• Warren takes swipe at Mark Zuckerberg over political ads
    Reuters Videos

    Warren takes swipe at Mark Zuckerberg over political ads

    (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ELIZABETH WARREN SAYING: "To make real change in Washington, we have got to beat back the corruption in Washington. We have got to beat back the influence of money." Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren campaigning in the key swing state of Iowa on Sunday took a swipe at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, after Facebook ran a political ad which falsely accused former Vice President Joe Biden of blackmailing Ukrainian officials to stop an investigation of his son. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ELIZABETH WARREN SAYING: "And when Mark Zuckerberg doesn't like it, too bad for Mark Zuckerberg." Last week, the Biden campaign sent a letter to Facebook arguing the ad should be taken down. While the Trump campaign has been pushing out ads with similar false accusations in recent weeks... the video in question was released by an independent political action committee, or super PAC...called 'the Committee to Defend the President.' Biden's campaign pointed out that although Facebook has a policy of allowing all political leaders a platform, the ad by the super PAC was not from a politician but an organization...and so it should have been rejected. Zuckerberg last week defended the social media company's stance on free speech, whether true or false. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FACEBOOK CEO, MARK ZUCKERBERG, SAYING: "I don't think it's right for a private company to censor politicians or the news in a democracy." The Facebook controversy flared up after a leaked audio recording was published by The Verge where Zuckerberg was critical of Warren's views on tech. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FACEBOOK CEO, MARK ZUCKERBERG, SAYING: "If she (Warren) gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah. I mean, I don't want to have a major lawsuit against our own government." In March, Warren called for breaking up Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet,

  • Biden campaign cracks down on Facebook over false ads
    Reuters Videos

    Biden campaign cracks down on Facebook over false ads

    The Biden campaign going after Facebook once again... this time for running a video ad which falsely accused the former Vice President of blackmailing Ukrainian officials to stop an investigation of his son. On Thursday the Biden campaign sent a letter to Facebook, viewed by the New York Times, arguing the ad should be taken down. While the Trump campaign has been pushing out ads with similar false accusations in recent weeks... the video in question was released by an independent political action committee, or super PAC...called 'the Committee to Defend the President.' Biden's campaign pointed out that although Facebook has a policy of allowing all political leaders platform, the ad by the super PAC was not from a politician but an organization...and so it should have been rejected. The letter came on the same day that Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg delivered a speech in Washington defending his company's approach to political ads, arguing that even falsehoods from a politician were important for public discourse. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) FACEBOOK CEO, MARK ZUCKERBERG, SAYING: "I don't think its right for a private company to censor politicians or the news in a democracy." Zuckerberg faced swift backlash to the speech- especially from Senator Elizabeth Warren who tweeted: "Once again, we're seeing Facebook throw its hands up to battling misinformation in the political discourse, because when profit comes up against protecting democracy, Facebook chooses profit." After the Biden campaign's letter- The Times reported that a Facebook executive confirmed that the ad was taken down. And if it ran again it would be submitted to fact-checking.

  • Why the crash in software stocks isn't over
    Yahoo Finance

    Why the crash in software stocks isn't over

    Software stocks have crashed. The selloff probably isn't over.

  • Bloomberg

    Drug Wholesalers, Teva Settle With Ohio Counties Over Opioids

    (Bloomberg) -- The three largest U.S. drug distributors and a major generic-drug manufacturer have agreed to pay more than $250 million to settle the first federal trial over the companies’ role in fueling the U.S. opioid epidemic.Drug distributors McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and Americanization Corp., plus drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., entered into the agreement with two Ohio counties just before the start of the trial Monday in Cleveland, according to people familiar with the pact. The people asked not to be identified because the matter is still private.The agreement is likely to help buy more time for a wider industry settlement in other opioid cases. McKesson, Cardinal and AmerisourceBergen, which together control 90% of the U.S. drug-distribution market, have proposed an $18 billion settlement for more than 2,000 other lawsuits filed by states, counties and cities, according to people familiar with those negotiations. No deal has been reached on that offer.The settlement is expected to be announced in court later on Monday, said the people. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., the last remaining defendant, hasn’t yet reached a deal so far, said the people.Shares of the companies fell slightly before the markets opened in New York. McKesson dropped 1.6%, AmerisourceBergen was down 1.3%, Cardinal lost 0.1% and Teva declined 0.3%.Opioid DefendantsOther defendants in the case brought by the Ohio counties had already settled.Last week, drugmaker Johnson & Johnson agreed to settle the Cleveland case for $20.4 million. J&J has separately offered $4 billion to settle all the opioid lawsuits against it.Last month, generic-opioid manufacturer Mallinckrodt Plc settled for $30 million. A unit of Endo International Plc offered to pay $10 million and donate $1 million worth of drugs to avoid the trial, and Allergan Plc agreed to pay $5 million.More than 400,000 Americans have died of opioid overdoses over two decades as U.S. addiction rates surged, and local communities have sued to recover expenses on more drug treatment and police services.Drugmakers and distributors have been accused in thousands of lawsuits of turning a blind eye to red flags about unusually large opioid shipments and employing lax compliance standards to rake in billions in profits. The lawsuits are being overseen by U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland.The companies have been in talks with states, cities and counties in hopes of reaching an overarching agreement to resolve all the litigation.The case is In Re National Prescription Opioid Litigation, 17-md-2804, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio (Cleveland).To contact the reporters on this story: Jef Feeley in Wilmington, Delaware at jfeeley@bloomberg.net;Riley Griffin in New York at rgriffin42@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net, ;Drew Armstrong at darmstrong17@bloomberg.net, Steve StrothFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Stock market news: October 21, 2019
    Yahoo Finance

    Stock market news: October 21, 2019

    Stock futures were bid higher during early trading Monday at the start of a packed week of corporate earnings results.

  • Microsoft: Why Investors Expect Upbeat Earnings
    Market Realist

    Microsoft: Why Investors Expect Upbeat Earnings

    Microsoft (MSFT) is scheduled to report its earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2020 after the closing bell on Wednesday.

  • Estimating The Intrinsic Value Of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)
    Simply Wall St.

    Estimating The Intrinsic Value Of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)

    Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Amazon.com, Inc...

  • Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Shareholders Have Enjoyed An Impressive 198% Share Price Gain
    Simply Wall St.

    Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Shareholders Have Enjoyed An Impressive 198% Share Price Gain

    The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put...

  • EU data watchdog raises concerns over Microsoft contracts
    Reuters

    EU data watchdog raises concerns over Microsoft contracts

    Microsoft's contracts with European Union institutions do not fully protect data in line with EU law, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said in initial findings published on Monday. The EDPS, the EU's data watchdog, opened an investigation in April to assess whether contracts between Microsoft and EU institutions such as the European Commission fully complied with the bloc's data protection rules. "Though the investigation is still ongoing, preliminary results reveal serious concerns over compliance of the relevant contractual terms with data protection rules and the role of Microsoft as a processor for EU institutions using its products and services," the EDPS says in a statement.

  • Bloomberg

    Just Eat Shares Decline as Growth in U.K. Orders Slows

    (Bloomberg) -- Just Eat Plc’s shares fell as much as 6.4% in London trading on Monday after the company said U.K. order growth slowed in the third quarter.Shares declined 6% to 587.6 pence at 8:56 a.m. after earlier touching 622.8 pence, the biggest intraday retreat since September.U.K. order growth slowed to 8% for the calendar third quarter -- compared to 11% for the period before -- after the company’s marketplace business slowed, Just Eat said in a statement on Monday. Increased competition from the likes of Uber Eats and Deliveroo as well as easy access to grocery delivery may be impacting the business’s expansion, analysts at Peel Hunt said in a note to investors on Monday.The company left its guidance for the full-year unchanged and expects revenue of as much as 1.1 billion pounds ($1.4 billion).The firm agreed this year to sell itself to Takeaway.com NV of the Netherlands for 5 billion pounds in shares. The companies have said they expect the deal to close by year end. The deal gave Just Eat shares an implied valuation of 731 pence.The U.K. competition regulator said last week that it had started a probe into Amazon.com Inc.’s bid for Roofoods Ltd., which does business under the Deliveroo brand.\--With assistance from Kit Rees.To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in London at athomson6@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Nate Lanxon, Paul SillitoeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Saudi Aramco Needs to Get Realistic About Its IPO
    Bloomberg

    Saudi Aramco Needs to Get Realistic About Its IPO

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- On paper, you could scarcely imagine two more different companies than WeWork and Saudi Aramco. The serviced-office startup is a notorious cash sink, while Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is a gusher of dollars. In retrospect, the canceled initial public offering by WeWork’s parent We Co. seems inevitable, given its $17.32 billion in net debt and negative free cash flow of $2.94 billion in the year through June. By contrast, Aramco’s $88.49 billion of free cash flow and $5.55 billion in cash net of debt suggest there’s still plenty to tempt investors.Yet the two abortive share sales have a core attribute in common. In both cases, powerful insider interest groups came to the process with an elevated idea of the valuation they could achieve, and backed away when reality refused to conform to their expectations. Bankers put the Aramco sale on hold last week after it became clear that international investors wouldn’t swallow the $2 trillion market capitalization Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman first laid out almost three-and-a-half years ago, Bloomberg News reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. A number closer to $1.5 trillion looked more viable, one of the people said, and even that reduced number was some way above the more realistic figures in the $1 trillion range calculated by my colleague Liam Denning.If writing off the equivalent value of Tesla Inc. was disappointing for WeWork and its key investor SoftBank Group Corp., it’s no surprise that Prince Mohammed is balking at seeing an Amazon.com Inc.-worth of value disappear at the click of a banker’s spreadsheet. Still, letting markets pass the verdict on valuation is what IPOs are meant to be about. If Prince Mohammed ever wants to get this share sale away, he should take their skepticism as a cue for reflection, not rejection.For one thing, valuations just aren’t what they were when the idea of an Aramco IPO was first mooted back in early 2016. On an enterprise-value-to-Ebitda multiple, major listed independent and state-controlled oil companies are running at about a 29% discount to the valuations they were enjoying in April that year, when Prince Mohammed first put a number on Aramco’s market cap. Aramco’s cash and debt holdings are nugatory next to its vast cash flows, so you can translate that into a roughly $600 billion discount off the equity value it might have got at the time. Value Aramco’s $216.6 billion in Ebitda on the median multiple of the major listed national oil companies and you’re looking at a number just shy of $900 billion.The problems are compounded by the way the IPO has been handled. One reason the state oil companies mostly trade at a discount to independent producers is the perception that their corporate governance is caught up in politics. Aramco is hardly immune: Just last month, Khalid Al-Falih was removed from the roles of Aramco chairman and Saudi Arabia’s energy minister in the space of a week. In the first role, he was replaced by Yasir Al-Rumayyan, a SoftBank director and the head of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, which will become Aramco’s largest shareholder once the IPO is completed. In the latter, his place was taken by one of Prince Mohammed’s half-brothers.Neither move suggests the sort of insulation from insider considerations that would convince shareholders to give a generous multiple to Aramco — and in terms of political risk, there’s the whole matter of a cold war with Iran,  drone strikes on oil facilities, and Saudi Arabia’s position as the swing producer for the entire oil market to consider, too.Aramco has one giant advantage over WeWork. Thanks to those enormous cash flows, there’s really no reason that it needs an IPO. Without an infusion of investor cash, WeWork may struggle to make it through the next quarter. Aramco could, in theory, keep going in its current fashion for decades.The same can’t be said of the state with which it’s intertwined. The Saudi government needs an oil price of $78 a barrel to balance its budget, according to the International Monetary Fund, a level last seen in 2014. Running a fiscal deficit won’t be the end of the world, but in the long run the country still has a wicked problem. It must find a path to a sustainable economy in a world where its population is rising even as demand for oil must start to fall if the the worst effects of climate change are to be avoided.Aramco, which gives about half of its revenue back to the government in the form of taxes and royalties, is going to find itself on the front line of those challenges over the coming years. No wonder outside investors aren’t rushing to join the party.To contact the author of this story: David Fickling at dfickling@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Brooker at mbrooker1@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.David Fickling is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities, as well as industrial and consumer companies. He has been a reporter for Bloomberg News, Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Guardian.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Gojek’s 35-Year-Old Chief Is Joining Indonesia’s New Cabinet
    Bloomberg

    Gojek’s 35-Year-Old Chief Is Joining Indonesia’s New Cabinet

    (Bloomberg) -- Indonesian President Joko Widodo has offered the 35-year-old co-founder of the country’s biggest startup, Gojek, a position in his new cabinet, affirming the importance of the internet sector in propelling Southeast Asia’s largest economy.Nadiem Makarim on Monday told reporters he has accepted a cabinet post after resigning with immediate effect as chief executive officer of the ride-hailing giant he started nine years ago. That leaves the $10 billion startup, one of Southeast Asia’s largest, without its most visible leader at a time it’s pursuing funding to compete with arch-rival Grab Holdings Inc. Gojek said President Andre Soelistyo and co-founder Kevin Aluwi will take the helm as co-CEOs. The company will outline its next steps in the coming days, Gojek said in an emailed statement.Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, will specify the role to be taken up by Makarim in a later announcement. Makarim’s appointment -- in line with the Indonesian president’s stated desire to include professionals and millennials in his second-term team -- shouldn’t disrupt operations at Gojek given its deep bench of experienced managers.“This means President Jokowi’s new cabinet will be filled with young people with ability to execute,” said Willson Cuaca, managing partner of East Ventures, one of the most active Indonesian-focused venture capital firms. “It shows that Indonesia appreciates what they’ve done for the country. For Gojek, it’s reached a point that even if Nadiem resigns, it’s business as usual.”The Gojek co-founder hails from a prominent Indonesian family. His grandfather was part of the delegation that won the country’s independence from the Netherlands in a 1949 conference at The Hague.“Since the beginning, my mission in Gojek has been to display Indonesia on the world’s stage,” Makarim told reporters when he announced his resignation in Jakarta on Monday. “So, this is a continuation of that mission, but this is certainly for the state and within a bigger scale.”Read more: Jokowi Eyes $7 Trillion Indonesia Economy With New CabinetGojek is the largest player in an Indonesian internet industry that’s booming as smartphone adoption there explodes. The world’s fourth most populous country with 264 million people has produced other unicorns including Tokopedia and Bukalapak, which are driving e-commerce and the digital economy more generally.Makarim started Gojek in 2010 as a call center arranging couriers in Jakarta. At that early stage, everything was done manually -- employees called motorbike drivers one by one until someone accepted an order -- and Makarim had to work at other startups in order to sustain Gojek.It was only in 2014 that the Gojek chief decided to introduce a mobile app, with backing from private equity investor Northstar Group. When that debuted in January 2015, the service was so popular that Gojek couldn’t cope with demand, Makarim said in an interview in 2016.Gojek today has more than 2 million drivers and 400,000 merchants, while its apps have been downloaded more than 155 million times in Southeast Asia. The company counts Google, JD.com Inc. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. among its investors and is seen as an icon for aspiring Indonesian entrepreneurs.Makarim was selected as one of 50 people who defined global business in 2018 by Bloomberg Businessweek.Southeast Asia’s Internet Economy to Top $100 Billion This YearTo contact the reporters on this story: Yoolim Lee in Singapore at yoolim@bloomberg.net;Viriya Singgih in Jakarta at vsinggih@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, ;Thomas Kutty Abraham at tabraham4@bloomberg.net, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • SAP in three-year cloud partnership with Microsoft
    Reuters

    SAP in three-year cloud partnership with Microsoft

    Business software group SAP said on Monday it had reached a three-year deal with Microsoft to help its large enterprise customers move their business processes into the cloud. The partnership, called "Embrace", will help clients to run operations hosted at remote servers supported by SAP's flagship S/4HANA database, new Co-Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Morgan said as SAP released its final third-quarter results in line with preliminary figures released on Oct. 11. "We bundled SAP's cloud platform services to support customers around the extension, integration and orchestration of SAP systems," Morgan told reporters, adding the product would be sold through Microsoft's distribution channels.

  • Misuse of Alphabet’s Virus Scanner is Exposing Sensitive Files
    Bloomberg

    Misuse of Alphabet’s Virus Scanner is Exposing Sensitive Files

    (Bloomberg) -- Companies are misusing Alphabet Inc.’s virus scanner and similar products, and are unwittingly leaking data such as factory blueprints to intellectual property online, Israeli cybersecurity company Otorio Ltd. said.The firm said it discovered thousands of unprotected files from companies in the pharmaceutical, industrial, automotive and food industries as part of a project to research the malware logged by VirusTotal, which is owned by Alphabet cyber security subsidiary Chronicle. Otorio didn’t find any documents uploaded to VirusTotal that had been used in a cyber attack.“From what we found, we could design a very constructive hack. We found files that gave us a blueprint of how to infiltrate the production floor,” said Otorio Chief Executive Officer Daniel Bren, a reserve brigadier general who established the Israeli army’s cyber defense unit. “The companies’ trademarked secrets are on those blueprints.”VirusTotal makes scanned documents available to cybersecurity firms and researchers to help improve the detection of malware. Scanning incoming files for malicious attacks with online services is common practice, but some security teams are uploading files indiscriminately, without understanding the terms of use or the potential risk, Otorio said.The Israeli firm, which specializes in cybersecurity for industrial control systems, contacted VirusTotal about its findings in July, and Otorio said the company agreed that there was a need to raise awareness about how the service works and how security applications should be configured. The idea, said Bren, was to make the industrial sector aware of the problem so “they improve the situation, and not to poke them in the eye.”VirusTotal’s online terms of service states, in all caps, that users agree to only upload samples that they wish to publicly share and warns them not to submit anything that includes confidential, commercially sensitive or personal data without permission.Researchers working for academic institutions and cybersecurity companies can get access to the uploaded data after some screening and meeting certain criteria, which includes promising not to make commercial use of the information, Bren said. Rogue researchers may easily misuse this important service and publish documents, he said.A representative for VirusTotal said that the company screens all customers before giving them access to the data. Researchers don’t have searchable access to the file base and customers that are found to abuse any data are cut off, the representative said. VirusTotal will also remove information that’s uploaded by mistake.Google acquired VirusTotal in 2012 and the firm was later moved to parent company Alphabet’s Chronicle subsidiary.The types of project files uploaded may contain anything from information about supply chains to building entry points. Exposing them could lead to incidents similar to the ransomware attack that hit aluminum producer Norsk Hydro ASA in March, Otorio said. That attack caused production outages as the rogue agents stopped computer systems from working while they demanded a ransom.To contact the reporter on this story: Gwen Ackerman in Jerusalem at gackerman@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Riad Hamade at rhamade@bloomberg.net, Amy Thomson, Nate LanxonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Facebook Open to Currency-Pegged Stablecoins for Libra: Reuters
    Bloomberg

    Facebook Open to Currency-Pegged Stablecoins for Libra: Reuters

    (Bloomberg) -- The head of Facebook Inc.’s Libra project said that it could use cryptocurrencies based on national currencies like the dollar, rather than the synthetic one it initially proposed, Reuters reported.David Marcus, who oversees the Libra initiative for Facebook, told a banking seminar hosted by the Group of 30 in Washington that Facebook is open to looking at alternative approaches for the currency token it uses.“We could do it differently,” he said. “Instead of having a synthetic unit...we could have a series of stablecoins: a dollar stablecoin, a euro stablecoin, a sterling pound stablecoin, etc.”Marcus said the currency-pegged stablecoins aren’t Libra’s preferred option. He said the project is still aiming for a June 2020 launch.“We’ve always said that we wouldn’t go forward unless we have addressed all legitimate concerns and get proper regulatory approval,” Marcus told Reuters. “So it’s not entirely up to us.”Facebook has faced growing skepticism about its digital currency project. Last week Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JP Morgan Chase & Co., called it “a neat idea that’ll never happen.”More: Libra Is ‘Neat Idea That’ll Never Happen,’ Dimon SaysTo contact the reporter on this story: Hailey Waller in New York at hwaller@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: James Ludden at jludden@bloomberg.net, Matthew G. Miller, Ros KrasnyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Facebook open to currency-pegged stablecoins for Libra project
    Reuters

    Facebook open to currency-pegged stablecoins for Libra project

    Facebook Inc , facing growing skepticism about its digital currency project Libra, on Sunday said the initiative could use cryptocurrencies based on national currencies such as the dollar, instead of the synthetic one it initially proposed. David Marcus, who heads the Libra project for Facebook, told a banking seminar the group's main goal remained to create a more efficient payments system, but it was open to looking at alternative approaches for the currency token it would use. "We could definitely approach this with having a multitude of stablecoins that represent national currencies in a tokenized digital form," he said.

  • Earnings extravaganza — What to know in the week ahead
    Yahoo Finance

    Earnings extravaganza — What to know in the week ahead

    Earnings will be the focal point for investors this week, as about a quarter of the S&P 500 companies gear up to report results.

  • Amazon Week 3 Highlights: Prices Get Close to $1,800
    Market Realist

    Amazon Week 3 Highlights: Prices Get Close to $1,800

    During the third week of October, Amazon Inc. (AMZN) stock rebound. Compared to week 1 and week 2, the third-week patterns were somewhat different.

  • What Are the Top Holdings of Fisher Asset Management?
    Market Realist

    What Are the Top Holdings of Fisher Asset Management?

    Kenneth Fisher is the founder of Fisher Asset Management LLC. He in July 2016. But now he's the executive chairman of Fisher Asset Management.

  • Netflix scores big with 'Breaking Bad' but streaming wars loom large
    Yahoo Finance

    Netflix scores big with 'Breaking Bad' but streaming wars loom large

    Netflix is betting heavily on original content slate, but the streaming wars loom large.

  • Space startup CEO: 'You need regulation' of space — there isn't 'a cop up there'
    Yahoo Finance

    Space startup CEO: 'You need regulation' of space — there isn't 'a cop up there'

    Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb, believes space is a “shared resource” and calls for regulations to level the playing field.

  • Big tech, big profits? Amazon sales poised to leap 24%
    The Guardian

    Big tech, big profits? Amazon sales poised to leap 24%

    Shares have risen fivefold in five years and despite the shadow over tech analysts bet Amazon is immune to a backlash. Remember when Silicon Valley was a force for good? With their young bosses, origins in garages and revolutionary products, US tech companies were worshipped for bringing information, choice and innovation to the world. As reporting season for the US tech sector revs up this week the sheen has come off as campaigners, politicians and the wider public have asked questions about the darker side of the digital revolution. Facebook, Amazon, Google’s parent, Alphabet, Microsoft and Apple are all reporting in the next couple of weeks. Misuse of people’s data, aggressive tax avoidance, treatment of workers, enabling hate speech and the sheer size and power of the tech giants are all in the spotlight. The US government is conducting an antitrust review and Elizabeth Warren, the new frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic nomination, has pledged to break up the digital monopolies. Amazon, which reports third-quarter results on Thursday, is a case in point. Jeff Bezos’s company has faced repeated questions about working conditions at its warehouses in the US and the UK, where it is running an ad campaign featuring happy workers. Critics hold it partly responsible for the crisis on the high street. Amazon’s sprawling business – from retail sales and computer gaming to advertising and entertainment streaming – is in Warren’s sights and in Britain the competition authorities are investigating its investment in Deliveroo. It could also be affected by proposals to make big tech companies pay more tax in countries where they make sales. The Seattle-based company has told investors to expect third-quarter sales to jump by as much as 24% to a maximum of $70bn as it piles on revenue from cloud computing and its Prime service’s one-day delivery offer. Operating profit, though, is set to fall from $3.7bn to between $2.1bn and $3.1bn as Amazon spends on transport to expand its fast delivery offer. Amazon’s shares have fallen by about 10% since disappointing second-quarter results in July as investors digested its heavy spending message, amid general wariness about the tech sector made worse by dud share sales by companies such as Uber, Lyft and Slack. Neil Campling, head of technology research at Mirabaud Securities, said: “There is an overhang on big tech at the moment which is weighing on Amazon. You have got very high expectations and companies with very high valuations, and when a sector is priced for perfection that creates extra risk.” The shares are worth more than six times what they were just five years ago and Wall Street analysts reckon there is more to come. The company has so many irons in the fire that it’s hard to understand what’s going on. Supporters have to believe that its size, ability to invest and Bezos’s relentless focus on keeping customers happy is a magic combination. Andrew Murphy, managing partner of US tech investor Loup Ventures, says Amazon is still a high-growth company because of its willingness to experiment, and will escape a forced break-up despite its size. “While they’ve demonstrated the capability of turning on the profitability spigot at will in a given quarter, they are still in investment mode,” Murphy said. “Amazon will experiment and spend to test seemingly anything.” Is Amazon a risk-taking innovator or a relentless sucker up of other people’s business? Campling points out that Amazon’s cloud service supports many other companies, “creating an economy of its own”, but adds that Amazon can use the information it gets from the service to move in on the next trend. “Amazon is affecting every part of our lives,” Campling said. “Some people will think it’s the devil and others will think it gives us choice.”

  • Susan Rice weighs in on 'the danger' surrounding big tech
    Yahoo Finance

    Susan Rice weighs in on 'the danger' surrounding big tech

    The international reputation of large American tech firms can impact how the global community perceives the U.S., says a former top national security official under Barack Obama.

  • News Corp to supply headlines for Facebook's upcoming news tab
    Reuters

    News Corp to supply headlines for Facebook's upcoming news tab

    The WSJ, which first reported about the deal, said news publications Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, and Business Insider have also reached a similar deal with Facebook. The news organizations will be paid a licensing fee to supply headlines, the WSJ reported.