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tv   The David Rubenstein Show Peer to Peer Conversations  Bloomberg  May 12, 2019 1:30am-2:01am EDT

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♪ emily: welcome back to the "best of bloomberg technology." i'm emily chang. google is looking to make its line of smartphones more attractive to consumers with a cheaper price tag. this after an entire line of pixel phones failed to sell in large numbers. the newer models will range from $400 to $479. nearly half the cost of their predecessors. i spoke with the vice president and general manager of pixel, mario queiroz, about the new devices at the developers conference in mountain view, california. mario: the new phones are really exciting. what we set out to do is design a product at a much lower cost and then rely on our software
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capabilities to bring premium experiences to that lower price. and then to make a phone with premium experiences available at half the cost or half the price of your typical flagship phone, including our industry-leading smartphone camera. emily: so my understanding is that they are cheaper with the help of slower processors and cheaper materials. what is the argument to buy one of these over a cheaper competitor? mario: the argument to buy a pixel 3a is we are using more commoditized, lower-cost hardware. we are in a unique position to have the software capabilities within our company to be able to bring those premium experiences and make them run really fast with really high battery life on the lower-cost hardware. and so, again, we can bring the
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world's best smartphone camera, which is a pixel camera, into the price point. we can bring the assistant. we can deliver security, we can offer something that is not very typical. your phone gets better with each update as opposed to getting slower. emily: you are trying to make privacy one of the selling points here. what is the argument to buy a pixel when you have apple making privacy one of its huge marketing stands? mario: privacy is very important to us. we build it into our engineering. the pixel 3a, just like our premium pixel phones, comes with something we call call screen. people are bothered by robo calls. we have the capability on device that takes advantage of our language processing and voice-recognition to screen calls and therefore help you avoid robo calls. it can help you determine
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whether a call from someone you might know is something really important that you want to pick up or something that you want to leave for later. this is done entirely on device. nothing gets uploaded anywhere. the information is gone the minute you hang up the phone. emily: will you ever do a foldable phone? mario: we are looking at some technologies. we are prototyping technologies, including foldable display technologies. we don't have any new products to announce. we just excited to bring pixel 3a, the first phone to have true premium flagship smartphone experiences to the midrange price points, at price points, again, which are half the price of flagship phones today. emily: the smart phone market is slowing, and i'm just curious for your thoughts. where do you see the global smartphone market going? mario: we have seen the global smartphone market slow down. people are holding on to their
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devices for longer. this has happened in the premium segment. one of the reasons is they've gotten more expensive. you used to be able to get a premium phone for $500 just a few years ago. they have gone up to $700 or $800. some are over $1000. we set out to build the pixel from the ground up, using commodified hardware and really betting on the fact that our software capabilities, which are unparalleled in the industry can bring those experiences, the right performance, the right battery life, the right security to that lower price. we believe that these prices with premium experiences, we are making the camera in a premium smartphone available to a lot more people. emily: that was google vice president and manager of pixel mario queiroz.
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we have more highlights from the developers conference with our own mark bergen. take a listen. mark: this is the first time they have really leaned heavily with hardware, with their own devices. in years past, they did more experimental hardware, phones. this is a basic phone. they are competing with all of android's partners, like apple, huawei, xiaomi. like you said, sales fell last year along with the rest of the premium market. they are clearly spending a lot on hardware. google has spent money on other things in the past. they have moved from project to project. the only thing that is consistent is their work on search and machine learning. emily: tell us with different compared to last year, specifically the focus on privacy. mark: yeah, you saw a big strategy shift. every single thing they came out
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with, every product they are announcing, the kind of lead with we are thinking about users and privacy. they brought in this incognito mode with the chrome browser. you can browse without being tracked for ad targeting. they are bringing that to maps and youtube and other google products. it is a strong trade-off. google makes their money from advertising, they sell targeted ads from collecting data. at the same time, they see privacy in line with their interests, and they want people to continue to feel comfortable using google services. emily: the question, i guess, is -- will customers buy in? you have also got apple, of course, pushing privacy as a huge priority. you have got a hugely competitive smartphone market. a lot of cheaper competitors out there who have been doing this for a long time. mark: yeah, i mean, google will say that they have been doing
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internet security for a long time as well. they are in a position similar to facebook, where there are a lot of issues around data that are being dragged into the mud in congress, and the 2020 election. they certainly want to talk about being a helpful google. and certainly messaging here is google's utilities, you use search, maps, voice assistants, that help your life. they are trying to contrast themselves with social media, which is associated with addiction and a lot of negative qualities. earlier today, there was a plane with a keynote banner that said google control is not privacy. that is a pretty strong rebuttal from a group that is supporting local journalism. they still have critics. emily: you've got some very googley activity with people jumping behind you, trying to get a good photo, mark. android, only 20% of devices are running the latest operating
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system before the latest operating system. we don't know how many are running the latest operating system. so brand-new devices, they are not up-to-date. that means security and privacy aren't being utilized. how big of a problem is that? mark: yeah. this is been a problem they been trying to address. you could read the pixel as a strategy of google saying we have control over this like apple has with the iphone. it gives them a lot of advantages. today, they introduced features around privacy and security, they introduced away for phone makers to update android phones in a way they've never been able to do before. but again, unlike apple, what google has to rely on are a bunch of third-party manufacturers, a lot of carriers who have been sort of diametrically opposed to google. it is a vast and complex system that they don't have control over.
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they have produced new numbers today. the stats are a little bit better, but there is a wide gap. apple has been messaging we are the company that can do software upgrades, and we are the pro-privacy company here. emily: bloomberg's mark bergen there. coming up, despite calls for change, the gender gap in silicon valley is still wide open. we will highlight some of the women trying to close it. we will discuss next. this is bloomberg. ♪
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♪ emily: the world of silicon valley has created endless success stories. but they were mainly focused on men. as the industry comes to terms with its gender gap, and one author is pointing out the women. julian guthrie, the author of "alpha girls: the women upstarts who took on silicon valley's male culture and made the deals of a lifetime," and theresia gouw, cofounder of aspect ventures, who is featured in the book, join us to discuss.
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julian: i had come out of my last book, that was very male-dominated. this was surprising to me because you share so much negativity, and it exists and is real in silicon valley. i found these astounding women who had succeeded. i wanted to know how they did it. what does the world look like for them, sitting at the table, meeting with entrepreneurs, going out for funding. it surprised me how strategic they were in their success and how it is possible to increment your way to success as they did, navigating before they could pioneer. i was really wowed by that. by these stories. the stories of "alpha girls" are very personal. it's personal lives, it's professional lives, it's how
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women juggle all they/we do. you are nodding your head. the whole thing surprised me, how women succeed, what the terrain is like, what the outcomes are, there are these important success stories, noticeably theresia right here. and how they did it. it was so inspiring. emily: i am so glad you did. theresia, i did know about you. obviously, you worked in a male-dominated venture capital firm, xl. you started your own venture capital firm. i am curious -- what sort of strategizing did you do along the way? the times you knew you were the only woman going into the room and did something intentionally because of that. theresia: i would say the biggest thing is being aware of that, and sometimes you have to
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think about that, and i tip my hat to magdalena, another one of the girls in the book, and take advantage. early in my career, if i was going to some big tech conference, if everybody is inundating the same entrepreneurs, if i can say something smart about the business, the chance they will remember me instead of someone named joe or bob or jim is higher. i viewed it as a positive. it is an opportunity. emily: there are many women who could've succeeded in silicon valley. what was it about the women you highlighted? julian: that's a great question. i think it's what theresia touched on. looking past possible slights. looking beyond that and those things, having a sense of humor
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was always super helpful. being optimistic, finding an area of specialty, like theresia did. being quantitative. really knowing your stuff, working harder than just about any guy in the room. those were some of the commonalities they had. they love the industry. they love venture capital. they love being part of this ecosystem that is silicon valley. in those ways, they had optimism, and they had perseverance, of course. emily: theresia, you are part of this new movement. you and your partner started a new firm. melinda gates has invested in your firm. there are organizations that are getting funds together to improve the representation of women. do you feel the change happening? or do you still feel we are stuck in the past?
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theresia: first, i have always felt like there's been a more secret underground sisterhood, going back to the early pioneering days. in the beginning, many other people would not put it on dinner with sheryl -- emily: sheryl sandberg. theresia: it was super helpful for us. now it's not only out in the open, the male entrepreneurs see it as an advantage. we have this different network for recruiting, for deal sourcing. it's wonderful to see it be so public and out there. we wouldn't be anywhere without our male allies. julian writes about it in the book. i think the book is about a lot of venture capitalists for venture capitalists who happen to be female. to me, she wrote a book that is the story of people from outside
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silicon valley who came in and had no proven path and found their own way. hopefully that will appeal to a broad range of entrepreneurs and people whose dreams are here in silicon valley. emily: in the middle of my own reporting process, when i was writing my book, which is also about women in tech, the momentum changed. people started talking about the #metoo movement. i was in the middle of writing, and i had to do a bunch more interviews and call people. how did that change your reporting process? maybe it was an underground conversation before, but it exploded into the open. julian: so i thought it would make the women less reticent, more willing to speak out about injustices and wrongs, but with this book, i found that was the most challenging thing. because these women have succeeded by, to a certain extent, by being unflappable, by expecting perfectionism among themselves. to show their vulnerabilities
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was very difficult. they worked so hard to get where they did. it wasn't easy. it was still something where they had to exceed expectations. it was hard for them to be vulnerable, even post #metoo, so that was another surprise for me. emily: so, theresia, you have been investing for a long time. i'm interested in and update of what you think is hot. i want to hear where you think the puck is going. theresia: it's been a while. as julian mentioned, i have been doing cybersecurity since 2000, when it was a small little backwater. there were a couple of little companies. that continues to be a big area of investment and interest.
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there's also quite a lot of activity, i am sure everybody talks about it, in terms of ai machine learning. some specific places are interesting. companies like chime and deserve are in our portfolio, in addition to those using machine learning in cybersecurity. we are starting to see some interesting applications in machine learning, particularly in digital house. the really boring stuff where a lot of the money continues to be a hot area. emily: what is your outlook on the recent ipo's? uber this week, having just seen lyft. theresia: i think all of those companies are doing quite well. i think we have more in the pipeline. i think this is going to be a really good time for growth in tech ipo's throughout the rest of the year. emily: is it impacting your investment strategy?
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theresia: these are companies that are 5, 10, 15 years after that timeframe. what it does say is for those companies that are further along, it does show that the market is open now. five years later, they are in a later stage, so it is really impacting those companies from four or five years ago. emily: that is julian guthrie, author of "alpha girls," and theresia gouw, aspect ventures cofounder. still ahead, is apple worried about its brand? that's a concern from a number of current and former employees. we will bring you that story next. this is bloomberg. ♪
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♪ emily: apple stores are being hit by complaints that customer service is getting worse. current and former employees tell bloomberg that brand building has become more important than serving shoppers. they say the quality of staff
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has declined during expansion in which apple opened more than 500 stores. apple announced that retail chief angela ahrendts would be replaced by deirdre o'brien. "bloomberg tech's" mark gurman told us more. mark: she tried to turn apple stores into luxury emporiums rather than a place for shoppers. before, it used to be a place you could go when and grab a product off the shelf and go to a cashier and pay for it. that is simple retail 101. you were able to do customer service, go up to a dedicated place, a genius bar, and get it fixed. the problem is, both of those core things are much more difficult. the cash registers are gone. it is hard to know which employees are there to help, to check you out, to navigate you to people. getting things repaired is a lengthy process. times to wait for repairs are adding up. the genius bar experience is
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gone. now you have roaming geniuses. you have geniuses under trees in something called the genius grove. so apple stores are all over the place. it doesn't seem like apple has a vision for what the store should be anymore. under the new retail chief, deirdre o'brien, the hope is apple will start to go back to its roots, which were very successful stores. emily: right, and on the upside, the online ordering experience has gotten a lot simpler. does this have anything to do with her departure? mark: that is a good question. it does not appear that she was fired. my interpretation is she was wanting to leave. she gave good reasons for wanting to leave, spending more time with her family. she is from indiana originally, here in the united states, worked at burberry in london for many years before traveling to california.
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of course you would want to spend time with your family. it does not appear like they did everything they could to get her to stay. i think apple realized it was time to shake things up after 10 years of that strategy. you saw that toward the end of angela ahrendts' tenure. they went back to that hard push of iphone sales and upgrades. they will continue to reverse the sales slowdown of their key products. emily: has apple given you any response to this report? mark: no. they declined to comment. they did hire a new retail chief. that is giving a lot of optimism inside the company, especially with 70,000 retail employees who think there will be positive changes. it is important to be noted, when you have so many stores across the world, there are 505 now, as of this week, there is a new store opening in washington, d.c. there are going to be mixed opinions. in recent years, under angela
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ahrendts, there has been an increase in complaints about customer service, people not agreeing with the direction. there is optimism that there is going to be a shift back to what was so successful under previous retail heads. emily: bloomberg's mark gurman. and that does it for this edition of "best of bloomberg technology." you can tune in. you can check us out on technology and you can follow our global breaking news network, @tictoc on twitter. this is bloomberg. ♪
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run. -- take the money and run. a big win. investors are skeptical. , of industrials metals from iran while iran vows enrichment for 60 days. prepared for imo 2020, the company's head of oil trading says dislocation in the market.


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