Tech News Digest – October 23

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U.S. Justice Department Sues Google, Alleging Monopolistic Business Practices

In what is certain to become a landmark case, the U.S. Justice Department is suing Google, claiming the technology company used its outsized clout to reduce competition from rival firms.

“The U.S. government sued Google on Tuesday claiming that the company is an illegal monopoly,” writes Shira Ovide of the The New York Times. “This legal case is going to be loud, confusing and will most likely drag on for years. More confusing lawsuits against Google from U.S. states are probably coming, too. What will be most important to remember are the big questions at the heart of this: Does Google break the rules to stay on top? And if so, does that hurt all of us?”

I think it’s safe to say that most of us saw this coming. What’s considerably less certain is what happens next. Surely, the case will be litigated over many years. By the time a decision is reached, the technology landscape may have evolved far beyond its present state.

Unquestionably, the lawsuit will test the leadership qualities of Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. My instinct tells me that Pichai and his team will weather the storm safely, and Google will emerge largely unscathed from its legal battles.

Tesla Motors logo is seen on an smartphone over stock chart

Tesla Looking Good After Posting 5th Profitable Quarter

Despite an industry-wide slump in sales, Tesla is apparently delivering on its promise to build half a million new cars this year.

Tesla Inc. reported a fifth consecutive quarter of profits, handily beating analysts’ estimates, and said it remains on track to deliver 500,000 cars in 2020 despite weaker sales in the rest of the global auto industry.

The earnings streak could add momentum for Tesla’s inclusion in the S&P 500 Index and defies a downbeat trend among other automakers struggling to overcome a pandemic-induced slump,” writes Dana Hull of Bloomberg News. “The Palo Alto, California-based company reported third-quarter profit of 76 cents a share on an adjusted basis, surpassing analysts’ consensus estimate for 55 cents a share.”

Some Amazon Employees Will Work From Home Until Middle of Next Year

Amazon has decided to let some of its employees work from home until June 2021, according to a CNN Business report. The decision seems to affect mostly office workers and other employees who can work effectively from home.

“Earlier this month, Amazon said 19,816 of its front-line US employees at Amazon and Whole Foods had tested positive or been presumed positive for the coronavirus. That was the first time the company shed light on the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases at its warehouses. Amazon had repeatedly resisted sharing that comprehensive data with the public and with its own workers,” writes Rob McLean of CNN Business.

Online Ad Spend Surges; Snapchat Shares Rise

Not surprisingly, online advertising is up, due largely to people spending more time on their digital devices. Social media app makers such as Snap have benefited from increased spending by advertisers during the pandemic.

Snap Inc. surged more than 20% after the social-media company reported quarterly revenue and user growth that topped estimates, lifted by advertisers’ stepped-up spending and consumers’ increased use of their phones for messaging and entertainment during the pandemic,” writes Sarah Frier of Bloomberg Technology. “The company, which makes the popular Snapchat mobile app for sending disappearing photos and videos, said third-quarter sales rose 52% to $678.7 million, far exceeding the $559.2 million average analyst estimate. Snapchat had 249 million daily active users in the quarter, compared with the 244.6 million average projection in a Bloomberg survey.”

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