Yesterday, 9:51 AM
- What could have been: With Tesla (TSLA -0.5%) in dire straits in March 2013 as the company struggled to fix Model S bugs and convert pre-orders into actual sales, Elon Musk reached out to Larry Page and "proposed that Google (GOOG +1.6%) buy Tesla outright," Bloomberg's Ashlee Vance reports through an excerpt from a Musk book due out on May 19.
- Vance adds Tesla would've cost Google $6B at the time after factoring "a healthy premium" - Tesla's market cap is currently $25.9B. As part of the deal, Musk wanted Google to promise to invest $5B in factory expansions and let Musk run Tesla for 8 years, until it was ready to launch a mass-market car.
- While "Musk, Page, and Google’s lawyers negotiated the specific terms of the deal" in the following weeks, Tesla's Model S sales began to take off, and the company posted its first profit and repaid its DOE loan. No longer needing a white knight, Musk broke off talks.
- A $6B Tesla acquisition would've been one of Google's largest, surpassed in size only by Motorola Mobility. Google, of course, has kept pushing ahead with its self-driving car efforts since 2013; the company has said it's talking with GM, Ford, Toyota, and others about bringing a self-driving car to market by 2020. Tesla has some interest in this space as well.
- Last year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Musk met with Apple M&A execs in 2013. Apple's reported car efforts have fueled fresh speculation the company will make a bid for Tesla.
Wed, Apr. 15, 6:51 AM
- EU regulators have formally accused Google (GOOG, GOOGL) of violating the bloc's antitrust laws by abusing its dominance in Internet searches, intensifying a long-running case that had stalled for years despite three attempts at a voluntary settlement.
- Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said this morning that the tech giant had been sent a Statement of Objections to which it can respond.
- EU regulators have also opened a formal investigation into Google's business practices relating to its Android operating system for mobile phones.
- Previously: Europe's regulator filing formal antitrust charges against Google (Apr. 14 2015)
Tue, Apr. 14, 3:26 PM
- Europe's antitrust regulator is filing formal charges against Google (GOOG -1.6%) following its five-year investigation, Dow Jones reports.
- The news comes ahead of the EC's competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, headed on her first trip to Washington tomorrow.
- It's the EU's highest profile antitrust suit since similar action against Microsoft 10 years ago.
Mon, Apr. 13, 3:48 AM
- The European Commission will decide "very soon" whether to issue antitrust charges against Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), its digital commissioner said on Sunday, following five years of investigating whether the Internet giant abused its dominance of the European search-engine market.
- Former competition commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, sought three times to reach a voluntary settlement with Google, although each one of those attempts failed.
- Current commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, departs on her first trip to Washington on Wednesday to participate in two antitrust conferences.
- Previously: EU to file antitrust charges against Google (Apr. 02 2015)
Sat, Apr. 11, 7:04 PM
- Following an NYT column featuring remarks from exec Bill Hilf that that were taken to suggest HP (NYSE:HPQ) is exiting the public cloud infrastructure (IaaS) market, HP has told CRN it remains committed to the space. However, the IT giant adds (echoing Hilf's remarks) it's "not competing head-to-head with the big public cloud players," such as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).
- HP's comments follow the February departure of top cloud exec Marten Mickos (joined via the Eucalyptus acquisition), and the splitting of his responsibilities between Hilf and two other execs. The company entered the public cloud market in 2012, and (like many other enterprise IT firms) has been a backer of the OpenStack IaaS platform (pitched as an open-source alternative to Amazon/Google/Microsoft's proprietary offerings). HP asserts it has the largest OpenStack public cloud in existence.
- HP's stance arguably highlights the challenges traditional enterprise IT names face in countering the cost and scale advantages possessed by IaaS market leaders, who have often eschewed the hardware of IT giants in favor of cheap white-label hardware produced by Asian contract manufacturers. HP has partnered with Taiwan's Foxconnn and Accton to offer white-box gear for cloud providers.
- Synergy Research estimates the broader "cloud infrastructure service" market (covers IaaS and PaaS, as well as private and hybrid clouds) grew 48% in 2014 to $16B, as more on-premise workloads get migrated to cloud environments and various cloud service providers relying on IaaS/PaaS infrastructures see rapid growth. Amazon towered over the space with a near-30% share, close to 3x that of #2 Microsoft. IBM, Google, and Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) rounded out the top 5.
Wed, Apr. 8, 6:49 PM
- After stating last fall it's considering an ad-free YouTube subscription service, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has confirmed its plans to offer one through an e-mail sent to content providers. No ETA has been given; Bloomberg reports the service might launch later this year.
- Content providers will collectively get a 55% share of monthly subscription revenue, with a specific provider's cut based on its viewing/watchtime share for "all or a subset" of the service's content. Content providers have historically received a 55% cut on ad revenue produced by their material.
- With over 1B monthly active users, getting just 5% of YouTube's base to pay $8/month (on par with Netflix's grandfathered pricing) to go ad-free could yield over $4.8B/year in gross revenue (over $2.2B/year net). That would top the $4B in gross revenue YouTube reportedly brought in last year.
- The planned ad-free service is separate from YouTube Music Key, which provides both YouTube music videos and audio-only music streams ad-free. Key remains in trial mode and is expected to cost $10/month following a promo period.
- Update: Sources tell The Verge the service is expected to launch "within the next few months," and will support offline viewing/storage.
Wed, Apr. 8, 2:13 PM
- Though Goldman remains Twitter's (TWTR -1%) banker, Re/code reports the firm isn't working to fend off a hostile Twitter bid, as suggested by M&A rumors that emerged yesterday.
- The site adds there are no discussions going on between Twitter and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) or Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), though the Web giants have looked at Twitter in prior years.
- After rising 4% yesterday with the help of M&A rumors, Twitter is off moderately today. Back in January, Re/code reported the microblogging leader is worried about potential attacks from activists, and that former employees have been contacted by hedge funds looking to unearth info on lightning-rod CEO Dick Costolo.
Wed, Apr. 8, 11:51 AM
- Angie's List (NASDAQ:ANGI) has tumbled 5.8% as B. Riley goes Neutral on the stock, a downgrade from Buy.
- The firm lowered its price target to $6.75, from $12.50. The stock closed at $6.07 yesterday and are now trading at $5.72. Analysts for the most part have Hold ratings on the stock.
- Shares have now fallen 8.5% in the week and a half since Amazon.com announced its Home Services site to connect customers with local service professionals. BuzzFeed reports that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is considering a jump into the market as well later this spring, with a plan to connect Web searchers directly to local providers.
Sun, Apr. 5, 8:47 AM
- Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is in talks with Hutchison Whampoa (OTCPK:HUWHY, OTCPK:HUWHF) for a deal that would allow Americans to use their phones abroad at no extra cost. Hutchison could give Google access to mobile service in the UK, Ireland, Italy, and several more markets.
- Google's goal, sources say, is to create a global network with the same cost for calls, texts, and data no matter where a customer is located. Hutchison would be a natural partner for Google, because it has also sought to eliminate roaming charges for its customers.
- Google has so far described its mobile network aspirations as "small scale." A serious move by Google or Apple to enter the mobile market would be feared by U.S. giants AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), Sprint (NYSE:S) and others.
Thu, Apr. 2, 2:25 AM
- Europe's competition regulator is preparing the groundwork to file charges against Google (GOOG, GOOGL) in the next few weeks, looking to conclude the five-year-old antitrust investigation of the Internet-search giant.
- The move would kick off the EU's highest-profile antitrust suit since its lengthy campaign that started a decade ago against Microsoft, which paid the bloc €1.7B in fines through 2012.
- To complete the probe, the European Commission is now asking companies that filed complaints against Google for permission to publish some of the information they submitted confidentially.
- Previously: EU lawmakers vote for Google breakup (Nov. 27 2014)
Tue, Mar. 31, 2:04 PM
- Google's (GOOG -0.1%) Chromebit, launching this summer in partnership with Asus (OTC:ASUUY) for "less than $100," allows any TV or monitor with an HDMI port to be turned into a Chrome OS PC by plugging in a flash drive-like stick. It arrives two years after Google launched its $35 Chromecast HDMI streaming stick.
- Also unveiled: 1) $149 Chromebooks from China's Haier and Hisense; the notebooks are respectively sold by Amazon and Wal-mart, feature 11.6" displays and quad-core ARM CPUs from China's Rockchip, and are declared to provide all-day battery life. 2) Asus' Chromebook Flip, a $249 all-metal touchscreen notebook; it arrives later this spring.
- IDC estimates Chrome OS, whose success has been the matter of much debate, accounted for 3.5% of 2014 global PC shipments and 29.9% of U.S. education market shipments.
- Separately, Google has launched new app install ad options for Android developers looking to promote their apps. Ads can now appear on the Google Display Network (supported by 2M publisher sites), and support for in-app ads has been expanded to include video ads.
- Google already shows app install ads in mobile search results, as well as through its AdMob unit's display ad network and (more recently) within Google Play. Facebook, which still leads the market, recently announced it had driven over 1M downloads through its app install ads.
Fri, Mar. 27, 9:54 AM
- Johnson & Johnson (JNJ +0.5%) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) establish a collaboration to develop a robotic-assisted surgery program. Terms are not disclosed.
- J&J Chairman Gary Pruden says, "This collaboration with Google is another important step in our commitment to advancing surgical care."
- Robotic-assisted surgery, led by Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) with its da Vinci systems, is forecasted to grow at a double-digit rate through at least 2020, according to iData Research.
Fri, Mar. 27, 2:36 AM
- Ruth Porat, who said earlier this week she would leave her job as Morgan Stanley's (NYSE:MS) finance chief to take the same role at Google (GOOG, GOOGL), will be paid more than $70M in the next two years through a combination of restricted stock units and a biennial grant.
- She will also make more than most Wall Street CEOs, including her old boss, Morgan Stanley chief executive James Gorman, who was paid $18M in 2013.
- Google's outgoing CFO Patrick Pichette was paid $62.2M for the three years through 2013.
- Previously: Google hires new CFO from Morgan Stanley (Mar. 24 2015)
Thu, Mar. 26, 6:59 PM
- Though Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) are squaring off more than ever following yesterday's Facebook F8 conference product launches, none of it is intentional, insists Mark Zuckerberg in a Wired interview.
- Zuck: "To the extent that we are doing measurement and Google did measurement, that’s just because Google is smart and they also realize that measurement is valuable ... Same on the video front ... we are not thinking about how we are competing with YouTube. We are thinking about how are we going to make it more useful for people to share stuff on Facebook."
- Facebook's launch of a mobile ad exchange (competes against Google's DoubleClick, leverages Facebook data) and embedded video support (YouTube dominates video embeds) has led to more than a few headlines declaring Facebook is out to take Google's lunch. The companies already compete in multiple ad markets.
- On the mobile ad exchange front, at least, the competitive overlap might be less than some think. As Foreester's Jim Nail observes, DoubleClick's exchange, much like Google search, focuses on intent-based advertising (i.e. ads for items users have recently expressed interest in), while Facebook's natural strength is targeting based on a user's historical likes.
- Other Facebook F8 news: 1) Facebook has provided details about Aquila, a solar-powered drone that will have a wingspan similar to a Boeing 767, and be used lasers to beam Web access to underserved regions. Google bought drone maker Titan Aerospace last year. 2) Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash promises big things for virtual reality, once tech challenges are resolved. "Virtual reality -- done right -- truly is reality as far as the observer is concerned ... It's clear that VR has the potential to change almost everything about the way we live."
- Yesterday: Zuck shares stats, launches Messenger app platform
Wed, Mar. 25, 3:18 PM
- Continuing its flurry of F8 conference announcements, Facebook (FB -2.5%) states publishers will now be able to embed videos on other sites; all they have to do is click on an "embed" button and copy/paste some code. The move makes Facebook a bigger threat to YouTube (NASDAQ:GOOG); it's already a major indirect rival to the online video giant.
- Confirming a recent Bloomberg report, Facebook is launching (via its LiveRail video ad unit) a mobile ad exchange that lets 3rd-party publishers sell both display and video ads with the help of Facebook data. The solution takes aim at Google's DoubleClick and Twitter's (NYSE:TWTR) MoPub units.
- Facebook's Parse mobile developer tool unit has launched SDKs for creating apps that run on embedded/wearable devices (the proverbial Internet of Things). Meanwhile, Facebook proper is showing off Analytics for Apps,a dashboard that provides stats on how a Facebook-enabled app is being used (and who's using it) across multiple platforms; the solution includes tools for measuring ad performance.
- Disclosed: 1) Native ad formats account for over half of all Facebook Audience Network (mobile ad network, launched last year) ads. 2) Over 400K developers now use Parse's tools. 3) Over 1B apps have now been installed via Facebook's app install ads.
- After getting a brief bounce, Facebook has sold off to new intraday lows. The Nasdaq is now down 1.9%.
- Earlier: Zuck shares stats, launches Messenger app platform at Facebook's F8
Tue, Mar. 24, 9:18 AM
- Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) CFO Ruth Porat has been named Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) new CFO, effective May 26.
- Porat, 57, has been Morgan Stanley's CFO since 2009. Before that, she was the company''s vice chair of investment banking. In 2013, Porat was rumored to be in the running for deputy Treasury secretary, before withdrawing her name from the race.
- News of her hiring comes two weeks after Google announced long-time CFO Patrick Pichette is retiring. Many investors have been hoping a new CFO will sign off on dividends and/or buybacks - Morgan Stanley has a history of providing both during Porat's tenure as CFO.
- GOOG +1.1% premarket to $565.00.
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