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FAANG Report: Jeff Bezos says Amazon will work with the Pentagon; Apple apologizes over phishing app

Google still considering launch of censored Chinese search engine; Facebook working on TV camera called 'Ripley' to stream content; Netflix gets price target a third time in two days
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos said his e-commerce company will continue to work with the Pentagon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos said his sprawling businesses will continue to do work with the US Defense Department despite internal and external criticism for doing so, a report by CNN Business said.

"If big tech companies are going to turn their back on the DoD, this country is going to be in trouble," Bezos said at the Wired25 conference in San Francisco.

"We are going to continue to support the DoD, and I think we should," said Bezos. "One of the jobs of senior leadership is to make the right decision, even when it's unpopular."

The billionaire has faced backlash from Amazon employees over its business deals with government agencies.

It has already worked with the DoD and multiple law enforcement agencies have used its facial recognition system, Rekognition. Amazon employees and civil liberties organizations claimed that the software could be used to violate human rights, the report said.

Amazon is currently in the running for a $10 billion contract with the Pentagon to host its data on the cloud.

Amazon shares climbed 2.19% to $1,799.47 by midsession.

READ: Amazon and Apple's denials of cyber-security hack apparently backed up by British security agency

The CEO of Alphabet Inc's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Sundar Pichai, said at the same Wired25 conference it is still considering whether to launch a censored version of its search product in China, CNN Business said.

"It's very early. We don't know whether we could or would do this in China, but we felt it was important for us to explore," Pichai said.

Google had been working on the project in secret, but after the reports about its existence emerged, more than 1,000 Google employees signed a letter asking for more transparency. 

The prospect of Google returning to China has fueled criticism from human rights groups that the company, which has long advocated a free and open internet, would be doing the bidding of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, which runs a vast censorship apparatus that stifles dissent, the report explained.

Google stock rose 2.27% to $1,117.04.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) has apologized after some Apple ID accounts were compromised due to a phishing scam in China, a report by The Verge said.

The payment companies, Alipay and WeChat Pay, announced last week that hackers in China had gained access to some users’ payment accounts.

“We are deeply apologetic about the inconvenience caused to our customers by these phishing scams,” Apple said in a statement.

The companies did not disclose how many users were hacked, the total amount of money stolen, or offer deeper insight into the hack. Apple said last week that it would refund the money users lost.

Apple shares increased 1.28% to $220.15.

READ: Facebook launches Watch video-streaming service worldwide

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is said to be working on a TV camera that would offer Portal-like video chatting on a bigget screen and allow users to stream content from Facebook Watch, a report by The Verge said.

If the device - said to be codenamed “Ripley” - makes it to market, Facebook would enter into another massive smart home battleground, facing off against Amazon, Apple, Google, and Roku for valuable set-top box space.

The company is already having a tough time getting users’ trust after a seemingly endless stream of privacy scandals, so it’s hard to imagine the solution is adding even more microphones or speakers to intrude on their lives, the report said.

Facebook stock went up 2.58% to $157.48.

For the third time in two days, the price target for shares of Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) were slashed by Morgan Stanley and it just happened to take place on the same day the company is reporting its quarterly results later on Tuesday, a report by CNBC said.

On Monday, Goldman Sachs and Raymond James cut their price targets for the streaming giant.

Morgan Stanley cut its price target to $450, from $480 per share.

It said global trends like the strong dollar and rising interest rates as upping the online streaming service's expenses. Netflix will be paying more as it still needs to "raise an additional ~$5 [billion] of debt over the next two years before reaching positive free cash flow in 2021," the Morgan Stanley report by analyst Benjamin Swinburned was quoted as saying.

Netflix shares added 1.94% to $339.58.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on [email protected]

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February 14 2019

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