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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

Apr 27, 2021 - Economy & Business

Internet industry braces for new privacy rules

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The days of unwieldy internet user tracking by advertisers are coming to an end, sending the web's largest publishers scrambling.

Why it matters: The new online privacy changes are a massive pivot from the decades-long practice of selling hyper-targeted ads to users based on their web history. Many big web publishers rely on targeted ads to support their businesses.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Apr 27, 2021 - Economy & Business

Earnings, inflation fears and Fed meeting make for busy week in markets

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Concerns about higher taxes and inflation pushed the S&P 500 to its first weekly loss since mid-March last week, but Monday began where that week ended with stocks moving higher.

What's happening: While traders are largely looking past inflation worries, even after last week's IHS-Markit purchasing managers index showed yet another record high reading for prices, company executives are not.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 26, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Taking stock of Big Oil's pandemic recovery

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

This week will show how some of the biggest oil-and-gas companies are recovering from the pandemic that's still weighing on demand for their products.

Driving the news: Companies including BP, Shell, Chevron and Exxon will report first-quarter earnings over the next four days.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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