Global fintech report. Booking's new travel plans. Jupiter's weird moons.

Fine with me


No, regulation and mega-fines will not kill big tech. 

Google was fined $5B by the EU for alleged anti-competitive practices related to its Android smartphone OS. 

This follows a $2.7B fine last year for the prioritized placement of Google Shopping in searches. Ouch. In fact, the EU has made a habit of castigating US tech companies for a long time now. 

Details aside, our friends in the press have been asking us if this is the beginning of the end for Google or big tech in general.

Here's my short answer: no. 

Here's my longer answer: Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Apple are not going to be undone by fines or governments. No matter how loud the drum beat of regulation gets around them. 

Check out this stock chart below. Guess who it belongs to? One hint: it used to be regulators' and the EU's favorite whipping boy.

Yes, it's Microsoft. The company has roared back to a $808B market cap this year. 

But like dominant companies of the past, the big 5 in tech will be undone if they fail to keep pace with innovation or the next sea change in customer behavior.

Whether it's advances in artificial intelligence or voice-powered search or wearable computing, there are countless vectors through which these companies' basic business models could be undermined. That's why they must rabidly chase the next big thing and spend billions on R&D. 

The aggressive European stance is a threat, but not a mortal one.

Competition? Why yes, I would love some

Asia set a quarterly record with 133 fintech deals in Q2'18, closing in on the US. This was driven by a spike in early-stage deals and a 94% increase in deals in China.

We explore which other countries saw jumps in deals and whose fintech funding took a dip in our new Global Fintech Report.

What's happening, hot stuff?

The healthcare industry had the most AI deals last quarter, with 83 deals totaling $621.8M. See which other industries were hot spots with our AI deals tracker.

Have a great rest of the week.


P.S. If you know someone who would be a great fit for one of our open positions, let us know. If it works out, you get $5,000. Happy referring.

This week in data:

  • $5B: The EU is charging Google a $5B penalty for competition abuses related to its Android phone software. While it’s the largest antitrust fine ever issued, the amount remains fairly small for Google, which generated an equivalent amount of revenue approximately every 16 days in 2017. Google has said it will challenge the ruling at the EU courts, with CEO Sundar Pichai arguing (in a blog post) that Google has increased competition, not diminished it. We recently dug into Google’s expansion in telecommunications, including plays in cellular service & connectivity, public Wi-Fi, and more. Download the briefing here.

  • $150B+: On Tuesday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth topped $150B, making him the richest person in recent history. (That’s about $55B more than Bill Gates, the world’s second-richest person.) Bezos’ wealth has increased by about $52B this year alone. Bezos has come a long way from running an online bookstore out of his garage, with Amazon expanding into new verticals, ranging from grocery stores to voice assistants — and more. Most recently, we explored Amazon’s strategy in healthcare. Get the slides and recording here.
  • $500M: Booking Holdings is investing $500M in Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing. The investment comes as part of a partnership that will blend Didi’s car services with Booking’s other services, including Kayak (flights), Priceline (hotels), (rental cars), and OpenTable (restaurant reservations). Priceline and other major trip giants have been investing in travel tech in order to stay relevant — we break down their bets here.

  • 57%: Goldman Sachs released Q2’18 earnings this week, posting better-than-expected profit. The company also announced that CEO Lloyd Blankfein will step down, to be replaced by current president (and DJ) David Solomon. Goldman’s share price has increased 57% since Blankfein took over in 2006. We take a look at the company’s shifting playbook in our Goldman Sachs strategy teardown.

  • 18.5 sq ft: Homes have been getting bigger, according to data from the from the US Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data, which looks at square footage of newly built single-family homes, finds that floor area has been steadily increasing at a rate of roughly 18.5 square feet per year. And square foot per person has increased at an even faster rate — such that today, the average person has roughly the same space as a whole family did in the 1920s. The way we live is changing outside of just square footage, and the future of housing includes modular homes, timber skyscrapers, and smart cities. Check out our Future of Housing teardown.

  • 100: The US Army is establishing a new “Futures Command,” which will assess its entire fighting force and technologies to prepare for the wars of tomorrow. At Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference earlier this week, Lt. Gen. Nadja West, US Army Surgeon General, explained, ”The tactics, techniques, procedures, and capabilities that we had post-cold war may not take us to 2028 and beyond.” The operation (in Austin, TX) will be staffed by 100 soldiers and 400 civilians. For a look into the information warfare tactics of the future — from diplomatic manipulation, to faked videos, to computational propaganda — check out our report on The Future of Information Warfare.

  • 79 moons: Astronomers have found 10 more moons orbiting Jupiter, along with 2 moons confirmed last year. At a new total count of 79, that’s the most moons of any planet in our solar system. The moons are all fairly small, ranging between less than a mile to 2 miles wide. Two of the moons — Valetudo and Carpo — are spinning in a direction opposite the others, setting them on collision course.
One more thing...

California-based chocolate company Compartés is now offering a new, limited-edition avocado toast chocolate bar.

The bar blends white chocolate with chunks of California avocados and bits of carmelized toast.

Compartés' website recommends pairing it with the company's rosé chocolate bar, which is made with rosé-infused white chocolate and crystalized rose petals.

Millennials, eat your hearts out.
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