Alphabet and Facebook are doing more in the corona crisis


The Google parent company Alphabet benefits from advertisers.

(Photo: dpa)

San Francisco The high point of the reporting season is the numbers of US tech companies. Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter presented their quarterly figures on Thursday after the market closed.

Of the Google– Parent company Alphabet benefited from more active advertising customers in the past quarter. Sales climbed 14 percent to $ 46.2 billion, as the world’s largest search engine provider announced on Thursday after the US market closed.

After a setback in the previous quarter, Google’s advertising business – Alphabet’s main source of income – was up and running again and contributed the largest share of sales at $ 37.1 billion. In addition, the advertising revenues of the video subsidiary Youtube and the cloud business with IT services and storage space on the Internet flourished. The results clearly exceeded expectations. “We had a strong quarter,” said CEO Sundar Pichai.

In the previous quarter, Google struggled even more with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. In view of the buttoned pockets of advertisers, revenues declined slightly, which was not well received on the stock market at the time. Operating profit now climbed more than a fifth to $ 11.2 billion in the third quarter. The Google share rose after hours by seven percent.

Amazon posts record quarter

The coronavirus pandemic is getting customers into Amazon’s hands. For the second time in a row, the world’s largest online retailer made a record profit in its 26-year company history. In the third quarter, profits tripled to $ 6.3 billion, the US company from Seattle announced on Thursday after the US market closed.

Amazon also expects a flood of orders for the final quarter of the year, which is particularly important in retail. CEO Jeff Bezos said “more customers than ever” were buying their gifts early, and saw it as an indication of an “unprecedented Christmas season”.

In view of exit restrictions and new hygiene rules around the world, more and more people are ordering their goods online and having them delivered to their homes instead of going to stores. For this reason, critics repeatedly accuse the company of a monopoly position.

Third quarter sales rose 37 percent to $ 96.1 billion. This was beyond the expectations of analysts. The AWS cloud business also ran smoothly and benefited from the higher demand due to the trend towards home offices and game lovers.

In view of the ongoing wave of orders, Amazon wants to crack the sales mark of $ 100 billion for the first time in the fourth quarter. And this is even clear: The Americans expect revenues between 112 and 121 billion dollars.

With its delivery services, Amazon had already benefited greatly in the previous quarters from the fact that the demand for orders on the Internet rose sharply during the pandemic. Overall, the quarterly figures clearly exceeded the forecasts of the Wall Street analysts, but investors initially reacted cautiously and even let the share turn into the red after the trading hours. The price has risen by more than 70 percent since the beginning of the year.

Amazon’s lucrative cloud business with IT services and storage space on the Internet has recently continued to flourish. The AWS platform, which is used by many companies and apps, increased revenues by 29 percent to $ 11.6 billion. Growth thus remained at the level of the previous quarter, but met expectations. The operating profit meanwhile increased by 56 percent to 3.5 billion dollars, which underlines once again what an attractive profit center Amazon’s cloud flagship is.

Facebook is also doing more

The social media company Facebook grew just before the US presidential election. The world’s largest Internet network announced on Thursday after the US market closed that sales rose by 22 percent to almost $ 21.5 billion in the third quarter.

An advertising boycott in connection with the handling of hate speech and the global economic slump could hardly harm the US group. Facebook benefited from accelerated digitization, which resulted in a stronger focus on online advertising. Facebook is the world’s second largest seller of online ads, after Google parent Alphabet, which also posted a jump in sales in the quarter.

Profit climbed 29 percent from July to September to nearly $ 7.85 billion. The network, which includes the messenger WhatsApp and the photo platform Instagram in addition to the platform of the same name, now has 2.74 billion active users per month. This corresponds to roughly more than every third inhabitant in the world.

Because of the corona crisis, Facebook expects the number of users in the US and Canada to remain the same or even decrease in the final quarter compared to the previous quarter.

Apple disappoints

The technology group suffered a bigger slump in sales of the iPhone in the fourth fiscal quarter than experts expected. This had fallen by 20.7 percent to 26.4 billion dollars, announced the US group after the market closed. Analysts had expected refinitive data, however, a minus of 16.2 percent. The total sales and profit were above the estimates.

The delayed market launch of the iPhone 12 brought Apple a decline in profits in the past quarter. The company earned just under $ 12.7 billion – 7.4 percent less than a year earlier. Revenue in the fourth fiscal quarter, which ended at the end of September, rose by one percent to $ 64.7 billion, as Apple announced on Thursday. This was ensured by increased business with iPads and Mac computers and services, among other things.

This year the development was delayed in view of the corona crisis and the four models of the iPhone 12 were only presented in October. IPhone sales now plummeted year-on-year by a fifth to around $ 26.4 billion. That was below the analysts’ expectations.

The exciting question will now be whether the Christmas quarter is going as well as usual for the iPhone – or whether there is a bigger problem in the business for Apple. Apple shares lost four percent in after-hours trading.

In view of fluctuating iPhone sales, Apple is increasingly relying on subscription offers such as its music streaming and TV streaming services that guarantee monthly income. Revenue in the sector climbed 16.3 percent to $ 14.5 billion, exceeding analyst expectations.

Twitter’s user growth is flagging

Twitter gained fewer new users than expected and thus sent its shares downhill. It is true that a recovery in advertising business in the third quarter led to sales growth above expert estimates, as the Internet news service announced on Thursday after the market closed. However, the number of daily users only rose to 187 million from 186 million in the previous quarter. Analysts had expected 195.2 million users according to Refinitiv data. The Twitter share fell in after-hours trading on Thursday at times by more than 16 percent.

It is also unclear how the advertisers would react to the end of the US election campaign: It is possible that the corresponding expenditure could initially decrease. The Twitter share initially collapsed nine percent in after-hours trading.

Sales rose by 14 percent year-on-year to $ 936 million, while experts had expected just under $ 777.2 million. Advertising income rose 15 percent to $ 808 million compared to a forecast of just under $ 646 million. In the previous quarter, Twitter had benefited from the coronavirus pandemic.

More: Antitrust proceedings with far-reaching consequences: US competition watchdogs want to break Google’s market power


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