Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google Report ‘Blowout’ Earnings

FacebookAmazonAlphabet and Apple reported better-than-anticipated quarterly results on Thursday, demonstrating the continuing strength and reach of the technology sector on the wider economy.

“Apple reported a blowout quarter, sending shares up 6% in premarket trading. The company said its overall sales expanded by 11%, and Apple also announced a 4-for-1 stock split,” write Yun Li and Fred Imbert of CNBC. “Amazon, meanwhile, traded 5.4% higher as the company saw its sales skyrocket during the coronavirus pandemic. Facebook shares rallied more than 6% in premarket trading as the social media giant posted revenue growth of 11% even amid the coronavirus pandemic slowdown … Google-parent Alphabet also posted better-than-expected results.”

The earning reports highlight the contrast between the tech giants and the rest of the market.

“The outperformance of these companies against the broader market has already raised concerns that too much of the market’s momentum is concentrated in too few names,” writes Patti Domm of CNBC. “They have collectively had the biggest impact on the market, and it’s their momentum that could determine whether Nasdaq continues to hit new highs.”

Tech Titans Grilled by Congress on Anti-Competitive Practices and Political Bias

The CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google faced a barrage of pointed questions from lawmakers in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, in a memorable confrontation between business and government at the highest levels.

“For more than five hours, the 15 members of an antitrust panel in the House lobbed questions and repeatedly interrupted and talked over Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Google,” write Cecilia Kang and David McCabe in the New York Times. “Not since Microsoft stood trial in the late 1990s for antitrust charges have tech chief executives been under such a microscope for the power of their businesses. With echoes of the trustbusting of U.S. Steel and Standard Oil more than a century ago and AT&T in 1984, the hearing underlined the government’s recognition that this cohort of tech companies — which wield immense control over commerce, communications and public discourse — had become the new trusts of the internet age.”

Twitter Security Was ‘Porous’ According to Report

Twitter is under continuing criticism for security practices that allowed hackers to access accounts of major celebrities and politicians.

“The controls were so porous that at one point in 2017 and 2018 some contractors made a kind of game out of creating bogus help-desk inquiries that allowed them to peek into celebrity accounts,” according to a Bloomberg article by Jordan Robertson, Kartikay Mehrotra and Kurt Wagner. “Concerns about Twitter’s ability to protect user data deepened this month after hackers hijacked the accounts of some of its most famous users, including political leaders, business titans and celebrities, as part of an apparent cryptocurrency scam. The pressure on Twitter to protect its users isn’t limited to the personal data it collects on them -- which is minimal compared to some other social media sites -- but extends to the influence its users wield, especially world leaders or the political dissidents who oppose them.”

Google’s Extends Work-at-Home Policy

In what many are reading as a clear signal for the businesses and organizations all over the world, Google has extended its remote work policy.

“Google will let employees work from home until at least July 2021, a company spokesperson said on Monday. The company had previously said most employees would be working remotely through the end of 2020, with some employees being allowed back into the office sooner,” writes Brian Fung of CNN Business. “But the decision to extend the remote work policy well into next year indicates that one of the world's largest tech companies is bracing for a long pandemic — and could prompt other businesses to follow suit.