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What we can learn from yesterday's tech earnings-a-palooza

People pass the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Richard Drew

Big tech may have a variety of problems these days, but solid profits isn't one of them. Thursday saw strong reports from a bunch of the industry's largest companies, including Intel, Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet (parent company of Google). And they all beat expectations. Even Twitter, which disclosed it overstated monthly active users for several quarters, posted earnings ahead of expectations, sending the stock higher Thursday.

The bottom line: The PC market may be struggling, but tech is far more diversified than it once was. Even Intel and Microsoft managed to beat expectations amid flat computer sales.

Here's a snapshot of each company's earnings report:

  • Alphabet - The search giant handily beat expectations, sending its stock to an all-time high. The company saw notable growth in the Asia-Pacific region as well as from mobile search. Also, viewing of YouTube from TVs is up 70% in the last year.
  • Intel - Despite a weak PC business, the chip giant bested estimates due to the strength in all the other parts of its business including flash memory, chips for the data center and Internet-of-Things chips.
  • Microsoft - Like Intel, Microsoft's strong earnings came despite the weak PC business. Its cloud computing efforts are again the big story here, as the company has now reached its goal of a $20 billion annual run rate for its business cloud efforts.
  • Amazon - The online retail juggernaut continues to gobble up the lions share of e-commerce and, with its Whole Foods acquisition and other moves, appears ready to swallow up a hefty chunk of traditional retail too. (BTW, Amazon now has 540,000 employees, making it the second leading employer in the U.S. after Walmart. And it has wholesale pharmacy licenses in more than a dozen states.)
  • Twitter - Of all the big tech companies, Twitter probably faces the most questions about its business. Nonetheless, investors were pleased with results and sent shares up more than 18% after Thursday morning's earnings report.
  • Baidu - The Chinese company also beat estimates, but shares fell as its forecast was less than what some were expecting.