Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Alphabet Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Alphabet RSS feed en Mon, 17 Jun 2019 09:40:14 +0100 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[News - US$800mln wiped from Alphabet’s market value as first-quarter results disappoint ]]> Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares plunged in overnight trading in New York after the Google owner missed expectations with its first-quarter results.

The company, which also owns YouTube, reported sales of US$36.6bn for the three months ended 31 March – almost US$1bn below what Wall Street number crunchers had forecast.

READ: Alphabet fined US$1.7bn by EU regulators

Bosses blamed the shortfall on the strength of the US dollar, tough comparatives and fewer enhancements to its ad services.

Sales growth slowed to 17% in the period, below the rate of expansion in the previous quarter and down from a 26% increase in the same period last year.

The rate of growth in ‘paid clicks’ – Alphabet charges companies every time their ad is clicked on – also decelerated to 39% growth versus 59% at the beginning of 2018.

On top of that, earnings fell during the quarter, dropping by almost a third to US$9.50 as Alphabet set aside US$1.7bn to cover the cost of a fine from European competition regulators.

Excluding this one-time charge, earnings would have been US$11.90, better than the US$10.58 analysts had initially pencilled in.

Investors unsure

Analysts said the "lack of transparency" over the cause of the slowdown was frustrating for both them and investors.

"Overall, we expect GOOGL shares to be under pressure in the near-term given sub-20% revenue growth & downward earnings revisions,” said JP Morgan in a note to clients.

“The exact drivers of GOOGL’s slowing top-line are unclear, and we believe frustration around GOOGL’s lack of transparency will only increase.”

Shares are down 7.8% in pre-market trading to US$1,195.20, wiping almost US$800mln from the company’s market capitalisation.

-- Adds analyst comment --

Tue, 30 Apr 2019 10:00:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Alphabet’s Google fined $1.69bn by European Commission for anti-trust practices in online advertising ]]> Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) owned internet giant Google has been fined €1.49bn ($1.69bn) by the European Commission (EC) for anti-trust practices in online advertising.

The case accused Google of abusing its market dominance by restricting third-party websites from displaying search ads between 2006 and 2016.

READ: Google owner Alphabet fined €50M by France’s privacy regulator for breaching EU data protection rules

The EC nvestigation found that Google was by far the strongest player in online search advertising in the European Economic Area, with a market share above 70% over the 10-year period.

The internet search group has already changed its contracts for AdSense for Search with large third parties to give them more leeway to display competing search ads.

In a statement on the EC’s website, competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager said: "Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites.”

"This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate - and consumers the benefits of competition," she added.

This is the third European fine for Google in the past two years.

In June 2017, the EC fined the group €2.42bn for abusing its dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to Google's own comparison shopping service.

In July 2018, it fined Google €4.34bn for illegal practices regarding Android mobile devices to strengthen the dominance of its search engine.


Wed, 20 Mar 2019 12:05:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Google’s Stadia platform promises to up-end the gaming industry, but what does it mean for investors? ]]> Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) owned internet giant Google last night dropped a bombshell on video game market leaders Sony and Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) with the unveiling of its Stadia platform.

Stadia promises a paradigm shift for the gaming industry, which has already in recent years seen huge incursions by smart phone games like Candy Crush.

READ: Google parent Alphabet’s investment splurge makes investors twitchy, overshadows revenue growth

Google’s assault on the console gaming incumbents may resemble what Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) has done to bookstores, the impact that Tinder has had on ladies night at the local discotheque, or Tesla Inc’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) threat to gas-guzzlers.

If Tesla is successful, and wider mainstream adoption follows, Elon Musk’s company will lead the most dramatic redefining of the automobile industry since Henry Ford started rolling Model Ts off the production line.

But, to draw an analogy, what Google is about to do in the computer games industry would be like Tesla replacing motor cars with teleportation.

Google’s Stadia would, in theory, make Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s Playstation machines obsolete and – control pads and VR headsets aside - it would essentially make the gaming industry entirely about software.

In its own words, with its primary ad slogan for the platform, Google says “the future of gaming is not a box”.

Redefining the economic landscape

Cloud-based gaming would be available anywhere that there is a Google connection to a screened device – whether that’s a PC, tablet, mobile phone, smartTV or to regular TVs via chromecast.

Significantly, for the gaming industry this will, in theory, redefine the economic landscape for consumers.

No longer would gamers (and parents) have to fork out hundreds of pounds for consoles before a single game is even bought.

It would, in theory, mean that more disposable cash could instead be spent on games - potentially putting that money into the pockets of the blockbuster game studios like Activision Blizzard Inc (NASDAQ:ATVI), Electronic Arts Inc (NASDAQ:EA), and Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ:TTWO).

For investors in London, that could potentially also mean more opportunity for video game services firm Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS) – the Dublin-headquartered group is a key contractor to the large studios and distributors, for services such as localisation, testing, audio and art production, as well as live customer support operations.

Stadia would also completely remove the need for physical media. Yes, games are easily downloaded across Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo Switch consoles, but, nonetheless, consumers and retailer have persisted with physical storage versions.

For smaller independent developers it could potentially break down barriers of entry to the mainstream market for games.

It possibly also delivers a final death-knell for business models of high street video game retailers like Game Digital PLC (LON:GMD) in the UK or GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME) in the US, albeit those stores are now increasingly for the sale of associated merchandise and collectibles rather than either gaming hardware or software.

For Google, it is a power move that aims to deeply monetise the vast community of people already watching other gamers play games.

“In a world where there are more than 200 million people watching game-related content daily on YouTube, Stadia makes many of those games playable with the press of a button,” Google said in a statement.

“If you watch one of your favorite creators playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, simply click the “play now” button. Seconds later, you’ll be running around ancient Greece in your own game/on your own adventure—no downloads, no updates, no patches and no installs.”

Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:27:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Google parent Alphabet’s investment splurge makes investors twitchy, overshadows revenue growth ]]> Shares in Google-parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) were down in pre-market trading on Tuesday Morning in the US after a huge investment spree spooked investors and overshadowed increased revenues in the fourth quarter.

In a statement released after-hours on Monday, the technology giant reported that fourth-quarter revenues had risen 22% to US$39.3bn while its earnings per share (EPS) of US$12.77 beat expectations of US$10.86, although this figure had been lifted by an investment gain of US$1.3bn as well as an unusually low tax rate.

READ: Google owner Alphabet fined €50M by France’s privacy regulator for breaching EU data protection rules

Without the investment gain, the EPS stood at US$10.91 per share.

However, what wound up investors was the firm’s capital spending, which came in at US$7.1bn in the final months of the year, up from US$4.3bn a year ago and taking the 2018 total to US$25.1bn, almost double the US$13.2bn figure from the year before.

Alphabet’s research & development (R&D) spending also surged 40% in the quarter to US$6bn while capital spending by Google itself had doubled in the year to US$25bn.

The group took a hit from its “other bets” unit, which invests in experimental technologies and firms, as losses in the segment widened by 77% to US$1.3bn in the quarter, although this was offset by a better performance in its advertising business, while its non-advertising arm which includes the Play Store, cloud computing, and hardware sales brought in US$6.5bn.

Added costs also came from traffic acquisition, which rose 15% year-on-year to US$7.44bn, although this was offset by a 66% jump in ad clicks on the firm’s sites and a 29% drop in cost per click.

Alphabet also said its operating margin had fallen three percentage points compared to the year before to 21%.

Growth not as “capital light” as first thought, says analyst

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said that while the other bets losses “shouldn’t cause investors too much concern” as they were early stage developments, the higher capex was “more concerning” as it indicated the firm’s impressive growth “isn’t quite as capital light as had been hoped”.

Salmon added that Alphabet had generated US$5.9bn in free cash flow in the quarter, taking its total cash balance to nearly US$100bn, meaning it “clearly” had the firepower to go up against rivals like Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN).

In pre-market trading, Alphabet shares were down 2.7% at US$1,102.

Tue, 05 Feb 2019 10:18:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Google owner Alphabet fined €50M by France’s privacy regulator for breaching EU data protection rules ]]> Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), owner of internet giant Google was fined €50 million (£44mln) by France’s privacy regulator for breaching the EU’s data protection rules on Monday, fuelling worries that other US tech firms could also be targeted.

The penalty for Google marked the first time the French watchdog has used its powers under the General Data Protection Rules (GDPR) which came into force in May 2018.

READ: Alphabet's Google hit by data breach and did not report it over regulation fears

Under GDPR, customers have the right to access a copy of the personal data companies hold about them.

France’s data authority CNIL said the amount of the fine was “justified by the severity of the infringements observed regarding the essential principles” of the rules.

Google has come under CNIL’s scrutiny many times before but, under the old rules, fines couldn’t exceed the maximum of €150,000.

Now, however, the maximum penalty for a GDPR breach is €20mln (£17.7mln) or 4% of a company's global turnover for the most serious violations.

A BBC report on Tuesday quoted European privacy group noybas saying it found that most of the big streaming companies did not fully comply with GDPR.

The report said noyb has filed formal complaints against entertainment streaming giants including Google, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), and Spotify Technology SA (NYSE:SPOT).

Tue, 22 Jan 2019 07:30:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Google overhauls sexual harassment policy; Netflix ready for streaming battle with Disney ]]> Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced on Friday an overhaul of its policy in handling sexual harassment charges, following the walkout of thousands of its employees worldwide over the company's handling of such cases. 

Among the changes are to make arbitration options for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in the blog published by the company.

"We’re revamping the way we handle and look into your concerns in three ways: We’re overhauling our reporting channels by bringing them together on one dedicated site and including live support. We will enhance the processes we use to handle concerns - including the ability for Googlers to be accompanied by a support person."

Google shares dropped 2.5% to $1,055.06 late on Friday.

READ: Google walkout - Employees stage global protest over sexual harassment, workplace culture

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) will soon make available to everyone the unsend message feature that it had previously reserved for its top brass, a report by Engadget said.

The report said though that users only get 10 minutes to take back a direct message before it's read. The short window makes WhatsApp's hour-long deletion period seem generous in comparison.

Facebook had been covertly deleting messages sent by Mark Zuckerberg and other execs from people's inboxes. The social network said it had taken the steps for corporate security.

Facebook stock fell 2.32% to $144.44.

Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings said he is looking forward to going up against Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) when the entertainment giant releases its online streaming service, a report by the BBC said.

"We've been competing with Amazon for more than 10 years, so we're used to healthy, strong competition," he said. "It makes us better."

Disney Plus has been called the 'Netflix Killer' and is expected to give Netflix and the rival Amazon Plus a run for their money.

Netflix stock declined 5.5% to $300.36.

READ: Amazon gives all US customers free shipping with no minimum purchases during holiday season

More Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) products are coming to Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) in a deal between the two technology giants, a report by CNBC said.

The agreement means the latest Apple products like the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max will be available on Amazon.

Independent resellers will no longer be able to sell Apple products on the site without Apple's authorization after January 4, 2019. The one big exception: Apple's HomePod smart speaker will not be available on Amazon.

Apple shares retreated 2.59% to $203.09.

Amazon stock lost 2.75% to $1,706.60.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on

Fri, 09 Nov 2018 14:38:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Google expanding presence in New York; Facebook launching dating service in Canada ]]> Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is significantly expanding its presence in New York City, a report by The Wall Street Journal said.

The plan, which has not been previously disclosed, would give Google room for nearly 20,000 staff in the city, including those it has now, the report said. This would rival the approximately 25,000 jobs Inc is projected to add if it completes plans for a second headquarters in New York.

Google is closing in on a deal to buy or lease a planned 1.3 million-square-foot office building at St John's Terminal in Manhattan's West Village neighborhood. The search giant is also planning to expand its existing property at Chelsea Market by about 300,000 square feet, the Journal reported.

Google bought the Chelsea Market property earlier this year for about $2.4 billion. That, along with its announced plans for 250,000 square feet of office space at Pier 57, could provide enough office space for more than 3,500 additional workers. 

Google shares shed 1.01% to trade at $1,082.40 by midsession on Wednesday.

READ: Google buys more land for European data-center expansion, says Bloomberg

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be opening its first store in Thailand on Saturday along the shores of the Chao Phraya river in the capital of Bangkok, an Apple Newsroom release said.

The store will feature Apple’s full line of products including iPhone XS, iPhone XR and Apple Watch Series 4, and will invite visitors to pursue their creative passions with free Today at Apple sessions.

“Bangkok is a cultural and economic destination for the entire region and home to millions of passionate Apple customers,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail.

Elevated above the “River of Kings” in the heart of Bangkok, Apple Iconsiam sits alongside storied sites and cultural landmarks.

Apple shares lost 0.79% to $207.56. Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) may take matters into its own hands after the US Post Office proposed a rate increase of up to 12% on the services the retail giant uses, a report by The Motley Fool said.

Amazon is hiring seasonal delivery workers for the fourth quarter and if the experiment goes well, some drivers may be asked to stay on full-time in 2019, the report said.

Amazon will surely spend heavily to get the ball rolling on its own last-mile delivery service, and its drivers will benefit from the new $15 hourly minimum wage at Amazon, but it means the company is less susceptible to rate increases from its partners.

Amazon is flexing its muscle with USPS. If the latter insists on raising rates, it could have serious consequences that ultimately leads to not only losing Amazon's valuable business, but to creating an entirely new competitor for the part of its business that produces real profit.

Amazon shares added 0.6% to $1,766.13.

READ: Facebook looking to acquire cybersecurity firm, according to The Information

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) will be launching a dating service in Canada on Thursday as the social media giant gets into the game of being a matchmaker, a report by the CBC said.

Some experts said the dating offering will raise privacy concerns of its own and is unlikely to assuage worries about the platform - even if CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously claimed, "we have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning."

Facebook Dating's rollout in Canada comes as the social media company was embroiled in a string of privacy scandals and data breaches. The most high-profile came when the company admitted the data of up to 50 million Facebook users was misused by analytics firm Cambridge Analytica.

User privacy was at risk again this September when the company reported a major security breach in which 30 million accounts may have been accessed by unknown attackers.

Facebook stock declined 2.36% to $147.96.

India and not China will take center stage in Netflix Inc's (NASDAQ:NFLX) expansion plans in Asia, a report by CNBC said.

The media streaming company is aiming to add 100 million subscribers in the South Asian country, with subscriptions in Asia already eclipsing the 58 million in the US. In total, the company has 137 million subscribers globally.

"If you think about the opportunity, there's about 450 million internet users in India and about half of them are watching video on YouTube and services like that, which makes for a very interesting, addressable market," said Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

Netflix plans to produce 100 original projects within the region over the coming years. Netflix will be competing against Amazon and Hotstar in the market.

Netflix shares dropped 0.92% to $324.50.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on

Thu, 08 Nov 2018 12:27:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Wedbush says competition affected Alphabet's Google revenue, but rates stock as Outperform ]]> The revenue shortfall in the quarterly report of Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) may suggest increasing competition, although the outlook remains positive, a report by analysts Wedbush said on Friday.

"It is possible that increasing competition from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is impacting Google Properties revenues, as product searches on Amazon and viewership of Twitch have likely cannibalized Google Search and YouTube advertising," the research note to clients by Michael Pachter and Nick McKay said.

Google’s parent company reported revenue of $33.7 billion compared with revenue of US$27.77 billion in the previous year’s third quarter. The revenue fell short of revenue expectations of $34.04 billion.

Shares of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL) slid 4% to US$1,056 in afterhours trading on Thursday after the numbers were released. The stock was dealing up 0.67% at $1,111.39 by midsession on Friday.

READ: Alphabet misses on 3Q revenue despite a boost in Google's online ads business

The Wedbush analysts said they were still positive about Google's prospects going forward.

"We are confident that Alphabet will continue to grow its top line and that it can manage its operating expenses to generate ever-increasing profitability," they said.

Their 12-month price target for the company is $1,350, representing a 22.3% premium over its Thursday close at $1,103.59. 

"We model year-over-year gross profit dollar growth of $11 billion in 2019, with increases in marketing spending and R&D offsetting approximately half of the gross profit growth," the Wedbush analysts said.

They added: "Alphabet should be well-positioned to grow its gross profits at a similar rate for years to come, and once it manages to stabilize its opex growth, investors should be rewarded with outsized earnings growth."

Wedbush Securities is a privately held financial services and investment company. It is based in Los Angeles, California.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on


Fri, 26 Oct 2018 13:18:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Alphabet misses on 3Q revenue despite a boost in Google's online ads business ]]> Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) topped earnings estimates in its third-quarter results, but shares slipped after a revenue miss.

Google’s parent company reported earnings of US$13.06 per share on revenue of US$33.7 billion compared with $9.57 EPS on revenue of US$27.77 billion in the previous year’s third quarter.

READ: Alphabet's Google hit by data breach and did not report it over regulation fears

The California-based company surpassed Wall Street estimates of US$10.42 EPS, but fell short of revenue expectations of US$34.04 billion.

Shares were down nearly 4% to US$1,056 in Thursday after-hours trading.

"Our business continues to have strong momentum globally, led by mobile search and our many products that help billions of people every day," said Ruth Porat, Chief Financial Officer of Alphabet and Google, in the company’s press release.

Google's advertising business revenue rose to $28.95 billion, up about 18% compared with $24.06 billion last year.

The "other revenues" category, which includes cloud business and hardware sales totaled $4.64 billion compared with $3.5 billion last year.

Alphabet is also the parent company of Android, Chrome, YouTube and self-driving technology company Waymo.

Google was in the spotlight earlier in the afternoon after The New York Times reported that Android founder Andy Rubin was given a US$90 million exit package after the company found sexual misconduct claims against him to be credible.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent an email to all Google employees Thursday addressing the report, as per a CNBC report, saying the company has fired 48 people, including 13 senior managers, over the last two years for sexual harassment.


Contact Lenore Fedow at

Follow her on Twitter: @LenoreMariee

Thu, 25 Oct 2018 16:31:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Alphabet's Google hit by data breach and did not report it over regulation fears ]]> Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) was hit by a data breach where a bug exposed the data of hundreds of thousands of users, a post by a senior Google official said on Monday.

Ben Smith, the vice-president of engineering at Google, said in a post that a review from the start of the year whose results were only announced on October 8 showed that they "discovered a bug in out of the Google+People APIs (application programming interfaces)" used to communicate with Google services and integrate with other services such as Google Maps.

"We discovered and immediately patched this bug in March 2018. We believe it occurred after launch as a result of the API’s interaction with a subsequent Google+ code change," Smith explained.

READ: UK's High Court blocks suit against Google for collecting data from millions of iPhone users

"We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused," he added.

Google opted not to disclose its discovery of a bug in Google+ that exposed the data of hundreds of thousands of users, a WSJ review found

— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) October 8, 2018

The breach comes hard on the heels of another hack in Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) involving 50 million people.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google did not disclose the issue partly due to fears by the company of regulatory scrutiny.

The paper quoted a Google spokesperson as saying that the company considered “whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response. None of these thresholds were met here.”

FAANG Report: Facebook may be fined $1.63B by EU over data breach 

As a result of the breach, the company is winding down consumer versions of Google+ over a 10-month period through August 2019.

Tech companies have come under fire for a string of data breaches. One of the earliest is Facebook, which has been hit by allegations of the improper use of data for 87 million Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica. 

Shares of Google in New York dropped 2.6% to the session low at $1,127.36, but recovered to close on Monday 0.72% off at $1,148.97. 

Mon, 08 Oct 2018 14:12:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - UK's High Court blocks suit against Google for collecting data from millions of iPhone users ]]> The UK High Court has blocked a legal action against Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) over claims the search giant had collected sensitive information from over four million iPhone users, a report by Reuters and City A.M. said on Monday.

Google was accused of circumventing the privacy settings installed on Apple Inc's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone Safari browser between August 2011 and February 2012, using a method known as the Safari Workaround, with the intention of using data to separate users into easily distinguishable categories for advertisers.

Justice Mark Warby, who oversaw the case, said in his ruling: "There is no dispute that it is arguable that Google's alleged role in the collection, collation, and use of data obtained via the Safari Workaround was wrongful, and a breach of duty."

But the judge said the claims that people suffered "damage" from the workaround were not sufficient and added it would be impossible to reliably calculate the number of iPhone users affected, the report said.

FAANG Report: Google challenges EU on right to be forgotten 

The case was spearheaded by a group known as Google You Owe Us led by consumer activist Richard Lloyd. 

"Today's judgment is extremely disappointing and effectively leaves millions of people without any practical way to seek redress and compensation when their personal data has been misused," he said in a statement.

"Google's business model is based on using personal data to target adverts to consumers and they must ask permission before using this data. The court accepted that people did not give permission in this case yet slammed the door shut on holding Google to account."

The case had its first hearing in May, where the prosecution told the court that Google had collected personal information on users including their race, physical and mental health, shopping habits and political affiliations or opinions.

A Google spokesperson said: "The privacy and security of our users is extremely important to us. This claim is without merit, and we're pleased the Court has dismissed it."

Reporting by Rene Pastor

Mon, 08 Oct 2018 08:39:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Google told to drop China search engine; Netflix moving to Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard ]]> The Trump administration called on Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) to abandon Project Dragonfly, the censored search engine and news app it is developing for China, a report by The Verge said.

Vice President Mike Pence said in a speech that Google's modified search engine would "strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers."

Google has not yet formally confirmed the program even exists, with company CEO Sundar Pichai saying the project is "exploratory", but opposition has already erupted against the project, the report said.

Shares of Google retreated 1.49% to $1,150.80 by midsession.

Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) is dramatically expanding its footprint in Los Angeles by leasing space in a new 13-story building on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, Variety reported.

Netflix is planning to move into the building, which is currently under construction, in phases beginning in January 2020. The lease is set to expire in 2031.

The streaming giant also signed a coterminous lease extension - through 2031 - for 325,757 square feet of office space at ICON and 91,953 square feet of office space at CUE, both of which are Hudson Pacific assets located on the Sunset Bronson Studios lot.

Sunset Bronson is owned and operated by Hudson Pacific and is home to long-term tenants CBS and KTLA, the report said.

Netflix stock was 4.7% weaker at $346.41.  

READ: Super Micro Computer rejects reports Chinese spy chips in servers used by Apple and

The profitability of Inc may take a slight hit after it decided to raise its minimum pay to $15 per hour, a report by CBS said.

The wage increase may add $2.2 billion to Amazon's annual payroll, making it $8.2 billion. While that looks big like a big jump, it's actually less than 1% of the retail giant's projected revenue in 2019, analysts at Deutsche Bank noted this week.

The pay increase could cut Amazon's operating margins, a measure of profitability that Amazon has struggled to raise, especially in its earlier stages, to 4% in 2019 from 4.8% now, with "all else equal," the Deutsche Bank analysts wrote.

Lower margins could make Wall Street leery in the short term as Amazon digests the new costs, the report said.

Amazon shares declined 1.66% to $1,877.78.

READ: Facebook says hacking attack hit almost 50 million accounts

Police officers around the United States are using undercover accounts on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to watch protesters, track gang members, lure child predators and capture thieves, a report by NBC News said.

The tactic violates Facebook’s terms of use, and the company says it disables fake accounts whenever it discovers them, it said.

But that is about all it can do: Fake accounts are not against the law, and the information gleaned by the police can be used as evidence in criminal and civil cases. Investigators know this, which is why the accounts continue to flourish.

“Every high-tech crime unit has one,” said an officer who uses an undercover account to monitor gang members and drug dealers in New Jersey and who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid having the account exposed or shut down. “It’s not uncommon, but we don’t like to talk about it too much.”

Facebook shares fell 0.9% to $157.39.

The stock of suppliers of Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) fell across Asia after the report that Chine planted spy chips in hardware used by the iPhone maker and of retail giant Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), a report by CNBC said.

In Japan, shares of electronic parts maker TDK dropped by 4.79% while component supplier Murata Manufacturing declined by 3.9%. In South Korea, LG Display fell by 1.84% while industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics closed flat despite earlier announcing that its third-quarter operating profit was likely to have risen to a record high, the report said.

Declines were also seen in the Taiwanese markets, where major Apple chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor fell by 1.57% and lens maker Largan Precision dropped by 7.28%. The moves followed a report by Bloomberg which claimed data center equipment for Amazon Web Services and Apple were compromised by the Chinese planting chips on their motherboards during the manufacturing process in China.

Apple shares dropped 1.8% $223.89. 

Fri, 05 Oct 2018 12:00:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google ends ban on cryptocurrency-related advertising ]]> Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) said on Tuesday it is ending a ban on cryptocurrency advertising which would allow regulated crypto exchanges to buy ads in the US and Japan starting in October.

"The Google Ads policy on Financial products and services will be updated in October 2018 to allow regulated cryptocurrency exchanges to advertise in the United States and Japan," a post on Google entitled "An Update to Financial Products and Services Policy" said.

The world's largest search engine said "advertisers will need to be certified with Google for the specific country in which their ads will serve. Advertisers will be able to apply for certification once the policy launches in October."

"This policy will apply globally to all accounts that advertise these financial products," Google's post said.

READ: Google parent Alphabet's second-quarter performance draws applause from Wall Street

The company's original restrictions were announced in March and then rolled out in June. They were aimed at protecting consumers and the ban included initial coin offerings (ICOs), wallets and trading advice, which are still not allowed.

The boom in cryptocurrency has produced excitement and fear among investors as regulators struggled to fight fraud and scams in cryptocurrency trading.

The ban last June covered "cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice)," Google then said.

Google's parent company Alphabet, makes almost 90% of its total revenue from advertising, reporting more than $54 billion in ad revenue for the first half of 2018.

Alphabet shares rose nearly 1% to $1,182.42 in midday trade.

Tue, 25 Sep 2018 12:44:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Google questioned on how it uses kids' data; Apple pays US$15.4bn tax bill to Ireland ]]> Two lawmakers from the US Congress are asking the CEO of Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) to provide information how its subsidiary YouTube collects data on child users, a report by Cnet said.

Democrat David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Republican Jeff Fortenberry said in their letter Sundar Pichai that YouTube's data collection practices "may not be in compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998," a federal law regulating user data collection from sites with users under 13 years old.

In April, 23 child adovcacy, privacy and consumer groups complained to the Federal Trade Commission that Google is collecting data on child viewers younger than 13 without obtaining parental consent. The information is then sold to advertising services to create targeted ads, the complaint said.

Shares of google were easier by 0.24% at US$1,158.45.

FAANG Report: Google challenges EU on right to be forgotten Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) is now the third largest digital ad platform in the US and it is closing in on rivals such as Google and Facebook, a report by CNBC said.

Market research company eMarketer estimates the company will pull in US$4.61bn in US digital ad revenue in 2018, accounting for about 4.15% of the US digital ad market, the report said.

The increase is partially due to more people starting their online product searches on Amazon, rather than Google. Amazon has also grown its mobile advertising business 242% since last year, it added. 

Amazon stock declined 1.27% to US$1,916.37.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) has paid off its US$15.4bn Irish tax bill and the European Union has withdrawn its lawsuit now that the full amount is in an escrow holding account, a report by Engadget said.

Aside from the back taxes, an additional US$1.4bn in interest has gone into the escrow account pending the appeal of Dublin and Apple against the EU ruling.

The EU said Ireland's tax break to Apple in 2016 was illegal as it gave the company a "significant advantage" over its competition. Ireland is seeking an annulment of the decision in European courts.

Apple shares were down by 0.9% at US$216.30.

READ: Apple's dual sim feature on new iPhones could boost market share in China but prices a test, says Oppenheimer

Facebook Inc's (NASDAQ:FB) price target and estimates were cut by investment bank JP Morgan because rising expenses will reduce its earnings, a report by CNBC said.

Analyst Dough Anmuth said in a note to clients they were lowering its price target to US$195 from US$205, and pruned its forecast for earnings per share to US$7.40 from US$7.89.

Facebook's "investments in 2019 could be larger than anticipated in consensus estimates. We expect the narrative of heavy investment spending to continue at 3Q earnings," he said.

Shares of Facebook slipped 0.3% to US$159.84.

Shares of Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) were given a boost when Guggenheim Securities raised its price target for the company, saying the production of locally-produced content will spur demand in India, a separate report by CNBC said.

Analyst Michel Morris said: “We expect the 3Q launch of original local-market content in India, upgrades to user experience and consumer products development to support share appreciation."

The firm raised its price target to US$420 from US$360 for Netflix shares. "We believe that Netflix subscriber penetration will significantly exceed what is implied in the company's current valuation," Michael Morris said in a note to clients on Wednesday.

Netflix stock retreated 1.28% to US$362.96.

Wed, 19 Sep 2018 10:51:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Some Google staff quit over plan to bow to China censorship; Apple Watch could save lives ]]> Some staff on Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) have resigned because the company was not honoring its commitment to human rights in designing a search app for China and 16 lawmakers from the US Congress asked if the search giant would comply with China's internet censorship and surveillance policies, a report by Reuters said.

More than 1,000 Google employees, six US senators and at least fourteen human rights groups have written to the company expressing concern about its China ambitions.

Jack Poulson, a research scientist who had worked for Google for more than two years, said he resigned over the issue. Poulson told Reuters that executives would not specify to him where the company would draw the line on agreeing to Chinese demands. 

Google declined to comment directly but described its work for China as exploratory and "not close to launching."

Shares of Google were off 0.01% to US$1,175.19.

FAANG Report: Google employees criticize plans for a 'censored' China search engine

The Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) Watch Series 4 is not likely to be reimbursable on an insurance plan, but maybe it should be because it could very well save lives, a report by CNN said.

With electrodes built into the watch's 'digital crown' and its own electrocardiogram rhythm analyzer, the Apple watch will be able to inform you in real time if your heartbeat warrants medical attention.

Most of the attention will be on atrial fibrillation or Afib, which is common and potentially deadly, the report said.

Apple shares were down 0.2% to US$225.91.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is ramping up its effort to combat fake images and video that have been uploaded to its platform and flagged posts will be sent to outside fact-checkers for further review, a report in the Boston Globe said.  

Facebook said it is trying to stamp out content which have been doctored, taken out of context or paired with misleading text. 

US lawmakers are already raising the alarm that foreign foes will try to spread misinformation through fake visual content with the mid-term elections in November, the report explained.

Facebook shares added 0.16% to US$161.62.

READ: planning to spend up to US$5bn on second North American HQ Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) chief Jeff Bezos said the company will choose and start building its second major headquarters before the year ends, a report by Engadget said.

The 20 finalist cities/areas that are in the running are: Atlanta (Georgia), Austin (Texas), Boston (Massachusetts), Chicago (Illinois), Columbus (Ohio), Dallas (Texas), Denver (Colorado), Indianapolis (Indiana), Los Angeles (California), Miami (Florida), Montgomery County (Maryland), Nashville (Tennessee), Newark (New Jersey), New York City, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), Raleigh (North Carolina), Washington DC and Toronto, Canada.

Amazon received 238 applications from the US, Canada and Mexico.

Amazon shares were off by 0.6% to US$1,977.97.

Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) said in a memorandum before a federal court in Missouri that it is not a video service provider in a case where it is trying to avoid paying a portion of subscription fees to Missouri towns, a report by Hollywood Reporter said.

In 2007, Missouri passed the Video Services Providers Act, which allowed municipalities and counties in the state to collect franchise fees from video service providers. Since then, cable operators in the region have obtained video service authorization and remitted fees.

Missourians have shifted to subscription-based streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and those companies aren't paying these fees, the report said.

Netflix stock went up 0.54% to US$370.13.

Fri, 14 Sep 2018 10:35:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Google challenges EU on right to be forgotten; Facebook execs grilled on data breaches ]]> Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is taking its legal battle whether "right to be forgotten rules" should apply to search engines globally to Europe's top court, a report by ABC News said.

The two sides will be seeking clarification on a 2015 decision by the French regulator requiring Google to remove results for all its search engines on request, and not just on European country sites in a case that touches on privacy issues.

A group of media and press freedom groups are also joining Google's case, saying that forcing internet companies to remove website links to comply with a European Union ruling threatens access to information.

Shares of Google edge up 0.14% to US$1,166.46. 

READ: Apple’s suppliers see shares sink after Trump tweets about moving production to the US

Apple Inc's (NASDAQ:AAPL) yearly iPhone launch is set for late on Wednesday, with expectations high for not just one new smartphone, but a fleet of new iPhone X-inspired phones, a report by The Guardian said in previewing the September 12 event.

There will also be a new smartwatch and maybe even new iPads, the report said. The new Apple Watch is expected to have a similar design to the current Apple Watch 3, but potentially with a slightly larger screen squeezed into the same size body, it added.

Apple shares fell 1.6% to US$217.73.

Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) plans to debut two critically acclaimed comedies this week, a report in Huffington Post said.

The first is the fifth season of the animated series "BoJack Horseman," which centers on an aging horse that is also an alcoholic and a sex addict. The other show is "American Vandal," which focused on two high school students making a documentary while trying to solve a mystery.

Netflix stock shed 0.47% to US$347.05.

READ: Netflix is winning the popularity contest versus YouTube among younger viewers, says Forbes

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) executives came for some grilling when listeners to BBC Radio 1 and 1 Xtra's Newsbeat tuned in, a report by the BBC said.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg apologized to the listeners and said the company has "made mistakes," adding there had been a "breach of trust" by the social media giant. Facebook is holding an outreach event in central London later in the week to meet some of its users.

Facbeook shares were up 0.04% to US$163.10. 

There is a lot that goes into selling a product on Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), a report in Forbes said.

How your product looks in photos, the keywords used to describe it and where your product listings show up are the deciding factors between whether or not someone will click "Add to Cart" or not, the report said. 

There are many different types of marketing campaigns your team can take advantage of, from Sponsored Products to the Amazon Brand Registry to Lighting Deals, and all it really takes is some dedicated time to test out what works best for your products and your team, the report added.

Amazon shares slipped 0.75% to US$1,937.46. 

Mon, 10 Sep 2018 10:19:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Google snubs US Senate hearing on election meddling; J. Crew sets up shop in ]]> Alphabet Inc's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Google snubbed on Wednesday a US Senate hearing on election meddling, The Guardian reported, although the company posted online where a senior official said they were willing to work with the US Congress "on these issues."

Neither Google chief executive Sundar Pichai or Alphabet chief executive Larry Page showed up for the hearing. The company tried to send its senior vice-president for global affairs, Kent Walker, but was rebuffed, the report said. Alphabet is the parent company of Google, which dominates search on the internet.

Google was criticized by members of Congress for failing to show up.

Shares of Google were down 1.3% to US$1,181.48 by midsession.

READ: Facebook and Twitter chieftains face questions in US Senate over foreign influence peddling

J. Crew is setting up shop in Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), getting its own dedicated online store, as it joined other retailers such as Chico's FAS, Calvin Klein and Nike in the newly minted trillion-dollar e-commerce giant, a report by CNBC said. 

The move is a shift in strategy by J. Crew, which had previously resisted selling its high-end clothing on Amazon in the past. Many other retailers are hesitant about signing up with Amazon for fear of losing control over pricing or marketing, the report said.

Amazon shares were lower by 1.4% to US$2,010.48.

US telecom companies are slowing internet traffic to videos of Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) and YouTube, a report by Bloomberg said in pointing to new research from Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.   

The university researchers used a smartphone app called Wehe to monitor which mobile services are being throttled when and by whom. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile claim sacrifices in speed are required to deliver the videos people want on their phones, the report said.

Netflix stock dropped 3.7% to US$350.08. 

READ: Apple expected to unveil three new iPhone models on September 12

Apple Inc's (NASDAQ:AAPL) 2019 iPhones will not adopt fingerprint on display teachnology and the iPhone maker will likely continue to use Face ID as a biometric authentication method in its devices, a report in MacRumors said.

The report said Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Android manufacturers are keen to adopt fingerprint on display technology as a way to differentiate their devices from the iPhone.

Apple shares were up 0.1% to US$22.68, having hit a fresh record high of US$229.67.

Many users of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) do not understand how the site's news feed works and have not actively tried to influence the content the feed delivers to them, a report by the Pew Research Center said.

When asked whether they understand why certain posts but not others are included in their news feed, a survey showed that around half of US adults who use Facebook (53%) say they do not – with 20% saying they do not understand the feed at all well, the report said.

Facebook shares were off by 1.3% to US$168.95.



Wed, 05 Sep 2018 14:23:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Trump claims Google suppressing good news about him; Amazon in new Canada prime plan ]]> US President Donald Trump accused Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) in a tweet of suppressing good news about his administration, echoing a claim that first appeared in right-wing media, a report in the Verge said. 

Trump said Google and others were “hiding information and news that is good,” and said that this was a “very serious situation” that “will be addressed.”

Google search results for “Trump News” shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal? 96% of...

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018

Google strongly rejected Trump's accusation.

"Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don't bias our results toward any political ideology," Google said in a statement.

Larry Kudlow, Trump's economic adviser, said the administration is "taking a look" whether Google's searches should be regulated by the government, The Washington Post reported.

Google's shares were weaker by 0.4% at US$1,236.78.

READ: Microsoft is about to announce Xbox All Access subscription

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Canada introduced a new monthly Prime membership option which is aimed at giving users another way to enjoy Prime benefits, the Erie News Now reported.

At CS$7.99, the monthly option gives Prime Members in Canada an alternative to the existing annual membership which is C$79. 

The rate of signups has expanded in Canada, with the number of Prime members doubling in the last 18 months, the report said.

Amazon stock slipped 0.5% to US$1,936.50.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Google are chasing a new US$1tn payments market in India, Bloomberg said in a report.

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc has joined the battle to win users in India by acquiring a stake in the company behind payments leader Paytm, the report added.

A string of new apps have made payments increasingly easy and the discounts and cash bonuses they offer are irresistible to young, urban users.

Facebook shares were up 0.08% to US$177.60.

READ: Tesla is a ‘hope stock’ that is ‘just not real,’ fund manager says

The latest price increases in Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) may have scared away low-income consumers, a report by Variety said.

The report said growth among low-income users for Netflix has stalled while other paid streaming services have continued to add new users.

Netflix shares were off 0.09% to US$364.27.

Shipments of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) 2018 iPhones are expected to be the highest since hitting a peak with the iPhone 6, 9to5 Mac reported.

Analysts believe that the new 5.8-inch iPhone X will drop by US$100, starting at US$899. The 6.5-inch would then become the new US$999 iPhone, with upgraded storage options.

Shares of Apple were higher by 0.78% to US4219.65.










Tue, 28 Aug 2018 10:48:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Google, and Facebook ask US court to reinstate 'net neutrality' rules ]]> Alphabet's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) was joined by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) as part of a coalition of trade groups urging a US appeals court to reinstate net neutrality rules which were thrown out by Republicans on the US Federal Communications Commission, a Reuters report said. Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) is also part of the legal filing on Monday by the Internet Association, Entertainment Software Association, Computer & Communications Industry Association, and Writers Guild of America. Net neutrality had barred internet service providers from blocking traffic or offering paid fast lanes for users. The rules took effect in early June but major providers have made no changes in internet access.

Google shares were up 1.27% to US41,236.10.

READ: Facebook being eclipsed by rival Snapchat

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iPhones to be announced in September will be larger than ever, a report by USA Today said. The successor to the iPhone X is expected to have a 6.5-inch screen, compared with the current iPhone X which has a 5.8-inch screen. Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin said the primary audience for the phones are young people and since they "spend much of their days watching video on their phones" they are asking for larger screens.

Apple shares increased 0.92% to US$218.15.

Netflix is again a market darling after spending weeks in the doldrums following the release of its earnings, a report by CNBC said. The stock had fallen some 20% from its high in June to its August low. Craig Johnson, chief market technician of Piper Jaffray, said late last week the "primary trend" for the stock remains up, the report said.

Shares of Netflix rose 2.7% to US$368.54.

READ: Tesla stock falls after Musk drops go-private plan, but Baird analyst says it is ‘positive for all stakeholders’ Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) has opened its second Amazon Go in the retailer's hometown of Seattle, a report by Tech Crunch said. The 1,450 square foot store will feature ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options, as well as Amazon's Meal Kits, the report said. The store's systems include a number of cameras mounted overhead which track shoppers' movement, have weight sensors on the shelves and the Amazon Go mobile app to automatically charge shoppers for whatever they take.

Amazon stock was up 0.76% to US$1,919.79.

Facebook Inc has banned Myanmar's military and 19 other individuals from its site to prevent the spread of hate and misinformation, an Associated Press report carried by ABC news said. This came after the UN's top human rights body accused Facebook of being "a useful intrument for those seeking to spread hate" and added that while the company has "improved in recent months, Facebook's response has been slow and ineffective," the report said. "The extent to which Facebook posts and messages have led to real-world discrimination and violence must be independently and thoroughly examined."

Facebook shares gained 1.8% to US$177.80.

Mon, 27 Aug 2018 11:54:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - FAANG Report: Google employees criticize plans for a 'censored' China search engine ]]> Hundreds of employees of Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) have written the company to protest plans to launch a "censored search engine" in China, according to a report by the BBC.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, quit China eight years ago in protest at government censorship. 

But reports emerged last month that Google had been secretively working on a new Chinese search engine which is referred internally as Dragonfly. The platform would block certain websites and search terms like human rights and religion, the report said.

Shares of Alphabet were down 1.3% at US$1,190.41.

READ: Netflix CFO steps down after more than seven years on the job

Companies that retailing behemoth (NASDAQ:AMZN) were thrashing are starting to fight back, with standout results being posted by Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) and Nordstrom Inc (NYSE:JWN) in the recent days, a CNBC report said.

CNBC said retail stocks that have been hammered by Amazon have begun to benefit from higher US consumer spending, tax cuts and job growth. Walmart reported strong sales and profits, with online sales climbing 40%.

Amazon shares were off by 1.2% to US$1,863.27.

An Australian teen from Melbourne hacked into Apple Inc's (NASDAQ:AAPL) main computer network because he was a fan of the company and hoped to work with them, a report by Sky News said.

The 16-year old teen downloaded large internal files and accessed customer accounts, according to statements from his lawyer. He saved them in a folder named "hacky hack hack" as he appeared in court and pleaded guilty to the hacking.

Around 90 gigabytes of files were downloaded before the hack was traced and he was blocked. 

Apple shares were up 0.9% to US$215.17.

READ: Apple may find itself in crossfire of Trump's trade war with China, says report

Microtargeting by social media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), which allows ad buyers to identify and reach subsets of people, could be exploited to polarize and manipulate voters.

A report by the New York Times  said some government officials, researchers and advertising executives are calling for restrictions on its use in politics even after Facebook recently limited some of the targeting categories in response to criticism about the practice.

Facebook's massive reach, vast holdings of user data and easy to use advertising system have made it attractive for political microtargeting, the report said.

The company's shares were down 1.03% to US$172.90.

Kenya Barris, the creator of the hit television show "Black-ish", has signed a three-year deal with Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) so he will produce series exclusively for the company.

Variety said the US$100mln deal follows the departure of Barris from ABC over creative differences.

Netflix shares declined 2.2% to US$315.20.









Fri, 17 Aug 2018 10:30:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google parent Alphabet's second-quarter performance draws applause from Wall Street ]]> Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) shares are still climbing after the parent of search engine Google trumped analysts’ expectations for both second-quarter profit and revenue.

The company’s earnings of US$11.75 per share on revenue of US$32.7bn came days after it was slapped with a US$5bn fine by the European Union for abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating systems.

But investors are piling in, sending Alphabet shares up nearly 4% to US$1,255.29 in afternoon trade.

Read: Google's parent Alphabet shares jump after whizzing past 2Q profit and revenue forecasts

Having already digested the strong results, Wall Street’s analysts are also delivering bullish opinions about Google.

Oppenheimer’s Jason Helfstein, for example, is an unabashed fan.

He argues that Alphabet’s revenue growth remains strong while its traffic acquisition costs or its payments to companies that direct consumer and business traffic to the site, continue to slow.

Helfstein is also optimistic about the possibility of robust returns from the Google Cloud platform, Alphabet’s self-driving car unit Waymo and YouTube.

“Search advertising remains the most effective advertising medium that exists today, based on the paid-click advertising model,” Helfstein concludes. “With roughly 70% market share, Alphabet Inc is by far the US leader.”

Helfstein is keeping a US$1,450 price target on the stock as well as an Outperform rating.

A handful of factors could prevent Google from hitting Oppenheimer’s price target, according to Helfstein. Its possible problems include potential new privacy regulations, economic weakness in the US or Europe, higher traffic acquisition costs and a surge in competition as web search shifts to mobile devices from the desk top.

Here is a sampling of other views culled from the notes delivered by Wall Street's leading opinion makers that were first published by business news site

Keeping a Buy rating on the stock, Stifel analyst Scott Devitt lifted his price target on Alphabet to US$1,456 from US$1,2345 as Google showed “continued momentum” in the quarter. Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju increased his price target to US$1,375 from US$1,330 after the company posted a “high-quality quarter” in which the bulk of the top-line outperformance came from websites followed by network revenue. The analyst is reiterating his Outperform rating on the shares. With an Overweight rating on the stock, Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak sees signs that Alphabet is “just beginning” and upped its target to US$1,325 from US$1,250. He was particularly impressed by the acceleration in Google’s US$85bn annualized websites business and that the company is still in the early phases of the monetization of those user bases. Waymo also remains on track for a commercial ride-haling service launch this year. Alphabet remains Barclays analyst Ross Sandler’s top pick, with an Overweight rating and a new price target of US$1,415, up from US$1,350. He likes Google for its traffic acquisition cost improvement and ‘better than feared’ core margin. KeyBank analyst Andy Hargreaves continues to recommend owning the stock as Alphabet invests heavily in growth opportunities while its core ad business churns out impressive growth. He forecasts that its cloud and hardware businesses, YouTube and Waymo should add significant value over time. Hargreaves' price target for Alphabet has been lifted to US$1,430 from US$1,230 and an Overweight rating is still in place. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian lauds Alphabet for gaining meaningful market share in digital marketing, cloud services, online video, local advertising, mobile devices and driverless cars. He says artificial intelligence will unlock incremental value in Google’s core ad business. He reiterated his Outperform rating and lifted his price target to US$1,380 from US$1,300. RBC Capital analyst Mark Mahaney is also sticking to his Outperform rating on Alphabet as revenues and operating income have come in ahead of expectations, growth remains consistent and traffic acquisition costs have started to sUBSide. UBS analyst Eric Sheridan joins the large chorus of Alphabet bulls. He has a long-term view that Alphabet will further develop its cloud computing, artificial intelligence, hardware, software, media consumption and life sciences. Yet, he says that the market is “ascribing little or no value” to those opportunities. Sheridan reiterated his Buy rating and raised his price target to US$1,400 from US$1,360. Keeping a Buy rating on the stock, Michael Olson of Piper Jaffray raised his price target to US$1,400 from US$1,350 as Alphabet’s traffic acquisition costs and paid clicks exceeded consensus expectations. Doug Anmuth of JP Morgan is also backing Alphabet as it continues to “execute well.” Anmuth does think that additional quarters of margin stabilization are needed by Google, but he reiterated his Overweight rating and price target of $1,440 to be hit by December 2019. Mizuho analyst James Lee raised his price target to US$1,460 from US$1,350 on the back of Google’s accelerating US revenue growth. He maintained a Buy rating on the shares. Jefferies analyst Brent Thill continues to see "large potential" from Alphabet's YouTube, cloud and hardware businesses, as well as Waymo. He views the current valuation as "reasonable" and is keeping his Buy rating on the stock while raising his price target to US$1,450 from US$1,360. JMP Securities analyst Ronald Josey noted that Google Properties revenue continued to outperform in the second quarter and that its click growth likely came from its sUBSidiary YouTube, as well as TrueView ad format. Margins at core Google also came in 211 basis points better than Josey’s projections. Josey lifted his price target to US$1,390 and kept an Outperform rating on the stock.

Contact Ellen Kelleher at

Tue, 24 Jul 2018 09:38:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google's parent Alphabet shares jump after whizzing past 2Q profit and revenue forecasts ]]> Shares in Google’s parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) gained ground in after-hours trade after the parent of the powerful search engine trounced Wall Street’s estimates for second-quarter profit and revenue.

Alphabet’s second-quarter results come days after the European Commission hit Google with a US$5bn levy for exploiting the dominance of its Android mobile operating system.

Excluding the impact of the fine, the Mountain View, California-based company’s net earnings swung to US$11.75 per share on revenue of US$32.66bn.

The results whizzed past the consensus estimates of analysts who had penciled in earnings per share of US$9.54 on revenue of US$32.19bn.

As is always the case, Google's advertising group provided the bulk of its revenue, throwing up US$28bn in the quarter.

Revenue from its "other" divisions, which includes its cloud business, swung to US$4.43bn over the period. 

READ: Google hit with record €4.3bn fine from European regulators over Android operating system

Enthused by the results, investors sent Alphabet shares up 4.5% in after-hours trade to US$1,266.

“We delivered another quarter of very strong performance, with revenues of US$32.7bn, up 26% versus the second quarter of 2017 and 23% on a constant currency basis,” said Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Alphabet and Google, in a statement.

“Our investments are driving great experiences for users, strong results for advertisers and new business opportunities for Google and Alphabet,” she added.

As part of their crackdown, European regulators are forcing Google to stop requiring makers of Android phones to bundle Google’s Search and Chrome apps on mobile handsets that also carry the Google Play store.

Regulators found that Google violated competition rules by preventing phone makers from selling phones that run modified versions of Android software.

Mon, 23 Jul 2018 16:20:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google hit with record €4.3bn fine from European regulators over Android operating system ]]> Google has been fined a record €4.3bn (US$5bn) by the European Commission over its Android mobile operating system.

The EC’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the tech giant, which is owned by Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), had used Android to illegally “cement its dominant position in general internet search”.

Fine of €4,34 bn to @Google for 3 types of illegal restrictions on the use of Android. In this way it has cemented the dominance of its search engine. Denying rivals a chance to innovate and compete on the merits. It’s illegal under EU antitrust rules. @Google now has to stop it

— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) July 18, 2018

Alphabet has 90 days to change its practices or face further penalties of up to 5% of its average daily turnover.

The fine is the largest ever handed out to a single company by the EC, topping the €2.4bn penalty it slapped Google with last year over its online shopping service.

Still, Alphabet has more than enough cash to pay the bill – at the end of March, its financial statements showed it had more than US$100bn of cash reserves.  It could also choose to appeal the ruling.

What happened?

Google had initially released Android, used in Samsung, Sony and Huawei phones among others, as open source and didn’t mind who used it or how.

But the EC found that that approach changed, claiming Google required phone and tablet makers to sets its search engine as the default and pre-install the Chrome browser before allowing them to offer access to its Play app store.

Regulators also alleged that the Silicon Valley firm stopped manufacturers from selling mobile devices powered by rival operating systems based on Android’s open source code.

The third specific allegation of anti-competitive behaviour was that Google gave device makers and mobile networks financial incentives to provide its own search service as the only pre-installed option.

In response, Google has denied forcing phone makers to pre-load any of its apps. It also argued that by distributing Google Search and the Play store together it had been able to offer its services for free.

Alphabet shares dipped 0.4% to US$1,198.80 in pre-market trading in New York.

Wed, 18 Jul 2018 12:35:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google, Facebook trigger jump in global ad-spending forecast, per report ]]> Advertising dollars are still flowing into Google parent Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) despite a backlash against the tech giants from some big marketers.  

Magna, a division of Interpublic Group of Companies, released a report Monday that showed ad spend is set for monster growth this year. Magna predicts global ad revenue will leap 6.4% to US$551bn this year, up from an earlier projection of 5.2% growth.

The firm attributed the revision to Facebook and Google, noting that the tech-heavy hitters have collectively grown revenue by 31% which is “pretty amazing.”

The Wall Street Journal parsed the report and said that while “some brands have pulled back” in spending on Google and Facebook due to issues that range from “brand safety to performance challenges,” ad buys from small and local businesses are more than making up for the cuts.

Read: Facebook to police bad businesses by banning their ads if they lie to customers

“The thing really that we revise up for is digital,” Vincent Letang, executive vice president of global market intelligence at Magna, told the Journal. Growth from small and local businesses was “bigger than we thought.”

Digital accounts for nearly half of the projected 2018 growth, Magna said.

Global digital advertising sales, including display, video, search and social, will grow 16% this year to US$250bn, slowing slightly from 18% growth in 2017, Magna predicts.

More than 60% of digital ad sales are currently generated by impressions and clicks on mobile devices, the company added.

The report also broke out regional ad sales indicating total US ad sales will grow by 6.4% in 2018 to US$207bn. This is a leap from Magna’s previously projected 5.5% growth for the US market.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 09:36:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Here's why some people think breaking up Google is just 'sour grapes' ]]> On the heels of a hard-hitting "60 Minutes" segment on Google's unparalleled market share in online search, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the Justice Department needs to seriously look at the issue of tech monopolies.

And Gary Reback, the antitrust lawyer who persuaded the Justice Department to sue Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) in the 1990s, called Google a monopoly in “search and search advertising” during the CBS Sunday night broadcast, putting the tech giant squarely in the antitrust crosshairs.

But there’s no factual evidence that Google parent Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) acts as a monopoly and manipulates search results to take out its competition, say some analysts and CEOs.

“Absolutely not,” said Jerrick Media Holdings Inc. (OTCMKTS:JMDA) CEO Jeremy Frommer, who repudiates the idea that Google should be regulated or broken up.

Read: Mnuchin on Google and tech monopolies: 'You have to look at the power they have'

Frommer, a veteran Wall Street hedge fund manager turned serial entrepreneur, is the driving force behind digital media and tech company Vocal, a long-form social media platform.

“Gary’s perception of antitrust laws is from the mid-'90s, an era in which I was deeply involved in technology M&A and is incorrect in my opinion,” Frommer told Proactive Investors. “Quite frankly, most blocked M&A transactions by federal regulators inevitably look illogical in hindsight given the extreme pace of evolution in the tech space. Office Depot and Staples, a classic '90s deal broken by regulators for dominance in the office supply space, makes no sense in today’s digital environment, where office supplies are available on Amazon cheaper than anywhere else.”  

Zero empirical evidence

The American Enterprise Institute told CNBC's Closing Bell "there's zero empirical evidence" that Google acts as a monopoly and does real harm.

"We need to be extraordinarily careful before we think about heavily regulating them — breaking them up," James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute recently told CNBC's "Closing Bell."

"There needs to be an actual theory of harm. We're not going to go after the companies just because they're very successful or they're very big."

Google itself is afraid of competition from giants like Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) to nimble start-ups, Pethokoukis said. As a result, the search giant spends "tens and hundreds of billions of dollars a year on R&D," he said.

"That is not the behavior of some dominant forever monopoly who is squelching innovation," Pethokoukis said. "All I hear is an anecdote here and anecdote there. I don't actually hear an actual portfolio of evidence that would lead me to believe that there's an actual problem here."

Frommer said it was a myth that Google had a competitive advantage. “It’s not the type of monopoly it was years ago. It is susceptible to serious competition, which is why it is always buying new technology. The digital playing field is perhaps the fairest market environment I have ever seen, far superior to that of the financial markets,” said Frommer.

Google declined to comment on the "60 Minutes" story but offered a statement saying that its algorithms do not give specific placements in its results for certain companies but instead seeks to provide the best search results.

Yelp’s case of sour grapes

In the salad days of the Internet, Google’s “Don’t be evil” was a mantra — a motto closely held, if casually phrased. Alphabet, now Google’s overlord, has ditched "Don’t be evil" for "Do the right thing." Yet, quite a few tech companies had damning things to say about Google, insinuating it wasn’t quite doing the right thing.

Yelp Inc. (NYSE:YELP) co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman told “60 Minutes” that if he were starting out today, he “would have no shot of building Yelp.” He said that “opportunity has been closed off by Google and their approach.” He accused Google of collecting and bundling its own information on things like shopping and travel and putting it at the very top of the search results, regardless of whether it belongs there on merit.

“That sounds like sour grapes from someone who has difficulty adapting their platform in a competitive environment,” quipped Frommer.

Read: Yelp posts smaller-than-expected Q1 loss, but shares fall on profit-taking

“This conspiracy theory makes no sense for two reasons," Frommer explained. "First, these so-called algorithms people speak of are not simply a few lines of code or some secret formula. They evolve every day, create problems every day, and demand solutions every day. The perception that Google is running around, other than in the normal course of business, intentionally manipulating search results for the benefit of a few is counterintuitive. Google’s goal is to essentially create a fair environment for search and advertising. For those who take the time to deeply study the tools and data provided by Google would know this. Those who prefer conspiracy theories will deny it.”

Friend to global media industry

Critics have long argued that Google squelches innovation by demoting competitors in Google's algorithmic search results. But publishers like Fairfax Media Limited (ASX:FXJ) say there are “significant opportunities” for publishers to work together with Google to sustain journalism, but there has been less progress for commercial partnerships with Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB).

Fairfax recently told the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Digital Platforms that there are “marked differences” in the business and commercial models of Facebook and Google, and their approach to publishers.

"In recent months, we have noted a series of examples of Google working increasingly proactively with the industry to help address challenges or create conditions for publishers to capitalize on market opportunities," said Fairfax.

In December, Google and Fairfax Media struck a deal to promote the publisher's premium content and engage new audiences.

In March, Google announced it would invest US$400mln in new products aimed at building a more sustainable relationship with the global media sector, including helping with subscriptions and ending its "First Click Free" policy, which forced publishers to provide a minimum three free articles per day via Google searches before readers hit a paywall.

Wall Street nonplussed

Wall Street didn’t think the “60 Minute” broadcast would stir things up for Google beyond a point.

In a note to investors, CFRA Research reiterated its Strong Buy rating on Google, as reported in a story by "Barron's".

"We do not think the segment revealed or made news, highlighting only Google critics, including three interviewees (of the four featured in the piece) who have been well-known and mostly long-time antagonists of the business," wrote CFRA Research analyst Scott Kessler.

"We acknowledge legal and regulatory risks, but see a compelling valuation, and think a federal U.S. inquiry is unlikely," added Kessler.

Wed, 23 May 2018 12:37:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google News expected to update its design and add YouTube videos ]]> Google News is about to get a makeover, according to a report by Ad Age.

The redesign of Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) free news aggregator will include elements of the digital magazine app Google Newsstand and videos from YouTube’s news section.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced at the company’s Brandcast event that the video platform now has 1.8 billion logged-in users per month.

As a result of the redesign, Google Newsstand is expected to close but be replaced by a new Google news app.

READ: Stifel upgrades Google parent Alphabet to Buy on ​earnings pullback

The plans are expected to be announced next week during Google I/O, the search giant’s developer conference.

“It’s a consolidation of all the ways you can interact with news on Google. There are a lot of Google services where you find news and what they’re trying to do is bring it all under one brand,” a public executive with knowledge of the plans told Ad Age.

Google will utilize the technology behind Accelerated Mobile Pages, the same tech that publishers use to load articles onto the platform.

Shares of parent company Alphabet were down slightly in Friday pre-market trading to US$1,021.31.

Fri, 04 May 2018 09:39:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Stifel upgrades Google parent Alphabet to Buy on earnings pullback ]]> The recent slump in Google parent Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) shares is a great buying opportunity, according to research analysts at Stifel.

In a note to investors seen by CNBC, Stifel raised its rating for Google shares to Buy from Hold, citing its new growth opportunities including cloud computing.   

The NYSE blamed a technical malfunction, specifically a “price scale code issue” for halting trade for the day in Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Alphabet.

Google shares closed 0.04% up to US$1,022.99.

"Alphabet continues to drive growth at scale through strength in mobile search, YouTube, and programmatic advertising, while investing in other key initiatives (cloud, hardware, AI) that should serve as multi-year growth levers," analyst Scott Devitt wrote in a note to clients Tuesday.

"Alphabet's products seem to have more proven durability and utility in the lives of consumers than Facebook Inc.’s (NASDAQ: FB) products, as displayed in recent weakness of users and usage in Facebook's most mature and highly monetized market of North America."

The analyst hiked his price target for the company's shares to US$1,234 from US$1,150 so there is plenty of upside for the share.

Wed, 25 Apr 2018 16:16:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google-owner Alphabet posts surge in first quarter profits as ad revenues grow ]]> Google owner Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) achieved a 73% surge in first quarter profits after advertising revenues jumped. 

Net income rose to US$9.4bn in the three months to March 31 from US$5.4bn a year earlier, beating analysts’ expectations of US$6.56bn.

Revenue increased 26% to US$31.1bn from US$24.8bn, boosted by growth in ad sales at its Google and YouTube businesses.

However, rising costs shrank the operating margin to 22% from 27% a year ago.

Alphabet has been investing in new ventures beyond its core Google search engine business, including new projects in cloud computing and hardware as it tries to keep pace with rising competition from the likes of Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN). 

Regulatory crackdown on internet giants

Concerns about the costly new projects and tighter regulation on privacy and content have weakened investor appetite recently.

The European Union’s new General Protection Regulation (GPR) is due to come in on May 25, giving the public more control over their data and raising fines for data breaches.

The new rule comes in the wake of a data breach at Facebook. Political consultancy Cambridge Analytica is accused of using information from millions of Facebook profiles without permission.

US lawmakers initially sought to question Google alongside Facebook at a hearing this month but was later excused.

Like Facebook and other internet giants, Alphabet has been under pressure by lawmakers to change its business practices to protect consumers and their privacy.

The group has also previously drawn criticism over how it controls extremist content on YouTube as well as the way it displays results on the Google search engine.

READ: Google apologises to clients over extremist content after M&S becomes latest brand to pull ads

Last year, several advertisers pulled ads from YouTube after ads appeared alongside extremist or hate videos on the video sharing site, prompting Alphabet to make changes to its technology and how it controls content. 

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 10:54:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Alphabet beats Wall Street expectations, but analysts have some concerns ]]> Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Google’s parent company, announced its first-quarter revenue and earnings on Monday, beating Wall Street expectations.

The California-based company reported first-quarter net income US$9.93 per share on revenue of US$31.1bln versus consensus estimates of earnings of US$9.28 per share on revenue of US$30.3bln.

READ: Alphabet 1Q earnings and revenue top forecasts, but rising costs mute share reaction

Despite surpassing first-quarter expectations, analysts weighed in on their concerns.

Deutsche Bank analysts lowered the price target for Class A shares of Alphabet to US$1,225 from US$1,375 but reiterate a Buy rating. While the research note highlighted the company’s strong revenue, there’s the potential for volatility as margins decline. The European Union’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation was listed as a downside risk.

“We expect more scrutiny from EU regulators around GDPR (as well as taxes and antitrust issues),” stated analysts in the note.

UBS analysts reiterated a Buy rating as well, maintaining a price target of US$1,360 on the shares. Analyst Eric Sheridan thinks that despite margin volatility, the market is undervaluing Alphabet shares, citing the company’s potential to lead in areas like cloud computing and autonomous driving.

KeyBanc analysts also lowered the price target to US$1,230 from US$1,280 and reiterated an Overweight rating following the quarterly report, according to a note reported on by Despite the lowered price target, analyst Andy Hargreaves still sees value in the shares, citing the growth potential of its ad business and cloud software.

Alphabet’s price target was lowered at Barclays as well to US$1,250 from US$1,330 and analysts held an Overweight rating. The analysts noted that while revenue and earnings were above estimates, operating income missed estimates by 9%. Analyst Ross Sandler focused on the site’s revenue growth being ahead of expectations in the face of competition, but still maintains that the shares are oversold.

Bucking the trend, Morgan Stanley's Brian Nowak lifted his target for the shares to $1,200 from $1,175, citing the positive earnings surprise and the company's long growth runway and earnings potential. He kept his Overweight rating on the shares, per

Alphabet was one of the many casualties on Tuesday's Wall Street sell-off, with shares down 4.6% to US$1,018.57.

--Updates for share price--

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 08:29:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Alphabet share-price target cut by Credit Suisse on potential drop in YouTube sales ]]> Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL), the parent company of Google, had its share-price target cut by Credit Suisse, which cited potential softer-than-expected revenue from its business.

Credit Suisse lowered its price target to US$1,350.00 from US$1,400.00, cited analyst Stephen Ju as saying in a note to investors.

Ju has moderated his revenue estimates on the assumption the service will be US only, the note said.

Still, Alphabet remains his favorite company in the sector, he said. Ju has an Outperform rating on the stock.

The shares were little changed at US$1089.00 at 10:23 a.m.


Fri, 20 Apr 2018 10:24:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Demand from China's Android phonemakers for chips is on the rise, says DigiTimes ]]> Chinese Android phonemakers have increased their chip orders since March and the drive to buy them is expected to continue until early May, according to an article in DigiTimes, a Taiwanese trade publication, which cited local suppliers.

An array of circumstances - ranging from a torpid second-quarter revenue outlook for manufacturers in Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL) supply chain as well as diminished inventory for current iPhones to the lack of new iPhone devices until the close of the third quarter - have pushed the big Chinese smartphone vendors like Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi Technology and Meizu to purchase more integrated-circuit parts, the DigiTimes article said.

Android is a mobile-phone operating system developed by Alphabet Inc.'s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google unit.

China’s big smartphone vendors are also looking to improve the price-performance ratios of their models to gain more market share, according to DigiTimes.

Some vendors are now reportedly reconsidering using 3D sensors in their new models, which will reach store shelves in the second half of the year.

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 10:56:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google execs quietly go after Pentagon's JEDI cloud contract, says Defense One ]]> Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is reportedly going after the Pentagon’s JEDI cloud computing contract, but it is doing so quietly due to its concerns about its employees’ disagreeing with its decision, according to an article in Defense One.

The Defense Department’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, program has turned into one contract, which is worth as much as $10bln over a decade, according to Defense One, and will be awarded by the end of the year.

The race to win the contract is set to be a four-way contest among Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Oracle.

Oracle is said to be leading a lobbying campaign in Washington to prevent from winning the lucrative contract, according to published reports.

Google is being particularly circumspect about its desire to do a deal with the Pentagon, fearing a protest from its employees. Last April, as many as 3,100 Google employees signed a letter asking the company to stop work on “a pioneering, if still small-scale,” Air Force program called Maven, according to Defense One.

Shares in Google were flat in midday trading at US$1,043.

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 10:55:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Alphabet Inc comes under fire for not breaking out YouTube's financial figures ]]> Investors are clamoring for Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), the parent company of YouTube, to provide more transparency about the web video channel’s revenues and profits, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

While YouTube is tremendously profitable, with some analysts saying it generates more revenue than half the companies listed on the S&P 500, Alphabet does not disclose the channel's financial figures with its quarterly earnings releases.

READ: Google pulls YouTube from Amazon devices as row between the tech giants escalates

Alphabet makes the case that breaking out YouTube’s sales and profits is not imperative, as the channel is one of a clutch of its advertising-related businesses, said the report in the Wall Street Journal.

A reason that investors and analysts are looking for transparency over YouTube’s figures is that questions about its disclosures have been raised by the Securities and Exchange Commission. They argue that YouTube plays a pivotal role in driving Alphabet’s growth, which means its revenues, costs and profits should be disclosed on a quarterly basis.

Class A shares of Alphabet were flat in pre-market trade at US$1,025.06.

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 09:05:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google in talks to acquire Nokia's airplane-broadband business, says Bloomberg ]]> Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), is in talks to acquire Nokia Oyj’s (NYSE:NOK) airplane-broadband business as it seeks to offer a faster in-flight Wi-Fi system, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The negotiations are at an advanced stage, the report said.

Alphabet shares fell 1% to US$1,027.00 in pre-market trading.

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 08:17:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google to expand network of undersea cables to speed up cloud computing business ]]> Alphabet Inc's (NASAQ:GOOG) Google plans to speed up its cloud computing business by expanding its network of undersea cables to new regions across the globe.

In a bid to catch up to rivals Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) in the multibillion-dollar cloud computing market, Google will build three new underwater fibre-optic cables lining ocean areas from the Pacific to the North Sea.  

READ: Google slashes tax bill by moving €16bn into Bermuda shell company

The new cables, designed to speed the transfer of data and reroute users to servers around the world if an area crashes or is overloaded, will extend its private data network to regions rivals are yet to reach.  

Google expects to complete the project in 2019 and estimates it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

READ: Google pulls YouTube from Amazon devices as row between the tech giants escalates

It would bring the number of subsea cables Google has built to 11, adding to its network of fibre optic cables and data centres built up over the past decade.

Google is the third biggest player in cloud computing by revenue behind Amazon and Microsoft. 

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 11:27:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Google slashes tax bill by moving €16bn into Bermuda shell company ]]> Google saved about €3bn in taxes after moving €15.9bn through low-tax European countries into a Bermuda shell company last year, regulatory filings in the Netherlands revealed.

The internet search giant, owned by Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), books most of its international advertising revenue in Ireland where taxes are low.

The cash is then moved to a company in the Netherlands where tax laws are also generous before being funnelled into a Bermuda mailbox owned by another Ireland-registered company. Bermuda’s corporate tax rate is zero.

Shielding revenue..

This strategy Google uses to shield most of its international revenue from taxation is known as the 'Double Irish’ and ‘Dutch Sandwich’.

According to company filings with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce dated 22 December and made available online on Tuesday, the amount of cash moved through this tax structure in 2016 was 7% higher than a year ago.

The Irish government closed the tax loophole that allowed for the ‘Double Irish’ strategy in 2015 but companies already using it were allowed to continue doing so until the end of 2020.

A spokesman for Google said: “We pay all of the taxes due and comply with the tax laws in every country we operate in around the world. We remain committed to helping grow the online ecosystem.”

Google’s global effective tax rate in 2016 was 19.3% in 2016, according to US financial filings, meaning it would have saved US$3.7bn (€3bn) in taxes using the Double Irish’ and ‘Dutch Sandwich’ structures.

The company held US$60.7bn overseas at the end of 2016 on which it hadn’t paid US income taxes or foreign withholding taxes, Google revealed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Trump's tax reforms..

US President Donald Trump’s tax reforms passed in December will mean companies will have to start paying taxes on overseas income they’ve stockpiled to date.

Previously companies were allowed to defer paying US taxes on foreign income until returning profits to the US.

The European Union is also drawing up plans that will force US tech companies, including Google, to pay more taxes

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 14:42:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Eric Schmidt steps down as executive chairman of Google owner Alphabet ]]> Eric Schmidt is stepping down as executive chairman of Google owner Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).

Schmidt, who first joined Google as chief executive in 2001 and became its executive chairman 10 years later, will remain on the board as a technical adviser on science and technology issues.

READ: Google pulls YouTube from Amazon devices as row between the tech giants escalates

"Larry, Sergey, Sundar and I all believe that the time is right in Alphabet's evolution for this transition," Schmidt said in a statement.

"The Alphabet structure is working well, and Google and the Other Bets are thriving. In recent years, I've been spending a lot of my time on science and technology issues, and philanthropy, and I plan to expand that work."

Schmidt has played a key role in growing Google from a small US start-up into a global giant and helped lead its restructuring to become Alphabet in 2015.

When he first joined Google, it had a several hundred employees. It now has more than 70,000 employees under parent company Alphabet.

READ: YouTube employs more people to identify extremist video content

Google was founded as an internet search company in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin but has since expanded beyond that to include tech gadgets, Android, Chrome and YouTube.

Alphabet expects to appoint a new non-executive chairman at its next meeting in January.

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 10:30:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Google pulls YouTube from Amazon devices as row between the tech giants escalates ]]> Google said it would block its YouTube application from two Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) devices, escalating a row over the e-commerce giant’s refusal to sell its rival’s hardware.

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) owned Google will stop Amazon’s Fire TV devices being able to use YouTube from the start of 2018.

It has also pulled YouTube from Echo Show, the screen-based version of Amazon’s smart speaker.

Google released a statement saying its reason for blocking YouTube from the devices is because Amazon had stopped selling several of its hardware products.

“Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make (its) Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of (our sister company) Nest’s latest products,” it said.

“Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and Fire TV.

“We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.”

Amazon said in a statement that it believes Google is “setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website”.

It added that customers could access YouTube through the internet, rather than an app, on the devices while it works to resolve the dispute.

The two companies compete in a number of areas, including in cloud computing and in selling voice-controlled devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. 

Amazon’s voice-controlled gadgets have outsold Google’s so far, according to a study by research firm eMarketer from earlier this year.

In September, Google removed YouTube from the Amazon Echo Show before later reintroducing the video sharing application. Now Google has pulled YouTube again from the device as the voice control commands added violated the use terms. 

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 13:35:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - YouTube employs more people to identify extremist video content ]]> YouTube, owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL), plans to dedicate more people to help weed out extremist content from the video sharing website.

Several brands have pulled advertising from YouTube this year after extremist, violent and disturbing videos and comments appeared alongside their ads.

READ: Google apologises to clients over extremist content after M&S becomes latest brand to pull ads

In November, confectionary maker Mondelez (NASDAQ:MDLZ), Lidl, Mars and other consumer goods producers joined the boycott after The Times newspaper found YouTube was showing clips of scantily clad children in conjunction with the ads major brands.

In an effort to tackle the issue, YouTube has developed software to identify videos linked to extremism. It is now trying to do the same with clips that portray hate speech or are unsuitable for children. Vidoes flagged by the software could lead to the uploader becoming ineligible for generating ad revenue.

However, YouTube has received criticism from video uploaders that the software is flawed.

YouTube employs more content reviewers

YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki revealed in a blog post on Monday that Google plans to bring the total number of people working to review content to more than 10,000 in 2018.

She said adding more people to identify inappropriate content will provide more data to supply and potentially improve its machine learning software.                                                  

“We need an approach that does a better job determining which channels and videos should be eligible for advertising,” she said.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from creators that we have to be more accurate when it comes to reviewing content, so we don’t demonetise videos by mistake.”

Sharing an important update about how we're expanding our work against abuse of @YouTube:

— Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki) 5 December 2017

I also wrote to creators outlining how we're working to do all we can to protect the community, to counter threats from bad actors and to ensure that YouTube remains a place where all creators can thrive:

— Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki) 5 December 2017 'Agressive action'

Wojcicki said the company would take “aggressive action” by launching new comment moderation tools. In some cases the group will shut down comments altogether, she said.

“Our teams also work closely with NCMEC(National Center for Missing and Exploited Children), the IWF (Internet Watch Foundation), and other child safety organisations around the world to report predatory behavior and accounts to the correct law enforcement agencies.

Google earlier this year announced that it would give £1mln to fund projects that tackle extremism in the UK.

In June YouTube announced that it would take steps to address the problem by improving its use of machine learning to remove controversial videos and by working with 15 new expert groups, including the No Hate Speech Movement, the Anti-Defamation League and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

At the time YouTube also said it was developing a way to redirect users searching specific keywords on the website to playlists featuring videos that counter extremist content.

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 12:02:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Major advertisers pull ads from YouTube as latest scandal hits video-sharing site ]]> Some of the world’s most recognizable companies have pulled their adverts from YouTube after their campaigns appeared alongside videos featuring children and sexualised comments.

HP, Deutsche Bank, Mars and Sky have all dropped their ads from the video-sharing site, with German discount supermarket Lidl – another to pull its campaign from YouTube – saying it was “shocked and disturbed” that explicit comments on videos of young children had not been removed.

Lidl took aim at parent company Google, claiming the revelations showed that “the strict policies which Google has assured us were in place to tackle offensive content are ineffective”.

A spokesperson for Mars echoed those comments and added: “Until we have confidence that appropriate safeguards are in place, we will not advertise on YouTube and Google.”

BBC investigation

According to an investigation by the BBC, YouTube’s system for reporting sexual comments on children’s video has not been working properly for more than a year.

There is currently no way to know when a banned user sets up a new account under a new name and volunteer moderators estimate that there could be as many as 100,000 predatory accounts leaving inappropriate comments on videos.

Investigators identified at least 28 comments that were deemed to obviously violate YouTube’s guidelines, including phone numbers for adults and requests for videos to satisfy sexual fetishes.


“Content that endangers children is abhorrent and unacceptable to us,” a spokesperson for YouTube said on Friday.

“We have clear policies against videos and comments on YouTube which sexualise or exploit children and we enforce them aggressively whenever alerted to such content.

“We have recently toughened our approach to videos and comments featuring children which may not be illegal, but give cause for concern.”

It’s not the first time YouTube has come under fire from advertisers. Earlier this year HSBC, L’Oreal and Audi were among several brands who took down their ads after finding out they were appearing next to extremist content.

The scandal hasn’t affected Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares though, with the stock up 0.4% to US$1,039.82 early on Friday morning.

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 10:07:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Alphabet shares soar past US$1,000 as third quarter numbers top estimates ]]> Google owner. Alphabet Inc's (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares headed past the US$1,000 mark for the first time after the search engine and technology giant topped Wall Street forecasts with its third-quarter earnings.

Some analysts had worried that recent regulatory issues and companies pulling ads from YouTube might hamper performance, but a sharp rise in smartphone advertising volumes helped to ease any concerns.

READ: Google appeals against record €2.4bn antitrust fine

Sales jumped 24% year-on-year to US$27.8bn in the three months to September 30, above the consensus forecast of US$27.2bn.

Diluted earnings per share beat expectations by more than US$1, coming in at US$9.57, significantly higher than the average analyst estimate for US$8.33, and up a third from this time last year.

Revenues were boosted by a higher-than-expected number of paid clicks during the period which rose 47% compared to the year ago period, more than offsetting a 21% fall in cost-per-click – the amount companies pay Google every time their ad is clicked.

The cost of acquiring that new traffic was a little higher than analysts had expected, rising 32% year-on-year, mainly because mobile search carries higher traffic acquisition costs, Alphabet said.

READ: Google parent Alphabet posts quarterly profit decline after record EU antitrust fine

Capital expenditure in the quarter jumped to US$3.5bn from US$2.8bn a year earlier, with most of that being spent on Google data centres and content acquisition for YouTube.

"We had a terrific quarter, with revenues up 24% year-on-year, reflecting strength across Google and Other Bets," said Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Alphabet.

"Our momentum is a result of investments over many years in fantastic people, products and partnerships."

Speaking of other bets – other divisions away from Google, such as Nest, Fiber and Verily – contributed revenue of US$302mln (Q3 2016: US$197mln). Their operating loss narrowed from US$861mln to US$812mln

In after-hours trading in New York, Alphabet shares gained 2.9% to US$1,001.

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 07:32:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Taiwanese smartphone group HTC suspends shares amid Google takeover talk ]]> Shares in Taiwanese smartphone firm HTC were halted earlier in the wake of speculation that it may get taken over by Google's giant parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL).

Google's first own-brand smartphone called the Pixel, launched earlier this year, is manufactured at HTC’s factories.

The Taiwan Stock Exchange said in a statement earlier: “TWSE announced trading in the shares of HTC Corporation and the securities underlying the company will be halted starting from 21 September 2017 pending the release of material information.

"The company will apply for resumption of trading after the release of material information.”

HTC has been dogged by falling smartphone sales in recent years as has struggled to compete with the likes of  Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung.

Some commentators have suggested Alphabet may want to turn HTC into an in-house manufacturer for Google-branded products, and drop the HTC brand entirely.

Alphabet shares added 1.37% today in New York to stand at US$949.88.

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:58:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google sued by former female employees over gender pay discrimination ]]> Google has been sued by three former female employees on claims the search engine paid women less than men for similair work.

The former employees, Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease and Kelli Wisuri, filed the gender pay discrimination lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court yesterday. They are seeking class action status to cover women who have worked at Google over the past four years.

READ: Google appeals against record €2.4bn EU antitrust fine

“Google has discriminated and continues to discriminate against its female employees by systemically paying them lower compensation than Google pays male employees performing substantially similar work, under similar working conditions," the complaint read.

The women claim they quit Google after being placed at lower job levels, which resulted in less pay, and denied promotions.

It serves as another blow to Google, which is already being investigated by the Labor Department over claims of unfair pay practices.

Extensive systems in place to ensure staff paid fairly

A spokeswoman for Google said the company works hard to create a “great workplace for everyone” and give “everyone the chance to thrive here."

"In relation to this particular lawsuit, we'll review it in detail, but we disagree with the central allegations. Job levels and promotions are determined through rigorous hiring and promotion committees, and must pass multiple levels of review, including checks to make sure there is no gender bias in these decisions," spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said.

 "And we have extensive systems in place to ensure that we pay fairly."

The lawsuit was brought forward after the Labor Department’s investigation prompted attorney James Finberg to ask female employees to come forward if they had experienced pay discrimination.

Finberg is representing the women in the lawsuit along with attorney Kelly M. Dermody of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein.

Shares in Google parent company Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) were little changed in US pre-market trading with shares down 0.04% to US$939.71 each. 

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 13:48:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google appeals against record €2.4bn EU antitrust fine ]]> Google has appealed against a record €2.4bn antitrust fine imposed by the European Commission in June.

The EU fined the internet giant for abusing its dominance in Europe to position its own shopping comparison service at the top of Google search results.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner had said that Google's activity was "illegal under EU antitrust rules".

The Commission ordered Google to stop its practice of promoting its own shopping comparison service above rivals by 28 September.

Google faces a further fine amounting to 5% of the average daily global earning of its parent company Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) if it continues its practices after the deadline.

The company was expected to appeal the fine, which was the largest ever penalty issued by the regulator, after saying it had "respectfully disagreed" with the ruling.

It is anticipated to take years before the Luxembourg-based General Court rules on the case.

Google has not asked for an interim order to suspend the EU decision, a court spokesperson told Reuters.

Another spokesperson said the EU competition enforcer will defend its decision in court.

Google said declined to comment further.

Shares in Alphabet rose 1.07% to US$951.46 each in early US trading.

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 15:20:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google to outline plan to meet EU order to stop favouring own shopping service in search results ]]> Google will today outline its plan to meet an order by the European Commission to stop favouring its own comparison-shopping service, parent company Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) said.

In June the search engine was fined a record €2.42bn fine by the EU for abusing its dominance in Europe by giving rival shopping sites an unfair advantage in search results.

The EU said Google gave its own shopping service a prominent position in search ranking and ordered the company to overhaul its search results by 28 September and have a plan in place to do so by 29 August.

Google faces additional penalties if its plans fall short of what the EU has demanded. It could be fined up to 5% of average daily global revenue for each day the regulator deems Google has failed to comply with its order by the deadline.

Google has so far failed in its attempts to resolve the EU’s concerns about the way it tips the scales in favour of its own shopping service. The company has made at least three settlement offers since the EU opened the case in 2010 but the regulator has ruled them insufficient.


Tue, 29 Aug 2017 15:59:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google parent Alphabet posts quarterly profit decline after record EU antitrust fine ]]> Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) posted a drop in quarterly profits, reflecting the impact of a record US$2.7bn EU fine.

Net income in the three months to 30 June came to US$3.5bn, compared to US$4.8bn the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share fell to US$5.01 from US$7.0.

The search engine was forced to pay an antitrust fine to the European Commission last month for favouring its own shopping service. It marked the biggest ever competition fine from the Commission and followed a seven-year investigation into claims the technology giant abused its internet search monopoly. Alphabet is considering an appeal. 

READ: Google to lose out on billions in shopping revenues every year following EU ruling

Excluding the fine, Alphabet would have made EPS of US$8.90.

EU antitrust officials are also investigating the company’s practice of bundling its Android operating system with popular smartphone apps such as Google Maps.

Google chief executive, Sundar Pichai, said the group would fight to continue this practice.

"It's a very open market, open ecosystem, and it works well for everyone, and I expect that to continue," Pichai said in an analyst call.

Revenue jumped 21% to US$26.01bn from US$21.5bn with Google accounting for most of the growth. Google revenue rose to US$25.8bn from US$21.3bn, boosted by an 18.4% increase in advertising revenue.

Paid clicks, where advertisers only pay for the adverts users clicked on, rose 52%.

Alphabet’s other businesses, including the Nest smart home devices unit and the Waymo self-driving car company, delivered an increase in revenue to US$248mln from US$185mln a year earlier. 

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 07:33:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google opens first London cloud data centre as competition with Amazon and Microsoft heats up ]]> Google has responded to mounting competition in cloud computing by opening its first data centre to support the internet-based service in London.

The data centre for the cloud computing services it rents to third parties is the second in Europe after Brussels.

The search engine, owned by Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL), is the third most capable cloud computing service provider after Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), according to a study by Gartner last month.

In terms of sales of cloud infrastructure services Google’s market share is also a “distant third”, the report added.

Most of Google’s cloud platform data centres have until now been based in the US and Asia, including Singapore, Taiwan and Tokyo.

Google to open more cloud data centres in Europe

Responding to the growing demand for cloud computing services, Google announced that it also plans to open facilities in Finland, Netherlands and Frankfurt.

“GCP [Google Cloud Platform] customers throughout the British Isles and Western Europe will see significant reductions in latency when they run their workloads in the London region," said product manager Dave Stiver, referring to processing delays caused by the distances data has to travel.

"In cities like London, Dublin, Edinburgh and Amsterdam, our performance testing shows 40% to 82% reductions in round-trip latency when serving customer from London compared with the Belgium region."

Google says decision to build London centre made before Brexit vote

The new London centre has been built amid speculation that the UK’s data privacy laws may diverge from the European Union’s after Brexit.

But a spokeswoman for Google said the decision to build the centre was taken before the UK voted to leave the EU last June.  

The data centre will allow clients to offload processing tasks and information storage to support mobile apps they may offer to the public.  

Google charges its customers, who include The Telegraph newspaper and Coca-Cola, for the amount of compute time rather than a flat rate in order to provide cheaper alternative to other cloud computing services.

"Google uses deep discounts and exceptionally flexible contracts to try to win projects from customers that are currently spending significant sums of money with cloud competitors," Gartner said.

Gartner said at the moment Google’s cloud platform offers fewer features than Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure but it is improving. 

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 15:44:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google to lose out on billions in shopping revenues every year following EU ruling ]]> Google could miss out on billions in ad revenues every year from its Google Shopping service following yesterday’s ruling from EU regulators, according to analysts at US investment bank Raymond James.

The European Commission hit Google with a record US$2.7bn fine on Tuesday after it found the internet search giant had abused its dominant position to unfairly promote its own shopping comparison service at the expense of competitors.

.@Google gave illegal advantage to own comparison shopping service by abusing its search dominance: It must stop & pay fine of €2,4 bn.

— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) June 27, 2017

On top of that, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager  ordered Google to end its anti-competitive practices within 90 days, or risk having to pay out billions more in other fines.

That’s the longer-term issue, according to analyst Aaron Kessler. He estimates that Google Shopping generates revenues of between US$3.5bn and US$4bn in Europe every year.

Should Google make significant changes to the way it runs this service, Kessler believes that a large chunk of those revenues would likely disappear.

The analyst said it was “unclear” how Google would go about eliminating its anti-competitive bias in order to satisfy the EU’s demand, but he did come up with a few suggestions.

“We believe potential remedies could include: 1) increasing prominence of comparison shopping sites in organic results; 2) rotating which comparison shopping site is shown first (potentially moving Google Shopping results lower in the results); 3) shifting back to more text-based ads in these markets (vs. current Google Shopping ads),” Kessler wrote in a note to clients.

He also notes that Google is likely to face civil action from European competitors which have been impacted by its actions.

Shares in Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) closed 2.6% lower yesterday, and they’ve dipped another 0.2% in pre-market trading this morning to US$926.20.

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 11:09:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google slapped with record US$2.7bn EU fine for abusing monopoly to promote shopping service ]]> Google has been hit with a record US$2.7bn (£2.1bn) fine from the European Commission after a seven-year investigation found that the tech giant had abused its internet search monopoly.

The regulator said Google had broken EU law by exploiting its dominant position to promote its own shopping comparison service at the top of its search results pages, at the expense of its competitors.

The fine is believed to be the largest competition penalty dished out by the Commission, doubling the previous record handed to Intel back in 2009.

“[Google] abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors,” said European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager.

.@Google gave illegal advantage to own comparison shopping service by abusing its search dominance: It must stop & pay fine of €2,4 bn.

— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) June 27, 2017

On top of the money, Vestager also ordered Google to end its anti-competitive practices within 90 days, or risk having to pay out billions more in other fines.

The investigation dates back to the start of this decade but Google – which has always denied its practices unfairly stunted competition –  was only served with formal charges a couple of years ago.

You’ve likely seen Google Shopping results at the top of the page when searching for a particular product or item online.

It displays relevant images, prices, the name of shop and review scores if they’re available. These comparison lists are labelled as ‘sponsored’ reflecting the fact that only products paid for by the seller appear.

The EU found that since 2008, Google has “systematically” ranked its own price comparison service higher than its rivals, hence why it can always be found at the top of the first page of searches.

'All the makings of a brand disaster'

There's no doubt that Google and its parent company, Alphabet, can afford the fine given that the whole group is worth the best part of US$700bn with US$172bn of assets.

The true cost might run deeper than that though, with commentators suggesting the company's reputation could take a hit as a result of the ruling.

"Given the depth of Google's pockets, this is by no means a commercial disaster but it has the makings of a brand disaster,” said Rupert Bhatia of Rhizome Media.

"Google has always presented itself as ‘the good guy’ of technology, but if this fine stands then it would be harder for them to argue that.

"The record fine handed out to Google by the European Commission will be seen by many as a victory for e-commerce companies that operate in the shadow of giants.”

Alphabet shares fell 1.51% in afternoonb trade in New York on Tuesday to US$957.

--Updates for share price, tweet and additional info--

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:17:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Google reportedly faces record US$1.1bn European Commission fine ]]> The search giant Google is reportedly facing a US$1.1bn fine from the European commission for allegedly abusing its dominant market position.

According to the Financial Times, the Commission is set to dole out the record penalty after finding Google had systematically manipulated its search results to favor its comparison shopping service.

It is part of wider anti-trust probe into Google, which is owned by Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL).

In depth analysis from the New York Times

The scale of fine, if true, would exceed the US$1bn meted out by the EC in 2009 to the chip-maker Intel for monopoly abuse.

The financial punishment is worked out on a capped maximum of 10% of Alphabet’s total revenues.

It would mark the first sanction by a leading competition regulator into the company's search practices, said CNBC.

According to the British newspaper The Guardian the company will have a set time to propose how it intends to operate in future.

If it fails to agree a deal with the Commission in that period, the company could be fined up to 5% of average daily turnover for each day of delay.

The sanctions follow the Commission’s decision to force Apple to pay Ireland US$14.5bn in unpaid taxes after it ruled  after it ruled tax regime in the Republic had been a form “illegal state aid”.


Fri, 16 Jun 2017 09:13:00 +0100