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Google will stop using Oracle finance software, switch to SAP

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Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison

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Google parent Alphabet plans in the coming weeks to stop using Oracle financial software and instead start using software from SAP, CNBC has learned. Alphabet and Google core financial systems will move to SAP in May, Google told employees in an email that CNBC viewed. The move only relates to the software Google uses to track finances, and there’s no indication that the company is moving other systems off Oracle.

The change comes as Google and Oracle increasingly compete in the cloud computing market, and follows a similar move from cloud leader Amazon, which over the course of several years vastly reduced its use of Oracle software in favor of its own cloud services.

The switch does not appear to be tied to the longstanding lawsuit between Google and Oracle regarding Google’s use of Java code in the application programming interface for Google’s Android operating system. Earlier on Monday the Supreme Court ruled that Google’s copying of Java code was fair use.

Oracle competes with Google in selling organizations public cloud resources for hosting applications. For years Oracle refused to certify its longstanding database software for Google’s cloud, meaning that customers weren’t sure if they could host Oracle databases on Google’s cloud without running afoul of Oracle’s licensing policies.

“We don’t partner with Google, because we’re trying to compete with Google,” Ellison said in a 2018 meeting with analysts.

That lack of certification became a problem for Google’s cloud business as it sought to win business from large companies, many of which use Oracle database software. Consequently, Google began to focus more on deploying SAP’s database software in the cloud, said one person familiar with Google’s cloud business, who asked not to be named discussing confidential business matters. Plus, this year Google introduced a way to run Oracle database on a bare-metal server that doesn’t include virtualization technology.

Larry Ellison, Oracle’s co-founder, chairman and chief technology officer, regularly makes a show of how companies are agreeing to use Oracle’s software and services. In March Ellison spent one-third of Oracle’s 45-minute earnings call talking about customer activity, and he said Oracle would pick up more than half of SAP’s customers.

It’s not clear how much money Google has paid Oracle for the financial software. Still, Ellison has boasted about its business with Google. During a 2019 meeting with analysts he said that when Google catalogs vast amounts of information, that data is “actually sitting in Oracle databases.” That may still be the case, as this move only relates to Oracle’s financial software.

The effort to migrate off Oracle’s financial software required months of work and extensive engineering resources, a different person familiar with the move said.

An Oracle representative declined comment. Google representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Oracle shares were up 3% in late day trading, dipping slightly on the news, while SAP was up 4%.

WATCH: Google Cloud will be very profitable business: Investor

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China’s greenhouse gas emissions exceed U.S., developed world: Report

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A person walks past a coal fired power plant in Jiayuguan, Gansu province, China, on Thursday, April 1, 2021.

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China’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 exceeded those of the U.S. and the developed world combined, according to a report published Thursday by research and consulting firm Rhodium Group.

China’s emissions more than tripled during the past three decades, the report added.

China is now responsible for more than 27% of total global emissions. The U.S., which is the world’s second highest emitter, accounts for 11% of the global total. India is responsible for 6.6% of global emissions, edging out the 27 nations in the E.U., which account for 6.4%, the report said.

The findings come after a climate summit President Joe Biden hosted last month, during which Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated his pledge to make sure the nation’s emissions peak by 2030. He also repeated China’s commitment to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century and urged countries to work together to combat the climate crisis.

“We must be committed to multilateralism,” Xi said during brief remarks at the summit. “China looks forward to working with the international community, including the United States, to jointly advance global environmental governance.”

Xi said China would control coal-fired generation projects and limit increases in coal consumption over the next five years, with reductions taking place in the five years following that.

However, Chinese officials have also emphasized that economic growth, which is still largely dependent on coal power, remains a priority. And the nation is still increasing construction of coal-fired power plants.

For instance, the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China together funded $474 million worth of coal projects outside China in 2020 alone. And coal accounted for more than half of China’s domestic energy generation last year, according to Li Gao, director general of China’s ecology ministry’s department of climate change.

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China, which is home to over 1.4 billion people, saw its emissions surpass 14 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2019, more than triple 1990 levels and a 25% increase over the past decade, the Rhodium report found. China’s per capita emissions in 2019 also reached 10.1 tons, nearly tripling over the past two decades.

China’s net emissions last year also increased by roughly 1.7% even while emissions from almost all other countries declined during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Rhodium estimates.

The Rhodium Group is a U.S. think tank that provides global emissions estimates and forecasts through the ClimateDeck, a partnership with Breakthrough Energy, the initiative founded by Bill Gates.

Slashing carbon emissions is one of the few areas on which the U.S. and China have agreed to cooperate.

Days before the summit, U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry traveled to Shanghai to meet with officials on climate change, after which the two countries released a joint statement vowing to tackle the climate crisis together with “seriousness and urgency.”

Biden has vowed to to reduce U.S. emissions by 50% to 52% by 2030, more than doubling the country’s prior commitment under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

A goal of the accord is to keep the global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with preindustrial levels. So far, the world is set to warm up by 1.5 C, or 2.7 F, over the next two decades alone.

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed reporting

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Facebook and Signal are fighting over an ad campaign. Here’s why

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Marlene Awaad | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, found itself in a public dispute with communications app Signal this week over an ad campaign.

The encrypted messaging service — a non-profit that rivals Facebook-owned WhatsApp — said in a blog on Tuesday that Facebook had blocked one of its ad campaigns on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

The campaign was designed to show Instagram users the amount of data that Instagram and parent firm Facebook collect on users.

“We created a multi-variant targeted ad designed to show you the personal data that Facebook collects about you and sells access to,” Signal wrote. “The ad would simply display some of the information collected about the viewer, which the advertising platform uses.”

Signal used Instagram’s own adtech tools to target the ads at users. Here is example text of one of the ads from Signal: “You got this ad because you’re a teacher, but more importantly you’re a Leo (and single). This ad used your location to see you’re in Moscow. You like to support sketch comedy, and this ad thinks you do drag.”

Signal said that Facebook “wasn’t into that idea” and claimed that its ad account had been disabled as a result.

“Being transparent about how ads use people’s data is apparently enough to get banned,” Signal wrote. “In Facebook’s world, the only acceptable usage is to hide what you’re doing from your audience.”

Facebook described the ad campaign as a stunt and claimed that Signal had never actually tried to run the Instagram campaign.

“This is a stunt by Signal, who never even tried to actually run these ads — and we didn’t shut down their ad account for trying to do so,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC on Thursday.

“If Signal had tried to run the ads, a couple of them would have been rejected because our advertising policies prohibit ads that assert that you have a specific medical condition or sexual orientation, as Signal should know. But of course, running the ads was never their goal — it was about getting publicity.”

Signal countered on Twitter that it “absolutely did” try to run the ads. “The ads were rejected, and Facebook disabled our ad account. These are real screenshots, as Facebook should know.”

Joe Osborne, a Facebook spokesperson, responded on Twitter on Wednesday saying the screenshots are from early March “when the ad account was briefly disabled for a few days due to an unrelated payments issue.”

Osborne added: “The ads themselves were never rejected as they were never set by Signal to run. The ad account has been available since early March, and the ads that don’t violate our policies could have run since then.”

Signal is funded by Brian Acton, the entrepreneur who sold WhatsApp to Facebook for $22 billion, making himself a billionaire several times over in the process.

Acton left Facebook and WhatsApp in 2017 and later claimed that Facebook was laying the groundwork to show targeted ads and facilitate commercial messaging in WhatsApp.

Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Acton tweeted: “It is time. #deletefacebook.”

Venture capitalist Bill Gurley said on Thursday that the Signal vs. Facebook story is “remarkable.”

“The biggest threat to Facebook is a non-profit funded by WhatsApp founders,” he said. “Such a great story. What was Facebook argument for banning these ads? Too much transparency? My favorite prize fight.”

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EU ready to talk wave of IP rights after US backs move

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Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president.

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LONDON — The European Union has said it is ready to discuss the waiving of intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines, after the United States announced it supports the initiative.

The proposed patent-waiver — designed to boost the global production of Covid-19 vaccines — has proved divisive for European lawmakers, with some supporting the move, while others have fiercely opposed it. Supporters of the idea say it is critical to ramp up vaccination rates in low-income nations. Until now, the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, has expressed doubts about the waiving of the IP rights.

However on Thursday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said her team was open “to discuss any proposals that address the crisis in an effective and pragmatic manner.”

“That is why we are ready to discuss how the U.S. proposal for a waiver on intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines could help achieve that objective,” she said during a speech.

It comes after the White House announced Wednesday that it was in favour of lifting IP rights, citing the “extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The move caused shares of major pharmaceutical firms that have developed Covid-19 shots to sink.

However, the announcement was praised by the World Health Organization, with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus saying the U.S. decision was a “monumental moment in the fight against Covid-19.”

The GAVI vaccine alliance also welcomed President Joe Biden’s stance, saying it recognizes “the significance of the administration’s commitment to work towards increasing raw material production.”

Landmark proposal

The landmark proposal to waive the IP rights was jointly submitted to the World Trade Organization by India and South Africa in October, however, a handful of countries have blocked the proposal. These include the U.K., Switzerland, Japan, Norway, Canada, Australia, Brazil, the EU and — until now — the United States.

“In the short run, however, we call upon all vaccine producing countries to allow export and to avoid measures that disrupt the supply chains,” von der Leyen said on Thursday.

The EU has praised itself for being the top exporter of Covid-19 vaccines, while also criticizing countries such as the U.K. for not taking similar action.

A medical worker prepares a syringe with AstraZeneca vaccine at a local community sports hall converted into a vaccination centre in Ventspils, Latvia.

GINTS IVUSKANS | AFP | Getty Images

“While others keep their vaccine production for themselves, Europe is the main exporter of vaccines worldwide. So far, more than 200 million doses of vaccines produced in Europe have been shipped to the rest of the world,” von der Leyen said.

The EU, a group of 27 nations, experienced a slow start to its vaccine rollout, however inoculations have steadily increased and the bloc is expecting to have 70% of its adults vaccinated by July.

“The U.S. has a similar goal. This shows how much our vaccination campaigns have aligned,” von der Leyen added.

The latest data show that Israel, the U.K., the U.S and Chile are leading the way when it comes to the number of Covid-19 shots administered so far. However, the figures also show that inoculation rates in the EU are significantly above the world’s average, which was not the case some weeks ago.

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