What to learn from Big Tech’s latest massive earnings results
Image: Hans Eiskonen/Protocol
Good morning! This Thursday, Big Tech's earnings continue to be ridiculous, Amazon's already facing another union battle, Epic and Apple continue to spar and Microsoft has a new font plan.
Three of the four biggest names in tech have reported earnings so far this week. Amazon reports today. And if I were to try and explain the fortunes of Alphabet, Facebook and Apple — and presumably Amazon as well — over the last three months, I would just send you the GIF of Scrooge McDuck diving into a giant pile of gold coins. Because that's pretty much what it is.
But rather than bore you with the numbers — which are all huge to the point of being sort of meaningless — let's dive into a few of the bigger-picture things happening in Big Tech.
These companies face real threats, of course, from the U.S. Congress, the EU and from a growing list of competitors. (Shopify and TikTok are coming hard and fast.) But for now, as long as you're not having to prepare for yet another Senate Judiciary hearing, it's still good to be Big Tech.
Megan Rose Dickey writes: Amazon is facing another union challenge. This time, it's in Staten Island.
Leading this latest drive is a familiar name: Christian Smalls. Amazon fired Smalls last year after he organized a protest against the company's pandemic working conditions. He's currently suing for his allegedly illegal termination and has support from New York Attorney General Letitia James, who filed her own companion lawsuit against Amazon.
Amazon, unsurprisingly, is already on the defensive. The company has sent workers text messages that say "you give up the right to speak for yourself" if you sign a union authorization card, and it has also displayed anti-union messaging on the TVs in the JFK8 warehouse.
Mark Zuckerberg said AR and VR account for a lot of Facebook's R&D budget because the Oculus Quest 2 is doing so well:
Daniel Ek is dead serious about buying the Arsenal soccer club:
On Protocol: Bradley Tusk said governments shouldn't regulate at startups' expense, but that Big Tech should have foreseen the problems:
The United Auto Workers union wants to bring in EV startup employees everywhere, President Rory Gamble said:
David Heinemeier Hansson wrote a long defense of the Basecamp culture changes:
The internet has changed a lot since 1996 - internet regulations should too. It's been 25 years since comprehensive internet regulations passed. See why we support updated regulations on key issues, including: protecting people's privacy, enabling safe and easy data portability between platforms, preventing election interference and reforming Section 230.
Shapeways is going public via SPAC, which will value the 3D-printing marketplace at $410 million.
On Protocol | Enterprise: MessageBird bought SparkPost for $600 million, and is officially coming for Twilio.
CES is planning to be live and in Vegas next year. I mean, we'll all still get sick, but hopefully just with the CES flu.
Verizon is reportedly exploring the sale of its media assets, including Yahoo and AOL. The company still can't decide if it wants to be a media company or not.
Amazon said it's raising pay for 500,000 workers, by between 50 cents and $3 an hour.
Patreon laid off 36 people from its product, design and engineering teams, as part of a restructuring of the way it builds products.
Anna Kramer writes: Calibri's hegemony is about to end. The font had a long and impressive reign, born in 2007 as a replacement for the paragon of all fonts, Times New Roman, as the Office default. But Microsoft, in its wise and long-enduring wisdom, has decided it's time for a forced retirement. Given that whatever replaces Calibri will apparently be part of your life for upwards of a decade, what comes next matters. And you're going to want to help Microsoft get it right.
The company has released five new custom fonts in Microsoft Office, and it's encouraging users to play with them and share how they feel on social before it selects a winner. Your options are: Tenorite, a sort of warmer Times New Roman; Bierstadt, a precise, rational, sort of typerwritery vibe; Skeena, a soft-edged sort of Swedish-minimalist font; Seaford, which is asymmetrically old-fashioned; and Grandview, a highly legible take on German railway signage. You can check them all out in more detail, and the stories of their design, right here.
2021 is the 25th anniversary of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the last major update to internet regulation. It's time for an update to set clear rules for addressing today's toughest challenges. See how we're taking action on key issues and why we support updated internet regulations.
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Today's Source Code was written by David Pierce, with help from Anna Kramer and Shakeel Hashim. Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or our tips line, email@example.com. Enjoy your day; see you tomorrow.