Tag Archives: Tech
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration this week will unveil the list of Chinese imports targeted for U.S. tariffs to punish Beijing over technology transfer policies, a move expected to intensify trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
The list of $ 50 billion to $ 60 billion worth of annual imports is expected to target “largely high-technology” products and it may be more than two months before tariffs take effect, administration officials have said.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office needs to unveil the list of products by Friday under President Donald Trump’s China tariff proclamation signed on March 22.
The tariffs are aimed at forcing changes to Chinese government policies that USTR says results in the “uneconomic” transfer of U.S. intellectual property to Chinese companies.
The agency’s “Section 301” investigation authorizing the tariffs alleges China has systematically sought to misappropriate U.S. intellectual property through joint venture requirements, unfair technology licensing rules, purchases of U.S. technology firms with state funding and outright theft.
China has denied that its laws require technology transfers and has threatened to retaliate against any U.S. tariffs with trade sanctions of its own, with potential targets such as U.S. soybeans, aircraft or heavy equipment.
On Sunday, Beijing slapped extra tariffs of up to 25 percent on 128 U.S. products including frozen pork, as well as wine and certain fruits and nuts in response to steep U.S. tariffs on imports of aluminum and steel announced last month by the Trump administration.
Fears have arisen that the two countries will spiral into a trade war that will crush global growth.
TARGETING ‘MADE IN CHINA 2025’
U.S. technology industry officials said they expected the Trump administration’s list to target products that benefit from Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” program, which aims to upgrade the country’s domestic manufacturing base with more advanced products.
The state-led program targets 10 strategic industries for replacing imports with Chinese-made products: advanced information technology, robotics, aircraft, shipbuilding and marine engineering, advanced rail equipment, new energy vehicles, electrical generation equipment, agricultural machinery, pharmaceuticals and advanced materials.
“Foreign technology acquisition through various means remains a prime focus under Made in China 2025 because China is still catching up in many of the areas prioritized for development,” USTR said in its report justifying the tariffs.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has said that preserving America’s technological edge is “the future of the U.S. economy.”
Reports that the tariff list may also include consumer goods such as clothing and footwear drew strong protests from U.S. business groups, which argued that it would raise prices for U.S. consumers.
LIMITED TIME FOR TALKS
While there have been contacts between senior members of the Trump administration and their Chinese counterparts since Trump announced his intention to impose tariffs, there has been little evidence of intensive negotiations to forestall them.
“The administration is following the Japan model from the 1980s,” said a tech industry executive. “They’ll publish a Federal Register notice of tariffs on certain products, then try to reach a negotiated settlement over the next 60 days.”During his first stint at USTR in the Reagan administration, Lighthizer employed similar tactics to win voluntary Japanese export restraints on steel and autos.
Wendy Cutler, a former deputy USTR in charge of Asia negotiations, said that addressing the sweeping intellectual property allegations identified by USTR would require major changes to China’s industrial policy. A 60-day settlement may not be realistic in that case.
“I think they’ve set up a high bar for what they need to achieve, in order not to impose these types of tariffs and investment restrictions,” Cutler said.
Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Peter Cooney
Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Every time a tech company does something patently ignorant or offensive, it’s rarely worth asking the question: “What were they thinking?”
Almost always, the answer is: “They weren’t.”
And they certainly weren’t feeling.
An example is an ad released by Snapchat last week for its “Would You Rather!” game. It asked whether you’d rather “Slap Rihanna” or “Punch Chris Brown.”
In 2009, Brown and Rihanna were involved in a much-publicized incident of domestic violence. Brown was charged with battery.
And this is something to “joke” about?
Please, take a look.
Rihanna responding to Snapchat’s ad. I can’t believe they did this. pic.twitter.com/TpHQIXTm4j
— Gennette Cordova (@GNCordova) March 15, 2018
Oh, Snapchat finally took the ad down and offered some sort of apology.
“The advert was reviewed and approved in error, as it violates our advertising guidelines. We immediately removed the ad last weekend, once we became aware. We are sorry that this happened,” the company said.
You might have thought that it had somehow slipped out without anyone noticing.
Yet this statement suggests that actual human beings examined it and decided it was appropriate for publication.
For her part, Rihanna has now offered a response — remarkably measured, in the circumstances.
She said: “I’d love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain’t that dumb! You spent money to animate something that would bring shame to DV victims and made a joke of it!!!”
This is surely the point. You can’t blame a rogue algorithm here. You can’t blame a malevolent piece of code.
Someone designed this execrable item. Someone animated it and then someone looked at it and approved it.
And no one stopped to think: “This is so thoroughly vile and tasteless that we should all be ashamed of ourselves?”
Shouldn’t all those someone‘s face consequences?
“All the women, children and men that have been victims of DV in the past and especially the ones who haven’t made it out yet…you let us down!,” continued the singer. “Shame on you. Throw the whole app-oligy away.”
Snapchat tried again with, yes, an apology.
A company spokeswoman told me: “This advertisement is disgusting and never should have appeared on our service. We are so sorry we made the terrible mistake of allowing it through our review process. We are investigating how that happened so that we can make sure it never happens again.”
But it will happen again. And again.
Tech companies rely so much on machines that many of their employees think exactly like those machines.
To reinforce the fatal loop, the people who create the code and algorithms behind the machines tend to think like machines, too.
So when decisions are made, any actual human emotions are cast aside. Or never even engaged.
Worse, too many have grown up — sort of — with the belief that you move fast, break things and apologize later.
Well, your PR people pen your apology, while you’re too busy coding.
Apologizing is easy.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, for example, has made an art form out of it.
For example, after he and a colleague performed a VR promotion while staring blankly at the suffering homeless of Puerto Rico and high-fiving.
Will this complete blindness when it comes to understanding, appreciating and, frankly, even feeling human emotions ever change?
The mood around tech is dark these days. Social networks are a cesspool of harassment and lies. On-demand firms are producing a bleak economy of gig labor. AI learns to be racist. Is there anyplace where the tech news is radiant with old-fashioned optimism? Where good cheer abounds?
Why, yes, there is: clean energy. It is, in effect, the new Silicon Valley—filled with giddy, breathtaking ingenuity and flat-out good news.
This might seem surprising given the climate-change denialism in Washington. But consider, first, residential solar energy. The price of panels has plummeted in the past decade and is projected to drop another 30 percent by 2022. Why? Clever engineering breakthroughs, like the use of diamond wire to slice silicon wafers into ever-skinnier slabs, producing higher yields with less raw material.
Manufacturing costs are down. According to US government projections, the fastest-growing occupation of the next 10 years will be solar voltaic installer. And you know who switched to solar power last year, because it was so cheap? The Kentucky Coal Museum.
Tech may have served up Nazis in social media streams, but, hey, it’s also creating microgrids—a locavore equivalent for the solar set. One of these efforts is Brooklyn-based LO3 Energy, a company that makes a paperback-sized device and software that lets owners of solar-equipped homes sell energy to their neighbors—verifying the transactions using the blockchain, to boot. LO3 is testing its system in 60 homes on its Brooklyn grid and hundreds more in other areas.
“Buy energy and you’re buying from your community,” LO3 founder Lawrence Orsini tells me. His chipsets can also connect to smart appliances, so you could save money by letting his system cycle down your devices when the network is low on power. The company uses internet logic—smart devices that talk to each other over a dumb network—to optimize power consumption on the fly, making local clean energy ever more viable.
But wait, doesn’t blockchain number-crunching use so much electricity it generates wasteful heat? It does. So Orsini invented DareHenry, a rack crammed with six GPUs; while it processes math, phase-changing goo absorbs the outbound heat and uses it to warm a house. Blockchain cogeneration, people! DareHenry is 4 feet of gorgeous, Victorianesque steampunk aluminum—so lovely you’d want one to show off to guests.
Solar and blockchain are only the tip of clean tech. Within a few years, we’ll likely see the first home fuel-cell systems, which convert natural gas to electricity. Such systems are “about 80 percent efficient,” marvels Garry Golden, a futurist who has studied clean energy. (He’s also on LO3’s grid, with the rest of his block.)
The point is, clean energy has a utopian spirit that reminds me of the early days of personal computers. The pioneers of the 1970s were crazy hackers, hell-bent on making machines cheap enough for the masses. Everyone thought they were nuts, or small potatoes—yet they revolutionized communication. When I look at Orsini’s blockchain-based energy-trading routers, I see the Altair. And there are oodles more inventors like him.
Mind you, early Silicon Valley had something crucial that clean energy now does not: massive federal government support. The military bought tons of microchips, helping to scale up computing. Trump’s band of climate deniers aren’t likely to be buyers of first resort for clean energy, but states can do a lot. California already has, for instance, by creating quotas for renewables. So even if you can’t afford this stuff yourself, you should pressure state and local officials to ramp up their solar energy use. It’ll give us all a boost of much-needed cheer.
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This article appears in the January issue. Subscribe now.
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Estonia could become the first country in Europe to launch its own digital means of exchange — the “estcoin” — under plans outlined by the manager of its pioneering e-residency scheme, in place since 2014.
Kaspar Korjus said in a blog post that the estcoin would be aimed at the Baltic country’s 27,000 e-residents — foreigners who open a company there via the web — but would not be a parallel currency to rival the euro.
This year’s meteoric surge in the value of Bitcoin has focused fresh attention on digital or cryptocurrencies, which to date have all been launched by private companies but are now being considered by some governments and central banks.
Korjus said estcoins could serve one of three purposes: rewarding services to the e-resident community, verifying one’s identity online, or as a means of payment pegged to the euro.
“All three of these models of estcoin are viable and can be introduced (even without alarming the European Central Bank),” Korjus wrote in the blog post.
Estonia’s central bank governor Ardo Hansson later said the estcoin was not a government initiative and that the central bank had not been consulted.
First floated in the summer, the idea of an estcoin was rebuffed by ECB President Mario Draghi, who said in September the only currency of the euro zone was the euro. An ECB spokesman would not comment further on Tuesday.
Korjus stressed the estcoin would simply be a “token” and not compete with the single currency.
But the third of Korjus’s possible designs, which he labels “euro estcoin”, envisaged that it would work as a parallel means of payment that bypasses the banking sector.
“We would never provide an alternative currency to the euro, but it’s possible that we could combine some of the decentralized advantages of crypto with the stability and trust of fiat currency and then limit its use within the e-resident community,” he said.
And the first version, described as a “community estcoin”, would it see openly traded on traditional and cryptocurrency exchanges at a later stage.
That could put Estonia on a collision course with the ECB if estcoin adoption was wide enough to have an impact on the euro zone economy and so interfere with Frankfurt’s monetary policy.
The numbers are small so far, however. A Deloitte report cited by Korjus estimates that e-residents brought 14.4 million euros to Estonia in the scheme’s first three years and foresaw a rise to 1.8 billion euros by 2025.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced earlier this month the launch of the “petro”, a digital currency backed by oil reserves, to shore up his country’s collapsed economy and circumvent U.S.-led financial sanctions.
In Europe, Sweden’s central bank has said it may introduce an e-version of the crown currency as the use of cash declines while Bank of England is also pondering whether to introduce a digital currency for use by businesses and households. But Denmark’s central bank said “no” to its own e-crown last week.
The ECB has been lukewarm on the subject but Executive Board member Yves Mersch said recently it would experiment with “cash on different digital technologies”.
Additional reporting by David Mardiste in Tallinn; Editing by Catherine Evans
This will be a four-part series on China’s rapid technological growth in the past few years. Each part will focus on a different investment you could make today in order to get a piece of China’s booming technology sector.
If you spend any amount of time in Beijing or Shanghai, you’ll notice something interesting almost right away. No one is carrying cash or credit cards, and almost no one uses their cellphone number as their primary means of communication. Instead, they’re using an app called WeChat, which is similar to having Facebook (FB), PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL), Skype, and text messaging all bundled together into one app. Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY) (OTCPK:TCTZF) owns this application, which has over 950 million active users.
Tencent’s revenue growth has been astounding, and analysts expect that trend to continue into the future:
The reason for this massive growth is because Tencent owns people’s screen time in China. Whether you’re paying bills, playing a game, talking with friends, or hailing a taxi, you never have to leave Tencent’s world.
Speaking of games, Tencent also just happens to be the world’s leader in mobile gaming based on revenues. It’s currently ahead of Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Sony (SNE), King (KING), Electronic Arts (EA), Zynga (ZNGA), etc. What’s even more impressive is that despite being the top player in this area, it still grew its gaming revenue by 39% in the past year, and its market share in the space is continuing to increase.
Tencent has accomplished this dominance in the gaming sphere by partnering with a lot of the major players in the space to bring online versions of FIFA, Call of Duty, NBA 2K, and other extremely popular games to China.
Another interesting area where Tencent operates is streaming. Basketball is a perfect example of its foresight into this space. The popularity of the sport in China has exploded over the past decade, thanks in large part to Yao Ming. So what did Tencent do? It went out and struck a deal with the NBA to stream games in China. 65 million people watched the NBA finals last year from their phones in China through Tencent.
Besides gaming and streaming, Tencent’s other two major areas are social networks and advertising, which grew by 51% and 55% in the past year, respectively. Tencent is a $ 488 billion company that is still growing like a start-up. If you scroll back to the revenue chart above, you’ll see that the company’s revenue is expected to double by 2019.
Tencent’s social networks are particularly interesting to me. We’ve already discussed WeChat a little, but it has another app called QQ that has 850 million active users. Both QQ and WeChat together dominate China’s mobile payment space. Today, QQ and WeChat have over 300 million bank accounts linked to their mobile payment system.
As if all this wasn’t enough, QQ also has an application called QQMusic, which is considered to be the Spotify of China. This is an area where I anticipate Tencent will see a lot of growth moving forward.
Tencent has numerous potential catalysts that could push the stock price higher, but there are a handful that I want to specifically point out that are quite promising.
The first is in the gaming space, specifically with e-sports. China has the world’s largest video game market, which is expected to generate about $ 27.5 billion in sales this year. This incredibly large video game market has spurred an immense interest in e-sports in China and other Asian countries. In fact, the Olympic Council of Asia recently announced that it would be including e-sports at the Asian Games in Hangzhou in 2022.
E-sports have grown so popular in Asia that a crowd of more than 40,000 people recently packed into a stadium to watch two of South Korea’s biggest gaming stars play each other head-to-head. Tencent has a stranglehold on this market. The company recently signed a deal with the city of Wuhu to build an e-sports university and a stadium for events.
Tao Junyin, the market director of a top e-sports content company recently said, “Tencent has a controlling power in the whole industry, so we have to find a way to work with Tencent. You either die or you go Tencent.” Tencent has a stranglehold on the e-sports market in Asia and will benefit tremendously from its rapid growth.
Another area where the company could see growth is the music streaming space. Tencent owns QQ music, KuGou, and Kuwo, which together make up over 75% of China’s music streaming market.
Tencent has exclusive online distribution deals with Sony Music, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group. Its deals with the three largest music labels and dominance of market share put Tencent in a great position to control China’s music streaming market, which is relatively immature at the moment.
While China is the world’s most populous country, with over 1.3 billion people, it is only 12th in the world in terms of recorded music revenue. That’s up from 14th in 2015 according to the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI). This jump was largely due to the 30.6% growth in streaming and China’s 20.3% growth in music revenue, which was almost four times the 2016 global average of 5.9%.
Despite these impressive growth numbers, China’s music industry is still lagging behind the rest of the world. This gap won’t last forever, and as China begins to catch up with everyone else, Tencent stands to be the main beneficiary.
Finally, I just wanted to quickly point out that China’s mobile internet use is only expected to grow faster in the coming years, something that will clearly benefit Tencent.
There are two main risks I want to point out before you invest your money into Tencent. The first is its valuation. After everything we just discussed, it should be no surprise that you’re going to have to pay a premium to get into this name. Tencent’s 51.69 P/E ratio currently reflects that.
Tencent has enjoyed a nice run-up over the past year, so some short to medium-term weakness certainly wouldn’t surprise me. If you plan on investing money that you may need within the next year, Tencent might not be the best investment for you. That being said, I’m a long-term investor, so some short to medium-term weakness would allow me to add to my current position at a cheaper price.
The second risk comes with investing in almost any Chinese company, and that’s the risk of regulation. Any regulations in China dealing with the internet could make life more difficult for Tencent and potentially limit its capabilities.
Tencent seems to be doing everything right. They are major players in almost every facet of China’s tech revolution, which is why some people expect Tencent to become the world’s biggest company by 2025.
If you want to own some of China’s technology revolution, Tencent is one of the best places to start. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series coming in the next few days.
Author’s note: If you would like to follow along with my China Series and other analysis, I would encourage you to hit the follow button next to my name at the top of the page. I enjoy interacting with my followers, so please comment below!
Disclosure: I am/we are long TCEHY.
I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Editor’s Note: This article discusses one or more securities that do not trade on a major U.S. exchange. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Swiss-Israeli technology firm Sirin Labs said on Thursday it had raised $ 118 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) to support the development of an open source blockchain smartphone.
ICOs allow startups founded on cryptocurrency technologies such as blockchain to quickly raise capital by issuing virtual tokens to investors.
Such offerings have become more common in the past year, but Europe’s top markets regulator warned last month they were “extremely risky and highly speculative investments.”
Sirin, which has recruited soccer superstar Lionel Messi to be its brand ambassador, said it had raised the money from 5,600 people globally within the first 24 hours and would continue the offering for another 12 days.
“These are our potential clients. We think they will be the first to buy the phones,” Moshe Hogeg, CEO and founder of Sirin, told reporters.
The ICO will help fund its secure blockchain phone, as well as a blockchain personal computer. The company said the phone, which should be on the market near the end of next year, benefits from enhanced security and the ability to carry out fee-less transactions.
Hogeg said his target had been to raise $ 75 million – the amount needed to develop the phone. The additional funds will enable the company to increase its production and invest more in sales and marketing.
Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Tova Cohen; Editing by Mark Potter
Whereas railroads and Detroit automakers used to be the nuts and bolts of a well-rounded portfolio, today’s world runs on silicon chips and bits. There’s a reason Nvidia (nvda) has been one of the S&P 500’s best stocks two years in a row. The largest semiconductor maker by market capitalization is benefiting from virtually every tech trend—with its chips powering everything from Tesla’s self-driving cars, to Amazon’s and Microsoft’s cloud services, to the machines that mine the digital currency Bitcoin. Though Nvidia stock, at 47 times next year’s earnings, isn’t cheap, analysts expect revenue to soar 37% in the next fiscal year, justifying that price tag.
Ian Mortimer, comanager of the top-performing Guinness Atkinson Global Innovators Fund, is bullish on Nvidia. Further down the supply chain, he also likes Applied Materials (amat), which manufactures the equipment to make the chips, and trades at just 14 times 2018 earnings. In the past, such stocks have traded at a discount because they tended to have long down-cycles—slow periods between, say, the new iPhone or PlayStation launch. But the boom in A.I.-driven technology means semiconductors are far less cyclical, if not entirely recession-proof. “The demand is coming from other places that didn’t use to exist—smart homes, smart cars, etcetera,” Mortimer says.
While Nvidia’s chips are used in “the brain of the car,” Mortimer says, he also owns German chipmaker Infineon, whose sensors facilitate a host of more practical functions—from automatically opening and locking doors to detecting obstacles—that are nevertheless increasingly essential to electric and modern vehicles from Tesla, BMW, and many others. Infineon trades at 25 times earnings.
For income-conscious investors, tech also has more dividend-paying stocks than ever. In 2000, when Microsoft and Cisco (csco) were the two most valuable companies in the S&P 500, neither paid a dividend. Now, Cisco, which paid its first dividend in 2011, yields more than 3%; the S&P 500 average is around 2%. What’s more, after being nearly written off as a washed-up “cash cow,” Mortimer says, Cisco expects revenue to grow this quarter for the first time in two years. Pushing into cybersecurity and cloud services has put Cisco on the precipice of a comeback—reminiscent, in a way, of where Microsoft (whose dividend yields about 2%) was a few years ago, when its transition to cloud computing was just beginning to revive its growth. “There’s also some reassurance in the staying power of the older stalwarts, Mortimer adds: “It gives you a little bit more of that diversification, without having all your eggs in very high-growth companies that may or may not come through.”
Here are more of our picks for 2018:
A version of this article appears in the Dec. 15, 2017 issue of Fortune, as part of the article “Investor’s Guide 2018 — Stocks and Funds: The All-Tech Portfolio.“
(Reuters) – Over 30 technology companies including Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Facebook Inc. (FB.O) on Friday urged a U.S. patent court to disregard drugmaker Allergan Plc’s (AGN.N) contention that its transfer of some of its patents to a Native American tribe shields them from the court’s review.
Two trade groups comprised of tech industry leaders argued in a joint brief submitted to the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board that the board has the right to review the validity of patents covering the dry eye medicine Restasis that Allergan transferred to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in a deal announced in September.
“This panel’s statutory authority to review whether the Restasis patents were properly granted as a matter of federal law does not and should not depend on the identity of the patents’ owner,” said the trade group.
Allergan is arguing the tribe’s sovereign status means the patent review board, an administrative court, has no jurisdiction over the transferred patents. The tribe agreed to exclusively license the Restasis patents back to Allergan in exchange for ongoing payments.
Many technology companies have praised the patent court, saying it is a low-cost and efficient way to cancel dubious patents used to bring abusive lawsuits. They fear that, if upheld, Allergan’s strategy could be widely adopted and used against them.
The case before the patent board stems from a challenge to the Restasis patents brought by generic drug companies led by Mylan NV (MYL.O). Generic makers had been blocked from selling their own versions of the blockbuster medicine until the patents expired in 2024.
But a federal judge in Texas already invalidated the Restasis patents in a separate proceeding, rendering Allergan’s tribal deal effectively meaningless. The company had said it did not object to federal court review of its patents but felt the administrative process was unfair.
Despite that ruling, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board is hearing arguments on whether it must accept Allergan’s tribal immunity argument.
A group of prominent law professors, including Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School and Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of California at Berkeley, submitted a brief on Friday siding with the tribe and Allergan.
“Far from being a scheme to shield patents from review, the agreement from the Tribe’s perspective is part of its economic development plan,” the academics said. “The Allergan-Mohawk contract reflects exactly the sort of economic entrepreneurship that Congress has been urging upon tribes.”
Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Anthony Lin and Andrew Hay
Black Friday has passed, but Cyber Monday—the big online shopping day that falls on the first Monday after Thanksgiving—is just around the corner. That means that there are some great tech deals to be had this year on Nov. 27.
And just because the name Cyber Monday implies that people only have one day to buy something on discount, several retailers like Newegg and Target are extending Cyber Monday into a multi-day shopping fest.
Here’s a roundup of some of the best Cyber Monday tech deals.
The retail giant said have everything on its website at 15% for the week, which Target is pitching as Cyber Week. Additionally, Target (tgt) will unveil special deals on several items each day throughout the week.
Some of the deals include:
- The Sony PlayStation 4 Virtual Reality Headset, with racing game Gran Turismo included, for $ 300, a $ 100 discount.
- People who buy BeatsX earphones or Beats EP headphones—which cost $ 150 and $ 130 respectively—will get a free $ 20 Target GiftCard.
- A KitchenAid 4.5-qt. Classic Plus Stand Mixer will cost $ 200 instead of $ 260.
- A Samsung 55-inch 4K television will cost $ 550 instead of $ 900.
- An Apple (aapl) iPad Pro with 256 GB and Wi-Fi will cost $ 750, a 13% discount.
- An unlocked Apple iPhone 8 with 64 GB will cost $ 674 instead of $ 700.
- The iRobot Roomba 980 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi will cost $ 760, an 11% discount.
Online tech-focused retailer Newegg will be staggering some deals throughout its Cyber Monday event lasting from Nov. 26 through Nov. 30.
Deals valid from Nov. 26 and Nov. 27.
- A Western Digital 4 TB external hard drive will cost $ 60 instead of $ 100.
- A Western Digital 500 GB solid state internal hard drive will cost $ 138 instead of $ 150. There’s a limit of three.
Deals valid from Nov. 26 through Nov. 30.
- Hyperkin RetroN 1 HD Gaming Console for the NES will cost $ 15 instead of $ 30.
Deals valid on Nov. 27 only.
- The CyberPower Intelligent LCD battery backup and power supply will cost $ 75 instead of $ 110.
- The Corsair Carbide Mid-Tower Gaming Case will cost $ 40 instead of $ 50.
- H&R Block Tax Software Deluxe + State 2017 will cost $ 35 instead of $ 45.
- A MSI gaming laptop will cost $ 750 instead of $ 850.
Deals valid from Nov. 27 through Nov. 30.
- An ABS Lite Gaming Desktop will cost $ 830 instead of $ 900.
- A Dell OptiPlex 3050 Desktop Computer will cost $ 590 instead of $ 660
The social networking giant (fb) is slashing the price of its Oculus Rift VR headset on both its Oculus online store as well as on Amazon (amzn), Best Buy (bby), Newegg, and Microsoft’s (msft) online store. From Nov. 21 through the end of Cyber Monday, the Rift + touch controller will cost $ 350 instead of $ 400.
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Dell’s Cyber Monday event will start Nov. 25 and last until Dec. 3. Throughout the period, Dell will have a 15% site wide sale on its video game-oriented computers like the Alienware brand as well as its Inspiron models.
Additionally, the company will debut several online deals throughout the week. These include Dell products in addition to those of third-party companies.
- A Vizio 70-inch 4K television will cost $ 1,500 instead of $ 2,000, plus a $ 200 Dell promotional card.
- A Microsoft Xbox One S with 500 GB and the video game Battlefield 1 will cost $ 220, down from $ 370
- Dell’s UltraSharp 24-inch monitor will cost $ 220 instead of $ 350.
Four years ago, almost to the day, it was obvious that Snapchat should have taken the money: $ 3 billion Facebook offered to acquire it. But, no, the company’s founders insisted that it would be a bad move. Co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel and, presumably, others were sure it was worth more. Not according to the earnings release today by parent Snap Inc.
Snap’s 2017 third quarter results were egregious. It was like watching the Coyote in a Road Runner Cartoon stop off the edge of a cliff and keep moving for a bit until, looking down, it realized the situation.
Revenue was up by 62%, which is wonderful. Only, analysts expected nearly $ 237 million in revenue instead of the $ 207.9 million the company had. There was little change in the number of users, and when you depend on advertising revenue to grow the business, that’s really bad. The quarter’s net loss of $ 443,159,000 was more than 3.5 times larger than the same period last year.
The company uses the non-standard measure of “adjusted EBITDA” to measure its, uh, success. Net income or loss excluding interest income and expense, other income or expense, depreciation, amortization, stock-based compensation and the related payroll tax expense, and “certain other non-cash or non-recurring items impacting” the bottom line. Even with that twisting, there was a $ 178,901,000 loss, which tells you just how many contortions it takes to massage the real loss.
Wall Street is not happy and Snap’s stock price dropped by 20 percent inside an hour. Spiegel and his co-founder, Bobby Murphy, are probably not happy either: Between them, their stock holdings lost $ 1 billion in value before the Coyote could finish the long drop with that soft pooft at the end.
If only Snap were an aberration on the West Coast tech scene. But it’s not. There’s billions of investment money in Uber, which is in the red a couple of billion dollars a year at this point. Juciero and its crazy-expensive juicers and juice packs finally packed it in a couple of months ago when it was clear few people were crazy enough to spend many hundreds on a machine and then $ 140 to $ 200 a month on juice. Heck, you could invest the cash and start your own small juice bar at that rate. And Juciero had only $ 118.5 million in venture money.
There’s an old saying: owe the bank $ 100 dollars and it owns you; owe it $ 100 million and you own the bank. This is what Silicon Valley and U.S.-style tech investing has come to. Forget a Microsoft of Apple or even a Facebook, where the companies went public after they were making real money. They build businesses that understand the profit concept, not almost eternal indebtedness that was supposed to turn the corner one day.
Here’s the difference: Snap’s founders lost a lot in paper worth on a company that, if you took away all the venture money, would be out of business. Microsoft launched Bill Gates who, back in 1986 when he was 30, was “probably one of the 100 richest Americans,” according to Fortune. Now he’s the richest man in the world.
Investors have been entranced by companies that seem like they should be worth billions and billions because they have scalable architecture and, doggonit, people like them. But it’s not enough to have a likeable business. Attention isn’t enough. Do VCs and money people not know the history of the dot com bubble? “Eyeballs,” a former crazy measure of success, don’t count for squat unless you have a solid business model that can create revenue and, eventually, profit.
Entrepreneurs would be better off to forget the nonsense that has passed for business acumen all too often and instead focus on the three basic questions: What needs to people have, what can you do to solve them, and how will you get paid? If you can’t answer all three, better keep working on the idea.
But, too many investors will keep hoping for the magical company that will make their fortunes, and too many entrepreneurs will want to be the mighty captain of industry. Things won’t change until a couple of these unicorns go spiraling into the desert floor so hard and fast that it makes a Coyote landing look like a short drop to a fluffy mattress.