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👍👎 Earnings: Winners and losers
The biggest Big Tech seems to be doing fine, as always.
👋 Welcome to FWIW by David Tvrdon, your weekly tech, media & audio digest.
Dear reader, you might have noticed you didn’t get this newsletter last week. It’s not an error in your inbox. I took an unscheduled week off from writing. Sorry for not announcing it upfront. Will do better next time.
In this edition
Earning season results
Google Pixel 6a Review
VFX artists are starting to speak up against Marvel
Winners & losers
Here is a super condensed recap of last week’s earnings as there was no newsletter.
Winners: Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, AMD, Spotify, Uber
OK, let’s with Amazon which had quite a good quarter and seems to be resilient against the economic uncertainty. The company let go up to 100,000 people, but still employs 1.52 million. As always, cloud (AWS) did well and Amazon’s ad business keeps growing. I think this was the first quarter when Amazon’s ad revenue outperformed YouTube’s revenue.
On the surface also Apple beat expectations, it’s only when you dive deeper into the results you will see that, except for iPhone, almost everything did worse. Still, that was enough. Which just proves my theory that there will be enough people buying a new iPhone because it’s better than the one they have.
Despite Microsoft’s weaker results this quarter, its stock was up – mainly because of a positive next-quarter forecast. AMD is another winner, it has surpassed rival chipmaker Intel in terms of market capitalization. It beat estimates and outgrew its biggest rival. Here’s a very good analysis on the Intel/AMD rivalry.
And then there was Spotify’s absolutely non-stop growth as if there was nothing usual happening in the world. I guess people just need their music. It now has almost 190 million paying subscribers.
Uber reported a second-quarter loss but beat analyst estimates for revenue and posted $382m in free cash flow for the first time ever. Uber relied heavily on growth in its Eats delivery business during the pandemic, but its mobility segment surpassed Eats revenue in the first quarter as riders began to take more trips. The focus is again on the “taxi business”.
Losers: Meta, Alphabet (& YouTube), Twitter, Nintendo, Intel, Warner Bros. Discovery
Facebook isn’t doing well and generated a lot of weird headlines over the course of the last two weeks. First of, Meta reported its first revenue drop ever. Most headlines were generated by the TikTokization of Facebook and Instagram. Also, if you’ve seen the “Gary from Chicago” meme pop up, read this and you will understand. Meta also raised the prices of its Quest VR headset.
Profits were down at Google, which is not to say it didn’t generate many billions. The most substantial slowdown was YouTube’s revenue growth. Google’s Cloud is a growing business, but still unprofitable.
Intel slashed its full-year guidance and turned in worse-than expected quarterly results. Intel’s revenue declined some 22% year-over-year in the quarter. The company also lowered its full-year expectations.
Twitter’s revenue was down. The company blamed the revenue miss on ad industry headwinds and “uncertainty” tied to the pending acquisition of the company by Elon Musk. Nintendo reported worse-than-expected first-quarter earnings. Switch unit sales fell to 3.43 million units from 4.45 million.
The newly joint corporation Warner Bros. Discovery company is the last loser on this list. CEO David Zaslav decided he will no longer break out subscriber numbers for its streaming services and only gave an aggregate number signaling next summer’s plan of launching a single streaming service. The Information’s Jessica Lessin thinks the planned rollout of the unified platform is slow.
Oh, and one last thing. The Financial Times reported that Blue Whale, the fund co-founded by billionaire investor Peter Hargreaves, has ditched longstanding holdings in US tech stocks because of concerns about the impact of rising inflation. The fund no longer owns any stock in the so-called Faang companies — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google.
🤔 Google aims to teach Gen-Z how to ‘internet better’. The web giant launches a marketing campaign to lure younger users back to Search. Friendly advice: This is not the way to do it, just have a better product for them. [Fast Company]
😯 If you have one of these Thread border routers, your smart home will be Matter-ready. Remember Matter? It’s the smart home standard all the big players agreed to support. With Thread 1.3.0, a HomePod Mini, Echo, and Nest Hub can work together on a single Thread network. It’s the first step you can try at home. For “Matter-certified” devices you’ll have to wait a bit longer. [The Verge]
📱 Google Pixel 6a review: Good camera and very good battery life. Cons: no headphone jack, no high refresh screen and the slow fingerprint sensor. [The Verge]
💻 Dell XPS 13 Plus review: thin, light, a great OLED screen, and a powerful P-series chip, but expensive, gets very hot, a poor battery life, and very few ports. [The Verge]
👀 iOS 16 will support Apple Pay in non-Safari browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Possibly in response to the EU's Digital Markets Act. [The Verge]
🤑 Apple is expanding its advertising business and adding two new ad slots to the App Store. The two new App Store ads will bring advertisements to the App Store ‘Today’ homepage, as well as to individual app pages. [9to5Mac]
📉 Global smartphone shipments fell, Apple hit its best secod quarter. Samsung had a 21.5% market share, followed by Apple's 16.3% and Xiaomi 13.6%. [Strategy Analytics]
📉 The second quarter of 2022 showed a sharp decline in Chromebook shipments. On the other hand, tablet shipments experienced 0.15% growth, reaching 40.5 million unit shipments during the second quarter of 2022. [ZDNet]
😟 An interview with former TikTok policy manager Marika Tedroff on what it's like to make policy there. She talks nudity, China, and a "very toxic" work culture. [Platformer]
⚡️ EV maker Nikola beats revenue estimates on higher deliveries. The electric-vehicle maker delivered more semi trucks after a production ramp-up. [Reuters]
🛒 Meta says it will shut down its Facebook Live Shopping feature. This comes in a shift prioritizing everything towards Reels. Remember what I wrote a few weeks back: Live e-commerce isn't taking off. [TechCrunch]
📬 How to change the side panels in Gmail’s new view. [The Verge]
🤓 No need for publishers to be giving Apple 30% of their news subscription revenue. You no longer have to, and here’s how to stop. Just a little warning: make sure your check-out process is seamless, although, it will never be as seamless as Apple’s in-app purchase. [NiemanLab]
👨👧👦 For creators, community is the new follower count. Influencers are setting up groups on chat apps, like Geneva, Discord and Telegram, which they say offer a more intimate, community-oriented experience than traditional social networks. [Washington Post]
🇨🇳 ByteDance’s US news app reportedly pushed pro-China messaging. Former employees claim the company placed pieces of pro-China content in its now-defunct US news app, TopBuzz, and censored negative stories about the Chinese government. ByteDance says it did no such thing. [BuzzFeed News]
🎞 VFX artists are starting to speak up against Marvel. Apparentnly, being a VFX artist is a new blue-collar job. [Vulture]
🙃 Why newsletters and Substack are not a threat anymore to publishers. The hype is over and by now it is well known to build a successful newsletter business, much more work is required. It seems like the top few percent are doing fine and the middle class is struggling. Just like in real life. [Vox]
🗞 The New York Times Company added about 180,000 net digital-only subscribers in the second quarter of the year but generated less digital advertising revenue. The Times now has 9.17 million paid subscribers. It has a goal of 15 million by the end of 2027. [NYT]
📺 Paramount+ now has 43.3 million paid customers, a net add of 3.7 million (including 1.2 million disconnects in Russia). [Variety]
📺 Warner Bros. Discovery tops 92 million streaming subscribers, up about 1.6 million from 90.4 million the prior quarter. Doesn’t break out HBO Max number and probably won’t. In summer 2023, the company wants to launch a unified single streaming services combining all of its assets. It should start rolling out in Europe in early 2024. [Variety]
FROM THE FIX
[ 📬 Get The Fix newsletter. Sign up here > ]
📣 How to set up a podcast Google Alert and why you should. This is a useful guide. I have alerts for my name, podcast and topics I follow, very useful. [Podcast Host]
👀 From the Podnews newsletter: The Dutch public broadcaster NPO tested podcast artwork. They discovered that people prefer being able to see the title of the show in the artwork, have an image of the host (which is 'almost always best’), and a publisher logo on thumbnails is preferable to most people. [Podnews]
🎧 TikTok Music might be on the way and there also might be podcasts. [Insider]
❓ Poll: What do you think of TikTokization of everything?
Last poll results: Is your company also acting with more caution due to economic uncertainty? 40% said yes, 40% no and 20% didn’t know.
🙏 And big thanks to Celine Bijleveld who helped me edit this newsletter. You can follow her on Substack here.