Google to buy wearable Fitbit in the US

The US tech company Alphabet Inc´s Google has made 2,1 billion dollars offer to buy the wearable fitness company Fitbit (FIT) in the US.  According to the companies, Google is investing more in its Wear Os to balance the wearables markets with Apple Watch, Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi alike.

The deal is expected to face anti-competitive process by the US authorities related to consumer data and privacy. According to Google (GOOGL), the consumer data is kept well and no Google adds will be included. The deal is expected to be finalised during the next year.

The offer, which gives an 19 % premium to Fitbit´s share price compared to Thursday, means an offer of 7,35 dollars a share. Reuters reported on Monday that such a deal is proceeding and after that the share price has increased about 40 % in New York.

 

 

 

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Google to increase renewable energies globally

The US tech company Google (GOOGL ) has announced that it has made its biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy ever. This include 1600 megawatt package of wind and solar agreements and 18 new energy deals. According to Google more than 2 billion dollars will go to building new infrastructure in the US, Europe and Chile.

– These renewable energy purchases aren’t only notable for their size. Up to now, most of our renewable energy purchases in the U.S. have been wind-driven, but the declining cost of solar (down more than 80 percent in the past decade) has made harnessing the sun increasingly cost-effective. Meanwhile, our Chile deal marks the first time we’ll buy power in a hybrid technology deal that combines solar and wind. Because the wind often blows at different times than the sun shines, pairing them will allow us to match our Chilean data center with carbon-free electricity for a larger portion of each day, Google says in its press release.

The purchase is equivalent to the capacity of a million solar rooftops the Google CEO Sundar Pichai said.

Other tech companies are also announcing their climate change mitigation actions and energy efficiency plans before the next weeks UN Climate Change meetings. For example Amazon (AMZN) has said it will run only by renewables by 2030 and is targeting carbon-neutral by 2040.

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Polestar 2 – a new premium SUV

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The Polestar company has launched its premium SUV and electric car Polestar 2. According to company info, the car has two electric motors and a 78 kWh battery capacity that will enable a targeted range of 500 km.

– Polestar 2 will only be available for ordering online. The guide purchase price for the launch version of Polestar 2 is 39.900-59,900 euros with subscription pricing to follow at a later date. Pre-orders are open at polestar.com. Production of Polestar 2 begins in early 2020 in China for global markets in both left- and right-hand drive, the company says in the press release.

Polestar 2 has embed Anroid system which enable the use of Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Play.  It also has natural voice control and a new 11-inch touch screen display.

The company, which is owned by Volvo Car Group and the Chinese Zheijang Geely Holding, says that Polestar 2 will also be available in a network of soon-to-be-opened Polestar Spaces, that is Polestar Brand Stores.

This SUV´s initial launch markets include China, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK. Other markets are under consideration for future expansion, Polestar says.

Lifestyle Tech

Highlights of the year 2018 – Brexit, trade talks and green finance

The year 2018 was a year of Brexit, electric cars and trade talks. It included special moments in the financial markets and in the company side. Green Bonds and Green Finance were getting more attention in the markets and trade talks and Brexit were the topics during the year 2018 along. Climate Change and low carbon landed also in the agenda of central banks.

Investors were also asking what is the role of the City as a global financial hub. Should it have its own rules in spite of the Brexit? In the financial hub competition, Frankfurt and Paris were the European cities to get more new financial offices as financial companies were moving some operations to the EU side.

The UK Parliament is expected to vote of the Brexit during Janury 2019 after very intensive debate about the deal during the year.

Climate Change has become part of the everyday life in the financial markets and for example one of the biggest insurance companies in the US, Berskhire Hathaway informed in February 2018, that it has got 3 billion dollars losses of the natural catastrophies, the hurricances in the US. Several central banks, including the European Central Bank and some Asian ones, have also agreed about the co-operation in the climate issues and how to monitor the impact on the markets.

In the tech-side augmented reality and ioT were the themes for the year. Apple, Amazon, Google, Tesla, Intel  and Samsung  were one of the tech-companies to deliver new services related to the new technology. On the other side of the topic, Facebook was dealing with the privacy issues globally. New tech- companies listed in the markets were for example Spotify and Xiaomi.

Year 2018 was a year of electric cars in many countries. The e-cars breakthrough with charging issues was one of the tech topics as well. Telsa founder Elon Musk was the leading industry sector figure as he estimated that Tesla would make one million cars by 2020 in February 2018.

Also the German automakers announced new investments and concept cars. For example the BMW Group launched an autonomous driving campus in Munich in March 2018.

Year 2018 was also a year for luxury goods and services. The Basel World 2018 -fair announced its good selling and for example the CEO of Hublot, Ricardo Guadalupe,  told ComteamPUB+ that the company expects double digit growth for the year and that the Chinese customers will be the leading segment.

In the debt markets the US Uber and Netflix issued their junk bonds to investors. Uber, the ride-sharing company, is said to plan an IPO for the year 2019 according to the secret filings to the SEC.

One of the biggest infrastructure projects ever, the China Silk Road, is getting more attention from the green investors side, while the organization made its first announcement of the green principles for the project co-operation and operators. The ancient Silk Road is expected to rise the GDP growth by 4 % or 240 billion dollars in the countries invlolved according to Credit Suisse analysis.

The aim of the Roman time Silk Road is to connect the western Europe with the eastern coast of China and to renew the infrasturcture in between. This means also that the 10 world largest container ports are located along the route.

Trade talks between different countries have continued lively during the year. US and China have been in the headlines, but also the EU with its agreement with Japan.  The political situation and rising volatility in the financial markets tell the direction for the next year. Geopolitical easing is needed.

Päivi Härkönen, co-founder, ComteamPUB+

 

 

Business Finance Lifestyle

Google and Microsoft – new video game streaming

Both big tech companies, Alphabet (GOOG:US)  with Google and Microsoft (MSFT:US), are on their way to build new video game streaming services for their customers. Google has “Project Stream” as a beta-version and Microsoft “Project XCloud” service. The idea in both of the services is to enable customers easy and working access to video game streaming.

-Scaling and building out Project xCloud is a multi-year journey for us. We’ll begin public trials in 2019 so we can learn and scale with different volumes and locations. Our focus is on delivering an amazing added experience to existing Xbox players and on empowering developers to scale to hundreds of millions of new players across devices, Microsoft comments.

Tech side is also experiencing a new event from Apple. According to company news, Apple (AAPL:US)  is having a new event at the end of October, 30th October, in New York. It is expected to cover news related to iPads and Macs.

Tech stocks have been performing well this year in the Wall Street and according to Bloomberg, Google´s one year return has been 8,78 percent, Microsoft´s 42,07 percent and Apple´s 36,88 percent.

 

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Musk: Tesla to become the world leader in manufacturing

According to Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla (TSLA:US) the company is aiming to become the world leader in the manufacturing processes in the automotive industry. Speaking in the company quarterly meeting, Mr Musk said that he believes in manufacturing and that the most potential innovations in the automotive industry is there.

– We believe in manufacturing and that is why Tesla wants to become the leader in the manufacturing in automotive industry. We believe that in production there are more potential for innovations than for example in design. We are increasing our vertical integration, he said on Wednesday.

He also explained about the problems in the manufacturing process at the moment with 6000-7000 components and how it will affect the whole manufacturing process, timetable and quality if some of the components are missing. – That is also why, we are exploring ways, how to minimize risks in our production, but also that our R&D cycle is 2-3 years, not 6 years, he stated. This also means that the current supply chain has to adapt to the new cycle of doing things.

Tesla also announced that they are expecting to reach the mass production by the second half of next year and that would give the company the benefit to scale rapidly by using modern technology and design.

In the interim report Tesla also estimates that they will be producing 500.000 cars by 2018. Mr Musk was expecting that 100 000 would be S-cars, 150.000 X-cars and the rest of, 250.000 the new model 3-cars.

Musk did not want to comment about the possible new production plants in the near future. – It is obvious that California is not the best possible place for shipments for example to Asia. This will happen at some point, when we have reached the mass production and it is up and running, he said. In the first quarter report the company says it will open more than 70 new sales & service locations globally.

The orders of the new Model 3 have reached 400 000 and 93 % of the customers are new, according to the company.  Musk also pointed that the way Tesla is differentiating from its competitors like Google and Apple, is that they have their own production and he believed that by this way Tesla can attract the best manufacturing talent as well.

During the first quarter, the company revenues were 1,1 billion dollars and net loss was 278 million dollars. The net loss per share was 2,13 dollars compared to 2,44 dollars at the year end. Elon Musk did not want to disclose any plans for new capital for this year. Tesla share jumped after the full-year delivery forecast, but ended down 4,2 percent to 222,56 dollars in New York.

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Google to launch a new company for smart cities

Google (GOOG) has launched a new company called Sidewalk Lab to develop services and products for smart cities. Sidewalk is focusing to improve the life for everyone by developing and incubating urban technologies to adress issues like lowering the cost of living, efficient transportation and energy usage.

According to Google, new services and products like internet of things and flexible buildings and infrastructure allow cities to tackle the problems. The company will be lead by Dan Doctoroff, former CEO of Bloomberg News.

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