Amazon announces record profit amid Coronavirus outbreak

Jeff Bezos continues to be the richest man



Amazon announced its second-quarter earnings and they’ve surpassed everyone’s expectations. It reported a profit of US$ 5.2 billion, an all-time high. Revenue stood at US$ 88.9 billion while AWS (Amazon Web Services) witnessed 29 percent growth as more companies shifted to the work-from-home model.

The e-commerce marketplace benefited most from the Coronavirus pandemic. People were encouraged to stay indoors and avoid gatherings or public places to curb the spread of the virus. With many relying on e-commerce door-to-door delivery, demand rose radically in mid-March. Physical stores were closed or controlling entry to enable social distancing.

Amazon too struggled to keep up with the sudden rise in demand. Its logistics network was overloaded and delivery delays were quite common. Amazon said online grocery sales tripled year-over-year in the second quarter.

“We’ve created over 175,000 new jobs since March and are in the process of bringing 125,000 of these employees into regular, full-time positions,” CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

The company already accounts for 38 percent of the online sales market in the US. “Prime members … were shopping more often and with larger baskets,” Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said.

Amazon’s results boosted the net worth of Bezos, the world’s richest person, by almost US$ 10 billion to US$ 189.5 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index data.


TikTok owner accuses Facebook of stealing and smearing

Could it be about Instagram Reels?



Just when you thought you’ve heard enough about TikTok for the day, the company attacks an entirely separate issue happening in the States. Recently, TikTok’s owner, ByteDance issued a few inflammatory comments against a social media rival. In a post on one of its other properties, the TikTok owner accuses Facebook of stealing and smearing.

Reported by Reuters, ByteDance issued the comments on Jinri Toutiao, a Beijing-based news aggregator that it also owns.

“ByteDance has always been committed to becoming a global company. During this process, we have faced all kinds of complex and unimaginable difficulties, including the tense international political environment, collision and conflict of different cultures and plagiarism and smears from competitor Facebook,” the company said. [Emphasis ours.]

Though the company is currently deliberating on an acquisition deal with Microsoft, ByteDance’s recent comments are attacking another issue entirely. Last week, Facebook and a few other big tech companies entered a hearing against alleged antitrust practices in the industry. Among other things, Facebook apparently lied about copying rivals in a threat to acquire them.

ByteDance did not name any specific feature or property that Facebook owns. However, the company is likely talking about the upcoming Instagram Reels, a similar video-editing app to take on TikTok. Currently, Instagram is still testing the new app in preparation for a wider release.

The timing of the comments is, of course, interesting. Trump has currently issued a 45-day limit for TikTok to reach a deal with Microsoft’s acquisition plans.

SEE ALSO: US wants to buy TikTok from China

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Samsung is shutting down its last computer factory in China

Due to “fierce market competition”



Samsung has a weird relationship with China. Though the brand still has substantial presence in the country, the company has wavered in its Chinese operations, seesawing between increasing and decreasing manufacturing staff. In another step in the cycle, Samsung is shutting down its last computer factory in China.

Reported by South China Morning Post, Samsung is reconsidering its presence in the country after numerous geopolitical issues between the US and China. For example, US President Trump has recently unloaded a barrage of bans and promises against popular Chinese video-sharing platform TikTok. In addition, Samsung cites “fierce market competition” as a motive for pulling out.

In the ensuing mess, the company is shutting down computer production, leaving behind semiconductor factories in other Chinese regions. Last year, it also pulled out from smartphone manufacturing in the country.

Instead of manufacturing, the site will refocus towards research and development. The factory’s staff, though affected, will receive opportunities to transfer facilities in the same country.

Despite the reduction, Samsung still remains committed to providing for the Chinese market. Earlier this year, the company even increased its operations in the memory chip segment. As for another manufacturing site, the company has eyed key locations in Vietnam, keeping its operations within the region.

Samsung has a lot of stake in maintaining its operations worldwide. The company is set to launch major devices within the next few weeks including a five-device Galaxy Unpacked event on August 5.

SEE ALSO: Samsung finally has more than 1 percent market share again in China

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Zuckerberg was caught lying about stealing ideas from rivals

“I don’t recall the conversation”



Image source: Reuters / YouTube

In the US, the country’s biggest tech companies are facing a tempestuous grilling of their past business practices. Geared primarily towards antitrust issues, a congressional hearing (documented by Reuters) aims to uncover the tech industry’s violations against America’s democratic business world. One of those companies is Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook. To his dismay, it did not go well for the social media maven. Zuckerberg was caught lying about stealing from other companies.

During the hearing, Washington Representative Pramila Jayapal read an official email involving Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and other officials which specifically details strategies against competitors. According to the email exchange, Facebook copies competitors “to prevent them from getting a foothold” in the industry. “I would love to be far more aggressive and nimbler in copying competitors,” one official said.

As you might have noticed by now, feature copying is a prominent issue in the tech industry. Facebook and Instagram Stories obtained their ideas from Snapchat and other short-form video-sharing platforms. In fact, Instagram itself is a Facebook acquisition.

Further in the hearing, Jayapal explains that the strategy of copying is a prelude to buying the competitor out. In fact, the representative calls it a “threatening” tactic. When she asked Zuckerberg if this was true, he replied that he does not recall. To which, Jayapal tellingly says, “I just want to remind you that you are under oath.”

After which, she retells the story of Instagram based on Facebook’s own internal documents. Before acquiring Instagram, Facebook developed Facebook Camera to compete against Instagram. According to Jayapal, Zuckerberg used Facebook Camera to threaten Instagram by telling Instagram that “how we engage now will determine how much we’re partners versus competitors down the line.” Instagram felt that this was a threat of acquisition.

In any case, Facebook truly acquired Instagram eventually after Facebook Camera. Zuckerberg can only reiterate that he does not remember the conversations.

Jayapal finished her statement by saying that the practice should not exist in the business world, especially when the dominant Facebook weaponizes user data to copy and destroy other smaller rival companies.

SEE ALSO: Facebook shared user data with at least 5000 developers

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