Amazon's Stock Erupts; European Tech Fund Introduced by Finance Minister


In today's ExchangeWire news digest: Amazon's stock rocketed 13.5% on Friday (4 February), marking their best one-day gain since 2015; French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced the launch of a new €1bn (~£846.9m) European tech fund; and tech giants behind the creation of the metaverse could still face sanctions after experts warn that the digital world does not "escape regulation".


Amazon’s stock reach their best single-day gain since 2015

stock rocketed on Friday (4 February) after the announcement that the e-commerce giant are increasing their Prime membership scheme by 17% for US customers, from USD$119 (£88.04) to USD$139 (£102.84). The 13.5% stock incline marks their best single-day gain since 2015, furthering their market cap around USD$190bn (£140.57bn).

Bitcoin has also soared, hitting its highest in two weeks on Saturday (5 February). The leading cryptocurrency reached USD$41,983 (£31,060.63), marking a 27% increase from the USD$32,950.72 (£24,378.20) year low on the 24th January.

The news closely follows Meta’s disappointment as they saw their shares plummet by over 20% on Thursday (3 February) due to investor fear that their poor revenue forecast could alter the wider digital advertising landscape. The decline resulted in the tech giant’s stock market value dropping by around USD $200bn (£1.4bn). The historic dive is a significant reminder to investors that big tech-focused stocks still operate separately. Julian Koski, chief investment officer of New Age Alpha, wrote in a note to investors, "the divergence between Amazon and Meta Platforms' earnings is an important reminder that each company is unique with its own set of problems and opportunities," according to Reuters.


European tech fund introduced to strengthen the EU’s market position


Today (7 February) French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced the launch of a new €1bn (£846.9m) European tech fund to allow the EU to compete with the US and Asia. The fund will go into effect on Tuesday (8 February) with aims to enable the EU to become less dependent on forgein titans within the tech market. With a combination of around 10 to 20 funds, the investment will support leaders in the European technology sector with a minimum of €1bn (£846.9m).

The funding closely followed the agreement made by Google, Meta, and European justice ministers to step up efforts to combat online hate through the use of a new legal framework. The meeting took place on Friday (4 February) and was hosted by Eric Dupond-Moretti, a Minister of Justice since 2020, who stated, "it is high time that we adopt an EU legislation so that platforms don't have the last word." He added, "we need a clear, precise framework that respects freedom of speech." 

In further news, Meta have been sanctioned £1.5m by The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over failing to notify the British regulator that key staff had left the firm. The regulator marks this action as a “failure to comply” with certain aspects of the requirements stemming from their order for Meta to sell Giphy. Meta have reluctantly agreed to pay the fine, noting that they think “it is problematic that the CMA can take decisions that could directly impact the rights of our US employees protected under US law”.


Regulations will still apply to the metaverse amid safety concerns

Tech giants involved in the creation of the metaverse will not escape penalties as experts supporting the fast-approaching Online Safety Bill warn that the digital world will be subject to tough UK laws. The UK government, who support this conjecture, are working to ensure that the metaverse will be the safest online platform through the implementation of the Online Safety Bill. As a part of this journey, tech platforms are deciding the true definition of the metaverse with a list of core elements to tick off: is the metaverse a single online immersive environment or a series of interconnected environments?

The metaverse is still a work in progress, with the Facebook parent, only days ago, voicing the potential regulatory concerns from their metaverse strategy in a securities filing. To support the safety of the virtual world, Meta have launched a new tool to maintain personal space and boundaries for users by making it seem like they have 1.2 metres between avatars. The new “personal boundary” tool is enabled when users access the immersive Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues apps through VR headsets. 

The UK government are concerned about a lack of control over the digital environment, commenting that the metaverse is not somewhere tech giants can “escape regulation.” The DCMS Minister Lord Parkinson stated, after reading reports about child safety in the metaverse published in the Sunday Times, “that is why the Online Safety Bill takes the approach of not being specific on certain technologies and making sure that our legislation can be future-proofed so that, as the internet continues to develop and new technologies are invented, the legislative protections for users keep pace with that. The metaverse, to which he referred, is a key example.”


Also in the news:

- Adform Leaves Competition Behind with New Open Internet Solution, ID Fusion

- Sarah Parkes Joins Talon Outdoor in Newly Created Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Role

- Advertising Executive Hossein Houssaini Joins AdTonos as Advisor to the Board

- ShowHeroes Group Continues its Global Expansion by Launching in the US and Acquiring smartclip LATAM