Friday, July 29, 2016

Now I Know My ABCs

Next time won't you $ing with me?

"Alphabet’s second quarter earnings soar despite rising ‘moonshot’ losses" by Michael Liedtke Associated Press   July 29, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO — Business is booming at Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., even as it loses billions of dollars on kooky-sounding projects that may never produce any revenue.

Like going to the moon, exploring new technological frontiers is expensive. Although Alphabet doesn’t specify just how much money it pours into the X lab, it is among the costliest drains in a far-flung category that falls under the ‘‘Other Bets’’ segment in the company’s financial statement. Fiber, an effort to bring ultra-fast Internet service to major US cities, is also requiring huge investments.

Alphabet’s second-quarter earnings report, released Thursday, showed an operating loss of $859 million in Other Bets, widening from a $660 million loss a year ago.

The Mountain View, Calif., company can afford to gamble because Google runs the world’s most profitable advertising network, spread across its dominant search engine, YouTube video site, and Gmail, as well as millions of third-party websites that draw upon its marketing machine.

Powered by Google, Alphabet earned $4.9 billion during the April-June quarter, a 24 percent increase from the same time last year. Revenue climbed to $17.5 billion.

Although Alphabet CEO Larry Page has repeatedly told investors to expect big money to be wagered on Other Bets, the company has been reining in expenses since hiring Wall Street veteran Ruth Porat as its chief financial officer 14 months ago.

Astro Teller, who runs the X lab, says he strives for a balance between the pursuit of envelope-pushing technology and Wall Street’s demands for some semblance of fiscal prudence.

‘‘In short, we try to steer X to be ‘responsibly irresponsible’ as we develop new products,’’ Teller wrote in an online essay published Thursday.

Just don't put it on auto-pilot, 'kay?

The X lab understands most of its projects will fall by the wayside, but Teller doesn’t view that as a waste of time — or money.

‘‘To make progress toward any audacious idea, you have to make mistakes . . . you have to seek out frequent, messy, instructive failure that shows you what to do (or not do) next,’’ Teller wrote.

The money that Google spent on areas that have little to do with Internet search and advertising used to frustrate investors who wanted to see bigger profits. BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis says that exasperation is fading away since Porat has made it clear that there will be limits on the spending. Since her arrival, the increases in expenses haven’t been outpacing the rate of revenue growth, as it had been....

How did Apple's stock do?


Why would anyone leave the nest of a ‘‘moonshot factory’’ in this day and age?

"Amazon posts big gains for fifth straight quarter" by Sarah Halzack Washington Post  July 29, 2016

WASHINGTON — reported a big profit on Thursday for the three months ending in June, its fifth straight quarter of gains, a pattern that suggests the e-commerce giant is starting to see a more consistent payoff from its long-term strategy of pouring money into its online shopping fulfillment network while working to amass huge volumes of customers.

The Seattle-based company’s revenue soared 31 percent to $30.4 billion in the second quarter. Its profit leaped to $857 million, or $1.78 per share, up from $92 million, or 19 cents per share. Investors sent the stock up more than 2 percent in after-hours trading.


Xmas in July

What's with the hangover?

To be sure, a hefty share of its earnings — some $718 million in operating income — came from its lucrative cloud computing division, not its more widely known shopping business. And yet the North America division, largely comprised of business on its e-commerce site, saw an operating income of $702 million, about double what it recorded in the same quarter last year.

The results offer evidence that Amazon’s huge scale is seemingly starting to translate into a profitable business model, even as its fulfillment costs continue to grow.

That will soon crowd out everyone, huh? 

Is that Free Enterpri$e Capitali$m? 

Good thing Staples has the advantage of a brick-and-mortar shop, 'eh Globe?

Not included in the second-quarter earnings haul were the sales the company rang up on Prime Day, the massive deals bonanza it held on July 12 for the tens of millions of members of its Prime subscription program. 

So we can expect even greater numbers next quarter!

Orders that day jumped 60 percent compared to a year prior, the company said, eclipsing those on any previous Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

I don't believe them anymore.

Charlie O’Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody’s, said the timing of that sale was important context for interpreting the strong results.

‘‘This is particularly impressive as we believe there was likely delayed shopping/spending by Amazon’s key Prime members in anticipation of the Prime Day deals, especially where purchases of discretionary items are concerned,’’ O’Shea said in a research note.

Still, Amazon’s fulfillment costs jumped nearly 35 percent to $3.88 billion in the quarter, a number closely watched by many investors.

These days, the company is experimenting with everything from an Uber-like network of on-demand delivery drivers to buying its own trucking fleet in pursuit of ways to improve deliveries.

That will make UPS and the USPS angry!

In a call with investors Thursday evening, chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said the company experienced 28 percent growth in units sold in quarter, adding that growth was even stronger for sales fulfilled by Amazon as opposed to those fulfilled by third-party sellers.

I didn't order anything.


Also seeLatest frontier for unmanned vehicles: the high seas 

May take Santa a while to deliver them that way.

Oracle Corp. acquiring NetSuite for $9.3b

Times Co. posts loss, adds digital subscriptions

Raytheon beats profit estimates

All I got was a $hare price.

Jobless applications edge up, but the Labor Department said the number of applications was still at a low level that suggested hiring is healthy.

That was just talk.


"Facebook could owe $5 billion in back taxes" by Renae Merle Washington Post   July 30, 2016

Facebook is digging in over its fight with the Internal Revenue Service. The social network said this week that it faces a potential $5 billion tax bill after moving some of its assets to Ireland.

The company’s tussle with tax authorities dates back to its decision in 2010 to transfer many of its global ‘‘intangible’’ assets — those not in the United States or Canada — to its Irish holding company. The transfer allowed the company to pay a lower tax rate on the profits made from those assets, tax experts say.

More like a tu$$le, and Trump has called for them to repatriate it all. That's why he's not well-liked in the pre$$.

The IRS said in court documents the way the assets were valued was ‘‘problematic’’ and that the ‘‘transferred intangibles’’ may have been undervalued by ‘‘billions of dollars.’’

On Thursday, Facebook said it received a ‘‘deficiency’’ notice from the IRS and could end up with a tax bill of $3 billion to $5 billion, plus interest and penalties. ‘‘We do not agree with the position of the IRS’’ and will challenge the decision, Facebook said in a regulatory filing.

They are the looting arm of a bankrupt government.

The tussle comes amid a worldwide reexamination of the tax strategies employed by US multinational corporations.

Really? Where? 

I heard about something in Panama, but that fizzled quick. 

Nothing regarding the Foundation in there?

French authorities raided the Paris headquarters of Google and McDonald’s in May and the European Commission is investigating tax deals that Amazon and Apple reached in Luxembourg and Ireland. An IRS spokesman said the agency does not comment on companies.


I should have said that to your face.