Blowback: What’s rising for US tech companies like a pile of fuming manure? The costs of working hand-in-glove with the NSA to build a seamless, borderless, indiscriminate spy dragnet. Now add an all-American cost to the pile: class-action lawsuits.
The government spy-services marketplace, part of Big Data, is juicy. Investors clamor to get in on it. Scores of startups have sprung up. The hottest one is Palantir. Its valuation jumped 50% in three months – to $9 billion! Its technologies, designed for the CIA to track terrorists, have transitioned to track you and me.
That the NSA might have tapped into Microsoft’s “cloud” services, along with Google’s and Yahoo’s, turned into a publicity nightmare. Now Microsoft, which collaborates tightly with the NSA and other agencies on a host of projects, counter-attacks. With very mixed results.
Stock market bubbles – they allow investors to make the mostest the fastest – don’t happen in a vacuum. They happen in a context. But this time, the context is different. Very different.
By Bianca Fernet, Argentina, The Bubble: President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner returned to her post this week, shuffling her cabinet and shaking up financial markets. Balding men marked the occasion by holding their heads in their hands in front of computer screens.
The beneficiaries of Abenomics are now coming out of the woodwork with soaring profits – but they’re doing the opposite of what Abenomics promised they’d do: they’re diversifying away from Japan.
Cisco CEO John Chambers had a euphemism for it during the earnings call: “challenging political dynamics” in China, without ever naming the NSA. Then there was India and others, including Russia where Snowden is holed up, and where sales outright collapsed.
A new era has dawned: there is now a consensus that this is a stock market bubble. We’re back where we were during the last bubble, or the one before it. How do I know it’s not just some intrepid souls on the bleeding edge who are claiming this, but a consensus?
There has been a symphony of calls for American investors to plow their money into European stocks. So, net inflows into European equity funds have set records, driven by euphoria about a presumed recovery. Equities soared. But turns out, reality has bad breath.
In terms of announced mass layoffs, 2013 is shaping up to be the best year since 1997. Overall, employers aren’t shedding lots of jobs. But glitter in some sectors covers up aggressive, permanent job destruction in other sectors – where the sky used to be the limit.