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Cramer charts out Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Netflix year-end runs
"If the FAANG stocks can stay on the market's good side, then the charts, as interpreted by Carolyn Boroden, suggest they have a lot more room to run," the "Mad Money" host said. · 3h ago
Salesforce’s Splashy Slack Deal Isn't Worth the Risk
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Inc. is betting big on the staying power of remote work by buying Slack Technologies Inc. But is the splashy takeover of the workplace messaging leader worth the risk? I don’t think so.Late Tuesday, Salesforce announced a definitive agreement to acquire Slack for about $28 billion in cash and stock, confirming recent reports by the Wall Street Journal and others. The value of the purchase tops Salesforce’s previous largest deal, last year’s $15.7 billion purchase of Tableau Software, marking founder and CEO Marc Benioff's biggest wager yet.There are legitimate reasons Salesforce may want to acquire Slack. Its software has gained in popularity and become an indispensable tool for many businesses that were forced by the coronavirus crisis to quickly adopt new technologies to maintain operations and enable their employees to work remotely. Surveys show office workers intend to keep using the software even after the pandemic subsides. However, expanding outside of Salesforce’s core business could be a distraction for management. The company’s best acquisitions have provided a distinct specialized solution related directly to its customer relationship management (CRM) software — technology that helps companies sell products. These include the purchase of ExactTarget’s email marketing service for $2.5 billion in 2013, Demandware’s e-commerce platform for $2.8 billion in 2016 and Tableau Software’s data analytics last year. All of these transactions resulted in obvious synergies related to sales and marketing. Slack doesn’t do any of those things. Instead, it’s a software product for the common office worker. To illustrate the difference, Slack’s main competitor — Microsoft Teams — is bundled inside the tech giant’s suite of office productivity tools that includes Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Slack’s end user isn’t quite the same as the sales manager, business analyst or marketing executive that uses Salesforce’s specialized products. As a result, the integration and future cross-selling opportunities aren’t as obvious as the other add-on purchases.Slack would help Salesforce compete with Microsoft on its own turf. But giving up roughly 13% percent of its market value to purchase an unprofitable company in a relatively disparate area seems inherently risky. Salesforce has tried for years to gain traction in the workplace-messaging space with its Chatter product to no avail. Its failure may speak to how different CRM software and services are, compared with general office tech tools. Investors seem to be in this skeptical camp, with the company’s shares falling about 9% since deal talks were first reported last week.There are other technology companies that would make far better suitors for Slack, such as Inc., which already provides Slack with cloud-computing infrastructure and video-calling technology as part of a partnership. Amazon could also add the workplace-messaging product to the vast array of services Amazon Web Services offers its customers. An even better match would be Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Like Microsoft, Google sells a cloud-based productivity suite called Google Workspace that includes word processing, email and other applications. The Google bundle lacks a comprehensive messaging and collaboration tool that is comparable to Microsoft Teams, making Slack the perfect fit. And with Microsoft dominant in the category  — it has about 270 million office workers paying for its productivity suite — a Google-Slack combination has a far better chance of increasing the level of competition in this key market. Unlike Salesforce, the revenue synergies are also clear cut: Slack’s best-in-class product would make Google’s productivity cloud offering a more attractive proposition. In contrast, Salesforce lacks the ability to bundle Slack with any truly complementary services, raising the danger it may wither inside the company.Neither Amazon nor Google would likely stand a chance at trying to snatch away Slack, given the rising antitrust concerns over Big Tech’s power, influence and competition-squelching acquisitions. But this begs the question of why Salesforce is immune to such scrutiny. Salesforce has bought more than 60 companies since its inception and now has become a giant in its own right with a valuation of more than $200 billion. Given the risks this deal entails for Salesforce, investors may to want to root for regulators to block this deal as well.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tae Kim is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Barron's, following an earlier career as an equity analyst.For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Bloomberg · 4h ago
To Avoid Tech’s Anti-Trust Troubles, India Tries a Hard 30% Cap
From Washington to Beijing, governments are trying to strike the right balance between enabling technology innovation and preventing giants like Google and Facebook Inc. from suffocating rivals. Now India is experimenting with a framework for financial technology that’s certain to provide lessons worldwide -- succeed or fail.
Bloomberg · 5h ago
Salesforce to Buy Software Maker Slack for $27.7 Billion
(Bloomberg) -- Inc. agreed to buy Slack Technologies Inc. for $27.7 billion in cash and stock, giving the corporate software giant a popular workplace-communications platform in one of the biggest technology deals of the year.The transaction, Salesforce’s largest-ever acquisition, is expected to close by the end of July, the San Francisco-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Slack investors will receive $26.78 for each company share as well as 0.0776 share of Salesforce -- representing a 55% premium to Slack’s price on Nov. 24, the day before reports about deal talks between the companies.Salesforce Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff has orchestrated more than 60 acquisitions in 21 years, taking his company from dot-com era upstart to a titan of cloud computing. The Slack deal would give Salesforce, the leader in programs for managing customer relationships, another angle of attack against Microsoft Corp., which has itself become a major force in internet-based computing. Microsoft’s Teams product, which offers a workplace chatroom, automation tools and videoconference hosting, is a top rival to Slack.“Together, Salesforce and Slack will shape the future of enterprise software and transform the way everyone works in the all-digital, work-from-anywhere world,” Benioff said in the statement.Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s co-founder and CEO, will continue to run the business as a Salesforce unit when the deal is completed, the companies said.Salesforce’s shares declined about 4% in extended trading after closing at $241.35. The stock has jumped 48% this year. Slack’s shares were little changed after closing at $43.84. The stock has almost doubled in 2020, with about half of that gain coming since the acquisition talks were reported.Salesforce, among the first of the fast-growing cloud software companies when it went public in 2004, strives to generate year-over-year revenue increases of more than 25%. Slack, which is expected to increase its sales almost 40% to $877 million this fiscal year, could help that effort. Slack, launched in 2013, went public via a direct listing in 2019. Bloomberg News and other publications reported that companies including Inc., Microsoft and Alphabet Inc.’s Google expressed interest in buying Slack at various times when it was still private.Benioff for years has turned to acquisitions to keep his product lineup fresh. He has set an annual revenue goal of $35 billion for Salesforce by fiscal 2024, compared with $17 billion in fiscal 2020. The company bought analytics firm Tableau Software Inc. in an all-stock deal valued at $15.3 billion last year, which was Salesforce’s biggest acquisition at the time. The year before, in 2018, Benioff took over MuleSoft Inc. for $6.5 billion.Separately, Salesforce projected revenue will grow about 17% in the current period to as much as $5.675 billion. That will be the slowest sales growth in 11 years for the software maker, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales climbed 20% to $5.42 billion in the fiscal third quarter, which ended Oct. 31, the company said in a statement.Salesforce ownership will mark a new era for Slack, a hot tech upstart with the lofty goal of trying to replace the need for business emails. The cloud-software giant may be able to sell Slack’s chatroom product to existing customers around the world, making it even more popular. Slack said in March that it had reached 12.5 million users who were simultaneously connected on its platform, which has grown more essential while corporate employees work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Slack has boosted revenue in the midst of Covid-19, but the company’s billings have been underwhelming because of shaky demand from small and mid-sized clients.Meanwhile, use of Microsoft Teams has jumped during the pandemic, and Slack has taken issue with the company’s business tactics. In July, Slack complained to the European Union that Microsoft had broken antitrust law and should be investigated.“Microsoft has illegally tied its Teams product into its market-dominant Office productivity suite, force installing it for millions, blocking its removal, and hiding the true cost to enterprise customers,” Slack said in a statement at the time. Microsoft, which integrates its products with Slack, has denied any wrongdoing.(Updates with Salesforce revenue forecast in the eighth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Bloomberg · 5h ago
Salesforce acquires Slack for $27.7 billion, marking cloud software vendor's largest deal ever
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has been on an acquisition spree in recent years, buying Tableau and MuleSoft · 6h ago
Waymo Deepens Investment In Autonomous Trucking
Waymo is opening a research and development facility for trucking in Menlo Park, California, as the Alphabet-backed startup best known for its robotaxis continues to deepen its investment in autonomous delivery and freight transportation.According to a press release on Tuesday, Waymo is also partnering with the Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC) in East Liberty, Ohio, to co-develop a custom testing environment for the fifth-generation Waymo Driver, its self-driving hardware and software system."Together these new facilities will enable us to further advance the latest generation of our fully autonomous Waymo Driver across multiple vehicle platforms," the statement said. These include the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE and Class 8 trucks, "while scaling our robust testing program and operations across a diverse set of geographies and driving environments." TRC, recognized as the most comprehensive independent vehicle test facility and proving grounds in the U.S., is already testing autonomous trucks from another startup aiming to automate long-haul trucking.In July,, a Silicon Valley-based self-driving truck technology startup, announced an agreement with TRC to test its system using real-world scenarios involving more than one vehicle. According to the statement, Waymo's agreement with TRC will "model a dense urban environment and enable us to test longtail challenges you might never encounter on public roads."The space, to be built for Waymo's requirements, will be "vehicle agnostic," testing self-driving cars while also using TRC test tracks specifically made for truck testing. Early next year Waymo will move into the new Menlo Park facility, where the company will focus on advancing its Class 8 trucks. The location also will help accommodate a growing trucking team and fleet of test vehicles, the statement said.A Waymo spokesperson declined to comment on the size of the team and the number of trucks the company operates.The pandemic has forced many transportation technology companies to pivot away from passenger vehicle programs toward initiatives focused on the movement of goods.While Waymo has continued to grow its self-driving taxi business this year it has also doubled down on its freight program, announcing in a July press briefing a plan for bringing its delivery platform known as Waymo Via to market.That road map included partnering with OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers and fleets, for which Waymo will provide its software and other services, including mapping and remote assistance.Its trucking program is now currently testing in California around its headquarters in Mountain View, along the I-10 corridor between Phoenix and Tucson, and across New Mexico and Texas.Partnering with TRC will expand that testing into Ohio, offering new types of environments and weather conditions, including snow and rain, the company said.Earlier this fall Waymo announced a partnership with Daimler to bring a fully autonomous Freightliner Cascadia to market.Related stories:Daimler, Waymo joining forces to build autonomous Freightliner partners with Transportation Research Center to test self-driving trucksSee more from Benzinga * Click here for options trades from Benzinga * Best Buy To Close Mexico Operations By Dec. 31 * Transportation Capacity Tightens Further, Pricing Climbs Higher(C) 2020 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Benzinga · 6h ago
Amazon Is Laying the Groundwork for Its Own Quantum Computer
(Bloomberg) -- Inc. is laying the groundwork for a quantum computer, deepening efforts to harness technology that can crunch in seconds vast amounts of data that take even the most powerful supercomputers hours or days to process.Amazon has been hiring for a Quantum Hardware Team within its Amazon Web Services Center for Quantum Computing, according to internal job postings and information on LinkedIn. Marc Runyan, a former engineer with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, lists his title on the professional social network as senior quantum research scientist at Amazon and describes his role as “helping to design and build a quantum computer for Amazon Web Services.”A spokesman for Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud-computing group, declined to comment. Runyan didn’t immediately respond to a LinkedIn message.Proponents of quantum computing say the technology will exponentially improve the processing speed and power of computers, enabling them to simulate large systems and drive advances in physics, chemistry and other fields. Rather than storing information in binary 0s or 1s like classical computers, quantum computers rely on “qubits”, which can be both 0 and 1 simultaneously, dramatically increasing the amount of information that can be encoded.The technology is in its infancy and largely limited to prototypes and demonstrations. Scientists say practical, widespread applications for quantum computers are likely years away.Read More: Why Quantum Computers Will Be Super Awesome, Someday: QuickTakeAmong Amazon’s recent hires are research scientists focusing on designing a new superconducting quantum device as well as device fabrication. Developing its own quantum computer would let Amazon more closely mirror the approach taken by its major cloud rivals. International Business Machines Corp. first made a quantum computer available to the public in 2016 and has rolled out regular upgrades.Last year, Alphabet Inc.’s Google said it had built a computer that’s reached “quantum supremacy,” performing a computation in 200 seconds that would take the fastest supercomputers about 10,000 years. But with the rivalrous spirit that has characterized the race to build a quantum computer, IBM cast doubt on Google’s claim. In a blog post, it said that a simulation of Google’s task could be done in 2.5 days on a conventional computer with enough hard drive storage, not 10,000 years.Amazon announced its entry into the arena last year and, in August, launched its first quantum computing service, called Braket, which helps cloud clients experiment with quantum algorithms run on AWS. Once they’ve designed their algorithms, clients can choose to run them on quantum processing systems built by other companies, including D-Wave Systems Inc., IonQ Inc., and Rigetti Computing. At the time, Amazon noted its interest in developing hardware, but stopped short of announcing plans to build its own computer.One person briefed on Amazon’s plans, but not authorized to discuss them, says the company is using a superconductor model, a similar approach to that used by Google and IBM, among others. The person said Amazon has been on a hiring spree to staff its quantum computing group.Last year Amazon announced the launch of the AWS Center for Quantum Computing, which aimed to bring together researchers from Amazon, the California Institute of Technology and other academic research institutions to develop new quantum computing technologies.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Bloomberg · 7h ago
Amazon opens macOS development for first time on AWS Inc. undefined is bringing its AWS cloud to the Macintosh operating system for the first time, allowing developers to create apps for iPhones,...
MarketWatch · 7h ago
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Alphabet Inc. is a holding company. The Company's businesses include Google Inc. (Google) and its Internet products, such as Access, Calico, CapitalG, GV, Nest, Verily, Waymo and X. The Company's segments include Google and Other Bets. The Google segment includes its Internet products, such as Search, Ads, Commerce, Maps, YouTube, Google Cloud, Android, Chrome and Google Play, as well as its hardware initiatives. The Google segment is engaged in advertising, sales of digital content, applications and cloud offerings, and sales of hardware products. The Other Bets segment is engaged in the sales of Internet and television services through Google Fiber, sales of Nest products and services, and licensing and research and development (R&D) services through Verily. It offers Google Assistant, which allows users to type or talk with Google; Google Maps, which helps users navigate to a store, and Google Photos, which helps users store and organize all of their photos.
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