|Bid||1,808.50 x 1000|
|Ask||1,808.77 x 800|
|Day's Range||1,806.77 - 1,825.18|
|52 Week Range||1,307.00 - 2,035.80|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||1.62|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||75.00|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. fights the world’s biggest tax case in a quiet courtroom this week, trying to rein in the European Union’s powerful antitrust chief ahead of a potential new crackdown on internet giants.The iPhone maker can tell the EU General Court in Luxembourg that it’s the world’s biggest taxpayer. But that’s not enough for EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager who said in a 2016 ruling that Apple’s tax deals with Ireland allowed the company to pay far less than other businesses. The court must now weigh whether regulators were right to levy a record 13 billion-euro ($14.4 billion) tax bill.Apple’s haggling over tax comes after its market valuation hit $1.02 trillion last week on the back of a new aggressive pricing strategy that may stoke demand for some smartphones and watches. The company’s huge revenue -- and those of other technology firms -- have attracted close scrutiny in Europe, focusing on complicated company structures for transferring profits generated from intellectual property.A court ruling, likely to take months, could empower or halt Vestager’s tax probes, which are now centering on fiscal deals done by Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc. She’s also been tasked with coming up with a “fair European tax” by the end of 2020 if global efforts to reform digital taxation don’t make progress.“Politically, this will have very big consequences,” said Sven Giegold, a Green member of the European Parliament. “If Apple wins this case, the calls for tax harmonization in Europe will take on a different dynamic, you can count on that.”Vestager showed her determination to fight the tax cases to the end by opening new probes into 39 companies’ tax deals with Belgium on Monday. The move addresses criticism by the same court handling the Apple challenge. A February judgment threw out her 2016 order for them to pay back about 800 million euros.At the same time she’s pushing for “fair international tax rules so that digitization doesn’t allow companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax,” according to a speech to German ambassadors last month. She urged them to use “our influence to build an international environment that helps us reach our goals” in talks on a new global agreement to tax technology firms.Apple’s fury at its 2016 EU order saw Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook blasting the EU move as “total political crap.” The company’s legal challenge claims the EU wrongly targeted profits that should be taxed in the U.S. and “retroactively changed the rules” on how global authorities calculate what’s owed to them.The U.S. Treasury weighed in too, saying the EU was making itself a “supra-national tax authority” that could threaten global tax reform efforts. President Donald Trump hasn’t been silent either, saying Vestager “hates the United States” because “she’s suing all our companies.”“There is a lot at stake given the high-profile nature of the case, as well as the concerns that have been raised from the U.S. Treasury that the investigations risk undermining the international tax system,” said Nicole Robins, a partner at economics consultancy Oxera in Brussels.Apple declined to comment ahead of the hearing, referring to previous statements. The European Commission also declined to comment. Ireland said it “profoundly” disagreed with the EU’s findings.Richard Murphy, a professor at London’s City University, said the EU’s case “is about making clear that no company should be beyond the geographic limits of tax law.”“Selective attempts to get round the law -- which is what tax avoidance is -- are unacceptable when companies seek the protection and support of that same law” in the rest of their business,” Murphy said.Vestager has also fined Google some $9 billion. She’s ordered Amazon to pay back taxes -- a mere 250 million euros -- and is probing Nike Inc.’s tax affairs and looking into Google’s taxation in Ireland.The first hints of how the Apple case may turn out will come from a pair of rulings scheduled for Sept. 24.The General Court will rule on whether the EU was right to demand unpaid taxes from Starbucks Corp. and a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV unit. Those judgments could set an important precedent on how far the EU can question tax decisions national governments make on how companies should be treated.“It’s very clear that the largest companies in the world -- the frightful five I call them -- are hardly paying taxes,” said Paul Tang, a socialist lawmaker at the European Parliament. “Cases like these, Amazon in Luxembourg or Apple in Ireland, started to build public and political pressure” for tax reform in Europe.The legal battles may go on for a few years more. The General Court rulings can be appealed once more to the EU’s highest tribunal, the EU Court of Justice. Meanwhile, Apple’s back taxes -- 14.3 billion euros including interest -- sit in an escrow account and can’t be paid to Ireland until the final legal challenges are exhausted.For Alex Cobham, chief executive of the Tax Justice Network campaign group, the issue is already in the past and “it’s not even the biggest tax scandal that Apple has” after reports on other structures it may use. Tax reforms under discussion “will ensure much closer alignment of taxable profits and the real economic activity” generated by them.The cases are: T-892/16, Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe v. Commission, T-778/16, Ireland v. Commission.(Updates with Vestager comment in seventh paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at firstname.lastname@example.org;Aoife White in Brussels at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter ChapmanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Amazon (AMZN) announces that its air hub at the Fort Worth Alliance Airport, which will be operational this October, is expected to create 300 new jobs.
AWS, which grew out of the technology that runs Amazon's e-commerce platform, is gaining scale in Germany after addressing concerns about privacy that led many manufacturing firms to keep their servers on-site. "Those clients have overcome those compliance and security constraints and are now in catch-up mode," said Klaus Buerg, general manager of AWS in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. AWS has received a cloud computing security certification from Germany's cyber-security authority, providing assurances that data is safe even if it is hosted on remote servers outside the country.
(Bloomberg) -- A House panel investigating big tech companies for potential antitrust violations is seeking information from customers of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook about the state of competition in digital markets and the adequacy of existing enforcement, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg.It’s the latest development in the bipartisan congressional investigation being conducted by House antitrust subcommittee chair David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island.The eight-page survey doesn’t mention any companies by name, but it seeks information about the industries they dominate such as mobile apps and app stores, search engines, digital advertising, social media, messaging, online commerce and logistics as well as cloud computing.The survey asks respondents to identify the top five providers for the various digital services and how much it paid each of those providers since Jan. 1 2016. It also asks for any allegations of antitrust violations or business practices that hurt competition. The committee offered respondents the possibility of confidentiality if they desired.The panel has asked for responses to its survey by mid-October.Assessing AntitrustThe survey appears geared toward businesses that pay the big technology companies for services such as cloud computing, digital advertising and help selling mobile apps and products online. It doesn’t appear to focus on general retail consumers that buy products from Amazon or iPhones from Apple.It also shows how regulators are relying on customers and competitors of Big Tech to help them better understand digital markets and and how dominant players can stifle competition. The Federal Trade Commission has been quietly interviewing online merchants that sell goods on Amazon to better understand the business.The questionnaire shows the House panel trying to assess the grip big technology companies have in various markets, a first step in probing for antitrust violations. If the panel finds competition is so scant that the customers of big technology companies have no viable alternatives, it justifies further scrutiny of business practices as well as mergers and acquisitions.The questions also suggest the panel is open to examining how antitrust laws are applied in digital markets and if enforcement and laws need to be updated.A Google spokesman declined to comment. Apple didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Amazon and Facebook both declined to comment, but pointed to previous comments by executives in which both companies said they welcomed government scrutiny and maintain they exist in markets with healthy competition. Emails to representatives for the House committee weren’t immediately answered.The survey sent to customers follows the public disclosure of letters the House antitrust subcommittee sent to Google parent Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. Those letters, posted online, seek detailed information about acquisitions, business practices, executive communications, previous probes and lawsuits. The letters followed a July hearing in which lawmakers grilled tech executives.The House panel has been the most visible of various probes of technology companies. Representative Cicilline has been a vocal critic.Speaking at an antitrust conference in Washington, D.C. last week, he said, “you would be amazed” at the number of companies that have come forward with concerns about the potentially unfair way that big tech companies compete. Some have even expressed fear that the tech giants will respond with economic retaliation if the smaller companies’ concerns are made public, Cicilline said, without providing more detail.The House panel’s probe is part of a broader examination of the control companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook have over the U.S. economy. The FTC is investigating Amazon and Facebook while the Justice Department is probing Google. Separately, 50 state attorneys general have announced an antitrust probe of Google.(Adds requested date for survey responses in fifth paragraph. An earlier version corrected the spelling of David Cicilline.)\--With assistance from Naomi Nix and Ben Brody.To contact the reporter on this story: Spencer Soper in Seattle at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ian FisherFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Vinyl records, paper books, glossy magazines – all should be long dead, but they’re refusing to go away and even showing some surprising growth. It’s probably safe to assume that people will always consume content in some kind of physical shell – not just because we instinctively attach more value to physical goods than to digital ones, but because there’ll always be demand for independence from the huge corporations that push digital content on us.According to the Recording Industry Association of America, vinyl album sales grew 12.9% in dollar terms to $224 million and 6% in unit terms to 8.6 million in the first half of 2019, compared with the first six months of 2018. Compact disc sales held steady, and if the current dynamic holds, old-fashioned records will overtake CDs soon, offsetting the decline in other physical music sales. Streaming revenue grew faster for obvious reasons: It’s cheaper and more convenient. But people are clearly not about to give up a technology that hasn’t changed much since the 1960s.In 2018, hardcover book sales in the U.S. increased by 6.9%, paperback sales went up 1.1% and eBook sales dropped 3.6%. The number of print magazine titles published in the U.S. rose to 7,218 from 7,176, according to the Association of Magazine Media. That’s more magazines than the U.S. had in 2009. For all the havoc the digital revolution is wreaking on newsrooms, people are still starting new titles – and 96% of the magazine industry’s subscription revenue still came from the print editions, with digital providing the rest.One explanation could be that, as Ozgun Atasoy from the University of Basel and Carey Morewedge from Boston University wrote in a paper based on a series of experiments, people are more willing to buy physical goods than equivalent digital ones, and they’re likely to pay a higher price for them. Offered an easy choice, people would rather have a vinyl LP than its digital image in the cloud somewhere; it’s just that the choice isn’t there most of the time. Atasoy and Morewedge wrote that the effect is mostly explained by “psychological ownership”: It’s hard for people to feel they own something they can’t physically touch.They wrote, however, that other, unidentified factors were also at play, since psychological ownership didn’t fully explain the difference in people’s willingness to pay for the two kinds of products. I think Michael Palm from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill put a finger on those factors in a paper published earlier this year. He suggested that physical vs. digital, or new vs. old, could be a less relevant differentiation point than corporate culture vs. independent culture.The record industry got rid of vinyl fabrication when CDs appeared. Big store chains stopped selling LPs. But small producers and record stores that also function as community centers have kept the culture and the format alive. Now, the big companies see a commercial potential again – but they’re ordering vinyl records from independent producers, who can’t always keep up with the orders, and distributing to small stores, not just to giant chains like Best Buy, which are also stocking vinyl records again.“To combat the corporate incursion into vinyl markets, some independent labels are vertically integrating and beginning to manufacture as well as distribute and sell their own records,” Palm wrote. “The stakes of vinyl’s future involve the viability of an independent supply chain for popular music, and these stakes are raised in a media landscape dominated by online access to content controlled by corporate gatekeepers.”A similar logic applies to books. According to the American Booksellers’ Association, independent bookstores’ sales went up about 5% in 2018. These stores are where people hang out, discuss their discoveries, receive recommendations and advice. They are also where the products of small publishing houses can get more attention than they do in major bookstores or on Amazon.The increase in the number of print magazines also isn’t occurring thanks to major launches by big industrial publishers. There’s space in this industry for niche publications that want intimate contact with readers, not a tiny share of the attention squandered on the internet. The Association of Magazine Media claims the average time to read an issue of a magazine published in the U.S. is almost 50 minutes. A magazine is the same kind of alternative to Instagram or Twitter as a vinyl record is to Spotify or Apple Music.This may be the last line of defense for old content formats – a line they could be able to hold forever: The preserve for independent creation, manufacturing and distribution in a world that belongs to giant corporations that mass-produce content and mass-distribute it through the cloud. The old-new dichotomy may well turn out to be misleading; there's nothing “old” about trying to go beyond the mass market.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis 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.
President Trump 'fast-tracked' the drone delivery industry, according to one executive, as Amazon, UPS and others enter the space.
Amazon has received a lot of flak for its deliveries. This time, employees are claiming to be under tremendous pressure to meet deadlines.
Lawmakers asked Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple for a broad range of documents, another step in Congress's anti-trust investigation of the big tech companies.
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Friday requested information from Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook as part of an investigation of competition in digital markets. The lawmakers in a letter sought information related to Apple's App Store, which is the only way that users of devices such as the iPhone can put third-party software on their phones. Apple takes a cut of the sales that developers make when tapping its payment systems on its App Store.
Analysts expect FedEx (FDX) to disappoint investors again when it reports its fiscal 2020 first-quarter earnings results on September 17.
This week has been rough for big tech companies. On Monday, 50 states and territories announced that they're launching an antitrust investigation into Google.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway’s cash pile has grown steadily. At the end of Q2, the company had more than $122 billion in cash and cash equivalents.
A leading Indian trader body asked the government on Friday to ban upcoming festive sales on Amazon's local unit and its rival Flipkart, saying their deep discounts violate the country's foreign investment rules for online retail. The two e-commerce firms typically hold annual festive season sales ahead of key Hindu festivals Dussehra and Diwali, which are due this year in October, when Indians make big ticket purchases such as cars and gold jewellery. Walmart-owned Flipkart's six-day sale begins Sept. 29, while Amazon is yet to announce dates.
Investments toward improving efficiencies at FedEx's (FDX) Ground unit are likely to increase costs, which is a concern in first-quarter fiscal 2020.
(Bloomberg) -- A House panel conducting a broad antitrust investigation of the technology sector is demanding that companies turn over a trove of internal records about their business practices as it ramps up scrutiny of the industry.Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline, who is leading the House antitrust subcommittee’s inquiry into large internet companies, said it is sending letters Friday to Google parent Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. asking for detailed information about acquisitions, business practices, executive communications, previous probes and lawsuits.The letters, which were addressed to the top executives of each company, mark the most aggressive demands by the House panel since June, when it began a bipartisan investigation into whether large tech platforms are harming competition.“We made it clear when we launched this bipartisan investigation that we plan to get all the facts we need to diagnose the problems in the digital marketplace,” Cicilline said in a statement. “Today’s document requests are an important milestone in this investigation as we work to obtain the information that our members need to make this determination.”The letters were also signed by the top Republican on the subcommittee, Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, as well as the top Democrat and the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, of which the antitrust panel is a part.The requests come as the technology giants find themselves swamped by antitrust inquiries by the federal government as well as state attorneys general, which announced probes of Google and Facebook this week.The lawmakers also requested executive communications about prior government probes and lawsuits and said they would not recognize attorney-client privilege as a reason for the companies to refuse to provide requested records.The panel asked Facebook about its purchases of the WhatsApp chat platform and the Instagram photo app, which were both approved by federal antitrust regulators. They asked to see communications from Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, former general counsel Colin Stretch and policy chief Kevin Martin.The committee wants to know whether Google is shutting out rivals on its platforms or imposing restrictions that could harm competition. It asked for discussions by executives about whether non-Google companies with competing ad technology can participate in Google ad auctions or place ads on YouTube. The lawmakers also asked for discussions about any agreements between Android and smartphone manufacturers that give Google exclusive rights to collect data from devices.The lawmakers asked about 24 Google products and services, including its mobile operating system Android, Gmail, the Google Play store, YouTube and its mapping service Waze. The letter seeks information on executives’ discussions of major acquisitions including ad technology company DoubleClick, YouTube and Android.Asked about the request, Google pointed to a Sept. 6 blog post by top lawyer Kent Walker, who said the company’s “services help people, create more choice, and support thousands of jobs and small businesses across the United States.”The other companies didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.The panel asked for details about 12 of Apple’s products and services, including its App Store, Apple Watch, iPhone, Mac and Siri. It wants to see communications to and from Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and 13 other executives about policies and decisions involving the company’s App Store, such as the algorithm that determines the search ranking of apps and whether to allow other app stores on the iPhone. They also requested records about Apple’s offer to replace ailing iPhone batteries.The lawmakers’ request to Amazon focuses on the company’s online marketplace, including how it handles proprietary data of third-party sellers on its platform and how its product search algorithm works. They demand answers about Amazon’s 2018 deal to sell new Apple devices on its website, which has also attracted questions from the Federal Trade Commission.The lawmakers seek information about acquisitions by Amazon, including audio book company Audible, upscale grocery store chain Whole Foods, and pharmacy delivery company PillPack.The antitrust panel has already held a hearing on the effect of digital platforms such as Google and Facebook on the news industry, as well as a session on innovation and entrepreneurship in July that featured appearances by executives from Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.(Updates with Google response in 11th paragraph)\--With assistance from David McLaughlin.To contact the reporters on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at email@example.com;Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at email@example.com, Mark Niquette, Kathleen HunterFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Apart from a series of other moves, Netflix (NFLX) has signed prolific filmmaker Karan Johar to strengthen presence in India amid growing competition post Apple's aggressive pricing of Apple TV+.