Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Quarterly Earnings Announcements From All Four Tech Companies Represented at Wednesday’s Antitrust Hearing

Apple PR:

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2020 third quarter ended June 27, 2020. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $59.7 billion, an increase of 11 percent from the year-ago quarter, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $2.58, up 18 percent. International sales accounted for 60 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Ina Fried, Axios:

In a conference call following blowout earnings, CFO Luca Maestri said that supply of the new iPhones will come “a few weeks later” than last year, when the new models went on sale in late September.

Mark Gurman on Twitter:

Cook also said that the pandemic likely hurt iPhone and wearables sales, but boosted iPad and Mac purchases. Also said AppleCare and ads were impacted, but said they made record revenue for the App Store, Apple Music, video and cloud services.

Jason Snell notes that this is a record-breaking third quarter. I bet Tim Cook is relieved these results were not yet public during yesterday’s hearing, when big tech companies were accused of profiteering during the pandemic.

Emily McCormick, Yahoo:

Facebook reported second-quarter results that handily topped estimates, growing its user base and advertising business further even during the pandemic and as the social media giant came under increased scrutiny for its policies around policing harmful content on its platforms.

Shares of Facebook rose 5% in late trading to $246.83, as of 4:09 p.m. ET following results.

Casey Newton, the Verge:

The surge in Facebook usage during early shelter-in-place orders in the United States was not just a blip. Daily users of Facebook increased 12 percent year over year, to 1.79 billion. Monthly usage across its family of apps, which also include Instagram and WhatsApp, rose 14 percent, to 3.14 billion. And Facebook’s mostly ad-based based business rose along with them: the company’s revenue was up 11 percent year over year, to $18.69 billion.

It’s not just the uncertainty of the markets right now — Facebook was also ostensibly the target of an advertiser boycott. It didn’t appear to have much impact. I bet Mark Zuckerberg is relieved these results were not yet public during yesterday’s hearing, when big tech companies were accused of profiteering during the pandemic.

Annie Palmer, CNBC:

Amazon reported blowout second-quarter results on Thursday, including a huge beat on the top line and double-digit revenue growth year-over-year, helped by surging sales amid the coronavirus pandemic. The stock climbed about 5.3% after hours.

[…]

Third-party sales grew 52% year-over-year during the quarter, outpacing growth in Amazon’s first-party sales, which increased 48% year-over-year.

I bet Jeff Bezos is relieved these results were not yet public during yesterday’s hearing, when big tech companies were accused of profiteering during the pandemic.

Jennifer Elias, CNBC:

Google parent-company Alphabet beat expectations for its second quarter earnings Thursday, but marked its first revenue decline in company history as the coronavirus pandemic slowed economic growth and advertisers pulled back spending during the quarter. The company’s stock barely moved after hours.

Natalie Gagliordi, ZDNet:

Strong growth in Google’s cloud business helped buoy an otherwise challenging quarter for Alphabet, as ad revenues across Search and YouTube struggle to rebound to pre-pandemic levels.

I bet Sundar Pichai is relieved yadda yadda.

The reality is that all four of these companies are infrastructural elements of working from home — even Facebook, which provides messaging services, can be considered essential. As far as I know, none of them deliberately increased prices to reflect higher demand. Some products did see a jump on Amazon, but that was the result of gougers exploiting the platform combined with the company’s dynamic pricing; Amazon said it was trying to combat gouging. But that’s a side-effect of already-established pricing mechanisms, not an indication that Amazon was taking advantage of a pandemic.

That’s not to say that these companies are benevolent. Whether they kept prices the same out of ethical obligation or simply because it would be a public relations nightmare is up to the whims of your particular brand of cynicism. Maybe it’s a little of both. In a tumultuous economy and with record unemployment in the United States, it sure is hard to look at these numbers and see them as something to celebrate, per se. These earnings are a reflection of the outsized role played by all four companies — and Microsoft, which announced strong growth last week. Tech companies don’t need to engage in profiteering when they are already so dominant.