Big tech companies Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft are bracing for a week of strong expectations for their quarterly results, which are expected to show resistance to the pandemic and new onslaught from legislators ahead of the November 3 elections.
Following a recent vigorous backlash against Silicon Valley giants, companies will seek to reassure investors and, at the same time, defend themselves against regulators and activists who claim these companies are abusing their dominant position.
Earnings reports for Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and Google-owned Alphabet are due this week, as their combined value has risen to more than $ 7 trillion.
The quarterly earnings results, which are expected to be strong, “will highlight the enormous strength these tech giants are seeing,” but will ultimately add “fuel to the fire” to drive company fragmentation, Wedbush analyst Dan said. Ives in a note to investors.
The results will be released amid increased scrutiny in Washington of tech platforms and follow a historic antitrust lawsuit against Google that could lead to its breakup.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans voted to cite Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg, the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook respectively, as part of an onslaught against handling political content online on social media, particularly following an episode in which a New York Post article was demoted for allegedly displaying unfavorable information about Democrat Joe Biden.
The CEOs of Twitter, Facebook, and Google will testify in a separate Senate panel on Wednesday regarding the so-called Section 230 law, which offers them liability protection for content posted by others on their platforms.
Business models, questioned
The four that are particularly under scrutiny – Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google – have had great success in recent years, even withstanding the impact of the pandemic.
Google and Facebook dominate online advertising, while Amazon is the king of e-commerce. Apple was criticized for its strict control of the App Store while making it a top goal to make money selling digital content and services to iPhone users.
Businesses have stepped up their lobbying, spending tens of millions this year and making efforts to showcase their social contributions as part of their campaign to defend themselves against regulation.
“For the most part, tech companies know how to dance this dance,” said Enderle Group analyst Rob Enderle. “They don’t spend a lot of time bragging about how well they’ve done anymore.”
Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research moderated the outlook. “On the one hand, domestic and foreign regulators are trying to control some of the biggest tech names in America,” Yardeni said in a note. Also, “the covid-induced technology spending that they enjoyed over the past six months will likely not be replicated.”
It will probably be in the short-term market interest if scrutiny over content left and content removed from platforms reduces advertisers’ spending on apps.
The organizers of an advertising boycott on Facebook promised at the beginning of the third quarter to continue their campaign, after considering that the response to curb hateful content was not overwhelming.
At the same time, political conservatives have accused Facebook and others of political bias over content moderation. Even President Donald Trump has threatened potentially damaging regulatory measures for the business model.
On the other hand, the impact of covid-19 also hangs over these companies, which benefited at the beginning of the pandemic when people turned to the internet for all their activities from home.
“Performance will be better for those who provide solutions for people who work at home,” Enderle assessed. (I)