SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Breakingviews) - Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are going back to square minus-one. Under a so-called Phase One deal announced on Friday, the U.S. president will gradually roll back some tariffs while his Chinese counterpart pledged to buy more U.S. crops. It’s limited stability, but companies, their investors and their workers are worse off than when they started.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Breakingviews) - The reshuffle of chief executives at Google and parent Alphabet is something of a solution in search of a problem. Sundar Pichai, who runs the search engine, will now also lead the $890 billion Alphabet, replacing Larry Page. Sergey Brin, Page’s fellow co-founder, will step back too, according to Tuesday’s announcement. But an overriding reason for the change is elusive.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Breakingviews) - The Federal Reserve’s stability is now an outlier in the American government. On Wednesday Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, implicated not just President Donald Trump, but also Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in testimony for the House impeachment probe. The central bank’s resilience and independence is a comfort for investors, but Trump has the power to upend that, too.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Breakingviews) - Silicon Valley firms get criticized for being too big. There’s one way they could helpfully throw their weight around more: by teaming up to build homes.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Breakingviews) - TikTok and Huawei Technologies have a common predicament. The Chinese-owned video app and its telecom compatriot are both under fire from U.S. lawmakers who fear political meddling. TikTok may have fewer allies to lobby on its behalf, but its $75 billion owner ByteDance could sell or spin its subsidiary off. Huawei, though, is in a long-term trap.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Breakingviews) - Defensive driving skills will come in handy at Uber Technologies. Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi steadied the troubled firm and took it public in May. But Uber’s future depends in large part on his reaction to rivals in car-hailing and food delivery.
SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Tim Cook’s charm offensive is coming just at the right time. The Apple boss has Washington and even Beijing on his side, while Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg can barely speak without annoying someone in power – and his company’s apps are blocked in China. Yet since D.C. pressure ratcheted up a year ago, Facebook’s stock has performed better.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Breakingviews) - For a tech billionaire, the one thing worse than attracting the attention of the White House may be seeing that attention go elsewhere. Jeff Bezos’ Amazon lost out to Microsoft on a $10 billion defense contract in which President Donald Trump, a frequent critic, had threatened to intervene. Trump’s wrath has limits, but reverse favoritism is a risk when government money is up for grabs.
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Breakingviews) - Ambitious American lawmakers crafting an antitrust shopping list are putting Amazon near the top. Jeff Bezos’ $880 billion retailing behemoth deepened its hold on consumers again in the third quarter. The dominant internet retailer spent heavily on faster shipping, propelling revenue growth of 24%. Ruthless expansion in areas, such as advertising, where its existing operations give it a leg up, and new markets such as healthcare, bring a showdown with City Hall closer than ever.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Breakingviews) - Marc Benioff is spreading his activist CEO gospel. A new book by the Salesforce.Com boss argues that doing good is a business imperative. Though his call to action at times reads like an advertisement for the $128 billion company, he demonstrates how helping society can also boost the bottom line.