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An Apple Store in Santa Monica, Calif. Photo: Ina Fried / Axios
The big surprise in Apple's quarterly earnings wasn't its results, even though they came in ahead of estimates, or its guidance, which was below estimates. No, the real surprise was Apple's statement that it plans to eventually reduce its net cash to roughly zero.
The company, which currently has more than $280 billion (BILLION) in cash (along with around $120 billion in debt), didn't put a time frame on how long it will take to get there. It said it would have more to say about its plans as part of next quarter's earnings report.
Bonus: This chart of Apple Watch sales is pretty great. For those unaware, Apple gives occasional superlatives but not actual sales numbers.
Breaking this morning: Sprint's earnings for the quarter ending in December 2017 beat analyst expectations — boosted by expected gains from the recent GOP tax law, Axios' David McCabe reports.
The gritty details:
The bigger picture: Sprint still lagged behind Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile in new subscribers.
Apple wasn't the only tech giant to report earnings Thursday. In fact, it wasn't even the only one that starts with an "A":
Google’s response to former-employee James Damore’s “diversity memo” has made people — especially those on the conservative end of the political spectrum — less comfortable sharing ideological views with co-workers, according to a
new survey of Silicon Valley tech workers.
The survey, conducted by the Lincoln Network, a right-of-center group, says that conservatives feel more discouraged than liberals in the tech industry.
Why it matters: Damore’s memo questioning women’s aptitude for engineering jobs — and Google’s subsequent firing of him — became a lightning rod in the broader debates about diversity and tolerance. While Silicon Valley promotes its openness to diversity, it’s been attacked as an “echo chamber” for Democrats that has alienated Republicans.
How they responded:
My thought bubble: It’s not a zero-sum game. As recent issues at Google highlight, it’s possible for a lot of different groups to feel less comfortable voicing their views within the industry.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios
Foreign governments have found a new use for cryptocurrencies: Dodging international sanctions, Axios' Shannon Vavra reports.
Why it matters: There is a dark side to digital currencies, and rogue regimes like North Korea are already exploiting it.
How it works: Cryptocurrency "provides a way for sanctions evasion for countries because of anonymity and plausible deniability” in the way they're transferred, says Kenneth Geers, a cyber policy expert and former National Security Agency official. “That allows for buying and selling across borders with very little oversight."
The impact: These funds could back North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile testing programs. In Russia, they could support a regime that is believed to have interfered in the U.S. election and in other countries' political systems. And for Venezuela, they could help a dictatorship that has abused anti-government protesters and deprived citizens of economic opportunity.
Lonny Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. Photo: Google
The National Museum of African American History and Culture today is launching a new interactive installation that was constructed via 3D scanners by Google's Black Googler Network, Axios' Anthony Brown writes.
Why it matters: The installation will allow museum visitors to interact with rare artifacts in 3D, giving people access to objects that otherwise would not be featured in the museum, the engineers said Thursday night.
How it works: BGN and museum staff explained that Google donated 3D scanners and trained the Smithsonian museum staff to allow them to condense the usual multiple hour process of scanning artifacts into the interactive design to 15 minutes. The installation is part of a $1 million donation from Google when the museum first opened.
Seattle's KIRO radio made excellent use of surveillance footage showing a break-in attempt in its parking lot, assigning a play-by-play announcer to narrate the effort.