Data Sheet—Apple’s Big Businesses Growing Fast
19%. Apple’s earnings growth outpaced its sales growth. It earned $10.7 billion. In one quarter.
$1 trillion. That’s the market capitalization that is suddenly within reach for Apple. The current market value is nearly $900 billion.
210 million. Apple has that number of subscriptions to its own apps as well as those of third-party services. This is a big business that’s growing fast.
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There were qualitative bright spots too. iPads, Macs, and the Apple Watch all growing, which is pretty good for the “duds” in the portfolio. And what used to be called fanboys are waiting in line for the Apple X, which goes on sale today. Apple confidently raised growth targets and drove home the point by explaining that this wouldn’t be possible if weren’t confident it could manufacture the new phone at scale.
Happy days in Cupertino.
In one month (Dec. 5-6) my colleagues and I will be in Guangzhou, China, for Brainstorm Tech International, the first time we’ve taken our Aspen franchise outside the United States. We’ve posted a preliminary agenda here, and you can see the stars of China technology and a few non-Chinese with China on their minds who will be joining us. These include Sequoia Capital’s Neil Shen, JD.com CEO Liu Qiangdong, Ant Financial CEO Eric Jing, and Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk.
I mention this because we still have a few open slots for the invitation-only event. If you’d like to attend, please inquire here or, better, zap me a note.
Have a good weekend.
Not so smart. In addition to Apple's impressive earnings, as Adam mentioned, there was also news about the company on a different front. Qualcomm expanded its legal battle against Apple, suing the company for violating software licenses, including by sharing confidential info with competitor Intel. The evidence? An email from Apple to Qualcomm asking about the software CC-ed an Intel engineer. Whoops.
How was your last day of work, honey? The most powerful social media account on the planet disappeared for 11 minutes on Thursday. Twitter says an outgoing customer support employee deactivated President Donald Trump's account around 7 p.m. ET. "We are continuing to investigate and are taking steps to prevent this from happening again," the company said.
Everyone has a price. T-Mobile and Sprint's on again, off again merger talks are back on, the Wall Street Journal reported. Sprint owner and SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son was last reported to be having qualms about ceding control of the combined carrier to T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom. Perhaps a higher-priced offer will change his mind.
Falling faintly, faintly falling. In other earnings news, Pandora Media saw revenue increase 8% but it wasn't as much as Wall Street expected, and the company's forecast for the fourth quarter fell short as well. Its shares crashed 23% in premarket trading on Friday. Data analytics maker Tableau Software also plunged 16% after its shift to subscriptions fell short in sales.
Hyper slammed. A week after some writers at the local news web sites DNAinfo and Gothamist voted to unionize, their billionaire employer decided to shut the sites down (and take all their archives off the web immediately, too). "Progress hasn’t been sufficient to support the tremendous effort and expense needed," Joe Ricketts wrote in an email informing employees of the shutdown.
Rocketwoman. The women of NASA lego set I mentioned the other day went on sale this week. And the plastic figures of astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, and astronauts Sally Ride and Mae Jemison rocketed to the top-selling toy on all of Amazon.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Blizzard's Video Game 'Overwatch' Has Big Fans in Intel and HP Inc By Jonathan Vanian
Apple Earnings: 5 Key Numbers By Jonathan Vanian
How Tesla Could Suffer Under the Republican Tax Plan By John Patrick Pullen
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Although some high-profile companies have brought workers back to the office, the larger picture shows that remote working, mainly working from home, is on the rise. A Gallup poll found 43% off workers spent at least some time working remotely, up from 39% in 2012. But obviously it's not easy to make remote workers feel like they're solidly involved and supported.
A new survey published this week by the Harvard Business Review found quite a bit of fear and mistrust among remote workers. Social scientists Joseph Granny and David Mayfield had some suggestions for addressing the problem. Among the advice was for managers to check in more frequently, make expectations explicit, and prioritize team building activities. Face-to-face contact was also important.
One in four respondents said managers who insisted on some face time with remote employees were more successful. Make a visit to remote employees or schedule a mandatory in-office day once a week, month, quarter, or year. Use this time for team building. If in-person meetings are not possible, at a minimum use video conferencing technology or pick up the phone to ensure colleagues occasionally see one another’s face or hear one another’s voice.
FOR YOUR WEEKEND READING PLEASURE
A few interesting longer reads I came across that are suitable for your weekend reading pleasure.
The Improbable Origins of PowerPoint
Walking into the hall to deliver the speech was a “daunting experience,” the speaker later recalled, but “we had projectors and all sorts of technology to help us make the case.” The technology in question was PowerPoint, the presentation software produced by Microsoft. The speaker was Colin Powell, then the U.S. Secretary of State.
Inside the Great Poop Emoji Feud
It’s been a trying year for the world’s most visible institutions. Congressional gridlock, partisan divide, and federal indictments torment Washington. Silicon Valley’s biggest companies are under scrutiny—and even headed to Capitol Hill—for their role in foreign interference during the 2016 election. And meanwhile, over at the Unicode Consortium, there is a contentious debate over a scowling pile of shit.
The Underground Story of Cobra, the 1980s’ Illicit Handmade Computer
In the mid-1980s, Romania was a poverty-stricken, Communist country. So like a handful of his fellow students with a similar undeniable passion for computing, Moldovanu soon became one of only a few dozen underground computer builders in the country. They illegally manufactured computers using parts smuggled from factories and heaps of manually soldered wires. But armed with very few resources and plenty of creativity, people like Moldovanu soon fueled an underground hardware industry that would birth some of the country’s best future tech professionals.
When Artists Turn to Craigslist, the Results Are Intimate, Disquieting, and Surprisingly Profound
Tam himself eased into thinking of Craigslist as a way to meet people. At first, he was treating the site simply as a place to acquire and circulate sculptural materials: He’d buy used IKEA furniture, change or augment it in some way, and then sell it back again on the site. “I liked that I could disseminate it, beyond my control, and let this stuff surf on the Craigslist economy,” he recalls.
BEFORE YOU GO
Artificial intelligence isn't just for recognizing Uncle Morty amongst all your smartphone snapshots. Bill Gates buddy and CEO of Intellectual Ventures Nathan Myhrvold is pitching a microscope that uses AI and machine learning to identify blood samples infected with malaria. He says he's after a higher purpose:
The magic that we have used in the 21st century so far has given us pretty much tools and toys for rich people...I think it’s really important for us to use this magical power of invention and innovation to change the lives of people who really need their lives changed: people at the bottom billion.