MSFT - Microsoft Corporation

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real Time Price. Currency in USD
149.97
+1.91 (+1.29%)
At close: 4:00PM EST
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Previous Close148.06
Open148.93
Bid149.90 x 1100
Ask149.97 x 1000
Day's Range148.27 - 149.99
52 Week Range93.96 - 149.99
Volume23,508,807
Avg. Volume22,794,787
Market Cap1.144T
Beta (3Y Monthly)1.23
PE Ratio (TTM)28.30
EPS (TTM)5.30
Earnings DateJan. 28, 2020 - Feb. 3, 2020
Forward Dividend & Yield2.04 (1.38%)
Ex-Dividend Date2019-11-20
1y Target Est160.16
  • Amazon challenges Pentagon's cloud award to Microsoft
    Reuters Videos

    Amazon challenges Pentagon's cloud award to Microsoft

    U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday rejected allegations by Amazon that it lost out on a lucrative Pentagon project for political reasons. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, MARK ESPER, SAYING: "As you know I recused myself from involvement on the competition, but I am confident that it was conducted freely and fairly without any type of outside influence." Amazon cried foul after the government awarded a $10 billion dollar cloud computing contract to rival Microsoft. President Donald Trump has long criticized Amazon and its founder Jeff Bezos. Amazon filed notice last week saying it would formally protest the decision and in a company-wide meeting this week - Amazon Web Services' CEO Andy Jassy said awarding a contract objectively would be challenging for an agency when the president is disparaging one of the applicants. The project, known as Jedi, is part of a broad digital modernization initiative by the Pentagon. In a new book, a former navy commander recounts a tale where Trump called then-defense secretary Jim Mattis and directed him to "screw Amazon" by preventing it from bidding on the Jedi contract. "We're not going to do that," Mattis later told Pentagon officials, according to the book. His successor, Mark Esper, recused himself because his son works at IBM, one of the original contract applicants.

  • Microsoft to probe work of Israeli facial recognition startup it funded
    Reuters

    Microsoft to probe work of Israeli facial recognition startup it funded

    AnyVision, based outside Tel Aviv, has come under scrutiny following reports by Haaretz's TheMarker business newspaper and NBC News that its technology is used to surveil Palestinians who live in the occupied West Bank. AnyVision, which denied to NBC such use of its services, did not respond to a request for comment. The probe reflects growing unease about facial recognition surveillance in the United States and elsewhere that civil liberties groups say could lead to unfair arrests and limit freedom of expression.

  • Bill Gates Tops Jeff Bezos as World’s Richest Person With Amazon Slide
    Bloomberg

    Bill Gates Tops Jeff Bezos as World’s Richest Person With Amazon Slide

    (Bloomberg) -- This time it’s official.Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates overtook Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person on Friday, reclaiming the top ranking for the first time in more than two years.Gates may have been helped in part by the Pentagon’s surprise decision announced Oct. 25 to award a $10 billion cloud-computing contract to Microsoft over Amazon. Shares of Microsoft have since climbed 4%, giving Gates a $110 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Amazon’s stock is down about 2% since the announcement, putting Bezos’s net worth at $108.7 billion.Gates, 64, had briefly topped Bezos, 55, on an intraday basis last month after Amazon posted its first profit drop in two years, but shares of the world’s biggest online retailer pared the decline. The index, which tracks the wealth of the richest 500 people, is updated each trading day after U.S. markets close. Europe’s richest person, Bernard Arnault, is third with $102.7 billion.Read more: Microsoft Shares Surge After Controversial Pentagon Contract WinMicrosoft has surged 48% this year, boosting the value of Gates’s 1% stake. The rest of his wealth is derived from share sales and investments made over the years by his family office, Cascade.Bezos would be far richer if he and MacKenzie Bezos hadn’t divorced. The pair announced their split in January, with MacKenzie, 49, receiving a quarter of their Amazon holdings in July. Her net worth dipped to $35 billion on Friday. Gates, on the other hand, may have never relinquished the top spot were it not for his philanthropy. He has donated more than $35 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 1994.Gates recently shared his thoughts on the wealth tax that’s been proposed by some Democratic presidential candidates, including Elizabeth Warren, saying he’s already paid more than $10 billion in taxes."If I’d had to pay $20 billion, it’s fine," he said. But "when you say I should pay $100 billion, then I’m starting to do a little math about what I have left over.”As of today, that would be $10 billion.(Updates with Gates comments on wealth tax starting in seventh paragraph.)\--With assistance from Sophie Alexander.To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Metcalf in London at tmetcalf7@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Pierre Paulden at ppaulden@bloomberg.net, Peter Eichenbaum, Steven CrabillFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • SoftBank's Second Vision Fund Is Starting Life a Lot Smaller Than the First
    Bloomberg

    SoftBank's Second Vision Fund Is Starting Life a Lot Smaller Than the First

    (Bloomberg) -- SoftBank Group Corp. has quietly completed an initial money-raising push for its second technology fund, at a fraction of its targeted $108 billion.The Japanese company has raised roughly $2 billion for the second Vision Fund so it can start backing startups, according to two people familiar with the matter. This stage of the fund-raising process is known as a first close, and SoftBank will continue gathering commitments. A Vision Fund spokesman declined to comment.SoftBank said in July that its second Vision Fund would be even larger than the first, which broke records in 2017 by raising almost $100 billion. This time around, SoftBank has said it is taking more control, committing $38 billion of its own capital and replacing Saudi Arabia, which was the largest investor in the first fund.So far, it is unclear whether there are any outside investors in the second fund. The original Vision Fund was announced in October 2016, but took another seven months for its first major closing with $93 billion in commitments.Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co., which contributed $45 billion and $15 billion, respectively, to the first fund, are reconsidering how much to put into the new fund, Bloomberg News previously reported.Talks with Saudi Arabia are still ongoing, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters. Mubadala recently told Bloomberg News it had yet to decide on whether it would invest.SoftBank has said the second fund is also expected to collect money from Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Foxconn Technology Group and the sovereign wealth fund of Kazakhstan.SoftBank’s second Vision Fund has made at least one investment already. It recently participated in a financing round for Chinese online property listing service Beike Zhaofang, people with knowledge of the matter said. The company previously raised $800 million from investors in March, Caixin reported at the time. A representative for Beike was not immediately reachable for comment.WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc., two of the largest investments made by SoftBank and the first Vision Fund, have performed poorly this year. A recent summary of the first Vision Fund portfolio showed that the fair value of the fund’s stakes in transportation and logistics companies was $31.1 billion as of Sept. 30, just below the cost of those investments. The fair value of the fund’s real estate investments was $7.5 billion, below the $9 billion cost.That’s prompted some soul-searching at the Japanese company.“There was a problem with my own judgment, that’s something I have to reflect on,” SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son said.(Updates with a recent Vision Fund investment in eighth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Gillian Tan in New York at gtan129@bloomberg.net;Giles Turner in London at gturner35@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Google Gets Supreme Court Hearing in Oracle Copyright Clash
    Bloomberg

    Google Gets Supreme Court Hearing in Oracle Copyright Clash

    (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal from Alphabet Inc.’s Google in a multibillion-dollar clash that has divided Silicon Valley, agreeing to decide whether the company improperly used copyrighted programming code owned by Oracle Corp. in the Android operating system.The justices said they’ll review a federal appeals court’s conclusion that Google violated Oracle’s copyrights. Oracle says it’s entitled to at least $8.8 billion in damages.The case, which the court will resolve by July, promises to reshape the U.S. legal protections for software code, particularly the interfaces that let programs and devices communicate with one another. Google contends the appeals court ruling would make it harder to use interfaces to develop new applications.The ruling “has upended the computer industry’s longstanding expectation that developers are free to use software interfaces to build new computer programs,” Google argued.The appeals court decision reversed a jury finding that Google’s copying was a legitimate “fair use” of Oracle’s Java programming language.“There is nothing fair about taking a copyrighted work verbatim and using it for the same purpose and function as the original in a competing platform,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said in a 3-0 ruling.At issue are pre-written directions known as application program interfaces, or APIs, which provide instructions for such functions as connecting to the internet or accessing certain types of files. By using those shortcuts, programmers don’t have to write code from scratch for every function in their software, or change it for every type of device.Oracle says the Java APIs are freely available to those who want to build applications that run on computers and mobile devices. But the company says it requires a license to use the shortcuts for a competing platform or to embed them in an electronic device.“We are confident the Supreme Court will preserve long established copyright protections for original software and reject Google’s continuing efforts to avoid responsibility for copying Oracle’s innovations,” said Deborah Hellinger, an Oracle spokeswoman. “In the end, a finding that Google infringed Oracle’s original works will promote, not stifle, future innovation.”Oracle says Google was facing an existential threat because its search engine -- the source of its advertising revenue -- wasn’t being used on smartphones. Google bought the Android mobile operating system in 2005 and copied Java code to attract developers but refused to take a license, Oracle contends.‘Incalculable’ Harm“Naturally, it inflicted incalculable market harm on Oracle,” Oracle told the Supreme Court. “This is the epitome of copyright infringement, whether the work is a news report, a manual, or computer software.”Android generated $42 billion for Google between 2007 and 2016, according to Oracle court filings. Google said it welcomed the court’s decision to review the case.“We hope that the court reaffirms the importance of software interoperability in American competitiveness,” said Google’s chief legal officer, Kent Walker. “Developers should be able to create applications across platforms and not be locked into one company’s software.”At the Supreme Court, Google argues that software interfaces are categorically ineligible for copyright protection. Google also contends that the Federal Circuit restricted the “fair use” defense to copyright infringement so much as to make it impossible for a developer to reuse an interface in a new application.“What Oracle is seeking here is nothing less than complete control over a community of developers that have invested in learning the free and open Java language,” Google argued.The Trump administration is backing Oracle at the Supreme Court and urged the justices to reject the appeal. Microsoft Corp., Mozilla Corp. and Red Hat Inc. are among the companies that urged the Supreme Court to give Google a hearing.The appeal encompasses two decisions by the Federal Circuit in the six-year-long battle. The first is a 2014 decision that the programming language can be copyrighted, and the second is a 2018 ruling that overturned the jury’s verdict of “fair use.” The Supreme Court had previously rejected Google’s petition over the 2014 decision.If Oracle wins, the case will go back to a federal jury in California, where the only issue will be how much Google should pay in damages. Should Google win on either question, that would end the case.The case is Google v. Oracle America, 18-956.(Updates with company comments beginning in ninth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Naomi Nix.To contact the reporters on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at gstohr@bloomberg.net;Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth Wasserman, Jon MorganFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Low-Volatility and Quality ETFs: What Investors Need to Know
    Zacks

    Low-Volatility and Quality ETFs: What Investors Need to Know

    We discuss why investors have been rushing into low-volatility and quality funds this year.

  • 3 Semiconductor Stocks to Buy After Strong Earnings on 2020 Chip Growth
    Zacks

    3 Semiconductor Stocks to Buy After Strong Earnings on 2020 Chip Growth

    We searched for semiconductor stocks utilizing our Zacks Stock Screener that investors might want to consider buying ahead of what could be a strong year for chip companies in 2020...

  • Investing.com

    Stocks- S&P 500 Soars to 6th Weekly Gain

    Investing.com – Stocks surged Friday setting new closing and intraday highs, as investors cheered decent economic news and were relieved when the White House said trade negotiations with China were progressing.

  • TIMELINE-Amazon challenges Pentagon awarding $10 bln cloud deal to Microsoft
    Reuters

    TIMELINE-Amazon challenges Pentagon awarding $10 bln cloud deal to Microsoft

    Amazon.com Inc said on Thursday it is contesting the Pentagon's award of an up to $10 billion cloud computing deal to Microsoft Corp, expressing concern that politics got in the way of a fair contracting process. Last month, Microsoft beat favorite Amazon for the contract, called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud, or JEDI, which is part of a broad modernization of the Pentagon's information technology systems.

  • NVIDIA (NVDA) Q3 Earnings & Revenues Beat Estimates, Down Y/Y
    Zacks

    NVIDIA (NVDA) Q3 Earnings & Revenues Beat Estimates, Down Y/Y

    NVIDIA's (NVDA) third-quarter fiscal 2020 results reflect weakness in Data Center, Gaming and Automotive end markets. However, Hyperscale demand improvement is a positive.

  • 5 Tech Behemoths Flying High in 2019 Amid Trade Jitters
    Zacks

    5 Tech Behemoths Flying High in 2019 Amid Trade Jitters

    Despite trade-related conflict with China, the technology sector has performed exceptionally well in 2019 so far, surpassing the broader market return.

  • Software Is Sheffield’s New Steel Thanks to Tencent and Sumo
    Bloomberg

    Software Is Sheffield’s New Steel Thanks to Tencent and Sumo

    (Bloomberg) -- Chinese social media goliath Tencent Holdings said on Friday it’d entered into an agreement to buy almost 10% of Sumo Group Plc, causing the latter’s shares to surge the most since its listing less than two years ago.It was another sign for Sumo’s home city of Sheffield, in the north of England, that software could help replace steel. Sheffield once had the moniker Steel City when the U.K. was making nearly half of the world’s supply of the metal. But now China accounts for half, and Britain almost none.Sumo’s current headquarters are nestled on a riverbank between a 250 year-old steel foundry, Sheffield Forgemasters, and the Meadowhall shopping mall, where locals earlier this month sheltered overnight after flooding devastated the region.The company is not the first software or technology company to come out of the the city. PlusNet, once a popular and publicly-traded internet service provider, was founded in Sheffield and was acquired by BT Group Plc in 2007 where it still operates alongside BT brands such as EE.Sheffield is home to AIM-listed WANdisco Plc. Originally founded in Silicon Valley in 2005, it shifted its headquarters to Sheffield in 2009. The Angel CoFund, a government-backed venture capital fund, is also based in the city.It’s not the first time Tencent has invested in a U.K. gaming either, having taken a minority stake in Frontier Developments in 2017.Sumo, founded in 2003, is best known for its work on games such as Microsoft Corp.’s Forza Horizon racing series, Warner Bros.’ Hitman 2, and developing LittleBigPlanet 3 for Sony Corp.’s PlayStation consoles and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. According to a statement Friday, the company has 10 studios in three countries. Its website states that it employs more than 600 people.“What does Tencent see in Sumo? We guess good content,” said Ken Rumph, an analyst at Jefferies, in a research note. “We think Tencent is supporting the strong development talents of the studio that may be able to deliver high quality contents appealing to Western gamers.”Sumo shares rose as much as 21% in trading in London Friday, reaching 186 pence.To contact the reporter on this story: Nate Lanxon in London at nlanxon@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Kasper ViitaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • UPDATE 2-U.S. defense chief rejects Amazon's accusations of bias in cloud contract
    Reuters

    UPDATE 2-U.S. defense chief rejects Amazon's accusations of bias in cloud contract

    U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday rejected any suggestion of bias in a Pentagon decision to award Microsoft Corp an up to $10 billion cloud computing contract, after Amazon.com Inc announced plans to challenge it. "I am confident it was conducted freely and fairly, without any type of outside influence," Esper told a news conference in Seoul, even as he noted that he had recused himself from the cloud competition. Amazon says that politics got in the way of a fair contracting process.

  • U.S. defence chief rejects Amazon's accusations of bias in cloud contract
    Reuters

    U.S. defence chief rejects Amazon's accusations of bias in cloud contract

    U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday rejected any suggestion of bias in a Pentagon decision to award Microsoft Corp an up to $10 billion (£9 billion) cloud computing contract, after Amazon.com Inc announced plans to challenge it. "I am confident it was conducted freely and fairly, without any type of outside influence," Esper told a news conference in Seoul, even as he noted that he had recused himself from the cloud competition. Amazon says that politics got in the way of a fair contracting process.

  • X019 event: Rare and Obsidian announce new games and XCloud service expands
    The Guardian

    X019 event: Rare and Obsidian announce new games and XCloud service expands

    Everwild, a new title from the veteran studio Rare. Photograph: MicrosoftMicrosoft revealed a host of new Xbox and PC titles at its X019 fan event in London on Thursday night, including projects from Rare and Obsidian. The company also announced it would expand its xCloud game streaming service and its Xbox Game Pass subscription platform.The major game revelation was Everwild, a title from veteran studio Rare. With development being led by Louise O’Connor, known for her work on the cult favourite Conker’s Bad Fur Day, the project looks to be a mystical, woodland-set action adventure game, with a muted painterly art style reminiscent of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.Trailer for Everwild, the new game from Rare studio. “While Everwild is still early in development, we are very excited about the unique potential of the game we are creating,” said Rare studio’s head, Craig Duncan. “The Everwild team is focused on building an experience that allows for new ways to play in a natural and magical world.” No release date was given.The role-playing adventure specialist Obsidian Entertainment showed off its next project, Grounded, a first-person cooperative survival game in which players are shrunk to the size of insects and have to survive in a garden, building protective forts and seeing off attacks from ants and spiders. Survivors must hunt for resources and craft weapons and tools while exploring the open environment.Trailer for Grounded, from Obsidian Entertainment.The French studio Dontnod unveiled Tell Me Why, an adventure about identical twins reuniting in the Alaskan town in which they grew up and tackling their difficult past.Microsoft also announced a range of deals with Japanese studios and publishers. Sega’s acclaimed action titles Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2 are all coming to Xbox One and Game Pass in early 2020, as are all the Final Fantasy titles from VII onwards. Among the 50-plus other titles announced for the service were Witcher 3, Wastelands 3 and Minecraft Dungeons – all arriving at the same time as they release on Xbox.The xCloud game streaming service – which will allow users to play Xbox games on their Android phones and other devices – is set to be launched in 2020 after this year’s test phase. But there are still no details on how payment will work – whether a monthly subscription will be all that’s required, or if users will also have to pay for most games, as with Google’s Stadia.Fifty titles are being added to the xCloud roster, including Hitman, Just Cause 4 and Forza Horizon 4, and Windows 10 PCs will also be able to access the platform. Microsoft has a prototype of the service running on iPhone although there are no details on when it may arrive on Apple’s devices. A wider range of controllers will be supported next year, too, including the PlayStation Dualshock.West of Dead. Photograph: Raw FuryAn interesting range of independent games was also announced. Publisher Annapurna Interactive revealed Last Stop, a supernatural adventure set in modern London, and the Swedish publisher Raw Fury showed gothic twin-gun rogue-like shooter West of Dead, starring Ron Perlman with a story by Fable co-creator Dene Carter. The Molasses Flood, the developer of the acclaimed survival game The Flame in the Flood, showed Drake Hollow, billed as a village-building adventure.There was no talk of Microsoft’s forthcoming Scarlett console. The focus of the night, however, was very much on new projects from reliable Xbox studios and major boosts to the company’s digital gaming services. The xCloud announcements will certainly have been noticed by Google, which is launching its rival Stadia streaming service on 19 November, with just 12 games at launch and a lot of the promised features delayed until next year. With xCloud also launching in new territories including Canada, western Europe, Japan and India, the competition between the two tech giants will be global and fierce.

  • UPDATE 2-Amazon challenges Pentagon's $10-bln cloud award to Microsoft
    Reuters

    UPDATE 2-Amazon challenges Pentagon's $10-bln cloud award to Microsoft

    Amazon.com Inc on Thursday said it is contesting the Pentagon's award of an up to $10 billion cloud computing deal to Microsoft Corp, expressing concern that politics got in the way of a fair contracting process. The company filed notice last Friday that it will formally protest the decision on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud, known as JEDI. In a company-wide meeting on Thursday, Amazon Web Services' CEO Andy Jassy said it would be challenging for a U.S. agency to award a contract objectively when the president is disparaging one of the contestants, according to an Amazon spokesman.

  • Amazon challenges Pentagon's $10-billion cloud award to Microsoft
    Reuters

    Amazon challenges Pentagon's $10-billion cloud award to Microsoft

    Amazon.com Inc on Thursday said it is contesting the Pentagon's award of an up to $10 billion (£7.81 billion) cloud computing deal to Microsoft Corp , expressing concern that politics got in the way of a fair contracting process. The company filed notice last Friday that it will formally protest the decision on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud, known as JEDI. In a company-wide meeting on Thursday, Amazon Web Services' CEO Andy Jassy said it would be challenging for a U.S. agency to award a contract objectively when the president is disparaging one of the contestants, according to an Amazon spokesman.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Nvidia, Intel, TSMC, Google and Microsoft
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Nvidia, Intel, TSMC, Google and Microsoft

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Nvidia, Intel, TSMC, Google and Microsoft

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Tesla and General Dynamics
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Tesla and General Dynamics

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Tesla and General Dynamics

  • Bloomberg

    How Amazon’s Klutzy Politicking Backfired in Seattle

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- For a company that is so good at so many things, Amazon is remarkably bad at politics.Exhibit A is the latest debacle in its hometown of Seattle, where the company’s push to seat a more politically moderate city council backfired. Campaign cash aimed at producing a less tax-happy council triggered the opposite result and turned a socialist headed for defeat into a martyr.Amazon has never been known for subtlety. The $1.45 million it spread around in political contributions to City Council candidates not only set a record, but also changed the trajectory of the election. Polls showed that voters who were poised to replace some leftist council members changed course. After Amazon’s donations became public, they elected five of seven candidates opposed by a business coalition. One of them was Councilmember Kshama Sawant of the Socialist Alternative party, who declared her come-from-behind re-election victory in front of a giant red sign that declared, “Tax Amazon.” Which the newly Amazon-unfriendly council almost certainly will do.Amazon employs 54,000 people in Seattle and owns or occupies 47 buildings there. That’s made the city seem like the biggest company town in the U.S., and has probably blinded Amazon’s leaders to the angst and tumult they’ve unleashed in a place that’s become both more prosperous and less livable.Sawant, who managed less than 40% of the vote in the August primary, went so far as to call Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, “our enemy,” and described her victory as a win for working people against the world’s richest man.“Amazon overplayed their hand,” said Egan Orion, the candidate who lost to Sawant. “I wasn’t able to make my closing arguments. There was so much noise.”Once Amazon donated in such a big way, the race became nationalized. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, the presidential candidates vying for the hearts of the Democratic Party’s left flank, chimed in via Twitter to trash the Amazon contributions.Here’s what Warren had to say:Here’s Sanders:Another winner, Tammy Morales, favors a bevy of local tax options to raise money for homeless services, housing and other needs. Her list includes revisiting an employee head tax similar to one Amazon successfully fought in 2018, plus a local estate tax and a tax on high salaries dubbed an “excess compensation tax.”Amazon has been trying to fine-tune its relationship with Seattle for years, and concern about relations with the City Council was among the reasons it announced in 2017 that it was looking for a second headquarters location — another endeavor that showcased the company’s limited political skills.That contest blew up in New York City when politicians and others protested the size of an Amazon enticement package — up to $3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives.In Seattle, Amazon had mostly maintained a quiet political presence until May 2018, when the City Council passed the Amazon Tax on larger companies, a head tax of $275 per employee.Amazon promptly announced that it would stop construction on one of its new buildings if the tax were imposed.The council then hastily repealed it when polls showed it could harm the council at the next election — the contest that ended so disastrously for the company this month.Starbucks, also headquartered in Seattle, took a different approach, donating a much smaller sum to the business campaign. A Starbucks executive also sent a letter to employees urging a vote for unspecified “change” and invited the public to have a cup of coffee. This was a subtle, defter move, in part because it was hard to tell exactly what the company was saying.At this juncture, perhaps after apologizing or remaining quiet a while, Amazon has a few choices. It could face probable new taxes gamely or think along the lines of Apple, which recently announced a $2.5 billion plan to ease the housing shortages and affordability crisis in California. Or take a page from Microsoft, the tech giant across Lake Washington from Amazon, which last winter offered a well received $500 million investment in affordable housing and homelessness relief across the region.To be fair, Amazon has invested in a homeless shelter in Seattle for families, Mary’s Place, which will eventually occupy eight floors in one of the new Amazon buildings. Mary’s Place does great work. But that answer to the enormous problem of homelessness and housing affordability now seems a trifle. The overall contribution to challenges facing the city is too small to those who believe Amazon needs to step up and invest in ways commensurate with its size and impact.To contact the author of this story: Joni Balter at jcbalter@gmail.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at jlandman4@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joni Balter is a longtime Seattle columnist and writer who contributes to local NPR and PBS affiliates.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Microsoft and Salesforce Strike Partnership, Helping Thaw Chilly Relations

    (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. and Salesforce.com Inc. are connecting more of their software and Salesforce will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud for part of its business, a thaw in a relationship that grew chilly several years ago when both companies pursued the same acquisition. The agreement, to connect some of Salesforce’s software with Microsoft’s Teams corporate chat and use Azure for Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud, expands an existing strategic relationship forged in the early days of Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella’s tenure. But the relationship grew strained in 2016 after Microsoft beat Salesforce to acquire LinkedIn and Salesforce complained to European regulators about the deal. The two companies have not announced any partnerships since. Microsoft and Salesforce compete for customers who want cloud-based software programs for customer management. Nadella, who once ran that business for Microsoft, has invested more effort into bolstering his company’s products in that area. The LinkedIn purchase was a key part of that plan, and Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff was said to have been angered at Microsoft’s actions. Still the two companies, among the biggest makers of cloud-based corporate applications, have many areas in which they can cooperate and Microsoft wants to lure large technology company customers to Azure, which trails cloud-computing market leader Amazon.com Inc. As part of the deal, Salesforce will connect its Sales Cloud and Service Cloud with Microsoft’s Teams, the companies said Thursday in a statement. Teams is trying to gain customers from rival Slack Technologies Inc. Salesforce had previously run Marketing Cloud on its internal systems, but uses other cloud providers for different parts of its business. The San Francisco-based company has leveraged infrastructure cloud deals as a way to sweeten partnerships. In 2017, as part of a tie-up with Alphabet Inc. to connect Google Analytics to Salesforce programs, Salesforce said it would host some of its core services on Google Cloud Platform as it expands globally—calling Google a “preferred public cloud provider.” The following year, Salesforce dubbed International Business Machines Corp. a "preferred cloud services provider" as part of an alliance to use IBM’s artificial intelligence with Salesforce software. It also does business with Amazon Web Services.Microsoft and Salesforce's deepening partnership in some areas comes amid greater competition between the companies elsewhere. Salesforce said in June it would pay more than $15 billion to buy Tableau Software Inc., a maker of analytics programs. Tableau and Microsoft compete in the market for business intelligence software. To contact the authors of this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at dbass2@bloomberg.netNico Grant in San Francisco at ngrant20@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Pollack at apollack1@bloomberg.net, Alistair BarrJillian WardFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Top 6 Dow Stocks That Have Outpaced Index's Year-to-Date Gain
    Zacks

    Top 6 Dow Stocks That Have Outpaced Index's Year-to-Date Gain

    The Dow is firmly in the positive territory with a gain of 19.1% year to date. This is an excellent performance after a disappointing 2018, when the index lost nearly 6%.

  • Bloomberg

    Macron and Merkel Are Caught in a New Cold War

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- “Technological sovereignty” is one of the European Union’s buzzwords of the moment, conjuring up an image of a safe and secure space for zettabytes of home-grown data, free from interference or capture by the U.S. and China.Both France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel have used the phrase to kick-start all sorts of initiatives, from artificial intelligence programs to state-backed cloud computing. The new European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen has etched the concept into her political guidelines.It’s a noble goal, if only because it acknowledges Europe is anything but technologically sovereign right now. The internet behemoths are in America and China — Alphabet Inc., Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd — and an estimated 92% of the Western world’s data is stored in the U.S., according to the CEPS think tank. China accounts for more than one-third of global patent applications for 5G mobile technology. Amazon boasts that 80% of blue-chip German companies on the DAX exchange use its cloud services business AWS. The trigger to do something about it is the race for supremacy between Beijing and Washington, which is spilling over into the tech sector and undercutting the EU’s ability to protect its turf. President Donald Trump’s ban on Huawei Technologies Co. and his attempts to bully allies into doing the same was a wake-up call, however valid his security concerns. The U.S. “Cloud Act,” which forces American businesses to hand over data if ordered regardless of where it’s stored, was another. Both China and the U.S. see the EU as an easy mark in the global tech tussle. And they’re right. Europe’s problem is that recapturing sovereignty is neither easy nor cheap. Take cloud computing, one area where France and Germany are eyeing the building of “sovereign” domestic infrastructure for use by national and European companies. This is a $220 billion global market dominated by U.S. suppliers with market values of close to $1 trillion, which invests tens of billions of dollars every year on infrastructure. Their power isn’t just technological: When Microsoft Corp. spends $7.5 billion on an acquisition such as GitHub, a forum for open-source coding, it’s bringing valuable developers into its own orbit. Likewise, Amazon’s AWS has the scale, cheap pricing and perks that lock in customers.France and Germany won’t win a head-on battle in this field. Paris is still smarting from a failed attempt years ago at building a sovereign cloud for the princely sum of 150 million euros ($165 million). Germany has Gaia-X, which looks like a common space for the sharing of data by the leading lights of the DAX , from SAP SE to Siemens  AG. It’s hard to see how such initiatives will lead to true digital sovereignty, though; not just because of a lack of serious investment, but because it’s hard to avoid using U.S. cloud tech.Still, it wouldn’t be a bad thing if this trend led to France and Germany collaborating more — laying the groundwork for more ambitious spending — and to Brussels doing what it does best: setting the rules of engagement for tech companies everywhere. Digital commissioner Margrethe Vestager is already demanding tougher enforcement of data protection laws and taking a consistently muscular approach to antitrust violations by the Silicon Valley and Seattle giants. It’s not sovereignty, but it’s a start.To contact the author of this story: Lionel Laurent at llaurent2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Lionel Laurent is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Brussels. He previously worked at Reuters and Forbes.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.