Edition:
United Kingdom

Robert Cyran

Breakingviews - Aging app kerfuffle shows fun trumps privacy

18 Jul 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - A new app kerfuffle shows that fun still trumps privacy concerns. Consumers love FaceApp’s filter for making selfies look older or sexier, but its Russian ownership has suddenly sparked worries about potential data misuse. Yet the app isn’t new, and people have been posting their images on social media for years. It’s past time for regulators to set some boundaries.

Breakingviews - Amazon’s data deal invites D.C. scrutiny

16 Jul 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Amazon.com’s data deal is inviting D.C. scrutiny. As its executives appeared at an antitrust hearing in Congress alongside those of other tech firms, the e-commerce giant offered customers $10 to track their web browsing. It’s a smart way to grab business from rivals, and the price low-balls the value of user data. That’s a demonstration of how dominance works.

Breakingviews - Google and Amazon are the antitrust appetizer

03 Jun 2019

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Breakingviews) - At some point, antitrust investigations of Google and Amazon.com become a no-brainer. As a step in that direction, the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department, which police U.S. competition issues, have divvied up responsibility for the tech giants, according to news reports. That could create ammo for future fights. Facebook ought to worry too.

Breakingviews - Qualcomm, Sprint show U.S. policy blowing in wind

22 May 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Qualcomm, T-Mobile US and Sprint have been thrown for a loop this week. And they and their investors have the random nature of oversight in President Donald Trump’s administration to thank for it.

WeWork gets complex, but its problem is simple

16 May 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - WeWork is getting more complex as it readies for an initial public offering, but its central problem remains simple. The shared-office firm has set up a unit to buy buildings it can then let out to its customers. It’s a way to hedge against rising lease costs and cash in on WeWork’s supposed halo effect. If tenants prove fickle or demand subsidies, though, the benefit of owning property only goes so far.

Breakingviews - Three reasons a wonder drug can cost $5 mln

14 May 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Novartis's gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy could set a record at up to $5 million per patient. Zolgensma appears astonishingly effective against a rare, inherited disease, sufferers of which rarely live beyond four. Even so, the high price is likely to fuel the debate about whether any drug should cost that much. Sometimes, the answer is yes.

Breakingviews - Uber’s dull thud may startle unicorn herd

10 May 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Uber Technologies’ lackluster stock-market debut is a warning for other tech unicorns. The ride-sharing service’s shares opened below the initial public offering price – valuing the company at around $70 billion, based on outstanding shares, soon after they started trading on Friday. The lack of positive excitement for the biggest listing of a U.S. technology company since Facebook in 2012 suggests investors are becoming more choosy.

Breakingviews - Uber’s losses are nothing like young Amazon’s

08 May 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Uber Technologies is no Amazon.com. Some of the ride-hailing firm’s boosters have pushed a comparison with the e-commerce giant in roadshow meetings for the company’s imminent initial public offering, according to news reports. The idea is that hefty losses now are laying the foundation for a future profit juggernaut. Instead of the income statement, though, investors should look at cash flow numbers.

Breakingviews - Amazon’s best weapons are sprawl and usefulness

25 Apr 2019

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Breakingviews) - Jeff Bezos’s first letter to Amazon.com shareholders in 1998 said that “it’s all about the long game.” With revenue of $60 billion over the last three months alone – roughly 100 times what it was in the year Bezos penned that missive – the challenges have changed. To ensure the e-commerce giant’s future, Bezos’s best weapons aren’t sales growth, but sprawl and usefulness.

Breakingviews - Pinterest and Zoom indulge in IPO micro-aggression

18 Apr 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - For tech companies with headlines to fill and egos to please, details matter. One is how companies undertaking initial public offerings price their shares, and how they perform in their first day of trading. Pinterest and Zoom Video Communications have both priced their shares higher than the ranges provided earlier by their underwriters and management. When insiders already hold supervoting shares, though, leaving a bit less on the table is a gentle reminder of who calls the shots.

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