran its core search business.The search giant is betting on new technology such as artificial intelligence and self-driving cars, but these pushes aren’t going to pay off financially any time soon. In the meantime, Baidu is investing in content to hold onto users, backing social media platforms including Q&A site Zhihu and science sharing platform Guokr. Daily active app users climbed 27% in the June quarter to 188 million, while subscribers on its Netflix-style iQiyi service grew by about 50% to 100.5 million in June.Baidu had fallen off the list of China’s five most valuable internet companies, trailing Meituan and NetEase Inc., after shedding more than 40% of its market value this year. Once touted as a member of China’s tech triumvirate alongside Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent, Baidu has been left behind as the country’s internet evolves.Baidu’s forecast “indicates continued pressure from multiple headwinds, including China’s weakening macroeconomic environment hurting advertisers’ sentiment, the company’s cleanup of low quality health-care advertisers, and the large influx of competitive advertising inventory depressing industry prices,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Vey-Sern Ling said.To contact the reporter on this story: Zheping Huang in Hong Kong at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Colum Murphy, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Salesforce (CRM) stock is up 5.1% YTD, lagging behind the S&P 500???s 14% climb. Shares of Salesforce are also down roughly 14% from their 52-week highs. The customer relationship management firm is set to report its Q2 2020 earnings results after the close on Thursday, August 22.
What's Next for Walmart Stock and a Target earnings preview on the latest episode of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research.
It's time to check out 3 tech stocks that came through our screen today that growth investors might want to consider as we move beyond Q2 earnings season...
Good news about tariffs on iPhone, iPads, Macs, etc not kicking in until Dec 15 more than offset things like the FAA restricting some risky devices on flights, an antitrust probe in Russia and other.
(Bloomberg) -- Antitrust officials are right to look back at Facebook Inc.’s acquisition of Instagram to determine whether the deal harmed competition, Colorado’s attorney general said, adding to calls for renewed scrutiny of the takeover of the photo-sharing site.Phil Weiser said in an interview Monday that large internet platforms like Facebook have been able to buy emerging rivals without sufficient antitrust review of the effects on competition.“Hindsight is 20-20, but I think looking back it does look like that sort of transaction didn’t get the scrutiny it deserved,” Weiser said about the 2012 Instagram deal. “When a merger doesn’t get challenged that doesn’t mean it is immunized from any potential future challenge.”Weiser’s comments come as state and federal officials are taking steps to investigate the biggest U.S. technology companies amid calls by Republicans and Democrats to examine whether they are thwarting competition. One of the central questions for enforcers is whether the tech giants have used takeovers of startups to eliminate future rivals in their markets.The Federal Trade Commission has created a tech task force to examine that issue. It has opened a broad investigation into Facebook that is in part looking at whether the company harmed competition by acquiring startups, according to people familiar with the matter. The agency investigated the Instagram takeover and approved it without conditions.FTC Chief Says He’s Willing to Break Up Big Tech CompaniesFacebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has argued that the size of the social network enables it to do the things that regulators want to see, such as better policing of content, which would be much harder if Instagram were a separate company. He has said he welcomes regulation, but that breaking up the company wouldn’t address concerns legislators have, including those over privacy and data-sharing.A spokeswoman for Facebook didn’t respond to a request for comment.Weiser, who spoke on the sidelines of a Technology Policy Institute forum in Aspen, Colorado, said undoing past deals would be an “exceptional” move by antitrust enforcers, though they are not prohibited from taking a second look at mergers that were previously approved.Weiser, a Democrat who was a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s antitrust division during the Obama administration, said enforcers should be examining the power of dominant companies across the economy. He declined to comment on whether states are investigating tech giants.A proposal by Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren to break up tech companies is too drastic, without first conducting full antitrust investigations, he said. Warren says tech platforms should be prohibited from competing with other firms that rely on their platforms so that Amazon.com, for example, shouldn’t be able to sell its own products on its marketplace. Those business models are “rife throughout our whole economy,” Weiser said.“Where and when are you going to enforce this principle?” he said, adding Warren’s proposal could carry “a lot of negative side effects.”To contact the reporters on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at email@example.com;Vicky Graham in Arlington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at email@example.com, Joe Schneider, Steve StrothFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Jamie Dimon and other leaders at some of the world’s largest companies said they plan to abandon the long-held view that shareholders’ interests should come first amid growing public discontent over income inequality and the burgeoning cost of health care and higher education.The purpose of a corporation is to serve all of its constituents, including employees, customers, investors and society at large, the Business Roundtable said Monday in a statement. Dimon, the chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., heads the group.“While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders,” the group said in the statement. “Americans deserve an economy that allows each person to succeed through hard work and creativity and to lead a life of meaning and dignity.”The 181 signatories include BlackRock Inc.’s Laurence Fink, Bank of New York Mellon Corp.’s Charlie Scharf and the CEOs of several Wall Street banks, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Moelis & Co. It also includes Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person.Fundamental PremiseThe shift in corporate priorities comes as some politicians and critics question whether the fundamental premise of American capitalism should be revamped. Some executives also have complained that an outsize focus on share prices and quarterly results hamper their ability to build businesses for the long term.The group’s statement offers scant detail on how the commitments will be converted into action and presents no road map for getting there. Many companies vow to do good things but often resist releasing data to let others independently verify such promises. And it will fall on CEOs, who on average last no longer than six years, to convince fickle investors, including powerful activists, that shifting resources will pay off in the long term.The idea that businesses exist primarily to benefit shareholders -- also known as shareholder primacy -- took hold in corporate America in the 1980s. In 1997, the Business Roundtable embraced the idea in a document outlining governance principles.The concept has been criticized for leading to a fixation on short-term results and helping fuel the rapid increase in executive pay. Last year, public companies in the U.S. began disclosing the difference between their CEOs’ compensation and that of their median workers. At S&P 500 firms, the average ratio is about 280-to-1, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Both Dimon and Fink have written open letters saying that chief executives should take on a larger responsibility for tackling societal matters and, at times, take stances on politically controversial topics.‘Sensitive’ Issues“Stakeholders are pushing companies to wade into sensitive social and political issues -- especially as they see governments failing to do so effectively,” Fink wrote this year. The message echoed a position he took in 2018 urging CEOs to make a more positive contribution to society. BlackRock oversees almost $7 trillion in assets.In April, Dimon challenged fellow chief executives to get more involved in social causes and public-policy matters.“In the past, boards and advisers to boards advised company CEOs to keep their head down and stay out of the line of fire,” Dimon said in a letter to shareholders. “Now the opposite may be true. If companies and CEOs do not get involved in public-policy issues, making progress on all these problems may be more difficult.”(Updates with obstacles in sixth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Michelle F. Davis and Jenn Zhao.To contact the reporters on this story: Anders Melin in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Jeff Green in Southfield, Michigan at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Eichenbaum at firstname.lastname@example.org, Steven CrabillFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Shares of Chinese tech giant JD.com are up 12% in the last week. JD shares were up close to 2% in early market trading today as well.
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. The relationship between President Donald Trump and the largest U.S. technology companies has often been frosty but a common opponent -- France’s plan to tax U.S. tech giants -- will bring the two sides together, at least temporarily.Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. all testified in Washington on Monday in support of the Trump administration’s efforts to potentially punish France for enacting a 3% tax on global tech companies with at least 750 million euros ($832 million) in global revenue and digital sales of 25 million euros in France.France’s digital tax “is a sharp departure from long-established tax rules and uniquely targets a subset of businesses,” Nicholas Bramble, trade policy counsel at Google, said at the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office hearing in Washington on Monday. “French government officials have emphasized repeatedly that the” tax is intended to target foreign technology companies.How ‘Digital Tax’ Plans in Europe Hit U.S. Tech: QuickTakeThe U.S. is probing France’s new tax, which French President Emmanuel Macron signed into law last month, using a tool that could be a precursor to new tariffs or other trade restrictions. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer could take action as soon as Aug. 26 when a comment period on the issue closes.The effort to crack down on France has created common ground for Trump -- who has called Google and Facebook “on the side of the Radical Left Democrats” and accused Amazon of avoiding taxes -- and technology companies that are both worried foreign governments are looking to use American corporations as a way to collect additional tax revenue.While Amazon has increased its profit margins, even so the French digital tax could eat into profitability, said Peter Hiltz, the online retailer’s director of international tax and policy planning.If another country -- such as Spain -- were to enact a tax similar to France, that tax could compound, he said. If a French buyer were to buy a product from a Spanish seller, that transaction would be taxed by both countries, he said.The U.S. is looking to use France as an example to deter other countries from targeting American technology firms for tax dollars. The U.K., New Zealand, Spain and Italy are among countries considering their own digital taxes, a move that U.S. officials say could lead to companies being taxed multiple times on the same profits.Trump has threatened to tax French wine or other goods in response to the digital tax. Trump said he was considering a 100% tariff on French wine at a fund-raiser last week, though it’s unclear if he was being serious.He also tweeted last month “we will announce a substantial reciprocal action on Macron’s foolishness shortly!” The so-called 301 investigation, which looks into unfair trade practices, is the same tool Trump used to slap tariffs on China over alleged intellectual-property theft.The U.S. says countries considering their own version of a digital tax should focus on ongoing global talks with 130 countries on how to tax tech companies. Any future pact would likely create a whole new set of rules governing which countries have the right to tax the companies, which corporate profits are taxable, and how to resolve the inevitable disputes that would arise. A deal could be reached as soon as next year.Opposition to France’s tax is a rare area of bipartisan agreement in Congress. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in June, Senators Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, and Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, urged the U.S. to look at “all available tools under U.S. law to address such targeted and discriminatory taxation.”The lawmakers included a suggestion to use a section of the tax code that would double the rate of U.S. taxes on French citizens and companies in the U.S.(Updates with Amazon representatives comments starting in the sixth paragrah.)To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Davison in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at firstname.lastname@example.org, Sarah McGregor, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Baidu's earnings this evening could be pivotal for the firm as investors evaluate whether Baidu can revitalize grow and remain profitable.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. wireless carriers have long said they may slow video traffic on their networks to avoid congestion and bottlenecks. But new research shows the throttling happens pretty much everywhere all the time.Researchers from Northeastern University and University of Massachusetts Amherst conducted more than 650,000 tests in the U.S. and found that from early 2018 to early 2019, AT&T Inc. throttled Netflix Inc. 70% of the time and Google’s YouTube service 74% of the time. But AT&T didn’t slow down Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video at all.T-Mobile US Inc. throttled Amazon Prime Video in about 51% of the tests, but didn’t throttle Skype and barely touched Vimeo, the researchers say in a paper to be presented at an industry conference this week."They are doing it all the time, 24/7, and it’s not based on networks being overloaded," said David Choffnes, associate professor at Northeastern University and one of the study’s authors.To deliver videos people want to watch on their phones, sacrifices in speed are required, Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T and T-Mobile have said in the past."We don’t throttle, discriminate, or degrade network performance based on content. We offer customers choice, including speeds and features to manage their data," AT&T spokesman Jim Greer said in a statement. "This app fails to account for a user’s choice of settings or plan that may affect speeds. We’ve previously been in contact with the app developers to discuss how they can improve their app’s performance."While it’s true that slowing speeds can reduce congestion, the carriers’ behavior raises questions about whether all internet traffic is treated equally, a prime tenet of net neutrality. The principle states that carriers should not discriminate by user, app or content. The Federal Communications Commission enshrined net-neutrality rules in 2015, but after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, a Republican-led FCC scrapped the regulations.Following the release of Choffnes’ prior findings, several politicians raised concerns over net neutrality on U.S. networks. In February, three senators asked the FCC to investigate whether U.S. wireless carriers are throttling popular apps without telling consumers."It’s important to keep publishing the work," Choffnes said. "It would be nice if this is not completely forgotten. At least when there’s an appetite for legislation on this topic, we’ll have the data."The discrepancies in throttling different video services could be due to errors, as some carriers haven’t been able to detect and limit some video apps after they made technical tweaks."They may try to throttle all video to make things fair, but the internet providers can’t dictate how the content providers deliver their video," Choffnes said. "Then you have certain content providers that get throttled and some that don’t."The researchers enlisted more than 126,000 smartphone users globally, who downloaded an app called Wehe to test internet connections. Information from those tests was aggregated and analyzed to check if data speeds are being slowed, or throttled, for specific mobile services.Choffnes’ work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Google parent Alphabet Inc. and ARCEP, the French telecom regulator. Amazon has provided some free services for the effort, too. He’s even had a deal with Verizon to measure throttling at U.S. carriers. Choffnes says Verizon can’t restrict his ability to publish research and the companies that support him don’t influence his work.(Updates with statement from AT&T in sixth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Olga Kharif in Portland at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alistair Barr, Robin AjelloFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Even before Amazon.com Inc. completes its northern Virginia office hub, the e-commerce giant has helped make the area the most competitive housing market in the U.S.It’s hardest for buyers to win a home in Alexandria and Arlington, cities near Washington’s Reagan National Airport and close to where Amazon is building its East Coast headquarters, according to a study by Redfin Corp. The brokerage’s analysis factored in bidding wars, waived contingencies, above-list-price offers and how fast properties went under contract.Homes that sold last month were on the market for a median 11 days in Arlington and 14 days in Alexandria, about a week less than in the previous July for both locations. That compares with 27 days in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and 38 days nationally. About 57% of homes near Amazon’s northern Virginia site were snapped up by buyers in two weeks or less.In Seattle, where Amazon is based, locals blamed the company’s rapid growth and big paychecks for helping to fuel a housing affordability crisis. In the area around the nation’s capital, investors are bidding up prices, anticipating that they’ll be rewarded over the next decade with the arrival of tens of thousands of workers earning an average of $150,000 each.“The Amazon HQ2 effect has become a permanent factor in the Arlington and Alexandria housing markets,” local Redfin listing agent Marcia Burgos-Stone said in the report. “Some sellers are still opting to hold on to their homes and wait until it becomes a more concrete reality in the hopes that they’ll get more money. This has led to a shortage of homes for sale, which puts pressure on buyers who are concerned that they’ll be left behind if they can’t find a home before things get too heated up.”In both Arlington and Alexandria, the number of homes for sale fell by about 50% in July from a year earlier, Redfin said.The brokerage’s analysis assessed a “compete score” on a scale of 0 to 100. In markets that score above 90, most listings get multiple offers, and contingencies -- such as appraisals or inspections -- are often waived. Arlington and Alexandria each scored 96, along with Grand Rapids, Michigan, a city with a strong economy, growing job market and relatively affordable prices, Redfin said. Following were Tacoma, Washington, with 95, and Oakland, California, with 93.To contact the reporter on this story: Prashant Gopal in Boston at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Debarati Roy at firstname.lastname@example.org, Christine MaurusFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.