Tech

How Big Tech Surged in the Coronavirus Era

The U.S. economy’s free fall may be nauseating for some sectors, but for the four tech giants that posted earnings results on Thursday, the past three months have been more like a thrill ride.

The day after taking tough questions from the House Judiciary Committee on whether they’ve become too powerful, chief executive officers from Google-parent Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Facebook revealed that their influence is only growing.

These captains of tech industry posted a collective $28 billion in profits and added $214 billion in market value, a gobsmacking set of figures even in the best of times. But it stands out against a doom-filled backdrop of a U.S. economy that shrank 33 percent, while fears stretch worldwide across other businesses — from Main Street mom-and-pops to the arbiters of global luxury — that are dancing on the knife’s edge of real or potential extinction.

That may be stunning, but

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Australia to Put Tech Giants on Tighter Leash, Make Them Pay for News

Australia is getting closer to moving ahead with controversial legislation that will make the U.S. tech giants pay local companies for news. Other measures to contain their influence are also on the cards.

The “Draft Mandatory Code of Conduct Governing Digital Platforms and Media Businesses” was announced on Friday by Treasury Minister Josh Frydenberg. The code was prepared by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and now is open to a month of consultation before it becomes legislation.

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The draft code will require technology giants such as Google and Facebook to “negotiate in good faith” payments to digital media companies, Frydenberg said. The Australian companies can negotiate collectively or separately. “If they cannot reach an agreement on three months of negotiation, they can go to a binding arbitration. Arbitration is limited to the issue of payment or remuneration.”

Payments will not be available to taxpayer-funded news organizations

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Tech CEOs go on defense

Four of the nation’s most powerful CEOs beamed into a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday and raised their hands to swear to tell the truth as they faced a barrage of questions on one major issue: Are their companies too big and powerful for America’s good?

Members of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee came at them with a wealth of newly released documents that could pose problems for the tech giants as they confront investigations around the globe.

Lawmakers hammered Google Sundar Pichai about his company’s relations with China and whether it steals ideas from other businesses, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg about a blizzard of disinformation plaguing his social network, and Apple CEO Tim Cook on whether his iPhone-maker strong-arms developers on its App Store.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — the world’s richest man, making his long-awaited first-ever appearance before a congressional hearing — faced no questions at all

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Another Driver of Tech ETF Rally

We are currently in one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year – Back to School. Every year, retailers are benefited from the start of the school year, but this year the shopping trend is likely to be a little different thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

As per the National Retail Federation (NRF), back-to-school spending is likely to be an average $789.49 per family, surpassing the previous record of $696.70 last year. Spending is expected to total $33.9 billion, up from $26.2 billion last year and topping the record of $30.3 billion set in 2012.

Majority of the outlays would be made on tech products as the school year will likely begin primarily with remote learning. According to the survey done by NRF, 63% of K-12 families look to buy computers and other electronics this year, up from 54%last year, and they expect to shell out more at an

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Tech CEOs get tarred as liars, bullies, pushers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on testimony before a congressional committee by the CEOs of Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

U.S. lawmakers have repeatedly ripped the CEOs of Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook while likening them to copycats, liars, bullies, drug dealers and traitors in an attempt to prove it’s time to crack down on their technology powerhouses.

The barrage of unflattering comparisons and allegations of misconduct unfolded Wednesday during an extraordinary hearing that summoned Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg before a congressional committee. The committee is looking into allegations that the companies have been abusing the popularity of their products and services to stifle competition and innovation.

All four CEOs appeared via video because of the pandemic.

Lawmakers were particularly harsh on Google, whose dominant search engine serves as the main gateway

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4 Chinese Tech Stocks That are Bouncing Back

People walking in Shanghai
People walking in Shanghai

China appears to be recovering well from the coronavirus-induced economic slump. Shaking off its 6.8% contraction in the first quarter resulting from the pandemic lockdown, the Asian economic giant’s economy is picking up faster than Europe and the US. Indeed, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 5.7% to a two-year high on July 6.

Investors may find attractive opportunities in the tech sector. These Chinese tech heavyweights have global ambitions and are turning up the heat in the fight for global dominance as they take on their American rivals. They enjoy favourable government policies and lax regulation and are beneficiaries of the growing affluence amongst China’s middle class.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd

 

Ticker

BABA

 

Current yield:

 

Forward P/E:

31.25

 

Price

US$249 (£192)

 

Fair value:

US$263 (£202.80)

 

Value

5% discount

 

Moat

 

Moat Trend

Stable

 

Star rating

***

Data as of July 28, 2020

 
Chinese e-commerce juggernaut,

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Girding for grilling, Big Tech CEOs stress American roots, values

Washington (AFP) – Big Tech’s top executives underscored their firms’ American roots and values Wednesday as they faced a grilling in Congress over their extraordinary economic power and influence.

The CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google offered an upbeat assessment of the tech landscape as they prepared for an onslaught of criticism at a House of Representatives hearing expected to be a rare political spectacle.

The hearing comes amid rising concerns over Big Tech dominance, which has become even more pronounced during the coronavirus pandemic as they leverage online platforms for needed goods and services.

The unprecedented joint appearance — remotely by video — before the House Judiciary Committee features Tim Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Google and its parent firm Alphabet.

The hearing is part of a probe into the competitive market landscape and antitrust law, but questioning

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Tech giants Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon to face Congress

Unprecedented is a dangerous word in journalism, but this really hasn’t happened before.

On Wednesday, four of the biggest names in tech will give evidence to members of the US Congress.

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Sundar Pichai (Google), Tim Cook (Apple) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon) will all be grilled.

Jeff Bezos – the world’s richest man – has never testified before either house. They have never all been quizzed together.

How these tech bosses do, how they stand up to scrutiny, could be a defining moment in their future relationship with government.

Central to the interrogation will be whether these tech giants are simply too big.

The Covid pandemic has put this into sharp focus. Where other companies have struggled, Big Tech companies have thrived. Together they are now worth $5tn dollars. It’s led to accusations that – just like the banks – they are simply too big to fail.

The

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Tech titans in the spotlight at US antitrust hearing

Washington (AFP) – US lawmakers will grill the chiefs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google Wednesday about how they wield marketplace power in what promises to be a rare political spectacle.

The House of Representatives hearing comes amid rising concerns over Big Tech dominance, which has become even more pronounced during the coronavirus pandemic.

The unprecedented joint appearance before the House Judiciary Committee features Tim Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Google and its parent firm Alphabet.

The CEOs of four of the world’s most powerful companies will testify remotely, less than 100 days before the US election.

It will be the first time Bezos has testified before a congressional committee.

The world’s richest man will paint online giant Amazon as an example of US entrepreneurship.

“I believe Amazon should be scrutinized,” Bezos said in prepared remarks posted online, defiantly adding

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Biased Big Tech algorithms limit our lives and choices. Stop the online discrimination.

The leaders of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have some serious explaining to do about bias and discrimination when they appear Wednesday at an antitrust hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. 

The abuse of trust by the platform-based companies we rely on most has largely flown under the radar as a global pandemic heightens and highlights fissures in our society. But our data and our choices continue to be manipulated in problematic ways — often by algorithms that subtly introduce bias into the prices we pay and the information and options made available to us. It is essential that we hold our digital gatekeepers accountable. 

The algorithms at issue have a veritable fire hose of our data at their disposal, and they aren’t the neutral equations we might assume them to be. They are the product of humans, and because of that they have a tendency to perpetuate human biases.

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