Apr 27, 2021 - Economy & Business

Big Tech earnings-palooza arrives as Alphabet reports quarterly sales

A computer arrow in stage spotlights
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Big Tech had a record 2020. The party might not be over.

What's new: Alphabet just reported record first-quarter sales.

  • "Over a year into the pandemic, digital adoption curves aren’t slowing down. They’re accelerating, and it’s just the beginning," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in conjunction with a better-than-expected earnings report.
  • Up next: Earnings for Facebook and Apple (both tomorrow), along with Amazon (Thursday).

Flashback: Lockdown was a boon for technology companies — leading to a surge of new devices, streaming, cloud hosting, online shopping and a digital advertising bonanza.

What they're saying: "The pandemic accelerated the movement of advertising dollars away from traditional media. It should continue post-pandemic. I don't think we go back to where we were before," says Craig Huber, analyst at Huber Research Partners.

  • Snap, for one, expects a revenue surge next quarter on the back of the continued ad boom, though it warned that Apple newly asking users to opt in to an app’s tracking could crimp that.
  • The reopening could also help Google's search business, as travel and physical store visits pick up.

The other side: "We're right now in the best of all possible worlds for companies serving a consumer who's online more than ever before," Barton Crockett, a tech analyst at DCFstocks, tells Axios.

  • "This is really the last hurrah, and then we'll get back down to real business in a couple of quarters," says Crockett, referring to the economic reopening and return to normal.
  • Just ask Netflix. The company came back down to post-pandemic reality: It expects to add just 1 million subscribers this quarter — after a pandemic surge that pulled in millions of new watchers.

What to watch: The antitrust clouds around the world hanging over some Big Tech companies. U.S. lawmakers are also taking a bigger interest in privacy and algorithms.

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