• Front Research
  • Posts
  • 💹 Big Tech Earnings Week: Pivotal Insights on Economy, Inflation Awaited

💹 Big Tech Earnings Week: Pivotal Insights on Economy, Inflation Awaited

+ VC Funding Plummets | Apple's AI Leap | Apple Watch 9 Reviewed

Tech Lovers, Rise and Shine!
October 24, 2023, is brimming with fresh technological insights. Here's your first glance:

  • Foxconn's Tax Woes - China probes, stocks drop.

  • Tech Earnings - Economy insights unveiled.

  • VC Funding Dive - Slumps 67% since 2017.

  • Microsoft's AI Drive - Azure's promising future.

  • Apple's AI Unveiled - Generative AI in iOS 18.

  • Moody's-Google Alliance - Next-gen financial AI analytics.

  • AMD & Nvidia's Gamble - Challenging Intel by 2025.

  • Dropbox's Big Deal - Glimpsing the WFH future.

  • Apple Watch 9 - Feature-packed, fully reviewed.

Grab your coffee, adjust those glasses, and read on for an exciting tech-filled journey ahead.

Tech Companies

China's tax authorities are investigating Foxconn, maker of Apple iPhones, delving into tax audits and land use practices. Amid ongoing tension over Taiwan's independence, this development follows Foxconn's founder Terry Gou's announcement about his 2024 presidential run in Taiwan. The news prompted a 2% drop in Foxconn shares.

💡 Why does this matter?

Potential regulatory or financial impacts from the probe could affect Apple's supply chain, directly influencing the tech industry. It also signals China's willingness to exert political pressure on key tech suppliers amidst geopolitical tension, raising concerns for companies operating in or with the country.

Dropbox relinquishes a quarter of its San Francisco HQ office space, continuing its 90% remote work model and paying $79M to the landlord for contract amendment.

💡 Why does this matter?

The move by Dropbox to largely abandon its HQ office space is a substantial affirmation of a long-term remote work model. This situation could influence other tech companies contemplating similar steps, further reshaping the office space demand and the real estate market, especially in tech-dominated cities. It additionally underscores the evolving need for flexible and hybrid work arrangements in the tech sector.

TikTok is testing a 15-minute upload capacity, an increase from the current ten-minute limit, with a small group of users in specific regions. This move intensifies its competition with the long-form content platform YouTube. The extended duration will offer more flexibility to creators, potentially eliminating the necessity for "Part 2" videos. However, TikTok has not disclosed if or when this feature will be accessible to all users.

Nvidia and AMD are reportedly developing Arm-based CPUs for Windows PCs by 2025, a strategic move that would intensify the competition against Intel and Qualcomm in the PC chips market. Having previously partnered exclusively with Qualcomm for Arm-based Windows 11, Microsoft may have its own Arm-based chips on the horizon, adding to the challenge against Intel's dominance.

SpaceX has entered a deal to launch up to four European navigation satellites, backing its growing dominance in the region, amidst struggles of local competitors. The agreement with the European Space Agency covers two launches next year, pending final approvals from the European Commission and EU member states.

Meta is increasing Threads' visibility by cross-posting on Facebook without an opt-out feature, causing user controversy. Threads' engagement has dropped, despite an initial surge.

Instagram is trialing a feature for users to view solely from Meta Verified accounts. The tool could enhance visibility for businesses and creators.

AI Corner

Moody's Corporation and Google Cloud have announced a strategic partnership to explore generative AI (gen AI) technologies and financial data analysis. This collaboration aims to help Moody's customers and employees leverage large language models for faster financial summaries and new insights. It will also enable access to Moody's proprietary datasets through Google Cloud's data warehouse, BigQuery, and introduce Vertex AI Search to increase productivity by automating workflows.

A recent report signals Apple's plans to integrate its generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) software, dubbed as "Apple GPT", within its iOS 18 platform as early as next year. Spearheaded by Apple’s senior vice presidents John Giannandrea and Craig Federighi, the tech giant aims to adapt Siri and other apps to support these AI features. The company is considering an on-device or a mixed device-cloud setup for the implementation, with an estimated annual spend of $1 billion on the Apple GPT project.

OpenAI's AI project Arrakis, aimed at powering applications like ChatGPT affordably, failed to meet efficiency expectations and was canceled. The setback occurs amid challenges from rival Google's upcoming Gemini model and impending AI safety scrutiny.

Markets & Money

As Microsoft gears up to announce quarterly earnings, Wall Street eyes indications of AI-powered expansion, particularly in the Azure cloud computing segment. Despite a string of decreases in Azure growth, an almost 9% YoY revenue increase to $54.5 billion is predicted, alongside an EPS jump to $2.66. Microsoft's substantial $10 billion investment in AI, including acquiring ChatGPT developer OpenAI, is under scrutiny, with the anticipated Azure growth of 27.2% being seen as critical. Further investor attention is expected to focus on the company's $69-billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Venture capital fundraising in 2021 is forecasted to close at $57 billion, 67% less than the record $172.5 billion in 2022, the lowest since 2017, says the PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor report. Likewise, fewer venture funds will likely close the year, reaching just 459. HighVista Strategies' co-head warns next year won't be any better. Factors like scanty IPOs, high interest rates, and cautious institutional investors weigh down fundraising. This slump, however aligns capital fluidity with historical standards, triggering more conscious investments.

Big tech firms Microsoft, Alphabet, Meta and Amazon are set to report quarterly earnings amidst a busy week of corporate reports, the high-stakes results that could shape the major three indexes. Investors across the globe keenly anticipate a further look at the Fed's preferred inflation gauge. Meanwhile, bonds and the schedule of Federal Reserve activities continue to hint at the directions of the stock market. Increasing attention is paid to Artificial Intelligence developments across these tech giants.

Data cloud firm Snowflake intends to buy Ponder Data, enhancing its Python capabilities. The acquisition will enable Snowflake's platform users to run Python data libraries, aiding rapid development easily.

Insights & Analysis

A recent study reveals that a startup founder's personality traits significantly affect their company's success. The study identified six types of effective personas - fighters, operators, accomplishers, leaders, experts/engineers, and developers. These successful entrepreneurs typically express enthusiasm for novelty and often crave being the center of attention. Additionally, researchers found that teams with diverse personalities tend to perform better, suggesting a unique avenue for enhancing start-up resilience and innovation.

💡 What can we learn from this?

Understanding the significance of founder personality traits could lead to more resilient and innovative tech startups. This is particularly useful for potential investors, entrepreneurs, and hiring managers in identifying successful founder personalities and forming diverse teams.

Apps & Gadgets

Apple Watch Series 9 offers several upgrades over Series 7, including on-device Siri for faster responses, a doubled screen brightness of 2000 nits, and a new double tap gesture for one-handed use. Additionally, 64GB storage, a second-generation ultra-wideband chip, and an improved S9 SiP are new additions. Although size and display dimensions remain the same, Series 9 claims 60% and 30% faster CPU and GPU respectively.

As stated in Bloomberg's Mark Gurman's newsletter, Apple is set to refresh all iPad models in spring 2024. Key upgrades include OLED displays and M3 processors for iPad Pro, four new iPad Air models with M2 processors, and minor improvements to iPad mini and iPad. Other potential debuts include new Macs, an iPhone color, and a release date for Apple Vision Pro.

Join the conversation

or to participate.