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First Move with Julia Chatterley
India's Death Toll Surpasses 200,000 Lives as COVID Cases Surge; AstraZeneca Faces Illegal Action Over Vaccines; Earnings Impress as Google's Parent Company Reports Great Results. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired April 28, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, FIRST MOVE: Live from New York, I'm Julia Chatterley. This is FIRST MOVE and here is your need to know.
Deadliest day. India's death toll surpasses 200,000 lives as COVID cases surge.
Courts clash. AstraZeneca faces illegal action over vaccines.
And A for Alphabet. Earnings impress as Google's parent company reports great results.
It's Wednesday. Let's make a move.
Welcome once again to FIRST MOVE, we are midway through the week. Coming up on this busy Wednesday, U.S. President Biden details plans for his American
aid boost. Fed Chair Jay Powell on the outlook for economic and market stimulus juice; plus, Google and the Microsoft rule, the Big Tech roost.
Both reporting massive revenue gains. The biggest sales surge for Microsoft in fact in three years driven in part by PC power.
Microsoft President, Brad Smith will join us later this hour for all the details.
Now, the combination of all of this leaving futures a touch softer, premarket. Jay Powell's tone today of course going to be key. The Fed can't
ignore the strength of the economic recovery, some would say booming, with inflationary pressures spreading. Jay Powell has been able to balance some
of that optimism with cautiousness about the outlook. So far, today, I think going to be his biggest test yet.
Bond yields are already on the move across the United States and in Europe. U.S. 10-year yields are at two-week highs. Italian yields are at seven-
month highs on hopes for President Draghi's new $315 billion recovery plan, so the pressure is on as far as bond yields are concerned.
European stocks on the rise too as positive earnings there drive sentiment. Deutsche Bank reporting its strongest quarter in seven years, a Q1 profit
of $1.1 billion coming there. Its shares rallying as you can see more than 10 percent in Frankfurt trading as we speak.
Elsewhere, strong Japanese retail sales for March helped sentiment in that region while the Asian Development Bank also upped its growth outlook for
developing Asia, too. A positive growth scenario tempered as always by uncertainties over India's current health crisis.
And that is where we are going to begin the drivers once again. India's official death toll surging past 200,000 lives on Wednesday, it is the
deadliest day since the pandemic began. Now, research is producing a new model suggesting the real death toll is in fact much higher and could reach
almost one million lives lost before August.
Sam Kiley joins us now from New Delhi. Sam, I know you've just arrived. Can you give us your first impressions?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Julia, I think what the initial impression is from Delhi at any rate is of a capital that
has been almost entirely overwhelmed by this COVID pandemic, one now in a vicious grip of its second surge.
And as you say, there is increasing amount of data to show that this is by no means near the top of the curve in terms of infection rates nor in terms
of the death toll. Catastrophically, nationally, short of oxygen to treat people with COVID, and we have just been learning in the last hour or so
that in the Maharashtra state, they are not getting enough vaccines to keep their vaccination centers open.
They have capacity to vaccinate 800,000 a day and they are sending some of the teams home because they are only getting at the moment some 200,000
vaccines. This, being a nation that is traditionally producing some two- thirds of the vaccines produced worldwide.
There has been a catastrophic failure of government at a state and national level here. That is what we are hearing on the ground from doctors, from
health professionals, and occasionally even from politicians, with a lot of finger pointing at the government obviously of Mr. Modi who has encouraged
political campaigning over the last few weeks. The mass gatherings of people, packed shoulder to shoulder in stadia across many parts of the
nation, cannot have contributed healthily to preventing the spread of this virus, which is now identified as certainly one strain, if not two, Julia,
of Indian strains that are particularly very virulent. We are not sure whether or not they are causing higher levels of death, but it certainly
seems to be spreading extremely fast.
KILEY: Now even reports that wood is running out for pyres for the burning of bodies here in New Delhi.
So the scenes are catastrophic. There is a very substantial international effort now under way with the United States, United Kingdom, other donors
trying to rush capacity to either produce oxygen or deliver oxygen to patients to New Delhi and to elsewhere in the country because the curve as
I say is by no means flattening. It is still accelerating.
And the presumption has to be that it is going to get a lot worse in this country before it gets better -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, you raise such a great point, Sam. I mean, if we look at the new cases reported in the past week, and we've had various voices
telling us on this show these are under estimated. 2.17 million new cases reported in the past week, and that is a 52 percent increase.
So to your point, the curve is accelerating here, nothing less. And again, to what you were saying there about the political rallies, I read this
morning that political rallies are still going on. Sam, is the message not being clear that these kind of super spreader events must stop?
KILEY: It is extremely bizarre, frankly, that any kind of public event would be going on. There are some states that are imposing much stricter
lockdowns as we speak preemptively because in some cases, some of these states in this nation of 1.4 billion people have not seen the levels of
surge that we've seen in Maharashtra around New Delhi at Pradesh, and therefore, there is a political imperative, it is perceived.
There is also an attitude particularly among the BJP Party up until recently at any rate that India had somehow beaten the COVID pandemic, that
it had somehow miraculously achieved herd immunity, and as an exporter of vaccines, it was ahead of the world. The tragic reality is that it was
simply behind the curve of the rate of infections, which could be some health officials are saying many, many hundreds of percent higher than what
We do know for example in New Delhi that a lot of the testing centers have simply shut up shop because they are being completely overwhelmed with
people, anxious people testing preemptively but also people going down with the virus. At the same time hospitals, private hospitals reporting they're
having to turn people away every day due to lack of beds and lack of oxygen.
There are even people buying oxygen on the black market and parking in rows of cars and simply piping the oxygen from canisters through the windows of
the cars and into people splayed out in the back seats of vehicles.
It is a catastrophic scene. It is absolutely extraordinary that any kind of public event should be held. But there is a political imperative behind
this in a number of states that have got elections coming up in May.
One court in the southern state, Julia, has even suggested in the last 48 hours that electoral officials could be charged with murder for allowing
their elections to go ahead. I think that is slightly over the top, perhaps, but it indicates how frustrated people really are -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. No illusions left there. Certainly just the stark, heart breaking reality.
Sam, thank you for bringing it to us. Sam Kiley there.
All right to Europe now for the bitter dispute between the E.U. and AstraZeneca has landing in court. The drug maker accused of failing to
fulfill its contract for vaccine supplies, the company meanwhile says it regrets the legal move by the E.U.
Cyril Vanier joins us live from London. Cyril, AstraZeneca said all the way along, fulfilling those supplies was their best efforts case. Where do we
go from here?
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Julia. AstraZeneca says that this case is without merit and that they will defend themselves robustly in
court. Well, now is their chance.
When you look back at the timeline of this entire dispute between the E.U. and AstraZeneca, you wonder perhaps whether we should have seen this
coming, this lawsuit, because the E.U. tried everything with AstraZeneca.
They tried public shaming. They tried upgrading them. They tried summoning the CEO. They tried helping them, by the way, by actually giving them tools
to improve their production facilities. None of it has worked, and the bottom line is that AstraZeneca has only provided roughly a third of the
vaccine doses that it said it would provide in the first half of 2020.
So Europe feels that it is out of options, that it must protect its citizens. Certainly, that is what the E.U. Health Commission spokesperson
has said. And that is why they are taking this matter to court.
VANIER: We should note, Julia, within three to six weeks, what the Belgian court decides, the E.U. argument of course is that AstraZeneca is in breach
of contract for failing to provide those doses and that that must be addressed.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, Cyril Vanier, thank you so much for that. We'll watch that space.
Okay, the pandemic has meant more people are at home and online and Google's owners are seeing profits strong as a result. Alphabet reporting
revenues of more than $55 billion for the first quarter of the year, up more than one-third from the same period last year.
Paul La Monica is on the story for us. The comparables of course are easy because advertising spending fell off a cliff at the start of the pandemic,
but, Paul, where spending goes, where eyeballs go, advertising money follows. I think that is the message from these results.
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Oh, without question. I am reluctant to use the term monetizing eyeballs because it makes me cringe
and reminds me of the late '90s or early 2000 and the bubble there, but that being said, there are a lot of users for Google and the services that
What really struck me as most remarkable, Julia, in this earnings report, YouTube ad revenues now hitting $6 billion in the quarter. That is up
nearly 50 percent from a year ago, and YouTube now accounts for about 10 percent of Alphabet's total sales.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I read in a recent Pew survey report that we've gone from seeing 73 percent of U.S. adults using YouTube, the video platform, of
course, in 2019 to 81 percent in 2022. These are astonishing numbers and it is astonishing, Paul, and it is no wonder that advertisers are following
here. What are they saying on the earnings call? Go on, Paul?
You have more to say, say it.
LA MONICA: There is kick of obviously using YouTube as well, definitely.
CHATTERLEY: Oh, hundred percent. I was going to ask you, what are they saying about the return to work? The hybrid environment going forward? What
did we get on the earnings call? Because it is the outlook that is key on this as more vaccines proliferate and recovery takes place.
LA MONICA: Yes. The company said that it is still going to allow for a hybrid model of working from home for some of its employees, but there have
been multiple reports suggesting that Google and Alphabet are stepping up their efforts to let people return to the offices sooner rather than later
because of people getting increasingly vaccinated so you're going to see more people potentially returning to various Google offices.
And, you know, that I think is a trend that we are going to see throughout Corporate America. As people get vaccinated, there will be a comfort level
in allowing workers to come to the office again provided that they are vaccinated.
CHATTERLEY: Provided that they are vaccinated. What about taxes, Paul, while I've got you?
LA MONICA: Yes, taxes is an interesting point for Alphabet and many other Big Tech companies. There has been criticism of a lot of them for paying
lower corporate taxes because they are domiciled in places like Delaware, the home of President Biden, as well as offshore places like Ireland.
But Google has said, you know, Ruth Porat, the CFO of Alphabet has said in recent interviews that she supports a higher corporate tax rate, and there
is a trade group that is funded by Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other Big Tech giants that have also said that they are willing to pay a higher tax
I mean, I think the general hope is that corporate taxes go up a bit, but not dramatically and obviously, Senator Joe Manchin and some of the
Republicans in the Senate will be negotiating with President Biden on what that final number looks like.
CHATTERLEY: I guess it also helps if you've got a big geographical footprint as well because that allows you to, perhaps, adjust where you pay
taxes, too. It is a different story if there is a global minimum tax, that was mentioned on the call.
LA MONICA: Definitely, and $55 billion in revenue doesn't hurt either. Google clearly has money to pay Uncle Sam and various aunts and uncles
around the world as well.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. Paul La Monica, thank you for that.
All right, let me bring you up to speed with some of the other stories making headlines around the world.
Brazil's Senate has launched an investigation into the government's response to the pandemic. The move could reflect badly on President Jair
Bolsonaro who is expected to seek re-election next year. He has been accused of downplaying the threat of COVID-19, shunning masks, and defying
The family of Lee Kun-hee, the late chairman of the Samsung Group says it will pay nearly $11 billion in inheritance taxes that is reportedly more
than three times what the Korean government took in estate tax for 2019.
The family will also make multibillion dollar donations to healthcare and give away Lee's vast collection of art and antiques. He was South Korea's
richest man when he died last October from heart disease.
CHATTERLEY: Researchers have discovered a massive toxic waste site off the coast of Los Angeles. Footage from their expedition shows roughly 27,000
barrels dotting the ocean floor, some of them are believed to contain harmful chemicals dating back to World War II. Scientists hope their
research will help find a solution to the problem.
Okay. Still to come here on FIRST MOVE, trading app Public says it offers a fairer share of the market spoils than rival Robinhood. We're joined by one
of its founders.
And blockbuster results for Big Tech. Microsoft's President joins me to discuss a stellar quarter. That and more. Stay with us. It's all coming up.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE live from New York where the U.S. majors are softer premarket ahead of the Jay and Joe show in Washington,
D.C. The high powered wing men of both fiscal and monetary stimulus both take center stage today.
Jay Powell ready to update the fed's monetary stimulus outlook, meanwhile President Biden also about to roll out fresh fiscal stimulus, his so-called
American Families Plan during the address before a joint session of Congress.
Biden and Powell speaking on the eve of what should be a very strong read on U.S. GDP, too, with Q1 growth expected to rise at an annual rate of over
six percent. Consumer sentiment figures out yesterday also showed optimism at 14-month highs.
So President Biden having to strike a unifying tone, too, similar to his Inaugural Address, on Wednesday evening. The White House says Biden has a
long list of accomplishments to be proud of.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I can also tell you that while the major policy announcement in the speech is of course the American Families
Plan, a historic investment in education and child care, he will also use the speech as an opportunity to talk about many of his other priorities
including police reform, immigration, gun safety, his ongoing work to get the pandemic under control, and to putting Americans back to work.
He was in the Senate for 36 years. He also sat through eight of these as the Vice President and he certainly recognizes the important opportunity
that this offers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: And Christine Romans joins us now. Christine, the American Family Plan valued at $1.8 trillion.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
Not to be confused with the infrastructure plan at $2.2 trillion, not to be confused with the enacted COVID Rescue Plan, cost of $1.9 trillion. Hey,
ROMANS: Yes. He is going to have to convince America that we need this, right? On top of all the other rescue and relief and the way he'll position
this, Julia, is this is finally rewriting the rules to benefit working Americans again, to benefit Main Street, not just Wall Street, not just
He is going to talk about how you can save money for people. Maybe $13,000.00 a year for working families by letting their kids be in
universal pre-K. Three and four-year-olds getting a quality education and there are conservative economists and liberal economists who agree that a
dollar spent before the age of five is a dollar well spent in terms of the economy and education.
So we will see how he crafts all of this trying again to shift the balance back toward working families is how he is going to spin this.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, and to your point, there are huge benefits that can be made, an investment that should happen in the United States. It is sort of
FDR - Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in style.
ROMANS: It is.
CHATTERLEY: Just without the massive majorities in Congress that he enjoyed, convincing the people is one thing, convincing Congress, entirely
ROMANS: You are absolutely right. You know, this is a guy who has been around. He knows the politics of this, so we will see if he can play that
well here. But we know his approval rating, his most recent approval rating at 53 percent and other studies, other surveys and polls that show that the
majority of people agree with his infrastructure plan, for example. That could be some wind in his sails here to use that phrase that I often use.
It will be fascinating to see whether the American public is ready for another big, bold plan, but it is hard to give people something and take it
away. That child tax credit hasn't even landed in bank accounts yet. That starts going out in July. They want to make that permanent, that's part of
They want rich people and companies to pay for these new plans. Also, this is what I think is very interesting. The I.R.S., to say, has been stretched
to the limit is an understatement. The I.R.S. is doing the stimulus checks, it is doing the child tax credit, it is doing all of these things that have
been unveiled to help the American people.
The White House is now saying they want to give more money to the I.R.S. so that it can have more enforcement so they can go after that low hanging
fruit of the billions and billions of dollars that rich people don't pay on their tax returns. So we will see if we hear all of that tonight.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I was going to say, that is going to be a big piece of the announcement tonight as well.
Christine, we will both be watching CNN's extensive coverage of President Biden's address to Congress and we will deal with lack of sleep afterwards
and of course, the Republican response.
Tune in tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern here in the United States, and that's 1:00 a.m. in London, 8:00 in Hong Kong.
Christine, stay right there because I want to get your take on this next story, and we are going from the Biden stimulus package to the battle of
the billionaires in space.
Call it a school yard spat perhaps between two of the biggest grownups in tech, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk over an almost $3 billion contract to build
a lunar lander.
Now, NASA awarded the contract to Musk and SpaceX. Jeff Bezos's rocket company, Blue Origin lost out and it says the decision to choose SpaceX was
flawed. Musk's response came in the form of a tweet -- back to Jeff Bezos, and here it is, "Can't get it up (to orbit). LOL."
Christine, I think if my mother is watching at this moment, she just spat some of her tea out. What do we make of this below the belt?
ROMANS: Look, literally and figuratively, you know, it is so fascinating because Elon Musk just going out there in a hundred percent Elon Musk. You
read the statement from Blue Origin to the G.A.O. protesting the awarding of that contract and it is very kind of bland and dry and technical and
then Elon Musk comes back and is with the school yard humor or locker room humor.
He also tweeted by the way a picture of the Blue Origin lander proposal that is -- it is called the Blue Moon and scraped off the word moon and put
balls below it. So, it really shows you where Elon Musk's mind is these days. But it just kind of, I think, shows you these two billionaires who
have a passion. The moon shot passion for getting back to the moon. Not unusual for the Bezos organization to contest the awarding of this
contract. What is unusual is the Elon Musk response there, and again, I think it is pretty much vintage Musk. Don't you?
CHATTERLEY: And that's what I was going to say, it is not unusual for Elon Musk. And actually, there is a business story here beyond the sort of
ongoing monkey business that we're showing you on Twitter, and that is, forgive my phraseology here, NASA and the government are sort of putting
all balls in one basket here going for SpaceX and Elon Musk because the belief was that they would give it to a couple of them just to diversify
the risk here and make sure someone can achieve this in the time required.
CHATTERLEY: So, I guess I understand some of the concern perhaps and the protest.
ROMANS: And there is a third company from Alabama that is also protesting that this was given to SpaceX and both SpaceX and -- or Blue Origin and
this other company are both saying, look, we just don't think that they vetted the proposals deeply enough for how important this is and how few
players there are here.
So that was sort of the complaint of the Blue Origin folks. You saw the response, a gutter ball right there from Elon Musk. We may hear more from
him. You know, he is going to be hosting "Saturday Night Live" this weekend, so we will have kind of a late night look at Elon Musk. Maybe
there is going to be a skit about this. Who knows what will be coming forth? But we will be hearing from -- and seeing Elon Musk very soon.
CHATTERLEY: We wait with bated breath, and the moral of the story is it's not about the size, it is how well the rocket works. Christine Romans, and
I might be fired for that. We are just going to go and take a break. Thank you for that. We're back after this.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. The trading day is about to begin on Wall Street. It is a crucial day for investors as we await Fed Chair Jay
Powell's latest thoughts on stimulus and on interest rates.
Boeing meanwhile pressuring the Dow. Its shares set to fall more than one percent after posting its sixth straight quarterly loss. The aerospace
giant losing more than $500 million amid continued pandemic pressures, but it is projecting a return to profits soon.
Okay, smartphone trading app public.com burst on to the scene earlier this year when Michael Bolton literally sang its praises as he compared it to
rival app, Robinhood.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BOLTON, SINGER: I know you've been disappointed by your stock brokerage. You might be thinking how can I ever trust again?
Well, I know a thing or two about break-ups, and I'm here to help, and so is public.com.
Public makes it easy for you to transfer your portfolio.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Public.com calls itself a social investing app. It says its business model is less exploitive of retail investors than others and it
aims to democratize market access for first time investors.
I am pleased to say, Leif Abraham is the co-CEO of public.com and he joins us now.
Leif, fantastic to have you on the show. Just explain that. What makes public.com fairer than some of the alternatives out there? Great to have
you with us.
LEIF ABRAHAM, CO-CEO, PUBLIC.COM: Thanks for having me, Julia.
So what Public really is, is on the one side, we're an investing app, and on the other side, we are also a social network. And so we have basically
built a community around the stock market that is really centered around education and kind of learning from each other's experiences.
And so, you know, so far we have about a million members on the app, and the focus has been really the sense of getting access to the stock market
by truly learning from other people's experiences and kind of see what other people invest in and so on.
CHATTERLEY: So it is about educating yourself by talking to other people or do you actually provide education in the form of, hey, if you're going
to invest, you need some kind of stop loss? You need to be careful how you trade, think about how much you're investing. Does that kind of education
come with the platform, too?
ABRAHAM: Yes, so it is very heavily driven by the community itself, and so on Public, everyone has a portfolio and you can kind of see what other
people invest in, you can see what kind of companies I own. And when I invest in a company, I can kind of write a little caption to it and kind of
share my thesis behind why I am making this investment, why I'm selling a certain stock and so on.
And then, there is also, obviously, you know, other kind of friendliness on the app, the kind of shared experiences around investing, the kind of their
principles around it. So for example, one thing we often see is you know, people join the app and they are kind of really going from being super new
to the stock market to kind of dollar cost averaging and to a diversified portfolio within a month or so and they really learn these types of
strategies really through the community and other people on the app.
CHATTERLEY: And I know you are also holding town halls as well with the CEOs of some of these companies to allow retail investors access to the
actual CEOs of companies that they are potentially going to invest in which I know is some other way that you're trying to democratize access to
It is far easier perhaps to do that than it is to jump on an earnings call and ask a CEO a question in front of analysts and big investors.
ABRAHAM: Yes. Exactly. So we have really obviously, you know, trading volume has been going up in terms of retail volume. I think the last time I
saw it, it was like 25 percent of trading volume is really retail volume in the U.S. now already.
And you know, I think companies are seeing that retail investors are just having a larger and larger impact also on the space in general. But as a
retail investor, I think you haven't really seen many companies you know, let retail investors ask questions in earnings calls and so on, and so that
really has been thing mostly for bankers and analysts and most people have kind of have been locked out of that.
And so with town halls, you really just open it up to more people and really create this like direct connection between the people who run the
companies and the people who are investing into them.
So the first ones are going to happen now, I think today, Shai Wininger, who is the co-founder of Lemonade who is going to do the first town hall
and the next one shortly after that is going to be Whitney Wolfe Hurd who is the CEO and founder of Bumble.
CHATTERLEY: I think one of the big differences, and we should talk about this because you came to my attention when the whole world seemed to be
talking about the GameStop saga and the challenges that Robinhood faced, particularly at that moment, was the use of allowing the platform to be
free, but funding yourselves via something called payment for auto flow where you take all the orders from the people that use the platform, you
give them off to a market maker, in this case obviously in the GameStop case and Robinhood, it was Citadel, and then they provide money for doing
You decided we're not using payment for order flow anymore. How are you bringing money in as a result and has it hurt your bottom line?
ABRAHAM: Yes, so, I think in the industry, you've seen all stock brokers just kind of go into the zero commission model. And you know, Robinhood
obviously, you know, pioneered that and you know, curse them for doing so.
ABRAHAM: But on the back, this has really been funded by this model of payment for order flow and what we believe is that payment for order flow
also just kind of creates little effect, misaligned incentives for the brokerage itself.
Because, in the earlier days, if you make money on payment order flow, you have interest in having people trade more and therefore, you know, offering
them products like for example, margin which is basically a fancy word for loaning money to trade with.
And so we believe that because, like 90 percent of people on Public are first time investors, so they make the first investment on Public and so we
have a certain responsibility to make sure that these people are not being burned in the first experience.
And, you know, payment for order flow kind of incentivizes, to you know, sell to these people for example, you know, margin or options trades and so
on. And so we made the decision to get rid of the kind of PFOF and you know, don't participate in that anymore and instead introduce this tipping
This tipping model really gives people the option to pay us for the execution of that trade, and what we believe is kind of a beautiful thing
here is that, it very much aligns our incentives with incentives of our users because we have a very key incentive to just build the best product
for them because you know, if we do well, they will tip us. If we screw up, they will likely not tip as much.
And because of this kind of nice incentive balance, we really have, you know, like our goal is we need to just build the best product for them
versus from market makers.
CHATTERLEY: Are you making more money now or before?
ABRAHAM: We are not sharing numbers on it yet, but you know, so far so good.
CHATTERLEY: Because you have to stay in business, too. Very quickly, what about -- I know you don't have margin trading. You don't allow derivatives
either. What about crypto? Is that something that people are going to be able to access on the platform going forward?
ABRAHAM: Yes, I think crypto is coming for sure. Obviously, you know, I think nowadays crypto is just a piece of a modern portfolio in a way and so
I think, you know -- and so I think, it's just something a lot of our users are obviously are asking for and so that's something that is going to come
through at the end.
CHATTERLEY: How long do we have to wait?
ABRAHAM: A little bit longer, but it will be soon.
CHATTERLEY: Great to have you with us. Keep in touch, please, and we'll track the progress. The co-founder and co-CEO of Public there. Great to
have you on. Thank you.
All right, coming up after the break, Microsoft's full commitment to help close the disability divide, plus, its massive quarterly results, Microsoft
President, Brad Smith will join us to discuss. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE to Microsoft's momentum. The company quarterly results topping expectations with profits jumping nearly
45 percent from a year ago. Revenue also soaring almost 20 percent with the Cloud business booming.
The stock at this moment in early trade down just over 2.5 percent, just for context, up 55 percent in the last 12 months.
CHATTERLEY: Joining us now, Microsoft President Brad Smith.
Brad, always fantastic to have you on the show, and congrats on a great quarter to you and the team across the board. I have to say, one of the
things that caught my ear on the earnings call and it was Satya Nadella, he said, "Over a year into the pandemic, digital adoption curves aren't
slowing down, they are accelerating and it's just the beginning."
Just talk us through, what are you seeing? What are clients doing at this moment?
BRAD SMITH, PRESIDENT, MICROSOFT: Well, thanks, Julia. And as always, it is great to be with you, and you know, we are seeing digital technology
continue to accelerate and it is interesting when you look around the world, we're seeing this both in the countries that are obviously still
suffering from the pandemic as people continue in many instances to work or shop from home, but we are also seeing digital technology accelerate in
companies that are more back to work, say New Zealand or certain countries in Southeast Asia or Australia or China.
And I think what that really speaks to is the decade ahead and how this is really a phenomenon for us from the Cloud to productivity services to
gaming to something like LinkedIn and learning that people have learned more about in the pandemic and in many ways, will continue to use in their
daily lives and certainly in the workplace as the pandemic eventually subsides.
CHATTERLEY: You know, it explains why you're so positive on the future and the outlook for Cloud growth. You are clearly on the acquisition hunt. We
saw that with the latest acquisition, Nuance, of course in the healthcare and AI space.
But you also mentioned there the huge challenges and it is global, it is on the eve and the recovery clearly is uneven.
Just give us a window into the boardroom if you can, just how do you invest in this kind of environment? How do you make decisions in this kind of
SMITH: Well, really at Microsoft, the question for every major investment is always about the year 2030. You know, it is great to have the kind of
quarter we did with the strong growth really across the board. But it is ultimately about the long term.
The long term ultimately arrives. That is one thing we've learned in our 45-year history and when we look at the long term, you know, what we really
see is ultimately the opportunity to use technology and data to spread opportunities for economic growth more broadly around the world that really
requires for us more capital investments, building more data centers around the world.
These are, as you know, typically investments that cost hundreds of millions of dollars or more and then as we did with the acquisition of
Nuance Communications, it is identifying the parts of the economy where AI can really bring about substantial improvement.
In that instance, it is something like transcription for people who are engaged in the healthcare space, so that AI can capture their words, it can
record them. It can help them be more effective and, obviously, look around the world right now, we need to maximize the value and contribution of each
and every healthcare worker. This is a great example of what something like AI can do.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, you know, it all links to another huge announcement that you made today and I do want to focus in on that, because I think it is
incredibly important and it hones in on what you call and I think it is a great way to put it, a huge, untapped talent pool in the world, and it is
those that are in some way disabled, and you're making huge steps particularly over the next five years to try and narrow what you call the
Talk me through the announcement today.
SMITH: Sure. It really is important and I think it is an opportunity for all of us to just reflect a little bit more on the fact that more than a
billion people around the world at some point in their life either temporarily or permanently will have some kind of disability. It might be
relating to hearing or sight or other things.
And when we look at the world today, you know, there is such enormous talent in this community, but only 33 percent of people with disabilities
are currently employed. That compares with 76 percent of their peers, so that is really an enormous divide.
And our view is that digital technology can help close this gap. It can empower people with disabilities to be more productive, and especially if
we can build on that to really help bring people into the work force, to give them the digital skills that will help them get a job, that will help
employers better identify this talent and then make the workplace itself more inclusive of people with disabilities at a time when in some
countries, we're looking at a perspective labor shortage, this is great talent that can help the economy continue to move forward.
CHATTERLEY: I was looking at some of the statistics on this as well. I mean, even just in the United States alone, one in four people with some
form of disability live in poverty, it is worse if you are a minority. So there are many aspects to this that you are tackling if you just try and
Make it actionable, Brad, for us. Just be specific about what you're doing here, because some of it is about providing care workers with digital
skills so that they can support those that they are supporting and helping, partnering with universities as well, because it is not just about the
workplace, it is about the education before you even get there.
CHATTERLEY: And even with a college degree, you're still less likely to be hired. So there are so many aspects here that you are tackling in trying to
help with this.
SMITH: Well, I think you said it very well, and in some ways, to bring people into the work force, it does start with the education system. That's
why we're working with more universities to really make classrooms, starting in K-12 and into higher education, more accessible, easier for
people with disabilities to navigate.
But then, a lot of it does also depend on digital tools. Imagine trying to do our jobs today without the ability to use a computer effectively for all
of the things on which we rely.
We are building more and more technology into our devices and our services to do that, things that will make it easier for the blind community or the
vision impaired community generally to take advantage of technology, immersive screen readers and the like, captioning for the deaf community.
But when you look at something like the home caregivers, we want to train them so that when they are in homes with people with disabilities, they are
in a position to help this community learn how to use these tools, and we want to provide more tools for software developers so when they are
creating their software, they are really doing it with this philosophy of accessibility by design at the very start.
So we are focused as we always do by starting with our own products, but this is a movement. It's a movement that has been gaining traction, but
it's a movement that can spread much more rapidly over the next five years. And I think in doing so, just really change, transform if you will, the
kinds of opportunities for people with disabilities.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, and particularly, post COVID as well with a significant number of people suffering with COVID after effects as well. We need to be
very aware of this and the time is nigh.
Brad, I want to just get your take on something else I think that is vitally important and that is voting rights here in the United States. I
know you're making big investments in Georgia as well and I just wanted to get Microsoft's current view and stance on the election integrity act
SMITH: Well, it is an important issue in the United States. Yes, I think to a large degree, the health of our business, even to some degree our
existence as a business depends on living and working in the U.S. being headquartered in a country that needs to have a healthy democracy.
I think for us that means three things. It means that voting needs to be easy. It means that elections need to be secure. It means that the
electorate deserves to be well informed. And it's always a challenge when companies have to take on these issues, but I don't think we can look the
And at the same time, I think we really need to be principled and bipartisan in our approach. So that's what we're seeking to do. That is
what we did in a place like Georgia where we're adding jobs in a very rapid rate. That's why we're speaking out in Texas where we also employ a large
number of people.
I don't think it is an issue that's going to go away.
CHATTERLEY: No. And Brad, I have about 20 seconds, but I also just wanted to get your take on India because I know it is obviously very close to
Satya's heart being an Indian-born, CEO of an American company. You're also providing help there.
SMITH: I would say the problem is huge. It is an enormously important humanitarian problem. The business community is marshaling resources,
Microsoft is among them, to donate supplies and help India.
We really wholeheartedly applaud the quick action of the U.S. government over the past weekend to pivot. There is no substitute for U.S. assistance
and leadership, and, you know, to provide more access to vaccines, oxygen, and other related supplies. I think that is a huge step forward.
India has always stood ready to help the United States. The United States equally needs to help India.
CHATTERLEY: Brad, it is always great to have you on. Thank you. Brad Smith, President of Microsoft.
SMITH: Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: Great to chat, as always.
More FIRST MOVE after the break. Stay with us.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): One of the key aspects of smart cities in the future will be their renewable energy, and while solar
looks likely to dominate the future of urban energy generation, one company thinks there is a gap in the market for kinetic technology, and it as
simple as putting one foot in front of the other.
Pavegen's energy tiles have already been installed in over 200 projects across 36 different countries, and CEO Laurence Kemball-Cook met me at one
of their newest installations in the U.K.
NOBILO (on camera): Tell me how you Pavegen tiles work.
LAURENCE KEMBALL-COOK, CEO, PAVEGEN: So how the system works is underneath the triangle is a rotary flywheel. So when you stand on it, it spins the
flywheel for up to around 10 seconds per step. And the more you walk on it the more it spins and it gives a continuous flow of power as someone walks
down the streets.
NOBILO (voice over): Each step generates between two and five watts of energy, depending on weight. So the heavier the foot or wield, the more
On a small track like this, it's enough to charge a phone or provide lighting for these benches, but with bigger networks and constant commuter
footfall, Pavegen sees bigger possibilities.
KEMBALL-COOK: We see applications for Pavegen in street lighting, pollution sensing, off grid power networks, maybe even in the future,
feeding it back to the grid. So we're expanding into key markets. So it's outside the White House in the area called Dupont Circle in Washington,
D.C. We've got running tracks in Hong Kong on the fourth storey of a building, and as you run around the track, it uses the energy to power
lights in the building itself.
We believe we can reshape how cities look in the future en masse outside every single office, every train station, every retail environment, and
maybe even on every single road vehicles to use.
So we want to take it everywhere, and then also to communities that could really benefit from it. So in the developing world, there's many
applications where the energy produced can be incredibly valuable.
CHATTERLEY: A commodity conundrum, Africa, one of the biggest commodity producers in the world, but those producers don't often see enough of the
financial benefits. In today's "Connecting Africa," Eleni Giokos explores untapped potential.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN BUSINESS AFRICA CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A 2019 McKinsey report estimated that Sub-Saharan Africa would need eight times
more fertilizer, six times more improved seed, at least $8 billion of investment in storage like silos and warehouses, and as much as $65 billion
in irrigation to fulfill its agricultural potential.
WANDILE SIHLOBO, CHIEF ECONOMIST, AGRICULTURAL BUSINESS CHAMBER OF SOUTH AFRICA: Now, we need to get to the stage where to say let's realize the
potential, and I think for me, it goes back to say: what is it that you need to actually be able to be a successful farmer? You need some bit of
certainty in the piece of land that you are in, you need money to flow in.
Money will only flow in if there is certainty. That goes back to governments to say you have a responsibility for allocating land rights for
a number of countries, formalizing the land governance. As soon as that is done, the financial institutions either locally or globally will see a
potential there and be able to invest in those things.
GIOKOS (voice over): Leading agricultural Wandile Sihlobo, makes regular visits to farmers like Gift Mafuleka who is targeting soybeans as a
potentially game changing crop.
GIFT MAFULEKA, FARMER: We have a demand for the crop, so Africa is well over two million tons person capacity for soybeans, and we are still
purchasing in the region of 1.5 or 1.7 million tons of soybeans.
GIOKOS (on camera): Do you have plans to export to more African countries?
MAFULEKA: Most definitely, if more countries would be able to open up borders for various commodities and limit restrictions in terms of genetics
of commodities, then I think we can be able to feed ourselves.
GIOKOS (voice over): Sihlobo believes, the African continental free trade area could particularly benefit the agri-tech sector.
SIHLOBO: I mean, on the biotechnology side, if you think about South Africa which for example is using genetically modified seeds on maize, the
yields per hectare for maize on average, they are roughly around about six tons per hectare.
But in countries that haven't adopted that technology, in the same continent, neighboring Zimbabwe, you see that the yields are around one ton
per hectare or even less than that. That already tells you then that if technologies could be accepted in the other countries, there is a lot of
improvement in a hectare that farmers could pretty much gain and then that produce that comes out of that is where we could add value, it is what we
could trade, it is where incomes could come from.
CHATTERLEY: Thank you for watching FIRST MOVE. Stay safe.
"Connect the World" with Becky Anderson is next.