Data Sheet—Thursday, July 28, 2016


Facebook and Twitter’s quarterly financial results were only separated by a day, but they might as well have been light years apart. Facebook blew the doors off even the most ambitious forecasts, while Twitter missed on almost every metric.

In one sense, it’s fitting that the two were so different because Twitter has been compared to Facebook for most of its life, and it has always suffered for it. Facebook is like the older brother who was a college football star, and Twitter is the younger rival who likes to paint, and periodically disappears to “find himself.”

If you look at the numbers, you could argue that Twitter’s actually don’t look that bad. It’s true that it missed estimates, but not by a huge amount. The number of users grew by several million, better than in other quarters. But Facebook’s results make Twitter’s look like a rounding error.

It might seem unfair to compare the two. But the reality is they are in the same business: Namely, selling ads related to the interests of their users. Based on that metric, Facebook is better in almost every way. It’s larger, it’s growing more quickly, and its ads are in greater demand—in part because it can target users in ways of which Twitter can only dream.

And that’s why the share price of the former will continue to climb, not just today but for the foreseeable future, while the shares of the latter will likely continue to test new lows.

Mathew Ingram is a senior writer at Fortune. Reach him via email.


Oracle snaps up cloud pioneer NetSuite. You can add another product line to the business software giant cloud apps portfolio: it plans to pay $9.3 billion to buy NetSuite, one of the first companies to crack the code on cloud-hosted business management software. NetSuite has roughly 30,000 customers and managed revenue of $741 million for its last fiscal year. (It is due to report its second-quarter financials later today).

Given that Larry Ellison helped found NetSuite back in 1998, maybe this was the endgame all along. Oracle has promised to maintain the cloud company's brand identity. But it should be interesting to see how this development affects NetSuite's recent decision to pick Microsoft as its 'preferred' cloud partnerDeal details.


In China, ride-sharing is totally and officially legal. Fights over the impact of Uber's transportation on the traditional model are simmering in the United States and Europe, but there's no such uncertainty in this populous nation. (New York Times)

Masayoshi Son will split his time between Sprint and ARM. This should be good news for those worried that SoftBank's $32 billion takeover of British chipmaker ARM would reduce the company's commitment to turning around the troubled U.S. wireless company. (Reuters, Wall Street Journal)

GoPro confident in full-year prospects. The digital camera company posted yet-another quarterly loss, but its forthcoming Karma drone should reverse that trend before the end of the year. (Wall Street Journal)

Samsung logs best quarter in almost two years. Profit for its mobile division grew almost 60%, compared with the year-earlier period, as its smartphone sales revived. Margins for its flash memory and LED display products, however, are under pressure ahead of industry-wide technology transitions. (Wall Street Journal)

1 billion in less than a decade. That's the total numbers of iPhones that now exist on this planet. It took 25 years for personal computers to achieve the same milestone. Getting to the next billon won't be as simple, if these Android smartphone makers have their way. (Fortune)


Google swaps HR chiefs. Eileen Naughton, one of the company's highest-rated managers (and a former Time Inc. exec!), is taking over from Laslzo Bock as head of people operations. Bock's progressive strategies for strengthening employee culture have been embraced by companies like retailers Costco and Wegman's. (Fortune)

$300 million isn't bad for two years of work. That's what SoftBank paid former president Nikesh Arora salary and other compensation during his brief tenure with the company. That puts him in the same league as Apple CEO Tim Cook and Disney CEO Bob Iger. (Bloomberg)


Alphabet: About those "other" businesses. Google's parent company will deliver its latest quarterly results Thursday afternoon. The numbers to really watch lie outside its advertising revenue stronghold: results for the Nest home automation unit, the Fiber broadband unit, and the Verily medical device group. (Recode)

Can Amazon maintain its cloud dominance? The pressure is on from Microsoft and Google, both of which are investing aggressively to steal share. Amazon's latest financials, due after the New York stock market close, will illustrate whether that's making a dent on Amazon Web Services' growth. (MarketWatch)

Share this newsletter: editions.


Will the Tables Ever Turn on Facebook? by Erin Griffith

Why You Shouldn't Buy Into Apple's Stock Rally, by Shawn Tully

Why North Dakota Wants to Be Drone Central, by Jonathan Vanian

For Elon Musk's Tesla Gigafactory, Bigger Is Better, by Katie Fehrenbacher

What Ford Hopes to Learn From Testing Electric Shuttles, by Kirsten Korosec


Bill Gates begs to disagree. One central theme of Robert Gordon's new economic tome The Rise and Fall of American Growth is that we can no longer count on technological advances to kickstart expansion. Microsoft's billionaire co-founder offers three examples to prove him wrong. (Fortune)

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.

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