|Bid||236.21 x 1400|
|Ask||236.37 x 900|
|Day's Range||234.29 - 237.58|
|52 Week Range||142.00 - 238.13|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||1.10|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||20.07|
|Earnings Date||Oct. 30, 2019|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||3.08 (1.31%)|
|1y Target Est||230.20|
(Bloomberg) -- Mark Hurd, who was chief executive officer of three major technology companies including Oracle Corp., has died. He was 62.Most recently Hurd was co-CEO at Oracle with Safra Catz where he focused on sales, marketing and press and investor relations, while she ran finances and legal matters. Oracle announced on Sept. 11 that Hurd had begun a leave of absence for unspecified health-related reasons and that Catz and Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison would assume his responsibilities during his leave. The company didn’t disclose a cause of death Friday.“It is with a profound sense of sadness and loss that I tell everyone here at Oracle that Mark Hurd passed away early this morning,” Ellison wrote in an online post. “Mark was my close and irreplaceable friend, and trusted colleague. Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle.”Hurd began his career in 1980 as a salesman for National Cash Register Corp. (now NCR), before rising in the ranks to the CEO post. In 2005, he was hired away as CEO by Hewlett-Packard Co., then the world’s biggest personal-computer maker. Hurd joined Oracle as a co-president in 2010, after resigning from HP following a sexual-harassment probe. While an internal investigation didn’t find a violation of the company’s sexual-harassment policy, it concluded that he violated company standards by filing inaccurate expense reports to conceal a personal relationship with a contractor.During his Oracle tenure, Hurd produced solid revenue and profits as the Redwood City, California-based company’s stock price hit a historic high in 2019. He was also a key driver in Oracle’s turn from an old model of licensing software toward the use of cloud computing, a burgeoning business dominated by rivals Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp.When he hired Hurd, Ellison said, “There is no executive in the IT world with more relevant experience than Mark.” Ellison described Hurd’s dismissal by HP as the “worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs.”Transformed SalesforceHurd reshaped Oracle’s salesforce. Beginning in 2013, he implemented a “specialist” model that made each member an expert in a single product category. In that year alone, he hired more than 4,000 people to implement his idea.He also created the “Class of” program that was designed to inject a startup feel into Oracle. College graduates were hired for a dedicated program that prepared them to become Oracle’s future sales leaders.In 2014, Hurd and Catz were named co-CEOs, while Ellison continued to serve as chairman of the board, orchestrate management changes and develop products as chief technology officer.Hurd was regarded as the most media-friendly of the trio, frequently serving as the public face of the company to outline its goals. At the time Hurd and Catz were named CEOs, Oracle’s central business was selling software designed to run on gear owned by the customer and charging a license fee. Hurd was among those inside Oracle who saw the company’s future in cloud computing -- which would let customers rent software and run their data on servers owned by vendors such as Oracle. He predicted in 2015 that by 2025 all enterprise data would be stored in the cloud and that 100% of software development and testing would run through it.Today, the company is much less ambitious in its cloud efforts, and has been making smaller promises. In June, Oracle said it would partner with Microsoft, a decades-long rival, to connect the two companies’ cloud services, so customers can use Oracle databases or applications tied to Microsoft’s Azure cloud. While Catz said Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, wanted an alliance to give clients access to Oracle’s AI-driven databases, the move was a concession—signaling Oracle knew it could no longer go at it alone.It’s now Catz who will have to go it alone, at least for now. Some analysts expect the company will move to appoint a new partner soon. “It’s much more manageable to have two CEOs, so we would be surprised if Oracle goes back to one CEO going forward,” said John Barrett, an analyst at Morningstar Investment Service. “The larger question is how Oracle will go about searching for the co-CEO role and how quickly they can find a successor.”The succession will likely come from within the company’s deep bench. One option is Jeff Henley, Oracle’s vice chairman and former chief financial officer, according to Abby Adlerman, CEO of Boardspan, which provides software and services to address board governance. “I think from a succession planning perspective, they are in a much better place than most companies. They have a lot of options.” Ellison will likely stay close and in the long term, “it’s a matter of if Safra wants to go at it alone. It’s such a big company that there was a reason for the co-CEO role.”Ellison has mentioned Don Johnson, head of Oracle’s cloud infrastructure division, and Steve Miranda, head of Oracle’s applications unit, as possible partners to Catz in the future.Growth StrategyHurd led the charge to make Oracle one of the dominant cloud players, investing heavily in research and development and acquisitions, such as the $9.3 billion purchase of NetSuite Inc., sometimes called the first cloud company, in 2016. Oracle also bought Eloqua Inc., a marketing software company, and Taleo Corp., which makes talent-management.He secured significant deals with AT&T Inc., Bank of America Corp., and Qantas Airlines to transfer their existing databases to the cloud through Oracle. By late 2019, Oracle served more than 420,000 customers in 195 countries and territories, he said.Hurd had gone on a similar acquisition binge at HP, managing about $24 billion in deals, including buying Electronic Data Systems (EDS), as part of a larger plan to diversify the computer maker.He was also a drastic cost cutter who was responsible for firing thousands of workers when he first took over as HP’s CEO and laying off thousands more after the $13.9 billion purchase in 2008 of a struggling EDS, a move many investors disliked.Still, under Hurd’s tenure, HP increased profits for 22 straight quarters, while its revenue rose about 60% and its stock price doubled, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. He also helped HP surpass International Business Machines Corp. as the largest computer maker by sales.There were some dark moments at HP too. In 2006, it was disclosed that Hurd had helped launch an investigation into internal leaks from the company’s board. Outside security consultants conducted surveillance on a journalist and HP board member, and used a subterfuge to acquire phone and fax records for HP employees, board members and journalists. The California attorney general’s office opened a criminal probe into possible privacy violations, and HP’s chairwoman at the time, Patricia Dunn, resigned her post when the scandal broke.For his part, Hurd defended the need to investigate company leakers, but claimed he didn’t know about the investigators’ tawdry tactics because he’d ducked out of a briefing on the investigation and, several months later, ignored a verbal and written summary of the leak probe.After Hurd was ousted following the sexual harassment probe in 2010, HP discontinued making smartphones and its tablet computer. Eventually it split into two companies, one focused on personal computers and printers and the other on software and services.Top CEODespite navigating several scandals, Hurd was lauded by the industry. In 2007, he was named one of Fortune magazine’s 25 most powerful business leaders. In 2008, the San Francisco Chronicle named Hurd CEO of the Year.“Saddened by the loss of Mark Hurd,” wrote Bill McDermott, who stepped down as CEO of SAP SE this month, on Twitter. “He was a self-made success in the industry & presided over mega accomplishments. While we competed vigorously in the market, we enjoyed professional respect. My heartfelt prayers are with Mark’s family on this solemn day.”Mark Vincent Hurd was born on Jan. 1, 1957, in New York and lived on the affluent Upper East Side of Manhattan. His Yale-educated father was a financier who moved the family to Miami while Hurd was in high school. His mother was a debutante.Hurd received a tennis scholarship to Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1979.He was hired in 1980 as a junior sales person by National Cash Register in San Antonio. He eventually became president, chief operating officer and CEO of the maker of automatic teller machines and cash registers.Based on his NCR record, HP hired him in 2005 as its CEO and added the chairman title the following year.“Mark just blew everybody else out of the water,” said Tom Perkins, a former HP executive who interviewed Hurd for the CEO job.Hurd served on a number of corporate boards and was a Baylor University trustee since 2014.He was married to the former Paula Kalupa in 1990. They had two daughters, Kathryn and Kelly.(Updates with comments from analyst in 12th paragraph)\--With assistance from Nico Grant, Peter Waldman and Candy Cheng.To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Oster in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew Pollack, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. lawmakers from both parties slammed Apple Inc. and Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook on Friday for “censorship of apps” at the “behest of the Chinese government.”Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Wyden, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio and Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mike Gallagher and Tom Malinowski expressed concern about the removal of an app that let Hong Kong protesters track police movement in the city.“Apple’s decisions last week to accommodate the Chinese government by taking down HKmaps is deeply concerning,” they wrote in a letter to Cook, urging Apple to “reverse course, to demonstrate that Apple puts values above market access, and to stand with the brave men and women fighting for basic rights and dignity in Hong Kong.” Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment on Friday.Apple removed the HKmap.live app from the App Store in China and Hong Hong earlier this month, saying it violated local laws. The company also said it received “credible information” from Hong Kong authorities indicating the software was being used “maliciously” to attack police. The decision, and the reasoning, was questioned widely.Cook, in a recent memo to Apple employees, said that “national and international debates will outlive us all, and, while important, they do not govern the facts.” On Thursday, the CEO met with China’s State Administration for Market Regulation head Xiao Yaqing in Beijing to discuss consumer-rights protection, boosting investment and business development in the country, according to a statement from the Chinese regulator.The Cupertino, California-based company isn’t the only one referenced in Friday’s letter. The lawmakers mentioned recent headlines involving the National Basketball Association and Activision Blizzard Inc., a video game company that suspended a professional game player for supporting the Hong Kong protests.“Cases like these raise real concern about whether Apple and other large U.S. corporate entities will bow to growing Chinese demands rather than lose access to more than a billion Chinese consumers,” the lawmakers wrote.They also slammed Apple for removing other apps, including VPN apps that helped Chinese people get around the government’s online censorship. The letter said Apple has “censored” at least 2,200 apps in China, citing data from non-profit organization GreatFire. Apple says on its website that it removed 634 apps in the second half of last year globally due to legal violations.The letter implied that Apple made the removal decisions to maintain its huge business in China and appease the government. Greater China was Apple’s third-largest region by revenue last year, generating more than $50 billion in revenue.Apple is one of the rare tech companies that operates in China, with rivals like Google and Facebook Inc. hardly operational in the market. China’s importance to Apple means the company has to balance its own values with following local laws.In the past, the company has pulled the Skype and New York Times apps from its App Store in China. More recently, it removed a Taiwanese flag emoji for users in Hong Kong and Macau and was criticized for sending some browsing data to China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. as part of a privacy feature.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Gurman in San Francisco at email@example.com;Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at email@example.com, Alistair Barr, Robin AjelloFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(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 paid no federal taxes last year. Amazon's work culture can be difficult for women who have children. Amazon’s warehouse workers are sometimes fired after being injured on the job. Amazon doesn't effectively police the sale of counterfeit goods 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 paragraph eight to accurately describe the year in which Amazon paid no federal taxes and to more accurately describe the experiences of women with children who work for the company. Also changes language in paragraph eight to more accurately describe how effectively Amazon combats the sale of counterfeit goods on its site. Also 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 firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Timothy L. O'Brien at email@example.comThis 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.
(Bloomberg) -- European banks are now collectively worth less than Apple Inc.The 36 lenders in the Bloomberg Europe 500 Banks Index -- with $28 trillion in assets and employing more than 2 million people -- have slipped below the market value of tech giants like Apple and Microsoft Inc. Andreas Treichl, chairman of Austrian lender Erste Group Bank AG, said Friday that the sobering milestone “tells a story” about the lagging fortunes of his industry.European banks have limped along for years since the financial crisis, battling record-low interest rates and losing share to U.S. rivals in global businesses. Treichl chalked up some of the difficulties to European policy makers being unable to come up with common rules that would enable development of debt markets and allow banks to securitize more loans.“Europe will be at a constant disadvantage vis-a-vis the U.S. and other parts of the world that are working on developing their capital markets faster than we do in Europe,” Treichl said Friday on a panel at a conference hosted by the Institute of International Finance in Washington.The firms in the banking index were worth $1 trillion more than Apple as recently as 2014. Treichl noted one area that gives European banks a chance to catch up against international rivals: funding efforts to fight climate change.“Europe still has a great chance to make it – particularly on the field of environment and sustainability,” he said. “My guess is the chance is substantially higher than 50% that we’re gonna screw it up.”To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle F. Davis in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at email@example.com, Steve DicksonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- A House hearing scheduled for Wednesday with Mark Zuckerberg as the sole witness will kick off the “next phase” in the battle between big tech companies and the U.S. government, according to Wedbush.“The drum-roll has started” for the Financial Services committee hearing, with Zuckerberg set to defend the Libra cryptocurrency effort, which still faces a “massive regulatory spotlight,” analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note. The hearing is titled “An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors.”“We fully expect politicians to use this forum as another major shot across the bow on broader antitrust concerns for FAANG names,” Ives said. He sees a regulatory and legal focus on Facebook’s WhatsApp and Instagram acquisitions, with “the convergence of Facebook’s messaging platforms likely a hot button issue.”Ives described Facebook’s Libra as a bid to “further penetrate its customer base with a financial currency that enables the company to become more entrenched in the purchasing cycle of its 2 billion-plus users.”Other tech companies are making similar efforts, he said, flagging Apple Inc.’s Apple Card with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and an “enhanced” Apple Pay tool. On Tuesday, Goldman CEO David Solomon said the Apple credit card was the most successful card launch ever.Several payments companies left Facebook’s cryptocurrency project earlier this month. Analysts said the departures would likely delay the coin’s launch and shift Congress’s attention to other matters. That might give Zuckerberg some breathing room, they said.On Thursday, David Marcus, the Facebook executive leading Libra, said China’s progress toward a digital payments system with global reach could pose a threat to U.S. influence. Marcus had earlier this month said that payments companies exiting Libra was in a way “liberating.”Facebook’s shares declined as much as 1.4% on Friday.To contact the reporter on this story: Felice Maranz in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Catherine Larkin at email@example.com, Debarati RoyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
A snapshot of the IBD 50 shows that return on equity, a key earnings gauge, has risen sharply in recent years. But ROE alone should not be used in choosing stocks to buy.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- “Twitter revolution,” “Facebook revolution” — these terms became widespread during the Arab Spring rebellions at the beginning of this decade. They’re outdated now: For today's protesters in Hong Kong and Barcelona, or for Extinction Rebellion activists in capitals around the world, the social networks and even messenger applications run by big U.S. corporations are becoming a secondary tool, and one not used for organizational purposes.After protesters in Egypt forced President Hosni Mubarak to resign in February 2011, one of the revolution’s public faces, Google executive Wael Ghonim, went on CNN to be interviewed by anchors Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer. When Blitzer asked him what was going to happen next, the following exchange ensued:Ghonim: Ask Facebook.Blitzer: Ask what?Ghonim: Facebook.Cooper: Facebook.Blitzer: Facebook. You’re giving Facebook a lot of credit for this?Ghonim: Yes, for sure. I want to meet Mark Zuckerberg one day and thank him, actually. This revolution started online. This revolution started on Facebook.That was so 2011. If there’s any one app today’s protesters would want to credit, it’s Telegram. But not even this itinerant messenger, whose team was based in St. Petersburg, Berlin, London and Singapore before ending up in Dubai, plays the same kind of outsize role that Facebook and Twitter took on in previous protests, up to and including Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement” of 2014. With its powerful group messaging functionality and “channel” feature which allows users to broadcast information, Telegram is the central media platform for the Hong Kong protesters of today, who are now pushing for greater democracy for the former British colony. It’s also the go-to tool for pro-independence Catalans who have taken to the streets to protest the long prison sentences for leaders of the Spanish region’s doomed 2017 secession bid. There, the secretive Democratic Tsunami group uses Telegram to communicate with its 150,000 followers. It also uses a Telegram bot to collect data for an app it created to map protest activities and street clashes. For its part, Extinction Rebellion has been moving from Facebook-owned WhatsApp to Telegram because it allows bigger group chats, and because it has a voting tool that allows independent-minded rebels to decide what they want to do. (This tool is also used in Hong Kong).Signal, the encrypted messenger, and Mattermost, an open-source alternative to the enterprise messenger Slack, also are popular among activists.Direct file transfers, encrypted messengers and specially created apps have become essential for spreading all kinds of material that might land its distributors in trouble — such as the fake boarding passes Democratic Tsunami sent out so protesters could get into the Barcelona airport on Oct. 14, causing more than 100 flights to be canceled.Of course, today’s activists still use social media platforms run by big U.S. corporations. But when they do it’s mainly for outward communication such as with the media, not with people actively involved in the protests. Since the Arab Spring, governments have mastered use of the big commercial social media networks themselves. Since the Hong Kong protests began, both Facebook and Twitter have complained about China’s attempts to use them for disinformation and counterpropaganda. Besides, many protesters believe their anonymity isn’t well protected on the social networks, Malek Dudakov of the Moscow-based think tank Center for the Study of New Communications wrote in a recent report about the use of the technology by the Hong Kong protest movement. Telegram, run by a nonprofit founded by Russian libertarian Pavel Durov, has a reputation for resisting government attempts at censorship and infiltration. Russia has attempted to block the messenger for refusing to hand over encryption keys to domestic intelligence, but Telegram has fought back and is still accessible in most of Russia. Mainland China has had more success in cutting off access to it. But even on Telegram, the risk of losing one’s anonymity is a potential problem. One protest group moderator in Hong Kong was arrested in June. Durov has accused China of trying to take his service down in Hong Kong with distributed denial of service attacks. Those efforts contrast with concerns that big U.S. companies are more likely to cooperate with the authorities.Earlier this month, Apple Inc. approved a smartphone map app that Hong Kong protesters have been using for distribution in its App Store after an initial ban. But then it swiftly took HKmap.live down again. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook explained that the Hong Kong cybersecurity authority had told the company that the app was being used by criminals to “target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present.” This episode prompted the Democratic Tsunami in Catalonia to release its own app for Android only — and not through the Google Play Store, in which most Android users get their apps.Even though its services are blocked in mainland China, Google has also behaved in a way some protesters, and even some of its employees, find suspicious. Citing an internal rule against the monetization of current events, the Play Store banned a game called “The Revolution of Our Times” that allowed players to act out the role of Hong Kong protesters. The game’s developers had promised to give 80% of their proceeds to charity.Big Tech’s role, even if unwitting, in unrest has always looked like an aberration. Where the profit motive is involved, cooperating with governments makes more sense than facilitating those who fight them. Now, the dust is settling on the tech revolution, and real-world revolutions need non-commercial tech tools. So protesters either design their own or fall back on open-source apps or those developed by nonprofits. Facebook and Twitter are where propaganda battles rage and insults fly, not where action is coordinated — and that’s a natural consequence of their evolution as big businesses that attract way too much government attention.So, if you’re wondering what comes next for all the modern-day protest movements, don’t ask Facebook.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Despite severe market volatility, the Dow is still in positive territory with a gain of 15.9% year to date. This is an excellent performance after a disappointing 2018.
Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook met the chief of China's market regulator in Beijing on Thursday, the Chinese agency said, a week after the U.S. firm was thrust into political tensions between the mainland and protesters in Hong Kong. Apple last week removed from its app store an app that helped Hong Kong protesters track police movements after a Chinese state newspaper sharply criticised it for allowing the software. Cook had defended the removal in the face of criticism for appeasing mainland China, telling Apple workers that "this decision best protects our users".
Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook met the chief of China's market regulator in Beijing on Thursday, the Chinese agency said, a week after the U.S. firm was thrust into political tensions between the mainland and protesters in Hong Kong. Apple last week removed from its app store an app that helped Hong Kong protesters track police movements after a Chinese state newspaper sharply criticized it for allowing the software. Cook had defended the removal in the face of criticism for appeasing mainland China, telling Apple workers that "this decision best protects our users".
(Bloomberg) -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.’s plan to spend as much as $15 billion on technology and capacity in 2019 -- roughly 50% higher than originally envisioned -- is spurring hopes that the dawn of fifth-generation networks will rev up global chip and smartphone demand.The primary chip supplier to Apple Inc. told investors it’s sharply increasing its estimate for 2019 capital expenditure to between $14 billion to $15 billion from as much as $11 billion previously, and Chief Financial Officer Wendell Huang said 2020 spending will be similar. The Taiwanese company also projected current-quarter revenue ahead of estimates, an affirmation that the latest iPhones have proven a hit with consumers.Chief Executive Officer C. C. Wei sketched out hopes that the emergence of 5G, the foundation of future technologies from automated factories and smart homes to blazing-fast consumer electronics, will help underpin its business in coming years. TSMC, which is the world’s largest contract chipmaker, and is seen as a barometer for the tech industry thanks to its heft and place in the supply chain, said the advent of 5G-enabled smartphones will result in more chips in devices than before.“We are much more optimistic than six months ago,” Wei said, adding that the 5G momentum was larger than the company expected. TSMC has increased its forecast of the 5G smartphone penetration rate in 2020 to a percentage in the mid-teens from its previous single-digit estimate. Many countries, especially larger ones, were rapidly pushing ahead with 5G rollout plans, Wei added.TSMC Puts All Its Chips on Capex. That’s a Smart Bet: Tim CulpanTSMC’s capital spending plan and outlook prompted price-target hikes from several analysts including at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Its shares, which notched a lifetime high just this month, stood largely unchanged Friday in Taipei. More broadly, suppliers including ASML Holding NV, Applied Materials Inc. and Tokyo Electron Ltd. could stand to benefit from TSMC’s capex increase.In addition to 5G, TSMC’s push is driven by growing demand from tech giants such as Apple and Huawei Technologies Co., said Roger Sheng, a semiconductor analyst with Gartner. Although the outlook remains uncertain for 2020, the global semiconductor market is set to make a gradual recovery on the back of the demand related to 5G, AI and automotive applications, according to a note from TrendForce on Oct. 2.“Everyone is waiting to see a bounce back of global smartphone market next year after Apple adopts 5G. The self-designed Huawei chipsets will also push demand, as will Qualcomm’s 5nm chips for next year and AMD’s server chip demand,” Sheng said.On Thursday, TSMC also underlined expectations that Apple, its largest customer, is riding a bounce-back in demand for the iPhones after a lukewarm 2018 iteration. Lower prices and aging handsets are helping drive demand for the iPhone 11 range, and Apple is said to be asking its assemblers to target the high end of an original forecast for 70 million to 75 million unit shipments in 2019.Read more: Apple’s Lower Prices, Users’ Aging Handsets Drive IPhone DemandThe Taiwanese company foresees revenue of $10.2 billion to $10.3 billion in the pivotal December holiday quarter, surpassing an average projection for about $9.9 billion. TSMC gave that sales outlook after reporting net income of NT$101.1 billion ($3.3 billion) for the September quarter, handily beating estimates as the global chip market recovers.Still, fallout from ongoing trade conflicts could crimp an industry revival. While TSMC doesn’t factor trade conflicts into its capex plans, any international trade war will have a negative effect on the semiconductor sector, Wei said. China is an especially important market for TSMC and the semiconductor industry, he added.TSMC and its industry peers had grappled with a plateauing smartphone market, efforts by Apple to move beyond hardware, and U.S. tech-export curbs on No. 2 customer Huawei. But investors are growing more confident that the emergence of 5G will prop up chip prices and demand, while the latest iPhones are firing up consumers. TSMC is in fact straining against capacity constraints in the current quarter, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Mark Li said.The “iPhone is driving stronger near-term demand. We believe the competitive pricing of iPhone 11 is garnering good traction and has prompted Apple to place more orders at the supply chain,” Li said in an Oct. 10 note.Read more: Taiwan’s Market Fortunes Are Tied to TSMC Like Never Before(Updates with analysts’ hikes and shares from the fifth paragraph)To contact the reporters on this story: Debby Wu in Taipei at firstname.lastname@example.org;Gao Yuan in Beijing at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org, Edwin Chan, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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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.
The broader markets were subdued today. However, tech stocks Datadog (DDOG), Roku (ROKU) and Fitbit (FIT) gained significantly. Here's why.