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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Tech giants like Google, Facebook and others are expected to lose billions of advertising dollars this year thanks to economic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, analysts tell Axios' Sara Fischer.
Why it matters: The losses aren't expected to cripple these companies, but they will put a dent in the otherwise unprecedented growth that several have experienced for the past few years.
Driving the news: All advertising-based businesses face risk from the coronavirus, but those that depend on advertising dollars from small businesses, which are mostly shut down for now, will be particularly affected in the short term.
Be smart: Advertising on social media and search, which is how the dominant tech platforms make their money, is expected to take a big hit in the short term for two reasons:
By the numbers: Analysts at Cowen & Co., an investment management and banking company, estimate that Google and Facebook combined will lose over $40 billion in ad revenue this year due to the virus. They predict the following losses:
The companies have mostly been forthcoming with investors about the expected losses.
Yes, but: Analysts don't think that companies like Google and Facebook will come out of this crisis much weakened, even with severe advertising losses, because their balance sheets are otherwise pretty healthy.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
For the last couple of years, startups have been preparing for a recession, but the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the economy are unlike anything they predicted, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.
Why it matters: Even companies that had recession plans and have been modeling burn rates, cash flow, and dips in business are throwing those projections out the window and taking drastic measures.
Between the lines: Whatever TripActions predicted about a recession was much milder than what it's facing right now, as business travel has essentially dropped to zero across the U.S.
"This situation is one that virtually no one was prepared for," says Shift co-CEO George Arison, whose company recently announced salary cuts and furloughs.
The big picture: Companies are rushing to stretch budgets for as long as possible, given the fog of uncertainty hanging over the economy.
Now that the coronavirus seems to be under control in China while it spreads elsewhere, China has announced a fresh ban on foreigners coming into the country — a move that could further complicate life for U.S. tech firms that rely on that country for manufacturing.
Why it matters: Many companies — notably Apple, but also Google, Facebook, Fitbit, GoPro and others — design their hardware in the U.S. but manufacture it in China. Typically, new products require close collaboration between U.S. firms and their Chinese manufacturing partners.
Between the lines: The real key is how long the ban lasts, analysts say, noting that most companies had already paused travel to China. Another factor is the number of China-based engineers the company employs.
What's happening: A Nikkei report this week said Apple would likely have to delay the launch of new iPhones by months due to the virus outbreak.
The nationwide shortage of medical equipment to fight the coronavirus pandemic seems like a breakthrough opportunity for 3D printing technology. But in this urgent crisis, its uses are limited, Axios' Joann Muller reports.
Why it matters: America needs to manufacture tens of thousands of ventilators and billions of face masks and other protective gear in the next few weeks, and then distribute them in a hurry to hospitals around the country to ward off the worst-case public health scenarios.
Reality check: Industrial-scale 3D printing could help in a few scenarios, like making fast prototypes or fabricating plastic face shields. But it will not save the day when it comes to the most urgent needs, which are ventilators and N95 respirator masks.
How it works: There are an estimated 47,000 industrial-scale 3D printers installed in the U.S., according to Forbes, most of them idled at the moment due to coronavirus-related industry shutdowns.
Even more daunting are the regulatory hurdles that make 3D printing impractical for making medical device components.
Yes, but: There is still a role for 3D printing technology to help in the fight against the virus.
Who let the dogs out? The Atlanta Humane Society. And they let them run around the Georgia Aquarium. Bonus, there's video.