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投资者需要知道什么——投资网站

What Investors Need to Know -- The Motley Fool
投资者需要知道什么——投资网站
1102字
2019-06-15 14:58
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投资者需要知道什么——投资网站

This has happened before, and it’s going to be OK.

这种事情以前发生过,以后也不会有事。

2019-15-06-14-30-34-5d04908a804a2.png Nicholas Rossolillo

The year was 1911. After years of staggering growth, control over pricing, and legal run-ins along the way, Standard Oil is ordered to be busted up by the U.S. Supreme Court. Standard Oil was forced to split into 34 smaller companies, some of which survive today in the form of ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX). The Supreme Court ruled against Standard Oil on the basis of the Sherman Antitrust Act, which had been minted a couple of decades prior to prevent exactly the anti-competitive behavior the oil giant was involved in.

那一年是1911年。在经历了多年的惊人增长,价格控制和法律纠纷之后,标准石油公司被美国最高法院下令解散。标准石油公司被迫拆分为34家规模较小的公司,其中一些以埃克森美孚(NYSE:XOM)和雪佛兰(NYSE:CVX)的形式存活了下来。根据《谢尔曼反托拉斯法》(Sherman anti- Act),美国最高法院做出了不利于标准石油公司的裁决。《谢尔曼反托拉斯法》制定于几十年前,目的是要阻止这家石油巨头的反竞争行为。

As the saying goes, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes." Fast forward to 2019, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are reportedly looking into the practices of big tech companies -- namely Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL)(NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). The players have changed, but many of the same rules apply today, and antitrust laws could be brought to bear against technology. Investors could be in for some shock-and-awe treatment from the Feds, but there's no need to panic.

俗话说,“历史不会重演,但它往往会押韵。” 快进到2019年,据报道,美国联邦贸易委员会(FTC) 和司法部(DOJ) 正在调查大型科技公司的行为——即谷歌公司Alphabet(纳斯达克:GOOG)脸书(纳斯达克:FB)亚马逊(纳斯达克:AMZN)苹果(纳斯达克:AAPL)。参与者已经改变了,但许多相同的规则今天仍然适用,反托拉斯法可能会被用来对付技术领域。投资者可能会受到美联储的一些惊吓,但没有必要恐慌。

2019-15-06-14-57-03-5d0496bf725a1.jpg A black and white photo of the U.S. Capitol building with an American flag flying in the foreground.

Image source: Getty Images.

图片来源:Getty 图片

Antitrust what?

反垄断是什么?

First, let's review what antitrust laws are. According to the DOJ website, there are three primary mandates: the aforementioned Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, the first law to really crack down on monopolistic practices that restrict competition; the Clayton Act of 1914, which was passed to clarify and supplement the Sherman Act; and the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914, which also created the FTC.

首先,我们先来回顾一下什么是反垄断法。根据美国司法部的网站说法,主要有三项法令:上述1890年的《谢尔曼反托拉斯法》,这是第一部分真正打击限制竞争的垄断行为的法律;1914年通过的《克莱顿法案》是为了澄清和补充《谢尔曼法案》;1914年的联邦贸易委员会法案,也成立了联邦贸易委员会。

The idea behind all three laws was to crack down on anti-competitive practices, like collusion between competitors and mergers and acquisitions that lessen competition or increase prices on consumers. Regarding monopolies, the DOJ website reads as follows under the Sherman Act:

这三项法律背后的理念都是为了打击反竞争行为,比如竞争对手之间相互勾结,以及减少竞争或提高消费价格的并购行为。关于垄断,根据《谢尔曼法》,司法部网站解释内容如下:

The Sherman Act also makes it a crime to monopolize any part of interstate commerce. An unlawful monopoly exists when one firm controls the market for a product or service, and it has obtained that market power, not because its product or service is superior to others, but by suppressing competition with anti-competitive conduct. The Act, however, is not violated simply when one firm's vigorous competition and lower prices take sales from its less efficient competitors; in that case, competition is working properly.

《谢尔曼法案》还规定,垄断州际贸易的任何部分都是犯罪行为。当一家公司控制了某一产品或服务的市场,并通过反竞争行为抑制竞争,而不是因为其产品或服务优于其他公司从而获得市场力量时,非法垄行为就出现了。然而,当一家公司用激烈竞争和较低价格夺走了低效率竞争对手的销售时,这种行为并不仅仅违反了此法案;这种情况下,竞争也是正常的。

Based on this definition alone, it will take some effort to pin down the big tech names under fire. On one hand, they have grown to massive scale because they're disruptive to incumbent businesses by offering a superior service or lowering prices (like Amazon). On the other hand, though, acquisitions are common in the tech world -- think Facebook's buyout of WhatsApp and Instagram. Sometimes, a takeover is to capture growth from an upstart; other times, it's to consolidate market share in a key business segment. These deals have been going on for years relatively unchecked, and now it's an issue after the fact.

仅凭这一定义,就需要采取一些措施才能确定是哪些大型科技企业受到了抨击。一方面,它们已经发展到了一定的规模,因为它们是通过提供更好的服务或降低价格(如亚马逊)来颠覆现有企业的。不过,另一方面,收购在科技界也是很常见的——比如脸书收购WhatsApp和Instagram。有时,收购是为了从暴发户那里获得收益增长;有时它也是为了巩固一个关键业务部门的市场份额。多年来,这些交易一直相对自由,而现在,这是一个事后问题。

Granted, we don't know yet why the DOJ and FTC are mulling an investigation. Technology names have been in media frenzy-induced trouble and in lawmakers' crosshairs for years now. Facebook's Cambridge Analytica debacle that surfaced in early 2018 is a prime example.

诚然,我们还不知道美国司法部和联邦贸易委员会为什么要考虑组织一项调查。多年来,科技公司一直都是媒体疯狂制造麻烦和议员们抨击的靶子。2018年初,浮出水面的脸书剑桥分析公司(Cambridge Analytica)崩溃就是一个很好的例子。

Data privacy and abuse of the internet are not new concerns, and to be fair, it isn't limited to just the biggest internet names. In today's digital and data-driven world, many large businesses display signs of questionable practices. In early 2018, I wrote about Southwest Airlines'(NYSE:LUV) lawsuit against a small start-up to keep internet traffic flowing direct to their website.

对互联网的隐私和滥用并不是新问题,公平来说,它不仅仅局限于最大的互联网公司。在当今数字和数据驱动的世界,许多大型企业都表现出了行为可疑的迹象。2018年初,我写了一篇关于西南航空(NYSE:LUV) 起诉一家小型初创公司的文章,这家公司的目的是让互联网流量直接流向其网站。

Whatever the reason for the possible investigation, ganging up on tech is about the only thing lawmakers seem to agree on at the moment. But should investors panic?

不管可能要调查的原因是什么,联合开发技术都是目前立法者们唯一能达成共识的事情。但投资者应该恐慌吗?

What could happen...

究竟会发生什么....

Even if mega-tech is going to be the poster child for a crackdown of internet stocks, it will likely take years for any action to be taken. Action could be taken, though. In the past, antitrust laws have been brought down in glorious fashion. Standard Oil was the first example, as it was split up into dozens of smaller energy companies. AT&T (NYSE:T) is another example, which was broken up into several regional phone operators in the 1980s. Even with those drastic measures, shareholders were just fine. Successors to both of those companies continued to develop, merged with each other later, and business grew.

即使大型科技股将成为打压互联网股的典型案例,采取任何行动都有可能需要数年时间。不过,我们是可以采取行动的。过去,反托拉斯法曾被光荣地废除。标准石油(Standard Oil)是第一个例子,它被拆分为数十家规模较小的能源公司。美国电话电报公司(NYSE:T)是另一个例子,它在20世纪80年代被分拆为几个地区电话运营商。即使采取了这些严厉的措施,股东们也仍然安然无恙。这两家公司的继任者都在继续发展,后来彼此合并,业务也在增长。

2019-15-06-14-57-51-5d0496efb74c0.jpg An illustrated "like" icon. A man in the background is pressing the like button.

Image source: Getty Images.

图片来源:Getty图片。

It's just my conjecture that something less dramatic will take place, as is usually the case. The DOJ and FTC could decide to levy restrictions on business practices, like what happened to Kodak several times. The company had a monopoly on camera film and agreed to not sell private-label product in the 1920s. Later, in the 1950s, it was required to license out its color film-processing business. Other businesses over the years have simply been required to pay fines -- albeit sometimes hefty ones -- because of unfair or monopolistic business practices.

这只是我的猜测,一些不太戏剧化的事情将会发生,通常就是这样。美国司法部和联邦贸易委员会可能会决定对商业行为施加限制,就像柯达公司几次遭遇的那样。20世纪20年代,该公司垄断了相机胶片,并同意不销售自有品牌产品。后来,20世纪50年代,它被要求许可其彩色胶片加工业务。多年来,由于不公平或垄断的商业行为,其他企业只是被要求缴纳罚款——虽然有时罚款数额不菲。

Let's focus on Google for a moment, since the search giant has arguably been in the hottest of water with regulators over the years. Besides coming under fire for privacy and data practices along with Facebook last year, Google has also faced scrutiny over its digital-advertising duopoly. (Facebook is the other dominant party in that industry.) Across the Atlantic, Google has been fined three separate times by the European Commission over its search and Android businesses, totaling over $9 billion.

让我们先来关注一下谷歌,因为这家搜索巨头多年来一直处于监管机构的风口浪尖。除了去年因隐私和数据业务与Facebook一起受到抨击外,谷歌还因其数字广告双头垄断地位而面临审查。(Facebook是该行业的另一个主导方。)在大西洋彼岸,谷歌因其搜索和安卓业务分别被欧盟委员会罚款三次,罚款总额超过90亿美元。

Perhaps fines are all that will happen to Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple if the DOJ and FTC do move ahead with an investigation. Or maybe some more disruptive regulatory activity will be laid down on the technology disruptors -- perhaps requiring a breakup, like Google needing to separate its search business from its mobile operating system business. Only time will tell.

如果美国司法部和联邦贸易委员会真正地展开调查,那么谷歌、Facebook、亚马逊(Amazon)和苹果(Apple)就可能只会面临罚款。或许,一些更具颠覆性的监管活动将针对技术颠覆者——或许需要分析,就像谷歌需要将其搜索业务与移动操作系统业务分离一样,只有时间才能够证明一切。

No matter what the action, though, it's important to remember that many businesses that have had to make antitrust adjustments in the past did just fine in the long term. The ones that didn't (like Kodak) didn't die because of the law.

然而,无论采取何种行动,重要的是要记住,许多过去不得不进行反垄断调整的企业从长远来看都做得很好。那些不喜欢柯达的公司也并没有因为这项法律而消亡。

The real success of a company isn't competition or lack thereof, but rather its ability to innovate and change with the times. As long as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple continue to advance -- whether they remain intact in their current forms or not -- investors have no need to fret.

一个公司真正的成功并不在于竞争或缺乏竞争,而在于创新和与时俱进的能力。只要谷歌、Facebook、亚马逊(Amazon)和苹果(Apple)继续前进——不管它们是否保持当前的形式——投资者就没有必要担心。

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