Alternative Data Company Thasos to Offer Info to Bloomberg

Your smartphone creates data constantly, and now a few companies are leveraging it to give Wall Street traders a leg up on market movements. So-called alternative data includes a range of information, from credit-card charges to construction permits. Thasos is one of the leading companies reaping such data from about 1,000 apps, which share the user’s location. Beginning this month, AI-based data analytics firm Thasos Group will offer its data through Bloomberg terminals. Company founder/chief executive Greg Skibiski calls the smartphone a “beacon.” Continue reading Alternative Data Company Thasos to Offer Info to Bloomberg

In First, Amazon Offers Free Holiday Shipping for All Orders

To better compete with Walmart and Target for online holiday shopping, Amazon will offer free shipping without the $25 minimum purchase required of shoppers who are not Prime members. This first-time Amazon offer is good only in the U.S., and will be in effect from November 5 until Amazon can no longer promise delivery in time for Christmas, typically five to eight days. Also for the upcoming holiday season, Amazon plans to add 100,000 staffers, fewer than the last two holiday seasons, evidence that the company is successfully automating operations. Continue reading In First, Amazon Offers Free Holiday Shipping for All Orders

Amazon Seeks Efficiency While Investing in New Businesses

After decades of unreliable profits, Amazon has had four consecutive quarters with profits over $1 billion, and a net income of $2.9 billion in Q3. Although the numbers exceeded analysts’ expectations, the e-commerce giant also revealed that revenue in its core retail business was below expectations, with sales up 29 percent to $56.6 billion, and sales in its online store rose only 11 percent over the last year, half the pace of a year ago. As a result, discontent investors recently dropped shares 7 percent in aftermarket trading. Continue reading Amazon Seeks Efficiency While Investing in New Businesses

Microsoft Develops Hybrid Cloud Solution Strategy with Azure

Microsoft’s major investment in the cloud is beginning to pay off. In the last several quarters, this sector has grown so fast that the company’s market cap has soared to about $785 billion. Now, Microsoft reported that the results of its latest quarter have exceeded analyst expectations. When Satya Nadella became chief executive, Microsoft’s revenue largely came from marketing its Windows operating system on personal computers. Nadella turned the company towards cloud computing, with Azure as its core offering. Continue reading Microsoft Develops Hybrid Cloud Solution Strategy with Azure

Electronic Arts to Launch Subscription Service for PC Games

Electronic Arts has embraced a subscription model for its latest PC games, following similar moves by Sony and Microsoft to offer older games via subscription. EA’s Origin Access Premier, to debut this summer, will give full access to more than 100 of its games and some other publishers’ titles, for $15 per month or $100 annually. Ordinarily, games such as “Battlefield V” and “FIFA 19” cost $60 each. Electronic Arts comes in second after Activision Blizzard, the biggest U.S. video game publisher. Continue reading Electronic Arts to Launch Subscription Service for PC Games

Advertisers Strategize Response to Facebook’s Watch Platform

Facebook launched its Watch video platform in the U.S. this summer, to increase viewership of videos on its site, and as a destination for longer-form video that stands apart from Facebook’s News Feed. In the few months it’s been live, Facebook Watch already includes hundreds of shows, including content funded by Facebook such as reality series, docu-series, a dating show and live-streaming weekly Major League Baseball games and NCAA college basketball. Now, Morgan Stanley reports on just how well Watch is performing. Continue reading Advertisers Strategize Response to Facebook’s Watch Platform

GM Close to Commercial Version of Autonomous Chevy Bolt

GM is showing off its latest autonomous vehicles, battery-powered Chevrolet Bolts, to investment analysts in San Francisco. Up until now, the car manufacturer has been reluctant to subject the cars it’s developed through its Cruise Automation subsidiary to scrutiny, but now wants to signal that it’s getting closer to a real product. In fact, GM president Daniel Ammann revealed that the driverless cars will be ready for consumers in “quarters, not years.” GM also aims to launch a driverless taxi fleet by 2019. Continue reading GM Close to Commercial Version of Autonomous Chevy Bolt

Apple’s Innovative Chips Ready to Lead in AR, AI, Wearables

The new iPhone X offers several new features, but none of them more innovative than the neural engine that is part of Apple’s new A11 Bionic SoC processor. Artificial neural networks, which excel at processing images and speech, are behind the phone’s ability to recognize the user’s face to unlock it, transfer facial expressions onto Animoji (animated emoji), and other, as-of-yet unspecified features. As Apple moves into augmented reality and image recognition, the neural engine will likely be central to these endeavors. Continue reading Apple’s Innovative Chips Ready to Lead in AR, AI, Wearables

Drop in Profits and Stock Price Follow Amazon’s Hiring Surge

Amazon is ramping up hiring, which is why it posted a 51 percent increase in general and administrative costs and one reason why its stock price dropped more than 3 percent. The company consistently hires for warehouse positions, and hopes to add 50,000 more workers at an August 2 job fair. The growth rate of salespeople for its AWS cloud computing and advertising businesses is also accelerating faster than the 42 percent company average, and Amazon says it will continue to spend on growth, meaning lower profits will also continue. Continue reading Drop in Profits and Stock Price Follow Amazon’s Hiring Surge

Morgan Stanley Values Netflix Content Assets at $11 Billion

According to Morgan Stanley, as of March 2017 the net value of Netflix content was valued at $11 billion, significantly higher than the content assets of many top media companies. “At the same time, however, the revenue Netflix generates on that base of content trails traditional TV and film conglomerates,” reports Variety. “Netflix pulls in about $1 of revenue per dollar of net content value, versus $2-$4 among old-school entertainment companies.” There is no guarantee that Netflix, which just earned 92 Emmy nominations, can monetize its content similarly to traditional television networks, especially since it does not sell advertising. Regardless, Morgan Stanley analysts wrote “Netflix is building a much larger profit pool than the market understands.” Continue reading Morgan Stanley Values Netflix Content Assets at $11 Billion

Snap Inc. Preps for Public Offering, Embarks on Investors Tour

Snap Inc. revealed that it expects to be valued at as much as $22.2 billion in its upcoming public offering. Share prices are expected to land between $14 and $16, the midpoint of which would value the company at $20.9 billion. All of these figures are significantly higher than the $16.5 billion Snap valued itself at in late 2016, and the final pricing of the new shares, and the company’s overall valuation, could still change. First Snap executives will launch a two-week tour of investors across the country. Continue reading Snap Inc. Preps for Public Offering, Embarks on Investors Tour

Amazon and Google Look to Turn Home Speakers into Phones

Both Amazon and Google are thinking about turning their respective home speakers — Echo and Google Home — into home telephones. Knowledgeable sources say the tech giants could introduce the feature this year, with the goal of gaining yet more control over consumers’ home lives. But the companies are also finding that it’s not so simple, facing issues related to privacy, telecom regulations and emergency services — as well as the potential that consumers will be wary that their conversations are being recorded. Continue reading Amazon and Google Look to Turn Home Speakers into Phones

Amazon: Prime, Other Subscription Services Earn $6.4 Billion

For the first time, Amazon is revealing earnings from its Prime membership program as well as other subscription services, in a 77-page document. Up until now, the company has been tight-lipped on such numbers, leaving investors to wonder how these important services are faring. The last time Amazon revealed numbers, in April 2015, it detailed the profitability of its Amazon Web Services, resulting in analysts and investors bumping the company’s value upwards. Since then, shares in Amazon have more than doubled. Continue reading Amazon: Prime, Other Subscription Services Earn $6.4 Billion

Fiat Chrysler/Waymo Self-Driving Vehicle a Collaborative First

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Google unveiled a self-driving minivan built by Fiat Chrysler and featuring sensors and vision systems from Waymo, the company that spun off from Google parent Alphabet. The van is the first major collaboration between a Detroit car manufacturer and a Silicon Valley behemoth, and is an example of Waymo’s strategy of partnering with automakers that may not want to fully shoulder the financial burden of building a self-driving car from scratch. General Motors and Ford Motor are building their own autonomous cars. Continue reading Fiat Chrysler/Waymo Self-Driving Vehicle a Collaborative First

High Profile Snap IPO Could Push Other Startups to Go Public

Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. has confidentially filed for its IPO, according to sources familiar with the matter. The four-year old messaging app could go public as early as March 2017, in what is expected to be one of the highest-profile stock debuts in years, and one that could potentially convince other tech startups to test public markets. The Venice, California-based company is looking to raise as much as $4 billion, with a valuation in the $25 billion range, which could make it the largest U.S.-listed tech offering since Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba went public in 2014. Continue reading High Profile Snap IPO Could Push Other Startups to Go Public

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