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By Michelai Graham
Boardroom's Tech Reporter
October 29, 2023

Google’s federal antitrust trial revealed that it paid $26B to be the default search engine on mobile phones and web browsers in 2021, and it’s likely a big portion of that money went to Apple. Something about this doesn’t seem ethical, but I can’t lie: Chrome is superior.

A peek into today’s edition: 

  • Meta, Microsoft, Snap, Alphabet, and Amazon report earnings
  • Apple to host Mac event next week
  • Elon Musk‘s Twitter purchase anniversary is here

Big Tech Earnings From Meta, Alphabet, Microsoft, Snap and Amazon

Artificial intelligence and cloud infrastructure were the main topics of discussion across Big Tech earnings calls this week. Meta, Alphabet, Microsoft, Snap, and Amazon reported earnings and updated financial outlooks this week.

Here are some key revenue highlights, but check out my story on Amazon’s earnings and Boardroom’s latest Big Tech Earnings Roundup for more in-depth details:

  • Amazon generated $143.1 billion in revenue, a 13% increase year-over-year. The big tech firm beat analysts’ projections across the board, and thanks to the holiday season, Amazon expects sales to land in the $160 billion to $167 billion range.
  • Alphabet’s revenue increased to $76.7 billion, up 7% year-over-year. The company’s Google Cloud division produced $8.41 billion, and despite missing projections, revenue for Alphabet’s Google Cloud biz grew 22% year-over-year.
  • Meta generated $34.15 billion in revenue, a 23% increase year-over-year, marking the company’s fastest rate of growth since 2021. Daily active users across Meta’s family of apps topped 3.14 billion, an increase of 7% year-over-year.
  • Microsoft generated $56.5 billion in revenue, an increase of 13% year-over-year. Its biggest revenue win came from its cloud business, which produced $24.26 billion in revenue, up 19%.
  • Snap’s revenue rose 5% year-over-year to $1.19 billion, and its Snapchat+ monthly subscription service surpassed five million subscribers. The company returned to positive growth in the third quarter, boosting its stock by as much as 20% on Tuesday.


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Apple Set to Announce New Line of iMacs Ahead of Releasing Q3 Earnings

Apple swiftly announced an unexpected event set for Monday, Oct. 30, at 5 p.m. PT. The Big Tech giant will likely announce a new line of Macs, and the event will be completely streamed virtually. Apple knew what it was doing when it dubbed this keynote its “Scary Fast” event since it usually has an IRL crowd for big product announcements. The company took the play on Halloween words to the next level when it updated its event page with its logo transformed into a spooky Finder face. Apple hasn’t launched a new line of iMac desktop computers since April 2021.

This isn’t the only order of business Apple is getting to before its next earnings report comes out on Nov. 2. The company is also upping the Apple TV+ monthly subscription fee from $6.99 to $9.99 and said it will honor California’s new right to repair initiative nationwide. In the midst of this, Taiwan-based Foxconn, Apple’s biggest product maker and supplier, will cooperate with the Chinese government in potential tax and land-use investigations.

Meta Hit With Lawsuits, Alleging Facebook and Instagram Features Are Addictive to Kids

Meta is facing lawsuits from a bipartisan group of 42 attorney generals, alleging that it knowingly developed addictive features on Instagram and Facebook to keep young users engaged on its platforms longer. The lawsuits span 41 states and DC and even include Meta’s home state of California. One of the filings runs 233 pages long and accuses Meta of altering the psychological and social realities of young users and refusing to implement age verification parameters. CNBC reported that one of the suits accuses Meta of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting personal data on users under 13 without parental consent.

The Big Tech firm hasn’t responded to the lawsuits yet, but we can expect to see Meta CEO Mark Zuckerburg in many courtrooms across the nation very soon.

Sam Bankman-Fried Trial: What We Learned from Week 4

Something surprising happened this week after the court took a break until Thursday: Sam Bankman-Fried decided to testify in his own trial, where a jury will decide if he’s guilty on 12 counts of financial-related fraud charges. Up until this point, SBF’s defense hadn’t decided if he was going to take the stand or not, but the former FTX leader spent Thursday answering some questions in a mock testimony.  Judge Lewis Kaplan dismissed the jury for the day, so they didn’t get to hear SBF’s testimony while the court ruled on which parts of SBF’s testimony were admissible in court.

Judge Kaplan said SBF had an interesting way of answering questions and even begged him at one point to listen to inquiries before speaking and to answer questions directly. SBF official took the stand on Friday in front of jurors, where he told them he told them he didn’t defraud FTX customers. SBF answered questions about his vision for FTX, the company’s early days in Hong Kong, and his initial plan to sell FTX to Binance before it took off. From the sounds of it, SBF will be back on the stand next week as the defense calls an estimated six witnesses to testify.

While SBF prepped to take the stand, his bankrupt crypto exchange narrowed down its list of bidders interested in reviving the platform, MilkRoad reports. Soon after FTX filed for bankruptcy last November, talks began about restarting the exchange under new management.

  • Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion on Oct. 27, 2022, before rebranding it as X and losing about 13% of the platform’s daily active users. Former employees are calling Musk’s leadership style “ruthless and clumsy” as they fear for X’s future.
  • TikTok is testing out 15-minute uploads, an increase of 5 minutes from its previous video cap. The company also announced its first live music event headlined by Cardi B that will broadcast on its platform with highlights.
  • Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared that Threads is nearing 100 million monthly active users. The Big Tech company is also testing a verified-only feed for paying Meta Verified customers.
  • Bitcoin briefly breached the $35,000 threshold for the first time since May 2022, marking a new 16-month high amid the expected approval of a Bitcoin ETF soon. This ETF would give financial institutions a smoother bridge into crypto investing that mirrors how they typically buy stocks.
  • Spotify‘s monthly active users increased by 26% to 574 million, marking its second-largest Q3 net addition performance in its history. The streaming service posted $3.55 billion in revenue for the quarter.
  • Sony sold 2.5 million copies of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 game in the US in the first 24 hours of its release, making the PlayStation 5 exclusive Sony’s fastest-selling gaming title to date.

Shazam, the music identification app owned by Apple, announced a new feature called Concerts, which will recommend music events to customers based on their Shazam queries. With this expansion, I’m going to bet that Shazam will add a concert ticket-purchasing feature as well, or maybe Apple will build its own internal ticket sales tech.