TechSummit Rewind 184

This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Amazon Q2 earnings: $38B revenue, net income $197M, AWS revenue $4.1B, 382K employees

Amazon logo

Amazon reported that its net profit plummeted 77 percent in Q2 despite a stronger than expected rise in revenue, because of growing expenses in international operations.

Revenue at the Seattle-based retailer rose 24.8 percent to $37.6 billion, while net income declined to $0.40/share compared to $1.87/share a year ago. Amazon also forecasted an operating income of $300 million to a loss of $400 million for the current quarter.

This is because of the company’s expansion into new markets like India, which had its operating loss rise more than five times over to $742 million, while international revenue rose by a mere 17 percent. To compare, North American revenue rose by 27 percent.

CFO Brian Olsavsky blamed this on Amazon quickly rolling out the same Prime features that took years to implement in the US internationally:

“The North American segment is a little bit further along in terms of the Prime membership growth curve. So, in some cases, we’re giving the benefits a little bit earlier in the cycle for international customers.”

-Brian Olsavsky, Amazon CFO

Costs were also driven up by a 42 percent increase in the company’s workforce, with hires mainly coming for Amazon Web Services software engineers and sales staff as well as advertising. They were also increased by expansions made to the company’s fulfillment centers, building a cloud infrastructure that can support rising consumer demand, and bringing on new streaming video content for Prime Video.

Amazon glossed over the company’s planned $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Market by simply reiterating the company’s anticipation of the merger.

Much of the rise in revenue came from AWS, which spiked 42 percent. This growth rate is down slightly from the 56 percent growth the division was experiencing last year. Operating profit rose 23 percent to $916 million, despite Amazon lowering prices in May. Spending will increase, according to Olsavsky, as Amazon opens new cloud regions in China, France, Sweden, and Hong Kong.

Retail sales were buttered up by Prime Day on July 11, which delivered 60 percent more revenue than last year’s event. No specific figures were given, but Amazon said that it topped its sales figures on black Friday and Cyber Monday last year. However, Prime Day had a longer 30-year window to work with this year.

Apple discontinues iPod nano, iPod shuffle; updates iPod touch

The last two iPods without internet connectivity are no more. Apple quietly took down the websites for the iPod nano and iPod shuffle today, with a company spokesperson confirming to The Verge that they were discontinued.

The iPod touch was also updated with two new configurations: a 32GB model for $199, and a 128GB model for $299. The previous 16GB and 64GB configurations are “no longer available,” according to an Apple spokesperson.

The iPod nano hasn’t received a significant update since 2012 when it received Bluetooth support for wireless headphones and speakers. Meanwhile, the clip-on iPod shuffle last received a significant update in 2010 that brought back the physical controls taken away in the third-generation model released in 2009.

Google plans to merge Google Play Music with YouTube Red in new streaming service

YouTube head of music Lyor Cohen confirmed during a panel session at New York’s New Music Seminar conference that Google plans to merge YouTube Red and Google Play Music.

“Music is very important to Google and we’re evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners, and artists. Nothing will change for users today and we’ll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made.”

-Google, in a statement to The Verge

Twitter Q2 earnings: Revenue of $574M, 328M monthly active users

Twitter HQ

Twitter didn’t add any new monthly active users over the last three months, however, the company said that 12 percent more users are using the site daily compared to the same quarter last year.

“We’re strengthening our execution, which gives us confidence that our product improvements will continue to contribute to meaningful increases in daily active usage. We’re also encouraged by the progress we’re making executing against our top revenue generating priorities as we focus on making Twitter the best place to see and share what’s happening.”

-Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO

In the quarter, roughly two million Americans stopped using the site, although they were canceled out with gains internationally.

Sales fell 5.5 percent to $574 million. However, revenue from its data licensing business rose 26 percent year over year to $85 million.

Samsung Q2 earnings: $9.9B profit, Revenue of $54.8B

Samsung Pay

Despite having record profits in Q2 2017, Samsung isn’t all sunshine and roses.

Profits in the company’s mobile division fell 4.7 percent during the period to $3.6 billion. This is despite the Galaxy S8 and S8+ flagships outperforming its predecessors by about 15 percent, and further drops could be on the horizon as customers opt for cheaper and older phones in the coming months.

Elsewhere, the company had operating profits of $12.67 billion in Q2 were up 73 percent compared to last year. Revenue shot up to $54.8 billion, which is a 19.8 percent increase over last year. The biggest draw of earnings came from Samsung’s chip business, which earned a profit of $7.1 billion.

Intel Q2 earnings: Revenue of $14.8B

An employee walks past an Intel logo during the 2014 Computex exhibition at the TWTC Nangang exhibition hall in Taipei

Intel reported revenue of $14.8 billion and earnings of $0.72/share that’s up nine percent year-over-year. Last year, the company reported revenue of $13.5 billion.

The chipmaker expects to see $15.7 billion in revenue for Q3 2017 and earnings of $0.80/share. For the year, Intel projects $61.3 billion in revenue and earnings of $3.00/share.

LG Q2 earnings: Mobile division lost $117.2M on weak G6 sales


LG’s Q2 2017 earnings don’t paint a pretty picture for its mobile division.

The unit reported $2.39 billion in revenue and an operating loss of $117.2 million. That’s slightly less than the $132 million lost with last year’s anemic G5 sales.

LG blamed the poor showing on “weaker than expected” G6 sales and an “increase in component costs.”

Kickstarter co-founder & CEO Yancey Strickler stepping down later this year


Kickstarter co-founder and CEO Yancey Strickler announced that he’s stepping down from the crowdfunding giant later this year. A hunt for his replacement is in motion.

“Since 2014, when I became CEO, we made several great leaps: tripling the total dollars pledged to projects, launching Kickstarter to creators in 16 countries, and building an exceptional team of leaders at every level. Now we’re looking for someone who can push us to make our next great leaps.”

-Yancey Strickler, Kickstarter co-founder & CEO

Google hires Liron Damir to lead UX for Google Home

Google has hired former lead Pebble and webOS designer Liron Damir as the new head of user experience of the Google Home group, which works on products like the Google Home, Chromecast, and Wifi. Damir announced the move this week on LinkedIn.

UK regulator: Airbnb customers who don’t complete reservation can leave review starting August 31


The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has announced a change that’s coming to Airbnb which will allow users to leave an online review even if they haven’t completed their stay. Previously, the reviews could only be left with the assistance of the company’s customer services department.

Airbnb has committed to implement the change worldwide by August 31.

Google aims to train 10M Africans in online skills over next five years


Google plans to train 10 million Africans in online skills over the next five years to make them more employable, according to company CEO Sundar Pichai.

The company also hopes to train 100,000 software developers in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Korea, according to a company spokesperson.

The pledge is an expansion of an initiative launched in April 2016 to train young Africans in digital skills.

Google said that it will offer a combination of in-person and online training in languages like Swahili, Hausa, and Zulu and tries to ensure that at least 40 percent of participants are women.

Google will also provide over $3 million in equity-free funding, mentorship, and access to working space to over 60 African start-ups over the next three years.


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