Baidu beats estimates on strong video streaming growth – gpgmail


Chinese technology group Baidu on Monday posted a revenue of 26.33 billion yuan ($3.73 billion) for the quarter that ended in June, beating analysts’ estimates of 25.77 billion yuan ($3.65 billion) as its video streaming service iQiyi continues to see strong growth. The 19-year-old firm’s shares were up more than 9% in extended trading.

The company, which is often called the Google of China, said revenue of its core businesses grew 12% since the same period last year “despite the weak macro environment, our self-directed healthcare initiative, industry-specific policy changes and large influx of ad inventory.”

Net income for the second quarter dropped to 2.41 billion yuan ($344 million).

“With Baidu traffic growing robustly and our mobile ecosystem continuing to expand, we are in a good position to focus on capitalizing monetization and ROI improvement opportunities to deliver shareholder value,” Herman Yu, CFO of Baidu, said in a statement.

Today’s results for Baidu, which has been struggling of late, should help calm investors’ worries. In recent years, as users move from desktop to mobile and rivals such as ByteDance win hundreds of millions of users through their mobile apps, many have cast serious doubts on Baidu’s ability to maintain its growth and hold onto its grip on advertising business. (On desktop, Baidu continues to command more than three quarters of the Chinese market share.)

In the quarter that ended in March this year, Baidu posted its first quarterly loss since 2015, the year it went public.

Baidu’s shares were trading at about $114 in extended hours, pushing its market cap to about $40 billion — still less than half of its roughly $100 billion in mid-May last year. (Baidu is no longer among the top five Chinese internet companies because of the alarming shrinkage in its market cap.)

Robin Li, Baidu co-founder and CEO, said Baidu’s app was being used by 188 million users everyday, up 27% from the same period last year. “In-app search queries grew over 20% year over year and smart mini program MAUs reached 270 million, up 49% sequentially,” he added.

Baidu’s video streaming service iQiyi has amassed 100.5 million subscribers, up from about 87 million late last year and 50 million in late 2017. Revenue from iQiyi stood at 7.11 billion yuan ($1.01 billion), up 15% since last year.

iQiyi inked a deal with Netflix in 2017, which does not operate in China, to cross-license portions of one another’s content. But the partnership has since ended because the “results weren’t as good as iQiyi had expected,” a company top executive said earlier this year. iQiyi continues to maintain its relationship with all six of the major local movie studios.

“On Baidu’s AI businesses, DuerOS voice assistant continues to experience strong momentum with installed base surpassing 400 million devices, up 4.5 fold year over year, and monthly voice queries surpassing 3.6 billion, up 7.5 fold year over year, in June. As mobile internet penetration in China slows, we are excited about the huge opportunity to provide content and service providers a cross-platform distribution channel beyond mobile, into smart homes and automobiles,” he added.

Revenue from online marketing services, which makes a significant contribution to overall sales, fell about 9%, to 19.2 billion yuan ($2.72 billion).

Baidu said it expects its overall revenue for the current quarter to be between 26.9 billion yuan to 28.5 billion yuan ($3.81 billion to $4.04 billion).


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Uber lost more than $5B last quarter – gpgmail


Uber has disclosed earnings for the second time since becoming a public company, reporting revenues of $3.16 billion on losses of $5.2 billion for the second quarter of 2019.

Uber (NYSE: UBER) closed up more than 9% Thursday at $42.98 per share, just below its $45 IPO price, but took a nose dive more than 11% on the news.

$5.2 billion in net losses represents the company’s largest-ever quarterly loss. Revenue, for its part, is up only 14% year-over-year, igniting concerns over slower-than-ever growth. The company says a majority of 2Q losses are a result of stock-based compensation expenses for employees following its May IPO. Stock compensation aside, Uber still lost $1.3 billion, up 30% from Q1.

Analysts had expected losses per share of $3.12 versus Uber’s $4.72. As for revenue, analysts, per CNBC, had expected $3.36 billion, or an additional $200 million.

“While we will continue to invest aggressively in growth, we also want it to be healthy growth, and this quarter we made good progress in that direction,” Uber chief financial officer Nelson Chai said in the earnings document.

Uber’s had a rough few months since making the leap to the public markets after its overly-ambitious private market valuation failed to sway Wall Street. 

Uber, in attempt to slash costs and make operations more efficient, recently announced it was laying off one-third of its 1,200-person strong marketing department.

News of Uber’s piling losses comes one day after its key U.S. competitor, Lyft, beat on revenue with $867 million for the quarter on net losses of $644 million. That’s up from $505 million in revenue in Q2 2018 on losses of $179 million. Lyft closed up 3% Thursday at $62 per share. The company’s stock sunk in after-hours trading Wednesday, however, after it announced the IPO lockup period would end more than a month early.

As for Uber Eats, the company says its “monthly active platform consumers,” or MAPCs, grey 140% YoY. The company now works with 320,000 restaurants. As for revenue, that’s grown 72% to $595 million.

You can view the full Uber earnings report here.


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Fitbit lowers guidance after Versa Lite disappoints – gpgmail


Fitbit continued solid device growth for Q2, up 31%, year over year, representing a 5% bump in revenue. From that angle, the company’s long-term turnaround appears to be on track — but things weren’t all cheery this time out. Notably, the company’s stock is down in after-hours trading after it lowered guidance for annual revenue.

The company laid much of the blame at the feet of the Versa Lite. Announced in March, the $160 device is a stripped-down version of the Versa, the smartwatch that helped kickstart Fitbit’s most recent act.

“While we are disappointed to lower guidance for the year, we remain confident in our long-term transformation strategy and have demonstrated good results across key areas of the business,” CEO James Park said in a release tied to the earnings. We saw growth in devices sold, increased active users and continued growth in our Fitbit Health Solutions channel, up 42% in the first half of 2019.”

All told, smartwatch revenue dropped 27% year over year, with the Lite making up a lower than expected 38% of that number. Ultimately the company’s recently consolidated tracker offers were there to pick up some of the slack, with a 51% year over year increase.

The stumbles come in contrast to this week’s Apple earnings, which found wearables on the upswing as iPhone sales continued to sputter. In addition to a newfound focus on smartwatches, Fitbit’s recent shift also includes a healthcare offering. Fitbit Health Solutions is up 42% for the year, with international growth playing a key role.


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Samsung posts 55.6% drop in second-quarter profit as it copes with weak demand and a trade dispute – gpgmail


As it forecast earlier this month, Samsung reported a steep drop in its second-quarter earnings due to lower market demand for chips and smartphones. The company said its second-quarter operating profit fell 55.6% year-over-year to 6.6 trillion won (about $5.6 billion), on consolidated revenue of 56.13 trillion won, slightly above the guidance it issued three weeks ago.

Last quarter, Samsung also reported that its operating profit had dropped by more than half. The same issues that hit its earnings during the first quarter of this year have continued, including lower memory prices as major datacenter customers adjust their inventory, meaning they are currently buying less chips (the weak market also impacted competing semiconductor maker SK Hynix’s quarterly earnings).

Samsung reported that its chip business saw second-quarter operating profit drop 71% year-over-year to 3.4 trillion won, on consolidated revenue of 16.09 trillion won. In the second half of the year, the company expects to continue dealing with market uncertainty, but says demand for chips will increase “on strong seasonality and adoption of higher-density products.”

Meanwhile, Samsung’s mobile business reported a 42% drop in operating profit from a year ago to 1.56 trillion won, on 25.86 trillion won in consolidated revenue. The company said its smartphone shipments increased quarter-over-quarter thanks to strong sales of its budget Galaxy A series. But sales of flagship models fell, due to “weak sales momentum for the Galaxy S10 and stagnant demand for premium products.”

Samsung expects the mobile market to remain lackluster, but it will continue adding to both its flagship and mass-market lineups. It is expected to unveil the Note 10 next month and a new release date for the delayed Galaxy Fold, along with new A series models in the second half of the year.

“The company will promptly respond to the changing business environment, and step up efforts to secure profitability by enhancing efficiency across development, manufacturing and marketing operations,” Samsung said in its earnings release.

It’s not just market demand that’s impacting Samsung’s earnings. Along with other tech companies, Samsung is steeling itself for the long-term impact of a trade dispute between Japan and South Korea. Last month, Japan announced that it is placing export restrictions on some materials used in chips and smartphones. Samsung said it still has stores of those materials, but it is also looking for alternatives since it is unclear how long the dispute between the two countries may last (and it could last for a long time).


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iPhones have weak quarter, but wearables are doing great – gpgmail


As anticipated, Apple’s hardware numbers were a mixed bag during today’s fiscal Q3 earnings report. Apple continues to shift much of its resources to services and content, including a billion-dollar push into Apple TV+. But while iPhone number were down, things weren’t all bad on the device front.

Notably, wearables are up in a big way. The category hit $5.5 billion for the quarter, up from $3.7 billion, year-over-year. The boost came in no small part due to the arrival of new AirPods, featuring wireless charging functionality, in spite of the company DOAing its AirPower charging pad.

“The wearables category is doing extremely well.” said Tim Cook on today’s earnings call. “We stuck with it when others perhaps didn’t.”

Apple CFO Luca Maestri pointed out that the revenue of the wearables division alone would make for a Fortune 200 company.

Meanwhile, iPad revenue is up 8% year-over-year, Mac revenue is up 11% and the services category it’s been putting so much focus into is up 13%.

“This was our biggest June quarter ever — driven by all-time record revenue from Services, accelerating growth from Wearables, strong performance from iPad and Mac and significant improvement in iPhone trends,” Tim Cook said in a press release tied to earnings. “These results are promising across all our geographic segments, and we’re confident about what’s ahead. The balance of calendar 2019 will be an exciting period, with major launches on all of our platforms, new services and several new products.”

The optimism around iPhone isn’t entirely universal at the moment. The quarter marked another year-over-year decline for iPhone revenues, from $29.5 billion in fiscal Q3 2018 to $25.9 billion in fiscal Q3 2019, with the category dipping below 50% of the company’s total revenue for the time period. The past several quarters have seen a decline in iPhone sales, thanks to an overall stagnation in the global market, coupled with slower than expected sales in China.

That, in turn, is the result of slowed economic growth in the country. In fact, few manufacturers have been able to buck the trend in China, save for Huawei. The embattled hardware giant has increased domestic sales through aggressive pricing strategy and an increased push for patriotic purchases as it sees political headwinds abroad.

On this evening’s call, Cook said there’s some cause for optimism when it comes to China. “I’d like to provide some color on our performance in Greater China, where we saw significant improvement compared to the first half of fiscal 2019 and return to growth and constant currency,” the exec said. “We experienced noticeably better year-over-year comparisons for our iPhone business there than we saw in the last two quarters. And we had sequential improvement in the performance of every category.”

Apple, of course, will be announcing new phones later this year, though it remains to be seen whether a new feature set will be strong enough to kickstart sales. 5G is expected to be a key driver in smartphone numbers in the year ahead, though Apple isn’t expected to offer the capability until 2020.

The company also recently agreed to purchase Intel’s modem division in an effort to build more components in house.


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Apple’s services revenue grows 13% year-over-year – gpgmail


One of the constant refrains about Apple in 2019 is its shift toward services — a trend that’s reflected, once again, in its third-quarter earnings release.

In fact, the release trumpets the “all-time high” for services revenue in its headline, while a statement from CEO Tim Cook describes this as “our biggest June quarter ever — driven by all-time record revenue from Services,” as well as sales of wearables, iPads, Macs and iPhones.

Apple’s services business includes its subscription products like iCloud, Apple Music and Apple News+. The category will probably grow even more in the coming months with the launch of Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade.

And the latest numbers do indeed beat last quarter’s services revenue (which also set a record), but it’s pretty close — $11.450 billion in Q2 compared to $11.455 billion in Q3. Also worth noting: Analysts had predicted Apple’s services revenue would come in at $11.68 billion, so this is a relative disappointment.

On the other hand, the growth is more impressive when you look at it year-over-year — in the same quarter last year, Apple reported services earning of $10.17 billion, so this is an increase of 13%. It also looks good compared to the direction of product revenue, which is down year-over-year, to $42.35 billion, due in part to falling iPhone sales.

 




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Apple’s revenue growth slows as iPhone sales dip 12% year-over-year – gpgmail


Apple just released its Q3 earnings and it had a solid June quarter, outperforming analyst expectations. The company reported $53.8 billion in revenue and $2.19 earnings per share. The company’s stock popped 4% on the news.

Apple’s June quarter revenue showcases just how much revenue growth has been slowing for the company. The Q3 2019 revenue of $53.8 billion just peeks above the Q3 2018 revenue of $53.3 billion, growing just 1%.

Across categories, iPhone revenue had the biggest year-over-year dip, going from $29.5 billion in last year’s Q3 to just $26 billion this most recent quarter.

“While this is down 12% from last year’s June quarter, it is a significant improvement to the 17% year-over-year decline in Q2,” CEO Tim Cook said in the company’s earnings call.

The year-over-year decline in iPhone sales was made up for in a boost in all of the company’s other product categories, including a major bump in wearables sales, which crossed $5.5 billion in Q3. The Wearables, Home & Other division includes Watch, AirPods, Beats, HomePod, Apple TV and a lot of dongles.

The company hasn’t been sharing device numbers for the last several quarters and has instead focused solely on revenues, a sign of both the stagnating iPhone sales and the spike in the iPhone’s average selling price. The story for the last several quarters that Cook and Co. have been selling is the spike in Services revenue. This quarter, Services didn’t grow quite as much as analysts hoped, but it still reached $11.5 billion.

Regionally, the company saw slight gains across a few of its geographic markets, though it saw year-over-year declines in Greater China and Europe revenues.

One of the company’s biggest headlines this quarter came last week when the company announced it was purchasing “most of” Intel’s modem business for $1 billion. There aren’t likely to be too many near-term effects of this deal, though Apple aiming to own more of its supply chain has certainly been a decades-long effort for the company.

We’ll have more details from the company’s earnings call, which will be starting in a few minutes.


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AWS revenue growth slips a bit, but remains Amazon’s golden goose – TechCrunch


Like Azure last week, AWS reported some slippage in its cloud earnings growth numbers today, dropping from 49% growth last year at this time to 37% this year. Total revenue increased from Q2 last year, from $6.105 billion to $8.381 billion this year. Today’s report puts the company on an astonishing run rate of more than $33 billion — just for AWS. That’s a successful company, never mind one that’s a division of a larger organization.

And Amazon has to be thrilled that it is, as AWS accounted for 13% of the company’s total income this quarter as it continues to help lead the way for the online retailer. All of that is mostly good news by most measures, but the slowing growth in a market that is continuing to accelerate is curious for both Microsoft and Amazon, as both companies continue to dominate the cloud infrastructure market.

Amazon controls approximately 33% of the market, while Microsoft accounts for around 16%. Regardless of whose numbers you look at, AWS has approximately double the market share of Microsoft, but Microsoft remains the only company with double-digit market share up until this point.

The drop by both companies could simply be attributed to the law of large numbers, which says as big as these two companies are, sustaining the kind of growth rates they were on becomes increasingly difficult over time, even in an accelerating market.

“What we are seeing is the law of large numbers where the revenue gets so high, the growth percent gain gets harder. AWS’s dollar gain is still larger than the number 2-5 [rivals] combined,” Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told TechCrunch.

As markets mature, growth just naturally slows down, and Amazon couldn’t maintain growth in the 40s forever no matter how hot the market is. Regardless, the revenue remains impressive and AWS continues to help drive Amazon’s success.



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Google Cloud’s run rate is now over $8B – gpgmail


It’s been a while since Google last shared any fundamental financial data about its cloud business. In today’s earnings call, though, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who recently installed former Oracle exec Thomas Kurian as the new head of Google Cloud, announced that this business unit now has an $8 billion annual revenue run rate. That’s up from the $4 billion the company reported in early 2018.

While Google often felt like an also-ran in the cloud wars, it’s clearly starting to make up some ground. “Other cloud providers would have you believe that no one is using Google, which is not true,” Kurian told me when I talked to him earlier this year. Now he can put some numbers behind this claim.

To put that into perspective, AWS’s run rate topped $30 billion last quarter while Microsoft Azure is somewhere around $11 billion, though concrete numbers are hard to come by.

“Q2 was another strong quarter for Google Cloud, which reached an annual revenue run rate of over $8 billion and continues to grow at a significant pace,” Pichai said. “Customers are choosing Google Cloud for a variety of reasons: reliability and uptime are critical. Retailers like Lowe’s are leveraging the cloud as one of the important tools to transform their customer experience and supply chain.”

Pichai also noted that customers want the flexibility to move to the cloud in their own way, something that some of Google’s competitors — and especially Microsoft — focused on before Google got to this point. With Anthos and other initiatives, the company is now catching up, though.

Unsurprisingly, Pichai also stressed Google’s role in pushing AI forward at a time when enterprises are starting to look at how they can make use of this technology.



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Google says it doubled Pixel sales year-over-year – gpgmail


It looks like the mid-range Pixel 3a is the hit Google surely hoped it would be.

Alphabet reported some pretty good earnings today, but the company’s report tends to be pretty generic, given that it doesn’t provide details for its different business units inside of Google and its other segments. That’s not to say there isn’t good news there for Google. On today’s call, Google CEO Sundar Pichai shared some new stats for the company’s phone line.

“With the launch of Pixel 3a in May, overall Pixel unit sales in Q2 grew more than 2x year-over-year,” Pichai announced. Part of this growth, he noted, is due to Google greatly expanded its distribution network beyond its own store and Verizon to also include T Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular, Spectrum Mobile and others. He also stressed that the Pixel 3a received Google’s highest Net Promotor Score rating yet.

We don’t, of course, know, what the baseline for Pichai’s claim here is, since Google never shared any actual sales numbers, but it surely helps that the Pixel 3a is relatively affordable and compares well to flagship phones without any major trade-offs. When it launched, reviews were generally very positive, too, which surely helped as well. Unlike previous Pixel launches, the first batch of Pixel 3a phones also didn’t face any major hardware problems, something that regularly plagued Google’s earlier efforts.



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