Big Tech powerhouses makes profits out of coronavirus-hit world
Big Tech powerhouses on Thursday delivered robust quarterly earnings reports, leveraging the needs of pandemic-hit consumers amid heightened scrutiny of their economic power.
Profits were up for Facebook, Amazon and Google-parent Alphabet, while Apple saw a modest dip in earnings on weakness in iPhone sales. The results — showing a combined profit of $38 billion for the four companies — highlighted the massive economic power of the tech firms which have been able to ride out the global coronavirus pandemic better than most businesses.
But critics say they are too big and too powerful.
US authorities have filed an antitrust complaint against Google and are reportedly considering action against Facebook.
Meanwhile, lawmakers have sharpened attacks on social media firms for how they handle political content and “hate speech.”
“Even the strongest free expression advocates don’t think you should be able to yell ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater,” Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said on an earnings call.
“Our policies try to balance free expression and safety as well.”
Zuckerberg stated anew that he is in favour of regulation when it comes to deciding what should be allowed on social media, but worried poorly crafted laws could undermine online platforms. “I worry that some proposals especially in the EU and actions planned by platform companies like Apple could have a meaningful negative effect on small businesses and economic recovery in 2021 and beyond.”
Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai said during an earnings call that the tech giant is confident it will make its case that the platform popularity comes from delivering a valued service, not abusing market power.
Amazon’s third-quarter profits tripled from a year ago to $6.3 billion on strong retail sales and growth in cloud computing. Revenues jumped 37 percent to $96 billion for the technology and retail colossus.