2019-03-23

Tech Review 1) When Will Humans Get To Mars? (video)

graphic "Tech Review" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
Tech Review (TR 2019-03-23)--Domain Mondo's weekly review of tech investing news: Features • 1) When Will Humans Get To Mars? 2) Amazon $AMZN Media Strategy, 3) Investing: The Week & Notes: 'Japanification’ of the Eurozone OR Eurification? 4) ICYMI Tech News: Google, 5G, Facebook, Qualcomm, Tesla, AMD, FIS & Worldpay, Quitting Big Tech.

1) When Will Humans Get To Mars?

Sending astronauts to Mars is a daunting prospect that will not deter NASA and private companies from trying to put humans on the red planet. The Economist.com video above published Feb 28, 2019.

2) Amazon $AMZN Media Strategy

When Amazon pursued the rights to a “Lord of the Rings” series in 2017, the company knew it would have to overcome some major obstacles to lure the J.R.R. Tolkien estate to its video-streaming platform. Amazon was a relative newcomer in video, with no track record of shepherding a blockbuster series. HBO, meanwhile, could tout its long history of hits, most notably “Game of Thrones,” a similarly epic series based on fantasy novels with a rabid fan base. Netflix, with more than 100 million subscribers, pioneered the on-demand model with hits such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.” Apple was also in on the negotiations to acquire the rights for the upcoming TV show, according to people familiar with the matter.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, a big “Lord of the Rings” fan, was promising the Amazon Studios team a huge budget to nab the series, a prequel to Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring.” But money alone wasn’t going to separate Amazon from the pack — Amazon’s $250 million offer wasn’t even the highest bid for the show’s rights, according to a person familiar with the matter. The ultimate selling point, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations, related to Amazon’s original business from over two decades ago: books.

The Tolkien estate was convinced that in promoting the series, Amazon could sell truckloads of Tolkien’s fantasy novels, including “The Hobbit” and “The Silmarillion” as well as “The Lord of the Rings.” During meetings with the Tolkien estate and publisher HarperCollins, Amazon’s Sharon Tal Yguado, who was hired from Fox in 2017, demonstrated a near encyclopedic knowledge of Tolkien’s characters, stories and geography, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks were private.

The “Lord of the Rings” series will start production in the next two years. The huge investment in a TV series has made Hollywood wonder just how much Bezos will spend on content. So far, Amazon has dabbled across the TV spectrum, with original content such as “Lord of the Rings,” a growing back catalog of movies and shows, as well as live sports from the National Football League and the Premier League. In February, 2019, Bezos was spotted chatting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at the Super Bowl, a reminder that Amazon has several opportunities in the coming years to make a big splash in America’s most lucrative sport. Meanwhile, The New York Post reported that Amazon is nearing a $3.5 billion deal to acquire the YES network, the regional sports network in New York that carries Yankees games. CNBC.com video above published Mar 13, 2019.

3) Investing
graphic: "INVESTING"  ©2017 DomainMondo.com
The Week: NASDAQ Composite +0.8% | S&P 500 Index -0.9% | DJIA -1.1%
Dow drops more than 450 points, S&P 500 posts worst day since January amid global growth worries--CNBC.com, Friday, March 22, 2019. Despite the decline on Friday, stocks are still up sharply for the year: S&P 500 is up 11.7%, the tech-heavy NASDAQ up 15.2%, and the Dow is up 9.2%.

Editor's note: the first four days of the week (graphic below) tell the tale of FOMC Fed Chair press conference Mar 20, 2:30pm, but on Friday the 3-month vs. 10-year Treasury spread inverted for the first time since 2007, a signal (provided the inversion remains for 10 days), indicating a recession sometime within the next 2 years, perhaps sooner, particularly when the inversion is followed by a second one. 
NASDAQ Composite
Investor Notes: a global slowdown led by Europe
"... manufacturing activity in Germany dropped to its lowest level in more than six years in March. In France, manufacturing and services slowed down to their lowest levels in three months and two months, respectively. For the euro zone as a whole, manufacturing fell to its lowest level since April 2013. These data sent the German 10-year bund yield briefly into negative territory, its lowest level since 2016 ..."--CNBC.com
The ‘Japanification’ of the Eurozone--the eurozone is beginning to resemble Japan with its low-growth and low-inflation environment, coupled with still very loose monetary policy, according to economists at ING--"An end to current unconventional monetary policy, i.e. the negative deposit rate and ample liquidity, is not in sight and the ECB is expected to do everything it can to avoid an unwarranted tightening of its monetary stance."

Eurification: "Why is Europe caught in a lost decade – 12 years of minimal growth? There are definitely parallels with Japan, but as many differences ... the core problem is the structure behind the Euro – ill-conceived but now a “must-preserve-at-all-costs” construct that represents the “key-success” of the European polity ... The failure of the Euro structure has magnified one massive difference between  Eurofication and Japanificiation. While Japan fell into stagnation at full employment, Europe is substantially below – especially the further you get from Germany. Youth unemployment is massive across the EU and it looks permanent ... Eurofication is a stalled economy, stalled consumption and long-term massive structural unemployment"--Bill BlainEditor's noteif they are plucky, the Brits will leave the Euromess April 12.

See also Eurozone’s push for unified fiscal discipline is doomed to fail says Dr. Juan Castaneda--cityam.com.

France’s Message for the G7--President Emmanuel Macron and his Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire are using France’s G7 presidency to push an agenda that includes minimum global taxes and higher levies on tech giants like Amazon and Facebook. Le Maire’s view is there’s little choice if Europe doesn’t want to be dependent on U.S. or Chinese giants--use competition law against global tech giants, enabling the creation of European competitors.

4) ICYMI Tech News:
graphic: "ICYMI Tech News" ©2017 DomainMondo.com
EU vs Google: The EU fines Google €1.49B for “abusive practices in online advertising” and breaching EU antitrust rules--europa.eu.

Google debuts Stadia, a game streaming service for Chrome, Android, and TVs that lets users “instantly” play games, also coming in 2019 with 4K HDR support at 60FPS--youtube.com.

Cutting through the 5G hype: survey shows telcos’ nuanced views--mckinsey.com Operators see a marginally positive business case, expect rollout at scale to take until 2022, and don’t think the increase in capital-expense-to-sales ratio will be as big as skeptics claim.

Facebook:  Zuckerberg planning to change Facebook from an open connected platform to a private, encrypted network encompassing its Facebook platform, WhatsApp and Instagram.

Qualcomm: Misunderstood Legal Ramifications And 5G Tailwinds--seekingalpha.com.

Tesla--How Not To Run A Company--A Mess at the Top & Moody’s Gets Nervous, Decision-Making Chaos, Epic Strategy Flip-Flops--wolfstreet.com.

AMD: Advanced Mass Delusions--seekingalpha.com

FIS’s $43B takeover of Worldpay--the scramble to build global payment systems.

Personal Tech: Quitting the five tech giants, full series: Day 1: Amazon; Day 2: Facebook; Day 3: Google; Day 4: Microsoft; Day 5: Apple.
Editor's Note: I'm minimal Microsoft, zero Apple, zero Facebook, but use Google daily, and use Amazon almost daily. How about you?
And social media? 
"Oldsters are on Facebook. Hipsters are on Twitter and vapidity rules on Instagram. As for Snapchat, it’s like Second Life, something overhyped that never broke through"--Bob Lefsetz

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo  

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