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tv   Best of Bloomberg Technology  Bloomberg  August 17, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm EDT

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♪ emily: i'm emily chang and this is the "best of bloomberg technology." coming up, a flurry of tech unicorns charged the public markets. we will take a look at the inner workings of adam newman's company and is complex and controversial is this -- controversial business relationships. plus, content kings. cbs and viacom finally inked a merger deal. we speak to buy comes a ceo
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about synergies and the road ahead. and chinese online retailer alibaba defies the slowdown of missed a trade war with sales surpassing expectations. it was a big week for tech ideas with fleet work and cloudflare filing to go public. cloudflare has been in the news given its relationship with 8chan. three alleged gunman posted manifestoes on 8chan before three mass shootings. cloudflare stop providing services after el paso, texas, largely taking the platform off-line. so is now the time to go public? >> like many other tech ideas, especially in software, it is not profitable. it has a pretty good growth
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rate, it is really trying to look at competitors. fastly went public earlier this year and is doing ok. there have been some sources who were asking me why cloudflare took this long to get this point. they had been preparing since the fall of last year for a public offering. emily: cloudflare is a name we have heard of the companies that will go public soon. tell us exactly what cloudflare does. in the case of a company like 8chan, they basically protected it from being taking down in denial of service attacks. will: one of cloudflare's most popular and well-known products is ddos prevention service. it protects the website from a
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denial of service attack. anyone looking to attack the website and take it off-line. they offer the service to tons of websites on the internet. they think of themselves as a utility. when you have the service, it is the most effective or one of the most effective ways to protect your website from attacks like this. emily: right. and there is where 8chan comes up because cloudflare did not cut off 8chan -- the site was still operational until days ago after that shooting in el paso, texas. talk about what cloudflare says about 8chan and how investors might take that. liana: it is listed as a risk in the filing. this has gotten a lot of attention because it is buzzy, it is relevant in the headlines, but i think that cloudflare was really aiming in its filing today to show the world how its financials are doing and what its prospects are. i think it did a good job of
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putting out there this is a solid company that serves the backbone of the internet. and there is pent-up demand among investors for these sorts of companies to hit the market. a few weeks ago, medalia went public and crowd strike has a good valuation a couple months after its ipo. i would say cloudflare today is really trying to associate itself with some successful software ipo's from earlier this year. emily: that said, cloudflare only made news when they made bad news under criticism that it helped keep some of these websites afloat. if you go back to 2017 and what happened in charlottesville at the time, cloudflare was under fire for helping support a neo-nazi website the daily stormer. it was only after much criticism that they finally took that website down by cutting off service to it.
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i spoke to the ceo matthew prince at the time and talked to him about some of their general policy of trying to remain neutral when it comes to content online. take a listen to what he said to me then. >> we turn to the experts in terrorism and illegal content which is law enforcement legislators, regulators. we say, here is this content. what would you like us to do? that feels like due process, that there are actually politically enshrined organizations that can make these decisions, as opposed to these decisions being made on the political whims of me or mike zuckerberg or jeff bezos. emily: when it came to 8chan, more recently, it was several hours after that shooting in el paso that cloudshare said we are
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cutting them off as well. in a statement at the time prince said, they have proven themselves to be lawless and a cause of multiple tragic deaths. even if 8chan had not violated the law and refused to moderate their hateful community, they have created an environment that revels in violating its spirit. expand on the sort of context. very complicated issues. we are seeing companies, facebook and google, struggle with what to leave up and take down on their platform. for cloudflare, it is a slightly different story. will: cloudflare is in a difficult position. they do not want to make content decisions. as you saw in the interview. like i said earlier, cloudflare thinks of itself as a utility. the product is so good and it is hard to find other comparable products. so, when you do not have cloudflare's ddos protection, it might be difficult to stay online.
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what that means is cloudflare basically can decide who gets to be on the internet. they don't want to make those decisions. as you seen, they have only made the decision twice in removing daily stormer and 8chan. it is a really difficult position, and when you do things like remove 8chan and remove daily stormer, then you get material to say why not remove this website or whatever other website that has vile content on it? i don't think this is a business cloudflare wants to be in. they do not want to be deciding what is on the internet and what's not. emily: we work also officially filed for its ipo this week, expected to raise about $3.5 billion. that would make it this year's second-largest ipo behind uber. they revealed a loss of $69 million in the first month and a -- and almost $3 billion lost in the last three years along with some unique business dealings by the ceo. ellen hewitt has all the
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details. >> anyone who has been following we work closely knows they have been giving out select financial information quarterly for the last year or so. so we already knew, for example, in 2019 they lost close to $2 billion while making revenue around 1.8. there were some surprises we got more details about some of the loans and complicated financial structures that go on between adam newman and the company. there was some knowledge about this before. he was famously a landlord but we also got information about loans the company has made and the succession plan that would happen if he could no longer serve as the ceo. emily: our colleague shira ovide called the office leasing company on steroids with a complicated structure. they are offering three types of stock. it takes a step further than what mark zuckerberg and the founders of google have done.
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ellen: there are three classes and two of them have 20 votes per share. class a has one vote per share. as you would expect, that is a great consolidation of power. it is largely in the hands of adam newman. he has a lot of voting control over the company. that is by design. people who support the structure think that adam has the right vision, the boldness, and the leadership to take it even farther than it has been. for some of the people, they will look at that and raise their eyebrows thinking that might be too much. emily: the other thing that is interesting as they laid out how many of the buildings are fairly new. 30% of their locations are mature. 70% are two years or younger. the vast majority of their space is incredibly new. ellen: and they have changed the definition of that metric of a mature location.
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it used to be 18 months, they have expanded to 24 months. even with that, it's only 30% of the office location have been open for more than two years. they look at that as pointing to high-growth. exactly. like, look how fast we are growing. but it is also interesting because a lot of the most stable unit economics they like to highlight are focused only on mature locations. they say these are where we no longer have to rely on marketing to fill the buildings. when you start to realize that's only 30% of their portfolio, it starts to raise some questions about how sustainable their growth is and how easy it would be for them to get to profitability. emily: they say they may never be profitable. which is similar to what we heard with uber and lyft. how are investors feeling, are they excited? ellen: we see a lot of activity on twitter on both sides. they think the growth is exciting and others cannot wait
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for it to go public so they can short it. it will be a divisive stock. we will see the price will be decided soon by the public markets. think a lot of people are looking to see if it will meet that $47 billion private valuation. emily: how quickly do we expect them to get to market? when does the roadshow launch and all that? ellen: sometime in the next few weeks. we expect and have reported that we expect a september ipo. that is just around the corner. emily: that was bloomberg tech's ellen huet. coming up, thumbs up. redstone cements her status as the most powerful woman in u.s. media with cbs merging with viacom. and if you like bloomberg news, check us out on the radio. this is bloomberg. ♪
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emily: cbs has merged with viacom. an $11.7 billion transaction. the deal unites the most-watched u.s. broadcast network with the parent of paramount pictures and
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cable channels like mtv and nickelodeon. it followed a marathon negotiation this week as the two sides hashed out a price. >> they finally realized that after two to three years of going back and forth whatever misgivings they might have had, they both just needed to compete in this streaming war. over the past two years, we have seen time warner sell out to at&t. we have seen fox and the murdochs sell a lot of their assets to disney. companies worth $100 million, $200 million. if you count apple and amazon, 800 billion dollars, $900 billion. cbs and viacom, even combined, they are worth only about $30 billion. but by coming together, they have a deep library that will
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get much stronger. emily: how does this position this now combined entity against all of the other newly merged now larger media companies? >> it is still small in comparison. most investors would tell you there are probably more deals to be made. i spoke to the ceo of the combined company and he acknowledged that more m&a is likely. they have been linked to companies like lionsgate, discovery. it is also possible that the redstone family, who will own the combined company, say it is time to cash out. in might take a couple assets that were seen as we can put them together, it might be able to entice some larger company to scoop it up. emily: that was bloomberg's
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lucas shaw. as for details on the newly merged companies and strategies, we heard from viacom's ceo who sat down in new york. >> we are thrilled that we announced the combination of viacom and cbs, creating a leading global multi platform content company. when you look at the assets, it unites cbs, a station operator, a syndicator, a studio, with paramount pictures, one of the most storied studios in hollywood. global brands and nickelodeon, mtv, bet. that really shaped culture for 40 years. and, of course, showtime. a premium that has pushed the boundaries of storytelling. we have created an incredible asset base. this was the deal negotiated by two special committees and went through a diligent and thoughtful process. the critical thing is we got the deal done because it positions us to do great things. >> no question it is a phenomenal deal for both sides and there was a willingness to
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get it done, yet some shareholders are nonplussed that viacom is not valued at more. would cbs have given in eventually? >> this deal was conducted by two independent committees of directors. when you need to focus on is the potential.ion these are two companies valued at low multiples. a lot of that was due to the uncertainty them. also a lack of clarity on the path toward. starting yesterday, we started talking about a three-part growth strategy really building a business through a combination of cbs subscriptions, when i have millions of subscribers and viacom's ad supported structure with pluto tv being the leading
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free streaming service. 18 million monthly active users. up 50% since we bought it. putting those together, you have an ecosystem. we love that and will be a very significant partner with ads, distributors, and a huge content supplier. very exciting growth strategy going forward. people will see the very material value that is here. >> you have also identified $500 million in cost savings. can you give us more detail? how many and where? >> when you put two companies together, people talk about synergies. those numbers you reference is a cost number. gross cost number. it includes organizational costs and sourcing benefits. some real estate benefits. beyond that, we have not gotten into it, the more important thing to focus on is the power of this combination is going to create incredible value for all of our stakeholders, including the incredible employees of viacom-cbs.
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who together will shape the future of media. that is what people need to focus on. emily: viacom's ceo there. coming up, softbank's massive fund makes its first ever energy storage bet. we find out what energy vault is with the ceo. this is bloomberg. ♪
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emily: softbank's massive vision fund made its first ever energy storage that monday -- monday,torage bet investing in energy vault.
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this company stacks concrete blocks in a tower that can store and release energy. it is presenting it as a solution to lithium batteries, claiming it can supply electricity to the grid 24 hours a day. to discuss what this means for the energy storage market, i sat down with the ceo. >> we have designed an innovative new system tower. it includes a six arm crane and 35,000 metric ton bricks that that are all orchestrated with proprietary software stack, so that is the whole system integration. we take excess energy from solar or wind when it is produced and not needed. that energy is used to raise the blocks, and when the energy is needed by the grid, we lower those blocks and discharge the energy. emily: how widely deployed is this? you said you are on four continents. >> correct. we have had a working model for the last year in switzerland. in addition, we are building our first commercial scale unit in the fourth quarter in the north of italy and, as we announced
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many, many customer engagements on many continents, so we are excited. emily: what do you think the draw is for softbank? >> they share our vision for renewables and understand how important energy storage is to make renewables real and make renewables solve the problem of our reliance on fossil fuel. they own an energy company, so they understood this beyond just being an investor. they share our passion to be -- our passion to solve this problem. emily: it relies on this giant automated system that has to work reliably outside in the elements year after year after year. seems like a lot of moving parts. do you have concerns, or is there a risk that some parts could not function properly given all that exposure and throw the whole things off? >> that is one of the beauties of innovation. the technology we are leveraging is proven physics. we are leveraging unique material science working with one of the largest materials companies in the world, so we
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actually are not using normal concrete. we are using a material composite for 95% of these bricks and raising and lowering them, so the fundamental core physics is known. where innovation comes in is with the proprietary machine software that fully automates the tower as well as a lot of other innovation we thought of from a sustainability perspective. this last point is important. not only the materials, we can use the soil right from the site we excavate locally to make these bricks, so we don't have bring in trucks, materials. we are not spewing omissions with trucks coming in or other transportation elements coming in, and from a sustainable perspective, we use some of the suppliers in a global supply chain ecosystem that exists today, so we can do it now. emily: we have seen lithium ion batteries start to be attached to the energy grid, but also they can only supply energy for hours at a time. how long can your system >> sure, that is another one of the innovations, long-duration. we can do eight to 12 hours.
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why is that important? we cannot only meet the time requirements of utilities but think about manufacturing companies. industries and industrial processes that rely on the power 24 hours a day. the selling nation plants -- desalination plants is a great example. they need power to make drinking water 24 hours a day and we can now provide them for the first time that power. emily: we have seen a lot of pushback from local communities against giant solar power plants or large wind farms because of the fact that they don't look attractive. do you run the risk of that as well? a large concrete tower, while it might work, it might not be what someone would want in their backyard. >> for most of the markets we will be building this system, it is out where there are farms. out in typically remote areas. wind farms, where there's already turbines sitting up high, and the off grid applications which are pretty
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important for us to get power to remote farms, villages, etc., to areas that that need power that cannot get it from the grid. in those locations, we don't see a lot of problems with the height. emily: there is not really another company that does this this way. what other company is working on this in a different way that might be the most challenging idea to what you have proposed? >> the big thing that has not been solved until now are for the economics. how do you get renewable energy storage down to price? when combined with solar or wind, you can do it below the cost of fossil fuel. that is really the major innovation and we have done that through the material science, to thinking about design, and through sustainability. that is, primarily, what we are solving that no one has been able to solve. emily: you have other competing, crazy, bold ideas. pumping compressed air underground releasing it to turbines.
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there are obviously a lot of paths to get to the best results and create the most amount of energy at the cheapest price. what do you think makes this better than all of those others? >> sure, sure. three main reasons -- when we designed this, we did not want to have this dependency on things like geology or geography or topology. dams, for example, rely on mountains and things. we want to be able to deliver this everywhere, it is so big, the problem we are solving. second, sustainability. chemical battery companies, how they get the material, the batteries degrade immediately when you install them. through cycling, they are going to degrade. our system doesn't degrade at all. you have to solve this with innovation across material science, design, and thinking about sustainability of your environmental aspects every day. emily: energy vault's ceo. coming up the antitrust cloud continues to swirl over big tex. ch.big te
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we take a deep dive into the ftc probe of facebook next. and bloomberg tech is live streaming on twitter. be sure to follow our global breaking news network tictoc on twitter. this is bloomberg. this is bloomberg. ♪
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>> welcome back. washington to follow targeting big tex on antitrust. the chair of the u.s. federal trade commission is weighing in. joe simon said his agency is ready to get down and dirty. if you have to come you do it. it is not ideal because it is messy, but if you have to come you have to. the ftc is investigating facebook, including acquisitions and antitrust probe. that is one of the big tech companies being targeted by the trump administration. to discuss, charlotte lehman joins us.
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before that, she was part of the anti-competitive practices division. we have the director of the enforcement policy. she served as an assistant attorney general in the antitrust bureau of new york state as well as sarah friar. >> it is hard to read much into it. if you have to come you have to. what he is talking about is it sourcedifficult to significance, something we would call a breakup. in order to get that remedy at court, you need to show it is necessary. a comment but that is what he means, -- means. emily: the ftc recently find facebook. critics said that find it not go far enough. do you agree that the agency has
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what it takes to make that leap if they have to? he was dating the fact that as a remedy that every enforcer needs to consider. i would have expected out of joe simon how he handled the facebook violations and just given him a rate. a $5 billion fine sound like a lot but it is not going to -- affect american the american people. these cases and investigations take a long time. it may be joe simon making the decision about what the proper remedy is, whether open up or a different type of conduct. you have a new piece out in bloomberg businessweek that speaks to how facebook has evolved under scrutiny from regulators after this penalty by the ftc.
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your assessment is, facebook is getting stronger. how so? >> if you think about it, the data is the most important part of facebook's business model. that is that the bedrock of advertising businesses. the ftc is telling facebook it is important you do not share your most valuable player said with any third party. facebook but ended up. they already do not want to share their data with third parties anymore. they understand owning the network and owning a much bigger network and making that network bigger is the most important thing for the future of business. with the ftc -- what the ftc did is let the company continue and have an excuse to do things that are anti-competitive. us -- charlotte, talk to would you agree with sarah? charlotte: that is a major
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concern, something i hoped the ftc would do is have requirements. that is a form of data sharing but it allows competition so it is important. sally, at what point do you think the ftc would say, ok. this is a company that needs to be broken up, whether facebook or joe simon spoke to amazon in particular and the issue around third-party sellers? sally: it takes years of investigation the foreign enforcer is going to break up a company. think as i said it may be after the 2020 election to we could have a different decision maker making the ultimate decision. the concerns that he voiced about amazon are important. it is not allowed to enforce rules that it said it was not
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going to do in terms of low pricing on its third-party sellers in a different way. as someone who worked at the ftc, how concerning is the amazon issue in your mind? charlotte: the ftc wants to make sure competition is happening fairly on the amazon platform. small retailers ought to be able to compete and not worry that amazon is going to anti-competitively interfere. that is the kind of thing the ftc is going to be looking for. sarah, in response to the facebook, the security officer at facebook had a striking tweet. he said i cannot believe facebook did not pay for more -- more for this. if the consumer after -- offered
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house options, what does he mean by that? he means this is a valuable asset that facebook is no longer about to share. it is good for facebook to have this rule. of five or seven years ago, the one that resulted in cambridge analytic is no longer how facebook works. there are not developers -- that operateuizzes on facebook anymore. that used to be necessary to bring more users. facebook no longer runs that. it wants to keep its entire network mostly for itself. emily: you just came out with a fascinating piece that facebook contact is are listening to audio of its users talking over facebook messenger. today, the story about facebook only getting stronger.
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sally, why don't these bad news stories seem to hurt facebook more than they do? sally: the reason why the that news stories don't hurt a's is because the enforcers are not making changes in business practices. fine and the the final was a fraction of the danube revenue and it was able to keep doing what is doing, minding users data in a way they do not expect and that is how it makes its billions of dollars. that settlement was a win for facebook. an enforcert until changes business practices in a way that affect profitability, the stock will not be affected. emily: what is your expectation of how this ftc antitrust investigation of facebook will play out, as well as a potential investigation into amazon? sally: we do not -- access to do not have
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documents they are reviewing at the ftc. we should not expect it is going to lead to huge changes. the track record here is not strong on that. antitrust is a narrow and difficult area. is there would be a new agency with new regulatory powers in addition to antitrust. that is how you are going to adjust the sour -- power. coming up, posted earnings this week. revenue short amid economic slowdown. reporting better-than-expected results. this is bloomberg. ♪
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emily: reporting second-quarter
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revenue missed estimates. worse ad revenue grew than expected 16%. .ncreasing competition a broader economic slowdown. womanre, i spoke with a in beijing. even though profit numbers beat up expectations, the focus was on that decline in growth around the online ads revenue. even though this is not the most important section, this was a promising area. we are starting to see it get hit by broader economic issues in china as well as competition from the lights -- likes of ideas. where the company pointed out the slowdown in advertising, this is from the real estate sector, the financial sector, --ch is not a process surprise given the stream of weak economic data coming out of china. this is the big elephant in the room. the company has been on a roll in terms of getting big
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companies to buy into their ads as well as user eyeballs on their platform. the company did not directly mention the company by name but did say it would be investing more in mini video apps, which might dance as a leader but it would also be for its quality to differentiate itself from its competitors. emily: gaming has been a controversial part of the business. the chinese government has cracked down. that has these depth. what did we learn about the segment? salina: the worst is over in terms of the gaming sector in terms of, this is the company's most important revenue line. we did see them start to monetize on very important games, a new game including peacemaker, elite. this is the less violent version of the popular battle royale game that did not get approval from chinese regulators.
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we did not people growth from those gains but analysts expect that to pick up. you mentioned censorship for any country in china. they have to deal with government censors and those regulators have not been proving you have gained titles fast enough. we have heard that they are focused on making less violent games. they are keeping a more balanced profile especially when it comes to teenagers. the ad sales around media ads were hurt by censorship. the expectation is, as we were waiting for a national day later, they are swelling down and cracking down in terms of what contact can be shown. jewel meantime, the crown of kensignton, a super rap to which there is no more -- no real equivalent. in china, we rely on we chat for
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everything or anything in its. what is shocking is you are definitely reaching penetration. it grew 7% to 1.1 billion users in the most recent quarter. they are trying to add more services, contact in that app. they are focusing a lot of energy on the mini app which are light apps within the apps that encourage users to spend more time any chap rather than other parts of the internet and we have seen companies respond positively to many apps. it can be used for anything from a booking of cars as well as bike sharing. this week, celine are -- selina was talking -- tracking alibaba's results.
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discussed.n carter >> in spite of tariff talks, the real story in china is the andions of consumers moving they want more and better food, more and better clothing. that has been the story of the sales and-- retail consumption continues. here, the is traditional consumption and destruction -- infrastructure was never developed in china. allie talked about demographics and digitization, despite what was happening macroeconomic manziel politically. the question is, how long can that keep up? i pointed out a few factors.
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houck -- how long can this support this trade war that looks like it has no end? in of them is the consumer the developed markets. cities are reaching the levels of consumption under developed markets around the world. cities are also starting to pay off. are able showing they to go head-to-head with competition, companies like pdd that are focused on these lower share markets. they are planning to invest more in these areas, that their market share is growing as well. this is a trend in china. in addition to that, they are with better of the rhythms of well is investing in sales promotions. that'll together is helping to
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boost that china commerce business by 40%, almost twice the amount of almond retail sales. with this have led to believe that e-commerce in general as segments will not be impacted by trade tensions in china. it has affected me the least. the tariffs in the trade war have agricultural problem -- products. ends e-commerce are about the 500 million people in china that are not going to get a smart phone. they will connect with their friends, they will shop. a one directional thing. not part of the trade war. point, alibaba does have increasing competition from not just j.d..
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one of the headwinds that allah bobby faces ahead? alibaba has been pretty did -- but we did see some areas of challenge. i still have those negative operating margins. we saw growth decelerate in that area. there are lots of that digital media entertainment sector that narrowed but we are facing regulatory issues. based off of advertising. it is not the way you think of amazon. while we saw online advertising take the hit, amazon has maintained strength there. they are doing things to keep their customers engaged and return on investment for their customers. emily: if the trade war rugs on
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and it appears it is going to jog on, what do you think the follow-up is going to be? it is like the impact of the chinese economy. theffected the story, statue in sector. i would like to think the tariffs are not going to go into affect. >> many tariffs are already in effect. >> the new ones that were not pushed out to december i would like to think it is a negotiating tactic. we had a trace grimaced with china 10 years ago. we put a tariff. they responded by putting a tire on chicken beat. that was put under the obama administration. it lived for three years. slow hundredo
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american tire making job at a cost of a million dollars per job. cost three dollars in retail for every job saved. i like to think the mathematics are clear enough we will not do the things we threaten. , the markets are voting out. we will have a recession in our country. it could be bad if we go ahead with the terror of says described. emily: where does that mean you're placing your bets? the emerging market internet companies are not about the trade war. .his is about people consuming coming up, you know him as the former head of a bloomberg heads, one of china's common.
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adventures, and exclusive conversation with him. this is bloomberg.
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emily: the former of google china is turning heads. 300firm has invested in companies. among them, one startup will be the fastest ai startup to hit $100 million in revenue. we spoke with bloomberg tech selina wang who asked about the long-term win for capital racing. >> we do not plan this ahead of time. based on the trajectory, our innovations, today it is fit to to $100 million. there yet but by the time we project we will get
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there. which is not far from now. it will be $100 million in revenue. a lot of unicorns don't even have $100 million revenue. it can get there pretty quickly. is the revenue, over one hundred million dollars, over $200 million. it should be well over a unicorn. emily: what is your timeline for an ipo? $100 million to $200 million revenue, which buys the company that went to billion dollars. less than two years from now. emily: the era of technological discovery in there is open -- over and now it is about of the contagion -- implementation. >> we are at a very early stage in the commercialization. we are at the equivalent of early internet portals, back
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when everybody with using yahoo! and there was no google yet nor amazon nor facebook. there is a lot of room. emily: we are seeing ventures yields will dramatically. do you think this is a long-term winter? or is it a healthy short-term health back to levels. >> and an economy that has slowed down, everything will slow down. there will definitely be a .hakeout many of the smaller first time disease, they have great money using unconventional ways. , if thepositive side is economy is challenging and the valuations were bound, it is a chance to go shopping. emily: there are reports that
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some ai companies could be added blacklist because he would be cut off from u.s. technology. how are used being -- you seeing that playing out? >> the companies are largely built on software stack, so i think the impact would be much less than six, a company like huawei. which has intricate hardware software. the u.s. has been scrutinizing foreign fields in the u.s. how did it impact or strategy in the short-term and long-term? >> in the short-term, it has no impact. u.s. investment has always been less than 5% of total. now goes more 5% to percent. it is inconsequential.
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it in the long-term i think it is a pity if we have to really cause a separation of two one couldbecause argue artificial intelligence that's where you -- intelligence has been able to got to where it got too. this: that doesn't for edition of the best of bloomberg technology. we will bring you all the latest. francisco p.m. in san . we are live streaming on twitter. by this there at technology. follow our network and tick-tock. ♪
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