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Google Surpasses $1,000 for First Time on Ad Optimism

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Google Inc. (GOOG) reached $1,000 for the first time amid optimism about new advertising for wireless devices and online video, joining a small club of U.S. stocks.

The world’s largest search-engine company gained 14 percent to a record $1,011.41 at the close in New York. The stock, sold at $85 in a 2004 initial public offering, has risen every year since except for 2010 and 2008, when it slumped 56 percent during the recession.

Google is stepping up investments to boost capacity and introduce services that encourage marketers to direct more spending toward wireless devices. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Oct. 18 (Bloomberg) –- First there were the Googles and Yahoos of the world, and now, there’s Blippex. Based in Berlin, the new search engine ranks results by time people spend on a page — and it doesn’t collect personal information. Bloomberg Television spoke to the Blippex founder. (Source: Bloomberg)

The Internet company is benefiting from ads for new formats after expanding beyond delivering advertisements alongside search results on desktop computers. Google should take 33 percent of the global online-advertising market this year, up from 31 percent in 2012, according to EMarketer Inc.

“It’s not complicated,” said Martin Pyykkonen, an analyst at Wedge Partners Corp. in Greenwood Village, Colorado. “This is a story that is a proven business model. The bottom line is this is a great growth stock.”

Google, based in Mountain View, California, already has one of the highest market capitalizations in the U.S. at about $330 billion, trailing only Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Exxon Mobil Corp. Among the few companies with a stock price above $1,000 are online-travel company Priceline.com Inc. and Seaboard Corp., a producer of turkey and hog with a market value of just $3 billion.

A majority of analysts are predicting further stock gains for Google, with 35 recommending to buy the shares and 13 advising to hold them, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. None has a sell rating. Google is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 28, the data show, lower than Facebook Inc.’s (FB) 237 and Yahoo Inc.’s 29.

Ad-Price Drop

The stock jumped today after Google reported third-quarter sales and profit that beat estimates yesterday.

As the company navigates a shift to mobile promotions from pricier search-based ads on desktops, it is relying on a simple maxim: volume, not just price. Last quarter, the volume of clicks on advertisements climbed at the fastest pace this year, compensating for a drop in average-ad prices.

“As long as we continue to see that higher-than-expected volume coupled with the lower pricing, I’m OK with it,” said Josh Olson, an analyst at Edward Jones & Co., who rates the stock a buy. “It just signals they have good demand for that mobile business.”

Google also stepped up investments to boost capacity and introduce services that encourage marketers to direct more spending toward wireless devices.

Volume Gains

Third-quarter revenue, excluding sales passed on to partner sites, was $11.92 billion, exceeding the average projection for $11.64 billion, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Profit excluding certain items was $10.74 a share, topping the average projection of $10.36. Net income jumped 36 percent to $2.97 billion from the year-earlier period.

“They continue to grow — for a company this size, very solid growth, still very profitable despite all the investments they’re making,” said Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. who rates the stock the equivalent of a buy.

The push to boost volumes — which rose 23 percent in the second quarter and 20 percent in the first — took its toll on Google’s gross profit margin, which shrank to 56.9 percent, the lowest level this year, based on data compiled by Bloomberg.

The search provider has been working to address falling prices. This year, it introduced an advertising service called “enhanced campaigns,” encouraging marketers to funnel more of their spending to wireless devices.

Ad Initiatives

Google is expanding its advertising in other ways, including working with direct rivals such as Facebook. Customers of its DoubleClick Bid Manager, which helps companies quickly buy ads across the Internet, will soon get access to the Facebook Exchange, Google said today. The feature, available to Google clients in the next few months, will let marketers target Facebook users based on their browsing.

The campaigns and other initiatives should help average ad prices recover in the next year or so, according to Victor Anthony, an analyst at Topeka Capital Markets Inc.

“The results clearly demonstrate that Google remains kind of the best of breed, best of class in the online advertising space, really within the Internet space itself,” Anthony said.

Revenue at Google’s sites, including the search page and YouTube, expanded 22 percent, faster than the 18 percent in the previous quarter.

Ad Growth

“My goal was to ensure that Google maintains the passion and soul of the startup as we grow,” Chief Executive Officer Larry Page said in a call with analysts yesterday. “That’s why I worked so hard to increase the velocity and execution.”

Page, who became CEO in 2011, said that he won’t join every earnings call in the future, citing a need to prioritize his time. The co-founder last missed a call in July 2012 after he lost his voice, which forced him to miss other company events as well. In May, Page disclosed a health condition resulting in hoarse speech and labored breathing, noting that it wouldn’t impede him from running the company.

Google is making other changes. Earlier this month, the search provider said it would update its marketing rules to allow users’ names and photos to be used in more promotions.

The company and Facebook are taking market share from Yahoo, which earlier this week reported a decline in revenue, while profit was bolstered by the Web portal’s stake in China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Google is pushing for better results in other areas, including in hardware. Its Motorola mobile unit, which the company bought last year in its biggest acquisition ever, announced a flagship Moto X smartphone in August, an effort to boost sagging market share. Revenue in the division declined 34 percent to $1.18 billion.

“Google has a lot of things going for it,” said Sameet Sinha, an analyst at B. Riley & Co, who rates the stock a buy and doesn’t own it. “Google has its fingers in every pie.”

source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-18/google-surpasses-1-000-for-first-time-on-optimism-for-new-ads.html

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TODAY’S TOP TECH NEWS, NOV 29: EX-LAZADA EXECUTIVES’ STARTUP EASYSHIP RAISES US$4M

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Easyship’s platform plugin and integrations enable stores to print labels, automate international paperwork, and display real-time courier rates

Hong Kong-based Easyship raises US$4M Series A [press release]

Easyship, a shipping platform for active SMBs to simplify and automate logistics, announced today it has raised a US$4 million in Series A round of funding from a slew of investors, including Maximilian Bittner, ex-CEO & Founder of Lazada and Senior Advisor of Alibaba Group; and Richard Lepeu, ex-CEO of global luxury giant Richemont and board member of Yoox Net-A-Porter Group.

Existing investors Lamivoie Capital Partners and Richard Lepeu, as well as Rubicon Venture Capital, One Way Ventures, Kima Ventures and Picus Capital, have also co-invested.

The startup was founded in 2015 by Tommaso Tamburnotti and Augustin Ceyrac (both formerly worked at Lazada), and Paul Lugagne Delpon. Easyship’s cloud-based platform helps e-commerce merchants ship worldwide. Its platform plugin and integrations enable stores to print labels, automate international paperwork, display real-time courier rates, and offer their customers dynamic tax and duties at checkout.

The startup has offices in New York, Singapore, Netherlands, Australia, and Hong Kong.

Singapore’s GIC backs EV charging network ChargePoint’s US$240M funding [DealStreetAsia]

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC has joined a group of investors backing the US$240 million Series H funding in ChargePoint, a California-headquartered electric vehicle charging network, according to an announcement.

ChargePoint claims to have more than 57,000 independently owned public and semi-public charging spots and thousands of customers.

Other investors in the round include American Electric Power, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Chevron Technology Ventures, Clearvision and Daimler Truck & Buses. Quantum Energy Partners was the lead investor.

Korea’s blockchain casino project MECA Casino raises investment from ICON [press release]

South Korea-based blockchain project ICON has made a strategic investment in MECA Casino, a blockchain casino project.

MECA Casino is a DApp (Decentralised Application) of ICON and it is a reverse ICO project by Crypto Meca. MECA Casino has been developing casino games for more than three years and is ready to launch blackjack and baccarat table games. MECA Casino plans to open ‘the largest decentralised casino platform’ including sports betting solution by Q4 of 2019.

‘Master System’ of MECA Casino enables users to become ‘master’ who is an operator of casinos to be profitable from casino operation. ‘Masters’ can upgrade their casinos to attract more players, gain higher profits, and trade casinos with other potential Masters. Players can exchange MECA Coin (MCA) with MECA Chip (MCC) to play games in MECA Casino or trade casinos.

Revolut is ready to launch in Singapore and Japan [TechCrunch]

Fintech startup Revolut has been teasing Asian market expansions for more than a year, but it sounds like it might finally happen. The company has secured licenses to operate in Singapore and Japan. It now expects to launch its service in Q1 2019.

In Singapore, the company was granted a Remittance License by the Monetary Authority and a Stored Value Facility approval — these two things combined let Revolut users hold money as well as send and spend money. In Japan, the company has been authorised to operate by Japan’s Finance Service Agency. __ yahoo news

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MICROSOFT WINS US$480MIL ARMY BATTLEFIELD CONTRACT

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Microsoft Corp has won a US$480mil (RM2.01bil) contract to supply prototypes for augmented reality systems to the Army for use on combat missions and in training, the Army said.

The contract, which could eventually lead to the military purchasing over 100,000 headsets, is intended to “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy”, according to a government description of the programme.

“Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions. This new work extends our longstanding, trusted relationship with the Department of Defence to this new area,” a Microsoft spokesman said in an emailed statement.

The US Army and the Israeli military have already used Microsoft’s HoloLens devices in training, but plans for live combat would be a significant step forward.

HoloLens is one of the leading consumer-grade headsets, but a large consumer market doesn’t yet exist; a video made for the European Patent Office this spring said it had sold about 50,000 devices. That’s about half the number the Army expects to buy through its augmented reality programme, which is called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS.

With the contract, the Army immediately becomes one of Microsoft’s most important HoloLens consumers. It expects devices to vary from their consumer-grade counterparts in a handful of key respects. In a document shared with companies bidding on the contract, the Army said it wanted to incorporate night vision and thermal sensing, measure vital signs like breathing and “readiness”, monitor for concussions and offer hearing protection. It said the winning bidder would be expected to deliver 2,500 headsets within two years, and exhibit the capacity for full-scale production.

The contract went though a bidding process designed to encourage the Army to do business with companies who aren’t traditional defence contractors. Magic Leap, which makes the main competitor to HoloLens for the consumer market, also pursued the contract. In early August, the Army held meetings with 25 companies interested in participating in some way, including Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp, Lockheed Martin Corp, and Raytheon Co. The technology industry’s cooperation with the US military and law enforcement has become increasingly tense over the last year, with employees at companies like Alphabet Inc’s Google and Amazon.com Inc pushing back against government contracts.

Earlier this year, hundreds of Microsoft workers signed a petition criticising a contract with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement that Microsoft had originally said included some of its AI software. In October, a blog post purportedly written by Microsoft employees urged the company not to bid on a multi-billion dollar US military cloud contract.

“Many Microsoft employees don’t believe that what we build should be used for waging war,” they wrote.

Later that month, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, said the company would continue to sell software to the US military. Smith wrote that employees with ethical qualms with projects would be allowed to move to other work within the company.

“Artificial intelligence, augmented reality and other technologies are raising new and profoundly important issues, including the ability of weapons to act autonomously. As we have discussed these issues with governments, we’ve appreciated that no military in the world wants to wake up to discover that machines have started a war,” he wrote.

But we can’t expect these new developments to be addressed wisely if the people in the tech sector who know the most about technology withdraw from the conversation.” – Bloomberg

 

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TRUATA WINS PRESTIGIOUS INTERNATIONAL PRIVACY INNOVATION AWARD

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Truata, the Dublin based data anonymisation and analytics company, has today been awarded the 2018 HPE-IAPP Privacy Innovation Award at the IAPP Europe Data Protection Conference in Brussels.

Truata was founded in early 2018 by Mastercard and IBM to deliver next-generation data protection and analytics to the marketplace. In awarding Truata with this honour, the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) has recognised the service that Truata offers to companies who want to continue to leverage their data to innovate and grow while respecting and safeguarding the privacy of their customers.

The Truata Anonymisation Solution is designed to deliver actionable insights to its customers who operate in multiple industries including financial services, telecommunications, hospitality, retail and travel. Truata independently anonymises a customer’s data, giving that customer the freedom to carry out analysis while protecting people’s personal data. Running on the IBM Cloud, the Truata solution is specifically designed to fully meet the high regulatory thresholds for anonymisation as the original source data and the anonymised data will not at any time co-exist in one organisation. This ensures that analytics can be conducted across a customer’s entire data set while only analysing the fully-anonymised versions of that data.

Based on the principle of privacy by design, and using the latest data privacy technologies developed by IBM Research, the Truata Anonymisation Solution benefits from innovative technological, structural, legal and organisational safeguards. It enables companies to both maximise their data analytics utility and minimise their risk of non-compliance with privacy regulations.

On receiving the award, Aoife Sexton, Truata Chief Privacy Officer said, “The changing regulatory environment is bringing about a real challenge for companies to understand how they can use data to foster innovation but do so in a legally compliant and ethical manner. We have developed a solution that addresses this challenge by allowing companies to continue to use their data for analytics – but in a responsible way that is compliant with the GDPR, respecting both the letter and the spirit of the regulation. We are grateful to the IAPP for recognising this new innovative solution.”

Felix Marx, CEO of Truata, added, “Post GDPR, companies still need to generate value and insights from their data through analytics if they want to innovate and provide their customers the services and products they want. The optimal way to do this, while respecting your customers’ privacy rights, is to have your data anonymised by an independent third party as part of an end-to-end service including world class analytics. Truata is the first to market with this solution.”

“In today’s global digital economy, organisations will play a critical role in furthering innovation and convenience, while handling data responsibly and ethically,” said JoAnn Stonier, chief data officer for Mastercard and Truata board member. “At Mastercard, we saw the GDPR as an opportunity to enhance our data practices and—with Truata —help other businesses do the same. This award from IAPP is a terrific honour and validation of the importance of finding a path that enables both data innovation and stringent privacy protections.”

Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and issued by the IAPP, the world’s largest information privacy community and resource with more than 32,000 members in over 100 countries, the much coveted Innovation Award recognises unique programmes and services in global privacy and data protection across both private and public sectors.

“The 2018 HPE-IAPP Privacy Innovation Award is presented to Truata, an exemplar safeguarding tool built on the principle of privacy by design. This award spotlights unique programs and services in global privacy and data protection; we are honouring Truata for practising fine innovation,” said IAPP President and CEO J. Trevor Hughes.

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