Big Tech Profits Continue to Surge, Latest Earnings Show

Man on phone, looking at desktop computer

Big Tech companies reported massive, record-breaking earnings figures as their sales continued to surge amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Google, Apple, Microsoft and Twitter all beat earnings estimates and showed large revenue growth, executives for the tech companies said during earnings calls Tuesday evening. The four companies’ earnings reports suggested that the growth experienced by Big Tech during the pandemic will continue apace.

“Our long-term investments in AI and Google Cloud are helping us drive significant improvements in everyone’s digital experience,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement Tuesday, explaining his company’s strong performance.

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Whistleblower Document Appears to Show Microsoft Helped Write Big Tech Bills

Screencap of meeting. Mr. Tiffany speaking

Microsoft was given an advance copy of major antitrust legislation, a document given to Republican Rep. Thomas Massie by a whistleblower appeared to show.

The document is the original version of the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, one of Democrats’ six pending antitrust bills targeting Big Tech, according to Rep. Thomas Massie. Every page of the document, which the Daily Caller News Foundation obtained on Wednesday, is watermarked with the text “CONFIDENTIAL – Microsoft.”

“I just came into possession of a document that everyone needs to know about,” Massie said during the Judiciary Committee markup of the legislation on Wednesday. “It’s marked ‘CONFIDENTIAL – Microsoft.’ A whistleblower provided this. It’s the first draft of one of these bills that would’ve covered Microsoft. This begs the question: did Microsoft have this bill and the other bills that we are voting on today before I had this bill?”

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Microsoft Blocks Images of Tiananmen Square Protests on Massacre Anniversary

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Microsoft’s search engine Bing appeared to censor images of the protester who stood in front of a Chinese tank during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

A Bing Images search of “tank man” yielded no results and a prompt for the user to check their spelling as of Friday afternoon. However, an identical search on Google Images produced hundreds of results including many of the iconic moment.

The famous “tank man” photo was taken on June 5, 1989, one day after the 1989 massacre in which Chinese troops fired indiscriminately upon civilians demonstrating against the government, killing hundreds. The photo showed a Chinese protester, who has since become known as “tank man,” standing in front of a procession of Chinese tanks rolling through Tiananmen Square.

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Bill and Melinda Gates Announce Divorce

Bill and Melinda Gates announced in a statement on Monday that they will be divorcing after more than a quarter century of marriage.

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” the former couple said in a statement. “We continue to share belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”

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Governor Northam Signs Consumer Data Protection Act

Virginia now has consumer data protection laws after Governor Ralph Northam signed HB 2307. Out of 139 legislators in the General Assembly, only 15 voted against the Consumer Data Protection Act. According to legal site JDSupra, that makes Virginia the second state (after California) to pass such a law.

Key provisions of the bill allow consumers to opt out of data collection, require entities to post conspicuous notices when collecting data to be sold to third parties, and require them to post privacy notices describing how to opt out. However, the bill also allows those entities to deny the opt-out request under certain circumstances, authorizing the consumer to file a complaint through the attorney general.

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Big Tech Employees Donated More to Biden’s Campaign Than Any Other Sector

Employees at Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, donated at least $15.1 million to President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, according to Open Secrets.

The donations eclipsed the amount given from employees in the banking and legal sectors, according to The Wall Street Journal. The five companies were also the largest fundraising sources for Biden’s campaign.

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Non-Profit VA Ready Focused on Rapid Training for In-Demand Jobs

Non-profit VA Ready announced this week a $30,000 award from Microsoft. The non-profit focuses on quickly training disadvantaged workers in Virginia with new job skills that are in demand.

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Microsoft Disrupts Trickbot Ransomware, Which Could Pose Threat to Elections

Microsoft officials announced last week that they disrupted 94 percent of a global ransomware network with a presence in eastern Virginia, according to a press release and court documents. The “Trickbot” ransomware is used to steal data from individuals and organizations, and could threaten U.S. elections.

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Microsoft Attempts Takedown of Global Criminal Botnet

Microsoft announced legal action Monday seeking to disrupt a major cybercrime digital network that uses more than 1 million zombie computers to loot bank accounts and spread ransomware, which experts consider a major threat to the U.S. presidential election.

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Trump’s DOD Delivers Another Big Blow to Bezos, Gives $10 Billion Cloud Project to Microsoft Instead of Amazon

The Pentagon reaffirmed its decision Friday to give a $10 billion cloud computing project to Microsoft instead of Amazon, marking the second time in one year that the Trump administration bypassed the online giant’s attempt to secure the program.

The Trump administration’s decision comes amid a legal battle Amazon Web Services initiated in 2019 after the Department of Defense (DOD) selected Microsoft in 2019 for the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud computing contract, media reports show. Amazon previously stated that President Donald Trump’s dislike of CEO Jeff Bezos contributed to the move.

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Tiktok to Fight Trump Over His Pending Order to Ban Its App

Video app TikTok said it will wage a legal fight against the Trump Administration’s efforts to ban the popular, Chinese-owned service over national-security concerns.

TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, insisted Monday that it is not a national-security threat and that the government is acting without evidence or due process. The company said it will file suit against the government later Monday in federal court in California. A copy of the complaint could not be obtained.

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Google, Microsoft, Facebook And Twitter Reveal ‘Data Transfer’ Partnership

Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft

by Eric Leiberman   Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook are teaming up to provide users with the capability of transferring data across platforms and services, the latter two social media giants announced Friday morning. After heightened concerns over data utilization (even exploitation and manipulation), companies appear to be trying to…

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Gates Foundation Pushes Back On Report Saying $215 Million Education Investment Was A Flop

Bill Gates

by Rob Shimshock   Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates’ $215 million investment in education was a colossal failure, according to a report by the RAND Corporation and the American Institutes for Research. But the foundation emphasized Friday some of the initiatives “important outcomes.” The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated the…

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