NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Apple founder Steve Jobs once wanted “to go to thermonuclear war” against Google for – he said – copying the software that powers the iPhone. Now his company and Alphabet, which owns the giant search engine, are bound by tight financial ties. Payments from Google may account for over 10 percent of Apple’s profit, a figure that is likely to rise.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Facebook is late to fighting an existential threat for the second time in its 14-year life. Poor security, low-quality content and excessive advertising are as big a danger to Mark Zuckerberg’s company as the 2012 growth of mobile. Facebook finally appears focused on the threat, but it won’t be as easy to solve via acquisitions and improved apps.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Instagram is Facebook’s golden goose – and it runs a real risk of being smothered. The departure of the photo-sharing app’s founders after six years as part of Mark Zuckerberg’s social network isn’t worrying on its own. But Instagram could suffer if too closely identified with its parent, and right now its growth is one of the $480 billion Facebook’s best features.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - A robocall infestation may demand a robot solution. Scam calls could make up nearly half U.S. traffic next year, data from call control outfit First Orion suggests, up from under 4 percent last year. Society bears the costs in wasted time and swindles.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Apple's new innovation is to tap fear as well as greed. The $1 trillion firm’s new watches can detect falls and heart conditions, making them a useful gift for grandma, as well as hypochondriacs everywhere. Meanwhile, aesthetic appeal and better cameras should be enough to convince many users to pay up for an improved phone.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Wall Street brains are mostly stumped by tech dilemmas. Giant opportunities and pay packages lured Imran Khan and other rainmakers to Silicon Valley. Their record is mixed at best at Snap, Alphabet and Twitter. Raising capital is easy, instilling discipline harder, and finding ways to beat dominant rivals nearly impossible.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Tesla is getting a lesson in buyout realities. Elon Musk’s stated desire to take the money-losing carmaker private has set Wall Street all atwitter. But Dun & Bradstreet’s $5.4 billion leveraged buyout, announced on Thursday, is a reminder of what it usually takes: a mature, mediocre, profitable firm. That’s a better bet than capital-draining dreams of domination.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Privacy is building a wider moat for Apple’s margins. The iPhone maker’s premium prices and fast-growing services continued to power earnings in the latest quarter. Selling hardware rather than advertising once seemed like a weakness. But in the wake of Facebook’s woes, CEO Tim Cook is using data security to buff the brand – and profitability.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Twitter has purged users and shareholders alike. The social network’s efforts to reduce spam, fake users and toxicity shrank active monthly users between March and June. Investors fled as well, sending the shares down 16 percent in early morning trading on Friday. That leaves both the platform and valuation more salubrious.
NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Amazon’s growth is leaving the shop behind. Jeff Bezos’s outfit now gets just over half its revenue from its online stores, down from two-thirds two years ago. E-commerce is still growing at a healthy clip, but the businesses Amazon has built around it are expanding far faster and producing much more profit. That makes its valuation a little less crazy.