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Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Google Management Shuffle Points to Retreat From Alphabet Experiment

Posted by hkarner - 6. Dezember 2019

Date: 06‑12‑2019

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Founders’ step away mirrors broader shift as Silicon Valley faces backlash against big tech

Sundar Pichai . His ascent to CEO of Alphabet Inc. comes as the company shifts toward being more like a conventional corporation.

Sundar Pichai’s appointment this week as chief executive of Google GOOG 0.57% parent Alphabet Inc. effectively shifts the focus back on the company’s advertising profit machine and away from its “moonshots” and other potential new businesses.

Mr. Pichai’s promotion late Tuesday amounted to the biggest managerial overhaul of the internet giant since 2015, when co‑founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin created Alphabet as a parent company above Google. Their goal then was to make Google and its highly profitable advertising businesses just one of many subsidiaries. The stated purpose, as they said in a public letter: “We are still trying to do things other people think are crazy.”

Those goals were on‑brand for the two former Stanford University graduate students. They famously celebrated a “don’t be evil” ethos and were working on driverless cars, wearable computers, beating death and a host of other money‑losing projects. The idea was to free the duo from the day‑to‑day at Google, which remains a profit machine, to build out new, world‑changing ideas. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Next in Google’s Quest for Consumer Dominance: Banking

Posted by hkarner - 15. November 2019

Date: 14-11-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Search giant plans to partner with banks to offer checking accounts

Google will soon offer checking accounts to consumers, becoming the latest Silicon Valley heavyweight to push into finance.

The project, code-named Cache, is expected to launch next year with accounts run by Citigroup Inc. and a credit union at Stanford University, a tiny lender in Google’s backyard.

Big tech companies see financial services as a way to get closer to users and glean valuable data. Apple Inc. introduced a credit card this summer. Amazon.com Inc. has talked to banks about offering checking accounts. Facebook Inc. is working on a digital currency it hopes will upend global payments. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Google to Buy Fitbit, Amping Up Wearables Race

Posted by hkarner - 3. November 2019

Date: 02-11-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Deal to acquire maker of wearable fitness products for $2.1 billion extends Google’s reach in consumer electronics

Fitbit’s smartwatches compete with popular offerings from Apple and Samsung.

Google reached a deal to buy wearable fitness products company Fitbit Inc. FIT 15.53% for roughly $2.1 billion, a move that intensifies the battle among technology giants to capture consumers through devices other than smartphones.

For Google, the deal marks a further push into health as it faces regulatory threats to its massive internet-search and advertising business. It also puts Google in renewed and direct competition with Silicon Valley neighbor Apple Inc., which in the past week said rising sales of wearables and related services were becoming a bigger driver of its business. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Tech firms think the home is the next big computing platform

Posted by hkarner - 15. September 2019

Date: 12-09-2019
Source: The Economist

Many of the technologies needed to make smart homes work already exist

Film buffs will tell you that watching a movie on the big screen is a much more immersive experience than watching it at home. But if Matthew Ball gets his way, that might not be true for much longer. Mr Ball—who used to be head of strategy at Amazon Studios, the tech firm’s tv division—spends a lot of time thinking about the future of film and tv. He is especially interested in the possibilities offered by connected, computerised homes.

Imagine an action film, he says, in which a smart television, equipped with the sorts of gaze-tracking cameras already used in smartphones, can wait until it has a viewer’s full attention before showing a monster leaping out from behind a door. Or a horror film which commandeers a house’s lights and makes them flicker at the appropriate moment, or plays eerie sounds—even whispering the viewer’s name—from speakers in another room. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The drama surrounding Google and Huawei’s new phone – explained

Posted by hkarner - 1. September 2019

Date: 31-08-2019
Source: The Guardian

Mate 30 won’t have licensed access to any Google apps, thanks to ongoing dispute between US and the Chinese smartphone maker

Huawei’s upcoming flagship Mate 30 smartphone will launch next month without key Google apps.

Huawei, the number two smartphone maker in the world, will launch its next flagship device without licensed access to the number one smartphone operating system in the world – Google’s Android – or any of Google’s ubiquitous apps.

The 5G-capable Mate 30 will be revealed at a 19 September event in Munich, Germany, CNBC reported on Friday. But the launch by a company that saw its share of the European smartphone market soar by 55.7% in 2018 is approaching under a cloud of uncertainty, thanks to the actions of the US government.

What is Huawei?
Huawei is a Chinese telecommunications company, founded in 1987, whose early history included updating China’s telephone infrastructure and helping the nation transition away from relying on importing foreign-made technology. It has since expanded internationally and launched its own product lines, including smartphones that are increasingly competitive with Samsung and Apple.

Why is it controversial? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Who Needs Google’s Android? Huawei Trademarks Its Own Smartphone OS

Posted by hkarner - 25. Mai 2019

Date: 24-05-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Chinese tech giant plans to launch its own operating system this year as access to U.S. software is hit by export ban

Huawei last week was granted a trademark, ‘Hongmeng,’ for its operating system.

Huawei Technologies Co. is pinning its hopes on a self-designed operating system to replace Google’s Android following a U.S. blacklisting. The question is: Can it succeed where others have failed?

Huawei last week was granted a trademark, “Hongmeng,” for the operating system by the trademark office of China’s National Intellectual Property Administration. The company has been working on the system under the code name “Project Z” as an insurance policy in case it lost access to American technology like Android, which powers Huawei’s popular smartphones, and hopes to release it later this year.

That scenario happened when Google was forced to cut off access to software after the U.S. Commerce Department placed Huawei on its “entity list,” banning the transfer of U.S. technology to the Chinese company without a license, on the grounds of national security.

Persuading users to switch operating systems is notoriously difficult. Several tech companies including Samsung Electronics Co. and Microsoft Corp. have built homemade alternatives to Android but they never caught on with smartphone users. The market is effectively a duopoly, with Android running on 87% of smartphones sold in the first quarter, and Apple’s iOS running on almost all of the rest, according to market research firm Canalys. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Tech Giants Rethink the Businesses That Made Them Big

Posted by hkarner - 7. Mai 2019

Date: 06-05-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google are seeking out new places to disrupt, but analysts say future ventures will likely be costly

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent the company’s annual developer conference talking up his vision for a Facebook more focused on private messaging.

Google, Facebook Inc. and other tech giants have long tinkered with ways to grow outside the core businesses they dominate. Now those efforts are becoming urgent.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, beset by public anger over abuses on the social network, spent the company’s annual developer conference last week talking up his vision for a Facebook more focused on private messaging and small groups than on the advertising-driven social-media hub that gained it nearly 2.4 billion monthly users.

Messaging is one of several areas Facebook has been eyeing for new opportunities. Another got the spotlight last week when The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook is recruiting financial firms and online merchants to help launch a cryptocurrency-based payments system.

Apple Inc., meanwhile, said last week its sales-and-profit slump extended into a second straight quarter—the first time that has happened in more than two years—thanks to falling sales of the iPhone, the product that turned it into a colossus. Its response has been to try to morph itself into a services company fueled by app and entertainment sales as much as hardware. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Google shows first cracks in years

Posted by hkarner - 1. Mai 2019

Date: 30-04-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Parent company Alphabet posts slowest revenue growth since 2015

Google’s once-untouchable online-advertising operation took a body blow, hurt by mounting competition and struggles within its increasingly high-profile YouTube unit.

Google parent Alphabet Inc. in the first quarter posted its slowest revenue growth since 2015. The poor results highlight the risks for one of Silicon Valley’s biggest names in effectively leaning on one massive, if lucrative, business.

For all its myriad arms and efforts to diversify, Google remains essentially an old-fashioned billboard operation with a high-tech gloss—and it now faces more rivals.

The company’s results are an outlier amid what has otherwise been a steady earnings season in the technology sector. Peers like Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. previously posted strong earnings, while Amazon.com Inc. last week reported record profit that will allow it to pour fresh cash into improving its Prime membership program.

Alphabet shares fell 7% Monday after hours, with the drop picking up during the earnings call as executives declined to answer direct questions about the flagging growth. Nearly an hour in, one analyst, Ross Sandler of Barclays, audibly sighed. “I guess I’ll beat a dead horse on the deceleration,” he said.

“We are very excited about the opportunities across the board,” responded Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat.

If Alphabet shares drop in regular trading on Tuesday to match the after-hours decline, that would wipe more than $60 billion from the company’s market capitalization and mark the worst single-day session in nearly seven years. Before the earnings report, shares were up 24% this year.

Alphabet reported first-quarter revenue of $36.3 billion, roughly $1 billion short of forecasts. Per-share earnings of $9.50 also disappointed, and were a substantial fall from a year earlier, when results were supercharged by the conglomerate marking up its stakes in private technology companies.

Growth slowed across the board. Revenues were up 17% year-over-year, compared with 26% in last year’s first quarter. The company’s margin, a constant concern for analysts and investors, fell to 18%, compared with 25% last year.

The crimped margin can in part be blamed on last month’s $1.7 billion fine from European regulators for abusing the dominance of its search engine and limiting competition. Excluding the fine, the company’s margin came in at 23% and its per-share earnings were $11.90. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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DeepMind and Google: the battle to control artificial intelligence

Posted by hkarner - 8. April 2019

Date: 06-04-2019
Source: The Economist

ONE AFTERNOON in August 2010, in a conference hall perched on the edge of San Francisco Bay, a 34-year-old Londoner called Demis Hassabis took to the stage. Walking to the podium with the deliberate gait of a man trying to control his nerves, he pursed his lips into a brief smile and began to speak: “So today I’m going to be talking about different approaches to building…” He stalled, as though just realising that he was stating his momentous ambition out loud. And then he said it: “AGI”.

AGI stands for artificial general intelligence, a hypothetical computer program that can perform intellectual tasks as well as, or better than, a human. AGI will be able to complete discrete tasks, such as recognising photos or translating languages, which are the single-minded focus of the multitude of artificial intelligences (AIs) that inhabit our phones and computers. But it will also add, subtract, play chess and speak French. It will also understand physics papers, compose novels, devise investment strategies and make delightful conversation with strangers. It will monitor nuclear reactions, manage electricity grids and traffic flow, and effortlessly succeed at everything else. AGI will make today’s most advanced AIs look like pocket calculators. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Google and the ethics of business in China

Posted by hkarner - 6. April 2019

Date: 04-04-2019
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

For American firms, it feels like a Chinese burn

Anyone who has suffered a Chinese burn as a child will remember the pain when two hands grip the forearm and twist the skin in opposite directions. Americans doing business in China know the feeling well. The growing strategic rivalry between the two superpowers is putting pressure on American businesses and investors in two ways. One grip on the forearm is that of the American government, which is increasing scrutiny of American firms operating in China on national-security and human-rights grounds. The other is that of China’s Communist regime, which is attempting to force companies in China, including foreign ones, to bend to its rules. At worst, this means pushing them to assist China’s armed forces and its police state. That presents firms with a big ethical quandary.

The predicament is unprecedented. During the cold war business was largely untroubled by superpower rivalry because the Soviet Union was an unwelcoming, closed economy. China, by contrast, is America’s biggest trading partner. Americans have invested more than $250bn in the country since 1990. The weight that Chinese firms listed on the mainland have in equity benchmarks such as the msci index is rising. Whatever the outcome of trade talks between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, heightened attention to security-related matters has made life uncomfortable for Chinese firms like Huawei. American companies are smarting, too. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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