A long-awaited report from top Democratic Congressional lawmakers about the dominance of the four biggest tech giants had a clear message on Tuesday: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google engage in a range of anti-competitive behavior, and US antitrust laws need an overhaul to allow for more competition in the US internet economy.
“To put it simply, companies that once were scrappy, underdog startups that challenged the status quo have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons,” the report’s introduction states.
The 400-plus page report, written by the majority staff of the Democratic members of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, is the result of a 16-month investigation into whether these corporate giants abuse their power, and whether the country’s antitrust laws need to be reworked to rein them in. The report released Tuesday cites numerous examples of each tech titan engaging in acts that the lawmakers believe have hurt innovation and impede competition. While the anti-competitive behaviors the report cites vary from company to company, they are all linked by the allegation that the four giants abuse their gatekeeper status in various internet industries to secure and grow their market power in those sectors and others.
So what’s the solution? The report from Democratic lawmakers recommends creating new laws that would potentially break up tech companies and make it harder for them to pursue acquisitions; it also calls for clarifying existing antitrust laws with the goal of making them easier to enforce, particularly for tech companies. For now, the report’s recommendations are only high-level guidance to Congress for potential future legislation; it won’t lead to immediate action against these companies.
The release of the report was complicated on Tuesday by news that the Republican lawmakers in the house antitrust committee refused at the last minute to sign the report with their Democratic colleagues. Instead, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) each plan to release their own reports. Buck’s report, a draft of which Politico published on Monday, largely agrees with the Democrat’s conclusion that the big four tech firms have amassed too much power. But he disagrees with Democrats on how to fix the problem: Instead of creating new laws, Buck’s memo calls on Congress to fund and empower regulatory agencies and government departments like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to go after Big Tech under existing laws. Jordan’s report hasn’t yet been released, but Reuters coverage indicates it will focus on so-far unproven claims of tech companies’ supposed anti-conservative bias, which he has shouted over his colleagues about in previous hearings.
These partisan divides are somewhat besides the point: Regardless of the specifics of how they advise to go after Big Tech, the fact that Republicans and Democrats agree that these companies pose a threat to the free market is significant.
“This is the first time since the 1970s that a congressional committee has devoted this kind of attention to dominant firms … and changing the structure of a major American industry,” former FTC Commissioner William Kovacic, who was appointed by George W. Bush, told Recode.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the key claims the report makes about each of the four major tech giants:
With Amazon accounting for nearly 40 percent of all e-commerce sales in the US — making it more than seven times larger in this arena than No. 2 Walmart — the Democratic report argues that the tech giant has used its powerful position in anti-competitive ways. (The report also alleges that Amazon’s US e-commerce market share is closer to 50 percent or more in the US, rather than the near-40 percent figure commonly cited based on estimates from the research firm eMarketer). The report argues that the company unfairly gleans data and information from its third-party sellers that it uses to strengthen the retail side of its business, including by favoring its own product brands over those of competitors, giving this merchandise exclusive merchandising space on its virtual shelves, and prioritizing it in search results.
Another criticism is that Amazon can charge sellers ever-increasing fees because of its dominant position, and that most sellers and brands have practically no negotiating power because of their reliance on the Amazon sales channel. Amazon also penalizes sellers for selling their merchandise for lower prices on other retail sites.
Amazon released a company blog post in response to Tuesday’s report, calling it “flawed thinking” that Amazon is engaging in anti-competitive business practices, and that antitrust regulatory action “would have the primary effect of forcing millions of independent retailers out of online stores.”
“All large organizations attract the attention of regulators, and we welcome that scrutiny. But large companies are not dominant by definition, and the presumption that success can only be the result of anti-competitive behavior is simply wrong,” reads the post.
The report from Democrats argues that Facebook has expanded its monopolistic power in the social media industry by using a “copy, acquire, kill” strategy against its competitors and by unfairly hurting rival companies like Instagram (which the company purchased in 2012).
Specifically, the report argues that Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram was a blatant attempt to “neutralize a nascent competitive threat.” The report alleges that after Facebook bought Instagram, it intentionally stymied the photo-sharing app’s success so that it wouldn’t compete with Facebook internally.
The report cites a slew of internal emails, memos, and testimony from senior-level Facebook employees, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, which support the argument that Facebook crushed Instagram by exerting monopoly power.
In one email, Zuckerberg told Facebook’s former CTO that “ that he had “been thinking about … how much [Facebook] should be willing to pay to acquire mobile app companies like Instagram … that are building networks that are competitive with our own.” The report argues this proves that Zuckerberg had anti-competitive interests from the beginning.
The report also cites a former senior-level Instagram employee who told Congress that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg oversaw “brutal infighting between Instagram and Facebook” after the acquisition, with Zuckerberg slowing down Instagram’s natural growth to benefit Facebook proper. The Instagram whistleblower went so far as to call it “collusion, but within an internal monopoly. … It’s unclear to me why this should not be illegal.”
As part of their investigation, the subcommittee found an internal Facebook document called “The Cunningham Memo,” written in 2018 by Thomas Cunningham, a senior data scientist and economist at Facebook, which allegedly shows that Facebook has knowingly “tipped” its company toward becoming a monopoly, acknowledging that social media apps have tipping points where “either everyone uses them, or no-one uses them,” according to the memo. This memo was a key part of Zuckerberg’s acquisition strategy ahead of the Instagram purchase, according to internal documents and an interview the subcommittee conducted with a former Facebook employee involved with the project.
In a statement to Recode on Tuesday, Christopher Sgro, a spokesperson for Facebook, disagreed with the report’s conclusions. “Facebook is an American success story. We compete with a wide variety of services with millions, even billions, of people using them. Acquisitions are part of every industry, and just one way we innovate new technologies to deliver more value to people. Instagram and WhatsApp have reached new heights of success because Facebook has invested billions in those businesses. A strongly competitive landscape existed at the time of both acquisitions and exists today. Regulators thoroughly reviewed each deal and rightly did not see any reason to stop them at the time,” Sgro wrote.
The Democrats’ report argues that Google has a monopoly in the online search and marketing industry, creating an “ecosystem of interlocking monopolies” — which it has maintained through anti-competitive practices in two key ways.
The first is by launching an “aggressive campaign to undermine” what the report calls “vertical search providers” — which are search engines for specific topics, such as Yelp for restaurants, or Expedia for travel. The report says Google uses its dominance to “boost Google’s own inferior” content over some of these other companies’ content in its search results.
The second major way, that Google has demonstrated anti-competitive behavior, the report argues, is through “a series of anti competitive contracts” that pushed people to rely on Google search when using phones with the Android operating system (Google purchased Android in 2005).
“Documents show that Google required smartphone manufacturers to pre-install and give default status to Google’s own apps,” the report states.
Unsurprisingly, Google told Recode it disagreed with Tuesday’s reports, saying that they “feature outdated and inaccurate allegations from commercial rivals about Search and other services.
Americans simply don’t want Congress to break Google’s products or harm the free services they use every day,” read a statement in part from Julie McAlister, a spokesperson for Google.
According to the Democrats’ report on Tuesday, Apple exerts monopoly power through its oversight of software that’s downloaded on half of all mobile phones in the US. That’s a direct reference to Apple’s App Store — if you have an iPhone, you can only use apps that you download from the company’s tightly controlled Store. The subcommittee staff investigating Apple say in the report that the company has exploited its dominance to exclude some rivals from its store, unfairly favor its own apps, and charge fees that some app developers told the subcommittee are “exorbitantly high.”
Such a battle between Apple and developers over in-app fees exploded into public spotlight earlier this year when the maker of Fortnite, Epic Games, told its users they could buy the game’s virtual currency directly from Epic rather than through the Apple iOS version of the app. The reason? Epic wanted to avoid the 30 percent fee Apple charges for such in-app purchases. Dueling lawsuits ensued, and Apple even banned the game from the App Store. This is just one example of many cases like this that the report cites.
Apple, of course, refuted the conclusions in Tuesday’s report, telling Recode in a statement, “Our company does not have a dominant market share in any category where we do business. … Last year in the United States alone, the App Store facilitated $138 billion in commerce with over 85% of that amount accruing solely to third-party developers. Apple’s commission rates are firmly in the mainstream of those charged by other app stores and gaming marketplaces.”
So what’s next?
Depending on the results of the November election, Democrats may not need Republicans’ support on antitrust legislation — if Democrats sweep Congress and win the White House. (The latest polls show Democrats and Biden currently have an edge, but poll-based predictions are far from certain.)
If Biden does win the presidency, “this [report] is a roadmap for how you would tackle this under a President Joe Biden … administration,” a staff member for a Democratic member of the subcommittee told Recode.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), a member of the subcommittee, told Recode in an interview on Tuesday, “I do anticipate…that we will have signed pieces of legislation pass the House of Representatives next year.” The bi-partisan subcommittee will meet later this year to debate and potentially amend the report.
And Tuesday’s congressional reports are just the beginning of upcoming antitrust regulatory proceedings against Big Tech. The Department of Justice is imminently expected to file a lawsuit against Google for anti-competitive business practices, which several state attorney generals may sign on to. Separately, the FTC is also investigating the business practices of the tech giants over antitrust concerns.
Copper hits $7,000 a tonne as ‘green-tinted’ rally hots up – Financial Times
Copper hit $7,000 a tonne for the first time since 2018 on Wednesday, as strong demand in China and hopes for a wave of “green” stimulus measures lift the price of the vital industrial metal.
Benchmark copper prices trading on the London Metal Exchange reached as high as $7,034 in afternoon trading, their strongest level since June 2018. The metal, used in everything from air conditioning units to cars and power networks, has risen about 14 per cent this year, on the back of supply disruptions and China’s rapid recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Chinese president Xi Jinping’s pledge last month that the world’s second-largest economy would be carbon neutral by 2060 is expected to lead to a focus on renewable energy in the country’s next five-year plan, which starts in 2021. In the US, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has promised a $2tn green energy and infrastructure plan if he wins the election next month.
Copper is emerging as one of the key ways for investors to gain exposure to a rollout of more wind, solar, batteries and electric cars, due to the metal’s use in electric wiring. “We believe investor interest in gaining exposure to the ‘decarbonisation’ theme is on the verge of reaching fever pitch,” said Max Layton, an analyst at Citigroup.
China’s move last month was a “massive fundamental shift” that would give a meaningful uplift to copper demand over the next two to five years, especially in China’s electricity grid, Mr Layton said.
Analysts at Goldman Sachs said metals such as copper could enter a “green-tinted bull market”.
Copper consumption in the automotive and power sectors is set to grow by 2.3m tonnes over the next five years, accounting for almost three-quarters of projected global demand growth, Mr Layton said.
On average, an electric car contains more than three times as much copper as an internal combustion car. Copper is also used in wind turbines and to connect renewable sources of generation to the grid.
In anticipation of its rising demand, China, the world’s largest consumer of copper, has been stockpiling supplies of the metal this year, according to analysts at Macquarie. Vivienne Lloyd, an analyst at the bank, estimates that China could have stockpiled 800,000 tonnes of the metal, based on the difference between imports and production. A rise in the renminbi to a two-year high on Wednesday against the dollar also makes copper cheaper for Chinese buyers.
“We do not believe that China has over-imported refined copper in 2020,” said Nicholas Snowdon, an analyst at Goldman Sachs. “The surge in refined imports has been a necessary offset to sharp declines . . . resulting from disruptions in mine supply and scrap flows.”
Copper’s rally has also been boosted by supply interruptions due to Covid-19 restrictions on mining companies. Antofagasta, the Chilean copper miner, said on Wednesday that its third-quarter production fell 4.6 per cent in the three months to the end of September from the previous quarter.
Supply could be under further pressure depending on the outcome of a constitutional referendum in Chile this Sunday. Chile is the world’s largest copper producer, from mines owned by BHP, Glencore, Anglo American and Antofagasta. Miners could face higher taxes or tighter controls on their rights over water if Chile’s constitution is rewritten, according to analysts.
Tech Stocks Are Crushing the Market This Year: Where to Invest $1,000 Today – The Motley Fool Canada
Even amid a global pandemic that continues to wreak havoc on economies across the globe, the Canadian market is down just 5% on the year — not too bad considering at one point the S&P/TSX Composite Index dropped more than 30% in a single month.
The market crash earlier this year was one of the steepest drops that Canadians had faced in decades. It’s very possible that the worst has yet to come, but investors have witnessed an incredible bounce back over the past seven months.
The previously mentioned index has run up close to 45% since the last week of March. But even as strong as that bull run has been, many tech stocks have surged far more than 45% over the past seven months.
Canadian tech favourites like Shopify and Lightspeed have seen their share prices explode since the market began to rebound. Since the beginning of April, both tech stocks are up more than 200%.
Why are tech stocks soaring?
The global pandemic has dramatically increased the dependence on technology for both consumers and businesses across the globe. The trend of shifting towards a digital world was already evident, the pandemic just helped accelerate that digitization. As a result, we’ve seen stocks critical to helping digitize a business, such as Shopify and Lightspeed, soar throughout this pandemic.
It’s not just popular stocks like Shopify and Lightspeed that are on incredible bull runs, though. There’s a long list of Canadian tech stocks that deserve serious consideration for any investor that’s willing to hold for the long term.
I’ve covered a tech stock that has absolutely crushed the Canadian market this year. In addition to that, I believe that this company has a very strong chance to continue to outperform the Canadian market over the next decade.
The pandemic has altered the lives and routines of Canadians across the country — perhaps none bigger than the changes within the working environment. To respect social-distancing regulations, the percentage of employees working from home has skyrocketed this year. And the longer employees continue to do so, the harder it may be to return to the grind of the office commute.
Docebo (TSX:DCBO) is my top work-from-home stock. The tech company specializes in developing cloud-based learning platforms that provide a virtual training experience for employees. The technology is powered by artificial intelligence, aimed to develop a unique learning experience for each user.
The tech stock has been a public company for just over one year. It’s a short track record to review performance, but investors that picked up shares just about at any point over the past year would be sitting on gains today.
Since the beginning of the year, the stock is up 215%. That’s not too bad considering the Canadian market is down 5%. But if you were fortunate to pick up shares at the lowest point of the year, you’d be up more than 400%.
Valuation is my biggest knock against Docebo. Growth of more than 200% on the year doesn’t come without the risk of extreme levels of volatility.
The company trades today at a very expensive price-to-sales ratio of 30. It might seem high, but that’s the cost of investing in a company that has grown 400% over the seven months.
Foolish bottom line
Just because the market is down on the year doesn’t mean there aren’t any companies that are growing. The tech industry is full of stocks that are trading near all-time highs today.
If you’re able to hold for the long term and can stomach the highly anticipated volatility over the short term, this is one tech stock that has the potential to continue to outperform the market for a long time.
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Fool contributor Nicholas Dobroruka owns shares of Lightspeed POS Inc and Shopify. Tom Gardner owns shares of Shopify. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Shopify and Shopify. The Motley Fool owns shares of Lightspeed POS Inc.
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Cell Surface Markers Market Research Report by Product, by Source, by Cell Type, by Application, by End User – Global Forecast to 2025 – Cumulative Impact of COVID-19
Cell Surface Markers Market Research Report by Product (Antibodies and Pcr Arrays), by Source (Mice and Rats), by Cell Type, by Application, by End User – Global Forecast to 2025 – Cumulative Impact of COVID-19New York, Oct. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Reportlinker.com announces the release of the report “Cell Surface Markers Market Research Report by Product, by Source, by Cell Type, by Application, by End User – Global Forecast to 2025 – Cumulative Impact of COVID-19” – https://www.reportlinker.com/p05913780/?utm_source=GNW The Global Cell Surface Markers Market is expected to grow from USD 561.02 Million in 2019 to USD 903.48 Million by the end of 2025 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.26%. Market Segmentation & Coverage: This research report categorizes the Cell Surface Markers to forecast the revenues and analyze the trends in each of the following sub-markets: Based on Product, the Cell Surface Markers Market studied across Antibodies and Pcr Arrays. Based on Source, the Cell Surface Markers Market studied across Mice and Rats. Based on Cell Type, the Cell Surface Markers Market studied across B Cell Surface Markers, Monocyte Cell Surface Markers, NK Cell Surface Markers, and T Cell Surface Markers. Based on Application, the Cell Surface Markers Market studied across Clinical and Research. The Clinical further studied across Immunodeficiency Diseases and Oncology. The Research further studied across Drug Discovery, Immunology, and Stem Cell Research. Based on End User, the Cell Surface Markers Market studied across Academic & Research Institutes, Hospitals & Clinical Testing Laboratories, and Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Companies. Based on Geography, the Cell Surface Markers Market studied across Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe, Middle East & Africa. The Americas region surveyed across Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and United States. The Asia-Pacific region surveyed across Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand. The Europe, Middle East & Africa region surveyed across France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom. Company Usability Profiles: The report deeply explores the recent significant developments by the leading vendors and innovation profiles in the Global Cell Surface Markers Market including Abcam, Becton, Dickinson and Company, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Bio-Techne, Biolegend, Cell Signaling Technology, Danaher Corporation, F. Hoffman-La Roche, Genscript, Merk KGaA, Qiagen N.V., and Thermo Fisher Scientific. FPNV Positioning Matrix: The FPNV Positioning Matrix evaluates and categorizes the vendors in the Cell Surface Markers Market on the basis of Business Strategy (Business Growth, Industry Coverage, Financial Viability, and Channel Support) and Product Satisfaction (Value for Money, Ease of Use, Product Features, and Customer Support) that aids businesses in better decision making and understanding the competitive landscape. Competitive Strategic Window: The Competitive Strategic Window analyses the competitive landscape in terms of markets, applications, and geographies. The Competitive Strategic Window helps the vendor define an alignment or fit between their capabilities and opportunities for future growth prospects. During a forecast period, it defines the optimal or favorable fit for the vendors to adopt successive merger and acquisition strategies, geography expansion, research & development, and new product introduction strategies to execute further business expansion and growth. Cumulative Impact of COVID-19: COVID-19 is an incomparable global public health emergency that has affected almost every industry, so for and, the long-term effects projected to impact the industry growth during the forecast period. Our ongoing research amplifies our research framework to ensure the inclusion of underlaying COVID-19 issues and potential paths forward. The report is delivering insights on COVID-19 considering the changes in consumer behavior and demand, purchasing patterns, re-routing of the supply chain, dynamics of current market forces, and the significant interventions of governments. The updated study provides insights, analysis, estimations, and forecast, considering the COVID-19 impact on the market. The report provides insights on the following pointers: 1. Market Penetration: Provides comprehensive information on the market offered by the key players 2. Market Development: Provides in-depth information about lucrative emerging markets and analyzes the markets 3. Market Diversification: Provides detailed information about new product launches, untapped geographies, recent developments, and investments 4. Competitive Assessment & Intelligence: Provides an exhaustive assessment of market shares, strategies, products, and manufacturing capabilities of the leading players 5. Product Development & Innovation: Provides intelligent insights on future technologies, R&D activities, and new product developments The report answers questions such as: 1. What is the market size and forecast of the Global Cell Surface Markers Market? 2. What are the inhibiting factors and impact of COVID-19 shaping the Global Cell Surface Markers Market during the forecast period? 3. Which are the products/segments/applications/areas to invest in over the forecast period in the Global Cell Surface Markers Market? 4. What is the competitive strategic window for opportunities in the Global Cell Surface Markers Market? 5. What are the technology trends and regulatory frameworks in the Global Cell Surface Markers Market? 6. What are the modes and strategic moves considered suitable for entering the Global Cell Surface Markers Market? Read the full report: https://www.reportlinker.com/p05913780/?utm_source=GNW About Reportlinker ReportLinker is an award-winning market research solution. Reportlinker finds and organizes the latest industry data so you get all the market research you need – instantly, in one place. __________________________ CONTACT: Clare: firstname.lastname@example.org US: (339)-368-6001 Intl: +1 339-368-6001
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