Over the years, technological innovation has infiltrated almost every industry worldwide and brought about an overwhelming transformation, creating some ground-breaking tools and resources in the process, and equipping the consumers with all that they need.
For example, technology has revolutionised how consumers shop with the advent of ecommerce, entertain themselves, search for information about anything under the sun, travel across the city or book accommodation for their vacations around the world.
Some of the breakthrough invention to date include organ transplants, robots, and artificial intelligence (AI), electronic funds transfer, nuclear weapons, smartphones, personal computers, digital media and of course, the internet.
Discussed below are some of the world’s largest and well-performing tech giants that are pioneers and leaders in their respective operating sectors.
1. Amazon, Inc.: e-Retail and Amazon Web Services
One of the Big four tech companies in the world, Amazon, Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate focussed on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and AI. The term Amazon effect captures the ongoing phenomenon of disruption, and thus evolution of the global retail market, both online and brick and mortar stores, due to the escalated e-commerce activity.
Without having to look very hard and far, consumers are able to shop anything that they need from a vast variety of options which is encouraging malls and store owners to make the in-person shopping experience a more satisfying one for consumers. This has also resulted in building of some of the most magnificent and resourceful malls around the world because at the end of the day, nothing beats a live experience.
For the recent quarter ended 31 March 2020, Amazon reported a 26% increase in the Net Sales to USD 75.5 billion and 16% rise in the operating cashflow to USD 39.7 billion, compared with prior corresponding period (pcp) in 2019. Also, in the Covid-19 crisis, the Company’s offerings including e-commerce, AWS, Prime Video as well as Fire TV are all performing well.
2. Apple, Inc.-Devices
American multinational tech giant, Apple Inc., one of the big four tech companies globally, designs, develops and commercialises computer software, consumer electronics, and online services. The Company dominates the smartphone market segment while it has developed highly advanced laptop, TV, iPad, watches, etc.
Apple brought in the first graphical user interface in computers to market, introduced an online store experience enabling people to buy music online, as well as created an easy-to-use digital device for listening to music.
Recently, Apple granted a USD 10 million funding support, from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund, to market leader COPAN Diagnostics, which is engaged in large scale manufacturing of sample collection kits that are highly crucial in the testing process of coronavirus pandemic.
Now, COPAN will be able to largely scale up its production of the testing kits. Apple is diligently working to meaningfully help the frontline medical workers, patients, and communities to fight against Covid-19.
For the second quarter ended 31 March 2020, Apple recorded a 5% decline in its revenue to USD 58 billion as compared to pcp and quarterly earnings per diluted share of USD 2.46, also down 10%. Though, the quarter witnessed the strongest iPad growth in six years and Apple set an all-time record for Services, and also recorded a strong momentum for its Wearables, Home and Accessories category.
The operating cashflow amounted to USD 11.2 billion and the Company returned ~ 27 billion to its shareholders via repurchases and dividends.
3. Spotify Technology S.A. – Music
International media services provider Spotify offers music streaming services globally, giving access to millions of songs to users free of cost, as well as ad-supported services to subscribers.
For the March Quarter 2020, Spotify reported that its businesses have met or even exceeded the forecast for all major metrics despite the global uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Company’s total monthly active users (MAUs) grew 31% year-on-year to 286million, marking the third consecutive quarter of growth above 30%. The company observed a growth in reactivations subsequent to the social distancing and stay-at-home measures being observed globally.
Thus, total revenue increased 22% year-on-year to EUR 1.85 billion including 23% year-on-year growth in Premium Revenue to EUR 1.7 billion and ad-supported revenue increasing by 17% year-on-year to EUR 148 million.
Also, as at the quarter end, the Company had 130 million Premium Subscribers globally, up 31% year-on-year and above its forecast figure. The Company’s Family Plan significantly drove the outperformance in the quarter while Spotify Kids (the stand-alone beta app designed for children 3 and 3+ years) was launched in eight new markets including Australia, the UK, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, US, Canada, and France.
4. Uber Technologies, Inc.
American multinational ride-hailing giant Uber employs everyday people that drive their own cars to transport people from one place to another via coordinating through a cloud-based application. Due to the low overhead, Uber rides tend to be less expensive than taxis or shuttles.
In fact, after witnessing massive success in the on-road ride-sharing business, the Company is working on bringing aerial ride-sharing to the world via Uber Elevate Initiative, to remove barriers to healthcare, create new freight booking solutions and help companies to offer a seamless employee travel experience.
As per Uber’s financial results for the quarter ended 31 March 2020, the ride-sharing business has been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic, while the Company made concerted efforts to preserve the strength of its balance sheet, focus additional resources on Uber Eats, and prepare ahead for any recovery scenario. For the reporting period, Uber’s Gross Bookings grew to USD 15.8 billion, up 8% year-on-year, revenue rose by 14% year-on-year while there was also a Net Loss of USD 2.9 billion.
What works in the favour of the Company is its global footprint, highly variable cost structure, as well as ample liquidity. The unrestricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totalled USD 9 billion as of quarter end.
There is no investor left unperturbed with the ongoing trade conflicts between US-China and the devastating bushfire in Australia.
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