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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.

Go deeper

The stock market has gotten cheaper over the past year

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

A widely followed valuation metric suggests stocks have been getting cheaper over the past year, even as prices have surged to new highs.

Why it matters: When stocks rise and company market caps balloon, it’s tempting to think that the shares must eventually fall in order to get to more reasonable levels.

Uber beats Q2 expectations and turns a rare profit

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Uber posted an unexpected profit for the second quarter, and beat analyst expectations with revenue of $3.9 billion and earnings per share of $0.58.

Why it matters: Uber benefited from unrealized gains of $1.4 billion and $471 million from its stakes in Didi and Aurora, respectively—just two of the ride-hailing company's portfolio of such investments.

China's homegrown techlash

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

With the Chinese government accelerating moves against its own tech industry, China is — for now — prioritizing Communist Party control of the domestic economy over aggressive international competition.

Why it matters: China and the U.S. are both playing a long game, with tech as the playing field, companies as the pieces and domination of the global economy as the stakes.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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